worship

We might be like God in some ways. After all, God made us in his image (Genesis 1:26-27).

But God is most certainly not like us. God is more than us. He is greater than us. God transcends us.

The meaning of transcendence is that God is not merely a quality of nature or of humanity; he is not simply the highest human being. He is not limited to our ability to understand him. His holiness and goodness go far beyond, infinitely beyond ours, and this is true of his knowledge and power as well.

Millard Erickson, Introducing Christian Doctrine, 81.

God is other.

It is the supremacy of God’s otherness, holiness, greatness, glory that should drive us to humility and worship.

God is not the “man upstairs,” or the “eye in the sky.” That God transcends us points to God as Creator, Lord, and Sovereign.

Scripture affirms the idea of transcendence.

God is not man, that he should lie,
    or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
    Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Numbers 23:19

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Isaiah 6:1-5

“As I looked, thrones were placed,
    and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
    its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
    and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.

Daniel 7:9-10

These passages are just a sampling of the biblical affirmation of God’s transcendence. God is above and beyond us in every way imaginable.

The fact of God’s transcendence should humble us. If you’ve been reading these word of the week posts for any length of time, you may have noticed a theme. Theology that gives us an accurate picture of God and of ourselves rightly humbles us.

The fact of God’s transcendence should lead us to worship. God is great, other, glorious. The more we recognize and reflect on the transcendent God of the Bible, the more we will sense the need to worship and adore God in our attitudes and actions.

So, pause a moment (or more) and consider the greatness and glory of the transcendent God of the Bible. Join us next week as we reflect on the complimentary theme of God’s immanence.

Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

Rick Warren opened his bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, with these words, “It’s not about you.” Warren was talking about purpose and mission in life. He’s right.

Since the beginning of summer, I’ve been preaching from the book of Proverbs. The last several weeks I’ve dealt with several convicting subjects according to the book of Proverbs: pride, words, and anger. You can listen to the podcasts of recent sermons by searching for Wilkesboro Baptist wherever you find podcasts or by visiting our podcast page here: https://www.wilkesborobaptist.org/podcasts.

That sentence, “It’s not about you” covers the basic truth behind the character and virtue that the book of Proverbs is attempting to teach us.

We live in a “have it your way” culture where advertising, marketing, and media are aimed at making your life more convenient or happier. Just observe the self-help section in a bookstore or watch carefully the next set of commercials on television. If you listen to the subtle (or not so subtle) messaging, then it is easy to think that everything is about us. If I want a new car, then I deserve one. If I want to fit in, then I must have the newest iPhone. If I want to have a happy lunch, then I’ll get it “my way.”

I don’t mean to pick on advertising and marketing so much. It is just an illustration of a far deeper problem with humanity.

Let’s just take the subjects of the last three sermons I preached: pride, words, and anger. The vice of pride tells us that everything is about us. And when our pride is damaged, we act out. Our words are not necessarily good or bad, but most often they are about us. It is so easy to get caught up in the I, me, mine culture where everything I communicate in spoken or written word is about me. Think social media. If you want a convicting exercise, look back through your social media feeds and reread your posts. How many of them are about you? How many times did you write, “I,” “me,” or “mine.” And then there is anger. Most of the time, my anger is caused by something or someone that doesn’t match my expectations. I get angry when “I’m” impatient, frustrated, disappointed, etc. Essentially, these three topics are symptomatic of self-absorbed thinking.

We need to tell ourselves over and over again, “It’s not about me.”

If it’s not about us, then what on earth are we here for? In short, we’re here as reflections of the Creator. God made us in his image, for his glory, to accomplish his purpose. God made us to make us like Jesus (Romans 8:29).

To put it one way, we exist to lead our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus. At Wilkesboro Baptist, we do this by worshiping, learning, serving, and replicating. These steps are good reminders that life is not about us.

In worship, we focus our attention on the Lord who is worthy of our praise. In true worship, our preferences and desires take a back seat to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ.

In learning, we humble ourselves to be taught. As followers of Christ, we realize that we are on a journey to learn more about God, ourselves, our world, others, and our mission.

In serving, we put others first. Instead of being consumers of church culture, we are servants of others. We give our time, talents, and tithes as investments into the lives of others: be it people in our church, community, or across the world.

In replicating, we realize that the mission of making disciples is our priority. To replicate is to reproduce the life of Christ in someone else. We can’t replicate the life of Christ in someone else if the life of Christ is not the controlling presence in our own lives. And if we live each day as if it is about us, then we are actively working against the purpose of Christ in our own lives.

Is your life about you? If your behaviors, habits, and decisions say “Yes,” then maybe it’s time for some life analysis.

This message series has been convicting to me as well. Over the past several weeks, God has reminded me of ways where I have behaved as if my life is about me. May we learn to follow Christ and let the life of Christ live within us.

May Paul’s affirmation to the Galatians be true of us:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

Galatians 2:2O

Photo by Ben Robbins on Unsplash