Sunday, 14 October 2012

Here is Love: Sermon Notes

Presentation only has a hope of making sense when viewed in tandem with the notes.

Numbers below correspond to slides in the presentation.

1. What one word would you use to sum up who God is?

2. The surveys tell us that most people believe in God, but what kind of God? Our British culture often views God as a set of enormous, super-human capabilities like being all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, eternal, morally pure etc. This is all true, but it is the wrong starting point for two reasons. 1. It gives you no insight into what makes God tick apart from his connection to creation. 2. It tells you nothing of his attitude towards you. For all we know from these powers, he could just be a nasty policeman in the sky. But the good news is that...

3. The Bible introduces us to the God who is love, 1 John 4:8. Love is not a cosmic lump of stuff, it is a movement through the Spirit from lover (Father) to beloved (Son) which is reciprocated from the beloved (Son) back to the lover (Father). This love is the essence of God's life, God's eternal life as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

4. The Son is begotten of the Father and is his complement, not his clone (Heb.1:3). The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and is the consummation of the Father and the Son, not a composite of them. That can seem weird, but a good analogy can be found in Gen.1-2 in the creation of humanity. The Woman (Eve) is begotten from the side of the Man, Adam and she is his complement, not his clone. The child that proceeds from their union together is an expression of both the man and the woman but is himself/herself a distinct person.

In a family, all members are humans, and they all share the family resemblance, you can see the others in each individual member. So it is in the Trinity - each person is distinct, yet they are all fully God and you can see the other two in any one of them. The technical way of putting it is that they all "indwell" each other.

5. Many people assume that before we existed God lived in a bored and vexed state on his own, but this is not true, Father, son and Holy Spirit lived in fellowship together enjoying each others' company, delighting in one another.

6 & 7 If marriage/family is the image of God, then why do we say that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and not Husband, Wife and Holy Offspring? The reason is that the History is not about creation, but salvation. The greatest love is not shown in creation but in redemption of what went wrong. Moreover, our final resting place is not in this world but in a renewed world. Our earthly families are but a temporary picture of a greater reality that is coming where we will relate to God the Father as Father, God the Son as brother and bridegroom and God the Holy Spirit as Counsellor and Friend.

8. Love is the soil out of which all other attributes of God bloom and blossom. Never think of God's power, holiness, glory knowledge etc. without first thinking of their love, if you do, you may well end up with a dark and twisted figure that doesn't look like the God of the Bible.

9 & 10. God's glory and power is Trinitarian, they don't each say look at me - ignore the others, they are self-sacrificial and other-centred. The Father loves to enjoy and show off his Son, the Son loves to honour and glorify the Father and share all that the Father has given him with the world. The Spirit loves to show off the Son as he reveals the Father and gives himself to the transformation of the whole cosmos through the gospel.

11. God's holiness is grounded in Trintarian love so that when they come to sinners like us, they don't rub our noses in it, rather they are moved with compassion and long to share all they have, redeeming creation and catching us up into their eternal life of love.

12. You become what you behold (Ps.115:8). Whatever sits on the throne of your heart will shape your identity, personality and destiny - whether you become a child of God or a child of destruction.

When you get time to stop and honestly reflect, what do you find on the throne of your heart? Who do you find there? This God of love longs to make his home in your heart (John 14:23) and to beautify your soul with the greatest love of all. Will you receive him, will you dethrone all other loves that have gained a place there yet have no right or claim to be there and make this God your first love?


Becki said...

Hi Richard, thanks for such a helpful preach yesterday.

I would love to have come to BTF tonight but I don't think it would honour Dan or Jess to spend yet another evening away from them! If there are any resources you're using tonight or recommended reading on the nature of the Trinity I think it would really help me, let me know if you can point me in the right direction! Thanks, Becky

Richard Walker said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I enjoyed it. My simplest and best starting point would be to get hold of "The Good God" by Mike Reeves.

PS It's a book. :-)