View of God
Notes from a message by Stephen Collard
at Hunter Christian Fellowship on 10 Oct, 2010.
Your image of God is a central part of your worldview. Your moral, ethical and political life derive from this worldview.
31% of Americans believe that God is a Frankenstein in the sky who sends hurricanes & tsunamis. Another 40% believe that God is not interested in them - He is remote and is disengaged from us. It is probably about the same in Australia.
These two attitudes are a continuing attack from the evil one on our image of God. There are a lot of people who have rejected God because they think God is a Frankenstein in the sky who kills innocent people in hurricanes etc. Why would I want to worship somebody who does that?
That is not the Christian God! Jesus came to show us the Father so we could understand him for the first time. All through the Old Testament, God tried to show himself through giving the law, but they completely failed to understand who He was. They saw him as someone who was to be feared [see Exodus 20:18-19]. People were afraid and trembled and stood far off and said to Moses “You speak to us and we will hear, but don't let God speak to us unless we die!” That's what the law did for them!
Paul said the law was a schoolmaster showing us our sin [2 Corinthians 3:7-8]. In Jeremiah 33:33-34, God states “This is the covenant I will make with My people. I will put my law within them. I will write it on their hearts and I will be their God and they will be my people and no longer will each one teach his neighbour for they shall all know me from the least to the greatest.” God will forgive their sin! God's desire was always for intimacy. He never wanted to be cut off from his people.
God is not a grumpy old man in the sky. Has God been angry about sin? Yes! - very angry! That is why He sent Jesus to die on the cross: to completely deal with sin once and for all. There is no middle ground: He has either fixed it or it's not fixed at all! He is no longer angry about sin. He is not a sin manager, because He has managed it and dealt with it on the cross.
So much of my early life was about sin management. For years, I was worshipping the Frankenstein in the sky. I felt He was always going to pick something else in my life.
The more you focus on sin, the greater power you give to sin in your life. Focus on God, not on the circumstances - they lead you to focus on sin.
A Frankenstein in the sky is all about judgement, but John 5:22 says the Father judges no-one. He has given all judgement to the Son: Jesus is the judge. He has all the authority, but Jesus said [John 12:47 & 14:8] "I do not judge. I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive my saying is judged." One day all of us will stand before the Lord and will be judged, but right now we live in the period of grace from the cross until that day.
Jesus gave us the same ministry that he came with, not to judge the world but to say that "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation... not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Cor 5:18-20) We are not judges.
Some say the Victorian bush-fires were because of the abortion laws being brought into Victoria. This was published in the newspapers. After that a whole group of people wrote letters to the editor and turned right away from God.
Some said hurricane Katrina was God's judgement on New Orleans because of the sleazy nature of part of New Orleans. The trouble is it destroyed the parts where all the poor people lived, not the sleazy part.
Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. When the Samaritans didn't welcome Him on his way to Jerusalem, the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven on them, but Jesus didn't see the Father sending fire on anybody. No, the Father was reconciling people to Himself through Jesus!
If God was a Frankenstein in the sky the whole world would be in ashes! - half a billion people have been murdered in their mother's wombs in the last 10 years.
We worship a joy filled God! God leads a very joy filled, interesting life - not as a sin manager - that would be a very boring, horrible job. All the good and beautiful things that we enjoy from God continually - God sees this all the time - this and billions of other scenes like it in this and billions of other worlds - great tidal waves of joy must constantly wash through Him.
I never asked my dad for something when he was grumpy. I only asked him when he was in a good mood. Our Father is in a good mood. We need to be able to say to people come and worship a joy filled God who will give you a quality and depth of life that you have desired for your entire life.
The joy of the Lord is your strength [Nehemiah 8:10] though we're pretty weak currently. Jesus said "My joy I leave with you." He knows it's our strength. The evil one spends all his time trying to break the joy in your life.
Question: Since Jesus has dealt with our sin, what will the judgement be for Christians?
We will be judged on how we live to our destiny as Christians. Each of us was born with a destiny. No one else in all of history will be able to do what God has destined for you. If you don't do it, it won't get done. Billy Graham's destiny may have been to save a few million people, but someone else's destiny may have been to save Billy Graham. God view of destiny isn't by size. We all keep thinking that the big names in heaven will be the people on the big platforms who are well-known.
Heidi Baker was paralysed when she was touched in Toronto and lay on the floor for a week - she couldn't move, and God said to her "I'm going to send you My choice servant." God's choice servant in Toronto, with all those apostles and prophets and great preachers, was the night cleaner.
We will be judged on how we live to our destiny as Christians, not on the sin that Jesus has already dealt with on the cross for us.
Jesus: All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One Who sent Me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. John 9:4