FoF Lesson 3

God: His Character and Attributes

Audio message for Lesson 3: God: What Is He Like?
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[Lesson 3: Sessions 5, 6]

[Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]


Notes on Session 5, Sunday, October 18th:

  1. First Session on Lesson 3
  2. Welcome to new members of the class
  3. Personal highlights from MacArthur’s message?
  4. Challenges in filling in Answers in Lesson 3?
  5. Questions to be addressed?
  6. References:
    1. Slides in RealityOfGod.ppt /pdf
    2. Slides in scicreat.ppt /pdf
    3. Slides in Reality.ppt /pdf
    4. Rose Publishing Pamphlet on Attributes of God
    5. Attributes of God on Blue Letter Bible website
    6. Attributes of God on the All About God website.

Common Questions for Lesson 3:

  • What are some of the roadblocks to coming to Faith?
  • How do we know God exists?
  • If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why is there suffering in the world?
  • If God is sovereign, why doesn’t He keep people from going to hell?
  • Do you have another question or issue to discuss?

Class Plan for Lesson 3:

  1. Stumbling Blocks In Coming To Faith In God
  2. Knowing God’s Attributes Affects Our Relationships
  3. The Person of God
  4. Attributes That Only God Has
  5. Attributes That we Share With God
  6. Jesus – A Model of God’s Attributes
  7. Addressing Alleged Contradictions/Errors
  8. Application of What We Have Learned

Stumbling Blocks in Coming To Faith in God:

  • Lack of intellectual knowledge of God
  • Other Christians – their perceived hypocrisy
  • Sin: accepting Christ would require turning away from sin
  • If God is all-loving and all-powerful, why is there so much pain, suffering, and evil?
  • Perceived conflict between Science and the Bible, e.g. Creation v. Evolution
  • No answers from the Church to the hard questions

Knowing God’s Attributes Affects Our Relationships

  1. Worship – deepens our understanding of God’s praiseworthy attributes.
  2. Life Perspective – enables us to discover the hope that comes from realizing that his very nature meets our every need.
  3. Relationship with God – fosters a more intimate awareness of His traits.
  4. Relationship with Others – reveals the traits we can develop as we seek after him, such as patience, faithfulness, and love.
  5. Identity – reveals to us our worth, as we focus on the astounding attributes of the God who loves us.

The Person of God

  • Who is God?
  • Does God Exist?
    • Revealed through nature
    • Revealed through Scripture
    • Revealed through Christ (God Incarnate)
    • Explanatory power of human experience
  • General revelation from nature
  • Special revelation from God’s Word
  • God is Divine and the First Cause
    • Read Gen. 1:1 to 2:3
  • Questions:
    • Which of God’s attributes can we deduce from this?
      _______, _______, _______, …
    • Which belief systems are refuted here?
      _______, _______, _______, …

  • The Self-Existence of God
    • God’s existence is assumed in Gen. 1:1,
    • His title I AM implies self-existence, Ex. 3:14,
    • God has existed forever, Is. 43:13,
    • God’s revelation through His _________ and our ____________,
      • Rom. 1:18-22; 2:14-16; Ps. 19:1; 14:1
  • Questions:
    • Why do men question the existence of God?
    • How has God revealed Himself to man?
    • What is the result when men ignore God’s creative power, ignore their conscience, and turn from God?
  • There is only one God
    • Gen. 1:26, Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
    • Gen. 3:22, Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”
    • Question:
      • What do these two verses tell us?
    • Is. 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
    • Is. 44:6, Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. …”
  • General information about God
    • The Father is in heaven, Matt. 6:9, Pray then like this:
      “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
    • Christ is in heaven at the right hand of God, Heb. 10:12, But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
    • The Holy Spirit is ministering within believers, Rom. 8:11, If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
    • God is an invisible spirit, John 4:24, God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
    • God’s glory can be seen, Ex. 24:16-17, The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
  • Can we know God?
    • God is incomprehensible, Rom. 11:33-34, Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
    • God has no boundaries, Job 11:7, “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?”
    • God can only be divinely perceived:
      • Through the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 2:12, Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
      • Through Christ, Matt. 11:27, All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
    • QuestionWhat is the difference between knowing God and knowing about God?

Application of What We Have Learned:

  • Know It! Live It! Share It!
  • Meditate on the attributes of God
  • What does knowing the attributes of God have on:
    • Application of the attribute on our lives?
    • Giving glory to God?
    • Our prayers?
    • A major trial in our life?
  • Larry Taunton, Fixed Point Foundation, Closing Statement in Debate on “Do We Need God?

Notes on Session 6, Sunday, October 25th:

  • Second Session on Lesson 3
  • Welcome to new members of the class
  • Personal highlights from MacArthur’s message?
  • Challenges in filling in Answers in Lesson 3?
  • Other questions to be addressed?

Class Plan for Lesson 3:

  1. Stumbling Blocks In Coming To Faith In God
  2. Knowing God’s Attributes Affects Our Relationships
  3. The Person of God
  4. Attributes That Only God Has
  5. Attributes That we Share With God
  6. Jesus – A Model of God’s Attributes
  7. Addressing Alleged Contradictions/Errors
  8. Application of What We Have Learned

  • Questions to ponder for each of God’s attributes:
    • How do we describe each of these attributes?
    • Which verse best describes this attribute of God?
    • What is the significance of each of God’s attributes?
    • Can we name one response we should have when we meditate on each of God’s attributes?
    • How will this affect our prayers?
    • How would we respond to a major trial in our life?
    • Can you share a personal example of the manifestation of this attribute of God in your life?

Attributes That Only God Has

God has both incommunicable attributes that only God possesses and communicable attributes that we share with Him because He made us in His image. Gen. 1:27,  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – We learn about God’s character through the study of His attributes. Jesus modeled these in His life and ministry on Earth. We grow in our faith by learning and imitating these attributes and applying them to our lives.

  • Eternal – God has always existed and will always exist. God sees the past and the future as clearly as He sees the present. He understands perfectly what is best for our lives. Thus we should trust Him with all areas of our lives.  Ex. 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Ps. 102:12, But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Triune  – God exists in three persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate persons, but they all share the same divine being. Matt. 28:19, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 2 Cor. 13:14, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
  • One – God is one and is the only being worthy of praise.God is the only real God. Deut. 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
  • Transcendent – God is outside of and separate from, the universe that He created and beyond our understanding. His face is hidden from His people. God is beyond us and only accessible to us because He reaches out to us first. Ps. 13:1, How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
  • Infinite – God is beyond limits and has no limits. This encourages us when we face trouble and trials. Job 42:2, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Ps. 145:3, Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
  • Creator – God existed before anything else, i.e. He is the Creator. No one created God, but He created all things. Acts 17:24, The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,  Col. 1:16, For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him.
  • Omnipresent – God is present everywhere in the universe. God is not limited by space. We cannot hide from Him. Jer. 23:23-24,  “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. Ps. 33:13-15, The LORD looks down from heaven; He sees all the children of man; from where He sits enthroned He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
  • Immutable – God never changes in His nature or purpose. Mal. 3:6, For I the LORD do not change; James 1:17, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Heb. 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
  • Immanence – God, who is at hand, works through the minutiae of the lives of His creation, is present, and actively participates in His world. Acts 17:27-28, Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; …” Hag. 2:5, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.

Attributes That We Share With God

We can possess some of God’s attributes, but not to the perfection that God possesses them. In addition, all of God’s attributes work together in perfect harmony. For example, God is love and yet God is also just.

  • Sovereign (Authority) – Nothing is out of God’s control. His plans cannot be thwarted. God does as He pleases. Rom. 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. God is in control of my life, including my trials. Stop worrying.
  • Omnipotent (Powerful) – God is all-powerful, having more than enough strength to do anything. Gen. 1:1, 27, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – God is the Creator. Heb. 1:3, …and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. –  God upholds all things. Ps. 37:23-24, God controls our lives.
  • Omniscient (Knowledgeable) – God knows all things, present and future; nothing surprises Him. He knew all our sins (past, present, future) at the time of our salvation. Job 34:21, For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. Ps. 147:5, Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. Is. 66:18, “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,” God knows man’s thoughts.
  • Truth – God is absolute truth and His truth is firm. John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 16:13, When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. 2 Tim 2:15, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. [God’s Word is truth.]
  • Holy – God is absolutely pure and perfect. He is untouched by the evil in the world. Ps. 99:9, Exalt the LORD our God,
    and worship at His holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!  Rev. 4:8, … they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
  • Righteous/Just – Righteousness means that God only does that which is right. Justice is God legislating His Righteous standards. Matt. 5:48, You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – God’s standard for man is perfection. Heb. 9:27, And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, – Unbelievers will be judged. 2 Cor. 5:21, For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – Believers have Christ’s imputed righteousness.
  • Loving – God is love; His love is unconditional. God extends His grace and forgiveness to us. 1 John 4:7-11, Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 1 Cor. 13:4-6, Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
  • Goodness – God is the source of goodness and He alone is the  measure of what we truly know to be good. We recognize that what God will work in our life will be for own own good, not working circumstances to our peril. Rom. 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. James 1:17, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
  • Merciful – God’s compassion or forbearance on those who have opposed His will. Eph.2:4-5, But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—. Eph. 4:2, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, – We are to show forbearance to others.
  • Faithful – God is faithful to His Word. Deut. 7:9, Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. 1 Kings 8:56, Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. 1 Th. 5:24, He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
  • Patient – God is slow to carry out His judgment. Jonah 4:2, And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”  2 Pet. 3:9, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
  • Spirit – God is spirit and does not have a body. John 4:24, God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. Acts 17:24, The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man. Humans have both a spirit and a body.

Jesus – A Model of God’s Attributes

God the Father and God the Son are One. Jesus modeled God’s attributes on the earth, especially the communicable attributes such as Loving and Holy, but also His Power in the storm, His Goodness, and His Mercy. Heb. 1:1-3 tells us “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, …” Examples of how Jesus  modeled God’s Attributes for us include:

  • Omnipotent – Jesus demonstrated His power over nature. Matt. 4:23, And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. Matt. 8:26, And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matt. 14:25, And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. Mark 5:35, 42, While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your [Jairus‘] daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”  …  And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.
  • Holy – Jesus showed a life without sin.His sacrifice was perfect and sufficient for us. Heb. 4:15, For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb. 7:26, For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
  • Loving – God is love. Jesus showed his love for all people. Luke 7:47, Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.  Mark 10:21, And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” He sacrificed his life for us. 1 John 3:16, By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
  • Merciful – Jesus showed mercy and compassion, for the multitude, Matt. 9:36, When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.; for the unfortunate, Matt. 20:34), And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.; for Jerusalem,  Matt. 23:37, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
  • Faithful – He promised to always be with us. Matt. 28:20, And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. 2 Th. 3:3, But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. Phil. 1:6, And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  • Other attributes demonstrated by Jesus? ________, ________, ________, _________, ________

What can/should we do to model God’s attributes?


Addressing Alleged Contradictions/Errors:

Application of What We Have Learned:
  • Know It! Live It! Share It!
  • Meditate on the attributes of God
  • What does knowing the attributes of God have on:
    • Application of the attribute to our lives?
    • Giving praise and glory to God?
    • Confessing our sins?
    • Our prayers?
    • A major trial in our life?
  • Fear God, desire to know God, and proclaim God!

God in His wisdom provided an example in creation that is a parallel to His own Triune existence—the universe.

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