The Offended One: God (and His character)

Writer's Note:This is the outline manuscript of my message to the Centennial Christian Movement on Aug 30, 2011.

  I. An Indictment to the modern Christian Church

-we have turned God into a fairy, a talisman, a genie whose worth is in His fulfillment of our desires

Who is God to you?
-We have three rough classifications of who God is today
1. The high and mighty, disinterested and self-centered God who made the universe out of His whim but left it on its own
2. The submissive God who is swayed by His creations’ whims and desires, who exists to give His creations the best of everything they ever dreamed of; He is their genie in short
3. The sovereign and all-powerful Maker and Sustainer of the universe but who exercises concern and love for His creations according to His own will
-take your pick, who is God to you?

The Collegian Article
-whether we agree with this or not, I believe the second description of “god” is the most prevalent in our time and our campus
-there is an article from the Philippine Collegian that summarizes this for us—written by “Naomi Marcos” and entitled “Confession of a believer”
-In the article she wrote:
In most Christian orgs, believers are encouraged to focus on their personal relationship with God. God is considered a personal god, and members are conditioned to think of God in their own convenient ways: as a father, a friend, a teacher, or whatever they need. God becomes everybody’s own run-to guy...”

-In a word, she is saying that Christian organizations today, “condition” their members to think of God as a genie who gives them all they wish provided that they have enough faith, or as a coca-cola machine we put in our coins of faith and out comes our desired outcome

-interestingly, Naomi follows this up with these words, and I believe she is correct:

“This concept (of God being everybody’s own run-to guy) disturbed me, for I always thought that if God did exist, He existed for a purpose beyond taking care of me, or any other person in the world. What was the point of being omnipotent and omniscient if God was only here to console me when my grades dropped? God can manage my personal life anytime He wants, but confining Him to my own personal conflicts was belittling His power and existence.”

-even if Naomi expressed doubt in her faith, she recognized that God is someone greater and bigger than what her former Christian org wanted her to make of Him

Is this how you see God as well? Or is this how you conceive of God? Think again.

II. Why Begin with God?

Let’s compare this to how the people of Israel understood God
-Exodus 20:18-21
-“the fear of God” was in them; this fear came about because of a realization of who God is and who they are in contrast to Him; they were at awe of Him and revered Him as God
-we can better understand this when we read Isaiah 6:1-5
­-Isaiah 6:1-5
-even the seraphs had to cover their faces in the presence of God; they could not look at Him directly (Exodus 33:20)
-and thrice they described God as “holy”
-listen to Isaiah’s response, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Why do we begin with God?
-when we want to understand the wonderful message of the Gospel, the Good News, we have to begin where everything began—God
-my goal is not to prove that He exists, rather, my goal is to introduce you to God as He revealed Himself in the Bible
-note: The Bible opened with the words, “In the beginning God…” unreservedly declaring His existence *

A.    Because of who He is
-just consider these descriptions of God: Almighty (Gen 17:1), the Eternal One (Rev 1:4), the Self-Existent One (Ex 3:4)
-or these titles: Yahweh-Maccadeshem (Ex 3:13; the Lord thy sanctifier); Yahweh-shammah (Ez 48:35; the Lord who is present); El Elyon (Is 14:13-14; the Most High God); El Roi (Gen 6:13; the Strong One who sees)
-God is our Creator: He made everything out of nothing (ex nihilo), He spoke and everything came to be; He is at the same time our Sustainer: sustaining all things by His powerful word, allowing all things to hold together (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17); but God is the Sovereign Lord of the universe (Acts 17:24-26): He is all-in-all and He needs no one and nothing because He is more than enough in Himself, He is our Judge (2 Tim 4:1) and Lawmaker who demands obedience

What is significant in these descriptions?
-we have forgotten much of them
-we are disobedient and we do not like the idea of God demanding anything from us
-we get a glimpse of this attitude in the modern presentation of the Gospel that begins not with God but with the “self;” we often hear, “God has a wonderful plan for you,” “God loves you…”
-but seldom or never do we hear of God’s demand of repentance, turning away from sin to God, of dying to self daily in obedience to Him

B.    Because we have offended Him
-we have offended God because of this attitude
-we have sinned against Him primarily because of this rebellious attitude
-we do not want Him anywhere in our life, we want to be our own gods
-this attitude of sin, offense and rebellion has brought us far from God; we are, thus, separated from Him (Is 59:2)
-but God does not sit idly, in His law He has set that every offense against Him will be punished (Exodus 34:7), and the punishment is eternal spiritual death in hell (Romans 6:23a; Matthew 13:40-42)

C.    Because by Understanding who God is will we receive Christ rightly
-when we know who God is and what He demands of us, we will properly understand what it means to offend Him
-at the same time, knowing that we have offended Him makes us realize that His punishment, judgment and wrath are upon us (Rom 1:8), and that we will not escape these unless a Savior or a Mediator reconciles us back to God
-when we understand all these, we will come to Christ not as a person seeking to improve his life through additional blessings from God, but as a wretched sinner seeking life and salvation from God’s wrath

Sample Verses of God’s Command: Exodus 20:1-3; Deuteronomy 13:4; Mark 12:30; Mat 22:37-38

III. The Holiness of God
-if there is one characteristic or attribute of God which we have to understand, it is His holiness, and we have had a glimpse of this earlier in my talk

What does God’s Holiness mean?
-with respect to God’s moral purity, this means “God’s absolute separation from sin”
a. Sinless: no communion with sin (Habakkuk 1:13)
b. Hates all kinds of sin (Proverbs 6: 16-19)
c. Punishes sin: God pours out His wrath against sin (Romans 1:18)
- this holiness is not just about God, it is also about us because God sets His holiness as standard for all     (Leviticus 11:44)

Do you think we are able to measure up with this kind of holiness?

-God who is without sin hates sin and punishes sin. And because from the moment of conception (Psalm 51:5) we are sinners, no one escapes God’s punishment by default
-we will be punished because of our sins because it is the just judgment of a Holy God who does not take sin lightly

Illustration: If you like children, you naturally hate abortion. In the same way, God desires righteousness and holiness so He naturally hates and detests sin.

IV. The Mercy of God
-we’ve been talking about the holiness of God and how it is intertwined with His justice and wrath against sin

Where, then, do we place God’s mercy? Is He merciful to begin with?
-this second attribute of God, mercy, is polemic with His justice
-God is just and so, He will punish sin with eternal spiritual death; but God is merciful, so He also forgives the sinner who asks for forgiveness

How do we reconcile this?
-before giving you the answer, I have two verses that clearly depict God as both just and merciful: Exodus 34:6-7 and Nahum 1:2-3
-God’s justice and His mercy were accomplished both on the cross
-sin has to be punished with death (Rom 6:23); Christ Himself died on the cross with the sins of the world—past, present and future—upon Him; therefore fulfilling His own decree of justice and giving way to mercy
-God is forgiving and merciful; He gives forgiveness and mercy to anyone who puts their faith in Christ and what He did on the cross, and who effectively turn from a life of sin to God (Ephesians 2:8-9)
-through the Cross, God’s demand for holiness is accomplished because those who put their faith in Him effectively exchange their imperfect record with Jesus’ perfect record, this is important because “…without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14b).”   

The invitation
-an invitation is given to all of us—put our faith in Jesus and turn from a life of sin through repentance and God gives us forgiveness and mercy, reuniting us with God (Mark 1:14)
-I urge you to respond to this invitation today, because we never know what is in stored for us tomorrow (2 Corinthians 6:2)
-respond by committing your life to Christ through faith and committing to turn from sin to God through personal repentance of sin

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  1. Sadly, many who call themselves as Christians are as guilty as the unbelievers in not honoring God as God but changing his glory to something less,a as Romans 1 describes. You are addressing a matter of serious concern with this post. Well done.

  2. That is a sad reality and it is true not only in the West but even here in the Philippines. :( People claim with their mouths to worship the Living God but you see the opposite in their lives. :(

    Thank you for this comment :)