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January 28, 2021 12:00 am
No matter how much you know about God. There's infinitely more for you to learn about so we effectively at the outset of our study of God immediately lived with this tension we we pursued to know him and at the same time we know that will never know everything about him because everything about him can't be revealed part of the thrill of eternity is to have infinite amount of time studying the infinity of God is at the very heart of our ministry studying God's word comes with an interesting paradox. That's because the more we know, the more we realize that there's so much we don't know but that's okay God has revealed some things about himself and he wants us to know those things and then we have eternity with him to know him face-to-face. This is wisdom for the heart.
Today Stephen begins a series from acts 17 called introducing God. The message you're about to hear is called waiting to be January 7, 1855, a young pastor stood to preach to his congregation in Southport, England, and he began by saying the highest science.
The loftiest speculation. The mightiest philosophy which can ever engage the attention of a child of God is the name the nature the person work the doings in the existence of God. It is a subject so fast that all our pride is grounded in its infinity all our thoughts are lost in its immensity. So preach Charles Spurgeon of London hundred 50 years ago when he was remarkably barely 20 years old you read his writing is one of the constant challenges that would come from him to his generation was related to the nearly universal lack of desire and study God. Five years after Spurgeon died. Another boy was born this young man to become a preacher as well.
This time in America.
His name was Aydin Wilson. Toes are now you know why he went after a W a W toes or became known for his persistent warnings directed at the church for doctrinal weakness and her shallowness the knowledge of the holy little hardback book. I think it's about 80 pages.
He writes this opening statement. What comes into our minds when we think about God, the most important thing about us to answer the question what is God like the answer that question will predict the spiritual future of that person and it will predict the future of the church based on their answer. Who is God and what is he like this and who we think God is determines how we walk with him. Why we obey him.
How we talk to him what we expect of him governs everything. All of this in volume really is bound up in this question who's got and as I studied and prayed about this.
This is really as far as I got and I knew he had a time.
By the time we get through this. So let me ask and answer number one. What exactly is the study of God. Now the $0.10 term for that is theology, you'd know that if you spend $250 an hour going to seminary. Like some of us had to pay find that out and finding out that the Greek term God and DO for reasoning or arguing or explaining that together and you have been. Theology is the logical, reasonable discussion of God who God is what you like, what are his attributes, his person is his nature and in a rather unusual positive statement by toes there and there aren't many. By the way was rather caustic and prickly, but that he was used by God to challenge the church's work. The pursuit of God.
These words and that's the second book by the way, the pursuit of God little longer these words in in this hour of all universal darkness 60 years ago one shearing gleam appears within the fold of conservative Christianity.
There is an increasing number of people whose lives are marked by a growing hunger after God himself.
They are eager for spiritual realities. They are thirsty for God and they will not be satisfied until they have drunk deep at the fountain of living that I read that because this study is really for those who are thirsty for God. Question number two what can I study to know God better.
One resources creation the natural world, which is why that the psalmist is constantly inviting us to look around to look up the stars son planet. The beauty of the world and the stars in the sky, writes in Psalm 810 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth is displayed. You have display you've exposed your splendor to the world above the heavens. Psalm 19.
He writes this, the heavens are telling the glory of God. There there describing his glory, the work of his hands, declaring that dated day for speech day after day pours forth speech, and night after night reveals knowledge.
A lot of the paraphrase of the message by Eugene Peterson on that phrase. He says it this way Mme. day holds classes every morning, and Prof. Knight lectures, e.g., the older I get, the more I marvel and enjoy the creative handiwork of God look around God's given us this natural world that points to him.
In fact, in Romans one gives us the interesting truth that even if someone never hears the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even without hearing the gospel. They are still guilty of rejecting God and without excuse. Paul says, because they had nature and what they do. They suppress the truth that was obvious and they said it must've just happened by chance rather than all of the order and the beauty and the creativity must come from someone who ordered it.
Someone who is creative, they had worked so hard to suppress the truth of creativity and complexity and color. They would've been able Paul says to put together the fact that there is a creator. Some of these things powerful attributes. That's without the Scripture, and speaking. That's the other resource than for studying beyond creation far the most significant is revelation creation opens the door to observation revelation opens the door to inspiration all Scripture is given by inspiration, negativity 360 inspiration felt discussed the very breath of this is God's breath, so to speak, but what does God's word read about God, who is God and what is he like ultimately that drives you, then to the Scriptures, where God discloses the truth about himself that you would never observe in nature and of course with that redemptive truth of Christ. Keep in mind, beloved, that the Scriptures are comprehensive. There is much more about God than we have revealed in the 66 books so we effectively at the outset of our study of God immediately lived with this tension we we pursued to know him and at the same time we know that will never know everything about him because everything about him can't be revealed part of the thrill of eternity is to have an infinite amount of time studying the infinity of God as he teaches us, but right now we we have trouble we have problems. Obviously you can't reduce down everything about God our finite minds can grasp it anyway.
Infinity can't be reduced to a paragraph can't be reduced to a set of volumes even if they were as large as that 30 set of encyclopedias. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, which I bought is a seminary student will my wife came home from work I was studying and she said what have you done and I said well it's only $39 a month for 300 years, but never mind that all of the knowledge love honey I'm it's all here. I got it all. Even that would only begin to drop in the bucket to reveal the truth of God, even John the apostle said he said in the classic text in John 21, he said, look, you could fill out the entire world with books, you still wouldn't have enough space to describe what Jesus did and said in only 3 1/2 years.
You'd have to fill up the world with books to describe three. How in the world can you describe God that the only thing we can do and what I trust we will do is get a little sick, a little taste but I'm convinced that even the littlest sip of sovereignty and his glory and his grace is nature's attributes will boggle our minds. God hasn't told us everything about himself. We like to know but he has revealed everything we need so that we can enter into a relationship with him and walk with him and I to talk to him and know what he expects of us know how to serve them and worship only added if anybody thinks they know who God is and their knowledge of God is different that which is revealed in this book is tragically to see, I have begun reading a recently published biography of the Wright brothers side read one a few years ago and I'm captivated by these very creative, very brilliant young men. They invented things that allow them to invented the airplane. The biography contains its rather rather lengthy contains letters they wrote. It contains pictures, contains descriptions of personal interests and in a detailed timeline of their creative invention. After finishing that book and I'll be finished. You know in a few weeks or so. If I if I finish that book. Can you imagine me saying to someone even with what little you know about those guys. They were amazing. Absolutely amazing violinists and they hated flying machines. We'd wonder what biography are if you do read their biography, you'll discover they do not play the violin and they love talking about flying machines. In fact, when they were little boys watching the birds fly, they marveled at them.
They measured the distance at how quickly they flew from point A to point E and they measured the way and in the distance and the speed and their kids figuring all this out while it doesn't matter what we might think God is like.
The question is what does his word say he's like this is the prayer of the apostle Paul for the early believers in Colossae. He writes this in Colossians 19 through 10 we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will that you might be increasing in the knowledge of God.
Hey Paul what are you praying about for this church here that would you pray what he prayed for those believers in Colossae and praying that you will increase in the knowledge of God, who is God, what is he like we really know. I read this past year. The announcement of Chester Inez who had passed away. It struck my attention. I tucked it away. Chester was the last living member of a team of Navajo tribesmen came to be called the Navajo code talkers. Chester Inez was one of the original 29 Navajo recruited by the US military to create an unbreakable code used only by the allies that the enemy forces could not figure out Navajo that is a complex unwritten language without an alphabet be hard to break with it. Only a handful of non-Navajo people could even speak it, so these men were recruited to come up with a code that could be broken by enemy intelligence from 1942 to 1945 E. code talkers.
They were called participated in every single major operation, the US Marines conducted in the Pacific region Philip Johnson, the son of a missionary to the Navajo came up with the idea to use these men to communicate in a way no one else would understand the code was never broke some how in the world can an infinite creator of the language, unlike ours and the nature so different communicate with a finite creature, God has effectively revealed the code here. The Bible is God's own communication with mankind about who he is what he is like isn't comprehensive, but it is definitive. It isn't exhaustive, but it is adequate to reveal enough of who he is and what he is like so that we can love him and walk with him and talk with and even come to know him better is another question number three what are the benefits of studying God will I know we'd all say well that's questions like that. It's just beneficial. Well, what are the benefits to be five of them may give you five first wisdom touchdown in this. In the end of Proverbs chapter 9 and verse 10 the fear of the Lord. Solomon writes, is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy one is understanding. Solomon is effectively telling us that God will show us how to live a wise life. So were told in the knowledge biblical knowledge isn't so much related to an IQ.
Their people got A's on their report card, for they live life going from one failure to another. It's not that they will have enough information isn't that they don't have enough education is just that they don't have wisdom.
Wisdom enables someone to apply the knowledge they have in making the right decision in life and you can't get that kind of wisdom apart from knowing God wisdom would be one closely associated with the site is another benefit will call it the word direction direction. To put it another way, God allows you to maintain this sense of direction when you need it. As you pursue not so much that direction, but you pursue him. The apostle Peter writes it this way. In second Peter one.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God, seeing that in his divine power is granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of him who called us by his glory. JI Packer illustrated this idea by imagining how terrible and unfair would be to helicopter into the Amazonian jungle pick up a tribesmen is never been out of the jungle before and fly him to London England and set him down in the middle of that city, and then tell him fend for yourself. Try to do the best again. Packer goes on to apply it.
We are cruel to ourselves.
If we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who happens to run it disregard the study of God in you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded as it work with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you.
This is he writes the perfect way to waste your life if you ever met anybody and you thought that person has no direction was the solution. A map. No, of course, no knowledge and the pursuit of God. Another benefit is fruitful living.
Paul wrote in Colossians 1, nine and 10. He was constantly praying for these believers that the church would be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God is are coupled together related together. One of the evidences of gaining an understanding of God is bearing fruit in good works and they can see that you have direction and wisdom. Secondly, fruit always reflects the character of the tree which is a part. So when you bear spiritual fruit, you are bearing witness to the character and the nature of the Holy Spirit.the spirit is transforming your life that comes from growing in the knowledge of God is another byproduct courage. Those three Hebrew men responded to Nebuchadnezzar's command. Remember Daniels biography refused to back out of the idol that Nebuchadnezzar had created and he said everybody know about the music starts. They said that when I got Daniel more than likely was out of town and entering into the picture.
Their lives are not literally at stake. The music assume they hadn't gotten the message right in the King was going to give them another chance and bow down or be thrown into the fiery furnace. Never thought about the fact they responded out of their knowledge of the attributes of God. Daniel 316 says fines and responding to the king Nebuchadnezzar our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire. No, wait a second.
They had never seen God deliver anybody from the fiery furnace. They were about to be the first ones thrown in. They had never been threatened died by means of fire. They never personally experienced God delivering them from a fire. They are saying God can do this they applied what they knew about God's sovereign power to their particular situation.
They knew that God was more powerful than this king, and that fire but they also understood something more about the God because they went on to say in there saying understood.
Evidently his divine prerogative in his divine right in his sovereign rule in his ability to decide what he wants to do without ever giving them an explanation. And so they add to that, and they say if he does so to follow him because he is a true living God has a right to do whatever he wants to do and you're still following came out of their understanding of the attributes of God. Courage in making the right decision cc the question is not, do we really need to know God better question is how can we afford not grow in understanding him better when more.
The list could of course go on much longer.
But one more byproduct from the study of God is sense of security. David writes in Psalm 46 God is our refuge and our strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear that the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam the mountains quake. He's describing the worst possible cosmic disturbances.
You can imagine.
And then later, and that's all. Be still and know that I'm God taste and see that the Lord is good. That's an invitation, so 43%. God invites us to get to know him.
He's the one that says taste stop study maybe maybe you're convinced that you'd like to know God better. But you're not too sure. He wants the same and you're not really sure how you feel about it.
I mean you are we after all, imagine you walk up to the White House and you knock on the door and they answer the door and you say that you know what, I'm here because I like to get to know the present when the question is do you want to get to the president. The question is does the president of the United States want to get to know you and you better hope the answers yes at that moment the question is does God want to get to know us and does God want us to get to know him. Here's the stunning truth of this study before us.
It isn't just that you might want to get become a better friend of God or more aware of his powers presence is attributes God wants and invites to do just that God waits to be want. Jesus is praying in John seven to the father anything. Father, I long for them to know you like I security there is knowing the one we want to get to know is waiting for us to want to know him, and by the way, knows us so in this strange paradox, the one we are going to pursue gather in our system already in his hand and that reality that God holds us in his hands is good news for all Christians. As we continue to study God and get to know him were doing it, knowing that he knows and loves us fully, and he desires to be known by us. That's what will be working to do over the next seven lessons. This is wisdom for the heart. Today's message was lesson one in an eight part series called introducing God. This series serves as a backdrop for knowing God as fully as possible. This lesson was called, waiting to be wanted our Bible teacher, Stephen Devi makes the complete archive of his teaching ministry available free of charge on our website that includes this lesson so if you joined us late. You can go to wisdom online.org and hear this message in its entirety. I want to share with you a note that came in from a listener recently dying from Virginia said how I praise God for you. I lesson five days a week, unless providentially hindered. I feel fed from your spiritual messages and miss them when I'm unable to listen. I teach an adult Sunday school class, and I use your illustrations and insights. Please continue to preach God's word with faithfulness. I wanted you to hear from Dina because if you're a teacher or even if you want to study God's word for yourself the complete manuscript of each of Stephen's lessons is posted online.
Thanks so much for being with us today will be back next time to continue through this join us here on wisdom for the heart