Who Is Jesus

Jesus and Moses are playing golf and they’re on the tenth hole. Moses hits the ball and it heads straight for a pond. Just before the ball hits the water, the pond parts and the ball rolls up onto the green.

Jesus winds up and hits one about to the same spot. Jesus’ ball hits the water and skips across. All of a sudden, lightning flashes and a ball drops from the sky. A fish swallows it, a bird picks up the fish and drops the ball onto a turtle, that walks over to the hole and drops it in.

Moses turns to Jesus and says, ”I hate it when your dad plays!”[1]

I am preaching a sermon series on Theology. I have been titling the series “The Study of God.” Last week we began talking about the Trinity with a sermon on “God the Father.” This week we will talk about Jesus, God the Son. Next week we will talk about the Holy Spirit. Listen, there is so much to be said about these topics. I have accumulated close to 100 pages of notes on this sermon alone. Maybe some day we will come back to a six week series on Jesus, but for now we will limit the content for one single sermon. Today, we will especially focus on Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1:15-20 and what the Bible says in that passage. As we think about the Trinity a nice way to summarize is the following:

  1. God is three persons.
  2. Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God.[2]
  4. God the Father planned and directed creation and redemption through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  5. The Father and Son work together like a Father and Son on earth.

Last week we focused on God, the Father.

Today we focus on Jesus.

In AD 325 the Nicene Creed was written in order to codify certain beliefs in the Trinity. This is what they wrote about Jesus:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.

My Theme today: Christians believe in Jesus, born fully God and fully man, born of a virgin, crucified for us and resurrected.

Application: Be encouraged Jesus is our Savior and He is our powerful and mighty God.

Let’s read Hebrews 1:1-4:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.


  1. Our Creator is also our Redeemer (1-4)
    1. God spoke long ago through the prophets. He now speaks through Jesus Christ His Son.
    2. This book was written to Jewish believers.
    3. In Colossians chapter 1 the Bible talks about this as well. Christ is the creator and sustainer of all things. Christ is heir of all things. He is the visible image of the invisible God.
    4. I love this passage, I love the passage in Colossians 1 because it talks about how awesome Christ is. Christ is the awesome Lord.
    5. Verse 3 radiance in Greek to emit light or splendor. Christ emits light. When Paul saw Him on the Damascus road he saw a bright light. Christ is the radiance of God’s glory. Christ is the exact representation of the Father. The Bible says that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.
    6. Christ holds everything together by the Word of His Power. Verse 3 the Greek word for power means: the ability. Inherent power. (Dunamis) Christ has the power.
    7. Christ died for our sins and then sat down at the right hand of God.
    8. If we were to keep reading we would see that the author of Hebrews starts making the case that Jesus is greater than angels. The rest of Hebrews the author makes the case that Jesus is greater than Moses. In Hebrews the Author is preaching a sermon in letter form to show that Jesus is our great High Priest, our only Savior.
  2. Colossians 1:17 says: He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    1. If you notice, the Nicene Creed which I read earlier has allusions to several passages. One is Colossians 1:15-20, another is John 1:1-14.
    2. Now, verse 17 even says that all things hold together by Jesus. Think about that for a second. If Jesus stopped being in control, creation would fall apart. I tried to imagine that and the best image that I could get is this:
    3. This is a glass of water [show the water in the glass]. Currently the water is held together by the glass. But if I pour it out, [pour the water into a bowl] the water is no longer held together by the glass. Now, all analogies fail in one way or another and this one does as well because the water may be held together again, in this case by this other container. But you get the point.
    4. Jesus holds all creation together.
    5. Now, look at Colossians 1, verse 18: And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the first born from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
    6. Jesus is the head of the church. This means that we are His church, we are not my church or anyone’s church but Jesus’ church. We must be following His lead. We seek His lead through prayer and correct understanding of His Word.
  • But Jesus, was fully God before His birth in Bethlehem. At that time He took on flesh.
    1. Jesus became a man.
    2. John 1:14 says: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    3. Luke 2:52 shows that He grew in knowledge and stature. He went through growing pains as we do. Luke 2:52: And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
    4. Heb 5:8 shows He learned: Heb. 5:8: Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.
    5. John 11:35 shows He had Emotions: John 11:35: Jesus wept.
    6. John 4:6 Jesus was tired: John 4:6: Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
    7. John 19:28 Jesus was Thirsty: John 19:28: Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
    8. Mathew 4:2 Hunger: Matthew 4:2: After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
    9. Luke 4:13 He didn’t sin: Luke 4:13: When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
    10. John 8:46 Sinless: John 8:46: Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?
    11. So, Jesus is fully man, fully human. There are many other Scriptures showing His humanity, one of which would be that He died.
    12. Jesus died and was resurrected.
  1. Now, let’s look at Hebrews 1:8 and see a clear verse about Jesus reigning.

8 But about the Son he says,“Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; 
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

Eventually you will surrender all to Christ because He is reigning as King. But Jesus is intermediating between you and God the Father on behalf of your sins.

A.W. Tozer wrote this prayer:

Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I don’t try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thyfeet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.[3]


Outside the Bible, there are several secular writers who make mention of the Lord Jesus Christ:

 Tacitus—in Book XV, Ch. 44—writing in A.D. 114, tells us that the founder of the Christian religion, Jesus Christ, was put to death by Pontius Pilate in the reign of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius.

 Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to the Emperor Trajan on the subject of Christ and Christians (Book X—96).

 Josephus, the Jewish historian, in A. D. 90, has a short biographical note on Jesus Who is called Christ in his Antiquities —Book XVIII, Ch. III, Section 3 .

 The Babylonian Talmud makes mention of Jesus Christ.

—A. Naismith[4]


How can you be encouraged today?

We see enough in Scripture to know that Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is Lord. I like what Charles R. Swindoll said: “The storm will come, and if you haven’t a rock to stand on, you will plunge. Jesus is that rock.”

Let Jesus be your rock this week. You can trust Him as your Savior and protector.

Helen Mallicoat made a real contribution to your life and mine when she wrote: I was regretting the past And fearing the future . . . Suddenly my Lord was speaking: “MY NAME IS I AM.” He paused. I waited. He continued, “WHEN YOU LIVE IN THE PAST, WITH ITS MISTAKES AND REGRETS, IT IS HARD. I AM NOT THERE. MY NAME IS NOT I WAS. “WHEN YOU LIVE IN THE FUTURE, WITH ITS PROBLEMS AND FEARS, IT IS HARD. I AM NOT THERE. MY NAME IS NOT I WILL BE. “WHEN YOU LIVE IN THIS MOMENT, IT IS NOT HARD. I AM HERE. MY NAME IS I AM.” 4″


Let Jesus be your Rock, He is with us now.


Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] http://jokes.cc.com/funny-god/b1ej8z/jesus-and-moses-play-golf

[2]  Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 239.

[3] Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 550. Quoted from A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God. 

[4] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.


The Study of God, God the Father

Study of God, Part II, Who is God?

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, January 21, 2018


A few weeks ago, I began a sermon series on Theology, or doctrine, or what I am calling, “The Study of God.” Today, we come to a very complicated subject. Today, we begin the complicated subject of the Trinity, beginning with God the Father. This subject is complicated because we are finite and God is not. This subject is complicated because we are NOT, we are NOT omniscient. God is omniscient. So, the Bible is most important because in the Bible God has revealed Himself to us (Deuteronomy 29:29).  I have a story that will help us get into this subject, One writes:

I’ve known several people who are physically blind and I’m always amazed by what they can do without sight. Growing up in Alabama, one of the most celebrated sports heroes in our state was Charley Boswell. Charley was blinded in World War II while rescuing a buddy from a burning tank. He had always been a great athlete so after the war, he took up golf. While in college I saw him play an exhibition match. Of course he had a friend line him up and give him a distance, but I can testify that it’s hard to hit that little white ball when you’re looking at it. Boswell won the National Blind Golf Championship 16 times, once shooting a score of 81. In 1958 Charley came to Ft. Worth to receive the coveted Ben Hogan Award.

Mr. Hogan agreed to play a round of golf with Charley. Charley said, “Would you like to play for money?” Hogan said, “That wouldn’t be fair!” Charley said, “C’mon, Mr. Hogan, are you afraid to play a blind golfer?” Hogan was really pretty competitive so he said, “Okay, I’ll play for money. How much?” Boswell said, “$1,000 per hole.” Hogan said, “That’s a lot. How many strokes do you want me to give you?” Boswell said, “No strokes. I’ll play you heads up.” Hogan said, “Charley, I can’t do it. What would people think of me taking advantage of a blind man?” Boswell smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Hogan, our tee time is tonight at midnight!”

Without God’s Word we are the blind leading the blind.[1]

When I work on a sermon I go through a lot of notes about the text or the topic and I compile them into a Word document and then I write the sermon. Usually by the time I review my last source I have a good idea of the direction I feel led to teach and preach the topic or the passage. Usually, as I am compiling my Microsoft Word document I am listing Roman Numerals at the bottom to create a preaching flow. This was not as easy with this sermon. The Bible reveals a lot about God. So, I am trying to limit how much to share today. Today, I wish to focus on an introduction to the Trinity, God the Father, and the attributes of God. With respect to how complicated things can be I like what C.S. Lewis said: “If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”[2]


Turn with me to Deuteronomy 29:29:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

Now, turn to Psalm 139:7-12:

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

  1. God’s unity in diversity- the Trinity.
    1. God the Father is fully God, but not all there is to God. Let’s say that together: “God the Father is fully God, but not all there is to God.”
    2. God the Son is fully God, but not all there is to God. Let’s say that together: “God the Son is fully God, but not all there is to God.”
    3. God, the Holy Spirit is fully God, but not all there is to God. Let’s say that together: “God, the Holy Spirit is fully God, but not all there is to God.”
    4. Now, let’s talk about God the Father. We will talk about the Son and the Holy Spirit in the next few weeks.
    5. Genesis 1:1 opens with: “in the beginning God created.
    6. We see God the Father all the way through the Old Testament.
    7. The Son and Holy Spirit are obedient to the Father’s will.
    8. God is Spirit (John 4:24).
    9. Jesus was submissive to the Father: Luke 2:49; 22:42; John 6:40: For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
    10. I like what one theologian writes: Thus, while the persons of the Trinity are equal in all their attributes, they nonetheless differ in their relationships to the creation. The Son and Holy Spirit are equal in deity to God the Father, but they are subordinate in their roles. Moreover, these differences in role are not temporary but will last forever: Paul tells us that even after the final judgment, when the “last enemy,” that is, death, is destroyed and when all things are put under Christ’s feet, “then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one” (1 Cor. 15:28).[3]
    11. God the Father planned and directed creation and redemption through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
    12. The Father and Son work together like a Father and Son on earth.
  2. Now, let’s talk about some of the Attributes of God. I like what Ravi Zacharias once said: Ravi Zacharias: “God is perfect: He is the only entity in existence whose reason for existence is in Himself. Every other entity exists for God.”[4]
    1. As we summarize attributes of God I am grateful to more than one Theological Text that summarize these. My sources are documented, but I am most grateful to Wayne Grudem and Paul Enns. Though we see all of these in the Bible.
    2. Understand that these attributes are not all separate from God, but are all cob webbed together. God has wrath at the same time God has love.
    3. Some will separate God’s attributes as incommunicable and communicable. Incommunicable attributes are those He does not share with us and communicable attributes are those that He does share with us. For today, I am not separating these. We could have a sermon series on these.
    4. Spirituality (John 4:24): God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
    5. Self-Existence ((Exodus 3:14; John 5:26; Daniel 5:23; Acts 17:28): Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Daniel 5:23: but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven…;
    6. Immutability (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17): this means that God does not change. Malachi 3:6: “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
    7. Unity (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5): Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
    8. Truth (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; 5:42; Rom. 5:5, 8; 8:35, 39; 1 John 4:10, 11, 19; Rev. 1:5[5]) John 17:16: They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
    9. Holiness (Exodus 15:11; Leviticus 11:44, 45; Psalm 11:4-6 Isaiah 57:15), Exodus 15:11: “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
      Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
      Awesome in praises, working wonders?
    10. Relative Attributes:
      1. Eternity (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2; 102:12): Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were born
        Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
        Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God
      2. Immensity (First Kings 8:27 emphasizes this truth (cf. also Isa. 66:1; Jer. 23:23, 24; Acts 7:48, 49)[6]
  • Omnipresence
  1. Omniscience
    1. God knows all things that exist in actuality. (Ps. 139:1–6; 147:4; Matt. 6:8; 10:28–30)[7]
    2. God knows all the variables concerning things that have not occurred. Jesus knew what Tyre and Sidon would have done had the gospel been preached to them (Matt. 11:21).[8]
    3. God knows all future events. Because God is eternal and knows all things in one eternal act, events that are future to man are an “eternal now” to God. He knew the nations that would dominate Israel (Dan. 2:36–43; 7:4–8), and He knows the events that will yet transpire upon the earth (Matt. 24:25; Rev. 6–19).[9]
  2. Omnipotence (Psalm 115:3; The name Almighty means “the mighty one” and is probably derived from the verb meaning “to be strong” (cf. Gen. 17:1; 28:3; Isa. 13:6; Ezek. 1:24; Joel 1:15)[10]
  3. Sovereignty (Acts 15:18; Ephesians 1:11):
  • Mercy (Ephesians 2:4; Hebrews 4:16):
  • Grace (John 1:14)
  1. Justice (Psalm 58:11; 1 Peter 1:17):
  2. Patience (2 Peter 3:9)
  3. Jealousy (Exodus 20:5)
  • Wrath (Exodus 32:9-10)
    1. Understand if God is against sin that means He has wrath. If He does not have wrath against sin then He is not loving
    2. Furthermore, if God truly is loving that means that He has wrath against sin.
  • Wisdom (Psalm 104:24; Romans 16:27; 1 Corinthians 1:24) One of the communicable attributes of God. This means this is an attribute that He shares with us.
  1. Though I am talking about God the Father and the Son, Who is Jesus, and the Holy Spirit separately, they are united and separate at the same time.
  • God the Father is not all there is to God. Say that with me: God the Father is not all there is to God.
    1. God is three persons.
    2. We see evidences of the Trinity in the Old Testament as well.
    3. Would anyone like to name one?
    4. The spirit moved along the waters… (Gen. 1:2)
    5. Genesis 1:26: “Let ‘us’ make man…” God uses a plural pronoun.
    6. There are many other places in the Old Testament, but I just wanted to share a few.
    7. God is Spirit and the New Testament teaches that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. (Col. 1:15) So, some believe that when God appears in the Old Testament that is really Jesus.
    8. So, God is 3 persons.
    9. Each person is fully God.
    10. God is one.
    11. I heard it said, “one what, three who’s. I like that.
  1. Applications: Unity and diversity and the Trinity
    1. In the Trinity we have unity, diversity, harmony, love and submissiveness.
    2. Since there is unity in diversity in the Godhead, that means that we can have unity in diversity in the church.
    3. We must be united with the church as much as we can.
    4. We must seek out diversity in gifts, talents, cultures in the church (Gal. 3:28).
    5. We can have unity in diversity in marriage.
    6. We must try to be united as families.
    7. We can have unity and diversity in family.
    8. God is perfect and God is love. There is absolute love in the Triunity of the Godhead. This is encouraging.
    9. Jesus modeled obedience to the Father, even though the Father is not greater than the Son. We can be submissive and obedient to authorities. We can be submissive and obedient to loved ones.
    10. When our family, or church exhibits faithfulness, love and harmony we are reflecting the Trinity. That is amazing.
    11. So, how are you doing with unity? Do you need to heal a relationship?
    12. How are you doing with racism? You know those thoughts that come to mind about certain groups? We can be united in diversity.
    13. How are you doing with humble submission and service? Jesus was humbly submissive to the Father.
    14. Serve someone this week in honor of Jesus.
    15. Heal a relationship this week in honor of the Trinity.
    16. If you use social media, don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Love people.


When we are united in diversity with harmony, love and submissiveness we are most reflecting the Godhead.

John 17:20-21:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23


God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


[1] From a sermon by David Dykes, Has Jesus Touched Your Eyes? 8/20/2012

[2] https://gavinortlund.com/category/theology/the-trinity/

[3]  Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 249.

[4] I heard this on his “Just Thinking” podcast

[5] Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 192.

[6] Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 193.

[7]  Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 194.


[8] Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 194.


[9]  Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 194.

[10] Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 195.

The Study of God Part I, the Bible

Study of God, Part I, The Bible

You can find the audio of this by the web link below or going to your podcast app and searching Bethefriends (all one word)


This link will also work for audio:


Voltaire, the noted 18th century French philosopher, said that it took centuries to built up Christianity, but “I’ll show how just one Frenchman can destroy it within 50 years.” Taking his pen, he dipped it into the ink of unbelief and wrote against God.

 Twenty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society purchased his house for printing the Bible. And it later became the Paris headquarters for the British and Foreign Bible Society. The Bible is still a best-seller; an entire 6-volume set of Voltaire’s works was once sold for 90¢.

I love stories such as that. I like poetic justice.

We believe the Bible is the God breathed Word of God.

Last week I began a study on Christian Doctrine or what I am calling the “Study of God.” As we study God it is critical that we recognize the authoritative source is the Bible. The Bible is the authoritative source and the Bible comes from God.

My theme:

The Bible is God’s Word and is the Reference Point for our Study of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 3:16)

Preaching Point(s): Christianity thrives or dies based off of a belief in the Word of God.

God has revealed Himself, just think about that. Isn’t that powerful?

  1. Let’s start with Scripture. Scripture affirms Scripture.
    1. I know these passages are not new to many of you.
    2. 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    3. 2 Peter 1:20-21: Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
    4. 2 Peter 3:16: He [The Apostle Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
    5. Just a few notes before we move on. We can tell based on those passages that Scripture values Scripture. I say that and you could easily say, “duh,” but realize that the Bible was written by 39 or 40 different Realize the Bible was written over about a 2400 year period. All of these authors affirm the value of the Bible.
    6. The first two passages I shared with you show that the authors affirm the Old Testament. But the last passage lumps Paul in with the other Scriptures. So, the Apostle Peter considered Paul on the same level as the Old Testament prophets and Scriptures.
    7. Some thirty-eight hundred times the Bible declares, “God said,” or “Thus says the Lord” (e.g. Ex. 14:1; 20:1; Lev. 4:1; Num. 4:1; Deut. 4:2; 32:48; Isa. 1:10, 24; Jer. 1:11; Ezek. 1:3; etc.)[1]
    8. The best defense of the Bible is Jesus’ view: Matt 5:17-18: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    9. Wayne Grudem shares: Jesus referred to dozens of OT persons and events and always treated OT history as historically accurate. He quoted from Genesis as his Father’s Word when he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:4–6). Jesus not only assumed that the creation story was true, he also freely quoted words from the OT narrator as words that God himself “said.” It is not uncommon for Jesus’ theological arguments to depend on the truthfulness of the OT account (Matt. 5:12; 11:23–24; 12:41–42; 24:37–39; Luke 4:25–27; 11:50–51; John 8:56–58). Jesus’ view of the OT as the Word of God aligns with the way the OT regularly speaks of itself.
    10. Jesus saw his entire life as a fulfillment of Scripture (Matt. 26:54; Mark 8:31). Throughout his life, Jesus used Scripture to resist temptation (Matt. 4:1–11) and to settle disputes (Matt. 19:1–12; 22:39; 27:46; Mark 7:1–13; Luke 10:25–26). At the end of his life, Jesus died quoting Scripture (cf. Matt. 27:46 with Ps. 22:1). On his resurrection day he explained Scripture at length on the Emmaus road and to his disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:13–17, 44-47).[2]
  1. Listen, be encouraged, the Bible is our foundation and it is solid. Be encouraged we can trust our source.
  1. We value the Bible today, they valued the Bible is the Bible times, what about Church History?
    1. Let’s start with some of the early church fathers.
    2. Hippolytus, d. c. AD 235: If there is a day on which there is no instruction, let each one at home take a holy book and read in it sufficiently what seems profitable. (Apostolic Tradition 36:1)

Tradition defined by Irenaeus and Tertullian is simply the teaching of Scripture. It was Irenaeus who stated that while the Apostles at first preached orally, their teaching was later committed to writing (the Scriptures), and the Scriptures had since that day become the pillar and ground of the Churches faith. His exact statement is as follows: “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

  1. There are over 5700 copies of the New Testament Greek manuscripts. They are being found all the time.
  2. This is evidence of its validity.
  3. In contrast to the Greek classics in which we only have a few hundred copies and the copies we have date over a millennia after the original date of writing. We have New Testament manuscripts dating back to the second century.
  4. Yes, some are torn, but we have copies going back to A.D. 125 (The John Ryland’s Manuscript), this is phenomenal.
  5. David Bauer from Asbury Theological Seminary shared: The very earliest manuscripts are largely fragments; but we also have almost complete early and reliable texts, such as Alexandrinus [ Fifth Century the majority of the Old Testament LXX and the New Testament] and Vaticanus [Fourth century Old and New Testaments, likely 325 A.D].
  6. If we lost all of our New Testament manuscripts, we could put the New Testament back together simply based off of the writings of the church father. The church fathers quoted the New Testament that much. That must lead a conclusion that they valued the New Testament.
  7. Martin Luther said: “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”
  8. Listen, be encouraged, the Bible is our foundation and it is solid. Be encouraged we can trust our source.
  • How did we get the Bible?
    1. This is a big question and too big for one sermon, but let’s dive into it a bit.
    2. Inspiration:
    3. Benjamin B. Warfield: “Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Spirit of God, by virtue of which their writings are given Divine trustworthiness.”
    4. Charles C. Ryrie: “Inspiration is … God’s superintendence of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs.”[3]
    5. People moved by the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible. They wrote by a number of ways. One method is that the Holy Spirit literally spoke to some of them (Habakkuk 2:2; Rev 1:19). Sometimes the Lord literally engraved the Bible on to stone (Exodus 31:18). Sometimes the Lord led a person to write an historical account (Luke 1:1-4). Sometimes people wrote from memory about times with Jesus, such as Mark, writing off of Peter’s testimony, or Matthew’s Gospel.
    6. God moved people to write, yet we have their personalities which came through.
    7. Inspire means “God breathed.”
    8. However, there is more. People could say, I am inspired, God led me to write a book and put it in the Bible.
    9. That gets into the New Testament Canon. We would say that the Canon of the Bible closed with the death of the Apostle John. He was the last of the Apostles to die. The early church fathers had a strict test to determine what books could go in our 27 books of the New Testament. The Moody Bible Handbook shares:
      1. (1) Apostolicity. Was the author an apostle or did he have a connection with an apostle? For example, Mark wrote under Peter’s authority, and Luke wrote under Paul’s authority.
      2. (2) Acceptance. Was the book accepted by the church at large? The recognition given a particular book by the church was important. By this canon false books were rejected (but it also delayed recognition of some legitimate books)
  • (3) Content. Did the book reflect consistency of doctrine with what had been accepted as orthodox teaching? The spurious “gospel of Peter” was rejected as a result of this principle.
  1. (4) Inspiration. Did the book reflect the quality of inspiration? The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha were rejected as a result of not meeting this test. The book should bear evidence of high moral and spiritual values that would reflect a work of the Holy Spirit.[4]
  1. The New Testament Canon was affirmed in the first few centuries of the church. There is more to be said about that, but we will save them for another time. If any of you have more questions, give me a call or send me an email.
  1. The necessity of the Bible (my debt to Wayne Grudem’s breakdown on pages 54 and following of “Systematic Theology”)
    1. The Gospel: The Bible is necessary to share the Gospel (Romans 10:13-17).
    2. The Bible is necessary for maintaining a spiritual life. Jesus in Matthew 4:4 quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 as a rebuke against satan.
    3. The Bible is necessary for certain knowledge of God’s Will (Romans 12:1-2).


God communicated to us.

The message of the Bible in one sentence:

Kevin DeYoung:

A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever.

Ray Ortlund:

The Lover of our souls won’t let the romance die, but is rekindling it forever.


Read Psalm 119 this week.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means being with Jesus forever (Revelation 22:5)

[1] Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 154.

[2] ESV Study Bible article in the back

  1. B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1948), p. 131.

Edward J. Young, Thy Word Is Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957), p. 27.

Charles C. Ryrie, A Survey of Bible Doctrine (Chicago: Moody, 1972), p. 38.

[4]  Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 172–173.


Introduction to the Study of God series


Pictures of money on the screen.

I have heard multiple times that bankers are not taught to recognize fake money, but real money. In other words they know the feel of real money so well that they can recognize fake money. They do not spend a long time teaching them about fake money. Instead they spend time teaching bankers how to recognize real money. If they know real money, they can recognize counterfeit. Do you know real and true Biblical teaching? What is the correct Biblical teaching about God? Do you know truth well enough that you would recognize counterfeit Biblical teaching?

The devil has been trying to counterfeit truth since the beginning of time. In Genesis 3:1 the devil, masquerading as a serpent, questioned, “Indeed, has God said…” Then in Genesis 3:4 the devil said, “You surely will not die.” They died spiritually right away and then later on they died physically. The devil has always distorted truth. The devil has always tried to counterfeit truth. So, I wish to talk about true, Biblical teaching. We call this Theology or Doctrine. I am going to title this series: “The Study of God.” My theme today: Studying God is important.

  1. The strong importance of Bible doctrine
    1. W. Tozer shares in the The Knowledge of the Holy. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
      For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.[1]
    2. It is Christmas season and you are watching your favorite news station, then you hear about a professor suspended from her position because she said Muslims and Christians worship the same God.[2] As you may recall, that really did happen. What do you think? Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?
    3. Can God be known?
      1. In order to understand current events which, have to do with God, one must understand God. Now, it is so easy to think, “We cannot understand God.” It is easy to think, “God is not able to be known.” If one thinks God cannot be known then he is an agnostic. The term “agnostic” literally means, “no knowledge.” This means we cannot have any knowledge of God. To call oneself an agnostic is to claim ignorance. The Latin equivalent would be ignoramus.
      2. However, I believe God is knowable. It is possible to know God. Yes, God is great, but He has revealed Himself to us in the sixty-six books of the Bible. We cannot know everything about God, but we can know God. We can know God because He chose to make the first move. We can know God because He has revealed Himself to us (Gen. 32:30; Ex. 33:11; John 1:1-14; 1 John 4:19). That is an absolutely amazing truth. Don’t miss that. The God of the world, the God of the universe, the only true and real God revealed Himself to us. Going a step further, if He is God then there is no reason to doubt that He can create the world, or the universe, or time. If He is God, there is no reason to doubt the miracles in the Bible. Believing in God means that logically it makes sense to believe in miracles. Believing in God means that logically there is reason to believe in the attributes of God, such as: He knows everything, He is everywhere and He is all powerful.
    4. So, in order to understand current events having to do with God, one must first understand God. We know about God and what He has already revealed to us. This is in the Bible (Deut. 29:29: the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but what He has revealed belong to us and to our children forever… (NIV), this means that what He has revealed is in the Bible). Moving on then, in order to understand the current events, or history, or fiction, or anything else having to do with God, one must understand God. It is important that one studies God. If one is a Christian, instead of starting with all the religions of the world, start with the Christian view of God. Start with what the Bible teaches about God. Certainly, I believe it is important for the Christian and non-Christian to study the other religions of the world, but the Christian must first know God. That is what this sermon series is about.
    5. Theology means the Study of God:
      1. The term “theology” or “theological” has been mocked, even among pastors.
      2. I once attended a conference where the speaker asked various pastors what seminary they went to[3] and as the pastors would answer the speaker would interrupt them as they said the adjective “theological.” This is because the adjective “theological” is in the name of most seminaries. A pastor could say, “I attended the Southern Baptist ‘Theological’ Seminary.” Another pastor could say, “I attended Asbury ‘Theological’ Seminary.” The list can go on and on.
  • At first, I was not bothered by the speaker’s comment, but as I reflected on his comment, it really bothered me. Theology means the study of God. If a pastor is in seminary, wouldn’t we expect that he or she is studying God? I would certainly hope so. Further, that particular seminar was devoted to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the speakers point was that seminaries do not teach pastors to be led by the Spirit. I would counter argue that the first step in being led by the Spirit is to know God.
  1. If we do not know God, if we do not understand God, then we do not understand whether we are led by the Spirit of God or by demons (2 Cor. 11:14).
  2. Theology is not a bad word, but a necessary practice for the Christian. The noun translated as “doctrine” is used seven times in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus and these short New Testament letters are about pastoring a church. Certainly, our understanding of God is important just as our doctrine is important for our understanding of God is a large part of our doctrine.
  1. I believe it is important that every Christian is trying to grow spiritually and that begins with understanding who God is.
  2. Let’s try to understand who God is and in doing so, I believe, we will love Him more. Even as I study and preach this sermon series I believe I will grow in my relationship with God. I will realize more of His greatness and more of the awesomeness of the salvation God has graced me with and I will be caught up in God’s love for me. I hope that happens to you also.
  3. Before I move on there is one other important part of Christianity and that is having a Biblical worldview. Everyone has a worldview. When things come up in the news we interpret those events based off of our worldview.
  4. James 4:4 teaches us that friendship with the world is enmity with God.
  5. 1 Thess. 5:21 says to test everything. The point is that the world’s ways, meaning the worldview of the world or the culture, is different than the worldview of God.
  6. This is why we must study God, we must study Theology in order to have a Christian worldview. Let’s study God together. It is my goal that this study is simple and straightforward. I hope not to go too deep. I hope that this gets you into the pool of the study of God, but not into the ocean where you may get discouraged by the big waves. So, please don’t be discouraged.
  1. Think of Bible Doctrine and Theology as “knowing God.”
    1. Jesus prays in John 17:3: This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
    2. How awesome it is that we can know God. How amazing that God has made Himself known to us.
  • Think about Sound doctrine.
    1. 2 Tim. 4:3: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wantingto have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires
    2. Titus 1:9: holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
    3. Take from those two Scriptures how critical it is that we assure our doctrine is sound.
    4. By the way, Doctrine means “teaching or set of beliefs taught by a church or institution.” Correct Theology should lead to correct doctrine. Or, the correct study of God should lead to the correct knowledge of God which should lead to the correct beliefs and teachings about God.
  1. How to study Theology (with help from Wayne Grudem’s book, “Bible Doctrine”)
    1. With prayer: Psalm 119:18: Open my eyes, that I may behold
      Wonderful things from Your law
    2. With humility: 1 Peter 5:5: You younger men, likewise, be subject to yourelders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
    3. With reason:
      1. God gave us reason.
      2. God is a God of order. 1 Cor. 14:33: for God is not a Godof confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
  • God cannot contradict Himself: 2 Tim. 2:13: If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
  1. With help from others: 1 Cor. 12:28: And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
  2. Collecting all the relevant passages of a given topic.
  3. With praise: Psalm 139:17: How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them


By the time this sermon series is over you will know the correct Biblical teaching on several topics concerning God. You may ask, “How do we know it is the correct Biblical teaching?” I am glad you asked, you will know because I will be using the Bible as the source. So, next week we will talk about the Bible and our understanding of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word, we are studying God, so let’s talk about His Word first. Then we will talk about the broad topic of “Who is God.” Then the sermon series will include: “Who is Jesus,” Who is the Holy Spirit,” “What is the church and who are the church,” “What does it mean to be human,” “Who are angels,” “What is Heaven and what is hell,” “Where did it all come from which will be about Creation” and “the study of last things.” Lastly, I plan to have a sermon on the difference between the god of the Koran and the Lord of the Bible.

Remember, we do not want counterfeit money and we do not want counterfeit Christianity. Please join me for this study.


Let’s pray.


God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


[1] Excerpt From
A. W. Tozer Books Collection
A. W. Tozer
This material may be protected by copyright.

[2] http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/december/wheaton-college-hijab-professor-same-god-larycia-hawkins.html

[3] A seminary is a graduate school which specializes in ministry training.