Thursday, January 9, 2014

The One

Quick mental exercise: Imagine you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you.  How would you do it?  What adjectives would you use?  Would you focus on your outward appearance, your personality, your skills, your career, your hobbies, your political persuasion?  This exercise says a lot about who you are. The way you describe yourself reveals what is most important to your sense of identity.  If that's true of you and me, how much more true is it of the words God  uses to describe Himself? 
All this year, we are studying the nature and character of God. We want to cut through all the man-made notions about God and know Him better than we’ve ever known Him before.  Fortunately, God is not shy about revealing His true character to us.  The Bible is God’s letter to people who don’t know Him (that’s us), so that we can answer the question, “Who is this God who created us, watches over us, and will someday judge us?”  More importantly, God tells us who He is in the Bible so that we can know Him, and by knowing Him, have eternal life.  So that means that the names and adjectives God uses in His Word to describe Himself are incredibly important.  God isn’t like us in using certain words just because they sound cool.  We like to say “awesome” “amazing” and “epic” all the time, even when we’re describing perfectly ordinary things: “That ice cream was awesome.”  “This video game is epic.”  But God doesn’t use words cheaply.  Everything He says about Himself matters.  So how does God describe Himself?
 There is one adjective God uses more than any other when talking about His character.  That is the word holy.  That word, or some variation thereof, is used over 900 times in the Bible.  It is the word most frequently ascribed to God in His Word.  Obviously, the word “holy” is important to God.  But what does that tell us about Him?  God’s holiness is a tough concept for us to wrap our minds around; we can understand His power, His love, His mercy…but what does it mean that God is holy? 

Starting this Sunday, we'll look at God's holiness from a variety of angles.  We'll see what makes Him The One...a God like no other.  This Sunday, I will kick things off with a sermon entitled, "Our God is Not User-Friendly."  I will try to define that word "holy" and what it means for us. 

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