I recently came across some large boxes in storage that contained some of my teaching notes from 40 years ago. As I looked through those notes, I wondered if and how my thinking about God had changed through the years. I had come to Christian theism from atheism, so the reality of God’s existence was the most exciting knowledge I had ever experienced.
What did I think about God in those early days of Christianity? What have I learned since then? What can I learn now from what I believed and taught then?
[These notes are from 40 years ago when I spoke to a group of pastors.]
I am a personal believer in and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son. I rebelled against the claims of a real and living God until May 10, 1971, at which time the Holy Spirit completed His work of drawing me to Jesus. I bowed before Him in repentance and asked a loving Heavenly Father to forgive me and give me eternal life as a gift freely bestowed and in no way earned or deserved. Being a faith God, Jesus saved me, has kept me saved, and will keep me saved until the day I am presented into eternity by His hand of mercy.
It is a great privilege and honor to serve this Living God through the ministry of overseeing and shepherding of His flock. It is my constant prayer that I will please Him in all I do and say.
There are especially two portions of God’s Word that say so well what I believe and feel about the ministry:
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” Colossians 1:28-29
The idea of a personal God has permeated all societies and cultures. Many have been monotheistic (one God), while others have been polytheistic (many gods). It wasn’t until modern times that major societies would accept the idea of atheism (no God). Christian theology believes in one God known completely through three personalities (the Trinity).
The first four words of the Bible are “In the beginning God.” No time is spent in the Scriptures to prove the existence of God. The simple statement is that He always existed and in the beginning of time and space He created the heavens and the earth.
The word for God in the Hebrew Old Testament is “Elohim.” Its form is plural but the construction is uniformly singular. Every use of the name God in Genesis 1 is Elohim. However, in Genesis 2 where God creates man, we are introduced to Yehovah Elohim (Lord God). God is not only the creator of man, but also his Lord!
The many variations of the name for God in the Bible teach us that He is the Rock (Cur), the Holy One (Kadosh), the Almighty (Shadday), the Mighty One (Abhir), the Most High (Elyon), Mighty (Gibbor), the God of sight — that sees (El Roi), Righteous (Caddik), Jealous (Kanna), the Lord of Hosts (Cebha), Jehovah will see it (Yehovah yireh), Jehovah is my banner (Yehovah nicciy), Jehovah is our righteousness (Yehovah tsidqenuw), Jehovah is peace (Yehovah shalowm), Jehovah is there (Yehovah shammath) and many others. From these names we derive much insight into the nature and attributes of God.
Everything we need to know about God is revealed to us in the Scriptures. God is eternal (Isaiah 57:15), Alive (Joshua 3:10), Spirit (John 4:24), One (Deuteronomy 6:4), Personal (John 17:1-3), Infinite (1 Kings 8:27), All-Powerful (Jeremiah 32:17, 32), Everywhere Present (Psalm 139:7-12), All-Knowing (1 John 3:20), Wise (Acts 15:18), Good (Psalm 145:9), Hater of sin (Psalm 5:5), Holy (Revelation 4:8), Impartial (1 Peter 1:17), Just (Psalm 89:14), Long-suffering (Exodus 34:6-7), Love (1 John 4:8, 16), Merciful (Lamentations 3:22-23) and Truth (Psalm 117:2).
We are highly privileged among men to call this Great and Mighty God our personal Heavenly Father!!
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]