THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 3-10-02

LESSON TITLE: EXAMINING GOD: "ONE GOD OR MANY GODS?"

WELCOME

Thank you for joining us this morning for the Living Word Program. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator.

Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's begin our praise to God in prayer.
(Prayer)

As Christians we have so much to be happy about in this life. But I might ask, "what was the happy day of your life?" This morning, let's begin with a song that reminds us of the day we obey the Will of God. Wont you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing the song, "O Happy Day!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

We have been having such a great study about God over the past many weeks. Together, I hope we have already learned a lot about who He is and what He is all about! Over the past several weeks we have been looking at the individual persons of the Godhead, - that is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Later in our program today, we will be studying the complete concept of the Godhead, how it works together, and what it really should mean to us. In this study of God we have been learning so much about the type of God we serve. After all we are talking about a being that created us, breathed into us the breathe of life, and one who gives us all that we have need of today. Furthermore, we know that our God is always there to help us, care for us, and to protect us from all harm in this life.

The writer of Proverbs understood a lot about this God we have been discussing. In fact, in Proverbs 30:5, we read, "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him." Notice that Solomon here reminds us that our God and His words are completely and utterly pure! The idea of purity is not strange to us. However, in this world in which we live it is getting harder and harder to find those to stand for and represent the purity found in Jesus Christ.

We must remember that God is perfect. John said it this way, "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him," 1 John 2:29. God is righteousness, which means complete goodness or purity. And furthermore he adds here that we are to strive to be righteous as God is righteous.

In 1 John 1:7, John also said that God is the light and that we must walk in the light as He is in the light. Again this light symbolizes complete purity or perfection - which can only be found in God.

Notice the last thing that Solomon talked about in our main text of the morning. In the verse he said, God is also, "a shield to those who put their trust in Him." Here we are reminded that God is there and will always be there no matter come what may. But remember the verse here says we must put our trust in God if we are to receive Him as our protector and friend. So I ask you this morning, are you beginning to get a clearer picture of the great and wondrous God we serve? Truly our God is one who can be counted on in His perfection, who will be with us every step of the way if we show that we truly love Him by doing what He says. After all, isn't that how we show God that we trust Him? When we believe Him enough and love Him enough to keep His commandments!

We are excited to have a guest speaker with us this morning who has just recently begun to work in Springfield with the North National Church of Christ, as one of their ministers. Brother Bobby Stafford is with us today to lead us in our Bible Study of the Day. We thank brother Bobby for being with us. This morning we will again consider a lesson from our series on "Examining God." Our specific topic today deals with, "One God or many God's?" So please stay with us through our next song and after that brother Stafford will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Face to Face."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Bobby Stafford

Good morning. I'd like to welcome you to The Living Word program. I'd like to thank brother Ray for allowing me to come and speak here about this great subject of the Godhead. For the past few weeks, we have heard various speakers address the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. My subject this morning is going to look at the Godhead as a whole.

The Bible begins, "In the beginning God." Throughout the ages, men have sought to understand God, the nature of God and His existence. There is sufficient evidence, the Bible tells us, that has been left for us to know of His existence as inspired apostle Paul tells us in Romans chapter 1 especially in verse 20. If you have your Bibles there at home I would certainly encourage you to have them open as we're going to be examining several scriptures today. Romans chapter 1 and we'll begin reading in verse 18. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness because what may be known of God is manifest in them for God has shown it to them, for since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse." The word "godhead" in this verse basically has to do with the divine nature or the essence of who God is and it's thus translated in Acts chapter 17, verse 29, and of course in that particular context we see the apostle Paul in the city of Athens. He has traveled to that city and he encounters various Greek philosophers. It's in this context that Paul delivers a great discourse about God and about His nature.

Again, we would encourage you to turn your Bibles to Acts chapter 17 as we're going to begin reading there in verse 22. Acts chapter, we're going to begin reading in verse 22. Then Paul stood in the midst of the Aeropagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious. For as I was passing through and considering the object of your worship, I even found an object with this inscription, 'To the Unknown God.' Therefore, the one whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you. God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made with hands, nor does He worship with men's hands as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath and all things, and as made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and is determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings. So if they should seek the Lord in the hope that they might grow for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being." As also some of the old poets have said, "We are also His offspring." Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, something by art in man's devising. Surely, these times of ignorance God overlooked but now commands every man everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man He (inaudible)... He's given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

In this short lesson that Paul gives to these philosophers in Athens, he describes to some extent anyway the nature of God, the divine nature or as it's translated in some versions, the Godhead, for that's what the Godhead basically means. It is a description of the divine nature or the essence of God.

So we're going to see today as we examine the Godhead that there are three in the Godhead. When we say that there are three in he Godhead, we mean that there are three distinct persons or personalities that make up the one Godhead, that possess the divine nature. These of course all co-exist in perfect harmony and they have a perfect relationship with one another. Not three separate gods, but three distinct persons who make up the one Godhead. The Bible in many places teaches this great truth.

We're going to go back to the Old Testament and we're going to look at a couple of verses. First of all, we're going to look at Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4. In this particular verse, the writer tells us or reveals to us a great truth. Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4. "Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one," which of course emphasizes the fact that there is only one God.

Then when we go back to Genesis chapter 1 and verse 26, we'll notice something about who God is, about the nature of God, about the Godhead. In Genesis chapter 1, verse 26, this is what the text says, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image according to our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over the cattle, over all the earth and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

So we see here that there is only one God. The Bible very emphatically states that there is only one God, one divine nature. But there are more than one that make up that Godhead. God is described as both in a singular sense as well as in a plural sense. Now we might think that is a contradiction in terms, but it's not at all, for we see this principle in other places in the Bible especially in the marriage relationship. Back when God instituted the first marriage in the Garden of Eden, notice what He says in Genesis chapter 2, verse 24. "Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh." There we have the idea of two distinct people, two distinct personalities coming together in marriage and becoming one. They become one in unity. They become one in purpose. Yet, they still retain their separate identities, their separate personalities. So it is in the Godhead. We have three that make up this Godhead. They are perfectly united and harmonious. They have the same purpose. Yet they have distinct personalities. They are distinct in many ways.

It's interesting to note who the Bible calls God. We turn over to the New Testament in the book of Galatians, the book that was written to the churches in the area of Galatia and the very opening remarks we have these words by the apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 1, verse 1. "Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through men, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead." Here we have the fact that the Father is said to be God. He possesses that divine nature or that divine essence of what makes Him God. Most people in the world, most people certainly in our community have no problem with understanding that the Father is indeed God.

But we also need to look at another verse that reveals a truth about God and who is called God. That is in John chapter 1, verse 1. Read with me the very first verse of the gospel according to John. "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God." But who does this text teach that the word is? Well, we skip down to verse 14 and it's revealed to us. "And 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." John bore witness of Him and cried out saying, "This was He of whom I said He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me, and of His fullness we've all received in grace for grace, for the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." There we see that the word is referred to as Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is called God in the same sense that the Father is called God. Jesus possesses this divine nature.

When Paul wrote to the church at Colossi, in Colossians chapter 2, verse 9, Paul uses a phrase that emphasizes this truth about the divine nature of Jesus and His part in the Godhead. In Colossians chapter 2, verse 9, Paul writes this, "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Of course that text is referring to Jesus Christ. So here we see that Jesus is referred to as God, as possessing the divine nature, the essence of God.

But also the Holy Spirit is referred to as God. In Acts chapter 5, we have an account of course of Ananias and Sapphira. Notice what happens there in Acts chapter 5. "But a certain man named Ananias with his wife Sapphira sold a possession, and he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a part and laid it at the apostle's feet. But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained was it not your own and after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.'" So lying to the Holy Spirit was lying to God.

So here we have these three, the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit all referred to in scripture as God, as possessing the divine nature. When Jesus gives the Great Commission to the apostles in Matthew chapter 28, we see these three all listed together in that Great Commission. For Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Notice the use of the definite article in front of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All three of them are referred to as distinct and yet they all make up the Godhead.

We of course remember Jesus' baptism. That's recorded in Matthew chapter 3. We see all three of the Godhead present there. We of course see Jesus being baptized by John and then we see the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending upon Jesus and then of course we have God the Father pronouncing from heaven that "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." So there we have all three of the Godhead present making up the Godhead, making up God and yet being distinct, and so we both see the distinctiveness and the oneness of the Godhead.

There's many places in the Bible that refer to this distinctiveness. In John chapter 8, we read about this distinctiveness and this oneness of God. In John chapter 8, Jesus is talking about His witness and says, "And yet if I do not judge, my judgment is true for I am not alone but I am with the Father who sent me," So Jesus there is referring to the fact that there are another or there are two at least in the Godhead in that particular passage.

Then we go over to John chapter 14 and we see Christ talking about God the Father sending the Holy Spirit to the apostles. So in the gospel of John we see all three of these, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit being presented as God, as being part of the Godhead.

We certainly know that there is only one true God. Beginning in the book of Genesis and going all the way through Revelation, we see the one God presented. Not many gods. Not idols. But just one God. One possessing the divine nature. One possessing the essence of God, of who He is, of His very nature. At the very end of 2 Corinthians chapter 13, we have there all three of them presented in one verse and hopefully if you still have your Bibles you'll read this last verse with us. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen." Thank you for being with us today to study this great subject of the Godhead.

(SONG # 3 - "Fairest Lord Jesus!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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May we all study more to understand clearly what the Godhead is all about, so that we may truly know our God, and be able to follow Him better!

(Program closing)