Sermon Podcast Audio
New Series called God Is
Today it is my pleasure to kick off a new message series we’re calling “God Is.” Now I know, some of you might already be feeling a little disappointed going from such a practical series as GetFit to one you expect to be so dry and boring.
But I promise this series won’t be dry and disconnected from the life you are living – our goal with this series is to teach you things about God that hopefully help you understand your life better, understand God better, and grow in your love and worship of him as you get to KNOW God more intimately.
After all, that’s how relationships work, right? Since it is Valentine’s Day today, most of us have relationships on our mind – for some of you men, maybe this is news to you and now you’re frantically thinking about where you can take your wife tonight. This might be all that’s on your mind. But when we think about relationships, we know the foundation to a strong relationship is trust and truly knowing one another.
Now it’s funny that I’m the one saying that because I’m NOT the most inquiring husband. Like a lot of you, I learned a ton about my wife while we were dating, but then after we married, and each year since, I probably become a little less inquisitive about her. I begin to feel like I know her, mostly, and so I spend less time really thinking about who she is, what she likes, how I can grow closer to her, and how I can do things to please her. It’s self-incriminating to say this, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
And the unfortunate result of this lack of romance, this lack of me digging to know my wife better, is that I run the risk of her getting mad at me for something that I totally don’t see coming – but I should have – if I had spent any time at all paying attention to her, focusing on what she liked or disliked.
For example, if I never paid attention to my wife’s flower preferences, I could try to really impress her with a big bouquet of red carnations and roses. I would think I was making this grand gesture of love, and all she would see is that her husband clearly doesn’t know anything about her. Fortunately for me, I know she loves tulips, and so that’s what I got her.
Here’s my point – we inherently understand that building a strong relationship with another person means learning about them, what they like, don’t like, how they act, who they truly are. But then we turn around and think that studying God in a similar way will be boring and impractical for our daily lives. Hopefully, we can show you in this series the importance of learning about God so you can ultimately KNOW him more fully.
You see, your goal as a follower of Jesus should be to know God more each and every day. The goal isn’t to know ABOUT God – it’s to truly know him. Knowing about God means knowing the facts, the doctrines of God, the big words we associate with God. And I agree with you – if that’s all we talked about in this series – that WOULD be really boring. But, the fact is, you do need to know more ABOUT God to begin to KNOW GOD more. You see, mastering the doctrine of God is a terrible finish line for your faith. But it’s a useful path to take to reach your goal of knowing God intimately.
Back to my marriage: If my whole goal as a husband was to know ABOUT Michelle, I could easily do that. She’s 5’7” with brown hair and brown eyes and can’t see a thing without her glasses. I know where she grew up, where she has worked, who her friends are, and what type of flowers NOT to buy her today.
But just because I know all of this information ABOUT my wife doesn’t mean our relationship is strong. However, I can use this information I know ABOUT her to help me build a strong and loving relationship with her. Using what I know ABOUT her allowed me to plan a reasonably pleasant Valentine’s Day date a couple days ago. I had the right flowers, took her to a restaurant she likes, picked a desert she loved, and did the things I know she loves most. It tells her I noticed, I paid attention to her, and I know how to do things that please her. And in return, hopefully, it drew us closer together as a couple!
The same can be said of our relationship with God. The more we know ABOUT him, the better we will be able to grow in our relationship WITH Him, the more excited we will be to worship him, to serve him, to give our whole lives to the things that most please Him!
Nobody gives up their life for the desires of a stranger – but we might give our lives completely to God the more we understand about Him, the almighty, all-knowing, majestic king of the universe, who, in spite of his splendor and greatness, chooses to know each one of us personally and intimately!
Today I want to begin that journey of helping you grow in your knowledge ABOUT God so you can grow in your love FOR God by describing how God is Infinite.
Now when I say the word infinite, I know most of you have some idea of what it means. Children learn pretty early on that that the number infinity is the biggest number ever and there is no number that can ever be bigger. To which the smarty pants in the group always says: Infinity + 1.
But I want to give us a better definition than that: If something is infinite, it means it is limitless or endless in space, extent, time, or size; it’s impossible to measure or calculate. It’s without any end.
And since it is endless, it really also is unimaginable for us.
For if we feel like we can finally wrap our minds around what it means to be infinite, then we have defined it in some way, boxed it in, and limited it. And so by definition, we know we actually can never fully grasp what it means – not in our minds, but we can experience it. That’s the point of this verse from Ephesians 3:17-19:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Do you see how Paul says that the love of God surpasses our knowledge, yet he prays that the Ephesians would still somehow grasp the love of Christ? It seems contradictory, but what I believe he’s communicating is what I said earlier – we might never be able to fully understand God, but we can try our best, given our very limited understanding. And hopefully, by trying to know him better, we will experience his great love.
Now while it’s true God’s infinitude makes him impossible to be fully known and comprehended, he can still be known as far as he has revealed himself to us. So today I want to look at the ways God has allowed his infinite nature to be described to us in various passages throughout scripture.
I want to begin where the entire story begins, in Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
We see here that the very first thing God communicates to his people about himself is that HE is the creator of all, He is the one behind the heavens and the earth. He is the one with POWER and AUTHORITY to speak creating into existence.
And here’s another verse from the Psalms, a song God’s people would have memorized: From Psalm 135:5-6
I know that the Lord is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.
Again, we see here a picture of God as greater than ALL gods – essentially supreme over every other thing people might have thought was supreme. He is described as able to do whatever he wants, absolutely anything, anywhere he wants.
These verses, combined with countless other verses and stories in the Bible lead us to the conclusion that God is ALL-POWERFUL. The fancy doctrine for this is called Omnipotence. We believe that God has the power to do absolutely anything he desires.
To look at the next way God is infinite, let’s look at Psalm 147:5
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
Or from the new testament, the apostle John writes in 1 John 3:20
If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything
Do you see the common idea here that God has knowledge without end – the way he thinks and comprehends is beyond our ability to understand. And that’s exactly how the prophet Isaiah explained it in Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Essentially what this means for us is that God is REALLY smart! In fact he knows everything. EVERYTHING! Another way of saying this is that God is ALL-KNOWING – he’s Omniscient.
And finally, we come to the last aspect of God’s infinite character. Let’s take a look at what King David wrote about God in Psalm 139:7-10
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Here we see David describe God as being everywhere – there is no place where David could go to hide from God. No matter where David is, God is right there with him.
And not only is God everywhere across space, but he is also everywhere across time. Look at what is written about God in Revelation 1:8
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Again, these are just 2 passages to describe God’s infinite character, but they paint the picture of a God who is not limited by location or by time. He can be equally in Asia as he is in Iowa and he can be in the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsamane, and the garden in your back yard all at the same time.
This doctrine of God’s limitless presence, is called Omnipresence. He is ALL-PRESENT to all people in all places at all times.
From the Study About God to the Worship of God
And now that we’ve completed a brief lesson on the infinitude of God, here is where the theology of God – studying who God is, makes a difference in how we relate to him.
There are countless application points I could make at this juncture, including:
God’s Omnipotence means he is capable of doing anything he promised as nothing more powerful could ever stop him – so we should have full assurance when we read the promises he makes.
God’s Omniscience means he knows what’s best – even when his methods seem unjust or illogical. We can’t tell God he doesn’t know what he’s doing. That’s like a teenager telling her parents they are SO STUPID. Really, who’s the stupid one in that conversation?
God’s Omniscience combined with his Omnipresence means he knows everything you have ever done, and everything you ever will do, every sin you will commit which you haven’t yet – even the big one you never thought you’d fall to – and he loves you anyway and forgives you.
But before thinking deeply about the consequences of this doctrine of God’s infinite nature, I think we have to step back and think about what it means that God is limitless, boundless, unable to ever be fully understood, knows everything about everything, and everyone through all time beginning to end. As we let that sink into our tiny, finite minds, we realize that there truly is NONE Like God.
And as we grasp that fact, we can begin to see the majesty of God. This is another word we don’t use a lot, but it means supreme greatness or authority. Nothing is as good. Nothing compares. Nothing is of any kind of value compared to him.
In fact, mathematically, if God is infinity, then anything we compare with him is zero. No matter how significant the item or person you compare to God, it is a big fat zero when compared with his greatness and majesty.
And that leads me to the point of today’s message. I don’t care if you walk out of here and remember the three Omni words I taught you. But what I DO want you to understand when you walk away from this is the incredible greatness of God. It’s with this right understanding of God, one where we don’t box him in by our tiny, preconceived notions, that we might stand in awe and reverence for a God so supreme, he really has no business caring about any single person on this planet.
But for some reason he does. He knows you. He cares about you. He knows the number of hairs on your head. He knows what you like, what you don’t, what you hope for and what you most fear. He is trying to romance you better than any person on this earth ever could. And he wants you to know him personally, and intimately.
And when we realize that a God so great, so powerful, and so majestic actually LOVES us and cares about us, we can only respond in one way – with worship. That’s what the Israelites did back during David’s time. Looking back at two of the passages from the Psalms, they weren’t just dry doctrinal statements ABOUT GOD – they included a response to information about HIM – they were followed by a heart of worship TO HIM.
All you Israelites, praise the Lord;
house of Aaron, praise the Lord;
house of Levi, praise the Lord;
you who fear him, praise the Lord.
Praise be to the Lord from Zion,
to him who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 139:13-14 (David)
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
I hope that today I have left you with a desire to praise God for his infinite character. And when I say praise or worship God, I mean a lot more than just singing songs to him on Sunday morning. That is just a tiny piece of worship. We worship God with our whole lives. We worship God when we look at the snow falling outside and rather than think of it as a burden, we give God praise, recognizing he is the one who sends the snow. Even in the little things like that, we can choose to praise him!
Our God is great and worthy to be praised with every breath, every moment of our lives. Let’s choose to live a life of worship as we try to understand the incredible, infinite nature of the God who loves us so deeply.