What do you believe in? What are the essential things that you think are true? For Christians, the ultimate truth is that there is a God, that God is a father, and that God is almighty. This belief is something that shapes us; it is something that determines what we call real or not.
What Do You Believe In?
The word belief refers to our convictions. These are the things that help us understand truth; the things that help us decide what is true.
I don’t believe in myself, I believe in God.
“There are people who believe in love; and they think love is the ultimate reality. And so, their whole lives – they want to love and be loved. There are people who believe in power. They think that power is what exists. It’s all a power game; that’s really their bottom line. Some people believe in money. And so for them the question they always ask is “how much?”
“The first line of the Apostles Creed says “I believe in God the Father almighty.” Now, many people today say, “Believe in yourself! Think that you can do wonderful things”. But I don’t believe in myself, I believe in God.”
He Is Not A God I Created
“It’s not a god that I create in my mind. It’s not a god that I choose to paint in my own words and in my own thinking. No. It’s a God that has revealed himself in the Bible; it’s a God that has told us who he is!”
God, The Father Almighty
Listen to Nic Kyalangalilwa as he begins a 9 week sermon series unpacking the foundations of the faith working through The Apostles’ Creed, a statement of belief penned in the 4th Century AD.
This sermon looks at the first phrase: I believe in God, the Father Almighty. Nic walks through why we call him father, and why we believe he is almighty.
How This Belief Changes My Life
This sermon also explores the impact on our lives if we really understand this truth.
“You see, no matter what is going around us – no matter the hard times and the difficulties that are around us – we believe, as Christians, that God is our ultimate reality. That there is a God – there is a God out there. That God is powerful, that God loves me, that God has rescued me, and that God is working in this world – and there is nothing that is going to stop him.”
Find the other sermons in this series here:
Text: Deuteronomy 4:32-40
Date preached: 10 April 2016
Location: Le Phare Church, Bukhavu, DRC-Congo
English is not our first language, and it’s not our second language. I do know Sharon might have spoken a lot more English her whole life. But for most of us English is probably our third or fourth language.
The Meaning Of Belief
So the word belief means what are your convictions? What are the things that help you understand truth; to decide that things are true? What is the reality, based on evidence, that makes you think that something is true?
What Do You Believe In?
And so I’m going to rephrase this again and ask you, “What do you believe in? What are the things that you think are true? What is the ultimate reality?”
Is It Love?
Now, there are people who believe in love; and they think love is the ultimate reality. And so those people, you will see, their whole lives – they want to love and be loved. And if they are not in a loving relationship, if they don’t have anybody to say “I love you,” then they’ll not feel good. They are like “No! Because love is the ultimate reality!”
They believe in love.
Is It Power?
There are people who believe in power. They think that power is what exists. And so those people, when you are talking with them, everything they read it’s power; it’s a power game. “Is he trying to have power and control over me?” I mean that’s really the bottom line. The bottom line is everything is about power.
Is It Money?
Some people believe in money. And so for them the question they always ask is “how much?” Everything is about money; everything is a monetary transaction.
What do you believe in? What is your ultimate reality? What is the thing that makes you see everything else clearly? What is the thing that makes you interpret everything else.
In the next few weeks – actually it’s a long time as we are going to spend 9 weeks, if you see the bulletin you’ll see. We are going to spend 9 weeks looking at it. And I hope that by the end you will not be bored! You’ll still be very fresh and loving it!
The Ultimate Reality For Christians
But by the end of this, in the next 9 weeks, we are going to look at the foundation of the Christian faith; at the glasses through which the Christian looks at life. We are going to look at the pillars of the Christian faith. We are going to look at what makes the ultimate reality of Christians.
A Refresh For Christians
Now some of you are Christians, and I understand that. Maybe it will be a good time to refresh things, it will be a good time to… you know on a computer they say ‘refresh’ and things become new again. So maybe it’s a good time for us to go back though the basics, and remember the most important things.
Maybe some of you here think they know the most important things. And as we are studying them, you start realising that actually, you thought you knew, but actually you don’t know. So it will be a good thing to back to the most important things. The ultimate reality of Christians.
A Revelation For Non-Christians
And maybe some of you here are not Christians, and you are a little bit skeptical about this Christian thing. You know, like Karl Marx says that it’s just opium for the people; it’s to make people speak. Then I hope, that over time, you’ll start realising that actually, it’s not that much of an opium. The reality is that it’s objective; it’s true; it’s real. And it’s actually, I think, the best lenses, the best glasses, through which you can look at reality.
My goal, when we do this series of teaching, is to encourage each one of us to check our bases, to go back to our foundation, to go back to our deepest beliefs.
I Believe In…
Now you will see in the bulletin that every single title of my sermons in the next 9 weeks says “I believe in…”
Now I hope that at the end of that sermon you’ll walk out and you’ll think, “yes. I do trust this. I do believe these things. I do think this is true, and I’m willing to put my life on the line for it.”
What If I Realise I Don’t Believe It?
And I do know that some of us will feel very uncomfortable along the way. Because you will realise that you can’t really say that “I believe this.” You can only say, “I thought I did, but I don’t.” And I hope that you will feel God’s grace over you. Because the wonderful thing about God is, when he points something out to you it’s because he wants you back! It’s not because he wants to chase you out.
When God points something out to you it’s because he wants you back! It’s not because he wants to chase you out.
Now, I’m a human being. So generally, if I point something out to you, it’s because I’m almost trying to show you that you are wrong, and I don’t want anything to do with you. God, when he points something out to you, it’s probably because he really wants you back. Otherwise he would leave you to yourself, and not show it to you.
Living A Life That Shows What I Believe
So I’m hoping that we will have those mixed feelings. I am hoping that he will shape us and change our thinking – including mine. And I will share with you some of the things that I’m finding out.
But I am hoping that we will leave from the theory to the practical things. The complicated things – we will go from orthodoxy to orthopraxy. Orthodoxy is, we will start believing the right thing. And then we will start now practicing the right thing.
Start asking yourself, ‘Do I actually live a life that shows that I believe those things?’
I am hoping that you are not just going to walk out of here and feel like, “Theoretically I agree with that”. No, no, no. I am hoping that you will start asking yourself, “Do I actually live a life that shows that I believe those things? That those are my ultimate reality?”
I do trust that the Holy Spirit will be here and very much present to encourage us.
The Aims Of This Sermon
I’ve said I’ve got two aims. And before I get to my aims I am going to ask, I forgot to ask you all to do this, but can you put up the Apostles’ Creed for us on the screen. When it’s ready we will then read that together – because that’s really the basis of our next teaching.
So the aim, again, like I said, it’s true, it’s to encourage Christians, edify them, remind them of the things that they believe in, so that they can celebrate in them. So when along the way you feel like “I believe it! I know that’s true, and I’m living it!” Yes. I want us to celebrate.
Return To The Cross
But when you feel like – “urgh. I know that’s true, but I’m not really there…” Then I want us to go back to the cross, to Jesus, and receive his grace.
Share With Non-Christian Friends
I also do want you – now I know I didn’t warn you – but I also do want you to bring your friends, your non-Christian friends, to church for the next 8 weeks. If you know somebody who doesn’t believe in Jesus, and doesn’t believe in God, I do want you to bring him along.
Because what we are going to do is the foundation of the Christian faith. If they are Muslim, if they want to come to church, good! Bring them along. But I want those people to see, what is it that Christians actually believe. Because in the end, they might just realise that they are probably in the wrong boat.
So the second aim is evangelism; is to question people, what is it they believe in?
The Apostles’ Creed
This is what we will be doing for the next few weeks. And if you will, we can read that together.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the place of the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father,
I believe he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
What Is The Apostles’ Creed?
This is called the Apostles’ Creed. Now no apostle wrote this. So don’t think that they apostles wrote this and passed it on to us. You will not find it anywhere in the Bible.
You will not find it anywhere in the Bible
But as the Church evolved, people started slowly adding. And so the first thing was “I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth.” And that was very important, and I will talk about that later on: why it is important for Christians to say that.
And slowly they started writing it: What is the apostolic belief? What did the apostles believe in? What did Jesus actually teach? And so slowly they started coming up with this, what we call a Statement of Faith.
By the fourth century, but year 400 about, it was like this. People had already written it, it was very clear what the Christian faith stood for.
For All Branches of The Christian Faith
Now, we have many branches of the Christian faith. I’m Anglican. There are Pentecostals here – I know Musgagi is here, so he is Pentecostal. And I know there are people from different angles probably here. Now we do disagree on a lot of things. You know? I mean he speaks in tongues, I don’t. So we do disagree on a lot of things.
These are the 12 most important things, if you want to check out if people are really in the Christian realm.
But, there are things we will never disagree on. because if you go out of this, then we don’t consider you as a Christian group anymore. And this is the foundation. This is really like the 12 most important things, if you want to check out if people are really in the Christian realm. Now there are other things that I would like to encourage you to do, but these are the most important. These are the foundations of our faith. And that’s why we’ll be studying it.
Step 1: I Believe In God, The Father Almighty
Today we are looking at the first phrase. And it says: “I believe in God, the Father almighty.”
There is a God, that God is a father, and that God is all powerful.
The ultimate truth is that there is a God, that God is a father, and that God is all powerful. And for Christians that is something that shapes us. That is something that decides on what we call real or not. That is the ultimate truth for us.
The Same God as Islam, Judaism & Animism?
I hear many people say “You have the same God with Muslims”. Yes, and I hear people say “You have the same God with Jews.” I hear people say “You have the same God with Animists.” Traditional beliefs, you know.
Now, although I love those people, and I don’t think that we should be telling people to kill them because of their faith, I tend to disagree. I don’t think so. I think the God of the Bible is very different from the Muslim God. He is very different from the God of the Jews. He is very different from the God of the Animists. He is very different from any other kind of god you might find out there.
What Makes The God of The Bible Different?
Why is that? What are the distinctives of the God of the Bible? What makes Him different?
Well two things, and that’s our two points today, and then next week we will pick up on two other things. He is a father, and he is all powerful.
1. He Is A Father
So my first point is I believe in God the Father.
Now remember, in the back of your mind, again, you must always have my question; the question I started with. What do you believe in? Well this is my belief. This is a Christian belief. I believe in God the Father.
You see it all starts with “I believe.”
It Start With Faith
Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
It has to start with a deep conviction that there’s a reality just beyond everything I can touch.
If you want to… it all starts with faith. It has to start with trust. It has to start with belief. It has to start with a deep conviction that there is a reality that is just beyond everything that I can touch, or feel.
Faith Is Logical
Sometimes, when we talk of faith… sometimes, when we talk of belief, people who think they have studied too much, they say, “well… you are going into the spiritual realm. It’s not real. We want something logic.” Well my dear friends, faith is logic. Belief is logic.
Proof: why do you wake up every morning? You don’t have money to pay your school fees. You don’t know where the money is going to come from. But you still wake up in the morning and you are going to university. Why do you do that?
Inherently to man, part of who we are, is we are people who trust!
If that’s not faith what is it? If that’s not a genuine trust that things will be better, that what I don’t see will become a reality – and that causes you to act – then why do you do that?
We Are People Who Trust, Inherently
Why are you sitting in the chair you are sitting in? Is that not faith? Is that not trust? Are you not trusting that that chair will keep you going?
Why do people get married in this place? You get married, and you know that this place is just difficult. And you are going to have children. You’re not going have money to feed them, you don’t even know where the money to take them to the hospital is going to come from. But why do you still get married and have children?
It that’s not faith, then what is it?
We Cannot Live Without Faith
You see inherently to man, part of who we are, is we are people who trust! Humans are people who trust! We cannot live without belief, we cannot live with out faith. And Hebrews says, we cannot interact with God without faith.
We use faith to get in touch with God, it’s also a thing that we use every day.
So faith, although it’s a thing that we use to get in touch with God, it’s also a thing that we use every day. So you don’t opposed faith and logic. Because they are not the contrary. I would argue that faith is what makes our life richer.
Faith Makes Our Lives Richer
It’s like somebody looking at a TV – a black and white TV. Now I don’t even think there’s anybody who still owns one of those! But in the old days, when we were young, if you go to a home, they would have a black and white TV. Everything would be black and white.
Faith makes things look in colour. You get to appreciate things more, because you trust them.
Today everybody’s looking at things in colour. Well I think faith makes things look in colour. You get to appreciate things more, because you trust them.
So that’s why we say “I believe.” Because God made me to believe. God made me to live in a trust-full relationship with him. Hebrews says, if you want to be in a relationship with God, you have to trust that he exists; and you have to trust that he rewards those who seek him.
Faith is essential to our life. And it’s even essential to our life in relationship to God.
Faith In What God?
Now the question is, faith in what? So the text says “I believe in God.” I don’t believe in myself. Now many people say, “Believe in yourself! Think that you can do wonderful things”. No. I don’t believe in myself, I believe in God.
Not A God I Created
It’s not a god that I create in my mind. It’s not a god that I choose to paint in my own words and in my own thinking. No. It’s a God that has revealed himself in the Bible; it’s a God that has told us who he is! And that’s why Deuteronomy 4 is very important to us.
It’s not a god that I create in my mind… It’s a God that has revealed himself in the Bible
The text that Gloria so well read to us. God is talking to his people and he says… now Deuteronomy is a little bit more of a… Moses is remembering what God has said to him. Right?
So he is telling Israel, “This is what happened and this is what God said to us”. So it’s a little bit like he is rewinding and going back to the beginning of the movie and showing all the different steps.
And he says, verse 32:
“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of.”
When has it ever been that a god has come so close to his people?
Who Has Seen Such A God?
Moses is saying… well God is speaking through Moses – and he is saying: you’ve heard of al the nations, every nation has their own god, and every nation believes what they do. But go and ask them. When has this ever happened? When has it ever been that a god has come so close to his people, and has revealed himself to them?
When? Verse 33:
“Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?”
What he’s saying is: who is that God, who has come so close to his people, to show himself and say, “This is who I am.” Who is that God, who has been so involved in the affairs of his people, that he could actually fight their enemies, and rescue them physically; fighting their wars?
We are believing in somebody who’s intervened in history, who’s come very close to his people, who’s made himself known.
You see, we can believe what we want. We can choose to believe in ourselves, we can choose to believe in a God who is not there. Or in the God of the Bible, the God of the Christians. And when we say “I believe in God,” we are not just believing in a being who is out there. No. We are believing in somebody who’s intervened in history, who’s come very close to his people, who’s made himself known!
This Is Who I AM
In Exodus 3:13-14, Moses says “who should I say is sending me?” He said “tell them I AM is sending you.” So it’s a personal God. It’s a God who speaks to his people. It’s a God who says “this is who I am”. It’s not a figment of our imagination. We don’t just dream and say “I like to think of God as a white guy with glasses.” No! It’s a God who says “this is who I am.” It’s not a wishy thinking.
Avoiding The Ostrich Strategy
You know theres something that they call the ostrich strategy. An ostrich is an animal. It’s a bird – a very tall bird – and it’s got very big wings. But it can’t fly, it can only run. Now if the ostrich is near a predator, like a lion or a leopard, or whatever, and it feels that it’s life is threatened, what an ostrich does – it closes it’s eyes and pretends that nothing happens; and just wishes that the predator will disappear.
The God of the Bible is real. You don’t invent him. You learn to know him.
Now we don’t encourage people to think of God like that. You don’t just close your eyes and think of any god you want, and wish that things are different because you are thinking like that – we call that positive thinking. My dear friend, no. The God of the Bible is real. You don’t invent him. You learn to know him. You get in touch with him, because he revealed himself to us.
God Chose To Dwell Among Us
John 1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
And then he goes on, later on, this is very interesting, in verse 14 he says:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Now the word dwell, it means to live among us. It says, this is my home. God decided to dwell among his people; God decided to come among his people. So as his people could see him, so as his people could know who he is.
We Don’t Design God…
Do you know why the Bible says, one of the commandments, is: you shall not make any God, you shall not make any carved images, you shall not design God in your own way.
Do you know why Christians should not be representing God in any way? Well because god has chosen to reveal himself. It’s not up to you and me to design, and choose to say, “we think God looks like this.” No! God has said what he looks like.
… He’s Said What He Looks Like
And in Hebrews 1 – John has already told us that the word became flesh – and he is talking about Jesus – but I like Hebrews 1 (and Colossians of course, though I’m not going to read that part). And Hebrews says to us very clearly, that long ago, God spoke to our fathers in many ways. But he says:
Hebrews 1:2: “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint” the exact representation, “of his nature.”
The God of the Bible in which we believe, my dear friend, is not a foreign god; it is not a god that we make and design; it’s a God who has a name who has revealed himself, and we see him through the person of Jesus Christ.
So when we say, “I believe in God,” we are saying “I believe in God who has revealed himself physically – who has walked on earth – the word that became flesh and dwelled among us.” And that person is Jesus Christ.
Why Do We Call God Father?
Which brings me to the next thing, isn’t it. It’s like, well, why do we call him Father then? If we say I believe in God the Father?
Jesus Calls Him Father
Well, he’s revealed himself in the Bible as the Father, because Jesus himself referred to him as the Father.
Matthew 7:21: Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father”
Matthew 10:32: Jesus says, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 12:50: He says, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus was very clear, that although he’s an exact representation of God, he is not God the father.
The Concept of Trinity
Now this brings us to something else, and I will discuss this later on, but this brings us to the whole concept of trinity. So when we say I believe in God the Father, we are saying we believe in God and the divine head has the son, who’s revealed this God to us. But the son is just the son.
So he is God the Father, because he’s the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is God the Father, because he’s our father.
He Is Our Father
You read in Galatians 3:26-27: “for you are all God’s children”. Now why is it that it says you are sons of God? Well ladies, if you are here, don’t feel like – you know – they’ve put you out. It’s just that in the old time, the only people who could inherit were the sons and that’s why the word sons is use there.
One of the great things of the gospel, is that it makes us children of God.
And the word son is meant to be understood, sons and daughters. Right! So don’t feel like they’ve left you out.
We Are Children Of God
I did discuss this a little bit when I was presenting at church. One of the great things of the gospel, is that it makes us children of God. John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
He has become our father through the work of Jesus on the cross.
So when we say “I believe in God the Father”, we are saying I believe in God, who has revealed himself in the Bible, in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament primarily through his son; Jesus Christ, who is the exact representation of his being.
How God Becomes My Father
But we are also saying, that we believe he is that God – he is not just any, any god. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is very specific. Who has now become our father. He has become our father through the work of Jesus on the cross. Sin was separating us from God, but Jesus died on that cross, so that he can rescue us, and he can make us children of God.
So now, I’m not just somebody who knows God, I call God my Father.
And so every time I say “I believe in God the Father,” I’m not just saying I believe in God the Father of Jesus, I’m saying I believe in God, the Father of Jesus, who has become my father.
This Was A Shocking Statement!
Now I want to stop here for a little second and say, my dear friend, this might sound like a very small little thought to us, because we are used to this.
In the old times, in the town where Jesus was saying this, in the temple of the Jews, this was a shocking statement. How can you say that God has become your father? How is that possible?
Now most of you, I don’t know if you are like me, but we grew up watching the movie Hercules. Now in the Greek mythology, the gods were so ‘up there’ that there was no stable relationship between Gods and men. And sometimes you’d get half-gods. You know, the people who are half god, half men, like Hercules.
Those could claim the gods were their father. So in the case of Hercules he will claim that Zeus was his father. And so when the Christian came with the thought, “now God is our father,” it was a shocking thing. It was a revolutionary thought! It was something that has so much to do with the persecution that followed.
A Unique Christian Thought
So let me stop here and move on to our second point.
I want to say that the fatherhood of God is a unique Christian thought. If you go to Muslims, they will never call God their Father. If you go to anybody, they will never call their god their Father. Only Christians call God their Father.
It is difficult to understand, because now we are talking about the trinity. We are talking about one God being three people in one. And I hope we will talk about that some other place. But that’s one of the foundational beliefs of a Christian.
And in the passage that we read in Galatians 3, Paul is saying that we have become children of God, why? Because before that we were slaves to sin. Now we are God’s children. Now remember, Luke 15, the prodigal son, we were the children who went astray, and God has brought us back, into a relationship.
Only The Bible Has A God Like This
Only the Bible talks of those kind of images. Only the Bible talks of a God who longs to see his children back. Only the Bible talks about a loving God, who loves like a father, who wants to look after his child like a father, who wants to bring his child back. And Jesus said – who wants to give all the good things to his children.
Only the Bible, no other.
If you can find any other faith that does that, come and speak to me, and I will let you speak about that next week. But I doubt there is any such thing.
And how do we see the love of God? We see that in Romans 5, God revealed his love for us “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” On that cross we see God as a true Father. A father who is really, really ready, to take the punishment that we deserve, so as we can have life.
So we do believe, and I do believe, in God the Father. What do you believe in?
2. A Father Almighty
That God is not just a loving father – that’s our second point – he is a Father almighty. Almighty means he can do all things; there is nothing that he can’t do.
Now my dear friends, this is another not very shocking thing if you are talking about God, but I think it’s something that we tend to forget as Christians.
All Mighty Means Can Do Everything
Now if you say “God is almighty,” I think there is nothing that can shock you and surprise you. If he is God, he has to be able to do everything. God raises people from the dead; a God who created everything can break everything and can heal everything.
God who created everything can break everything and can heal everything.
And so we see that many times in the Bible. Genesis 17:1: Abram. God revealed himself to Abram as a God who is almighty. He says: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty.” I am El Shaddai; I am the God who can do anything, and everything.
My Father Can Do Anything
So, he is not just the God who loves me and is my father. But my dear friend, my father can do anything.
And I don’t know if you start seeing where the picture is building. And how this just is… it can change your life and my life, if we just believe these things to be true.
From Genesis To Revelation
In Revelation 4:8 – now I’m taking the first book of the Bible, and the last book of the Bible, and I might skip all the other books in the middle, but you know that it’s back again!
In Revelation 4:8 it says:
“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,”
The word in Greek is pantocrator, which means he can do anything, he rules everything, he commands everything. Not very different from your El Shaddai.
So you see, from the first book of the Bible, to the last book of the Bible, they are saying that this God who revealed himself, he is not a weak God. He is a God who can do everything; he is a God who can do all things.
God of Gods
And that’s where our passage in Deuteronomy 4 is very important. Now, you might not find the word “almighty” in it, but if you look at verse 35, you sense that the author has that in the back of his mind. He says:
“To you it was shown, that you might know” – I want you to know! “that the LORD is God.” Now the word Lord there is Jehovah, right. Right, Jehovah is God, and, “there is no other besides him.”
What is he saying?
He is saying there is one God, who is above all gods. The word that he uses, he says Jehovah is God. Now the word God here is elohim, and elohim is in the plural. Elohim here means “the God of gods.”
So you have gods, there is a God who is above all gods.
No Other God
So the things that these gods can’t do, that God can do. It’s almost as if you have a hierarchy of gods, and that God is above everything.
It’s a very key teaching of the Bible. That there is no God but God.
Verse 39 again:
“know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD” Jehovah, “is God,” Elohim, “in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”
We need to believe that, my dear friends. It’s a very key teaching of the Bible. That there is no God but God.
That there is no God other than the God of the Bible. That there is no God who is bigger than the God of the Bible. That there is no God who is more powerful than the God of the Bible. There is no God who is more mighty than the God of the Bible. And that God has revealed himself to us as a Father, as a God that we’ve seen in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, in the person of Jesus Christ.
Seeing Almighty God In The Gospel
And this is very clearly see in the gospel.
What is impossible to man is possible with God
What we see in the gospel is a God. And every time, again, we hear Jesus saying, what is impossible to man is possible with God. And we see in the gospel, what is Jesus doing when he walks on earth? He is doing the things that nobody has done. He is calming the winds and the seas.
Now, my dear friend, if the rain is going out there, how many of you will go out there and say to the rain, “stop!”
If you go to the lake, and you get to Grand Lac, and there are waves that are pushing the boat like this, how many of you will go out of the boat and say “I say you stop!” And the water stops? How many of you have been to a funeral and you say “this one is not dead yet”. And you go and say to the person “hey you, wake up!” And they wake up.
How many of you?
You see, he is an almighty God, he can do all these things. And it should not surprise us. We see the same thing with Jesus. So in the Old Testament and the New Testament we see, that God is almighty. And the biggest, the strongest point of his power, is how he dealt with our sin. And he solved the problem of sin between men and God.
How Do We Apply This To Our Lives?
So now, let’s apply this. I’ve done a lot of theory. Let’s apply this. Right.
So what have we seen? I believe in God, the Father. I believe in God, almighty. God as revealed in the Bible, through the person of Jesus.
So it’s a trinitarian God. It’s not just one God out there. No he is a God that is communal: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That the Father is the father of Jesus, he is also my father. Because of Jesus he has rescued me, and made me cross from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his son.
So I am his friend. I am not a fool, I am not a rebel, I am part of his family.
And I know that that Father, who loves me and cares for me, to the point of rescuing me, even when I didn’t want him – is all powerful and almighty. He can do all things.
How Do These Truths Change Our Lives?
How does that change our lives?
You see if me and you were to believe that that’s true, if me and you were to accept that this is the truth that the Bible teaches, and it’s truth that I want to live our in my life, how will that change our lives?
How We Face Pain and Suffering
I hear many people talk, and I want to pick on one point, which is the point of suffering. Pain and suffering. We do go through a lot of pain in life, we do go through a lot of suffering.
It changes how I face pain in life
Now a Christian knows, that if I’m going through pain, if I’m going through betrayal, if I’m going through rejection, if I’m going through a difficult time when I don’t have money, it’s not because God doesn’t love me, because God is my father. It’s not because God can’t stop this problem, because he is almighty.
You see how, if I believe that, it changes how I face pain in life.
How We Face Fear
Now let me talk of fear. Now here in the Congo, I think we are specialists. We fear witch doctors, we fear sorcerers, we fear death, we fear all things.
When you live in fear, you are not saying that you believe that God is your Father and he is almighty.
Now I say, when you live in fear, you are not saying that you believe that God is your Father and he is almighty. You are not saying that.
When We Are Fearful, We Are Not Believing
You are saying, “I don’t believe that God is my Father; I don’t believe that he loves me; I don’t believe that he is all powerful. That is why I’m scared. That’s why I’m fearful! And I can’t do a. and b. and c. That’s why I’m scared of sorcerers. And so I pray a lot at night, because of my prayer, then they won’t touch me.”
if God is my father, and he loves me, and he can do all things, I can go to bed quietly, and I know not a single person who will touch me.
My dear friend, if God is my father, and he loves me, and he can do all things, I can go to bed quietly, and I know not a single person who will touch me.
That’s why Paul, in Romans 8, what does he say? What shall separate me from the love of God? Because he knows, God is his Father, and he is all powerful.
But Sometimes, Still, It Seems Too Much
Now I do know sometimes, sometimes, sometimes, there is so much darkness in our life, in a place like ours, in a country like ours, you look at things: there’s tribalism, there’s corruption, there’s lies, there’s unbelief, there’s I don’t know what, and we are very scared.
You look at a friend of yours, and you know he’s got all the wrong arguments. And he drinks too much, and he is too much in sin, and you are almost hopeless – you think that he’s way far away from God.
My dear friend, let us remember that the God who we now claim to be our Father, is an almighty God. He can do all things.
I Think I Can Do It, Not God
I was reminded this week again, as I was preparing this, that sometimes I don’t believe that God can do all things. Sometimes I think that I, through my brain, and through my tactic, and through my strategy, I can organise this thing that God can’t do.
The God we serve, my dear friend, is the God who raises the dead, to life. Now he’s not our servant, but he can do things to his glory.
What Does The Bible Call Sin?
The second point is, what does the Bible call sin? And that’s where we are going to stop.
Sin starts with what? With the wrong beliefs.
You see sometimes, me and you, we think that sin is about the things we do. Now, if we go back and we understand that it’s all about trust, and faith and beliefs, sin starts with what? With the wrong beliefs.
The Foundation of Sin
And what we do as wrong action, is just really the consequence of the wrong beliefs; the consequence of not putting our faith and our trust in God, but putting our faith and our trust in money, in power, in people, in our own ability, in our own works.
What we do as wrong action, is just really the consequence of the wrong beliefs.
That is the root cause of sin. That is the foundation of sin.
And so, when I lie, the problem is not my lie. The problem is a problem of trust! It’s a problem of belief. I don’t trust God anymore, I don’t believe in God anymore, that’s why I lie.
So the answer to sin, sin which is unbelief, the answer becomes trust and faith.
And so when we realise that we’ve been going against God’s law, the answer is not to try harder. The answer is to go back and say, “God, help me. Because it is clear that I don’t believe your word anymore. I don’t believe you.”
What Do You Believe In?
What do you believe in my friend? What is your ultimate reality?
You see, no matter what is going around us – no matter the hard times and the difficulties that are around us – we believe, as Christians, that God is our ultimate reality. That there is a God – there is a God out there. That God is powerful, that God loves me, that God has rescued me, and that God is working in this world – and there is nothing that is going to stop him.
There’s nothing that is going to get into his way – because he is powerful and almighty.
What do you believe in?
When I remember this truth, it frees me. When I remember this truth, it gives me energy to continue in my walk. Because I know that God is my Father, he loves me, and he can do all things. Not because I’m great, not because I’m special, but because of his son, Jesus Christ.
So this evening, my dear friend, you have a choice. The choice is to say with me “I believe in God the Father”, or the choice is to continue not to believe in him. The choice is to realise that I’ve not believed in God as my Father, I’ve looked at God in many other ways: as my boss, as my king, but not as my Father. Now I will challenge you to go back and look at God as your father.
Chances are, you don’t believe God can do all things. And so you think that “God can do this, but I can do this.” My dear friend, God can do all things. Why don’t you try him?
Let’s bow our heads.