Tonight’s lesson: Knowing God Part One: General Revelation
Sonic Flood: I Want To Know You What comes to mind when you hear this song? In what ways would a person grow in the knowledge of God?
Knowledge of God Examined The Primary Question: How might we gain knowledge about God?
The Bible & Knowledge Human Perspective: Job’s Example: Job 23:3New Living Translation (NLT) 3 If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his court. Phillip’s Example: John 14:8New Living Translation (NLT) 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
The Bible & Knowledge God’s Perspective: Jeremiah 9:23-24 (HCSB) 23 This is what the Lord says: The wise man must not boast in his wisdom; the strong man must not boast in his strength; the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth. 24 But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me—that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration. Hosea 6:6King James Version (KJV) 6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Lack of Knowledge = Tragedy The tragic results of not knowing God are evils of all kinds—and destruction (Williams, p. 30). Scripture teaches us that, as Christians, to understand and know God is the greatest thing we can achieve on the earth.
How We Gain Knowledge of God Two Problems Must Be Addressed: 1. God is infinite and man is finite. 2. Man is Sinful, God is Holy
The Solution Knowledge of God must come from God Himself.
Revelation Examined Revelation is the disclosure or unveiling of something hidden Word etymology: Its root comes from the Greek word: apokalupsis.
Revelation Examined All knowledge that is available to humanity is God-revealed knowledge. Thus, it is God unveiling truths about Himself to us. God reveals knowledge about Himself in two ways: General and Special Revelation. Scripture teaches that both types are given by God (i.e., supernatural) and work together to reveal the knowledge of God to humanity.
General Revelation Examined Definition: God’s communication of Himself to all persons at all times and in all places. (i.e., Knowledge of God that is generally available to humanity at all times and all places.)
General Revelation Examined – General in Two Senses: Its universal availability (it is accessible to all persons at all times) the content of the message (what it unveils or communicates about God)
The Location of General Revelation General Revelation is found in three primary locations: Nature, Providence, and Human Beings (conscience).
The Contents of General Revelation 1.Power & Deity 2.Benevolence & Concern 3.Righteousness
Humanity’s Response We learn that humanity is incapable of fully discerning and understanding God through His general revelation
Humanity’s Response Romans 1:18-21New International Version (NIV) 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Summary: God Reveals knowledge of Himself in nature, history, and humanity (conscience). This knowledge includes His power, benevolence, and righteousness so that all people basically know God. Because of Adam’s Sin (original sin), humanity suppresses this knowledge and is incapable of understanding the knowledge of God revealed through general means. Some awareness remains, some stirring of conscience, but nothing positive that can bring about restoration of the God/Man relationship (salvation). Note: in all of this people are without excuse. The ignorance they have is willful ignorance, for God continues to plainly reveal himself in the world around them
Conclusion Final Thoughts: -God Knows our depravity -Impetus for Evangelism - Special Revelation Required