1. How do you explain God?
    1. A nine-year-old perspective
    2. Yet some would say that God is just a myth for little children
    3. And the Psalmist says that those are the words of a fool – Psalm 14:1
    4. Anselm: An 11th Century monk, wrote a book called the Proslogium [Ontological Argument]
      1. “Even the fool is convinced that something exists, in the understanding at least, than which nothing greater can be conceived.”
      2. “That, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For ... then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater
      3. In the late 20th century, there seems to be a growing interest in the existence of God, in the understanding at least ...
    5. Aquinas: Cosmological argument
      1. Unmoved mover
      2. Uncaused casuse

  2. Signs of the Times:
    1. An increasing interest in religion and faith
      1. Many claim belief in God
      2. Our nation still holds on to its Judeo-Christian traditions
    2. A declining importance in God
      1. But that belief seems to make no difference
      2. God has become inconsequential
        1. This is not to say that God is inconsequential.
    3. Aren’t these two trends contradictory?

  3. The Weightlessness of God:
    1. “Those who assure the pollsters of their belief in God’s existence may nonetheless consider him less interesting than television, ...
    2. ... his commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, his judgment no more awe-inspiring than the evening news, ...
    3. ... and his truth less compelling than the advertisers’ sweet fog of flattery and lies. That is weightlessness.” -- David Wells, God in the Wasteland
    4. We live in Athens:
      1. "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. – Acts 17:22-23
    5. Our Pantheon of Gods
      1. Not of gods, but God-perspectives
      2. The Atheist God - the God who isn’t (faith is still involved here)
      3. Generic God – All-purpose, inoffensive
      4. God of Convenience – There when needed, not there when not needed
      5. Rational God – Predictable and manageable. Complicated, but understandable with study.
      6. The Personal God (yet this is all of the above), and all are idolatry -- which is self-centeredness)
    6. It can get confusing and overlapping when you have a pantheon

  4. `Eyeh asher `Eyeh
    1. Exodus 3:
      1. Moses investigates the burning bush and is caught up into the will of God.
      2. Moses wants to know more about God
      3. God gives him a name that reveals, but also demonstrates the mystery of God
        1. He cannot be defined by any mere name or concept
    2. The Name of God:
      1. YHWH – An awesome name (unlike nouns, Lord or God, etc.)
        1. Likely derived from the verb meaning “to be”
        2. Not spoken by readers of Torah (Instead they read “adonai”)
        3. Written with a fresh pen by Scribes
    3. The Names of God:
      1. Adonai = My Lord
      2. El or Elohim = God
      3. Jehovah is not a Hebrew Word (Not known until 1520. The result of reading YHWH with Adonai vowels)
    4. What the name means
      1. I am who I will be/I will be who I am
      2. When God speaks his name (I am YHWH) it is assurance of his
        1. Power: God is above all else, under no authority, unique
        2. Promises: God can be trusted. He is the God of A, I, and J.
      3. Yet no name is sufficient
        1. No one names God
        2. He is not rendered by a mathematical formula or title
      4. If the name is awesome, then how much more the God!

  5. God Is ...
    1. High:
      1. Sovereign, Holy, Transcendent, Above all else
    2. Near:
      1. Compassionate, Moved with concern for his creation, Love (initiates relationship)
    3. One:
      1. Unique, Almighty, Worthy (nothing else, no one else is like God)

  6. God is High
    1. Exodus 3: Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
      1. What Moses was curious to investigate now strikes him with awe.
    2. Isaiah 6: I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs ... and they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." "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."
      1. Because the Lord is so high and holy, those who encounter him are struck with awe and fear.
      2. God is transcendent, yet he graciously approaches us ...

  7. God is Near
    1. Exodus 3: The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians.”
      1. The Lord is moved by concern for his people.
    2. Genesis 28: He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
      1. The stairway: God has stepped in to our world to do business. He cares about what happens.
      2. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
      3. “God is in it with us.”

  8. God is One
    1. Exodus 3: 20 - So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them.
      1. The Lord is moved by concern for his people. So he does the impossible ...
      2. He is always doing the impossible!
    2. Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, `Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."
    3. Exodus 20: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol.
      1. Because of his power and one-ness, he is worthy of obedience.
      2. Yet God’s people have always wavered between obedience to God and the idols.
    4. 1 Kings 18: Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.

  9. Who Am I?
    1. Exodus 3:11 - But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
    2. In God’s Presence we cannot remain unaffected
      1. Moses was changed in appearance – his face shone!
      2. Moses’ life was also changed.
      3. We too are transformed by encountering the Living God!
        1. We remain unchanged because we withdraw.
    3. When we encounter God we respond with:
      1. reverence
      2. awe
      3. humility
      4. worship
      5. and love
    4. The Greatest Commandment
      1. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
      2. It begins with a word about God, a call to know God!
        1. Hear, O Israel, The LORD is our God, The Lord is One!
        2. I learned about the presence of God when I changed the focus from me to God. When I considered those words: “The “I AM” is our God. The “I AM” is one.
      3. This is what Christianity is ultimately all about!
        1. not the church
        2. not evangelism
        3. not salvation
        4. not even Christ!
        5. but ultimately it is about GOD! (This is the pre-requisite for all else)

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 11 February 2007
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