Four Things God Cannot Do (Part II)

English Service on January 15, 2017

Messenger: Pastor Jim Allison


II Timothy 2:1-13

Romans 6:6-11


Four Things God Cannot Do (Part II)


Today, as every day, we at Open Door are here to know God better.  We tell people on our Web site, “Open Door is an international family of faith seeking to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Sapporo, Japan.”  Our constitution says, “This church takes as its purpose the living out of the Gospel of Christ, as detailed in ‘The Confession of Faith of Open Door Chapel.’”  Because our mission in 2017 and every year is to actually follow Christ’s teachings, we need to know very well what they are.  We don’t only need the ideas in them; we need a deep, strong relationship with the God Whom Christ called His Father.  So let’s take up the task again today of gaining a deeper knowledge of God through His word.  We cannot achieve our mission without that.  We cannot become the people we were created to be without that.  


We often talk about the things God can do.  Our testimony and praise time is a part of our worship in which we point briefly to the work we see God continuing to do in our family of faith.  But there are things God tells us He cannot do.  In a message a couple of months ago, we learned that God cannot be tempted.  He is good and holy.  So we commit ourselves to becoming like Him in this way.  We also learned again that God cannot lie.  He is truthful and honest.  So we commit ourselves to trusting Him.  


Today we turn our attention to two more key truths.  God’s word tells us that He (a) cannot disown Himself and (b) cannot die again.  Let’s look deeper into what these teachings mean.  


First, in II Timothy 2:13 (NIV), we read, “. . . If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”  The NIRV says, “Even if we are not faithful, he will remain faithful. He must be true to himself.”  God is faithful.  He is faithful to others and to Himself.  He has integrity.  


We often talk about Christ making people “whole.”  Our lives easily become broken into parts.  There’s the me I show others, the me I think I am, the me others see me to be, and the me God knows I am, the real me.  All these can be very different from each other.  The person I present myself to be on Facebook, Twitter, or Sunday morning preaching, may not match very well with the one my family members see me every day to be.  The impression of me I tried to give Chieko when we were dating before getting married may not be 100% the same as the one she has now after 25 years of marriage.  (I hope I don’t hear a loud “Amen” from her at this point!)  


My intentions and words may not link up very well with my actions.  For example, I am now holding coupons that Chieko gave me before I went to buy skis when my daughters outgrew their old ones.  I had excellent intentions—world class—to use these coupons and save \4000.  But when I went to the cash register to pay, I forgot about them and bought the skis without using them.  That is why I have them to show you today.  


I’m not saying that honest mistakes are sins.  The inconsistency inside us goes beyond goofs.  My beliefs about love and peace and goodness may not show up so clearly in the way I really treat people.  There may be a big gap between the person I plan to become and the one I am now.  


People sometimes have a public face and a private face.  One of the Americans in the recent presidential election was in the news for talking in a private speech to business leaders about the need for a public position and a private position on a certain issue.  Many people who heard that felt that having two positions was really being two-faced, or dishonest.  Many people in my country are feeling frustrated with leaders who make promises in order to get their job but do not keep them.  Some break their promises even before starting their work,  and others fail to keep them after years and years in office.  Yet this is not limited to one politician, one party, or even politics.  Fallen, sinful human beings can find many reasons—too many reasons—for telling different versions of the truth to different people in different situations.  Even if some politicians think it is necessary, in human relationships in general, it can be very damaging.  


In all these ways, we are broken, but in amazing grace, Christ has come into this world to make us whole, as we celebrated at Christmas.  That means we can become people with a unity, a simplicity, a consistency about who we are.  God can help us learn to be faithful because first He is faithful.  He says what He means.  He does what He says He will do.  He keeps His promises.        


Paul seems to be writing to Timothy about this at least in part because there is a chance that Timothy and the people he is there to lead will give up on their faith.  They may give up because they are persecuted, as Paul is now being, put in chains.  They may be pressured to deny Jesus, as Peter was.  There may be physical danger involved in following Christ.  That was the case for many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world in 2016.  It was a deadly year for them, much like Christ’s time was for Him in following the leading of God, His Father.  


Timothy and the rest of the church may give up because it is costing them money, putting at risk their chance of having a stable life economically.  They may be like farmers who think they have to give up farming because prices continue to be so low or weather conditions so bad that they cannot make a living.  They may be like soldiers who find it difficult to continue doing dangerous work for low pay.  When they can find chances to do other work that is safer and leads to more money, they may forget about the great cause of protecting life that they believed they were fighting for and leave the military.  The early Church may give up because it is difficult to compete by the rules (when others may not be), and it is tempting to break some rules.  Or, among other reasons, it may be tempting to simply quit trying when they get tired.  


God teaches us as His children, to be faithful—as a good soldier is faithful to a commanding officer rather than getting involved in civilian affairs.  Faithful, as an athlete is faithful to the rules of the game rather than breaking them.  Faithful, as a farmer is faithful in following the laws of nature that will produce a harvest and income when planting and tending of plants are done consistently.  Faithful, as Christ was faithful to the mission God gave Him to come to this world, die, and rise again to make a way for people to be made right with God again.  


The way God is tells us how to pray.  Let’s pause in the middle of the message to do that.  We learn to pray by praying, so let’s practice, OK?  


God, we are here to worship you today, and we honor you now for being faithful.  Help us in response to seeing this part of your character to worship you not only in this formal worship service.  Help us more to worship you through becoming like you in the way we live each day.  Make us faithful.  Give us an inner unity.  Grow us into people of great integrity.  Make us committed, deeply and fully, to you, to each other, to the lives and work to which you call us.  We pray in Christ’s name, amen. 


The second thing I’ll mention today that God cannot do is in Romans 6:9 (NIV).  “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”  Neither the Shinkaiyaku nor the Shinkyoudouyaku uses a word like できない in this verse.  Other English versions say things like (a) “. . . Christ . . . will never die again” (NIRV, GNT, NRSV), (b) “. . . Christ . . . dies no more” (NKJV), and (c) “. . . Christ . . . is never to die again” (NASB).  The original Greek says literally, “the dead dies no more.”

In other words, God is sufficient.  In overcoming sin through Christ’s death on the cross, He is fully adequate, lacking nothing.  As a result, He is fully capable 

of meeting every need, accomplishing all He undertakes, and growing us into people completely committed to Him.


If you don’t believe that, you may go one of two ways.  Not being willing to fully accept the hope that comes from knowing that Almighty God is with you, you may live without any particular hope.  Doubt, fear, and anxiety may become the central, driving forces of your inner life day to day.  


Or you may look to something else for your hope.  You may place your future in your own hands and try to be the sufficient, adequate power your life needs.  Or you may seek to find it in a different philosophy or religion or human organization.  For example, many people today place very high hopes and expectations on their nations’ governments.  We may feel that our only possibility for a good life hangs on who wins an election or which political party is in power.  When that does not go the way we think it should, we may fall into the feeling that all is lost.  When it does go as we think it should, we may stop looking to God as the One who protects, guides, and empowers people’s lives.  In other words, the way we relate to our countries’ leaders and government is connected with the way we relate to God.  Where you believe you can place your trust and hope will impact the way you live very powerfully, if not always quickly or visibly.         


Not speaking about any particular political leader or party, all political leaders and parties are human.  That means they have weaknesses, corruption, and will fail us at some or many points, sooner or later.  Ultimately, if we rely on humans and human institutions to give us “the good life,” we will be disappointed.  Our salvation does not come from humans but God.  Our Savior will never live in a Prime Minister’s mansion or the White House or a palace.  Christ, who makes His home in heaven and in our hearts, is our hope for a better world.


So what impact does this have on our lives?  How should we live as a result?  Paul in Romans 6 says that knowing Christ’s sufficiency is the key to becoming free from the power of sin.  Before we met Christ, we did not have the strength we need to live the good lives we want to live.  We did not have access to the power necessary to be the good people we want in our best moments to be.  Fear, greed, envy, and other dark forces controlled us.  


But when we joined ourselves to Christ, we put our old, sinful selves on the cross together with Him and died, so to speak.  Now we live a new life, thanks to Him.  Because we have been cleaned, forgiven, renewed, there is no need for us to go back under the power of those old bad habits of the will, mind, and heart that were damaging our lives so terribly.  


Of course, as long as we are human beings in this world, we will be tempted to do bad things.  But we can see ourselves more correctly and live better, the writer says, if we just think that the old us has already died.  It makes no sense for people who are joined to a pure, holy Christ to do dirty, ugly things like hate and lie and gossip about others.  It makes no sense for a person who has been trained and licensed as a doctor to give people poison instead of good medicine.  It makes no sense for a talented, skilled musician at a performance to start shouting and just making noise instead of music.  It makes no sense for a person who has already died to then die again.  It’s not in them to do things like that.  It’s not who they are.  In the same way, as we continue our lives linked to Christ, we become more and more like Him.  It becomes less and less like us to live with worry, fear, guilt, and so on filling our minds.  


The main point of 2017 for us as Christians is through the experiences of daily life to become people who give and receive love more and more, as Christ taught 

us.  As we do that, we will become purer and give God more glory.  The writer says (v. 11), “. . . Consider yourselves to be dead as far as sin is concerned. Now that you believe in Christ Jesus, consider yourselves to be alive as far as God is 

concerned.”  When you do, he continues in v. 14, “Sin will not be your master. Law does not rule you. God's grace has set you free.”


Amen.  In response to that, again, let’s push the pause button and pray.


Father, you know our needs.  In Christ you have provided for all of them, fully and completely.  First and most, you have made a way for us to receive forgiveness of our sin and freedom from the death it brings.  We respond to this magnificent gift by confessing the truth of it.  But help us never to stop with knowing about it.  Help us respond to Christ’s death by opening the gift, willingly and actively receiving it.  Enable us to believe and commit ourselves anew to living daily in the fullness of life to which you call us.  Through this, make our whole lives become confessions of faith in you and your all-sufficiency.  And, God, because you are enough, fully adequate, complete, help us to join with you in serving the people around us and leading them to you.  Use us in effective service that lifts others up and gives glory to you.  Amen.   


Now we’ve seen from God’s word that He (a) cannot be tempted, (b) cannot lie, (c) cannot disown Himself, and (d) cannot die again.  And, again, it is because God cannot do these things that we can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).  Let’s ask Him to do His powerful work in and through us.


Almighty God, we praise you again today for being (a) good and holy.  Because you are, we commit ourselves to becoming like you in this way, step by step, day by day.  We honor you for being (b) truthful and honest.  Because you are, we commit ourselves to trusting you.  We thank you for (c) being faithful and having integrity.  Because you are like this, we commit ourselves to worshiping 

you through our lives.  We confess that you are (d) sufficient and fully adequate.  Because you are, we commit ourselves to becoming living confessions of faith in you.  In Christ’s name, amen. 




第2テモテ 2:1~13



神様ができない4つのこと (パートⅡ)










今回は前回の続き 「神様ができない4つのこと」後半

















































ローマ人への手紙 6章9節







































11節 「このように、あなたがたも、自分は罪に対して死んだ者であり、神に対してはキリスト・イエスにあって生きた者だと、思いなさい。」


14節 「というのは、罪はあなたがたを支配することがないからです。なぜなら、あなたがたは律法の下になく、恵みの下にあるからです。

















ピリピ人への手紙4:13 「私は、私を強くしてくださる方によって、どんなことでもできるのです。」