"A Five Stop Bus Tour of Reality" --

The Grandeur, Warmth, and Delight of the Christian Worldview

"When God is seen clearly, theology starts dancing..."

First Stop--God

  1. God is Holy (i.e. different)

    1. His existence (transcendence)
      "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! (I Kings 8.27)

      This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. (Is 66.1)

      Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? (Psalm 113.5-6)

      His very TYPE of existence is different than that of His creation!

    2. His integrity and reliability
      He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. (Deut 32.4)

      the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1.2)

      God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. (Heb 6.18)

      "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good -- except God alone. (Mark 10.18)

      "There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. (I Sam 2.2)

      God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. (Num 23.19)

      And, by point of contrast--especially in the dependability category...
      Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. (Ps 108.12)

      Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? (Is 2.21)

      Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob ,whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them -- the LORD, who remains faithful forever. (Ps 146.3ff)

    3. His omni-competence
      Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt 19.26)

      Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, {Aramaic for Father} Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14.35ff)

      Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1.36)

      Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, `Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son." (Gen 18.13)

      Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few." (I Sam 14.6)

      Then Job replied to the LORD: "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42)

      "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jer 32.7)

      Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Eph 3.20)

      "Present your case," says the LORD. "Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King. "Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; (Is 41.21)

      For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (I Jn 3.20)

      Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." (John 21.17)

      Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.(Ps 139.4)

      Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come -- yes, let him foretell what will come. (Is 44.7)

      The one thing I REALLY know about my future, is that God is already there!

    [And, by the way--"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (I Peter 1.15)]

  2. God is 'personal' (conscious)

    1. He is aware/perceptive/responsive
      From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth -- he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. (Psalm 33.13)

      The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34.17)

      Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire -- he is God." (I Kings 18.24)

      To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. (Ps 3.4)

      He said to the king, "This is what the LORD says: `You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.'" (I Kings 20.42)

    2. He thinks and knows
      Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. (Ps 40.17)

      O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.(Ps 144.3)

      You understand, O LORD; remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering -- do not take me away; think of how I suffer reproach for your (Jer 15.15)

      "Did not the LORD remember and think about the incense burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem by you and your fathers, your kings and your officials and the people of the land? (Jer 44.21)

      For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (I John 3.2)

    3. He plans, chooses, and makes commitments
      But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Ps 33.11)

      In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Prv 16.9)

      "Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, `This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.' But they will reply, `It's no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.'" (Jer 18.11ff)

      For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jer 29.11)

      Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3.7)

      But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor. (Micah 4.12)

      The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. (Is 14.24)

      For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? (Is 14.27)

      For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Cor 5.4)

      The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. (Deut 7.7)

      But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. (Deut 12.5)

      David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel -- I will celebrate before the LORD. (2 Sam 6.21)

      But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (I Cor 1.27ff)

      Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (Jas 2.5)

    4. He 'emotes'
      And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Ex 34.6)

      When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance. (Ps 78.21)

      In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer. (Is 54.8)

      so that the LORD will turn from his fierce anger; he will show you mercy, have compassion on you, and increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your forefathers, (Deut 13.17)

      The LORD will judge his people and have compassion on his servants when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free. (Deut 32.36)

      The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. (2 Chrn 36.15)

      And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (I John 4.16)

      As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.(Is 62.5)

    5. He interacts, dialogues, and discloses His heart to His confidants
      I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. (Ps 16.7)

      Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Ps 73.23)

      The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (Ps 25.14)

      Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. (Gen 18.17)

      for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.(Prov 3.32)

      He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from (Mt 13.11ff)

      Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (John 7.16f)

      Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14.21)

      All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philp 3.15)

    [This is why we refer to it as a "personal relationship with the Living God" instead of the social euphemistic "religious belief system"!]

  3. God is a community of persons

    1. The 'trinity' - Three persons in one (three centers of awareness and action; three agents)

    2. No need for creation -- God was not 'lonely'!

    3. Love and commitment
      "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. (John 17.24)
    4. Intimacy -- the unity of 'essence' and interaction (pre-built!)

    5. Individuals--they are still separate agents

      • The Son prays to the Father
        Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, {Aramaic for Father} Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14.35ff)
      • The Spirit prays to the Father
        In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8.26f)
      • The Father and Son send the Spirit to the earth as an equal:
        "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth. ...When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (John 14.16; 15.26)
    6. Still acts as a 'unit'--THE God of the Universe...(There can only be one ultimate)

  4. A portrait of God

    1. His emotional life

      1. He celebrates
        Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (luke 15.3ff)

        as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.(Is 62.5)

        The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zeph 3.17)

      2. He grieves:
        The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth -- men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air -- for I am grieved that I have made them." (Gen 6.5-6)

        Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel:1"I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. (I Sam 15.11)

        When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, "Enough! Withdraw your hand." The angel of the LORD was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. (2 Sam 24.16)

        How often they rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland! (Ps 78.40)

        Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. (Is 63.10)

        `If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you. (Jer 42.10)

        Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me -- how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, (Ezek 6.9)

        And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph 4.30)

      3. He gets frustrated with us:
        Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. (Ps 78.41)

        All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations -- a people who continually provoke me to my very face, (Is 65.2)

        "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jer 2.13)

        Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. (Is 55.2ff)

        I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. "But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.(Ps 81.10f)

        Say to them, `As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?' (Ezek 33.11)

        How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? (Ps 4.2)

        "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. (Mt 17.17)

    2. He is righteous -- "always does what is right for the situation"

      1. Justice (the opposite is injustice, not mercy)
        Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. (Deut 24.17f)

        He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Ps 9.8f)

        And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: `Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.' (Zech 7.9)

      2. Mercy (not getting what we deserve) [note: "Grace" is getting what we don't deserve!]
        "You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples. But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. (neh 9.29ff)

        Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago. (Micah 7.18ff)

      3. The 'mix'
        He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6.8)

        The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim, he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon -- to do his work, his strange work, and perform his task, his alien task. (Is 28.21)

        Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. (Lam 3.32)

        For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! (Ezek 18.32)

        The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3.9)

    3. What He delights in, seeks after, enjoys
      The LORD loves righteousness and justice; (Ps 33.5)

      For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hos 6.6)

      You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7.18)

      But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (Jer 9.24)

      "I will rejoice in doing them good" (Jer 32.41)

      "He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zeph 3.17; Ps 149.3f)

      I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. (Prov 8.27ff - "Wisdom" as God's character)

      Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4.23f)

      But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? (I Sam 15.22)

      If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; (Ps 37.3)

      the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Ps 147.11)

      The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.(Prov 11.1 -- TRUTH)

      The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. (Prorv 12.22)

      It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; (I Thess 4.3)

      For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. (I Peter 2.15)

      God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9.7)

      And pre-eminently, His SON!! ("And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." ...Matt 3.17) and those who appreciate His Son: "No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." (John 16.27)

    4. God, the hedonist-maker?
      How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.(Ps 36.7)

      Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. (Is 55.2)

      On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine -- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces ;he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation." (Is 25.6)

      You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Ps 16.11)

      Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings -- and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! (I Cor 4.8)

      Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (I Tim 6.17)

      [But careful: we will talk about "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 tim 3.4) on another stop.]

The Christian ThinkTank...[https://www.Christianthinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)