Travis: All right, so last time we, we, ended by hearing some admonitions from A.W.Tozer, in the first chapter of his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, which is clearly titled, Why We Must Think Rightly About God. I love that; that title; that chapter. There are a couple of lines from that chapter that we read last time to close that I think are worth repeating.
Here are some things, he said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” That’s, that’s a, that’s a quotable line. Another one, “A right conception about God is basic not only to systematic theology, but to practical Christian living, as well.” That is to say, when you think wrongly about God, you live wrongly. When you don’t think rightly about God, you’re, you’re, it’s no wonder when you’re, you’re, practice, your Christian living is off. Another quote, “The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of 10,000 temporal problems.”
Sometimes I think the, the best biblical counseling is done when we focus on theology. When we take somebody, you know, and, and people will criticize me for saying such a thing. By saying, you know, really you’re going to help people by just telling them about God; take two verses and call me in the morning. No, that’s, it’s not so simplistic to say that.
But it is true that when you have a right understanding about God, so much of your anxiety, your fear, your depression, your anger, all those things just dissipate. Just completely disappear, when you, when you really grasp the truth about who God is, his greatness, his holiness, his sovereignty. The fact that everything is planned. The fact that you are navig, you are walking through his world with his protection around you, takes away a lot of anxiety, doesn’t it?
Then in this quote, one more, “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him.” That’s the essence of idolatry. At the very heart of idolatry, thinking thoughts about God. Entertaining, not just thinking, but entertaining thoughts about God. I wonder if this is true? Kind of like what Eve did in the garden. That’s the essence of idolatry.
Entertaining thoughts about him that are unworthy of him, such as: God is withholding the very best from me. Not true. Not true. So that’s what we’re going to endeavor to do here, is to get some biblical clarity about this question: What is God like? And then to follow up with the related question: What are the implications of that truth on our lives?
And so, as we were making the point last time, we want to, number one; confess or profess truth about God. Number two; we want to reflect or meditate on that truth, in order that, number three, we might live consistently with that truth in our lives and then grow in depth of conviction.
It’s by living these things out, living consistently with them, consistency being the key. That there is a direct correlation between what we profess and, and, understand about God, and how we actually live in our lives. How we speak. How we think. There’s a consistency. You can draw a line between what we do, what we think, what we say, all the way back to what we believe, what we affirm, what the truth is about God.
Okay. So that’s what it means to do theology proper. That is the doctrine of God. And, also, to do theology properly. To do theology properly, we need to always do it with a view to obedience, not just rehearsing facts, but with a view to obedience. Like Ezra 7:10, “Setting our heart to study the law of God, to, to do it, and then to teach it. Okay. So teaching it is kind of the culmination. That’s what we have to, that’s part of our obedience, isn’t it?
As men, we’re leaders and teachers, and so we need to take what we know, we’re not a cul-de-sac, we’re a conduit. We need to pass on what we know and if you’re not doing that in your life, you’re not being obedient. That’s part of it, Okay? So, we want to be shepherd theologians.
I’ll say here at the beginning, too, that as we walk through theology proper, let’s not, let’s not be in a hurry. We’re, we’re, not in a rush. We’ve got time. As long, as much time, as God wants to give us, as long as we have breath, we have the opportunity to study him and know him. So don’t worry about what we’re going to cover or how much we’re going to cover. We’ll cover what we need to cover. If we need to push pause a little bit, and kind of eddy out, and just listen, and think, and, and, all that, we’ll do that.
And then, also, just want to say too, that don’t be under any false impression that I know everything that I’m talking about. I, I, I’m, I’m learning along with you. I’m obviously, in order to put this together, I have to know some things and present them to you, but honestly, you, if you press me too far, I’m not going to know the answer, because we’re dealing with God. Okay. So, I’ll make that clear as, as, we start walking through some of this, Okay.
Did you all read? Let’s just start out with, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, because we’re kind of covering some of this in apologetics, but did you guys read the chapter on doctrine of God or at least get into it? I’ve actually not read the whole chapter, just to confess to you.
But I did start out in talking, in the first, I don’t know, a few pages, where it talks about the fact of God. Did you guys read that? Where he talks about the fact of God is established by reason and established by revelation. So, what do you guys think of that section? You guys appreciate that. Anybody read it? Anybody remember what you read?
Audience: It’s been a while, but.
Travis: It’s been a while, yeah. Okay. So, so it sounds, some of what he said here in just a short summary form is, sounds like a lot of what we’ve talked about in the apologetics and evangelism class, right? So, the argument from universal belief, the fact that, the fact that everybody acknowledges the existence of God.
In Romans one is God’s commentary on the human heart, and that what they know, the sense of God, the sense of the divine, Romans 1:19 to 21, Romans 1:28, everybody knows. Everybody knows. Why? Because God has made it plain to them. And so, by everything that’s out there, by everything that he’s created, whether it’s internal to them or external to them, everybody knows something about God, so that they are without excuse. It’s not enough to save them, but it is enough to condemn them, right? Okay.
There’s also, and I appreciated the way he put some of this in the argument from cause and effect. You know every effect must have a sufficient cause. That is not to say that every cause has an effect or it’s every effect must have a sufficient cause. Okay? So when we go back to that first cause, it’s God. God is not an effect. He is the first cause. He is the causer of all effects. Okay?
So, he talked about, the, these four things here. The element of, of, intelligence or purposeful tendency. The element of personality, the element of man’s mental, moral, emotional nature, the element of power. All of those things are arguments from cause and effect. That you must have a sufficient cause to explain things like intelligence, purpose, and purposeful tendency.
You have to have, the, you know, a first cause to show up, to show all personality. Where did all that come from? Came from a personal God. Man, man’s mental nature, his moral nature, his emotional nature, those can’t, those don’t just evolve. They don’t pop-up from matter. Matter doesn’t have a mental, moral, emotional nature, and even the element of power itself.
Where did power, where’s power generated from, but from the power giving life, giving light, emitting God, right. So, I want to read one section here on Bancroft, page 44. He says this, “The evidence, the argument from evident harmony of belief in God with existing facts.” So, he says in middle of page 44, “When we come to consider the Earth, itself, that is, apart from the other members of the solar system, we find no escape from the conviction that a creative hand fashioned it. How else could the things which only the willfully blind can fail to observe, be accounted for?” And then he quotes Voltaire, of all people.
Voltaire has well said, “That if there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.” That I, and I just want to make the point that Bancroft’s cause/effect arguments and ending there with Voltaire, that quote from Voltaire. They correlate very well with what we’ve been talking about in the apologetics and evangelism class, with what we call the transcendental argument for the existence of God. That is to say that the proof of God’s existence is found in the impossibility of the contrary.
And that is to say, in other words, apart from the existence of the triune God, the, the God who has revealed himself in the Bible, in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the one who has revealed himself ultimately in Christ, here in Scripture. Without the existence of that God, it’s impossible to prove anything at all. Okay. That’s the impossibility of the contrary portion of that. You cannot prove or explain any cause apart from the existence of the triune God.
So, if you press evolutionists, or pagans, or Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, anybody, back to first causes, to get them to explain, and again, we’re talking about consistency, from what they profess, all the way to what we actually see. They, there is no consistency in their system of belief and, what they, what they say about God. There is no consistency in explaining morality, and emotion, and, and, truth, and absolutes, or anything like that. Okay. That make sense? So that’s what, I just wanted to point, that out, in Bancroft, that, that’s very helpful. It’s a very helpful apologetic. So, any, any, comments?
Okay, we established, Bancroft talks about, you know, theology proper. Proof of God’s existence established by reason. It’s also established by revelation, that, what we read in the scripture. We discussed the distinction between general and special revelation sometime back. Back in the Fall. And there’s only so much that we can come to understand about God through nature.
We understand that there’s a lot we can learn about God through nature, but we’re dependent upon God to make himself known through his self-disclosure in words through scripture. And when we, when we understand the words of scripture, then we look back and, actually, can interpret what we see in general revelation rightly. Truly. You know, if we, if we ignore special revelation with what we look about in nature, what do we do? We turn into Pagans. We turn into, you know
Travis: Evolutionists, right. When we, when we read the Bible, though, not only do we interpret the world around us rightly; that’s the work of his hands, but we also interpret the worker, right? Rightly. So, we discovered the attributes of God.
So let’s, let’s, move into a little bit of, this is just introduction. Let’s move into, now, what we’re going to talk about today, in talking about theology proper. Just with a introductory lesson here. And I want to go back to the question I asked earlier: What is God like? what is God like? How does that question, as I’ve stated it there. How does that question betray the difficulty of our task in doing theology? What is God like?
Audience: I wouldn’t say: What is God? I said what is he like? Because the closest thing we can do is give words that we understand, to talk about similarity between God, the truth of what God is, and how we can perceive him.
Yea. That’s really well put. Cause we can’t really understand God. We can say, what he’s like and we can we can describe that in great detail. But it still is: What is God like? It’s for our puny minds. It’s like all the non-words like immutable, you know, I can’t think of anymore. Eternal.
Audience: you know. And yeah, you know, it’s just like you know, we just have no concept,
Travis: Okay. So yeah, we’ll get to that. Yeah.
Audience: There are very few other things in our creation that we describe in the negative in that way, right? There, there’s it, it is the in, almost an intangibility to God for us to wrap ourselves around this.
Travis: When we describe a table, we say it is; hard, flat, it’s about, I don’t know, what is that two and a half, three feet high. It’s, and it’s constructed of plastic and metal, bolted in. We can, we can say what it is. We can talk about its composite materials and how it’s constructed. We can talk about its purposes, it’s uses. We can say a lot about what it actually is. We don’t have to use analogies. Table; it’s like?
Audience: An elephant. A table.
Travis: A flat surface. Yeah. It’s like an elephant.
Audience: It is a lot like a table. It is unwaze.
Travis: Like, yeah, it’s a lot like a, a, table, as a matter of fact. You ever seen a table? No. So, but when we’re talking about God, what is the problem with saying God is like this or that?
Audience: Because he’s not like anything.
Travis: There you go. Bingo. He’s not like anything. Brett, you’ve had your hand up for a bit.
Audience: Yeah. I’m just going to say, like we, you know, we have this saying we compare apples and oranges. But when we’re comparing God, there’s nothing to compare him to that make sense to us.
Travis: Okay, good, good, good. Turn to Isaiah 40, real quick. John, you gotta, your hand in the air.
Audience: You can’t put God in the box.
Travis: Yeah. You can’t put God in a box.
Audience: You can put the table in a box.
Travis: Yeah. right?
Audience: Yeah, put anything. But with God, you can’t put him in a box.
Travis: Yeah, he created all boxes, right? Yeah, sit and, and, I, I agree with that. I always wince when someone says you can’t put God in a box, not because it’s not true, but because of what people do with that statement. Then they say, well, whatever I want to make up about God can be true. You know, God can create square circles and, you know, he can create a rock too heavy for him to lift. And what?
You can’t put God in the box, and so we can talk about utter irrationality, and say that, that is God; whatever I can conceive of. So, whenever I say no, God is not like that, they said, well, don’t, could put God in a box. But wait a minute, God already boxed himself in with his word. He said, I am like this and I’m not like that. This is what I am. So I, you know, that’s where I like that statement as far as it goes. But you just have to be careful when people quote that at you because sometimes it’s an apologetic for their own irrationality.
Coming to Isaiah 40, verse 18, “To whom then will you liken.” Let’s see. Where am I going to? Oh yeah, all the way to 26. So, “to whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! a Craftsman casts it, a goldsmith overlays it with gold and” cast it “cast for it silver chains. He was too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out skillful,” skillful” craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the Earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.”
Just real quick on that comment there, it’s he who sits above the circle of the earth. Did you guys hear Jeff Williams at, at, the Shepherds Conference? Jeff Williams, the astronaut, he’s up there in the International Space Station, orbiting the earth every 90 minutes, and he says, up from there you can see what’s, what he calls the Terminator line. You know, the, the, line between light and darkness. That there is a, there is a circle inscribed on the earth, literally. This is from Isaiah, from job.
He says, as an astronaut, he sees things now, as an astronaut, from, from, a perspective that only God could have seen when this was written, and yet no human could ever say. It’s incredible, such a, such an apologetic again for God’s authorship of Scripture. So “it’s he who sits above the circle of the earth. Its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.”
“Scarcely they’re planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might in because he is strong in power, not one is missing.”
Because again, talking about his sustaining of all the stars, his sustaining of all, the, the heavenly bodies, So, God is not like, technically he’s not like anything. That’s the difficulty in our task; is we learn by making analogies and comparisons, that’s all we can do. Hey, what’s that guy like? Well, you know that, you know, the football player is like six foot six. He’s a lot, lot like that. He’s a, he’s a truck of a man. You know, he just enters a room and fills up all the empty spaces.
Or what’s that woman like? Well, she’s just a in terminal gossip, you know. You’ve never seen a woman like that. You know, that kind of, it’s, we have to make comparisons and analogies and that’s how we learn. That’s how we correlate data and information is, is, is, by making comparisons. So, God is not like anything. He’s holy, he’s completely set apart. He’s very different from us. Scott.
Audience: So you’re saying like, not to like.
Travis: You’re using the word, use the word, ‘like’ two times there.
Audience: Sorry. You’re saying not to compare him to things outside of the Bible. Like the, the, things that he, that, that he said he is. We can say that, but we’re.
Travis: well. So, here’s, here’s the difficulty we just had. What I’m saying is, we have to be very, very careful when we make comparisons about God. Right? Okay. So, like that, like I might say something like this in talking to my kids. I might say: Do you see that ocean, how it seems to never, ever end? You see the stars, how they seem to go on forever.
Well, that’s, it’s that same feeling about God that there is a endlessness to him. And yet, God is the one who made that ocean and those stars in the heavens. So, I’m, I’m making comparisons, to a, a mind, my mind can understand. Kind of like that sense of, I’ve described this before, if, if, any of you have ever almost died, especially by falling off something. Or you get that feeling in your gut, that you almost fell. it’s almost like that feeling, in that sense of, of, reverence and fear, for what you just almost died from. It’s like that with God. None.
It’s not that, it’s just like that. The sense that he is great, and powerful, and awesome, and large, and vast, and all this. So, we say those things, but we just need to be careful that we don’t say: You see that. God is like that, right there. We have to be careful, because that turns into idolatry.
Audience: Like a toaster. Yeah.
Travis: He’s not like a toaster.
Audience: right? But that’s what a lot of, actually like Mueller said, that, that’s what some of the political people started..
Travis: That God.
Audience: ..comparing God to.
Travis: Well, good. So, we’re not gonna make that same error here. So, and, and, like Brett said, this is why we are forced to use a lot of negative language when describing God’s attributes. That he is infinite, that is, we know finite, but we don’t know infinite. We just know that God is infinite. Immutable, we know mutable. We know changeability. We know that things don’t stay the same and yet God is not like that. He is immutable. Impassable. Capable of being affected and, and, and, having things affect us so that we feel suffering, and pain, and passions. And God is not like that, there is, because that conflicts with immutability.
So, there’s something about God that we, we know he’s not like. We, we, describe God in a lot of those ways, of using negative language. There are positive terms, as well, though. Right? So, words like simplicity, eternality, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. Even those terms, though, that are positive, we don’t know anything like that. We don’t know anything that is all powerful, and, and, omnipresent, except God.
It was, so as we struggle to wrap our brains around the things that God has revealed about himself in scripture, we’re left kind of, just with question marks. So go back to Genesis 1:1. I can probably just quote it to you, but it, it’s, it’s, might as well just read it. You there? “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Okay, wait a minute. Let’s go back before that. What was there? You ever tried to imagine a pre-time, pre, pre-matter existence of the triune God? You, yeah, you, you kind of just. You, you start just, kind of, your, your head just cannot. You can’t. You cannot put anything in it.
Audience: It’s void. It’s endless.
Travis: Right. And, and, we try to imagine, we try to imagine this, this nothingness, this nonexistence, this non. And yet that’s not even true, because God is.
Audience: (undetermined) do a toaster.
Travis: Exactly. Exactly. Hey Daniel. So, go, go, to the other end of your Bible, real quick, with, with that, in mind. Thinking about a pre, go to Titus chapter one. When we talk about a pre-creation, pre-beginning existence of God and, and, our minds are kind of scrambled with that. If we go to Titus one, Paul says this to Titus, and this is just apostle talking to young pastor. Okay here’s where he starts in this conversation. Isn’t talk about how you need to have a really nice sweater, and, and, hug people a lot, and just go to coffee with people as a pastor.
Here’s what he says. “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior.”
Wow. Just to get your mind around that statement right there as kind of a preamble to a pastoral letter, here’s how you need to pastor. Let’s start here, and look in the middle there, “in hope of Eternal life, which God who never lies promised before the ages began.” Who was there before the ages began?
Travis: God. So, who’s he making promises to?
Audience: Himself. The Trinity.
Travis: See there Intra Trinitarian reality we’re seeing here, aren’t we? There’s a promise of God the father, he made to God the son. He just spoke. This is, this is talking, this is the, the, concept. We talk about God’s eternal decree: Here it is right here. Okay, go back to John 17 and let’s listen to that same concept of a God before creation. Let’s, let’s, hear it in relational terms.
Okay, this is John 17. This is Jesus high priestly prayer. Look at verses four and five. Jesus, said John 17:4, I have glory. “I glorified you on Earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Sounds like a, sounds like a visiting space alien, right? I came to Earth fo-father. You know it’s true. Though he did. He came to Earth. He came into this creation. “I’ve glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
I don’t know if you guys remember Michael Reeves at Shepherd’s conference and he was talking about how Christ didn’t come to Earth to suffer, to gain a glory that he never had, but to return to a glory that he already had. And there is no selfishness, no self-centeredness, no attaining for himself in the whole redemption plan. The economy of redemption was completely focused on love, because he had glory. He had perfect glory.
He came to suffer and die, in order that, he might return to the glory that he already had. It’s not self-centeredness. It’s, it’s, completely out of love. Out of devotion to the father, of love for the fath, the people that the father had given him. It’s incredible.
Go to verse 24. “Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” So again, we’re talking about pre-creation, pre-matter, pre-time, pre-space, preexistence of anything that we know to be reality, there’s God.
And God has this, there’s a love relationship between Father and son. There’s a, there’s a, there’s communication, a promise, a decree given from Father to son. There’s, there’s, glory before the world began, as it doesn’t, it didn’t take the world in order to glorify God. God is glorifying himself to himself in himself. How do you explain that? I don’t understand how to explain that. I don’t.
Audience: I am so. The eternity is explain
Travis: So good luck.
Audience: Like I, like I, in the way that I think about it. Just, I’m just kind of putting this out there, so that you can crush it like a flower. But, but I have wondered.
Travis: I wasn’t thinking of flower. I was thinking what you’re about to say is more like a roach crawling out of your mouth, right? Crush that.
Audience: Crush it like a roach. Hopefully It’s not. Seriously, cause in all seriousness, I’m not trying to be irreverent or anything. I’ve wondered though, is it like this, if God is outside of space and time, so that space and time is a construct of our universe, so that he’s eternal. He’s outside of that. Could it be envisioned, I, in a metaphorical sense that? Nope. That the, the, universe is like, here’s heav, okay, cause, you know how John MacArthur says heaven is up.
Travis: Wait a minute, there’s a hang, a dangling question mark there.
Audience: I know, I know. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. It’s coming, alright. It’s Pauline. Yeah, it’s a Pauline question. Thank you.
Travis: Don’t give him a big head. Hey, it’s not like the Apostle Paul.
Audience: So anyway, so you know how John MacArthur says heaven is up? I always. I think that’s great. And the reason I think that’s great is this. If you go far enough in this universe, there’s a CMBRE, you know, it’s this Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. It’s pretty awesome. It just means that, there’s, there’s a curtain out there that can’t be explained, and there’s some neat things about that. But anyway, that’s the border of the universe, as we know it. We don’t know of anything other than that, than that. That’s the last limit.
So could it be that, that, outside of that is heaven. Literally the third heaven, like they, like they talked about, you know, that the first heaven was the sky, the second heaven was the space, that third heaven was God, and that in a sense, the universe, it’s in its space-time construct. It is an object in the garden of God. In the, in the infinite expanse of the true, true reality that is heaven, there is this object that he made and populated with his own people. And, and this object.
Travis: So I’m gonna give you, I’m gonna give you an impeccably accurate answer. I don’t know.
Audience: And you can’t know.
Travis: Without contradiction.
Audience: And you can’t.
Travis: I don’t know. I just know that it says, the, the, scripture says, and I don’t remember the reference right now. The heavens, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. So even though, so, so even if we’re talking about something, let’s, let’s say you’re right about that, then we’re gonna, what did you call it the something Magnetic Radiation layer or whatever.
Audience: Cosmic Microwave Radiation. I think the ‘E’ stands for Event. They think it’s an event. Yeah, but, but, the ‘E’ is wrong.
Audience: CBR. Kept it there, but Wikipedia.
Travis: So, so here we go. So, we’re gonna break through that layer when we finally go to heaven, or Paul maybe did break through that layer and go to the third heavens, or whatever. Whatever it is up there, it’s still contained within God. It still was not there before all of this was.
Audience: When God is walking around in his garden, admiring the objects that he made in the garden. It’s that God is bigger than the garden itself. He’s big. Transcendent. He’s transcendent.
Travis: And then God is spirit. So even to, even to speak in terms of like bigger than, less than, is still, it’s like inadequate language. It’s insufficient because he, he, he ‘is’. He is spirit. He fills all things and is everywhere. And everything is contained within him. In within him, we live and move and have our being.
Audience: That is amazing.
Travis: It is amazing. I, I don’t know how to,I don’t know how to conceptualize it. I just don’t. I can’t bring things into my mind. Yeah, Devin.
Audience: All this talk is getting me a little bit excited to die.
Travis: No kidding. Yeah. I, I, I agree.
Audience: what did he say? I’m excited to die.
Travis: We’re excited to get on with seeing what’s out there. You know, he just, he said excited to die. I don’t want this turned into a Jim Jones. It’s all great.
Audience: What happened to the theology class?
Travis: Well, they were talking about incomprehensibility of God, and that’s the last we heard of them. But it is true. It’s, it’s, exactly right. Why? Why does anybody become too attached to this world? It is like playing in the dumpster, when there’s this massive experience of, of, God in his creation. I mean, we’re only experiencing even the, just the, the, the, fraction of what he actually created, right?
Audience: Like landfill, I would think.
Travis: Like a landfill. Yeah.
Audience: It’s a broken one at that.
Travis: It’s just a broken one. This is a cursed earth. Yeah, I, I, tell that to, like when our kids, and so we drive through like the Rocky Mountain National and see the beauty of all that, I say and, and, guys get this: This is a cursed earth. Imagine what it was like before the curse. Imagine the things that God has in store for those who love him, that we’ve never ever seen. The, the, the, the, extent of the universe and you know, Jeff Williams again, going back to the Work of His Hands and his presentation that he gives.
And he’s he talks about things that he sees up there; the Aurora borealis and where he sees just incredible beauty, and color, and the, the, brilliancy of the stars and everything. These are things that before the space age no man ever saw. And I’m, I’m, certain that if you take a man to the farthest reaches to the CMBREP whatever. If you take him there, he’s going to see incredible things. And yet that’s still, because it’s one man, a finite man, going there and back still, only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of how do you get your arms around that, the things that God sees every single day.
Audience: And then a fraction of the infinite is still the same fraction.
Travis: Thank you for bringing us back to reality. That’s right. Because exactly right.
Audience: It’s right. I mean, the you, you’ll never end.
Travis: You’ll never end.
Audience: What’s cool about that is even when we’re in glory, it’ll never end.
Travis: That’s right. That’s right. And that is listen, okay, so this is totally off track, but think about us.
Audience: We got time remember.
Travis: We do have time. We do. We do have time. A limited amount, though, because we, the seconds keep rolling on by and we can never get those ones back.
Audience: Some of us have decades. I’m just saying. That’s presumptuous. That’s presumptuous. That’s presumptuous. yeah.
Travis: In the infinitude of time and space, though, what is decades?
Audience: Yeah, it’s true. Nothing. Nothing.
Travis: So, but what I was going to say about that going to, going to heaven and being with God for all of eternity. The fact that we are mutable is the greatest joy. The fact that we’re changeable is the greatest joy that we could have, the greatest gift we could ever be given as creatures.
Audience: Because we keep learning.
Travis: Every single day is a new experience, a new understanding, a new depth of things we never knew before.
Audience: And it’s not just time and place, it’s thought and everything.
Travis: Everything. You got it.
Audience: That’s like, really cool.
Travis: Yeah. Now when you sing, Behold your God. Do you think of these things? So go to Ezekiel. I want to, I want to talk about this. So mat, we, we’ve just talked a little bit, tried to, you know, play around a little sandbox of, you know, imagine a time without God or, not a time without God, a time without creation. Wow. Almost said something heretical.
Audience: Where are we in Ezekiel?
Travis: We’re going to go to Ezekiel chapter 1. We just talked, though, about imagining, trying to imagine what we can’t imagine. Now we’re going to, now we’re gonna try to imagine here what Ezekiel saw. Okay, so listen to this, but if you’ve ever
Audience: Ezekiel what?
Travis: Ezekiel 1. “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month,” he’s very clear about that, right, “as I was among the exiles by the Chebar Canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. And on the fifth day of the month, (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar Canal,” and the “and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.”
So, we’re clear so far. We got space, time, everything is clear. “As I look, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire”, as, “as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures.”
Notice how many times he’s going to make, like, use comparative language; as it were; in the likeness. Okay? “And this was their appearance.” So, he’s going to use words like seems and appearance, “And this was their appearance: they had human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, the soles of their feet were like the soles of a calf’s foot.”
Audience: Just like people I’ve seen.
Travis: Yep, exactly. And we’re not done. “And they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings and on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. And as for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, the four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces.”
And so, they had a lot of faces, or four faces, each of them. “Their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straightforward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. As to the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of the flashes of lightning.”
So, you got this picture of, like, these huge creatures and massive, and yet they’re darting to and fro, like lightning. They move at the speed of light. “Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As with the appearance of the wheels and their construction:” here we go. “Their appearance was like the”, greening, “gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel.
“When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.” It’s interesting, tall and awesome. He’s talking about the rims of wheels. Will you look at the rims on a car and say, yeah, awesome rims dude, you know, but we’re not really using it in the same way.
These things are actually putting him on his heels and saying, he, he’s, just, his jaw has dropped to the ground and he’s just talking, right now, about creatures. The “rims were tall and awesome. The rims of all four were full of eyes all around.” There’s movement and there’s, there’s, sight in the rims. “When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them. And when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them. For the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went, and when those stood, these stood. And when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.”
It’s kind of like having your appliances with your spirit in them, and wherever you go, your appliances go along with you. My refrigerator is following along with me. Wherever I go, it goes.
Audience: On wheels. I have that problem.
Travis: So “over the heads of the living creatures,” here we go, “there was the likeness of an expanse,” not an expanse, but the likeness of an expanse, “shining like awe inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. And under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. And each”, each, “creature had two wings covering its body. When they went, I heard the sound of their wings, like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army.”
I mean, so many comparisons they just keep rolling. “When they stood still, they let down their wings.” There’s just the sensory overload here of what he’s seeing, what he’s observing, what he’s hearing. When, i, if you’ve ever been near, you know, it really loud sound, you know, it just rattles your whole body. I mean, the sound waves actually cause.
Travis: Yeah, internal impacting and, and, reverberation. “There came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. And when they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like Sapphire; seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that’s in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of the one speaking.”
What’s revealed here about God. This appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord is really utterly overwhelming to human senses. So, i, in it put Ezekiel on his face. He just, he could not contain. So, and what he’s described in most of the chapter is the, are the creatures that attend God. And then he tries to describe the glory, the, the, likeness, the appearance of the likeness, of the glory of the Lord. He’s not even describing, necessarily, the glory of the Lord. And even the glory is what emanates out from God.
We’re not even talking about the, I don’t know how to put that, the substance, the stuff of God himself, that’s causing that emanation. We’re just talking about what we see on the outside. So, when, when, when God condescends through the prophet here to give us a likeness, give us and trying to understand the likeness of his glory, we cannot get our minds around this. Anybody ever seen someone try to draw a picture of some of this stuff? I, I’ve seen some of those things portrayed and it, it, always falls short. I mean, there’s, just,
Audience: Diminishes it.
Audience: It diminishes it.
Travis: It, it diminishes it. But I think, but yeah, but even Ezekiel would say no, no, that’s not what I saw. You gotta. But even as he’s trying to describe this, he’s putting this in a language for us. Trying to give us a picture. And what we’re left with is what Ezekiel experiences, is just this: I cannot get my mind around this. And that is, what is, I think what it’s being conveyed here.
So, as we’re trying to understand what God has revealed about himself. We should be quick to acknowledge, even though we understand the words that he’s using, we understand all these words. We understand this language. We can start to put sentences together. We know the grammar. Well, we should acknowledge and remain aware of the fact in this entire study and through our entire lives that God cannot be contained in our understanding. Okay?
God is! This is the doctrine that I wanted to start with. It’s called the doctrine of God’s fundamental incomprehensibility. That is to say that fundamentally, as God, he is incomprehensible. That isn’t to say irrational. It’s not to say unknowable, it’s just to say incomprehensible. What, what do I mean by that? To comprehend something is to basically be able to contain it within our understanding. We’re saying that God is not fully contained in our understanding.
Audience: This is why we say the word like.
Travis: This is why we say the word like. The Californians and my son Scott are correct. They’re way ahead of everybody. You’ve been making fun of them for years. Those guys like know, like what they’re talking about. So, the infinite creator cannot be fully comprehended by finite creatures. That’s what we’re trying to say here in this doctrine. I want you to, with that in mind, and again understanding that, I’m, I’m, not saying by this that we can make up whatever goofy thing we want to and say that God could be like that. No.
God does explain himself, and there are some things that God is not and God is, and it’s not to say that God is unknowable. There’s so much we can know about God. And I want to in a second, after I answer Brettt’s question or let Brettt talk. I want to, I want you to hear how carefully the Athanasian Creed describes God. Okay? We really appreciate this creed. But go ahead.
Audience: One of the neat thing to me is that, it is obvious that he is, and he’s so technical in the rest of Ezekiel, in the, in the need of his descriptions. He’s such a technical kind of thinking, kind of guy.
Audience: Yeah. So, I think it’s like no mistake at all that he is saying, like an appearance of it, as it were. He’s like really being kind of technical. But by saying that, cause he’s, he’s, saying it’s not technically this, but it was like, it was like it. But then, so it’s obvious that he’s trying to communicate as much as he can of it.
And yet, it is obvious how incomprehensible it is. And that makes you feel why he, he, couldn’t take it, and he lay down on the ground. But the weirdest, awesomest, thing is every single vision of God ever, in, in, recorded Scripture, of the real God is, even though it’s so incomprehensible, it’s real, because when John saw it, he describes the exact same thing. But from John’s point of view.
So if you read him, it’s the same creatures. They sound a little different because each one has its own. So, because John was only seeing them from one vantage point. Then if you go to Moses, Moses and the elders saw God, but all they could record of him, even, was just his, his sapphire foundation of the throne being, which was to them, so huge that they called it a sea.
so then if you go to revelation, again, and it talks about the sea of glass, it’s not a glassy sea, like a sea that has not been disturbed. It’s a sea of glass, just like it talked about in Moses. So, it’s like, even though they are completely incomprehensible, even, even Isaiah’s vision actually agrees with these. So, it’s weird that it’s never.
Travis: So you see 50 about 1500 BC you see, 700 or so BC you see. You know, first century AD, you see the same picture.
Audience: You see the exact same things, and, and, consistency, even in the incomprehensibility of it and John records that there was a rainbow effect to the throne. Which always looks really dorky in the pictures.
Travis: it does. It does.
Audience: But he’s talking here about the iridescence too. And so, there was, there is some weird iridescence that in a pre-technological mindset that, you know that, that, they, they, were seeing it. So, even though it is, you can’t describe it very well. The nondescription of it, all agree. It’s pretty. That’s pretty cool, mind-blowing thing, that how real it is.
Travis: And if you were to cast this vision in a technological age. Would we be any more adept at describing it?
Audience: No. No. We would just describe it like, what were we?
Travis: We’d be floored as well. Now like, now, I wanna ask this question real quick is; How does what Brettt’s talking about, how does what we see here in Scripture revealed about God? How is this, in and of itself, an apologetic for not just the truthfulness of Scripture, but the reality of God? How is this, how is this a defense? An explanation, of the truth about Scripture and the truth about God.
Audience: Yeah, it’s so awesome. Because if you go
Travis: just real quick, I want to see whatever, what others. I know
Audience: I know there are other people in the world.
Travis: There are.
Audience: Even in this room.
Travis: They’re, they’re, right here around you. Touch them. Joe, were you going to say something?
Audience: It just shows that God can’t, our God is not a God that’s made-up by men.
Travis: There you go. That’s right. Because no man would describe God this way. Because this is great. That you can’t.
Audience: Yeah, it’s doesn’t make any sense.
Travis: right. And yet, and yet, back to Brettt’s point, it’s the, it’s the same description across centuries, but different.
Audience: That’s Voltaire’s point
Travis: What’s that?
Audience: Voltaire, I mean even he, it wasn’t necessary. We, we, couldn’t make him up, you know, we’d have to invent him if, if, he didn’t exist.
Travis: But, but, to Voltaire
Audience: He exists the same way amongst all these other people. It’s.
Travis: But to Voltaire. But to contradict Voltaire, you cannot come up with this. Your, you, would be impossible for you to invent this God. You, you can’t
Audience: If you look at Ezekiel’s description, you think about the people that he’s writing this to. They go, he is, this is the first LSD trip. That’s what you’re, it would be going; What in the world would you tell us, what that really is? I don’t understand you.
Travis: Yeah, and for, for, exiles to whom he is writing, who had just been conquered and overrun by the Babylonians, and, and, are in dismay. Their, their, their world, their, their whole paradigm is in smoldering ruins. To know that this God is the one that’s on the throne. To know that this God is the one who controls their future. To control all their history, their present and their future. That settles all problems. Being a conquered people no longer matters because look back at God’s promises. He will do what he says he’ll do. It’s just, it’s in his time. What am I going to say? Yeah, Gary.
Audience: I was just thinking. The reason this blows their mind is because I think of Psalm 50. Where God says you thought I was just like you. And if we were inventing a God, he would be like us. This is totally different. This is not something like we’ve already said, that we would imagine or put together.
Travis: The Jehovah’s Witnesses make converts out of, out of, I would say false Christians, you know. A lot of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, they love to prey upon church people. Kids have been raised in the church who think they know everything and, and, they’ve just been reciting all the things their parents have taught them, but they really don’t own it. They really haven’t become regenerate believers, born again, but they look like it.
And so, the Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses, love to prey upon those people and they love to press those people by showing them how ridiculous it is, this incomprehensibility of things like the Trinity. And they love to, they love to make them feel nervous and, and, and, intimidated and afraid that they’ve somehow embraced irrationality. And so, what they, then, offer them is a God that they can comprehend. Something that they can understand.
And the fact that they embrace that God and go into, become a Jehovah’s Witness or become a Mormon or enter into the cults, it just demonstrates the fact that they’re not regenerate. They’ve not been born again. They’ve not been taught to understand that, yeah, my God is greater than I, my mind can contain.
So the fact of this incomprehensibility should never be something that causes us to feel ashamed, but rather to feel boastful about our God. Just say, you’re absolutely right, the Trinity doesn’t make sense to you. I get it. I get it. That’s the greatness of God. I see Chuck and a couple hands up.
Audience: I didn’t hear Joes response. So, could, could you, Joe: What did you say?
Travis: Yeah, go ahead and say it loudly.
Audience: I got, what did I say?
Travis: The question is yeah. The question is how is
Audience: I’m trying to summarize this. Why is this apologetic.
Travis: why is this an apologetic for the truthfulness of scripture and the truthfulness of God? Because he said, no man can come up with this. No man can come up with this. This is this is coming to us, in a sense, alien invasion, this is, is, alien knowledge to us. It’s external to us. We would never concoct this out of our minds. We’d never spin this out of, you know, in any of our tales. Any myth you see throughout human history, that is, it’s, it’s, really, it’s a man, it’s a construct of man’s mind. And Joe is saying that none of this is a construct of man’s mind. They’re just trying to explain what’s, what’s, coming into them.
This is a totally. Not, not, a sublime point at all, but actually really ridiculous. But I’m saying anyway, at the risk of being stupid. Sometimes my family and I will watch those, you know, those movies where it’s like, what is it, you know, like outer space, and there’s always something invading the earth, and mankind kind of comes together and pushes out the invader, kills the invader, the, the invader, the alien, whatever it is, is always destructive, always harmful. Always.
And I, I tell the kids I’m like, you know, I really believe that that represents a couple things. Number one, the sense that man has. Even if they’re, those movies don’t ever entertain the reality of God. So, they, they, define God out of their reality, but they can’t help but acknowledge God, just by the fact that they’re fearful of something coming in and judging them.
Number two: There’s always a sense that something coming in is harmful to them and they need to unite and, and push it away and rebel against it. When we see these, these, pictures like you said LSD trip. I’ve heard others say about Ezekiel one, it’s like spaceships. It’s like, I mean, the, what was it Charles Manson thought the Beatles were speaking to him through the music and describing things in revelation. You know the, the those, those, grasshoppers, man, they’re like helicopters. You know that’s what they are flying through the earth. That’s, that’s, so he’s seeing war machines and, and, all that.
But God is, he is, in that sense alien to us. He is external. And as he comes in, he comes in, as we see with kindness. When Jesus said, you sent me to the Earth, Jesus already invaded the Earth. Invaded the earth? What for what? For salvation. And yet we’re taught to believe that anything invading the earth is harmful. Let’s get rid of it. Jesus came and he invaded the earth for grace.
Audience: I was going to say that, that, that is an apologetic argument. Also, because every other religion creates a God in man’s likeness. And so, they, that’s why they appeal to a lot of people, because it makes sense to them.
And if you talk to non-believers, complete pagans that have been exposed to any kind of religion, most of the time, especially like comparative religion classes, type thing and it’s all like the, the, assumption is; Hey, if, if, as we’re going through this, you know, 6000 years of human history, we have invented God to a certain point. We’ve come up with these things and now we’ve introduced evolution and we understand that better and stuff like that.
So, so they’re like, you know, you talked to a guy that, that, basically thinks that we’ve come up with God. And, so, passages like this are the conflict of grace. Those things show that we, we would never have done that and, and, and, can be shown powerfully that, that, here in 700 BC, is, is, a completely, God that is completely incomprehensible.
Travis: right? And, and, the folly of a comparative religion study is that it doesn’t do contrastive study. It, it, only takes like, it only weaves together like; See, there’s a concept of love in Hinduism, and there’s a concept of love in Christianity, therefore, the same. Same thing. Are you serious?
Audience: Like that? Yeah, like they’re all the same. They all have the same. And you look at them. No, they don’t. God is everywhere.
Travis: Let’s, let’s, let’s talk about not just comparisons, but let’s talk about contrasts. And let’s see what’s different about all these different systems. I’ll, I’ll, be quick to say and agree with them that yes, if you take all the world’s religions, they all compare. They all contain a finite concept of God. They all contain a, a, sense of self salvation. There’s one that does not.
Audience: One that doesn’t. Yeah.
Travis: There’s one that does not. It’s exclusive. Absolute. It’s transcendent. It’s all based on God’s initiative. God’s grace. God’s action. God’s power. God’s sovereignty. Without man doing anything for himself. It’s all God. Yes, I’ll, I’ll admit that everything else is the same, except one. John.
Audience: I’m, I’m, thinking, too, when you think of all this. Cause if you look at, you know, we got Genesis. We know how it started. And then the way I see it, it’s all been perverted. So, what you see in actuality started out, but then man perverted it, you know, as we progress. And there’s an interesting study about mythologies and how there seems to be similar themes, and they won’t accept the fact. But I say, and you think, well, yeah, they perverted it, all the way back to when, when, Cain killed Abel.
Travis: That’s right. You do find commonalities in the world’s religions, and myths, and stories, and everything. But you do also see, you know, evidence of that divine design. Evidence of that law of God, written on the heart; where murder is wrong, where there’s a sacrifice, requ, for all that stuff you do. You see the sense of foreboding judgment, that I’m gonna have to give an account one day. All those religions do acknowledge that, but there is something like that, but they just can’t, they, they, come near the truth and they veer off. That’s right. There, it’s all distorted through sin. But was it Wayne, do you have your hand up or were you going to say something?
Wayne: I did. It’s been 15 minutes and I don’t remember now.
Travis: It has not been 15 minutes. Churlish teenager. Stomp my foot. All right. Speaking of churlish teenagers, Scott, go ahead. He just, by the way, he just turned 16 and he’s in the realm of manhood, so he’s working on getting his license. You guys keep your cars off the road.
Audience: You need to tweet when you’re going out on the roads.
Travis: You tweet.
Audience: Nah, just got my license.
Travis: No. No, Wayne, he should not be on a cell phone when he’s driving.
Audience: No, usually. You should tweet when he’s going out. So, I can pull the car in the garage.
Travis: That does become a parental responsibility. Doesn’t I?
Audience: I Can walk out so you guys can talk. We’re okay with you hearing.
Travis: No, Scott, we’re not gonna, we’re gonna talk about you right in front of you. That’s, that’s, manly. Go ahead.
Audience: I was just gonna, anyway, Iwas just gonna say that, like I’m just realizing, like about that, like the, all the religions and stuff like that. Like I’m just realizing that, talk that I, I, told you about with that Mormon in my school. Like she was even, I was trying to explain the Trinity and she’s like well, no that, none of that makes sense. How are all three of them God and, and, blah blah. And then she started to say how what, what, does make sense though is that Jesus is God and, and, or, Jesus is the son of God and he’s not God.
And, and I’m like, well, no, the Bible totally explains against that. But that the fact that she is saying it doesn’t, that doesn’t make sense. It’s true. You know, it, it, doesn’t make sense and that’s what I, that’s what I slipped up on when I was talking to her, is the fact that it doesn’t make sense. And I have to agree with her on that. But the Bible does say a little bit more on the fact that Jesus is God.
Travis: The way I’d put it, actually is, I would say this is rational. It does make sense, in this, in that sense. It’s just that I can’t fully understand it. We can’t fully comprehend this. So, I think it’s okay to say it does make sense, it is rational, but it’s not comprehensible. I would make that distinction. So, I can’t, my mind can’t contain this truth, but my mind can apprehend this truth.
So don’t, don’t, but when you say, yeah, you’re right, it doesn’t make sense. How they interpret that is your God is irrational. You, you are, you are, you know, swimming in irrationality. And that’s the, that is the nature of your religion. That’s, that’s, actually miscommunicating. So don’t use the words: make sense, not make sense. Use the word, this is rational, but it’s not fully comprehensible. If you can remember that line. Jot it down or get Chuck’s notes, you know, and it’ll be fine. Wayne.
Audience: I actually do remember my question now. So, one of the common lines of questions that people kind of bring up in a evangelistic context. Right? If they’re coming at it hostile, blah, blah, blah, and one of the go-tos that I’ve seen in kind of sharing my faith is, well, explain your God to me. Right? And then if you can’t even explain the entirety of your God, how can you expect me to accept it. Right.
Travis: That’s what you’re saying to them or they’re saying to you.
Audience: That’s what they’re saying to me.
Travis: Yeah, yeah.
Audience: Right. And it is difficult. Right? There, there are a few different ways to go, but I, I, just wonder, you know, in, in, in this concept, I think all of us have gotten to that point of recognizing that there is an element of childlike faith. You know. And, and, this isn’t some sort of Jedi hand wave that says we shouldn’t study it. We shouldn’t study his character. We should just accept it. But we, we, also have come to the point of, ourselves, recognizing that it’s okay that we don’t have to understand the whole thing, right, because there are just some things we’ll never understand. In evangelism, though, that’s very difficult. At least for me. I have, I have trouble kind of wrapping words around how to help someone else get past that.
Travis: Okay, so totally, totally get that and, and, I’ve, I’ve experienced the very same thing. I, I don’t, as I’ve come to grow in understanding, I’ve come to see that I don’t need to explain everything to an unbeliever, because they are predisposed to reject what I’m saying anyway. What they need to do is repent at the things that I can explain to them and I can give them and believe that. And then God will give them more understanding.
As Augustine, I think it was Augustine, that said, and people have quoted him, “Not I, I, understand in order that I might believe, but I believe in order that I might understand.” And the unbeliever demands: No, I must comprehend all of this first, before I will step out and believe. That’s not as, as John MacArthur says that’s not, that’s not belief. That’s not faith. That’s doubt, looking for proof. That’s, that’s, that’s good. And, and, I wanted to just before, before, hands pop up too much. So, John.
Jesus dealt with this with Nicodemus. A man of the Pharisees named “Nicodemus ruler of the Jews. The man came to Jesus by night and said, Rabbi,” we know, so he’s professing what we’ve know, what we comprehend, what we understand. “We know that you’re a teacher, come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
What’s wrong with his, his, knowledge? It’s incomplete. It’s, it’s, it’s only taking part of the information and coming to a conclusion. It’s the fact, the what, what, is wrong with Nicodemus’s statement, is that it thinks too little of Jesus. Not enough. There’s a whole lot more that should be deduced about Jesus. Then you’re a teacher, come from God. Jesus’ answer, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Not that he will not, but he is unable to see the kingdom of God. So, and Jesus: Like I’m the King standing right in front of you, you can’t even discern me.
So, unless you’re born again, unless you’re regenerate, unless the Holy Spirit has done something to you to give you, eyes to see, and ears to hear, a heart that understands, a mind that can, that can, apprehend this, you can’t see the kingdom of God. “Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
So he’s talking about, you know, how can, he’s basically following the analogy: How can I start over. How can I get another start at this, and, and, do what you’re saying, to be born yet again. And Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot,” he’s referring to Ezekiel 36, “he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” Unless there is a new birth. Unless the Holy Spirit has done something to you, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. Why? Because, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”
You have to have the right material in order to get into the, so to speak, material to get into the kingdom. “Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound. You don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit.”
Okay, so Nicodemus is an unbeliever. Imagine the person that you’re talking to about the gospel. Their mind is scrambled eggs right now and they’re looking. He’s looking at Jesus, like, what are you, what are you talking about? Just like the unbeliever looking at you. I can’t comprehend this God you’re talking about unless you’re going to explain to. “Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’”
How is this possible? So, he’s looking for an explanation. He’s looking for Jesus to give him more knowledge, more explanation. And Jesus answered him. He, he didn’t, he didn’t answer him by giving him more knowledge. He rebuked him. “Are you the teacher of Israel? And yet you do not understand these things.” Okay, so if the teacher of Israel doesn’t understand these things, what about all of Israel? They don’t understand these things either. The whole religion is corrupt. The whole thing is, is, is, is, is apostate really, you could say.
Jesus says, “Truly, truly I say to you, we speak of what we know.” Who’s he talking about? Himself; John the Baptist. “We speak of what we know. We bear witness to what we’ve seen.” But here’s the problem, Nicodemus, you do not receive our testimony. It’s a moral issue. You have rejected it out of hand. This is, this is an evidence of his sin. This is an evidence of his blindness. You do not receive our testimony. “If I’ve told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how Can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
So, basically he’s saying you do not have the mechanism of understanding which is the new birth, being born again, regeneration, the Holy Spirit hasn’t. So, if I tell you all these things and you’re still grasping at straws, what good is it going to do for me to go on further. “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” I’m standing here. You better listen to me.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For,” explanation, reason; “God so loved the world.” He thus loved the world. He loved the world in this way, and “he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” “God didn’t send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.” So, Nicodemus, if you believe in me, you’re not condemned. But if you don’t believe in me, that is, if you don’t receive my testimony, one who came.