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DOCTRINE OF GOD: Conclusion (How should we respond?) Print E-mail
The Doctrine of God
Sunday, 13 July 2008

I. Introduction:

 Well, we have been considering the Doctrine of God for over half a year now.  We began by looking at who God is and said that He is one God, spiritual and personal, existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit.  From there we looked at the many different attributes of God that Scripture reveals.  We did not cover them all, but we covered a good number of them.  Lastly, we considered the actions of God.  He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Redeemer, and the Judge.  Needless to say, we have attempted to cover a lot of ground.  Yet, even so, there is so much more to be said about our great God.  What a glorious thought that we get to spend the rest of our lives and all of eternity learning more!!  In concluding our series I want to end with one more question about the Doctrine of God: How should we respond?

July 13th, 2008
Sunday Night
William Marshall

II.  How should we respond to the Doctrine of God?

 A.  A summary passage: Isaiah 40:10-11.  There are many passages that we could look at tonight, but I want to begin by giving us a passage that gives us a sort of summary about what the Bible teaches us about God.  In verse 10, we see that God is mighty.  He rules with His strong arm.  We have used the term transcendent to describe this.  God is above us.  He reigns over us.  He is all-knowing, all-powerful, the great Sovereign Lord of all.  He is our mighty God.  Now look at verse 11.  Not only is He the mighty God who rules over all, but He is also the gentle shepherd who takes care of His flock.  He brings them close to His bosom, protecting them from all their enemies.  He faithfully leads them and gently cares for them.  We have used the term immanence to describe this.  God is with us.  He cares for His people and looks after them.  The same arms that rule with might are the ones that love with tender affection.  

 As we have seen over and over again, Godís transcendence and immanence are most clearly demonstrated at the cross of Christ.  Paul speaks of this in Romans 3:21-26.  Godís transcendence is seen at the cross because His righteous character is defended.  By punishing Christ for our sins (and the sins of the OT saints) God showed Himself to be righteous.  Or as Paul puts it: It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be justÖ  But Paul does not stop there.  God was not just demonstrating His transcendent, holy, righteous, just character at the cross.  No, Paul continues, Öso that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ.  Thus, the cross was the ultimate demonstration of Godís justice and holiness and righteousness, or His transcendence.  But it was also the ultimate demonstration of His love and mercy and grace, or His immanence.  For it was at the cross that our redemption was secured.  

 Thus, if I had to sum up what we have been saying about our God, I would say that He is the transcendent ruler of the world and immanent redeemer of those who have faith in Christ.  So, then, how should we respond to this?  Let me offer two suggestions.

 B.  First, we should respond with great humility.  In fact, I would say it this way: in light of Godís greatness, how could we not be anything but humble in His presence?  He is the great, Sovereign ruler of the universe.  He reigns over all the world.  He spoke us into existence and He sustains our every breath.  He is the Judge and He is the Redeemer.  He has graciously not crushed us for our sin and rebellion.  In fact, He has crushed His Son instead.  Thus, how could we not respond with great humility?  Unfortunately, we all have the tendency to think too highly of ourselves.  As I have said before, this is where I was when I went to college.  I would not have said this out loud, but seemingly I thought something like this: ĎGod owes everybody a shot at salvation and if they choose to follow Him, then based on that decision, He has to be good to them, watch after them, give them great blessings, etc.í  But the doctrine of God has humbled me and I pray that it will humble me even more.  As I began to search the Scriptures for what they actually said about God and man, I began to catch a glimpse of the greatness of God and the desperate state of all mankind, including myself.  It was a radical shift in all of my thinking.  Since then, as I have studied and been taught through the Word, I have become more aware of the importance of fearing God, of believing what the Bible says about Him no matter what the consequences, and of humbling myself before the Word and before the Word who became flesh.  Thus, I pray that this study of the doctrine of God will lead us to great humility.

 C.  Second, we should respond with passionate pursuit.  The Lordís greatness means that He is the One that we should want to know more than anything else.  Because of His work in Christ that reconciled us to Himself, we should boldly come into His presence to seek His face.  Look at how the author of Hebrews states it in 10:19-25.  Christ has made it possible for us to enter the holy places, which represent the presence of God.  We are told to draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.  Through Christ we can have an intimate relationship with Almighty God.  We can know Him and actually delight in the fact that He knows us.  We can commune with Him and with His saints.  We can come before Him with singing and rejoicing and we can come before Him with weeping and desperation.  We can draw near.  Therefore, why would we not pursue this relationship with everything that we are?  Why would we not throw off everything that hinders us and seek God with all of our hearts?  The pursuit of God is the greatest pursuit that we are graciously granted in this life.  We pursue Him only because He has first pursued us in Christ.  In light of such truth, may we follow hard after our God.

 D.  How do these two responses come together?  Well, you could say it this way: Our response to the doctrine of God is to pursue Him humbly and passionately by the grace He has provided for us in Christ.  We seek to hold together our belief in Godís transcendence and immanence.  We should never come before Him flippantly or arrogantly.  Yet, we should never act like an outsider who is not welcome.  No, because of Christís work at the cross, we come before Him humbly and boldly, fearfully and passionately, with reverence and with rejoicing.

III.  Conclusion:

 I have enjoyed walking through this series together and I pray that the Lord will continue to use the truth that we have considered for years to come.  May we indeed be a people who passionately and humbly pursue our Great God.  May He grant us grace in the days ahead to know Him more, to see Him as He truly is, to understand better what He has revealed about Himself in the Word.  And may He use our lives and our ministries to make Himself known to others, for their good and His glory!  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

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