(08-02-29) The Otherness of God
The ‘Otherness of God’
· Big question to begin!
· What is God?
o is ‘God’ the most awesome, beautiful, creative, delightful, powerful, important ‘thing’ ever to have been?
o does God agree?
· He takes delight in himself
o He takes delight in us, but not to the level that He takes delight in Himself.
o in His perfection – ‘altogether’
· “Loving yourself is wrong, it's self-centred, you can't love yourself like that” - you can if you're God!
o if God didn't love Himself, He wouldn't be God!
o one of the most certain things about God.
o whether or not we believe in God, He still does
§ whether we put our trust in Him and His Son or not He's still God
o with or without the Church, He's still creator and Lord of all the earth
§ with or without our worship, He still knows he's amazing; He's the best!
· A kind of ‘self-awareness’!
· Westminster Shorter Catechism begins:
o “What is the chief end of man?”
§ ‘end’ means ‘purpose’ or ‘point’
o “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
· Perhaps a bolder second question?
o What is the chief purpose of God?
§ obviously not a flippant ‘What's the point of God?’
§ more ‘What does God see His purpose as being?
· What has God revealed to us about Himself?
o turn to Ezekiel 36:22-32 and some other parts of scripture
§ context: Ezekiel is God's prophet to the exiled Israelites in Babylon.
§ by this stage in his ministry, Jerusalem has been captured, and he is bringing a message of hope to God's people.
o v.22 – “to bring honour to my name…”
o v.23 – “…to show…that I am holy…”; “…know that I am the Lord God…”
o v.27 – “…make you eager to obey my laws and teachings…”
o v.28 – “…you will be my people, and I will be your God..”
o v.32 – “I'm not doing these things for your sake..”
· Exodus 9:16 (about Pharaoh) – “But he has kept you alive, just to show you his power and to bring honour to himself everywhere in the world.”
· Ephesians 1:11-12 – “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”
· We can begin to consider a possible answer to our question:
o God's purpose is for His own glory.
· We may know this in our minds, but do we live our lives as Christians in the light of this?
o the benefit that we gain from being God's children is wonderful, but it's not the primary purpose of God's actions.
o God is ‘self-aware’, while we are ‘self-centred’
§ not necessarily individually, but as created beings
o we benefit so much that we often miss the point behind those benefits:
§ to bring God the glory He deserves!
· How? What do we do? What is the consequent call on the Christian’s life?
· Give Him all the glory
o worshipping Him
o telling of His greatnessHiHis
o serving Him
· Other ideas – do they fit anywhere?
o not neat categories
o overlap and doubling up
§ kind of like the Trinity! (1+1+1 or 1x1x1!)
· It’s all about the relationship
o looking at each in turn
· Prayer to close