Friday, April 1, 2011

2 Chronicles 7 – The Character and Nature of God

Hello Project Ezra! This week, with 2 Chronicles 7, we continue our focus on the character of God, who God is. Many, if not most, of the problems in the church today are due to false views of God’s character and nature, due either to ignorance, willful disobedience of His revealed word, or both. For example, the idea of drawing distinctions between the cruel, vengeful God of the Old Testament, and the loving, kind Jesus of the New Testament, has been around for many years, but is totally false. There is a new covenant instituted by Jesus, and through His death and resurrection we have a different standing before God, but God’s character and nature have not changed, and indeed can not change. Though the specifics on how God chooses to interact with His people and His enemies have varied, His character and nature have not.

All evangelism must start with an understanding of the true nature of God. God’s judgment and redemption are not His arbitrary choices or whims. They are based on God’s character and nature. It is through an understanding of the truth of God’s character, as well as an understanding of man’s sinful nature, that judgment makes sense. Focus on the cross. Christ’s work on the cross is the perfect intersection of God’s justice and mercy. His justice and holiness made the death penalty for sin necessary, and from His love and mercy came our reconciliation.

I hope this outline will be a blessing. We have had very little interaction on the Facebook page lately, though I know many who are still actively reading and using these outlines. Please share your testimonies, pictures and videos with the rest of the group, when possible. They are a huge encouragement. Thanks!

For the praise of His glory,

READ 2 Chronicles 7

What does your God look like? What does the true God look like?

God is a good God, and this was demonstrated in His interactions with Israel

He is a God of provision. God brought Israel out of Egypt into the promised land, as He had promised. He has also blessed each one of us greatly, whether we realize it or not.

God raised up judges and kings to rule over, protect and guide His people

God blessed them materially, providing all they needed to live

God provided His law, to protect them from their own evil desires, to show them His will for their lives.

God even gave them Himself. God is a God of relationship, and He chose a people and chose to live with them, though He needs no worship and needs to home.

God showed them His nature, His glory and His majesty

He is a God of unimaginable power and majesty. When God’s glory filled the temple the people could not enter or approach, and when they caught a glimpse of his glory they fell on their faces before Him

God is a God of holiness and justice, who has made His existence and will clear, both through His word and through His creation

God’s existence obvious, clear from what has been made (Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:20)

God says that the unrighteous and ungodly are, in fact, suppressing the truth, willfully choosing disbelief.

And, in truth, nothing could be more unjust and wicked than failing to give God the worship due to Him, and to turn to other Gods, false gods made of wood or stone, or of man’s imagination

God will not share His glory with anyone, for only He truly deserves to be worshiped.

All of us have rebelled, and worshiped things other than God.

All sin is fueled by idolatry, either by a false view of who God is, or by putting ourselves or our desires in place of God, treating them as our objects of worship.

Lying to protect your pride, making pride and yourself an idol

Striving for monetary success and power, making reputation an idol

Striving for experience, adrenaline or sexual gratification, making pleasure an idol

Striving to know, to understand, to explain every aspect of life through human intellect, making your mind an idol.

All idolatry, whether created with our hands or our mind, is sin, and all sin is worthy of God’s judgment.

The judgment for sin and rebellion is hell, eternal conscious punishment and separation from the goodness of God. And since every good thing comes from God, we will spend eternity in anguish.

But God is also the God of mercy and longsuffering

God promised to reconcile Israel to Himself, if they would humble themselves, seek
His face, and turn from their wicked ways.

God was very merciful and patient with Israel, but that was only the beginning of the story

God’s mercy and love toward us was demonstrated in the cross of Christ

The cross the sacrifice for all sin, for all time

Solomon and the priests of Israel offered countless sacrifices as covering for sin
Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection, provided the perfect and eternal sacrifice for sin

Jesus is the lamb of God, and our great high priest

He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him

So we must do what God directed Israel to do. We must humble ourselves before His, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways.

Through repentance and trust in Jesus Christ alone, we can be made clean.

Acts 10:43 - To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

So today, put your faith and trust in the good God, the God of mercy and longsuffering, the God who satisfied justice in His own blood, so you could be seen as righteous.

Repent and trust in Jesus Christ today, while God has graciously given you time.
Remember, none of us is promised a tomorrow.

10 out of 10 people die, and eternity is a long time to be wrong.

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