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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
April 9, 2017
The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 4 – His Attributes
A few weeks ago I started what is turning out to be a short series on the glory and majesty of God as a means to promote proper and reverent worship of Him. (See: The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 1 – The Creator, See:Part 2 – Creation, See: Part 3 – Creation & Attributes). I believe that such worship naturally arises out of a greater understanding of who God is, what He is like and what He has done. Such worship begins with the fact that God is the Creator of all things. The invitation to worship in Psalm 100 is because “the Lord Himself is God; It is He who made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” The command to worship in Psalm 95:6-7 is for the same reason, “Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” As Psalm 148 describes, all of Creation and all of His creatures are to give Praise to the Lord!
Paul explains in Romans 1:18-20 that there are two reasons that all people are without excuse in knowing God and worshiping Him. He has made it evident within them and made it evident to them in creation which displays some of His invisible attributes including His eternal power and divine nature. The complexity, immensity and beauty of all that God has made declare God’s majesty before which we should bow down. We saw this a few weeks ago in God’s declarations in Job 38-41. Job’s reaction to God pointing out various aspects of creation including light and dark, the seas, the dawning of the day, the fountains of the deep, the gates of death, the heavens, weather phenomena such as snow, rain, hail, and wind, and then various animals including Behemoth and Leviathan was to recognize his own insignificance, retract and repent in dust and ashes (Job 40:4-5; 42:2-6). Our reaction to careful consideration of what God has created should be similar.
David declares in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” David did not have radio telescopes to listen in to the “music of the stars” which is alluded to in verse 4 or even a telescope to get a better view of the moon and close planets, yet he recognized the glory of God as he considered the Sun and looked up at the stars in a night sky. How much more should we recognize it when we live in an age when we have even sent out space ships to explore our solar system. Without getting into the complexities of it such as the rings of Saturn and moons of Jupiter, just consider the immensity of our solar system.
Golf Ball Scale of Solar System.
40 mm / 1.5″ = Sun’s Diameter (865,000 miles)
Mean distance from the Sun
(Travel time at Speed of Space Shuttle 17,500 mph)
Planet Scale Actual miles Travel Time
Mercury 1.6m / 5’3″ (.13mm) 36,008,460 86 days
Venus 3m / 9’8″ (.33mm) 67,176,439 160 days
Earth 4m/ 13’5″ (.35mm) 92,938,488 221 days (8.6 min @ c)
Moon 11mm/ .41″ (.1mm) 238,856 (Earth to moon) 13.6 hr
Mars 6.2m/ 20’5″ (.19mm) 141,573,212 337 days
Jupiter 21m/ 70′ (3.8mm) 483,513,778 3.15 yrs
Saturn 39m/ 128′ (3.2mm) 886,696,688 5.78 yrs
Uranus 78.5m/ 258′ (1.3mm) 1,783,521,727 11.63 yrs
Neptune 23.2m/ 404′ (1.2mm) 2,796,108,218 18.24 yrs
Proxima Centari 1,160 km / 721 miles ~4.25 light years (25.1 Trillion miles) 163,740 years
Andromena Galaxy (closest one) At scale: 678 million km /421 million miles : 37 million miles wide. Actual distance ~ 2.5 million light years
Then there is precision of the Solar System. Man can calculate the precise movements of these heavenly bodies so that he can land a space craft within 10 feet of a pre-designated spot on the moon, and thread the solar system with space probes Jupiter I and II passing through the rings of Saturn without hitting the planet.
This vastness and precision of the solar system speak of the glory of God and should create in every human an awe and reverence of the Lord God, our Creator. He is worthy of worship.
Last week I pointed out another way in which humans are compelled to worship which is the majesty and glory of God as displayed in His attributes. Moses prayed to God, “show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). God agreed to grant that request, but since man cannot survive the fullness of God’s glory, He would put Moses in the cleft of a rock and cover him with His hand. God would then have His glory pass by and proclaim His goodness and name. Moses would be able to see God’s back after His hand was removed (Exodus 33:19-23). The fulfillment of this is recorded in Exodus 34:5-7, The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord . 6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” 8 Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.
A humble human will respond in worship as the glory of God displayed in His attributes is proclaimed. As I pointed out last week, each element in what God said identified Him or characteristics about Him that Moses had experienced for himself. The term LORD is specific and was revealed to Moses as His personal covenant name when God called Moses and sent him to Egypt to free the Israelites. The phrase the LORD God identifies Him as the One who created them. Moses learned of the LORD’s compassion and grace from his first encounter with God at the burning bush and then seeing the promises made there carried out. Moses saw how slow God was to anger being longsuffering and patient though the people consistently complained and grumbled. Moses saw the LORD’s lovingkindess and truth extended to the people throughout their travels from Egypt and to Mt. Sinai. God was keeping His promises to them. Moses also saw God forgive the iniquity, transgression and sin of the people with regard to the incident of the golden calf (Exodus 32), though he also saw the LORD punish some for there were consequences for sin.
We should have the same reaction of worship of God as we consider those attributes and the many others proclaimed in the Scriptures. For the rest of this morning I want to point out some of these characteristics of God and the proper response to them. I will begin each attribute with a brief definition of what it means and then what God declares about Himself before expanding to other scriptures giving further explanation.
Holy – Its root meaning is to be separate, to be set apart. God is intrinsically holy because He is something other than all He has created. He is infinite in every dimension and in every respect while everything He has created is limited. Whatever is set apart to Him is regarded as holy whether it is people or objects.
The LORD declares Himself to be the Holy One at least 42 times in the Scriptures. Isaiah 43:15, “I am the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.” Isaiah 48:17, “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go” (See Isaiah 43:3, 15; Hosea 11:9).
Jesus also made it clear that the Father is holy saying in John 17:11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” Jesus Himself is holy becoming a man through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-20; Mark 1:24) and full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). He was recognized as holy by both His followers (John 6:69) and demons – you are the Holy One of God (Luke 4:34).
God’s holiness permeates every other attribute and is the motivation for many of His actions. For example, His jealousy is holy in protecting His holy name whether it is in fulfilling His promise to restore the fortunes of Jacob (Ezekiel 39:25) or in sending fire on Magog so that His name will no longer be profaned (Ezekiel 39:6–7).
Our response to the holiness of God is to not only to worship Him in holiness (Psalm 29:2), but to strive to live in holiness. Leviticus 20:26 among many passages including 1 Peter 1:16 states, “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy . . .” (See: Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:8)
Eternal – God is infinite with respect to time. He has no beginning or end. He exists outside the time-space continuum which limits His creation. The phrase, “I am the first and the last” (or alpha & omega) is used to express the bracketing of time. He was already present at the beginning and will remain at the end.
God declares in Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” and in Isaiah 44:6, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.’”
His eternal nature is also expressed in what is related to Him that He causes to continue. He says in Ezekiel 37:28, “And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.” Jesus often spoke about eternal life. For example, John 10:28, “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” This is also in His prayer in John 17:1-3 saying, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
As finite creatures it should be easy to see the worship due our Creator when we consider that He has provided a way through Christ to have an eternal future with Him in heaven. This gives believers a transcendent purpose in life. Without this hope it is easy to fall into despair and especially if there is suffering since any meaning in life is reduced to the vanity Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes.
Mighty / Power / Almighty – Having the authority and ability to accomplish what is self-proclaimed, to demonstrate superior force.
Creation itself is an expression of the power of God, but that might is also expressed in other ways. God’s relationship with Abraham and the timing of His actions expressed His power. It begins when God makes a covenant with Abram in Genesis 12, continues with the expansion of Abram’s wealth in Genesis 13 and his defeat of the superior forces of Chedorlaomer and his allies in Genesis 14. Then in Genesis 15 God affirms His covenant with Abram and begins by saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” Though he was childless, God affirms he would have an heir who would come forth from his own body. In Genesis 17 the Lord affirms this again when Abram was ninety-nine years old and Sarai was ninety years old and changes their names to Abraham and Sarah for it would be through a son born to through both of them that God would establish His covenant nation. The LORD begins this affirmation of His covenant saying, “I am God Almighty.” He is able to bring about the miracle required by this covenant. God identifies Himself in the same way in Genesis 35:11 when He establishes this continuing covenant with Jacob, Abraham’s grandson.
In Exodus 9:16 (which is quoted in Romans 9:17), God has Moses tell Pharaoh, “But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.” Every plague sent on Egypt was designed to show God’s superiority and power over particular false gods of Egypt.
In both Isaiah 49:26 and 60:16 the LORD speaks of His future restoration of Zion and destruction of Israel’s oppressors so that “all flesh will know that I, the LORD , am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” That same theme is repeated in Jeremiah with Jeremiah 16:21 recording the LORD saying, “Therefore behold, I am going to make them know— This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD” and in Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” God’s might is clearly seen in His control of human events now recorded in history.
Jesus’ promise in John 10:28 to His sheep, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” is another example of God’s might in both being able to give eternal life and to eternally protect them. The reason Jesus has this power is expressed in Matthew 28:18, And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” That is the basis for Jesus’ giving His disciples the Great Commission.
God’s power is also seen in Jesus’ warning at His trial before the high priest, chief priests and Sanhedrin saying, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64)
Even the most basic understanding of God’s power should cause any human to bow before and submit to the Lord. Those who have been told but still resist in this life are proud, arrogant and foolhardy, but even they will one day bow their knee at the name of Jesus and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).
Omniscient – God is infinite with respect to knowledge.
This attribute is demonstrated over and over again throughout the scriptures. Several passages in which the Lord Himself states His ability to know are as follows.
Isaiah 37 records the LORD’s encouragement of Hezekiah by exposing what the LORD would do to the haughty Sennacherib of Assyria who was attacking Jerusalem. Verse 28 includes this statement about the Lord’s knowledge of Sennacherib, “But I know your sitting down And your going out and your coming in And your raging against Me.” This was superior to having a spy among Sennacherib’s military counselors. Verse 29 continues with God stating in advance what He would do to Sennacherib.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 expresses the limitations of man’s knowledge and breadth of God’s knowledge. 9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.
In Matthew 6:8 Jesus encouraged His disciples to be confident when they prayed because of God’s omniscience, “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” The apostle John also encouraged confidence in prayer stating in 1 John 3:20, “for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” In John 21:17 Peter relied on Jesus’ omniscience in answering Jesus’ question, “Do you love Me?” And [Peter] said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
The fact that God knows all things should frighten the non-Christian because it means there is no means by which to hide any sin including those contained wholly within the mind. God knows what you think, feel and desire. God’s omniscience is a great comfort to the Christian because God does know every sin and flaw and still has set His love to redeem, forgive and adopt the sinner into His family. As Hebrews 4:16 expresses it, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Omnipresence – God is infinite with respect to space
God expresses this attribute about Himself in Jeremiah 23:23–24 saying, 23 “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? 24 “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.
Jesus concluded the Great Commission of His disciples with this promise, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20.
Psalm 139:7-12 is one of the best expressions of this truth. “7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” 12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” David concludes the Psalm expressing the proper response to these truths saying, 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
Sovereign – God is the supreme ruler possessing ultimate authority and power to fulfill His will. He is the only being that is truly autonomous.
The Lord reveals this attribute about Himself in many passages and often in proclaiming that He is the only God. Starting with the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:39 we find the Him declaring, ‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
The Lord proclaims His sovereignty as a means to comfort and encourage His people about what He is going to do. In Isaiah 41:4 He says, “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.’” In Isaiah 44:6-7 He states, 6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. 7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place.” He again points to His sovereign control of the past as proof of His sovereign control of the future in Isaiah 46:9–10, “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’”
God’s sovereignty should bring fear to those who refuse to follow God’s commands because it means He will keep all of His promises including those about bringing curses. For example, God warned the nation of Israel repeatedly that while there would be great blessings if they followed His commands, there would be equally grave consequences if they refused to obey Him with the most extensive description being found in Deuteronomy 27-28. This was often the basis of the messages of the prophets throughout Israel’s history. By the time of King Josiah, the Book of the Law had been lost. When it was found by Hilikah the priest and read to the king they all knew they were in trouble. Josiah sought the counsel of the prophetess Huldah concerning what they should do. She encouraged the king to follow the law and revealed that the curses would not come until after his death, but the curses would surely come with 2 Chronicles 34:24 declaring, thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am bringing evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the curses written in the book which they have read in the presence of the king of Judah.
At the same time, God’s sovereignty has always been a great blessing to God’s people. It gives Christians an absolute assurance of our future with God in heaven. Consider Jesus’ words in John 10:27-29, 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Jesus had already said in John 6:37-40, 37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” The doctrine of the security of the believer that “once saved, always saved” is based totally upon the sovereignty of God. Jesus will not throw you away. Nothing can take you away from Him. You can’t even jump out of His hands because He loses nothing the Father gives Him.
God’s sovereignty gives powerful reason to fear God, which is the beginning of wisdom, and to worship Him with confidence if you belong to Him.
There are many additional attributes of God I want to present to you in a future sermon such as His righteousness, jealousy, justice, anger, wrath, compassion, mercy, lovingkindness, graciousness, faithfulness, forgiveness and identity as the Redeemer and Savior. Each of these attributes of God will add a different element to the reasons to be humble before the Lord and worship Him with the reverence due His name. These we have covered this morning, holy, eternal, almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign have already proven to be sufficient to strip away man’s pride and humble Him before His maker.
Those who recognize these truths have already been reconciled with God or are on their way to be reconciled with Him. Rejoice in what God is doing in your life as you worship Him and learn to worship Him better.
Those who remain proud and resist worshiping the Lord according to His commands need to give serious consideration to and pursue what is true. Hebrews 12:29 repeats Moses’ warning in Deuteronomy 4:24 that “the LORD God is a consuming fire.” As Hebrews 10:31 warns, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” He will hold you accountable for what He has revealed about Himself including what I have pointed out today. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). I pray that before the end of your life on this earth, which can happen at anytime because you have no assurance of tomorrow, you leave your foolishness and become wise.
Sermon Notes – 4/9/2017
The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 4 – His Attributes – Selected Scriptures
Worship begins with the fact that God is the ____________of all things (Psalm 95, 100, 148)
Creation leaves those who do not worship God without _____________for their sin
What God has created should cause us to be ____________and worship God as it did Job (Job 38-42)
The immensity & precision of the Solar System declares God’s ______________- Psalm 19
The majesty & glory of God displayed in His ____________compels worship of Him – Exodus 33:19-44:7
Moses ______________each of the attributes of the Lord proclaimed by Him in Exodus 44:5-7
Holy – Its root meaning is to be separate, to be _______________. God is intrinsically holy.
Isaiah 43:15; 48:17, etc. The LORD is the __________________
John 17:11 – Jesus calls God, _________________
_______________Himself is holy
God’s holiness _______________every other attribute and is the motivation for many of His actions
Eternal – God is infinite with respect to ____________
Isaiah 43:13, 44:6 – The LORD is from ______________and is the “first and last” – He brackets time
What is related to God takes on an eternal nature – His ________(Ezk 37:28), eternal life (John 10:28; 17:2)
Worship is prompted by God granting eternal life through faith in Jesus – and a transcendent ________of life
Power / Almighty – Having authority & _______________to accomplish, to demonstrate superior force
______________itself is an expression of the power of God (Romans 1:20)
God Almighty (Gen. 17:1) is revealed in His __________with Abraham – including having a son by Sarah
Jesus’ power is seen in His ability to give eternal life (John 10:28) and receiving ____authority (Matt. 28:18)
Jesus’ will reveal His power when He ______________from Heaven – Matthew 26:64
God’s power will bring about the ________of every human whether willingly or unwillingly (Phil. 2:10-11)
Omniscient – God is infinite with respect to ______________
Isaiah 37:28-29 – God knew __________about the haughty Sennacharib of Asryia – and would destroy him
Jeremiah 17:9-10 – God’s knows man’s ___________which even man does not know
God’s omniscience is _________________to the unbeliever and comforting to the Christian
Omnipresence – God is infinite with respect to ____________
Jeremiah 23:23–24 – God ___________the earth and the heavens, man cannot hide from Him
Matthew 28:20 – Jesus promises to ___________be with His disciples
Psalm 139:7-12 – man cannot ___________the presence of God – which is a comfort those who love Him
Sovereign – God is the supreme ruler possessing ________________authority and power to fulfill His will
Deuteronomy 32:39 – God’s sovereignty over life and death ____________Him from all false gods
His sovereignty over the future is a comfort and encouragement to__________- Isaiah 41:4; 44:6-7; 46:9-10
God’s sovereignty to fulfill His promises brings fear of His curses to those who ________Him – Deut. 27-28
The ______________of the believer is solidly founded in God’s sovereignty – John 10:27-29; :37-40
God’s attributes prod humble worship of Him, those who recognize them should ____________
God’s attributes are a _____________to those resist worshiping Him – Heb. 12:29; 10:31
Pursue the __________of the Lord and set aside the foolishness (Proverbs 1:7)
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 the Lord is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents the characteristics of God spoken about today.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why is recognizing that God is the Creator necessary to proper worship of Him? What was Job’s reaction to God pointing out various aspects of creation (Job 38-42)? How do the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1)? Examine or make a model of the solar system to scale? (http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/) How does that affect your understanding of God’s immensity? What did God do in response to Moses’ request to see His glory (Exodus 33-34)? How did that display His glory? How does each attribute declared relate to something Moses had experienced already? Define “holy.” What makes God holy? What has God said about His own holiness? How are things related to God made holy? What is the proper human response to a holy God? Define “eternal.” What makes God eternal? What has God said about His own eternal nature? How are things related to God made eternal? What is the proper human response to an eternal God? Define “almighty.” In what ways does God display His power? How is His power seen in His covenant with Abraham? How is His power seen in the plagues upon Egypt? How had / how will Jesus display His divine power? What is the proper human response to an almighty God? Define “omniscience.” How has God displayed His omniscience? How does God’s omniscience comfort those who love God and fear to those that do not? Define “omnipresence.” How has God displayed His omnipresence? How does God’s omnipresence comfort those who love God and fear to those that do not? Define “sovereign.” How has God displayed His sovereignty? How does the history of Israel display God’s sovereignty? How does God’s sovereignty cause fear to those that do not submit to Him? Why is God’s sovereignty essential to the security of the believer – that He is saved and will remain saved so that heaven is assured? What is your personal response to each of these attributes? What causes you fear? What gives you comfort? What warning should be given to those who resist giving reverent worship to God according to His commands?
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