Time Lord

How does God relate to time? Take a brain-scratching look into a tough topic and discover how it actually affects your daily life.

Transcript

INTRODUCTION

Morning.  David Sorn.  Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

I hope you brought you nerd glasses this morning. 

We’re going to get kind of nerdy as we conclude the “Future/Past” series today.

It might even sound like we’re on the set of Star Wars, or Stargate SG-1, or Battlestar Gallactica

We’re going to talk about time and space, the future and the past.

Specifically, this morning, we’re going to talk about God’s relation to time. 

Is God outside of time?  In time?  Before time?

Is He in the past?  The future?  Is He just drifting along with us in the present? 

Does He know the future? 

How in the world does God relate to time?!?

And then, I want to talk about how that affects your life.

Cuz some of you are going, “Uh…yeah…I don’t care about all that stuff. 

“I’m in the middle of a horrible divorce right now.”

“I’m struggling hardcore w/ my addictions right now

“I’m really dealing with anxiety

“What do I care about how “GOD RELATES TO TIME?!”

What I want to show you this morning is that, “Understanding how God relates to time (to the future and the past) will actually impact your daily life.”

Because knowing theology (the study of God) should always impact your life.

It’s not just learning to learn. 

It’s learning to impact.  Theology, done right, oughta always change you.

That makes sense right?

The more you can peel back the curtain and discover who God really is, the more His glory ought to change your life.  

This is how relationships work.

You develop deep relationships with people by getting to know them.

This is one of the reasons we want everyone to take a School of Theology summer class.

The more you learn about God, the deeper and truer your relationship will be, and the more you’ll glorify Him. 

So we’re going to dive into to learning about God this morning.  

But you will need some nerd glasses at first J

 

GOD IS ETERNAL

So let’s dive in:

We’re going to be looking at a ton of verses this morning.  I’d suggest just following along on the screen or, if you’re able, use the Renovation Church app. 

The Bible often says that God is eternal.  He has no beginning or end.

Here are a few examples: 

(Psalm 90:2) – NIV

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

He exists even before the creation of the world and even the universe.

God is referred to in the Bible as the Alpha and Omega.

That’s the first and last letter of the Greek Alphabet. 

He is the A and the Z. 

The beginning and the end

God has always been and always will be. 

And while a lot of people who believe God exists subscribe to that thought, here’s where the questions start to get trickier. 

Because you could ask questions like kids in Sunday School have been asking for 2,000 years, “Yeah, but what came before God?  Who created God?”

And we would say that God IS the beginning, but He has no beginning. 

Before we go any further, there’s an important preface we need to make:

Anytime we talk about the attributes of God that we don’t share, we’re at risk for misunderstanding.

Now, we share some attributes (in much lesser degrees of course) with God – We can both love, show kindness, mercy, etc.

But some things we don’t share at all. 

Unless one of you is one of the mutants from X-Men, I’m guessing you can’t be in multiple places at once.

But God can, he’s everywhere at once.  We call that “omnipresent.” 

He’s here and in Taiwan…right now. 

I’m guessing you don’t have some special super-power where you can know all things at once.

Well, God can.  He is, what we call, omniscient.  Knows everything. 

And it’s those attributes that we often struggle with because we just have no framework for them. 

Because we don’t experience life that way.

But just because WE don’t experience life that way doesn’t mean it’s not possible for God.

And how God relates to time is one of those attributes that we don’t possess.

So, I mentioned a minute ago that God has always existed…but how exactly does that work with the beginning of time?

Well, look at the first four words of the Bible:

(Genesis 1:1) – NIV 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

So, we see God is there even before the creation of the universe. 

 

 

GOD IS BEYOND TIME         

But here’s an interesting question that you’ve maybe never thought of:

Does God…

A) Just infinitely exist backwards on a timeline?

B) Did God exist in a timeless state (outside of time) and then create time with the creation of the universe?

I think it’s actually “B,” and here’s why:

Before God made the universe, there was nothing besides Him.

When God created the universe, he actually then created time. 

Imagine that the stage is a timeline.  Before it starts, you have God. 

Then the timeline starts…and of course then goes on for infinity. 

In other words, “time” actually began a finite time ago…not an infinite time ago.

God is infinite…but time is not.

The Bible tells us this as well:

(2 Timothy 1:9) – NIV

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

(1 Corinthians 2:7) – NIV

No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

There are multiple verses that speak this way.  See Jude 25; Titus 1:2 as well.

So, it’s not that time just infinitely goes backwards.

This is a tough concept…but if time went infinitely backwards…you could never actually even arrive at a fixed date like 2014.

Or, the brilliant German philosopher Leibniz {Libe-nitz} (who we quoted some in our Reason to Believe series), put it this way.

If time was just an endless continuum backwards, then that means that God, for some while, was just enduring a long period of creative idleness…before he decided, “Meh, the last 4 million years have been really boring, I know what I’ll do, create the universe!”

Instead, think of it this way:

God has always existed, but before creation (just as the Bible says…) was the period before time. 

We really don’t even have words for this.

Because it’s not even “before” because there was no “before.”  There’s no time!

He’s BEYOND time. 

You can’t even ask how old God is…because He’s existed before you could even keep time…before it existed”

Here’s why this matters:

If the timeline starts first, then the timeline predates God.  And the timeline would therefore greater than God

But it’s just the opposite.

God is the creator of time. 

And that’s why the Bible says, “He exists before time began”

He is the Lord of Time

Now, you might be thinking, “Whoa…that was WAY too nerdy for me.”

Like, the nerdiest you’ll go is “The Big Bang Theory”

But that was like the people who dress up as Chewbacca and go to Star Wars conventions nerdy.

But here’s why we’ve got to establish something as complex as that.

If God is indeed the Lord of Time…the creator of time… He existed before (or more accurately) beyond time. 

THEN, God (THIS IS IMPORTANT) is not governed by time. 

He in no way is bound to PROgress through time like the rest of us.

God isn’t getting through the week, and going, “It’s only Wednesday, are you kidding me?!” 

He relates to time fundamentally different than you and I do…because He existed before time. 

 

 

GOD IS IN THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

So, how does He relate to it then?

Well, in a sense, he’s outside of normal time constraints. 

(Psalm 90:4) – NIV

A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.

Moses, who wrote this Psalm, is comparing our understanding of time to God’s understanding of time. 

Even though the past seems like forever to us, to God it happens in the blink of an eye.

He’s in a sense, right now, vividly present in all of the past.

Peter, in the New Testament, broadens this thought about God

(2 Peter 3:8) – NIV

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

So not only does God experience the past, present, and the future simultaneously, but it’s also like the day never ends for God.    

It’s always being experienced.  In the present. 

 

 

THE PARADE ANALOGY

Okay, this is tough stuff to understand sometimes, so let me paint you a picture.

Not actually paint you a picture…that would be ugly.

I’m so bad at art…even my stick people look ugly.

Imagine there’s a parade going through town.

You all love parades right? 

Do people actually like parades anymore? 

Serious question. 

It seems like it would actually be pretty boring to the kids of our ADD culture…compared to what you could experience on TV.

I guess the one bonus of the parade is that the TV doesn’t throw candy at you as you watch J

Okay, now imagine you’re at this candy-throwing parade.  And you’re at one fixed spot. 

You can only really see what’s happening at your spot in the present. 

You can’t see the floats that passed you 5 minutes ago

And you can’t yet see the marching band with their really funny hats who won’t get to you for another 5 minutes. 

But God, is like the person who sits high up on a massive cliff and sees all parts of the parade at once. 

He is aware of what HAS happened, what IS happening, and what WILL happen…all at once. 

But it’s even more than that…

He not only sees all things at once.  (so totally outside of normal time constraints)

He not only sees all things at once…He’s present at all points at once. 

He’s not just on the cliff. 

He’s standing next to each flute player, each shriner on some freaky mini-car…each dairy princess. 

At all points of the parade. 

But you could say, “Wait, I thought you said He was up on the cliff!”

But remember, God is omnipresent. 

He’s everywhere at once. 

As I’ve said before, “God is in the brightest places like MN, and even in some of the darkest places in the world like Green Bay…at the same time”

God is therefore “outside of time,” but is entering and acting in each moment of time. 

How many of you have seen the TV Show, “Doctor Who?”

It’s a sci-fi show where the main character travels through time to famous events in the past and into the future.

And he’s called a “Time Lord” because he can actually travel through time.  He’s “Lord over time”

But how God is Lord of Time is even greater…because he can be in all of time at once.

And HE IS!

He’s the real Time Lord.

And, remember, he can do this because he PREDATES time!

So, this is not (what is technically called deism) where God just creates the world and time, and then sits back (or up on a cliff) and twiddles his thumbs.

He is outside of time, and yet engaged in all of time.

Even his name in the Bible, which is “Yahweh,” simply means I AM. 

I am there.  I’m with you.  I exist…there. 

(Revelation 1:8) – NIV

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

 

WHY DOES THIS MATTER:  #1 - DANGEROUS CONTRASTING VIEWS

Now, this is all fascinating…but again, why does it really matter?

I’m going to give you two reasons, with some sub-points to them of course J

#1 is simply this:  There are a lot of dangerous contrasting views to God and how he relates to time.

You could say, “What could possibly be dangerous here?  But track with me…”

Many say that God isn’t outside of time, but just simply in the parade with you. 

He’s experiencing the present just like you are (of course with a lot more knowledge), but he’s not in the future yet, nor has he determined it.

Now, here’s where you can start to see that that’s a “theological concept” but that has major implications for your life.

What if that’s how God relates to time?

What if God doesn’t know your future?

What if God isn’t in charge of tomorrow?

Can you see how that would change EVERYTHING in how you would relate to him in your day-by-day conversations??

Or, if you believe, like I mentioned a minute ago, that God started time, and is up on the cliff, but only up on the cliff, that changes everything!

If he’s just outside of time, but not ALSO with you then He can’t give the marching band a warning that there is a major pot whole ahead. 

If he’s JUST on the cliff, He would KNOW that it was there, but wouldn’t be able to tell them because he wouldn’t also be there with them.

See, if God is not also WITH you in time, that changes EVERYTHING too!

 

 

WHY DOES THIS MATTER:  #2 – IF GOD IS LORD OF TIME, THIS MEANS A LOT FOR YOUR DAILY LIFE

And here’s the second reason a good Biblical view of “God & Time” really matters: 

An accurate view will really display his grace, love, and glory, and thus impact your life….for his glory!

Let me explain. 

I want to put on the screen what I believe are 5 key statements that we can know are true because of an accurate theological belief in how God relates to time:

He was with you in the PAST

He can forgive your PAST

He’s with you right NOW

He can forgive your FUTURE

He can be with you in the FUTURE

Let’s just leave that up there for a while.

Listen, I don’t really know your past. 

But I know humanity.  And human nature. 

And my guess is…your past wasn’t all puppies and rainbows. 

But here’s the thing,

Whether someone hurt you, you majorly messed up, you went through a lot…God was there. 

Now, you maybe weren’t a follower of Jesus then…

So maybe the Holy Spirit was in you yet, but God was there. 

He’s always there. 

He’s present everywhere.  In all of time.

And to many of you, that gives you comfort.

But maybe it actually makes you uncomfortable.

Maybe you’re thinking, “That means God’s seen everything I’ve ever done.”

Yep.

“That means, God’s probably even heard every thought I’ve ever had!?”

Yep.

He was in every moment of your past.

Now, check this out, this is crazy, God saw everything you’ve ever done, heard everything you’ve ever thought.

And you want to know what a just God says we deserve for all of our past?

Justice.  Punishment.

Yet, that same God (and this is why studying his character is SO important), is SO loving…that here’s what he did.

He sent his own Son…to take your punishment on the cross. 

See, not only was he with you in the past, he can forgive your past.

All of it. 

The Bible says that if you put your faith in Jesus, as the leader of your life, and believe that he died for you, that he will take that record of your sins (that detailed record of your past), and wipe it all away. 

He was with you in the past…And He can forgive your past.

And not only that, he’s with you in the present!

But…here’s the thing…I want you to invite God to not just stand by your life, but come INTO your life. 

See, God is so big that he is outside of time, but so intimate that He can come and be with you, and actually live inside of you and change your life…RIGHT NOW.

 (1 Corinthians 3:16) – NIV

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

(Go back to 5 statements screen)

And then God will start Renovating your life!

And his promises are even greater!

He was with you in the past, He can forgive your past, He can really be with you right now…

And not only that, His forgiveness can extend to your future.

There’s a lot in here, so let me read it slowly.

(Ephesians 1:13-14) – NIV

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

(Go back to 5 statements screen)

In other words, when you believe, you are sealed for heaven.

So, that even your sin in the future will be forgiven.        

That doesn’t mean that we just blatantly sin knowing we’ll be forgiven.

Just the opposite.  We try and live every second for this amazing God.

For those of you who are Christians, already followers of Christ, you know this is amazing stuff!

God is amazing!

He was with you in the past…he was there. 

He forgave it. 

He’s with you right now!

He never leaves our side.

No matter what you’re going through right now!

This is the greatest depth of love imaginable!

Someone who knows everything you’ve ever done or thought, but loves you anyway!

We can trust in this amazing God, we can put our faith in Him, we can entrust our entire lives to Him…

Because we know that He is the Lord of time. He’s the Time Lord

Forgiver of the past and future.

A God that was there in the past, and already there in the future…waiting for us…sovereign and in control.

So amazing!

Won’t you put your trust in this God who loves you?

But notice the #5 conclusion we can learn about God and time

It says “He CAN be with you in the future”

See, as I said earlier, someone must pay the penalty for our sin.

God is just, it has to work that way.

And if we don’t follow Jesus, and ask him to pay it for us, then we will have to pay it.

And thus, God’s holy and just wrath is still in on us. 

It is not removed by Jesus. 

And when the world ends, or more likely for most of us, when our lives end, we will enter another “phase” of time:  eternal life. 

A time that will continue on forever and ever…except we won’t die. 

We will never cease to exist. 

Yet, that’ll happen in 1 of 2 places:  In Heaven or Hell.

Heaven, a place of pure bliss…where the glory of God resides.. Pure joy.

Or hell, where God is completely absent.

And this is what we learn from God about time:

He “can” be in our future.

But for many, there will come a TIME, when God IS no longer present. 

Their sins will not be paid for…they will not be removed.

And thus, for all of the rest of time (eternity), they will be separated from God. 

This is why we call it Christianity the Gospel…(Good news)…

It’s simply this:  We sinned, we deserve death & hell, God loves you, sent Jesus in your place to die for you, you can go to heaven instead (AND have your life transformed NOW by him)

You could never think of better news than that.

And I wonder this morning, have you accepted it?

Are you a believer?  Have you had your sin removed?  Do you know for sure if you’re going to heaven and not hell?

Are you following this Jesus?

If you’ve never accepted this free gift before…if you’ve never said, “I want to follow Jesus.  Not just get a gift…I want to FOLLOW Jesus…Cuz this is what life is about!”

If you’ve never done that before, let’s do it now!

In fact, let’s do this:  Let’s all bow our heads and close our eyes…as I want this to be a special moment between you and God. 

If you want to start this incredible relationship with Jesus…. ….and believe in what He did for you and commit your life to him (to make Him your leader & forgiver) to be completely forgiven…spend eternity in heaven w/ Him and NOT in Hell. 

If that’s you…and you’ve never done this before…in just a few moments, I’m actually going to ask you to stand up.   As a symbol…to say…this is what I’m living for now.   

Everyone is going to have their eyes closed (no one’s looking), so this is just between you & God

This is a way for you to say, “I believe that THIS is what life is about.  From this moment onward, I will be a follower of JESUS…of God…the Lord of all time.”

So wherever you are, all across this room right now.  If you’d like to become a follower of Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to just, courageously, stand up wherever you are.

If God is nudging your heart in this… …that’s Him.  Answer this time.  It’s TIME!   This is what life is about.  It’s why you’re here. Accept His forgiveness.  Start a new life with Him.  It’s amazing!

If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?

It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at…again, the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths. 

So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me

IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe. 

So, let’s all say it together with these new believers. 

EVERYONE repeat after me with these new believers. 

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you. 

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins. 

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.  Amen

AMEN!!   Let’s just clap and praise God. 

If you gave your life to Christ today, I need you to do 2 things for me

Right after the service today, I want you to go to the back of the room …for just a moment. 

In the back there is a sign that says “FOLLOW-UP”

There will be some incredibly nice people there (they have lanyards on) who want to give you some extremely helpful tools to help you get started in your faith

Won’t take you very long.  But absolutely go back there.  

Also, if you stood up today, we wrote you a letter.  It’s under your chair, and we’d love for you to read it before the service is over. 

Let me just pray & thank God!


Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.

David SornFuture Past