There are many important things, ideas, and persons in our world, but not so important as a good understanding of God. Let’s see who God is by considering our relationship to Him in this second of two lessons.

ROBERT >> Thank you for joining us today on The Truth In Love as we continue to talk about things that really matter. We began last week talking about God. And of course, that’s where the Bible begins. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Hope you’ll stay tuned as we talk some more about God, about who he is, and about how important he is to our life.

>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Let’s review a little bit what we learned about God last week. The very existence of God some people question. Some don’t believe there’s a God. They’ve never seen him, and so how can they know there is a God? Well, we saw how Paul helped us with this in Romans 1:20, reminding us that, Since the creation of the world, the invisible attributes of Him are clearly seen.

What he’s saying is that the only reasonable, logical explanation for this world is God. An eternal, powerful, divine being must have brought all of these things into existence. If not God, where did the world come from?

Some say, Oh, it just evolved. But what evolved? You have to start with something to get something. Something or someone has always existed. And what or who this is that has always existed from which all things have come into existence is what we’re looking at today.

Hebrews 3:4 helps us with that. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. That’s a good point, isn’t it?

You see a house, you know that somebody had to build it. It didn’t just happen by accident. And the same is true of all things. Someone had to make it. When you consider the wonders of our universe, you’ll know that there is an eternally powerful God.

The Psalmist in Psalm 19:1 said, The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament, the expanse of space, shows His handiwork. All we have to do is see the marvelous order and design and wonder and vastness of our universe, and we know there is an eternal, powerful, divine being.

The Psalmist once again wrote in Psalm 139;14, I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. The Psalmist knew that he was but a creature of a greater divine, powerful creator. And when you consider the wonders of the human body, you realize that in fact there is a God.

But I know that even though there are many who believe in God, they have questions about God, and they don’t always understand God. Some don’t understand how he could allow the suffering of this world, how he could send anyone to hell. And we looked at that briefly last week, and I told you then I don’t understand it all, either, no one does; that our finite minds cannot completely comprehend the infinite God; that the Bible says that the depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge is so great that his judgments are unsearchable, that his ways are past finding out; that we cannot know the mind of the Lord, Romans 11:33-34. But God has revealed in the Bible a great deal to help us understand suffering.

As we noticed last time, it began with sin. It didn’t begin with God. It began with sin. And when man sinned, they began to hide themselves because of the shame and the guilt that it brought to their lives.

We saw that it brought a curse upon the serpent and all the beasts of the fields, it brought a curse upon the woman, and it brought a curse upon the man. That is, he had to work by the sweat of his brow because thorns and thistles began being produced by the earth. The entire world was changed, was corrupted because of sin.

And every one of us have sinned, have contributed to the mess that we see in this world. We’re simply lying in the bed that we made for ourselves. But the good thing is that God is able to use this to discipline us, to teach us, to train us, to help us to become holy like he is holy.

We learn this from Hebrews chapter 12, where we’re reminded that God chastens those whom he loves, that what he does is for our profit, for our good, that we might yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness, that we might be partakers of his holiness. You see, in this evil world, we learn how terrible sin is, we learn to turn away from sin, and we learn to fear our God and to trust our God.

We have this great promise from him in Romans 8:28 that, All things work together for good to those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Yes, even these bad things God is able to use to work together for good. God is able to bring good out of the worst of situations. But God has also explained some things to us about hell.

Look with me if you will in Matthew 18:8-9, where we learn that hell is for those who sin. Here, Jesus uses a hyperbole to warn us about sin and to warn us about hell. Matthew 18:8, the Bible says, If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

Again God is making it clear to us that hell is for those who sin. And it’s so important that we take sin, that we remove sin out of our heart and out of our lives, because the worst thing that can happen to us is to be cast into hell. And here’s the good news, that God has made a way for sinners to be forgiven through Jesus Christ, that he sent his good news to all the world so nobody has to go to hell. Read with me if you will in the book of Mark chapter 16 and verse 15.

You see, after Jesus Christ went to the cross where he paid the price for our sins, where he made that sacrifice of himself, a perfect, sinless, innocent sacrifice as an offering for the sins of all the world, having made that sacrifice and having been raised from the dead to live forever, before he leaves this earth, he gives these words to his apostles, Mark 16:15, And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

You see, God doesn’t pick and choose Christians, I’ll take some to be Christians, I’ll send the others to hell; but he’s given each and every one of us a choice to make. He made a way for us through Jesus Christ, and he sent this good news into all the world. And those who would believe, those who would be baptized will be saved; but those who reject him, those who refuse to believe and to trust him for their salvation and thus never obey the gospel of Christ, will be forever lost in this place called hell.

Jesus did not make hell for us. He made it for the devil and his angels. But if we decide to give our life to Satan and to be a follower of the devil, then, yes, we’ll join him someday in that eternal place of torment.

I want to read to you from 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 beginning in verse 6, where the apostle Paul was actually trying to comfort those in the church at Thessalonica to remind them that one day their persecution and their suffering would be over, that Jesus would deliver them out of this world, that he would rescue them and bring salvation to them.

Notice what he says here in this chapter, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

I hope you could see there in that passage that God is going to send his son back to rescue those who have lived their life upon the earth in faithfulness to Jesus Christ. But there is a forever separation from God for those who would not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ.

No, we’re not going to understand everything God is doing and why he is doing it. Listen to this passage from Isaiah 55:8-9, where God himself tries to let us know that his way of thinking is not always our way of thinking, his way of doing things is not always our way of doing things.

Isaiah 55:8, For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

I remember when I was just a boy, and I asked my dad how they could get that picture in the television. And you know, he tried to explain that to me, but I really didn’t get it. And I still don’t really understand how we do that. I don’t know how I can be in your television inside your living room or wherever you might be watching TV each week. There are some things that we will not fully understand now, but only later.

Some don’t believe there is a God and some don’t understand why he would allow them to suffer and to spend an eternity in hell; but I think one of the big problems is that some don’t really know who he is. How do you picture God?

Is your thought of God, is your idea of God an old man with a gray beard, holding a lightning bolt in his hand, ready to strike you down at your first mistake? Or do you think about God as someone who’s really too busy to get involved in your life, he’s too busy to get involved in the affairs of this world? Well, the Bible reveals a much different picture of God. Look with me in the gospel of John.

John 1:1 begins to talk about how God revealed himself to us through his son, Jesus Christ. Look at John 1:1. Here it says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. You see, a word is an expression. And here we see this word was the expression of God himself. The Word was with God, the Word was God. Or more literally, God was the Word. This one that was there even before the beginning, who had been with God, this one that was in fact deity, look at verse 14 of John 1. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. God became man.

God took on the flesh so that he could show to the world his heavenly father. In John chapter 1, look at verse 18.

Here it says, No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. Later we’ll read in John 14:9 how that Jesus said, When you’ve seen me, you’ve seen my father.

The point is that Jesus Christ pictures God for us. And you see that in so many places in his ministry upon the earth. For example, look with me in John the 4th chapter. In John chapter 4, in the middle of the day in the city of Sychar in the country of Samaria, here comes a sinful Samaritan woman. And her encounter with Jesus Christ changed her life forever.

Here in John the 4th chapter, this Samaritan woman there at the well with Jesus came to learn about eternal life. Jesus spoke to her of living water that springs up into eternal life. He helped this woman to see her need for that life that was only found through Jesus Christ. He convicted her of her sinfulness. And as soon as he did, she wanted to change the subject and she wanted to talk about some religious question. Jesus answered that question for her, and she was so amazed at his insight into her very heart and life and being able to answer her questions with such wisdom and authority that she came to believe on him as the Christ, the Son of God. That is, that long-awaited savior, that deliverer of mankind from their sins.

And having come to that faith, she ran into the city, and she told all the people how Jesus had told her all things that she had ever done. That’s what God is like. That’s who he is.

There’s another very revealing passage in Matthew the 11th chapter. In Matthew chapter 11, John the Baptizer, who actually proclaimed the coming of Christ, was now in prison because he had pointed out the sins of King Herod. And King Herod arrested him, imprisoned him, and would eventually cut off John’s head because of his preaching. And it was at that time that John wished to have it confirmed to him that Jesus was in fact that one that they were looking for to come and to save them. In Matthew chapter 11, let’s pick up the story here. In verse 4, when the people came to Jesus, the ones that John had sent to find out about him, Jesus answered, verse 4, and said to them, Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

You see, Jesus Christ says, John, you want to know if I’m that one that God was going to send? You want to know if I’m that savior, the Son of God? Just look at what I’m doing. Just look at the kind of person I am. Look what was happening in the ministry of Jesus. It was all about people, him meeting the needs of those people, and the preaching of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to those who were poor. That’s who God is. That’s what he’s like.

In John the 11th chapter, we find another picture of who God is. In John the 11th chapter, a friend, a dear friend of Jesus had died. In fact, he had been dead about four days. His sisters, Mary and Martha, were weeping over him, as were the others that surrounded them. And this is what we read as Jesus came upon this funeral scene.

In John chapter 11, picking up in verse 34, He said, Where have you laid him? And they said to Him, Lord, come and see. And verse 35 says, Jesus wept. He was a man of tears.

In fact, if you back up in verse 33, When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

Jesus sorrowed because they were sorry. He had compassion on them. He knew he was going to raise Lazarus, and he knew that there was a better life on the other side of death and that he would come again someday and raise us all to eternal life who have our faith in him; but I want you to see that our God is a loving, compassionate God who feels what we feel, who understands our sorrow and our suffering, and who brings hope to our hearts for all of eternity.

When Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins, he proved once and for all how much God loves us, that he would go to the greatest extent to pay for our sins. This is the good news, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:3.

And Paul explains that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, bringing us back together with God because our sins had separated us from him, 2 Corinthians 5:19.

You see, God took the first step in bringing us back to him. Before we said anything, before we did anything, God stepped into our world to become one of us, to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for our sins just so we could be with him in heaven for eternity. Another picture that helps us to see God is found in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. I know you’re familiar with it.

You remember Jesus begins telling a story that we’ve heard many times about a boy who leaves home, who wastes his life away until finally he decides to return home and beg his father to take him back. How many times has that happened? But this is where the story depicts something you don’t hear every day. Instead of giving the boy a stern lecture and punishing him, the father greets him with compassion and he throws him a welcome home party.

Who could imagine that kind of a father? But that, Jesus is saying, is what God is like.

Yes, God was willing to send his son to suffer for us, he would do anything to have his children come home with him, he loves us despite what we’ve done to disappoint him, and he wants to give us a welcome home party.

I hope you’ll come to him today. In trusting faith, turn away from the sin in your life, give yourself to him in the waters of baptism, and live your life each day for Jesus Christ who died for you.

>> Peace, perfect peace.
In this dark world of sin the blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace.
By thronging duties pressed, to do the will of Jesus, this is best.

Peace, perfect peace.
Our future all unknown, Jesus we know and he is on the throne.

It is enough.
Earth’s struggles soon shall cease, and Jesus calls us to heaven’s perfect peace.

>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join, I heard the song and strove to join.

While everlasting ages roll, eternal love shall feast their soul.
And scenes of bliss forever new rise in succession to their view, rise in succession to their view.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing,
oh almighty king?
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts on high adored.

Holy, holy, holy.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv. All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven, so let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.

Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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