January 21, 2024. Sermon Title: God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience

First Mennonite Church

January 21, 2024

Attributes of God: His Omnipresence and Omniscience

Text: Psalm 139:1-12

When theologians speak about the attributes of God, they often refer to two kinds of God’s attributes: His communicable attributes and His incommunicable attributes. God’s communicable attributes are those that God shares with his people: his love, compassion, righteousness, justice, etc. But then, there are other attributes of God that He alone has: His eternity, His Otherness (holiness), His omnipresence, God’s power to be everywhere; His omniscience, his power to know everything; His omnipotence, God’s almighty power; and His immutability, God’s unchangeable character. Some find seven incommunicable attributes of God, while others find more. 

Today, I want to talk about the omnipresence of God. But we should also realize that closely related to God’s attribute of omnipresence is His omniscience. If God is present everywhere, God also knows what is there. The text for this morning is a clear testimony of that truth. God is present everywhere! Yes, His presence fills the universe. God is omnipresent!

Psalm 139 begins by acknowledging God’s omniscience. God knows it all. The psalmist admits that God has searched him and has found everything there is in his life. The Lord knows of his whereabouts, his thoughts, intentions, and words, even before he uttered them. “Such knowledge is so wonderful to me,” marvels the psalmist.

It is indeed a fascinating thought to know that God knows our every move, our whereabouts, and everything going on in our minds. Such knowledge of God can give us a sense of security. God keeps track of everywhere I go. God is familiar with everything I do. On the other hand, the knowledge that God sees me at all times can be a scary thought, if I am going the wrong places and doing the wrong things. If that were my case, then I would prefer God not to be an omnipresent and omniscient God.

The God of the Bible and the God Jesus revealed to us is an omnipresent God.

And whomever acknowledges God’s presence his or her life is changed. Remember Moses. He could not resist God when He appeared in the burning bush. When God told Moses He was present in the burning bush and that Moses was standing on holy ground, Moses hid his face and was terrified. He left his flock and went back to Egypt, to the very place he had fled from (Exodus 3). Moses was transformed from a fugitive to a great liberator and leader.

Remember Jeremiah who could not find more excuses to avoid God’s calling. He said to God, “Lord, why me? I am too young to go and tell your words to these violent people.”

But God emboldened Jeremiah and sent him as God’s prophet.

You also know the case of Isaiah. When God appeared to Isaiah, his sense of guilt and unworthiness suddenly overwhelmed the prophet. But after God cleaned Isaiah, he rushed towards God and said, “Here I am, send me.” And Isaiah left the comforts of the royal palace and went out to proclaim both hope and judgment from God.

Remember Paul. He was an ardent persecutor of the church of Christ but when the presence of the risen Christ met him, Paul’s life experienced a 180-degree turnaround. He could not resist the presence of the risen Christ. He cried, “Who are you, Lord?” The light of Christ struck down Paul not only from the horse he was riding but also from the lofty life of an admired Pharisee to become a servant of Christ.  

My dear friends, we cannot be in the presence of God Almighty and keep being our old selves. We cannot be in the presence of God and not be changed. We cannot be in the presence of God without being touched and stirred from within with a desire to grow into the likeness of Christ his Son. That is what Paul meant when he said:  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image from glory to glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2Corinthians 3:18).

But how can we experience the transforming presence of God in our lives? How can that happen?

Let us take our cues from the psalmist. Psalm 139 is a prayer in which the psalmist pleaded with God to search him. The psalmist was convinced that despite his best intentions to do what is right, despite his perception of right and wrong, no one but God can weigh his heart. Thus he pleaded:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting (23, 24).

The psalmist wanted to experience God in a very personal and intimate way. He wanted God to examine his heart and mind. He wanted God to hunt down any offensive way there could be, hidden in his life. The psalmist pleaded with God to show him his blind spots.  

This is how we must begin. We can only be transformed by God when we invite Him to search every hidden or secret room of our hearts and minds. Otherwise, our knowledge that God is all-knowing will mean nothing to us until pray to him to search our hearts. It is until we experience God’s meticulous and intimate examination of our hearts and minds that we will say with conviction that God is indeed all-knowing.

My dear friends, God will not pry into your life, my life, if we do not freely invite him to do so, even when he knows everything there is in us. And the result of that is that we remain blind to our own flaws, prejudices, and sins. God cannot change our lives if we are not aware change is needed. And who is better to know us than God? That is why we need to pray like the psalmist: Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

 See if there is any offensive way in me!

I want to invite you to try it. Invite God to search your heart and your mind. You will find a peace that surpasses all understanding. You will find freedom as you had never known before. You will experience grace, abundant grace, and love from the heart of the Father. And then you will be able to confess like the psalmist did:

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain
(v. 5, 6).

Transformation will begin to take place. The glory of Christ will start manifesting through your life. And you will not only know that God is all-knowing, but most importantly—you will know that He knows you and you know Him!

Pastor Romero