About UsWho We Are
Who Is Grace Bible Fellowship?
Here is some information about us: In order to explain what GBF is all about – what our vision and mission are – we have to look a lot higher than our church. Obviously we have to start with God, the creator and sustainer of everything. We have to understand His motive (what drives Him) and His mission (what He has set before Himself to accomplish in this world). If we claim that He is our God and we are His people, then His passion and mission should be our passion and mission. What He loves about everything else, we should love above everything else. Otherwise our claim is empty – it’s hollow. We’re not genuine – we’re pretenders. We might as well close up shop.
In order to really understand God’s passion, we have to do some hard thinking about Him – that is, what Scripture says about His being, persons, and perfections. Several decades ago, A.W. Tozer wrote that the mightiest thoughts we will ever think are our thoughts about God. But why is it so difficult to think and talk about God?
The Difficulty of Talk about God
First, there’s simply no one like Him! He is incomparable, which means in our life experience we have no comparisons to Him – none. So we struggle to get our minds around the realities about Him that the Scriptures point to.
Secondly, it’s hard to put our thoughts in words. And the deeper and more complex our thoughts are, the more inadequate our words are. So look at what we’re up against: our words are inadequate to express our thoughts and our thoughts fall far short of the reality! So why try?
Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean our talk about God isn’t true or valuable or precious. It is because we love our incomparable God with everything that’s in us, that we long to know Him better! And that’s what compels us to engage in the hard but precious work of thinking and talking rightly about Him.
The Interior Life of God
God is not a solitary person – He is not unipersonal. Instead, He is tri-personal – one Being, three Persons. God is love because of the love each of the three persons has for the others. Each member of the Trinity are constantly exalting each other, communing with each other, and differing to each other. Each person of the Trinity has at the very center of his affections the other persons of the Trinity. God’s motive in all He does is rooted in a loving, self-giving communion among the Trinity.
The Ultimate Aim of God
Searching Scripture to understand God’s greatest passion is a crucial and life changing undertaking. His passion will radically alter what we treasure and pursue.
It’s not a difficult search because it’s all over the pages of Scripture. The clearest and boldest statement of His passion is found in Isaiah 48:9-11:
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
No less than six times God says that what He does is for His own glory and He will brook no rival. This text drives home to us the centrality of God in his own affections. In other words, this text tells us that He loves himself above all else. The one who is the most passionate for the glorification of God is God himself. God’s ultimate aim is to uphold and display and make much of the glory of His name.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
At first it sounds like everything God does is about me. He is my shepherd, He makes me lie down, He leads me, He restores me, He directs me. But notice the explanation at the end of verse three. He does all those things for His name’s sake. In other words, it’s not all about me – it’s all about Him! God is about God. His mission is not to make much of us, but to make much of Himself in us.
Clearly the One who is the most passionate for the glorification of God is God himself. His ultimate aim is to uphold and display and make much of the glory of His name.
Remember we said that each person of the Trinity has at the very center of his affections the other persons of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Spirit are pouring love and adoration into each other, serving each other, deferring to each other, seeking one another’s glory. So the interior life of God overflows with regard for others. God loves Himself above all else and is most passionate about His glory because each person of the Trinity is most passionate about the glory of the other persons and loves the other persons above all else.
Why Does all of this matter? We were made to share and participate in the incredible glorious communion of the Trinity!
When God made us, He made us after His image (Genesis 1:26-27). He made us to be deeply comparable with Him. He made us such that we share many of the same personal attributes He has. And because of that, we’re capable of sharing life with Him at the deepest level. And He did that in order that we would participate in the dynamic interior life of the Trinity. We were made to see and love and praise the beauty and greatness of the Triune God.
Because that’s what we were created for, that’s what best suits our nature. And, as Jonathan Edwards pointed out long ago, when we are doing what which is most suited to our nature and most satisfying to it, we are in our happiest condition. So our deepest and longest lasting joy is found in centering our lives around the Persons of the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Nothing else will satisfy us as deeply and everlasting and God does.
That’s why the deepest desire of every human being is the profound joy of a lasting loving relationship. That is what we have in our shared life with the Trinity. The Triune God is our home and we long for home.
The problem is that in our current life on earth, we don’t have lasting loving relationships because death ends every one of them. That’s why death is terribly wrong. We were never intended to have life and relationships ended by it. It’s not the way God intended it to be.
But people don’t like to talk about death. Instead, we try to explain it away as something natural and peaceful and almost pleasant. But it’s wrong. Death is a terrible evil. We were never intended for it.
Every one of us will live to see a loved one pass away. The reason we are so uncomfortable with it is that deep down we know it’s wrong. Our loving relationships were not supposed to be terminated by death. That’s why the death of a loved one is so disturbing and painful and hard to recover from. Only in God do we have a lasting loving relationship. And that’s why we long for something else not of this world – we long for home. And that longing for something else not of this world is what drives us in everything we do.
But nonetheless people try to satisfy that deep longing with things of this world that give them pleasure – a shallow, fleeting sense of pleasure, but pleasure nonetheless. But it doesn’t work because in their heart of hearts they know they’re merely distracting themselves while waiting their turn to die and become fertilizer. Those fleeting pleasures become their counterfeit gods, their functional saviors.
Believers as well as unbelievers struggle with preferring the fleeting pleasures of this life to the far superior pleasure of joy in God. We actually think we know better than God what will make us happy. How arrogant is that? Think about it this way: No one has been a greater cause of misery in your life than you have. You have perpetually pursued your own happiness to the detriment of your own joy.
But God offers us the indescribable joy of a lasting loving relationship with Him though His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is our ultimate purpose to pursue our joy in God by centering our lives around the Persons of the Trinity.