Know That I Am God

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Know That I Am God!

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday 8th August, 2021

I want to continue on from last weeks message on the fear of the Lord because I feel as though the most important thing we can grasp and acknowledge right now – in the midst of such an unstable world – is the one and only stabilising and foundational truth – and that is the revelation of who God is!

How people deal with life’s challenges without knowing Him is beyond my understanding.  But what an amazing gift we have to offer others who are yet to discover the meaning of life for themselves.

When I say the revelation of who God is, of course I’m referring to The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As I said last week, to love Him is to fear Him.  It’s to stand in awe and reverence of who He is – and that includes the understanding that we can only stand by His grace.  The reality is, He could wipe us out in an instant, and blot out our names from the Book of Life in a moment.

But I remember saying last week that fearing Him is knowing that even though this is the truth – at the same time we know that He won’t – because of His great love towards those who fear Him.

I shared with you the story of blind Bartimaeus who cast his cloak aside as he approached Jesus – which meant that he was willing to completely throw aside his former identity as a blind beggar – so that he could become the man that Jesus was calling him to be.

And you might think, well who wouldn’t cast aside being a blind beggar?

But that was no little thing.  Because everything about his life – his whole identity – was tied up in that blind beggars cloak.  It was his way of getting money… it was his shelter…. It was what he was familiar with…. It was where he knew how to fit with everyone else around him.

And haven’t we all had those familiar things in our life at one stage or another, that have effectively held us back from our full potential and our true identity in Christ?  

Yet, for some reason, these things have become so familiar to us – even part of us – that we can’t ever imagine letting them go?

The only way we can let go is by knowing the One who offers so much more. 

Coming to Jesus in faith and expectation declares our belief that we are Born For More.

You can hear more about that on last weeks video.

I can only take away from that message myself, that God wants us to cast off anything of our own making about who we are – even the things that seem to work for us in some way – because this season we are entering requires us to be completely clothed in His righteousness – who He is – not a cloak of our own making – and become wholeheartedly dependant on Him!

As I allow that to wash over me, it gives me a new perspective on what Ps. 46:10 means.  The first part of this verse is one we often run to:

It says:

Psalm 46:10

New King James Version

“Be still, and know that I am God…”

I have to admit, my focus with this particular scripture has always been on the “Be still” part.  Like an invitation to rest and peace.  I’ve always thought – this verse 46 is a nice comforting word and invitation to just be with God.  

But I’ve realised, it is so much more powerful and intense than that.

The context of Ps. 46 is about not fearing what’s going on in the world – and it mentions things like the earth being removed, mountains being carried to the midst of the sea, waters roaring and being troubled, mountains shaking, nations raging…. It speaks of wars, chariots burning…

It might as well be speaking about all the calamities facing the world right now.

Bible commentators wrestle with who this was actually written for.  Was it a comforting invitation to believers – or was it actually a command to God’s enemies to be quiet?

Many agree, it’s probably a call to all people – to all the nations of the world – and it means to “stop striving”, “stop fighting”…. “Stop fearing the circumstances.”  And be still!

And the only way we can do that is the second part of that sentence – “…know that I am God!”

In fact the whole of that verse says:

Psalm 46:10

New King James Version

“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

Can you see how this word applies to us even now?  In the midst of a world wide pandemic…. Natural disasters around the world, people in many nations crying out for justice through uprisings, political unrest, military coups, China flexing its muscles…. Just so much instability and uncertainty all around the world….  God is saying to us even now – Be still – but don’t just be still – know that in the midst of all this that I Am God!  And I will be exalted in the earth!

I Am Who I Am!   That was what God called Himself when He spoke to Moses at the burning bush.  And we unpacked that last week as well.

It’s a similar thing that happened in the New Testament story of when Jesus and the disciples were in the boat and a storm came up.

Mark 4:37-41

New King James Version

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He (Jesus) was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

And so they should have feared – greatly!

They were witnessing the power and authority of God through Jesus Christ.

But in the midst of their fear of the Lord – they witnessed and experienced immediate peace.  

We can have that!  We can walk in that same stillness and peace on the inside.

I think the overriding theme of my message this morning is this:

Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed, fearful of life’s circumstances, when everything seems to be out of control – then listen for that voice that says to you, “Be still.”  

Because that voice, which echoes throughout the Word of God to His people, comes from the reality that God – Jesus – the Holy Spirit – is all powerful, carries all authority, is ever present, and is the same yesterday, today and forever!

And when He says be still, He expects us to respond from a place a total trust, knowing that He is the great I Am – the God above all gods, the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords.

This is what builds our faith for even the threats and pressures and stresses that come against us in 2021.

We might live in a very different kind of world to Moses and to the disciples, but the Word of the Lord remains the same – be still and know that I am God!

I don’t want to get too far off track here, but I couldn’t help but be drawn over to Revelation 21 where John gets a glimpse of the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, and how God Himself will be our God.  This is relevant to what I’m saying.

And he says:

Revelation 21:4-7

New King James Version

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”

When I read these words, it’s like something inside me wants to rise up and shout.  

He is my God!  I am His son!  

He is the beginning and the end of all things!

He knew Covid19 was coming.  He knows how it will end.  He knew me personally and intimately even before the foundation of the world.  He will know me on the day that I leave this earth – whether that’s when my soul departs from this body on the day He has appointed – whether I’m raptured in the twinkling of an eye – whenever it is, I know that Jesus is going to take me to the Father.

I don’t care how it happens.  I trust that God’s timing will be perfect.  

And my life – and yours – is already submitted to the Lordship – the Sovereignty – the Authority of the great I Am.

Before I started this message, I gathered together a whole heap of scriptures that declare who God is.  I couldn’t even scratch the surface this morning with them all…

But I want to share just three of them with you because they are powerful faith lifters.

Exodus 15:11

New King James Version

“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?

Who is like You, glorious in holiness,

Fearful in praises, doing wonders?”

 

2 Samuel 22:32-34

New King James Version

“For who is God, except the Lord?

And who is a rock, except our God?

33  God is my strength and power,

And He makes my way perfect.

34 He makes my feet like the feet of deer,

And sets me on my high places.”

Isaiah 40:28

New King James Version

“Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the Lord,

The Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints nor is weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.”

That’s just three snippets of God’s Word about Himself.  

As I read them, I realise just what a Rock and steadfast foundation He is.

I won’t read the many others I noted down, but in some of these other verses, it says that God is Spirit, His way is perfect, His word is flawless, He is a God of justice, He is a consuming fire, He is merciful, He is a jealous God, He is gracious and righteous… full of compassion.

We need to take serious note that God is a jealous God.  This is part of why we stand in awe and fear of His name.

Because He will not tolerate idolatry.  He will not share His glory with any other deity or thing.

One thing that Christianity strongly declares is that the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob – God the Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth,  God the Holy Spirit – is the One and only God.  

Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life – and no-one comes to Father God except through Him.

And this is why we shouldn’t place ourselves under any other spirit – any other spiritual influence.  

Where some Christian world leaders are apparently talking about linking all faiths together in some kind of ecumenical faith community – all they will do is provoke God to anger and lead many Christians into deception.

I know I repeat my little stories every now and then.  But I was outraged quite a number of years ago when a leader from another church led a silent march through the streets of Ballina – and started it off with a Buddhist prayer.  

It was on the front page of the Northern Star with a couple of our own church people in the photo!

I personally rang her and asked what on earth was she thinking?  And all she could say is that she wanted it to be ecumenical.

Ecumenical means the gathering of Christian churches, not the gathering of different faiths.

I’m not here to bring division between denominations – I’m not responsible for what other churches believe or do – that’s their business – but I will never compromise Seacoast Church on the absolutes of our faith in who God is.

We need clarity of faith – clarity of truth – clarity of knowing God and all that His name represents.

Psalm 9:10

The Passion Translation

“For everyone who knows your wonderful name

    keeps putting their trust in you.

    They can count on you for help no matter what.

    O Lord, you will never, no never, neglect those

    who come to you.”

We need to know God – we need to know why we fear Him – why we stand in awe of Him – why we believe He alone is God.   Because it’s only in knowing the truth that we can then put our trust in Him.

“Everyone who knows Your wonderful name keeps putting their trust in You.”

Names are so important.   So significant – particularly in biblical times.

I strongly encourage you to do a study on the names of God.  

When Venese and I were in Brisbane, I oversaw a Certificate course in Christian Counselling.  I would say that the other lecturers were much more experienced than me.  But I used to teach a session on the significance of names.

That’s why I make a big deal at baptisms about what the child’s name means.  

It can speak prophetically over their life.  Some people deliberately pick names by their meaning.  Others just like the sound of the name.  But I think it’s important to seek out the meaning of the name you call your child.

I’ll just give you one example.  I hope this blesses you Ben.

Benjamin in Hebrew means “son of the right hand.”  That’s pretty awesome in itself.

But then you look at what Moses said as he blessed the tribes of Israel just before his death.

Deuteronomy 33:12

New King James Version

“Of Benjamin he said:

“The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him,

Who shelters him all the day long;

And he shall dwell between His shoulders.”

What a beautiful blessing for Benjamin.

Ben – and all the Ben’s listening to this – I believe this is a prophetic blessing for you this morning.

Those last few words about dwelling between his shoulders – it can be interpreted two ways.

The NKJV indicates that Benjamin dwells between God’s shoulders.  That’s very cool.  It’s like you ride upon His shoulders.

But the English Standard Version – the ESV – actually states that God dwells between Benjamin’s shoulders.  I think that’s is even more special.

This interpretation comes from understanding where the twelve tribes of Israel would be physically located – and the tribe of Benjamin was to be located in the land on the shoulder of where the tabernacle would be.

So it’s literally saying – you carry the tabernacle between your shoulders – and that is scriptural – you are the dwelling place of God – you carry His glory – His presence.

I know that’s taking a bit of side track this morning, but it’s amazing what comes up when I research during the week.

The important message for every one of us is that knowing God’s name – knowing who He is – is vital. It’s probably one of our most important things to do – and that is to know Him more.

We do that primarily through Jesus Christ His Son.

Jesus says, when you see Me, you see the Father.

And when we read about Jesus’ life – He fulfils all that the Word of God declares about God right throughout the Old Testament and the new.

Of course He does – He is God!

I love the response that Jesus gives to the religious men of His day.  They understandably are having trouble trying to work Him out.

Jesus says to them:

John 8:56-58

New King James Version

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

That sends shivers up my spine.  

And I think that’s the perfect finish to our message this morning.

Before Abraham was – I Am!

I Am Who I Am.  And it’s up to us to seek Him – to know His wonderful Name – to be changed by Him –  to trust Him – and when the world rages around  us, to run to His Word that says: “Be still and know that I  Am God!”


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