What Is God Like?
True narratives smashing distorted concepts
“God is Trustworthy”
The God Jesus revealed would never do anything to harm us. He has no evil intentions.
The fact that He is all-knowing & all-powerful makes His goodness even better. Way better than ours. I can trust Him even when things look bleak. All-knowing & all-powerful is just downright scary if He is not all good.
How would you describe your level of trust when it comes to God?
Have things happened to you that made you doubt that God is trustworthy?
~God is not trustworthy
~God will send me to hell for any sin not repented of or confessed if I die before I have a chance.
Jesus’ core narratives
~No one knows Yahweh to the extent that Jesus does. Luke 10:22
~God as Abba
> “Dear Father” or “Daddy” or “papa”
> The fact that Jesus addresses Him as Abba tells us that, to Him, God was not distant or far removed, but was intimately involved in His life.
> It conveys the deepest most trustful reverence.
> He called Him this at His most desperate & terrible moment, in the garden.
~God as Father
> The problem is that we begin with our own concept of Father & then project that on to Yahweh. Psalm 50:21
> We must let Jesus define Fatherhood, for God has always been, then humans came on the scene.
> The solution then is not to abandon the term “Father”, but to allow Jesus to define it, & therefore heal it.
> The parable of the two sons is probably the most profound of the parables defining God as Father. Another way to study this is through Jesus’ “Our Father” prayer.
~The fatherhood of God is defined by Jesus’ prayer.
1. God is near- “in heaven”
> In Jewish cosmology, heaven was not far away, but surrounding us.
> Heaven was opened at Jesus’ baptism.
> “Our Father who is as near as the air we breathe” may be a better translation.
2. God is holy, pure, set apart- “hallowed be thy name”
3. God is King, ruling heaven, powerful!- “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
4. God cares for us- “daily bread”
> Rain, sun, & food are provided.
> Jehovah Jireh means Provider
> Give us today the things we need today.
5. God forgives our wrongs- “forgive us our trespasses”
> “At the heart of God is the desire to forgive & give.” -Richard Foster
> He pardons. He wants to forgive us even more than we want to be forgiven.
6. God rescues us from trials & evil- “do not bring us to the time of testing”
> He longs to protect us
> God gets the last word
> Nothing can happen to us that God cannot redeem.
“No irredeemable harm can ever come to us.” -Dallas Willard
~Jesus’ father is nearby, pure in heart, strong, caring, forgiving, & our protector.
These attributes provide strong images of who God is & what fatherhood means. We now have a way to define the Father’s goodness & what true parenthood should be.
A good parent should possess these six characteristics.
Of the six aspects of the nature of God the Father (present, pure-hearted, powerful, provides, pardons, protects) as seen in the Lord’s Prayer, which do you most need to see & understand about God?
~God’s fatherhood must define what human fatherhood ought to look like, & not the reverse. Let Jesus define what “Father” means & come to know the God Jesus knows.
~When we see Jesus, we see the Father [John 10:30], a perfect balance of all of the characteristics of goodness.
What is your cup?
~The cup represents things forced on us in life that we must drink from.
What aspect of your life makes it difficult for you to trust God?
-divorce -death of loved one -death of a dream -loss of physical ability -loss -being single -loss of business
Anything we struggle with as our “lot in life”. This usually makes it difficult to believe that God is good. You must face it!
“The Father that Jesus addresses in the garden is the one that He has known all His life & found to be beautiful in His provision, reliable in His promises, & utterly faithful in His love. He can obey the will that sends Him to the cross, with hope & expectation because it is the will of Abba whose love has been so proved that it can now be trusted so fully by being obeyed so completely. This is not legal obedience driven by commandment, but trusting response to known love.” -Thomas Smail
~Knowing we are loved by God, we can trust through the pain. The reason Jesus
could trust His Father in His darkest hour is because He had been living so closely to Him, knowing Him very well.
Joining our narrative with God’s narrative
~When we join our story to Yahweh’s metanarrative, where our good & beautiful God
gets the last word, everything begins to make sense. Pain is still real, but bearable.
~Begin to see the big picture of mercy, not just the micro view of our own suffering.
Focus on blessings more than cups
~Ink blot illustration. What do you see?
~Our troubles are so small compared with God’s big mercy.
“Stop telling God how big your problems are, & start telling your problems how big God is.”
~The least we can do is “enjoy the ride”.
Will we one day have to give account for all the blessings we overlooked & did not enjoy?
A rewording of The Lord’s Prayer to capture better the fulness of its meanings & its place in the gospel of the kingdom by Dallas Willard:
Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us-
may your will be done here on earth
in just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one in charge,
and you have all the power,
and the glory too is all yours-forever-
which is just the way we want it!