Let the True God Be Your God!
Lord God, our blessed heavenly Father, may we ever walk humbly in Your sight. Lead us to accept the truths You reveal in the Bible and apply them daily in our lives. Prevent the unbelief of this present evil world from overcoming our faith and preserve us all unto life everlasting in heaven. Amen.
The Lord demonstrated clearly on Mt. Carmel that He alone is the true God by causing fire to descend and burn the offering and altar set up by Elijah in opposition to the 450 prophets of Baal. The Lord remains the one and only true God today. Let us embrace Him by faith and serve Him with genuine godliness.
The one true God is a Trinity - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. St. Paul comforts us with the assurance that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our weaknesses. What a great God we have!
Text: Isaiah 44:6-8
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. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, let them show these to them. Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
In Christ Jesus, Who with the Father and Holy Spirit is our only God, dear fellow redeemed:
It would have been something to be there on Mt. Carmel 28 centuries ago—to watch Elijah confront the 450 prophets of Baal! Imagine Elijah challenging the people to follow the one, true God. Think about the prophets of Baal building their altar, slaughtering the sacrificial animal, dancing about and cutting themselves with knives as they cried out to a false god, who did not exist, in an attempt to secure fire from heaven. Can you see Elijah mocking them, building the altar to the LORD God, slaughtering the animal, digging a trench around the altar, and then ordering four waterpots repeatedly filled and poured over the altar? Imagine the amazement of all of the onlookers when Elijah called upon the LORD God for fire and God responded instantly with fire from heaven! What a sight, it must have been! What a victory Elijah won!
That victory, however, as decisive as it was, did not end the conflicts between true faith and misbelief—between the one, true God and the false gods of this world. One only has to look to the day following Elijah’s victory to see him running for his life, after wicked Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. Jesus Christ has won the victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan for us, but the battles between truth and falsehood go on and will go on until the Last Day! There are the obvious battles raging within our society between those who claim to be atheists and those who believe in God. Consider, for instance, the recent decision of the US 9th District Court of Appeals to ban the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, because of its reference to God; or the ongoing dispute regarding evolution and creation, and whether either or both should be taught in public schools. Consider, as well, the confusing religious world in which we live today. Think about the various religious events that were held after 9/11 last year. Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and others all stood on the same platforms in athletics stadiums and within cathedrals all invoking "God." But which "God" were they invoking? Some would say they were all invoking the same "God," while others would say they were all addressing different, but equal gods. Most people would say that you cannot claim someone else’s god is an idol—a false god. My goodness, that would be politically incorrect! Yet, the Bible is very clear when it reveals the name and nature of the one, true God! He is not Buddha, or Allah, or a Christ-less God of the Jewish Old Testament, or any of a hundred other false gods who as the ancient god Baal exists nowhere outside of the mind of misguided followers. My dear friends, there is only one, true God, and I would urge you today—LET THE TRUE GOD BE YOUR GOD!
Who is the true God? Isaiah tells us that He is the LORD, Who is “the First and the Last!” Isaiah writes, “Thus says the LORD… I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.” Our God can be no clearer. He is the “LORD”—the God who knows us intimately, because He created us, as we are, who cares about us personally, for He promises and sent His Son Jesus to save our individual souls! He is the “First”—whether we are talking about time, or prominence, or power, or place, or dignity! He is not the “First” of many, in the sense that there are many gods, among whom He is first. No, He is the “First” as well as being the “Last,” which means He is the only God. Consequently, the LORD says, “Beside Me there is no God!”
Now this runs flat out contrary to popular culture. One of the reasons why we oppose membership in the Masonic Lodge, for instance, is because the lodge describes God as "the nameless God of one hundred names." This statement implies that God has not really revealed Himself, and, therefore, we are free to form our own conception of God, which means finally that all gods, no matter what they are called, are really the one and same. That would be like telling Elijah that the “LORD” and Baal were one and the same!
Our God, however, the one, true God, has revealed Himself clearly to us in the Bible. He is the “LORD…the First and the Last!” Interestingly enough, as stated in my welcome to today’s service, Jesus Christ in the Revelation says to us, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:17). In this way Jesus identifies Himself directly with the LORD God! You cannot have two "firsts" and two "lasts!" Consequently, our God reveals Himself to us as Father, our Creator, but also as Son, our Redeemer, and as Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier. The Bible teaches the one, true God is a Trinity, which means that all other gods in this world are false gods—the figments of people’s imaginations!
“But…but…but,” this post-modern world says, “You cannot say that! You are entitled to your opinion and beliefs, but you cannot say someone else’s opinions and beliefs are false!” My dear friends, do not be deceived by such assertions! Such assertions rest upon the premise that there is no absolute truth, and that the opinions of all people are equally valid, but such thinking is nonsense. Absolute truth exists in many areas of our lives, including the spiritual and the moral, and all opinions are not equally valid. If I were to say that in my opinion there are no laws of nature, would you grant that my opinion would be valid even for myself? If I were to insist, that the acting President of the United States is former Vice-President Gore, would you accept such nonsense, or would you correct me with the true facts of the situation? Even so, when it comes to the true identity of God, let us recognize that God could certainly reveal Himself to mankind, and this He has done through the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ, with the full intention of bringing blessing into our lives. Therefore, dear friends, LET THE TRUE GOD BE YOUR GOD! He is the LORD, Who is “the First and the Last!”
He is, secondly, the "King of Israel," Who controls all things! Isaiah writes, “Thus says…the King of Israel,…. Who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people. And the things are coming and shall come, let them show these to them.” The true God is the “King of Israel.” A king rules and controls His kingdom and the subjects of His kingdom. Even so God rules in this world and over this world for the ultimate benefit of His believing children.
God asks, “Who can proclaim as I do?” Who could proclaim, as God did at the beginning of time, “Let there be light” or “let the dry land appear” or “let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind” and actually have it be so, and yet our God did! God says, “I appointed the ancient people.” Who could destroy the earth’s entire population, while maintaining human life by preserving one family, yet God did at the time of Noah’s flood! Who could take one man and establish his family and preserve that family entirely in accordance with His promise, yet our God did when He chose Abraham. Who can look into the future and predict in minute details the affairs of numerous future nations in this world’s history, yet that is what we find in Daniel 11, when God through Daniel outlined the history of two ancient kingdoms in great detail four hundred years in advance.
My dear friends, the true God—the “King of Israel” does control all things even today! Jesus tells us, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). God the Father has placed Jesus at His right hand to rule over us (cf. Ephesians 1:20). That truth should bring us both comfort and fill us with holy awe and fear. First of all, it means that we can walk in joy and with absolute confidence as we carry out our callings in this world. Jesus promises that His believers are in His hands, and that no one will be able to “snatch them out” of His hands (cf. John 10:28). He assures us that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). He promises, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Secondly, the fact that our Savior God is our King should fill us with holy awe and fear. He warns us not to be deceived into believing that we can continue in sin and not suffer His judgment. Our God is both a loving and a just God. He promises to forgive those who repent of their sins, but He also promises to punish those who refuse to repent. There are individuals who claim the name of Christ, but who live their lives in anything but a repentant, Christian manner. They commit fornication and adultery, do drugs, get drunk, steal, gossip, use God’s name in vain, and in general carry on as if God were impotent and unaware. My dear friends, do not mock God, but rather LET THE TRUE GOD BE YOUR GOD! He is, after all, the "King of Israel," Who controls all things! Let us live the faith we confess, even as we serve the God we embrace!
Finally, LET THE TRUE GOD BE YOUR GOD, for "His Redeemer" is the "Rock" upon which we stand! Israel writes, “Thus says…His Redeemer,…. Do not be afraid; have I not told you from that time and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.” God, our blessed heavenly Father, sent His Son, Jesus, to be our “Redeemer!” God bought our souls back from sin and death, not with money—gold or silver, but as the Bible says, “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). Jesus came into this world to be the “light of the world,” but unfortunately then, even as now, the world would rather walk in its own darkness than to walk in the light of Jesus Christ (cf. John 8:10; 3:19). How sad, for in Jesus and in Jesus alone do we find the light that leads to life everlasting!
When, however, we come before our blessed Savior in simple faith and trust, we will not be turned away, nor will we be disappointed. God declares that “His Redeemer” is our “Rock!” We need a solid basis for our lives in this world, for we will all without doubt face many and serious challenges both to our faith and our life. To put our trust in men is absolutely useless, for all men are “grass”—one breath away from death and the grave (cf. Isaiah 40:6). To put our trust in riches is anything but certain. Consider the huge losses being endured on Wall Street these days—riches are but fleeting and fortunes can dissolve overnight. To place our faith in ourselves and our own good works and efforts is simple arrogance fueled by ignorance, for even our good works are but “filthy rags” in the eyes of an all-seeing and all-knowing God (cf. Isaiah 64:4). No, the true and solid foundation we need is found in our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the “Stone” rejected by so many, but whom the Father has made into the “Cornerstone” of all true faith leading to eternal life (cf. 1 Peter 2:7). Place your trust in Him, and you will never be ashamed (cf. Psalm 31:1). Call upon Him, and He will deliver you in your distress (cf. Psalm 50:15). Humble yourself before Him, and in due time you will be exalted (cf. James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). Build your faith and life upon His precious words, for they will ever remain true (cf. John 10:35), and through them God’s Spirit will sanctify your heart and life (cf. John 17:17). My dear friends, LET THE TRUE GOD BE YOUR GOD! Amen.
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting