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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
March 19, 2017
The Glory and the Majesty of God
I enjoyed the time away to attend the TMAI conference, the Shepherd’s Conference and see my family. The five days of conferences were very good. The speakers gave challenging and encouraging messages. I was able to spend quite a bit of time talking with other pastors and to some seminary students and seek to encourage them in their ministries. Many of the men who attend are coming from difficult situations and it has been my desire over the years to minister to them personally. The Lord has always granted that desire in marvelous ways that show His sovereign hand at work. I was glad to have Jimmy Ryan, Collin Priest, Jeff Lowery and Kenny Steier for the entire time along with Jonathan and David for part of the time. It was a pleasant surprise to also find that Ed Mendoza has also come. It is encouraging to me to see so many young men who are serious about walking with and serving the Lord. It is evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness continuing to the next generation.
We were also blessed that all of my family except one of my nephews was able to be together at the same time for one evening while we were in California. Since the Lord has blessed my mom and dad with long lives (my dad is 94), this was a precious time for us all. Diane’s dad and her sisters were also able to join us, so we had a large portion of her family there as well.
As much as it was good to be in California, I was also glad to come home to resume my ministries here. I am grateful that we had Chad Dexter here last week to tell us about God’s work in the Philippines and encourage us to fulfill our role as ambassadors for Christ, but I am also glad to be back in the pulpit here. It was hard to hear all those preachers at the conferences and not have a place to preach while I was away.
At this point I must start my confession, because as much as I was glad to be home, I have not been too happy since Tuesday. Most of you know that I really like snow – on the top of a mountain in the distance while I enjoy the warmth and flowers of the valley below. My attitude deteriorated the longer I spent plowing and shoveling snow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Added to this was the fact that my annual conference trip home was earlier than usual, so if this had been a normal year, I would have been hearing about the snow here while relaxing in the California sun. Though I tried to hide it, I was definitely in violation of Philippians 2:14. I was not doing all things without grumbling even if it was just to myself and God.
I have been thinking about the sermon for today for more than a month, but every time this week when I tried to give some thought to the sermon, my mind would be blank and I would have something interrupt anyway. Finally, on Friday morning I had to apply a basic premise I believe strongly. Every problem man has is ultimately theological in its foundation. My attitude and spiritual blockage were due to falling into bad theology. God was not doing things the way I wanted. As soon as I repented of that and started reading some Psalms, the spiritual blockage disappeared and I became thankful for the things I had been grumbling about. Praise God we have a snow plow! Praise God it has a heater! Praise God I can still physically handle shoveling snow! Praise God I had a warm house to come into and plenty of warm food to eat! Praise God I was still able to get the essential things done despite all the time spent dealing with snow. Praise God the Town has said we cannot use the back parking area until they approve our site plan, so I did not have to plow that area but instead had a place to push the snow! Praise God for Isaiah 1:18 in which the Lord says, “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow.” Every snow fall is a reminder of that – and how bad our sins must be that He has to cover them over with so much snow!
Let me encourage you with that same basic premise. Any problem you face is ultimately theological. The greater your understanding of God and His will, the better you will be able to respond and work through any circumstance that comes in life with a proper attitude. God’s promises are true because He is both faithful and able. That brings me to the subject of today’s sermon.
Foundations for Reverence in Worship
I am going to take a short break from our study of the Life of Christ because I want to address the issue of reverence in worship. This is a problem not only in our church, but something I have seen developing for a long time throughout our nation. Some churches do better than others, but there has been an overall decline that seems to have begun with my generation and has accelerated in current times as society pulls farther and farther away from Biblical standards of behavior in all areas. This is seen most clearly in society at large with even a loss in being able to reason with many people because they have lost the ability to think logically through issues and instead respond emotionally like spoiled, selfish children. Since the church is made up of sinners saved out of society, the church is influenced by societal standards and attitudes.
My premise holds in this area as well. There is no problem that man faces that is ultimately not theological in its foundation. Irreverence in worship is directly tied to a deficient understanding of God. The greater our understanding of the true nature of God, then the greater the reverence toward Him because man is humbled before the glory and majesty of God. Isaiah’s glimpse of God on His throne caused him to cry out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).
When a man is humbled before God, then reverence toward Him will automatically follow because worship then becomes about God the creator instead of self, and such worship will then permeate every area of life. There is no dichotomy between secular and sacred. That is an artificial division created by man to try and keep God out of areas man does not want Him. Whatever I do in word or deed, I am to do in the name of the Lord Jesus because it is for His glory that I live (Colossians 3:17). Even mundane things such as eating and drinking are to be for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Life is about the glory of the eternal God who created us and not about the transitory glory of man. Your very existence is because of and dependent upon God’s good pleasure. He does not exist for you, you exist for Him.
The glory and majesty of God are displayed in every attribute of God because they are infinite. God is eternal because He is infinite with respect to time. God is omnipresent because He is infinite with respect to space. God is omniscience because He is infinite in knowledge. God is omnipotent because He is infinite in power. God is sovereign because He is infinitely above all else. God is the only infinite being and that sets Him apart from everything else.
Even in those areas in which man is designed to reflect a quality of God such as love, kindness, righteousness, truth and justice, God is infinite while man is finite. This describes another attribute of God and that is holiness. God is utterly different from and set apart from man by His very nature. Much of man’s problem is found in his continuing efforts to somehow reduce God to something similar to himself which he can understand and then be able to either manipulate or appease. But God is not like man. He cannot be manipulated. He cannot be appeased except by the intervention of His own will and actions. He cannot be contained. Any time a man thinks He has a handle on God, then he has reduced God so something He is not and is left with a figment of his imagination and not God.
Any of God’s attributes should cause any human to be humbled before God, but there is one particular aspect of God and His actions arising from it that the Scriptures point to over and over as a basis for the glory and majesty of God. He is the creator.
Perverting the Nature of God our Creator
The greatest tragedy of the lies of evolutionary philosophy is not found it is negative effect on science, though those effects are very serious and a great obstacle to the advance of science. The greatest tragedy is its effect on man’s worship of God. It is bad enough that it gives the atheist an excuse in his claim there is no God and gives the agnostic a reason he does not know. It is worse that it has separated countless professing Christians from the wonder of true, pure and humble worship of their Lord and Creator. Why do I say that?
Because the first step of doubt about the veracity of Genesis 1 causes doubt about the truthfulness of God’s communication to man. If the foundation of Genesis is not true, then what else in the Scriptures is also not true especially since so many other books refer back to Genesis as being true? God is reduced to something other than as He has declared. The result is picking and choosing from the Bible what one wants to believe because it is seen only as the religiously inspired musings of men rather than the revelation of God.
Common false beliefs among professing Christians include God changing from being mean and cruel in the Old Testament to being loving and kind in the New Testament. Noah’s flood is taught as a fairy tale local event and Revelation is interpreted as an allegory because otherwise God would be cruel and judgmental. It is more than just ignorance of Scripture that causes this. There is a rejection of God as the dread sovereign Lord of His creation. There is a denial that He is the consuming fire described in Hebrews 12:29 so it would not be terrifying to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Those descriptions of God make people fell uncomfortable. There is a rejection of Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10 that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. People prefer a God who is safe, but the God of the Bible is not safe unless you belong to Him.
For these reasons and much too often God is presented as wimpy and insecure. The plea is made for you to please believe and love God because He loves you and wants to do good things for you. No wonder the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs are so popular in contemporary American Christianity. No wonder so many professing Christians are attracted to the erroneous demonic writings of Sarah Young’s Jesus is Calling series. No wonder professing Christians are ignorantly and blindly flocking to see the movie version of William Young’s heretical work, The Shack, which emasculates God and perverts the Trinity in an effort to make God more appealing to people who have suffered.
For these reasons much of professing Christianity has shifted from true, pure and humble worship of the glorious and majestic God of the Bible to religious exercises and worship experiences designed to make people feel better. People, not God, become the focus of what are supposed to be worship services. Who exactly is being worshiped? As one obvious evidence of this consider the buildings designed to enhance Christian worship over the centuries.
It can be stated without elaboration that God can be worshiped any where, so in places where there is persecution, Christians have often met in small groups in homes or in secluded places outside. That was true historically and is still true today. In places in which there was freedom of worship Christians built grand and magnificent structures to reflect the glory and majesty of God much like Solomon’s Temple was designed to do. The ancient cathedrals were not only designed to enable the spoken message and music to be heard clearly without electronic amplification which did not exist then, but to cause the worshiper a sense of awe as they approached and entered the building. Interior design often included carvings, artwork and stained glass that would recount key Biblical stories as a continuing reminder to often illiterate people of God’s message to them. In some cathedrals there are carvings high up in recesses near the ceiling that people could not see because they were crafted as acts of worship for the pleasure of God who could see them.
With the coming of the Reformation there was a shift as a reaction to the excesses of Catholicism and new church buildings were often much simpler with a focus on the preaching of God’s word to populations that were taught to read the Bible for themselves. Interior design included plenty of light so that people could follow along in their own Bibles, prayer books and hymnals as a worship service was conducted.
The more recent shift has been to interior design which much more resembles a theater than anything else with special effects lighting of a large stage area with the congregation sitting in the dark. While some of that is simply so that slide show presentations and video clips can be more easily seen on a screen, much more often it is because the worship service has become an entertainment production to please the audience. The design reflects the change in focus away from God and to people. The majesty of theology gives way to the manipulation of people by psychology. Music, both congregational and presentations, are designed to move people emotionally while the preaching is based on Biblical texts carefully chosen and interpreted to tickle the ears of the people. The purpose is to provide a religious experience in which people can feel closer to God, even though the God presented does not match the One who has revealed Himself in His word.
The Glory & Majesty of God our Creator
The God of the Bible is glorious and majestic in every respect and even a cursory overview of Him as Creator and His creation should humble all men for God Himself points to these things to humble men.
What do I mean by glorious and majestic? Majesty refers to that which is impressive in beauty, scale or dignity. Glory refers to high renown or honor won by notable achievements and that which is magnificent or of great beauty. Both terms apply to God in every dimension for He is infinite with respect to beauty, scale and dignity. His works are beyond the comprehension of mortal man.
Let me begin with the fact that God is the Creator. Genesis 1 describes God’s creation of the heavens and the earth and all the life on this planet in just six days which are defined in verse 5 as a sequence a period of light and dark. It is also a simple fact that Genesis 1 and evolution are antithetical to each other and cannot be reconciled. It is not just the time element, but the very order of creation absolutely contradicts the hypothetical framework of evolution. Day 1 – the heavens and the earth, light and separating light and dark. Day 2 – a separation between the waters above and the waters below. Day 3 – the waters below are gathered into one place and dry land appears. Vegetation of all kinds is created. Day 4 – the Sun, Moon and stars are created. Day 5 – aquatic life and every winged bird created. Day 6 – land animals, creeping things and man, both male and female, are created. Day 7 – God rested from His creative work.
That means the earth was first covered by water, not lava. Plants came before the Sun. Birds came before dinosaurs. Fish came before creeping things. Adam had no ancestry to any life form except God Himself who created Him, and Eve was then fashioned by God from one of Adam’s ribs. That is real history recorded from the only one that was there as an eyewitness – God.
Evolution is based on speculations built on speculations about events no one has ever observed. No facts are necessary, only the production of a story that sounds plausible to the naive and those who want to believe it. Or as Bounoure of the National Center of Scientific Research, France said many decades ago, “Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.” Frog + Kiss / Time = Prince
Why is this so important? Three reasons. First, truth matters. Systems, whether they are political, technological, social or religious, that are built upon lies cause irreparable harm and eventually collapse. Nazism, a nationalistic form of communism, as well as Communism itself have caused harm to millions and billions of people respectively, and both eventually collapse because they do not work. Sooner or later you run out of people from whom you can steal wealth. Medications developed based on falsified experimentation harm people and eventually are driven out of the market, and in this country often by lawsuits. Social groups and movements founded on lies such as the current push that gender is fluid instead of fixed as either male or female based on your chromosomes cause harm to both those that oppose it and to those that end up with mutilated bodies. It will eventually collapse. Religions based on false beliefs may continue on for centuries and even millennia, but those following them are harmed in this life and the next when they stand before the God that created them and are judged by Him. To be sincerely wrong is still to be wrong and the consequences will be suffered.
Second, to deny God is the Creator or that He did it as He has said will result in the denial of the truthfulness of the rest of the Scriptures because they are founded on God’s veracity and ability to communicate to man. Logically, if you believe the Genesis account is false, then you would have to reject the teaching of those who believe it since they are wrong in a foundational premise. That would include the following.
Moses, since he recorded Genesis and also said in Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
The writers of the various Psalms who refer to the Lord as the maker of heaven and earth (Ps. 121:2; 124:8; 134:3) as well as the sea and all that is in them (Ps. 146:6). Psalm 104:24-25 summarizes, “24O Lord, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions. 25 There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great.” Psalm 33:6 describes the means of creation, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.”
Solomon who advised in Ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them.’”
Isaiah, who said among many other things, “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the Lord, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18).
Jeremiah who said, “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,” (Jeremiah 32:17) and “It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15).
Nehemiah who recorded with approval, “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You” (Nehemiah 9:6).
John, who begins his gospel account stating, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3).
Peter whose warning in 2 Peter 3:3-6 applies directly to today, “3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.”
Paul, who states in Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
The writer of Hebrews who declared, “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world,” (Hebrews 1:2) and “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
Then most importantly, Jesus, who quotes Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 when arguing with the Pharisees concerning divorce saying, “4 Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Matthew 19:4-5). At another time when talking about what will happen in the future Jesus said this in Mark 13:19, “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.”
Third, to deny God as the Creator or that He did it as He has said removes a primary reason that He is glorious and majestic and should be worshiped with reverence or worshiped at all. While mankind characteristically desires to somehow be autonomous so that he is captain of his own ship and master of his own fate, the reality is that every human is simply a creature created by God for His own good pleasure. To reject that is to follow Satan’s lie that you can somehow be like God or escape your responsibility to Him.
As Creator, God is deserving of the worship of everyone of His creatures. Those who will recognize this truth and humble themselves will find that it is easy to worship God in truth and purity. They will recognize the glory and majesty of God in both the work of His hands in creation and in His attributes as revealed in the Scriptures. They will find it easy to exclaim as David did in Psalm 8, “1O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth, who have displayed your splendor above the heavens! . . . 3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?”
I will expand on this theme next week by examining some of the many Scriptures in which God reveals His glory and majesty in creation and in His attributes. If you do not believe God is the Creator and that He did it as He said, then your god is small and not the God of the Bible. I challenge you to do the research yourself and you will find that the evidence backs up Genesis and that evolution is founded on unverifiable speculations. There are many links on our website to help you with this.
One of the greatest means by which God’s glory and majesty is seen is in Jesus Christ, the second person of the triune Godhead, becoming a man though the power of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, living a sinless life, then willingly dying on the cross at Calvary as the substitute atonement for man’s sin. God’s love, mercy, grace, righteousness, justice and wrath all meet at the cross to offer salvation from sin to man. Jesus’ resurrection proved the validity of the offer and that all His claims and promises are true. For those who have already humbled themselves to believe and follow Christ, we invite you to join us in observing Communion. It is a precious time for us as we remember and give thanks for what Jesus has done on the cross and His promise to return in the future. If you do not share that hope, please refrain from the bread and the cup this morning, then talk to any of our church leaders later about how to get right with God and know your sins are forgiven by His grace through faith in Jesus.
Sermon Notes – 3/19/2017
The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 1 – Selected Scriptures
Philippians 2:13 – Do all things without ________________ or disputing
Every problem man has is ultimately _______________ in its foundation
The greater your understanding of __________ and His will, the better able you will be to respond properly
Foundations for Reverence in Worship
An overall decline in reverence in worship as society pulls farther away from Biblical _________of behavior
The greater your understanding of God, the greater your humility and ____________toward Him – Isaiah 6:5
Every attribute of God is ___________
Reducing God to something humanly understandable results in ___________beliefs about God
Perverting the Nature of God our Creator
Evolutionary philosophy has had a negative effect on science & society including the _____________of God
Doubting Genesis 1 changes the perception of God & results in ___________about the rest of the Scriptures
Many false beliefs have become common among professing Christians based on ______________about God
God is a ________________fire and it is terrifying to fall into His hands – Hebrews 10:31; 12:29
The desire for a wimpy and ____________God results in books such as Jesus Calling & The Shack
Much of Christianity has shifted to religious ___________designed to make people feel better – not worship
Ancient cathedrals, like the Temple, were designed to reflect the ____________ and majesty of God
Modern churches are often designed like a _____________to give the congregation religious entertainment
The focus has moved from God to _________, from the majesty of theology to manipulation by psychology
The Glory & Majesty of God our Creator
Majesty refers to that which is impressive in beauty, ___________or dignity
Glory refers to high renown / honor won by notable _____________& what is magnificent or of great beauty
God is majestic and glorious in ____________ respect – as Creator and in all His attributes
Genesis 1 – God created everything in just _________ days – periods of a sequence of light and dark
Genesis and evolution are antithetical to each other and _______be reconciled for even their order contradict
Day 1 – the heavens and the earth, __________and separating light and dark
Day 2 – a ______________between the waters above and the waters below
Day 3 – the waters below are gathered into one place and _______________ appears
Day 4 – the _________ , Moon and stars are created
Day 5 – aquatic life and every winged __________ created
Day 6 – land ____________, creeping things and man, both male and female, are created
Water before lava; plants before Sun; ________before dinosaurs; fish before creeping things; man from God
Genesis is real _______________ from an eye witness – God.
Evolution is speculations built on ________________ – a fairy tale for grown-ups
Systems built on ____________ cause irreparable harm and eventually collapse
Nazism & Communism have harmed millions and billions & collapse because they run out of wealth to ___
Medications based on _____________ experiments harm people and are driven from the market or are sued
Social movements built on lies harm both the people that oppose and embrace it : _________fluidity, racism
Religions based on false beliefs harm others and bring God’s ___________________ on its followers
Denial of Genesis results in doubt of the rest of Scriptures
If you believe Genesis is false, then logically you would _____the teaching of those who believe it to be true
_____________- Exodus 20:11
Solomon – Ecclesiastes 12:1
__________- Isaiah 45:18, etc.
Jeremiah – Jeremiah 32:17, 51:15
Nehemiah – Nehemiah 9:6
__________- John 1:1-3
__________- 2 Peter 3:3-6
__________- Colossians 1:16
Denial of Genesis removes a primary reason God is majestic and glorious and is to be worshiped
As Creator, God is deserving of the ____________ of everyone of His creatures
Those who are humble and recognize the truth find it easy to worship God – and respond as ______- Psalm 8
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times God as creator or creation is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents the importance of understanding that God is the Creator
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How would remembering that every problem is ultimately theological help you battle sin? What theological truths will cause grumbling and complaining to cease? From your study of history or your own observations, how has reverence in the worship of declined in over the last since the Reformation? Over the last century? Over the last decade? What is the significance that God is infinite in all His attributes? What is the result when man tries to diminish God’s glory and majesty in order to make Him more understandable? How has evolutionary philosophy affected society? The church? What are some common false beliefs among professing American Christians? What is the basis for such false ideas? What evidence is there that worship has shifted from being God centered to man centered? What is the meaning of glory? Of majesty? List the order of creation given in Genesis 1. Compare that to the proposed order of evolution. Can these be reconciled? Why or why not? Why does truth matter in politics? Technology? Social organizations? Religion? What did the following Biblical writers believe about Genesis (creation)? Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, John, Peter, Paul, Jesus? Can they be trusted? Explain. How does denying Genesis remove a primary reason to worship God? Can you respond as David did in Psalm 8?
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