Knowing God 4. OUR UNCHANGING GOD
Knowing God 4. OUR UNCHANGING GOD
James 1: 17 We are aware of constant continual change. Where there were bare hills - there are now houses everywhere. Technology has brought us things that just 10 years ago were speculation for most of us. We're rapidly changing in our world. It increases the pace of our world. In 1920 to ride through Joburg on a horse, go about 15kms an hour. Today, with high speed cars, at rush hour you can go 10kms an hour! Some things don't change! Too much change creates stress in our lives. So the question then becomes: Is there anything in the world that is permanent? Is there anything that is reliable that never changes? The answer is in James 1: 17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Phillips: "...with God there is never the slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency." We're in a series on the attributes of God. Today I want to look at what theologians call God's immutability. That simply means God never changes. In Malachi 3:6 "I the Lord do not change!" He is always the same. He always has been; He always will be. Because He is perfect, He can't get better and He can't get worse. Because we're imperfect we do change. Everything else in creation changes except God. Change creates stress in our lives. This morning I want us to talk about how to stabilize your life in the midst of continual change. 3 things about God that never change. They will add stability. They are things you can always count on. 1. GOD'S LOVE FOR ME NEVER CHANGES Jeremiah 31: 3 "I have loved you with an everlasting love." You were created to be loved by God. You are an object of God's love. God's love is consistent and it is continual. One of the reasons we get frustrated with relationships is because people change. They're fickle. They change from one day to the next. "You're not the man I married!" or "My sweet child has become this rebellious teenager. I don't even recognize him anymore." Unpredictable, inconsistent. That causes stress in our lives. God always acts like Himself. He never changes. He never acts out of character. Psalm 119:15 "Your love never changes, so save me!" Nobody ever says, "What's wrong with God today?" God never changes. God is always Himself. The point is I never need to doubt God's love. No matter what happens, no matter what I do, no matter what I feel, God's love for me never changes. Romans 8: 38 "Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God." You can go to bed tonight, get up tomorrow morning and God has not changed His mind about you while you were sleeping. Some days, we don't love anybody - frustrated about things that haven't gone as planned. But God never has bad days. He's never moody. He is always constant. We always get into trouble when we doubt God's love. So when tragedy strikes or when we pray and don't get an immediate answer or when things don't go our way, just remember God's love for you hasn't changed one bit. That is a stabilizer in life. 2. GOD'S WORD NEVER CHANGES His laws, principles and commands are timeless. Isaiah 40: 8 (LB) "The grass withers and flowers fade, but the Word of our God shall stand forever." The Bible is always fresh. It is always relevant, up to date, never obsolete. Anything that man writes eventually becomes obsolete, dated. At the rate of scientific discovery, by the time a science textbook is printed it's already obsolete. Look at the computer manuals that no longer work - just a couple of years and they are outdated. Whatever man writes eventually changes. Matthew 24: 35 Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will never pass away." There has never been any book that has been more attacked, criticized, ridiculed, burned and outlawed than the Bible. Yet today all of those dictators and fanatics are dead. The Bible is still around. It has stood the test of time because His word never changes. Psalm 119: 152 "Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever." Alan Shepherd, the very first American astronaut in space, was asked by a reporter just before he got into the capsule: "What is the one thing you're depending on most in this space venture?" His answer was classic, "I'm depending on the fact that God's laws never change." What if the rotation of the earth was inconsistent? What if gravity reversed every other day? When God made the whole universe, He established some universal laws. They never change. They never have and they never will. The reason we can study science is because it is predictable. We can study some verifiable facts of life of physics that do not change. Just as God has established the universe to operate on physical laws there are moral laws and spiritual laws that God has set up that we cannot ignore. Because they do not change. If we ignore them we have chaos. Do you remember when you were a child and playing a game with a child who keeps changing the rules? How can you win? The only way you can win in life is to play by the rules. God has established some laws, principles, commands in His word that do not change! There are some absolutes. There are some things that will always be right and some things that will always be wrong. It's not a matter of opinion. Contrary to popular opinion God does not invent new rules for every generation. He has established them to last forever. Satan's temptation is always to get you to question God's word. The first temptation: Satan asks Eve, "Did God really say you couldn't eat of that?" He's getting Eve to question did God really say you shouldn't. Now, Satan has put a little twist on the temptation. The phrase I hear over and over again "That's your interpretation." When you go up to a stop sign, how do you interpret that? How many ways can you interpret S-T-O-P? The Bible says, "Don't have sex outside of marriage" then you don't have sex outside of marriage. The Bible says every 7th day you take a day off then every 7th day you ought to take a day off. There's no interpretation needed there. The fact is God's word has not changed. Matthew 5:24 "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Jesus said there are 2 ways to build a house. You can build it on sand or you can build it on a rock. If you don't build it on a solid foundation the whole building will eventually tilt and fall over. You've got to have a solid foundation for your life. God is saying that if you build your life on the current fad - then you're building on shifting sands and you're going to have an unstable life when the changes of life come. Those changes are inevitable. If you want to have stability when the stresses of life come on your life you've got to build it on something that never changes. God's love for me never changes and God's word never changes. It will always be the right thing to do. It may seem hard, unreasonable, unpopular. But it is always the right thing to do. Doesn't that simplify life? The point is - stability comes from building my life on God's unchangeable word. Secret stress stabilizer: If you want to have more stability in your life when you're under stress get to know scripture. Start filling your mind with things that never change and then when you need them God can bring them to mind. The fact is if you want stability in your life you've got to base it on these things that don't change. 3. GOD'S PURPOSE FOR MY LIFE NEVER CHANGES Isaiah 14: 24 "The Lord Almighty has sworn, `Surely as I have planned it, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.'" What is the world coming to? It's coming to the very climax that God has planned from the very beginning. I'm not sure what all that involves but I do know who holds the future. Psalm 33: 11 "His plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally." Do your plans ever change? How often do they change? Why do your plans change so much? 2 reasons: 1. We don't have the perspective or foresight to know everything that's going to happen. 2. We don't have the power to implement the changes we want - run out of time, money, energy - whatever. So our plans change. Since God is omniscient - God knows everything - and since He's omnipotent - God has all power - His plans never have to change. 1 Samuel 15: 29 "God is not a man. He does not change His mind." The point: God does not have a Plan B for my life. Think of the biggest mistake you've ever made. Then think of the biggest sin you've ever done. Do you think God knew about those before you ever did them? Yes, He did. He has woven that into His plan for your life. Romans 8: 28 "All things work together for good." Good or bad God can somehow turn them around and bring good out of them. God has not changed His mind and God's purpose for your life has not changed. Even the mistakes and sins you commit that are wrong and bad, God can teach you from those things. What is God's plan for my life? John 10: 10 says that God's plan for your life is that you might have life. "I have come that you might have life." He wants you to enjoy life. It all begins with a relationship. Romans 10: 9 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Something else that has never changed is God's plan of salvation. For 2000 years there is only one way to get to know God and that's through Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus said "I am the Way" - "I'm not a good way, the best way, one way - but the way". God's invitation to you has never changed. He wants you to come to Him and establish a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. In your life, between now and when you die, you will experience many stressful changes in your life. My question becomes: How are you going to respond to those changes? You can't prepare for them because they aren't predictable. You don't know what they're going to be. How are you going to handle them? What's going to be the source of stability in your life? 3 things to remember when you're under stress - based on the 3 things we've just looked at. They are absolute facts. They become spiritual anchors for your soul in a changing world. 1. God will never stop loving me. Never. He won't even love me less. I won't understand all that is going on but no matter what He's doing, He's acting toward me in love. That's a stabilizer. No matter what happens, He loves me. 2. God's Word is always right. The advice here in the Bible is the right thing to do, even if it’s unpopular or unpleasant it is always the right thing to do. That's a stabilizer. 3. God's purpose for my life is bigger than my problems. Problems can't change God's purpose. It has not changed God's purpose for your life and it will not change what He wants to do in your life. Psalm 125: 1 “Those who trust in the Lord are as steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.” That's what I call stability. Unmoved by any circumstance. Security, stability, confidence come from being anchored in an unchanging God. Prayer: Has it been a little hectic lately? Are you feeling uptight about the uncertainty of your future? Would you like a rock solid foundation on which you can build a stable life? Then I invite you to pray 3 things: "God, I believe that You love me. I accept Your love gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Father, I commit myself to learning and obeying Your unchanging word. I want to follow its advice even when it seems hard or unpopular because I know it's the right thing to do. God, I want to commit myself to cooperating with Your plan for my life. Help me to learn from the mistakes that I've made. Please forgive my sins. I want to do what's right. In Jesus' name. Amen."