“God Alone” Sermon at LMPC 1-19-14
“God Alone”? Isaiah 43 (selections); John 17:3; John 3:16-18
?God Alone? Isaiah 43:1,2,11-13; John 17:3; John 3:16-18? 1-19-14?? This year is the 500th anniversary of John Knox.? Knox was a man who had a gift of faith and he did not mind standing up for what he believed.? Because he stood up for his belief he was thrown into a French Galley slave ship, exiled from Scotland, exiled from England, hunted down.? Knox wrote a very clearly worded confession in our Book of Confessions called ?The Scots Confession.?? One of the key themes is what we are going to talk about today, and what is chapter number 1- that is, ?We worship and serve one God alone.?? ?When Knox came along, people were saying to worship God and the saints; to pray to God and the saints.? When Knox came along people were saying to believe in the scripture and tradition and the experts as our source for authority- Knox said with the Reformers it is scripture alone that is our authority.? When Knox came along people were saying we are saved by grace and works. Knox said it is grace alone.? God alone, scripture alone, grace alone.? Knox was pointing out the simplicity and beauty of the good news.? We do not have to complicate it, but there is a tendency to always complicate things.
I. ONE GOD???? A. God is Unique- Just as creation came from one little speck smaller than the size of a pin, so all of creation points to one starting point- to God Himself.? In the beginning was God.? God?s domain from the creation narrative is the entire creation.? Another phrase used of God is ?The Most High? God.? There is only one ?God Almighty.?? When God says ?Thou shalt have no other gods before me.?? He is not saying it is okay to have other gods as long as I?m first.? But He is saying no other gods in my presence- as a part of my worship.? The prophets make fun of people who make up their own gods.? He says He is a jealous god meaning He desires that we not worship other things or make up other deities for our worship.
B God is United- Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4 in his definition of God: ?Hear O Israel the Lord your God the Lord is one.? ?God is not divided.? Let me speak just a minute about the trinity.? The trinity is not, as some have characterized it- three different gods.? But it is one essence of God in three persons.? The very name trinity implies this- tri unity.? The old images of the trinity are the sun, the sun?s heat, and the sun?s light rays- are all part of the sun- not divided from each other.? The other day when it got down to 15 degrees here I saw someone melting ice outside with a torch.? They were melting the ice which was turning to water, and because of the strength of the flame, some of the water was turning to steam.? So you had ice, water, and steam- all H2O- but in different forms.? There is one essence- DNA to God.? Jesus did not come fighting the Father- but showed us great love toward the Father.? He said ?I and the Father are one.?? The Holy Spirit does not contradict what the father has said- but opens our eyes to it.? ?Barth said about the Trinity that there are not three divine ?I?s but one I.
II. ONE GOD TO WORSHIP AND SERVE-You shall worship the Lord your God only.? Other people may have other gods- but you are different in your worship- your giving of yourself to God.? ???We do not worship everything- we worship one God.? Monotheism is different from monism that allows for many gods but speaks of a single reality that draws all existence together.? Christians believe there is one God who created all that we see.? In some ways, if everything and everyone is god- then nothing is god- nothing is elevated or has authority over anything else.? It is a practical atheism.? It is the same as if you were to say everything is special.? If everything is special, then there is no such thing as specialness.? Let me tell you, God is special.? He reveals Himself as special- not just to Israel or to the Christian Church, but to the whole earth.? He deserves our attention.? He deserves our love.? Worship is how we show God we love Him.? If everything is god- then it is impossible to love God- because we cannot love everything.
III. ONE GOD TO TRUST- The Scots Confessions says there is one God alone to whom alone we must cleave and trust.
The gods of paganism are fickle.? This is true in every kind of polytheism. It is one thing to trust one God you know, it is another to trust many gods that we don?t know.? ?In fact, if anything, polytheism is a way people have created to explain different experiences in life- good luck and bad luck; good and evil.? But the God of the Bible is different.? Evil is not a part of God- but a turning away from God, an aberration or rebellion against God.
There is one faithful God who does not change His mind, does not change His commandments, and does not back out on His promises.? If He says I love you- then we can count on it.? If He gives a warranty to His promises- we can count on them for a lifetime.? But we have to say the same about His moral commandments- especially the ones we do not like.? God does not change His mind about love being better than hate, or truth being better than lying, or? purity being better than immorality.? It is precisely because God is a God of integrity, who keeps His own commands and promises that we may trust in Him, call on Him in prayer, believe that His love is everlasting, and find comfort and peace with Him.
The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.
One of my favorite passages from the scriptures- is Psalm 73:25-26- ?Whom have I in heaven but you and earth has nothing I desire beside you.? My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.?
God alone is worthy of our worship and love but we focus on so many other things.? Today so many use God like He is the ultimate rabbits foot in order to get more of the world or more of what they desire.? But in reality our joy comes in desiring and finding God alone.? Maybe you?ve seen the commercial about the guy who believes his team only scores when he goes to the basement to get something.? The narrator comes on and says, ?It?s only weird if it doesn?t work.? I know sports fans who won?t watch a game because when they do their team loses.? I know people who are superstitious like that about God.? If their lives are going well- they will love God, but if they have to face crosses- they lose faith.? I am glad Jesus did not lose his faith when he faced His cross.? God is God alone- no matter what our circumstances.? As Jesus trusted in Him as He faced His cross- so we do not need to try to make God ?work? for us- but we need to trust in God alone.
Christian theologians would see the tri-unity of God everywhere.? In Jesus? baptism where Jesus was in the water, the Spirit was descending like a dove, and the Father?s voice said ?this is my son.?? Augustine pointed out the image that when there is love there is always a trinity- a lover, another lover and the bond between them.? He said that without this threeness in unity there was a coldness in God that needed love.? God is love- the father shows love, the Son shows love, the Spirit shows love- and these three have love for one another.? God alone is worthy of our ultimate love for all love comes from Him and ends up back in Him- the Creator of love.