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The Bible

1) The Greatness of God
2001-08-30

Outline
- Our view of how Big God is effects how we see the world
- Going paint 3 pictures
- We all have an inner picture of how we see God. Ex. My teacher once asked us to draw a picture of God (show pictures)
- First Picture: Evolution. Clock, 2001
- The reason they do it is so wont be accountable to God the King
- But God is still King whether you want Him to be or not, ex. Pharoah
- The problem is that our images are too small and tainted by earthly experience, Ex. Golden Calf. (Show pictures of Exodus from Prince of Egypt)
- But failed to understand how big God really is
- Dads 50th birthday, climbing Mt. Tuper, God made all this. (Show pictures)
- I want to try to expand how Big our picture of God is. Ex. Paper and time
- But not a bad King but He is the loving King for just as He is great, so Great is His love.
- Song: God is bigger than the boogie man.

Text
The Bible begins with these deep and profound words, In the beginning God (Gen 1:1) and I too would like to begin by reflecting on God. It is the foundation of our faith and effects how we see the entire world. If we are going to be on a journey of faith then we need to have a solid foundation. One of my Bible teachers recognized that we all have a picture of God and so he asked us each to draw a picture of God. Today I want to paint 3 pictures of how people can see God and the impact that has. For everyone of us has a picture within us of how we see God and that effects how we live our lives. If our picture is that God is a super-cop in the sky then that will effect how we live our lives. If our picture is that God is a vending machine, just push the button in Jesus name and out comes all your wishes that will effect our lives too. Or if God is just a big push-over in the sky. Some drew God as an unapproachable light, others drew Him as a heart, but one picture stood out over all the others -- it was a question mark. As I gazed at it, it almost seemed as though it was saying to me, Who is God? This question has been left on my mind and on the minds of others like me, Who is this God? For thousands of years man has been trying to write down what God is like but their words are just that words - and they can never do justice to. Who is God when all the ink becomes a window and we finally see what these words mean? If the writers of these words put down their pen and picked up a pencil, what would they draw? Would God be a question mark of uncertainty, an object unknown and unknowable? Or a heart full of love but lacking in justice, allowing people to do abhorrent crimes but never calling them to account? Would He be an unapproachable light so full of holiness that He burns away all those who try to come near Him as the sun would an asteroid - unable to measure to His fullness? What image could grasp the smallest ounce of His Glory and make it understandable to us? What would you draw?
So we come to our first illustration and I want to begin with a picture that does not have God in it and show some of the results of that. It comes from the belief in evolution. Now evolution, you could say, all started with the clock. I know it sounds funny but it will make sense in a moment. A long time ago people used to think that God was involved in everything, that the reason things happened was that allowed it to. So if a pencil dropped, God made it drop. Then one day they build this huge clock in the middle of the city square. People looked at it and marvelled and asked, How does it work? Well in short, someone winds it all up and then walks away. Well over time they began to wonder, Well what if God just wound up the galaxy and then walked away. So this led to the idea that things like gravity and other physics were put in place by God and He no longer has a role. But then they started thinking, Well why do we need God? I mean it is a bit of a bother to have a God. It means you have to go to Church which takes up time, and give Him money and worst of all you have to obey and miss out on some of the things in life like being angry with the guy who really ticks you off. So since they did not want to be responsible to God but wanted to be the King of their own life they tried to rewrite a system without him. It made a bit of sense back then but we have since come to understand that things are much more complicated then we thought. They had no idea how complex the human body was for instance or how intricate DNA was and how if just one thing went wrong it would be disasterous. For them the switch from a monkey to a man was not that hard, they sort of look the same. But still they have never found one transitional species, maybe a pigs tooth or something they mistook for a man and rebuilt the entire sceleton from it by speculation but no real proof. And no one can prove evolution because no one can go back in time and repeat that first moment, it is just a theory, a theory taken by faith. And personally if I was walking through a desert and found a laptop in the sand I would be more prone to say that someone very creative made it rather than that the winds and rain blew around for a million years and slowly gave it shape by chance. But that would mean they would have to say there is a God and then they could not do as they want. Rather they would want to be just a normal beast and act like a bunch of monkeys since they are not much better.
But that does not change the fact that there is a God and that God is the King over all creation and over every man, woman, child and living thing. Take for instance Pharoah, the ruler of the entire realm of Egypt, who himself was considered to be a god by the people. Pharoah did not want to believe in God as He was but wanted to change that, wanted things to be on His own terms but he was not a match for the Almighty. God said, Let my people go and every time Pharoah said no God showed off His power. Locusts, darkness, plagues, boils, and frogs and flies, and hail and even death. Finally Pharoah submitted to God and God brought out millions of His people and led through right up through the sea. Even the sea could not hold Him back for He is King over nature, He just parted it down the middle and they walked through on dry land.
So God is King whether Pharoah or you or me want to recognize it or not, that does not change who God is. But rather our view of God does change us. In fact, everyone of us has one or more internal pictures of how we see God.
And so I have said that our view of God effects how we see ourselves and the world and that God is King whether we believe it or not. Let us go onto our second picture.
So the Israelities saw God and they walked with Him in the. He brought His people out and was over them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They could hear His voice but they were afraid for His voice can come like a mighty roar. {Quate Ps. 29}
And the people were afraid of the voice of God so they send Moses alone to be with God and to bring back the message God wanted to bring. So for 40 days Moses met with God but while he was gone the people grew restless and afraid. Perhaps God had destroyed Moses they thought and so they approached his brother and asked him to make for them a god. And I ask myself, What? Why on Earth would you do that? I mean God is there, right there in front of them is the cloud and fire and thundering echo of Gods voice, they would have had to turn their back on God to not see His presence. But they took their costly gold jewelry and made an idol in the shape of a calf. A calf? Why a calf? There is God and all His power and they reduce His great glory to a four footed stinky barn animal that chews grass. Perhaps they felt that God was too much. Maybe they so afraid of Him that they thought if they could make something they could control. Something they could carry around with them and put away when it was inconvient. Something that they could pay lip service too but ultimately they were still in control because they were defining God as they wanted Him and not as He is. So they turned their backs on the great glory of God and made something in His place. They even said it was this that brought them up out of Egypt. And if anyone ever tells you that is okay to think whatever you want about God as long as you are sincere and really believe it you can show them what happens next.
God turns to Moses and says {Exodus 32:7-10} And if it was not for the prayers of Moses they would have all been destroyed. And Moses went marching down that mountain and being so full of anger he threw the stone tablets of Gods law on the ground, took the calf, burnt it in the fire, ground it to powder, scattered it in the water and made them all drink it.
I think at the heart of this problem is they failed to realize how big God is. I think this is a struggle we all face. It is hard to grasp a God bigger than anything we know because we have nothing we can compare Him too. The easiest thing to compare God to is ourself so we often think of Him like us, just a little taller. So we say silly things like, I cant forgive myself so how can God forgive me? or I cant fix this problem, no one can, not even God! But I would like to challenge us that is more than kinda like us but a bit taller. I think the mountains give us a bigger picture of God and so we turn to our third picture.
A few weeks ago it was my dads 50th birthday. Now 50th birthdays are something special and something to make a pretty big deal about. So my brother and I asked him what he wanted to do. And then he goes away and brings back this calender and on the front cover of this calender is a picture of a mountain. But not any mountain this thing goes straight down for 3000 feet or so. He says, Id like to climb this What are you crazy. Well, so we started doing some training and then when it was time we packed our bags and headed to the top of Rogers Pass. There she was, Tupper. We set out at six in the morning and started climbing this trail named Hermit now Hermit is not some ordinary trail this is the steapest meanest trail this side of Everest. 10 minutes in we were seating and an hour in we had already dropped one of the packs to lighten the load. After 3 hours we came to this point and all there was was rocks, not a tree anywhere. Down canyons, up canyons, along streams and over galciers. Finally we reached the top of the ridge before the final ascent and got our first few of the back of this beast. And when we saw it our hearts just dropped. 3,000 feet on one side, 1,000 feet on the other. Just a narrow ridge maybe a meter wide rising up to the top. Then my dad said, Well Im 50, I can make wise decisions, we are not doing that one today. Now I tell you, that is big. And it our our God who is so big that He just spoke and that mountain and the one beside it and the thousands beside it were created and all rocks, and plants and life therein. God is so big that He created me and you in all our greatness and complexity. And if I were to draw all that God made on this peace of paper I would start with you and me right here in the middle of it, basking in Gods love for God is present right here with us now. Over here is this huge mountain now just a spot on this paper and God is there too. Surrounded this is six billion people, and even still God is there with each and every one of them answering their prayers, convicting of sin and meeting with them. Here we all stand on this giant planet spinning around the sun. Like us this sun is but one of many resting within our galaxy, a mere speck of sand lying within the universe. It is at this point that we begin to see God and all His greatness. For sketched lightly on the page is the image of a hand holding the universe within its palm. Behind that there is an eye, squinting, looking at the greatness and smallness of everything we think we know. Squinting to see that which our greatest telescopes cannot capture, stooping down to peer at all that our technology cannot control. A smile frames those lips which once opened, spoke, and all this came into being. This is how I see God, and this is how I see myself in His shadow.

Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
- Psalm 113:5,6

And yet this picture is only one moment in time which is followed by another and another and another. And here we are going from one moment to the next, stuck within this plane so we can only be at one place at a time. But God is greater than time for He created it and before there was time there was God. So the question of when was God created is non-sensical because it assumes time is greater than God, how small a view of God for God is greater than time and here He is outside time but also He is at the first moment of time creating, here He is meeting with Abraham, here is coming as Jesus in the flesh, here is with us in this room, with us in our troubles, with us in our joys, with us in our pain, our death, our heavenly rest. He knows your future because He is already there. So Jesus says, Before Abraham was born, I am! (Jn 8:58 ) Not I was but I am, He exists even now in the past, present, & future. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.
Yet, the picture is even greater than this for there is another part of it, that part which enables us to stand showering in His love, it is found in the next verse,

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
with the princes of the people.
- Psalm 113:7,8

For even as God is holding the universe in His hand, He is also reaching into it. He came to Earth and lived as a man. And it is here that we at last get our picture of God, The Bible says, The Son is the radiance of Gods glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Heb 1:3 ) and Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9 ). It is this Jesus, as God, who shows us what God is like. And if God is great, so also is His love. For it was Jesus who saw the poor and the oppressed, those hated by society and He loved them. He is the one who went and ate with people no one else wanted to. He is the one who touched the unclean lepers and healed them. He is the one who turned to them and said, Follow me even as He turns to you now and says, Follow me The God of glory, greater than our greatest imagination loves you so much that He calls you and says, Follow me.
And now I ask you, Is your God great enough to forgive you for those things you cannot forgive yourself over? Is your God great enough to look after those things you are worried sick about. Is your God great enough to entrust your life to. Is your God great enough to love you, even when you feel unlovable? Is your God great enough to follow and never turn back.
How big is your God?
6 feet? 10 feet? 100 feet? Or bigger than the universe and all the problems within?

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