“Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, You are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment.”
Many years ago, I did a sermon series on the attributes of God. I keyed off A. W. Tozer’s book, “The Knowledge of the Holy.” Some of God’s attributes come quickly to our minds: sovereign, almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and infinite; others come a little slower: self-existent, self-sufficient, immutable, transcendent, and more. In that series, I used the first half of Tozer’s book.
The second half of the book focuses on what feels like the more active attributes. And so, my thought for the fall sermon series is to focus on these attributes: the faithfulness, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, love, and holiness of God.
Why is the knowledge of God’s attributes important to the believer? First, we are meant to worship God. The Psalms tell us over and over again: Praise the LORD! Isaiah 43:21 states, “[Thus saith the LORD] ‘The people whom I formed for Myself that they might declare My praise.’” The author of Hebrews wrote, “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.” (13:15)
The Westminster Catechism famously begins with the question, “What is the chief end of humankind?” and gives the answer: “Humankind’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” But if we do not know God, then we do not truly worship God; rather, we worship a god of our own imagination, and therefore, we worship an idol. Part of living a life of worship is spending a lifetime seeking to know God better so that we truly “worship God in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
In his book, Tozer offers this prayer:
O Lord God Almighty, not the God of the philosophers and the wise, but the God of the prophets and apostles; and better than all, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may I express Thee unblamed?
They that know Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art, and so worship not Thee but a creature of their own fancy; therefore enlighten our minds that we may know Thee as Thou art, so that we may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We cannot hope to worship God well until we know God well. And the same can be said for the second purpose of this series. We cannot hope to embrace the Image of God in ourselves and in others until we know God.
Scripture reminds us that we are created in the Image of God (Genesis 1:27). But our understanding of what that “Image of God” includes is often limited to our own tastes and desires. Now obviously, none of us are omnipotent or omniscient or sovereign (although some of us might fancy ourselves to be), but we can all embrace the attributes of faithfulness, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, love, and holiness. We can embrace these attributes in ourselves and in others. And we can seek to nurture these attributes in ourselves and in others.
So that will be the focus of our Autumn Sermon Series: Knowing God / Knowing Ourselves. Each Sunday we’ll focus on a specific attribute of God, how it informs our understanding of who God is, and then how it informs our understanding of who God has created us to be. I’m really looking forward to it!
I look forward to seeing you all in church or online.
In Christ’s name and service, I remain yours,