Sermon: Contrasting Hearts

To make up for my lack of updates I have taken the liberty of posting a sermon I delivered at Life Church. In the sermon I cover Acts 4:32-5:11. Some of you may recognize this as the location of the Ananias & Sapphira story. I discuss what the issue that lead to their death (and it may not be what you were thinking) and how we fall into the exact same sin today. I apologize for any substandard illustrations, I was running on a few hours sleep.  I pray something in this message blesses you.  Enjoy.



Attributes of God: Infinity

2InfinitySometimes in my haste to explain things I can occasionally omit some very helpful information. For example, as I have been discussing some of God’s incommunicable attributes I have neglected to talk about an important concept – infinity.

What does “infinity” mean? The answer you receive to that question really depends upon whom you chose to ask. Philosophers, scientists and theologians will all have slightly different and conflicting understandings of what infinity is. Although it might be difficult to define satisfactorily, we can know some things about it clearly and definitely.

Here is what we understand about infinity. It is not big, nor huge, nor extremely humongously enormous. It is ENDLESS and it is BOUNDLESS. It does not grow, increase or get larger. It is FULLY FORMED. It is also something completely foreign to our created existence. Apart from God, nothing is infinite. This is why it is difficult for us to wrap our minds around the concept of infinity.

So why take the time to establish an understanding about infinity? This is because we serve an infinite God (endless, boundless and fully formed). Since God is infinite relative to space he is said to be omnipresent (discussed here). Because he possesses both infinite knowledge and power he is said to be omniscient (discussed here) and omnipotent (discussed here). Seeing as he is infinite with respect to time he is said to be eternal (discussed here). Whatever God is (love, faithful, righteous, wise, etc), he is without limit and fully formed. This leads to two very important things we need to know about the infinity of God.

First off we need to know infinite does not mean all. This is a very important distinction, because it isn’t difficult to make the leap from saying, “God is infinite” to saying, “God is everything.” The first statement is correct; the second statement is incorrect. Not only is it wrong, but it is a known heresy called pantheism. The Bible makes a clear distinction between The Creator and his creation. To hold the position that God is everything destroys that distinction. So how can we understand God’s infinite nature and yet keep the Creature/Creator separation? Let me try and give you an analogy that might make things a bit clearer.

Imagine a sponge submerged deep into the center of the ocean. From the sponge’s perspective its whole world would consist of water. Not only would water completely surround the sponge, but it would completely saturate the sponge as well. There would not be any measurable space in or around the sponge devoid of water. We understand the sponge is not water, it is still distinctly a sponge, but water would be found in, around, and throughout the entire sponge.

Now think of all of creation as being that one little sponge, and God as a boundless ocean. There is not one single speck of space in the entire universe that is void of his presence and influence. Although God completely surrounds and saturates all of his creation, he is separate and distinct from his creation. Infinity does not mean all.

The second thing we need to know is that although God is infinite he is also personal. The finite (us) can not perceive or know the infinite (God) unless the infinite first interacts with, and makes itself know to, the finite. We know of God and his infinite nature simply because he has made himself known to us. He has revealed himself through his creation (Rom 1:19) and through his Word (Heb 1:1). In no greater way did the infinite make himself known than when he chose to take on the form of his creation and dwell among us (Heb 1:2). Now that is really cool.

More In The Series

1) Intro to the Attributes of God

2) Goodness of God

3) Omnipresence of God Part 1

4) Omnipresence of God Part 2

5) Omniscience of God

6) Omnipotence of God

7) Freedom of God

8) Eternality of God

Attributes of God: Eternality

Today feels like an Attributes of God kind of day. In fact, I think we could even step it up a notch and take on one more of God’s incommunicable attributes – his eternality. When we speak of his eternality we are talking about God’s relationship to time. You had better hold on tight, this may get a little bumpy.

So why did I feel it necessary to preface our conversation with a word of caution? Well, there are two very good reasons why this might be a difficult topic to cover. Let me start with the obvious issue – God alone is eternal (Psalm 90:2, Rev 1:8).

Everything except for God has a beginning (John 1:1-3, Col 1:6). Since God gave us a soul that can never die, we can imagine something that has no end. However, God is more than immortal, he is eternal. He has neither beginning nor ending, and alone is “uncaused”. This is very much beyond our experience and understanding.

The other issue we have is that time isn’t all that easy of a thing to explain. Saint Augustine said of time, “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” That pretty much encapsulates the problem right there.

It is obvious we are creatures bound by time. We can neither escape its progress nor alter its course. Causes proceed effects, the past is different from the future, and we just tag along for the ride. In the absence of time would everything just happen simultaneously, or would nothing happen at all? It is impossible to image there could even be an instant when time did not exist. Come to think of it, I can’t even talk about time “before” time without using some of the many temporal words and phrases that litter our language. Add the fact God alone is eternal and we have ourselves a potentially difficult conversation ahead.

Now that we have established this is going to be a difficult concept, let’s define what we mean when we say God is eternal. In the same way, when speaking about his omnipresence, God is free from all limitations of space, so is he free from all limitations of time. Some would say that he exists above and apart from time. How is this possible? Well, God was before time, and he is the cause of time. Hence, he cannot be a part of time, though as creator he can and does relate to his creation in time.

So in a practical sense what does that mean? First off it means time does not change God. We change with every tick of the clock, but God does not (Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8). This should be encouraging, as God will not grow old, surly, impotent and forgetful with time. He is today as he was and will always be.

God’s freedom from all limitations of time also means he is equally present in every time and sees all time with equal clarity (Isaiah 46:10). A. W. Tozer explained it this way, “In God there is no was or will be, but a continuous and unbroken is. In Him history and prophecy are one and the same. “

The picture below may help you visualize what I am trying to explain. God is the creator of time and it dwells within him. He causes, affects, and controls it, and yet does so without time exerting any control on him. Although he exists above time he enters into time in order to interact with his creation. No more is this more pronounced than when the Son took on flesh and entered into time to die for our sins (Gal 4:4).


Here are some more scriptures related to God’s eternality:

Deut 33:27  The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms;

Psalm 93:2  Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.

Psalm 102:12  But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations.

Isa 40:28  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Isa 57:15  For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

Rom 1:20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

1 Tim 1:17  To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

More In The Series

1) Intro to the Attributes of God

2) Goodness of God

3) Omnipresence of God Part 1

4) Omnipresence of God Part 2

5) Omniscience of God

6) Omnipotence of God

7) Freedom of God

9) Infinite God

Becoming A Believer

Misunderstandings certainly do abound concerning what it means to be a Christian. Some people believe simply being born into a Christian family makes you a Christian. Others think that being a Christian means having to rigorously follow a set of prescribed ethical rules or laws. Many would consider themselves Christian simply because they believe God exists. The truth is, none of these things make you a Christian. Let’s look at what the Bible has to say on the matter, beginning with the problem at hand.

The Problem

Most human beings like to sort things into nice, neat categories to help us understand the world around us. For example we often divide people into two groups – those who are ‘good’ and those who are ‘bad’. Of course, the standards by which we judge good versus bad conveniently place us in the ‘good’ category. We are good(ish), but the guy who intentionally cut us off in traffic – he is bad.

While we might define good on a sliding scale, God measures things according to a very different standard – perfection (Matt 5:48). When the standard for ‘good’ is perfection there is no chance anyone will ever be judged as ‘good’ (Mark 10:18, Romans 3:10). The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This means God calls every person who has ever lived a sinner, and the Bible tells us that any sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Compounding our predicament is the fact that God is a perfectly just judge, and the mandatory sentence for sin happens to be death (Romans 6:23). No matter how we might identify ourselves, in God’s eyes we are all sinners, and our sin is worthy of judgment. This is a BIG problem.

The Solution

You might think it reasonable, as many do, that you could fix this problem and make things right just by doing more good things. Here is the logic: “If I do more good things than I do bad ones, the balance on the scales of justice will fall in my favour, and God will receive me.” However, if perfection is, in fact, the standard, you will never measure up – no matter how many good deeds you do. The Bible puts this argument to rest by informing us that even the very best of our good deeds are tainted, just like dirty filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This would leave us in the most desperate and hopeless of situations if it wasn’t for some wonderfully good news. God loves us!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Those are the words found in the most Googled Bible verse of all time – John 3:16. God loves us, and has demonstrated His love toward us by sending His Son to die and pay the penalty for our sins. He received our punishment, and He died on our behalf. He didn’t do this because we deserved or earned it – far from it (Titus 3:5). Instead, while we were still sinners deserving of judgment, He freely sent His Son to willingly die for us (Rom 5:6-10, Ephesians 2:8-9). This is love on the grandest of scales, and is the solution to our sin problem.

My Response

If God freely satisfied justice and took upon Himself our punishment, what is there left for us to do? Mark 1:15 says it best, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Our response to His free gift is to believe in what God has done, and to repent of our sins. Believe that we are sinners, and that Jesus freely absorbed all our sin and punishment. Repent, which is to turn away from our sin and turn to God. Repentance and faith go hand in hand.

So how do we take the first steps of repentance and faith? First you need to know it is God who gives you faith to believe, and it isn’t something you need to manufacture (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 12:3). However, faith is made evident by our words and our actions. Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” We can take our first steps of repentance and faith by praying to God. Once we start the journey God is always faithful to carry us through to the end (Philippians 1:6). Here is a sample prayer you could pray:

“Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner deserving of punishment. However, I believe You died on the cross and paid the punishment for my sin. I also believe You rose from the grave to make me a new creation and have prepared for me a place in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life.”

Am I Ready?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to know if you are ready to take the first steps of repentance and faith:

1) Do I understand and believe that I have sinned and that my sin makes me worthy of God’s judgment?
2) Do I understand and believe that Jesus took the full punishment for my sin upon Himself by dying in my place?
3) Do I understand and believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and is Lord of all?
4) Am I ready to surrender control of my life to Jesus, and confess He is Lord and Savior of my life?

If the answer to these four questions is ‘yes’, you are truly ready to respond to God’s invitation to repent and believe.