Highland Park Church (Kokomo.IN.USA)A Church Where You Can Grow. Reach. Connect. Deepen.

Sermon Outlines:
The Immutability of God

Introduction

When it comes to matters of theology, most dictionaries do not recognize the vocabulary.

Take two words we will use today: aseity and immutability. Only my large 3 volume dictionary has those words. You can check yours when you get home.

But why do we use such words? To impress people (who are we impressing)?  To keep theology from average Christians? No.

We use these words to save breath, in the name of efficiency.

Aseity means that God is self-derived, self-sufficient, and independent of His creation. He depends upon us for nothing, and we cannot alter Who He is. This leads us into today’s subject.

Today’s topic will focus upon the immutability of God.

These matters are all being challenged today; we Christians need to decide whether we believe in the clearly infinite God of a Scripture or the toned-down, weak versions of God being proposed today on all fronts, within and without evangelicalism.  You need to pay attention to what you are hearing in this series, because you need to know what and why you believe what you do; it will be challenged, eventually even by people who will attend this church.

There are people out there today, claiming to be Christians and many claiming to believe the Bible, who would challenge every one of my main points today.

Immutability sounds bad. If someone called you immutable, you might punch them in the nose. The truth is that this mysterious word is true only of God.

To be immutable is to always be the same, unalterable. God is unchanging and unchangeable. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

We can insert the word "always" to highlight this truth. God is always holy, always sovereign, always good, always wise, always just, and always gracious. Whatever God is, he always is. His nature is an always nature. He always is Who He is.

Main Thought: The Immutability of God Explains Why We Can Depend Upon God, and Why God is Worthy of Our Worship and our Submission.

God’s immutability extends to many areas. Let’s look at a few key areas in which God is immutable.

  1. God Is Immutable In Regards to His Very Nature: He is Like A Rock

    1. Most changes are for the better or worse…

    2. God is perfect; perfection cannot be improved upon, therefore if God changed, it would have to be a change for the worse…

      1. the Christian life involves change; we change as we are conformed to His image….but His image does not change…
      2. people who are not wanting to grow and change have a problem, often insecurity; but if God changed, that would be a problem.
    3. That God does not change in His substance is clear in Scripture:

      NIV Psalms 102:24-27

      24 So I said: "Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations.
      25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
      26 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.  Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.
      27 But you remain the same, and your years will never end...."

      NIV Malachi 3:6

      I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

    4. Even during the incarnation, God remained the same in substance…the nature of God remained the same, though His plan unfolded and a new phase of it was initiated…

      Bill Irwin, a man who is blind, has a talking computer he uses to study the Bible. He’s had a few chuckles over some of the pronunciations. "For a long time," Bill says, "the computer pronounced Holy Bible as ’holly bibble’ until I figured out how to modify it." But there was one thing Bill couldn’t change. The computer uses the Spanish pronunciation for Jesus Christ—HEYsus Krist. "The programmer is Hispanic," Bill told me with a smile, "and he made  sure that HEYsus Krist cannot be altered."

      I like that. It reminds me that among the things in life that can be changed to suit my taste, one remains tamper-resistant—I can’t change Jesus.

    5. One frequent picture of God is a Rock.  Although technically rocks can wear away from tides and currents, they are about the most unchangeable and dependable objects we encounter. Since God is the same, He is truly a Rock upon which we can build.

      NIV Psalms 18:2

      The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

      NIV Psalms 40:2

      He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

    Main Thought: The Immutability of God Explains Why We Can Depend Upon God, and Why God is Worthy of Our Worship and our Submission.

  2. God Is Immutable In His Purpose and Wisdom

    1. Although God seems to change His mind when interacting with people, He does not. First, let me present some clear verses that state that God does not actually change His mind:

      NIV Numbers 23:19

      God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

      NIV 1 Samuel 15:29

      He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.

      NIV Psalms 33:11

      But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

      NIV Isaiah 46:10

      I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

      NIV Romans 11:29

      For God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.

    2. Now the immutability of God has often been defended in one breath but denied in another; example: replacement theology teaches that God is done with Israel forever, even though God has made it abundantly clear that He has plans for Israel in the end times….Others say that homosexuality is permissible in our age…and on and on…
    3. There are verses that make it look like God changes His mind, but they are examples of God relating to men as though a man…

      NIV Genesis 6:6-7

      6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

      7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them."

      NIV Exodus 32:14

      Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

      Jonah 3:10

      When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

    4. This is technically called “Anthropopatheia”, but causually referred to as condescension. According Ethelbert Bullinger in his classic volume, “Figures of Speech Used in the Bible,” anthropopetheia is, “the ascription of human passions, actions, or attributes to God.”  Bullinger adds, “The Hebrews had a name for this figure, and called it Derech Benai Adam, the way of the sons of man.”

    5. For example, we read about the mighty hand of the Lord, or His eyes that see all, His ears that hear all, his smelling the sweet savor of a sacrifice, using the earth as His footstool, or of God girding up His loins.  So the text describes Him as changing His mind.  What this really means is that God changed His attitude in response to man’s change toward Him; this does not mean that God was surprised, or that He altered His plans.  His plans, rather, took into account what He knew would happen.
    6. Malachi 3:6 

      I the LORD do not change.

    Main Thought: The Immutability of God Explains Why We Can Depend Upon God, and Why God is Worthy of Our Worship and our Submission.

  3. God is Immutable in the Realm of Knowledge

    1. God cannot learn something: He is perfect in knowledge; He has all knowledge (omniscience), not just the knowledge of what happened, but also exactly what will happen.
    2. He cannot be taken by surprise: He knows the beginning from the end.

      NIV Psalms 139:4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

      NIV Deuteronomy 31:16

      And the LORD said to Moses: "You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them.

      NIV Genesis 15:15-16 (to Abraham)

      15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.
      16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.

    3. You need to remember that time is a created entity.  Imagine an ant farm under glass. A man moves around it and observes it at all levels because he is outside its realm. Now picture that ant farm as all creation at all points in time; the man represents God who is totally unbound by it.
    4. If God did not know what was going to happen, He would not have all knowledge and would Himself be subject to time, therefore time would be Sovereign over God!

    5. A pastor friend had an associate on staff. He was ministering to a lady who had been through a tragedy. “God did not know this was going to  happen…”

      1. we do not have to like the way God does things…
      2. but we enter the realm of heresy when we try to make Him more palatable; God is NOT palatable to the unregenerated person; “there are none that seek after God” (i.e., the TRUE God)

      3. never apologize for God, and never alter God to soothe yourself or others; get angry at Him if you must, but do not pretend Him into something else…

    6. Isaiah 46:10 

      I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

    Main Thought: The Immutability of God Explains Why We Can Depend Upon God, and Why God is Worthy of Our Worship and our Submission.

Conclusion

Is your God unchangeable?  Is He limited in what He knows?  Does He make plans at the last minute, reacting to all the surprises that come His way.

Or is He high and lifted up, exalted. Can we agree with God’s Words in Isaiah 55:8-9

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Or is your God easy to understand, just a slightly inflated version of yourself?
Pastor Ed

ON THE WEB
SINCE 1996

 


Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA
765.452.1779
church@highlandpc.com