SUNDAY MORNING SERMON NOTES
The Self-Sufficient, Eternal, Infinite God
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Sunday, July 13, 2008 - 10:00 a.m.  Sermon #: 1187
Pastor Don Horban

Job 22:21 - “Aquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee”(KJV).

Though I don’t use it much for detailed study, there is still something beautifully poetic about the way the old King James translates that profound verse from Job chapter 22. Years ago, A.W.Tozer said, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

No religion or spiritual experience, no faith or practice can rise above its idea of God. This means it is possible to wade through huge slices of the Christian life almost by rote. I think we all know, at different seasons of our lives, what it’s like to push along in what we have come to call our “walk with Jesus” more fueled by religious tradition than by the presence of Jesus. It’s not that Jesus rejects us for our lack of vitality, but we all know the difference between living for Christ because we know we must and living for Christ because we are captivated by a sweeping sense of the Divine.

Listen to Tozer again - "It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is."

“....To think of God more nearly as He is.” That’s it exactly. Let me try to say the same thing more directly: my concept of God is what fuels everything spiritual about me. Think about worship. Knowledge of the Holy One is to worship what roots are to a plant. Without roots, you can't keep flower stems alive for long. Without the truth of God’s beauty gripping the mind, worship becomes forced emotionally and strained. We begin to feel the weight of the emptiness of the whole venture which in turn begins to magnify the guilt because of our own awareness of our own hypocrisy.

Think about faith. How many people go through their whole Christian lives trying to muster up more faith in God. Listen, it can't be done. Faith is a by-product of knowing God. Faith is like the trust you have in a reliable babysitter - whom you know because you've put her to the test dozens of times. You know what she's like. You know how she acts. You've seen how loving and responsible she is. You've proven her in difficult situations. You don't make yourself trust her. You've grown to trust her by getting to know her or him.

Think about the prayer life. Prayer is cold and formal and stuffed with dryness when it's performed as a religious duty or exercise. Prayer was never meant to be just something you do because you must. It was meant to be the presence of Someone you love.

The trouble is we get it all backwards. We work harder at becoming good prayers than we do at understanding the nature and character of Father God. Then, because our minds are starved for a true knowledge of the Holy One, our times of prayer become stuffed with the shopping lists of our troubles and needs. Everything turns inward and downward. This is all so different from the loving relationship Jesus intended. Just try to stop two people who are deeply in love with each other from communicating.

The Bible says there are tremendous blessings in knowing God:

Proverbs 9:10 - “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 - “Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, [24] but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord."

I want to open this summer series by dusting off three gigantic pillars of truth about the character of the God of the Bible:

1) OUR GOD IS THE CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF EVERYTHING THAT EXISTS

The theologians use terms like self-existence and self-sufficiency to describe what I'm trying to say. We mean God has no origin - no point of beginning. Everything that begins has another cause. I said everything that begins has another cause. But God never began. You can’t say that about anything or anyone else. Everything but God came from somewhere or something.

So already we’ve nailed down something very important in identifying the God of the Bible. You can always distinguish that which is God from that which is not God. Everything but God has a beginning. When you think of anything that has a beginning, you are not thinking about God. You may be thinking about something very great, and very powerful, and very awe-inspiring. But it’s not God.

This is one of those truths that seems to make the mind grow fuzzy the more you try to focus on it. We simply aren’t equipped to comprehend that which is timeless and eternal. But we still need to do the best we can because this is of more than just intellectual importance.

The self-existence of God is one of the reasons mankind is uneasy about Him. Tozer writes: "Philosophy and science have not always been friendly toward the idea of God, the reason being that they are dedicated to the task of accounting for things and are impatient with anything that refuses to give an account of itself. The philosopher and the scientist will admit that there is much that they do not know; but that is quite another thing from admitting that there is something which they can never know, which indeed they have no technique for discovering. To admit that there is One who lies beyond us, who exists outside of all our categories, who will not be dismissed with a name, who will not appear before the bar of our reason, nor submit to our curious inquiries: this requires a great deal of humility, more than most of us possess, so we save face by thinking God down to our level, or at least down to where we can manage Him."

Proud man doesn’t respond well to One before whom we can only bow. God is the Creator and Source of all life. Jesus said "the Father has life in himself” (John 5:26). That's different from the way anything else has life. Our life comes from Him. Apart from God, everything else runs on batteries. We derive all of our life from Him.

The Bible beats this drum with relentless clarity and repetition:

John 1:1-3 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Colossians 1:16-17 - “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Hebrews 1:3 - “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high....”

Now, this understanding about God's self-existence and self-sufficiency is very important because it's precisely here that the background is formed for both man's uniqueness and his sin. Because man is created by such a God, man is not his own. He was never designed to be either sovereign or independent. He has the image of God in his being. He exists for God. He is God's own.

This truth is so important that when we are mindless of it, we are not only forgetful (like failing to remember where we put our car keys) but wickedly sinful and self-confused. In fact, the Bible says that forgetting the self-existence of our Creator and our dependency on Him is the root infection of the universe, leading to every other sin that is.

In fact, perhaps no better definition of sin has ever been given than Isaiah 53:6 - “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Interesting words, these. We’ve all, we’re told “gone astray.” Astray from what? These words imply there was an absolutely right path - a way we were designed for. In other words, we were never meant to make our own way. We were never meant to consider all options equally valid. The little word says it all. We’ve gone “astray.”

Well, where did we go so wrong? The prophet says we have “turned every one to his own way....” This is not the issue I would have guessed. I would have imagined some horrible crime of moral wickedness to be listed here. Perhaps the statement that we are all thugs or thieves or lazy or mean. But those aren’t listed here because those aren’t the real problem. Those are just the fruit of the real problem. What we’ve done is an evil more closely tied to the subject study of this teaching - the self-existence of our great Creator.

Sin isn’t first of all being wicked. Sin is first of all pretending to be sovereign. Or, in the words of our text, sin isn’t turning to a violent or sexually perverse way. It’s turning to “our own way.”Man makes himself a self-determiner. He puts his trust in himself. Man, who only has breath as God lends it - who grows like the grass in the morning, only to be cut down at night - who disappears like a mist by the highway - thinks he is the end for his own existence!

Listen to Tozer again: "From all this we may begin to understand why the Holy Scriptures have so much to say about the vital place of faith and why they brand unbelief as a deadly sin. Among all created beings, not one dare trust in itself. God alone trusts in Himself; all other beings must trust in Him. Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God but in dying men. The unbeliever denies the self-sufficiency of God and usurps attributes that are not his. This dual sin dishonors God and ultimately destroys the soul of the man."

2) GOD IS ETERNAL - TOTALLY UNAFFECTED BY TIME PAST, PRESENT, OR FUTURE

Revelation 4:8 - “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’”

What separates God from all other creatures around the throne is that you can pick any of those three tenses - "was" - "is" - "is to come" - and God is totally unchanged by any of them. Push in any direction as far as you want and God simply “is.” He is the constant, unaffected “I am.” What wonderful, time sovereign, supremely independent words!

And this is so much more than some blurry, philosophic precept. Isaiah 46:9b-10 - “....I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, [10] declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,'”

The way we are restricted to the time sequence of life creates confusion and fear for us. We measure our existence by the number of events that have passed. Sometimes we consider these events merely events. Sometimes we call them “milestones.” Sometimes we celebrate the passing of time with birthdays.” But for all our attempts at celebration, we can't see what's up the road. Christian and atheist alike all long for some solid footing, some sense of permanence. We know we’re fading.

Psalm 90:1-2 - “A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. [2] Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

It’s significant that we’re told this was a prayer of Moses. His nomadic life is a vivid picture of the rootlessness we all experience this side of eternity. We long for something on which we can pin our transient days. The eternity of God wasn't just cold doctrine to Moses. It was a foundation and a hope. Consider that prayer from Moses for a minute:

a) Most people feel that this prayer was composed just as Moses was about to die. The children of Israel were about to take possession of the Promised Land and Moses, after all his wilderness wanderings, wasn’t going to enter with them. Moses tastes to the dregs the frustration of unfulfilled dreams and goals. That’s the way finite creatures - creatures made in the image of an eternal God, but bound to fleeting time and strength - that’s the way we just sip at the edges of eternity. Everything about us is cut short. Fulfillment eludes us all here.

b) God Eternal is the only safe haven from the abrasive grind of years and events on our lives.

In Psalm 90:12 Moses prays a prayer that will be re-prayed by Paul centuries later in his letter to the Ephesians - "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

"Lord, may the knowledge of Your eternity not be wasted on me!" We live our lives quickly and frantically on the very edge of eternity and before an Eternal God. Yet, despite the fact that this is the most important feature of our existence, we live many of our days without considering it. We know it, but we don’t consider it. This is like a tight rope walker remembering everything about the color of the circus tent, the size of the crowd, but forgetting the narrowness of the rope, the importance of balance, and the fact that there’s no safety net underneath.

The Christian message has its primary point of application to our lives right at this point. The apostle Paul addressed it so clearly in 2 Timothy 1:9-10 - “....who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, [10] and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel....”

Note that last phrase - “....and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel....” Only the gospel illumines the two great mysteries of life and immortality. Paul says the whole issue of how man will deal with eternity is brought into focus in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each person settles eternity in meeting Jesus Christ. He said He gave eternal life to those who came to Him in trust and obedience.

3) OUR GOD IS INFINITE IN EVERY FACET OF HIS BEING

When we say God is infinite we mean that He knows no bounds. Everything that God is and all that He does is totally without limit. God has separated Himself from us in this facet of His being. He has so created the world, as we’re just discovering freshly in our day, that everything in His creation can be diminished. Only the Creator, not His creation, is without limits.

Again, this it totally above our ability to grasp. Everything that we measure, weigh, count or number speaks of finiteness. Words like big, little, great, most, more, etc., even when used in the Bible to help describe God are only condescensions to our little heads. They're all meaningless when applied to God.

The truth of the infiniteness of God should be fuel for great faith, trust and love on our part. Because God is infinite, all that flows out of Him is infinite as well:

a) His power extended to my little life is infinite - There are no big needs versus little needs when they are brought to an infinite God.

b) His holiness is infinite - He never gets used to small moral blemishes. He never grows accustomed to imperfections.

c) His mercy and grace are infinite - "Where sin did abound, grace did much more abound." The person who has known the debilitating grind and wretchedness of guilt knows that the infiniteness of God's mercy is no academic truth. Abounding sin is the terror of the world. Infinite grace is the hope of mankind.

Nearly a century ago, Joseph Hart meditated on this very attribute of God - his infiniteness - and, pondering how this relates to God’s mercy, wrote these words:

"This, this is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend,
Whose love is as great as His power,
And neither knows measure nor end."

So give God time. Acquaint yourself with Him all over again. And be at peace.