Sermon Notes: Life and Teaching – Who is God?

1 Timothy 4:16 (CSB) 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The Bible is clear that we must pay attention to how we live which is rooted in what we believe and therefore, what we teach. 

Today we want to ask and answer the question: Who is God?

We will not be able to do justice to this question in one sermon. The Bible reveals to us who God is, and the Bible is sufficient for knowing who God is, knowing how to be saved from sin, and understanding what God’s will is.

And the Bible is not exhaustive in revealing the full depth of the nature and character of God.  

This question is weighty and glorious and exciting. 

I have a fearful and joyous “trembling” at attempting to proclaim from the Bible the answer to this question. So, bear with me. I’m going to spend the majority of our time simply being a mouthpiece for the text. 

NOTE: This is a course of sermons, not a seminary class or an academic exercise. Therefore, we are not going to do a lot of systematic theological work. We are going to do our best to let the Bible speak and seek to organize that content into preaching order to help us build a framework to live out our tactical question: What if the whole church was the missionary?

Let’s begin by reading God’s witness of himself to Moses by reading Exodus 3:14-15.

Exodus 3:14-15 (CSB) 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.

As God’s people are about to enter the land of promise, Moses wanted to make sure God’s people know who their God is and what they should know about him because they will encounter many evil entities that will clamor for worship, and he wants them to be prepared by knowing who THE God is. So, Moses pens the first five books of the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to recount who created all things and their history as the people of God, and how God has revealed himself to them. In that history, God revealed his name to Moses which speaks to his eternality, his comprehensiveness, and his totality as the unique and all-powerful Creator God from whom comes all things and to whom all people and all hosts are accountable.

This is how Moses begins to answer the question of who God is for God’s people as he is leading them to the Land of Promise. 

Genesis 1:1 (CSB) 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Not Baal. Not Molech. YHWH, who is God created it all. 

Genesis 1:26-31 (CSB) 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image;

he created him in the image of God;

he created them male and female.

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” 29 God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, 30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth — everything having the breath of life in it — I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.

Genesis 2:1-3 (CSB) 1 So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. 2 On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation.

Amazing. The I AM, the Unique and holy God who has rescued them from Egypt created and shared himself and his authority with his creatures. The I AM stops his work to simply stop so that his image bearers would likewise stop and just be and enjoy him and his creation. 

But, something tragic happens. One of the I AM’s created beings of his council has sought a place of authority that was not his to have, and he has rebelled and is seeking to entice these newly minted human image-bearers into his rebellion against the I AM. This creature succeeds, and the one law the I AM gave to keep them from one tree was ignored, and they harvested from that tree and ate, and God’s warned consequence of death sets in. 

Genesis 3:8-9 (CSB) 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD (YHWH – I AM) God (Elohim) walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you? ”

The I AM pronounces judgment on Adam and Eve, and he sends them from the garden of their fellowship and to the work of filling the earth and subduing it with all the struggles that are a result of their sin. But the I AM gives us a glimpse of who He is in love and power and justice by covering the nakedness of Adam and Eve, which they now experience with shame, with the skins of one who did nothing wrong so that the innocent would pay the price for the guilty, setting up the pattern of what he himself would do for them on his appointed day. 

Genesis 3:21-23 (CSB) 21 The LORD God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them. 22 The LORD God said, “Since the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

What now? 

God continues to reveal who is to his people as the I AM. 

God reminds his people that they are his people because he has chosen them and purchased them and rescued them from Egypt. Then he tells them how they are to act like his people. Here’s what he says:

Exodus 20:1-17 (CSB) 1 Then God spoke all these words:

2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. 3 Do not have other gods besides me.

4 Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, 6 but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.

7 Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name.

8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work — you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates. 11 For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

12 Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

13 Do not murder.

14 Do not commit adultery.

15 Do not steal.

16 Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

However, the people are quick to stop acting like his people, yet the I AM still loves his people, and he continues to reveal himself to them. 

Exodus 34:5-8 (CSB) 5 The LORD came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed his name, “the LORD.” 6 The LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed: The LORD — the LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, 7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation. 8 Moses immediately knelt low on the ground and worshiped.

Once again, the people are quick to forget the I AM’s ways in which they are to represent him in the world, and he sends prophets to remind them, and these prophets succeed sometimes, but it’s costly for them, and they often run to a place they believe to be safe from the harassment and potential death for speaking the I AM’s word and the I AM pursues them and refreshes them with his presence because he loves them. 

1 Kings 19:9-13 (CSB) Suddenly, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah? ” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.” 11 Then he said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the LORD’s presence.”

At that moment, the LORD passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

The I AM is kind, and he continues to pursue his people so they can know him, and he even sends artists to write songs that tell who the I AM is so they can remember him in songs. 

Psalms 86:8-10 (CSB) 8 Lord, there is no one like you among the gods, and there are no works like yours. 9 All the nations you have made will come and bow down before you, Lord,

and will honor your name. 10 For you are great and perform wonders; you alone are God.

Psalm 86:15 (CSB) 15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.

It is easy for the people of the I AM to forget that he is good and full of joy and a jealous love for his people, so he sends prophets again to remind them who he is. 

Zephaniah 3:16-17 (CSB) 16 On that day it will be said to Jerusalem:

“Do not fear; Zion, do not let your hands grow weak. 17 The LORD your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will be quiet in his love. He will delight in you with singing.”

The I AM intends to be known, so he again pursues his people and sends them to make sure the cities and nations that don’t know, get to know who he is. 

Ezekiel 36:37-38 (CSB) 37 “ ‘This is what the Lord (sovereign) GOD (YHWH – I AM) says: I will respond to the house of Israel and do this for them: I will multiply them in number like a flock. 38 So the ruined cities will be filled with a flock of people, just as Jerusalem is filled with a flock of sheep for sacrifice during its appointed festivals. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ ”


Here’s some really nice news. In spite of the rebellion and sin the I AM is not far away. Even though sin has separated mankind from the I AM, he’s not running from us. He’s been pursuing a people for himself from all nations. Mankind is separated from him because of the rebellion in the garden, and yet he calls people everywhere to repent by believing in the One he has sent and the I AM has testified that this One is true because the I AM has raised him from the dead. 

Acts 17:22-31 (CSB) 22 Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said, “People of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. 23 For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it — he is Lord of heaven and earth — does not live in shrines made by hands. 25 Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. 26 From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. 27 He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’ 29 Since, then, we are God’s offspring, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.

30 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Who is the One the I AM has sent and raised from the dead?

Hebrews 1:1-3 (CSB) 1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Who is the “Son”, the One, that is the exact expression of the I AM?

John 8:58 (CSB) 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

So, Jesus, is the I AM? Jesus is the God that revealed himself to Moses? Who is God? Jesus is!

John 14:8-11 (CSB) 8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who lives in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.

Can we know who God is and have fellowship with the I AM?

John 14:15-23 (CSB) 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it you’re going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world? ” 23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 

So, the Bible says that the I AM actually loves me and wants to be with me and his people together?

John 16:26-27 (CSB) 26 On that day you will ask in my name, and I am not telling you that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

So, the Bible says that I can talk to the I AM because he loves me? 

Who exactly is this God, who calls himself the I AM, revealed in Jesus and testified to by the Holy Spirit who loves us?

Philippians 2:5-11 (CSB) 5 Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. 7 Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow — in heaven and on earth and under the earth — 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians 1:15-20 (CSB) 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

What more can I know about the I AM as revealed in Jesus by the Holy Spirit?

Revelation 19:11-16 (CSB) 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and with justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written that no one knows except himself. 13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. 14 The armies that were in heaven followed him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. 15 A sharp sword came from his mouth, so that he might strike the nations with it. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. 16 And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Can we be sure we belong to the I AM and that his love for us is secure?

Romans 10:4, 8b-13 (CSB) 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes,…This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

What can we affirm from this small sampling from the Bible?

God, the I AM revealed in Jesus by the Holy Spirit, is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will. – New City Catechism

And he has pursued his people from the beginning and has won them with the sacrifice of his own Son crucified, buried, risen, and ascended into heaven to lead the work of his mission to all nations. 

Conclusion: If we have believed in this God, the I AM, and know him, what are we to do?

Romans 11:33-36 (CSB) 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? 35 And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid? 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

Exodus 34:8 (CSB) 8 Moses immediately knelt low on the ground and worshiped.

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