Tag Archive: love

What Will God Be Like in 100 Years?

foiTNb4V0IiwjpX3BgFFOw_rThe pace of change today is simply breathtaking. Nothing and no-one is exempt, the only thing  guaranteed for the future is there will be yet more change. In the face of the dark days we are in it is a grim and sobering venture as we face the challenges and opportunities of the years to come.

The apostle Paul was mindful of the effects of change in his lifetime declaring, “the world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor 7:31) What will life be like 100 years from now? We can barely imagine what it will be like in fiver years time!  We change, our cities and culture certainly changes, but what about God?

What will God be like in 100 years?

You don’t have to be a prophet to predict that in 2116, 100 years from now – God’s love will be infinitely transcendent.

Due to the shallow romanticism of secular culture, we tend to view the love of God in the same way popular music, art, television drams and literature view love. 1 John 4:7-11 gives us this brilliant statement with respect to the love of God:

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 is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his only Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

The apostle John reaches out with the urgent admonition for Christians to love one another in the very character of God.  “Love is from God,” he tells us.

He will be pouring love into our hearts…

What he means is that Christian love comes from God Himself. This love is not natural to fallen humanity. We do not have it as a default position in our character!  It originates in God and is a divine gift only to His people. When we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given a capacity for this supernatural love that has God as its source and foundation. It is a love that is flowing from Him to Him.

When John says that “whoever loves has been born of God and knows God,” he is not teaching that every human being who loves another is therefore born of God. It is much more than that.

The kind of love of which he speaks comes only from regeneration, being born-again and transformed by the work of the Spirit of God. Without the Holy Spirit’s deep, penetrating transformation of the human heart, no one has this capacity for love. No unsaved person has this kind of love, and no saved person lacks such love –  “Anyone who does not love [in this manner] does not know God.”

He will still be Love…

John does not stop there. Not only is love from God but God is love.

This is the key the staggering truth of what God will be like in 2116 – He will be exactly as He is now. Not the slightest change will have occurred.

Love is such an intimate aspect or attribute of the character of God, that He is not just loving, but He is love. It is who He is, and not just what He does. That is the difference between us. We are loving, He is love. He is the infinite expression of love.  Any view of Him that neglects to include within it this profound sense of divine love is a distortion of who God is.

As Christians we believe in a God who is simple and not made up of parts. God is not one part sovereign, one part just, one part immutable, one part omniscient, one part eternal, and one part loving. Rather, He is all of His attributes at all times. I’ve just finished reading ‘Simply God’ by Peter Sanlon i – it is probably one of the best books I have ever read in my life!  Peter Sanlon has helped me realise that to understand any single attribute, we must understand it in relation to all His other attributes. The love of God is eternal and sovereign. I want to add the words, “deeply”, “profoundly”, “infinitely” to almost everything I consider about God’s attributes!

He will still be unchangeable not just unchanging…

The love of God is immutable and holy.

We must treat all of His other attributes in the same way. God’s justice is loving and eternal. His holiness is loving and omniscient. Our concept of the love of God will stay on track only as we understand His love in relationship to His other attributes.

Whatever else God’s love is, it is holy. His love is therefore characterized by the qualities that define holiness – His transcendence and purity.

  • First, God’s love is transcendent. It is set apart and different from everything we experience in creation.
  • Second, God’s love is pure. His love is absolutely flawless, having no selfishness, wickedness, or sin mixed in with it. God’s love is not ordinary or profane.

He will still be incomparable, unmatched, unequaled, unrivalled and have the supremacy in all things…

It is a majestic, sacred love that goes far beyond anything creatures can manifest. No shadow of evil covers the brightness of the pure glory of the love of God.

The love of God is in a class by itself. It transcends our experience. Nevertheless, it is a love that He shares in part with us and expects us to manifest to each other. He grants to His people—insofar as is possible given the Creator-creature distinction—His holy love (Rom. 5:5).

So, what will God be like in 100 years? Exactly what He is today, no less or more awesome, gracious, kind, merciful, forgiving, tender, compassionate . . .

He is everything God could possibly be – and whether we are in heaven or on Earth, that will be our continual bliss-filled, awesome experience.

  1. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Simply-God-Recovering-Classical-Trinity/dp/1783591048  (back)

5 reasons you need to make sermon notes

Old, BooksImagine the folly of a policeman taking a witness statement, and instead of making notes, he nods his head, occasionally glancing around, distracted by activity in the distance whilst all the while reassuring the poor victim that they will remember the details – and that any important information will not be overlooked or forgotten when the case comes to court. In a year’s time.

Clearly, such an irresponsible approach to the gathering and recording of important information, facts and words would be unacceptable.

You can see where this is going. There are five reasons that I want to suggest to you that you need to take sermons seriously by making notes. They are all flawed arguments in one way or another but I think you will sense the importance of this encouragement to you personally. And that is all it is, an encouragement. You don’t have to pursue this, but I think you will be in the benefit of it if you do.

1. What works for you? 
Of course, I am speaking to those who are not already convinced note-takers. If making notes of sermons doesn’t work for you, then what does?

For your own sake, you have to answer the question both seriously and honestly. Probing a little further, how are you reminding yourself of truths that impacted you 3 or 4 years ago? What were those five things in Romans 9 that gripped your heart? Why were they so important? Have you grown in God since then? How do you know? Some people consider themselves to have eidetic memory, but most of us go about our every day business forgetting what has happened with no notes to trigger our memories or assist our recall.

2. You may not be taking preaching seriously.
It could be that if you are not taking notes, that you are yet to be convinced that sermons are an essential and important part of the Christian ongoing experience. Is it your conviction that the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart?  (Hebrews 4:12) This is what is coming into action when you hear sermons and it may well be that the best response to God’s grace is to make a careful note of what you hear, so that with a willing-heart, you can obey it.

3. Getting approval
The awesome news of the Gospel means that there’s nothing you need to do to gain God’s approval, but there is one thing you are encouraged to do, and it is will vastly increase your confidence in God and the veracity of His Word.  As you listen to sermons you are thinking, processing, meditating on God’s eternal, inerrant, infallible, sufficient and clear word. The encouragement is, do your utmost to present yourself to God as one approved a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15) This really is something to be ambitious for. Take notes and let the Word of God get under your skin, embedded in your heart and renewing your mind. Everyone loves John 3:16, but Colossians 3:16 is vibrant with promise too; “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

4. It’s worth doing
As Christians, we are to be known for our love for God, and a real love for God will produce a love for His Word – and what we hear, we want to remember. We are living in a time when Biblical illiteracy is on the rise. We want to continually grow in our knowledge, understanding, and application of God’s Word. This is why opening our Bible and making notes as we listen to the preaching of the Word is so important—it will help you to see what the preacher sees in the text, which will inevitably help you learn how to read the Bible well. Your notes become a reference point for you. Paul commended the Bereans (Acts 17:11) because they checked to see if what he was saying was in fact Biblical. Additionally, Paul commended the Thessalonians for the way they received the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). What sermons should I make notes of? Make notes of the sermons you want to remember – the rest you will forget!

5. Context.
There is a very good reason for making notes and it is about context. Ask yourself what the central theme is that seems to be running through the messages you have heard over the last few years. You can guess, but having the notes to hand means you know. It becomes easier to connect the dots. How seriously are you looking to God to speak to you?

It’s a bit like expecting God to speak to you in dreams, but ignoring them when you have them! During these last few years with the international trouble we have seen, the crisis in the economics, the evil actions of Islamic State do you notice something that God has been teaching us about putting our confidence in Him, about not being anxious, walking in faith and obedience, etc.

What God says to you now, may very well be what He has been saying and encouraging you in for some time now. The context for what God does in the next few years, may well be seen in the past. Now what was it, oh dear, I didn’t make any notes….

Personal suggestions.
I use a few resources for taking notes.  My Moleskin notebooks, Evernote, Simplenote, Simplemind+ and Memo. I have included a few of my sermon notes as an example for you! Let me know what really works for you!

sermon_notes Joseph