What is God really like? Jesus came to this world to reveal the character of God. He is the perfect expression of Him. Jesus said to Philip in John 14:9 "If you have seen me you have seen the Father."
In the first 4 books of the New Testament we are shown the first image of God and it is this picture that we will use to explain all the stories of the Bible that appear to give us a different picture.
This video is from the book called Agape.
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This part 1 of 24 in the series.
The Bible often seems to throw up apparent contradictions to the reader. Take for example:
Luke 22:36 Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
In the above text Jesus tells his disciples to buy a sword just before his death, but then on the night He was taken He said to Peter:
Matt 26:52 But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
How do we resolve these apparent conflicts? It is not enough to read the Bible, we must know how to read it so it will make sense and this is the question Jesus put to a lawyer.
Luke 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
This presentation looks at some key guidelines for reading the Bible that will resolve these apparent contradictions. This is important in our study of the character of God because there are many apparent contradictions that need to be resolved.
Does God demand death for sin? Did He institute a death penalty to punish those who transgress Him? Did Jesus die to satisfy His Father's death penalty? If this were true then God killed His own Son to satisfy His death decree and this is suppose to cause you to love Him. Do you detect a problem here?
What really is the death of the cross? Why did Jesus have to die to save us?
Almost all of the Christian world believe that God will personally destroy the wicked; they believe He will throw them away as worthless.
Would you throw away something that you paid billions of dollars to purchase? Would you smash and destroy something that you paid an infinite cost to secure?
To answer this question we must consider the cost of salvation. The cost of our salvation is measured by the love of God for His Son. The love between them and the cost they paid determines the value of what they paid to save us.
When you realise the full cost you will know that God could not throw sinners away but in infinite sorrow and respecting the choice of the wicked let them have their decision to refuse Him.
Behold the love of God and His suffering to save us and realise He would never crush and destroy someone so precious to Himself.
In the book of Matthew is recorded one of the greatest sermons ever preached. It is a sermon preached by Jesus Christ. In these sermons He tells us to turn the other cheek and to love our enemies that we might be children of our Father in Heaven. So we become children of God when we love those who oppose us.
Just before Elijah was taken to heaven the Bible tells us that he called fire down from heaven on 2 lots of 50 men and their respective captains. When the disciples of Jesus came to Jesus frustrated with some Samaritans who were not treating their master correctly, they cited the example of Elijah bringing fire down from heaven to destroy them. The answer of Jesus tells us something profound about the character of God.
Luke 9:54-56 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? (55) But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. (56) For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
Did Jesus rebuke the actions of Elijah as well as His disciples? This presentation puts these pieces together to reveal the loving character of our Father in heaven.
Would you burn your wayward child to death after decades of disobedience and evil? How is it possible to become so hardened in heart as to believe that the God who claims to be love would burn His wayward and wicked children alive in the agonies of hell? It is most certainly true that the wicked will die in agony and the torture of their internal torment will make their physical suffering feel insignificant. In this video you will learn the truth about hell and what causes the intense suffering. It does not come from our tender heavenly father but from the hardened hearts of sinful men.
If God is love then why did He command that sinners be stoned to death in the Old Testament? Especially considering that stoning was a practice that came from Egypt. Exodus 8:26.
There is much more to this story than many realise and it tells us a lot about how God deals with sin and how it reveals His tender mercy and love for the sinner.
In order for a person to realise their need of repentance they need to see their sinful condition. The Bible is a mirror to the sinner to show them their true condition.
A person who reads the Bible in his sinful condition will imagine that God acts like himself in dealing with situations. When people test the patience of God, we imagine can easily be tempted to think He will be angry. The Bible is written in a way that can reflect our natural thinking but this is to show us our sin.
Once we understand the life of Jesus when He came to earth we can truly know what God is like and then we can grasp that before this we imagined God to be like us - one who gets angry and will execute people who are evil.
This presentation is a pivotal chapter in the book. If you grasp this chapter many things will start to come together.
What does it mean to have the fear of God put into you? Most people understand this to mean that God causes a person to feel that He will destroy them if they don't submit to Him.
If we wish to look at what God is like we must look to Christ and we get a picture of the fear of God when Jesus cleansed the temple. If we examine this story carefully we can discern more clearly that the fear of God is a conviction of sin that leads us to see the love and care of God for us. God never wants to harm us. He does not want anyone to perish. If we know that God is merciful, when He gently shows us our sins and we feel overwhelmed by them with fear, we can know that God is not against us and He does not seek to harm us but simply to be free from our sins which destroy us. Look and live.
This video is from the book called Agape.
What does it mean for the Lord to be angry? Let us look to Jesus to define God's anger for He is the way to the Father.
When Jesus stood before the leaders of Israel and told them they were hypocrites he was certainly angry. Was the culmination of this anger?
Matt 23:37-38 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
It causes the Lord incredible grief to finally have to allow his wayward children have their decision to reject Him. The anger of the Lord is to leave the house of the wicked desolate while experiencing terrible grief.
A common word anger in Hebrew is aph and it means rapid breathing through the nose. It can be either anger or grief or both. It depends on how you view God.
When you see the biblical meaning of anger your heart will go out to our Father in sorrow for all the suffering He has endured because of our sins. We we allow Him to gather us to him or will our house be left desolate for the serpent to come and destroy?
How do we reconcile the wholesale slaughter of nations by Israel with the sword against the words of Christ?
…for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Not only men, women and children also.
Deut 2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
Were the Israelites truly in tune with the character of God? Why were they regularly afraid that He had brought them out into the desert to kill them? Was the deep darkness that fell upon Abraham in any way related to his taking of the sword to save his nephew and family?
Did the slaughter of the Shechemites by Levi and Simeon have any influence on the vow of Israel to utterly destroy their enemies?
The use of the sword by Israel is completely out of character with the life of Christ in the New Testament. How do we reconcile this apparent contradiction?
The significance of the crown of thorns upon the head of Jesus carries a far deeper meaning than most imagine. When Adam sinned the earth produced thorns as a response to his sinfulness.
The Bible tells us clearly that when men sin the earth is defiled and the rebellion that is in man is stored up in the earth like pressure of a fault line until it bursts forth and causes destruction.
The principles in this chapter are vital to many of the stories in the Bible.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant. Isa 24:5
Yet despite all this sinfulness affecting the earth Christ holds back as long as possible these effects and it is like wearing a crown of thorns as He groans and travails under the weight of it. Rom 8:2