GOD, Who is Here

To quote directly from Francis Schaeffer’s book,The God Who Is There, I would have to read it again. Time does not permit, so I took these notes from the Publisher’s Description.

 More than ever, The God Who Is There demonstrates how historic Christianity can fearlessly confront the competing philosophies of the world. The God who has always been there continues to provide the anchor of truth and the power of love to meet the world’s deepest problems.

It is from this last sentence that I use the title, GOD, Who is Here, in relation to the overall heading, Beyond a Mere Christianity.

While Schaeffer was revealing the shift in Christianity due to philosophy, science, history and the arts, my purpose is not to address the gainsayers, but those who follow Christ and desire a greater zeal for God and the Christian life.

GOD is More was leading to this series of articles as a means of piquing the interest of those who read HIs Word, yet do not really know the greatness of His power in the heart and life.

The only degree that qualifies me to write in this fashion is a DDC (devoted disciple of Christ). Knowing GOD, Who is Here has been a humbling experience over decades of need, searching, studying, in meditation of God’s Word, memorization and personal encounters with a living God who is not just ruling and reigning in heaven. From His throne in heaven, He is revealing Himself to His creatures and present with each one. To speak of these things is beyond my expertise and knowledge, but with prayer, I desire to write simply of how God has revealed Himself to me through His Word, His Holy Spirit and HIs presence and power in Jerry’s and my life. I quote Andrew Murray, who at times apologized for not spending more time editing his work; “The Lord loves to use the feeble for His glory.” Waiting on God

We will present this treatise in three parts:
WHO GOD IS
HOW HE IS HERE
WHY HE IS HERE

WHO GOD IS
From my childhood, there is no memory of anyone speaking of any God, except the one revealed in the Holy Bible. There is only one name of the God of Christianity. He is the LORD GOD, Jehovah, or Yahweh in Hebrew.

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

Paul speaks of the necessity for spiritual understanding that is apart from man’s natural comprehension (Corinthians 2:9-16). We will expand on this in the second part.

Let us look briefly at who God is from HIs Word, remembering that He is more than we can know and understand. We grow in our conception and the reality of who and where He is through continual study and meditation. We pray and wait in faith and anticipation, desiring with all our hearts for Him to reveal Himself.

GOD our CREATOR
Our core belief is in the GOD who is our Creator. We will not waste space to debate the philosophers, scientists and historians. Genesis 1:1 is an emphatic declaration of His role as Creator of the heavens and the earth. How He created and how we are individually a part of the earth He created is simply understood by taking Him at His Word. Believing means that we start with that truth, move on, read more, pray for His Holy Spirit to work faith and truth in our hearts and minds and live according to what we read. This means we must put away any pre-conceived ideas if we come across a contradiction to what we have heard before.

Christianity is not an Old Testament reality, but rather the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Christianity is based, not on how men define it, but how Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and life of the Christian faith, defines it. John 1:1-5 speaks of Jesus being in the beginning as The Word. The Word was with God and was God. He was the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, a promise of redemption for a fallen and rebellious people.

Rather than going into all the different names and characteristics of our GOD, we will look at the mainstream of His being. Christ, the Son of God, was in the beginning, for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy of man’s redemption.

GOD, our REDEEMER

“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

Other references in the Old Testament, reveal that Jesus, being the Son of God, in the beginning with Him, was in an active role of redemption before His incarnation.

The LORD God, as creator and redeemer — Isaiah 44:24

The LORD God, redeemer, the Holy One of Israel — Isaiah 46:17

The LORD thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob — Isaiah 49:26

GOD, our FATHER
In Jesus’ life and teachings, He revealed GOD as His, and our heavenly Father. His disciples carried forth this most profound truth of Christianity through the early church’s foundation. The supernatural work of His Holy Spirit produces a new heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26), a regenerating work that is beyond man’s capacity to produce, or to reason. Our heavenly Father desired children to share the wealth of HIs love and glory and sires them according to His own choosing to inherit His eternal kingdom. Living in faith and hope of this legacy is more than a mere, passing thought, but an assurance, as we serve our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ as living sacrifices in His kingdom now.

As we have mentioned already,He is much more than we are covering here and more than we can ever know. Again, we encourage you to commit your life to seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness if you want to know the true and living God. We can never know all there is to know, but we can all be a witness of who He reveals Himself to be to each of us. Please add your personal knowledge in the comment section.

HOW HE IS HERE ~ By His Spirit
GOD is Spirit (John 4:24), not bound to any place or time, with the prerogative to reveal Himself wherever He pleases.

There is no place we can go from His presence (Psalm 139:3-10).

No one can hide himself from God (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

He sees everything, the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).

Though He is omnipresent (in all places at all times) not everyone can witness to this truth.

We cannot arrive at the truth of our God from philosophy, science, or any other way, but only through His Word. Natural man cannot come to an understanding of truth, because truth comes from God and is revealed by His Holy Spirit. We can read the Bible, which is God’s book, but not understand it except the Spirit of truth interprets for us. Jesus spoke of sending the Holy Spirit for this purpose (John 14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13).

If we read and believe what the Bible says, it will be through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Again, we read from the Bible what we believe to be true and live accordingly; this is faith that His Spirit and His Word work in us. Nothing can shake this faith when we know that God is here with us by His Spirit.

By HIs  Promise
His Word is His promise to reveal Himself and to fulfill every promise that He has made to us as His children.

He promises never to leave us, nor forsake us Hebrews 13:5.

He is with us; He is our God (Isaiah 41:10).

We understand through faith in His Word by the Holy Spirit, that He was incarnate in His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us go now to our next truth.

WHY HE IS HERE
GOD is here ruling and reigning through His Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to earth and lived thirty-three years, it was to fulfill His promise and His purpose to save a people for Himself; a remnant, to share His glory. He lived a perfect life in obedience to the will of His Father, so that He would offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. That sacrifice offered, His dying to redeem all who believe, resurrected from the dead, ascending back to the Father, sending the Holy Spirit to rule in each heart, was the plan of creation and redemption.
Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father, upholding all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:1-3).

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5

Before the foundation of the world He chose His people to be holy and blameless before Him through the sacrifice of HIs son, so that we would believe and live as HIs children. (Ephesians 1:3-5).

The promise of the Father to send His Spirit was fulfilled at Pentecost after Christ’s ascension (Acts 1:8).
By His Spirit working in us, He is conforming us to the image of His Son, in preparation for eternity with Him. (Romans 3:28-29) In all things that seem unfair and not to our liking, we experience the humbling and meekness of spirit that we need.

We will stop here, but continue His promises and purposes in the articles that follow, especially in What is Jesus Doing in Your Life? It is through these that we will learn more of the truth of Christianity and begin to live beyond our former thoughts and expectations. Writing these articles are the Lord’s means of teaching me what I still need to know. And what a blessing it is to read, study, meditate and memorize His promises, and experience this relationship that He planned for us.

Dear heavenly Father, we understand that your will for us as your children is to know you, Let us continue to know more of who you are as our Creator, Redeemer and Father; to live in anticipation of more than we have experienced, and to be a witness to others of your relationship with us as your redeemed ones, those who are beloved in Christ. Thank you for blessing us with the revelation of who you are by the power of your Holy Spirit. We praise you that you have brought us to you through Jesus Christ your Son, whom we love, even as we love you, and in whose name we praise you and thank you. Amen.

 

GOD’S GLORY ~ First and Last

How do you bring children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?”  Where do you begin?  My first grandchild was six years old, her sister was three, when the Lord impressed upon me the need for me to teach them.  I cared for them while Lee, our daughter, a physical therapist, worked two days a week.  During the summer months we began a series of study called Summer of Psalms, which we have been doing for thirteen years.  Ansley has outgrown the study, but Kourtney, now fifteen, and her sisters, Olivia, 10, and Emma, 8, just finished six days (one day a week) of Psalm 146.

What began with Psalm 100 has grown in the hearts and minds and lives of these children.  Many seeds have been planted each summer and we have watched the girls grow in the understanding that everything comes under one heading—GOD.

Everything begins with GOD

I didn’t know that those first lessons with the name GOD at the top of the blackboard would always be our starting point, and that we would always come back to that main point.  The whole series of study, consisting of seven particular Psalms, has stressed the person of GOD, His Lordship, and His glory.  The curriculum was built around His Word, His work, His salvation, His Son—Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit, His name, His creation, His presence, His power, His kingdom, His grace, etc.

Even though we have booklets the Holy Spirit adds notes during our time of study.  I continue to learn as I am teaching.  The last day of study, which we call The Gathering (Christ, the shepherd and his sheep) we were looking at the meaning of the Alpha and the Omega as it relates to the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  So, when we asked the question,  “Where do we always begin,” their answer, as usual, was, “GOD.”

It was rather simple to follow that question with, “Where do we end?”

And right on time, in unison, they knew the answer—“With GOD.”

*Years ago the first question they learned from our church’s children’s catechism was, “Who made you?”

Answer: “God.”

The second question: “What else did God make?”

Answer:  “All things.”

Third question:  “Why did He make you and all things?”

Answer:  “For His own glory.”

Everything ends with GOD

First and last GOD will have all the glory.  There is much that will take place in our lives between the beginning and the end.  This is the time of His grace.  There are generations that will come and go between the beginning and ending of time on this earth. Within, and from His own glory, He has planned His work—“before the foundation of the world;” now He is working His plan—“according to the counsel of His will,” a plan that will end in His glory.

As He is leading me to place all things in the light of His glory, from beginning to end; seeing Him as head over all things in Christ; looking diligently to Him, “the author and finisher of our faith,” His glory is becoming the dominant factor and thought on my mind and in my heart.  By His grace He is revealing Himself to be the Alpha and Omega of my life, and the life of all those who are in Christ.

As He continues to shine into my heart “the light of the knowledge of His glory in Christ” more and more of my life is for His glory.  The more glory He reveals through His Word and His Spirit, and the more glory He receives from His work of grace in me, the more joy I experience in my heart and life.  The “unsearchable riches of Christ” given by a gracious Father are unfathomable, but ever growing to reveal more and more of His glory, until He is ready to receive us unto Himself—where His glory will be never-ending.

“I was brutish and ignorant, I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”

Psalm 73:23,24 ESV

* Foundations is a children’s catechism used at Christ Reformed Church (Reformed Baptist).  If you are interested I have this on a PDF File for loose-leaf binder.