God is the ruler that we need – WSC #11

Who’s really in charge of the world? In this session we look at something called God’s providence, which means not only that God is in charge but that he’s a good ruler – the ruler we really need.

More Thought for the Week…

This is part of the weekly Thought for the Week series. This series is designed to give a short, 10-15 minute ‘thought’, including a Bible reading and a prayer. Currently I am working through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. You can see all videos on the catechism on this playlist.

Do subscribe to the mailing list if you want to get these delivered in a weekly email, or subscribe directly on YouTube or the podcast if you want to see them there.

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Does God have a plan? – Westminster Shorter Catechism #7

Our plans are often subject to change. The best laid plans don’t always come to pass. But is it really like that with God?

Explore Further

I don’t mention this in the video, but if you would like to read something more about God’s sovereignty and plan, especially in salvation, check out these books:

You might also appreciate Part #9 of the Heidelberg Catechism – “God our Father”.

More Thought for the Week…

This is part of the weekly Thought for the Week series. This series is designed to give a short, 10-15 minute ‘thought’, including a Bible reading and a prayer. Currently I am working through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. You can see all videos on the catechism on this playlist.

Do subscribe to the mailing list if you want to get these delivered in a weekly email, or subscribe directly on YouTube if you want to see them there.

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Are there more gods than one? – Westminster Shorter Catechism #5

The Bible makes clear that there is only one God. But have you ever thought about the implications of that deceptively simple statement? It’s one of the most fundamental things which has shaped our society for hundreds of years.

Explore Further

Part one of the “Get to know God” series is here.

Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller is available from 10 of those.

The God who is There by Francis Schaeffer is available from 10 of those. (A few months ago I wrote about why you should read his book, True Spirituality).

More Thought for the Week…

This is part of the weekly Thought for the Week series. This series is designed to give a short, 10-15 minute ‘thought’, including a Bible reading and a prayer. Currently I am working through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. You can see all videos on the catechism on this playlist.

Do subscribe to the mailing list if you want to get these delivered in a weekly email, or subscribe directly on YouTube if you want to see them there.

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Who is God? – Westminster Shorter Catechism #4

“Who is God” is one of the most important questions which people never ask. Many people say “I believe (or don’t believe) in God” – but which God? In this session we look at who God is and what he is like.

This is part of the weekly Thought for the Week series. This series is designed to give a short, 10-15 minute ‘thought’, including a Bible reading and a prayer. Currently I am working through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. You can see all videos on the catechism on this playlist.

Do subscribe to the mailing list if you want to get these delivered in a weekly email, or subscribe directly on YouTube if you want to see them there.

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God is… three persons (Trinity)

In this final part of our Get to know God series, we turn to thinking about how God is three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is traditionally known as the doctrine of the Trinity. Sometimes people can have the idea that the Trinity is too difficult to think about, or it doesn’t really make much difference to everyday life. But, as theologian D.B. Knox said: “The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of the Christian religion”. It’s essential to our Christian lives: we experience God as Trinity. It matters that we don’t just think of ‘God’, but think in terms of the Father, Son and Spirit.

Obviously there are many books which have been written about this topic (and I’ll link to some of them below). We won’t be able to deal with the whole doctrine of the Trinity in one session! But I hope this will at least make a start so you want to continue learning yourself.

Let’s start by thinking about what the Bible says, before we go on to look at why it matters for us day-by-day.

What does the Bible say about the Trinity?

The doctrine of the Trinity is somewhat veiled in the Old Testament. That is, it’s there if you know what you’re looking for – there are some passages which don’t make sense any other way. And yet, we don’t really get the full picture until the New Testament. Because we don’t have much time here, we’ll concentrate on the New Testament for the moment.

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God is… infinitely good

In this eighth part of the Get to know God series, we are thinking about how God is good. Not just good – God is infinitely good. He is the very definition of goodness itself. But what does it mean for God to be good? What does that look like? And what does it mean for us in our lives and how we relate to him? Let’s start, as always, by looking at the Bible before we turn to think about what it means for us.

What does the Bible say about God’s goodness?

Only God is good

A man once came to Jesus to ask him a question. The man called him “Good teacher”, but Jesus responded: “Why do you call me good? No one is good – except God alone” (Mark 10:18). Jesus didn’t respond like this because Jesus was saying he wasn’t good (we’ll come onto that in the final session!). But he wanted the man to think about what he was saying. Who is truly good? Only God is truly good.

If we want to see and know what true goodness is, we need to look to the Lord. He alone has true goodness. He is 100%, pure good. And, at the risk of stating the obvious, it’s worth making the point that the opposite of good is evil. That which is not good is evil.

You might be thinking – if God alone is good, what does that say for human beings? Are human beings not good? Or, at least, can human beings not be good? We’ll come onto that question in a minute!

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God is… infinitely wise

In the seventh part of the Get to know God series, we’re looking at how God is infinite in wisdom. We’ll think a little bit about what wisdom is, how it relates to God, and what we need to do. As usual for this series, firstly we’ll look at what the Bible says, and then we’ll think through some practical points for us.

What does the Bible say about God’s wisdom?

Wisdom belongs to God

Where then does wisdom come from?
   Where does understanding dwell?
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
   concealed even from the birds in the sky.
Destruction and Death say,
  ‘Only a rumour of it has reached our ears.’
God understands the way to it
   and he alone knows where it dwells
Job 28:20-23

Wisdom is something that God alone possesses. This is echoed in the New Testament in Romans 16:27 where Paul says, “to the only wise God”. Wisdom is something that God simply has perfectly and infinitely, it is part of who he is.

In the Bible, wisdom is about making good and right decisions. (If you’re interested, I have a post about Wisdom and Guidance in Proverbs). It’s about doing what is good and avoiding what is evil. We human beings have limited wisdom – and we’ll come onto that later. But this is not the case with God.

God doesn’t have to listen to advisers to tell him what the right course of action is. God simply knows, because he is perfect wisdom. We human beings are capable of making poor decisions for all sorts of reasons. Maybe we make decisions based on misunderstanding or incomplete knowledge. But God never has that problem: all of his decisions are perfect. God never has to worry about which way to go – he always knows.

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God is… infinitely powerful (omnipotent)

The sixth part of our Get to know God series looks at God’s omnipotence – the fact that he is infinitely powerful. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found the last couple of sessions have dealt with some pretty tough concepts. This week is, I hope, slightly less tough in that respect. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty here to get your head around – and plenty to be encouraged by. Let’s look into it. We’ll start out by drawing out a few points from the Bible, and then we’ll think about what it means for us.

What does the Bible say?

No-one is powerful like God

No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.

Jeremiah 10:6

The Bible often describes God’s power as being incomparable. Nothing else in all creation could come anywhere close to matching his power. His power is often seen in the things that he does.

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God is… impassible (without passions)

In this fifth part of the Get to know God series, we’re looking at something called God’s impassibility. This is a really important aspect of God, and yet out of all of them this is probably the least popular. Part of the problem is that people don’t understand what ‘passions’ means! But this is important for understanding who God is: do we want a God who is actually able to help us in our suffering? For that, we need a God who is impassible.

What does impassible even mean?

A few years ago, a friend of mine wrote an article defending God’s impassibility. He started out with a brief definition of impassibility:

Divine impassibility refers to the belief that God can neither be acted on from without, nor experience ‘emotional’ change within, and that, more specifically, God can thus neither be caused to suffer, nor choose to suffer, in his divine nature.

This is a good definition to be going on with. Impassibility, or being ‘without passions’, means that God doesn’t have emotions in the same way that we do. (This is especially true about suffering – God does not suffer). Emotions, as it says, are about change: we human beings generally can’t go through a day without experiencing a number of emotional changes. An emotion is a change. But – as we have already thought about – God does not change. God is constant. That’s good news for us!

It’s good news because it means that God is not changeable like us, but is above our ways. Let’s take a look at the Bible to see what it says.

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God is… simple (without parts)

In this fourth part of the Get to know God series, we’re going to be looking at God’s simplicity, or the fact that God is “without parts”. Now, simplicity is probably the most misleading word in the theological dictionary! It’s a very particular definition of simplicity which has very little to the way that we use the word in common speech. It is important, however, because I think it has a direct bearing on issues in our society today.

But let’s go into what simplicity is. Let’s start out by thinking about a jigsaw.

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