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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
March 26, 2017
The Glory & Majesty of God, Part 2
If you were not here last week, I encourage you to pick up a copy of that sermon in either print or audio form. I have put printed notes and audio CD’s on the back table or you can download the sermon from our website. That sermon lays a foundation for what I will be saying the next couple of weeks in this short series on the glory and majesty of God. (See: The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 1)
It has been on my mind for quite some time to do a series on this topic because there has been such a decline in our society in the fear and reverence of God. What began as a slow shift in my generation and the one prior to that away from Biblical literacy and hence an understanding of the world from God’s perspective has become a fast paced race down the Romans 1 decline from ignoring God to utterly depraved minds. Because Christians are saved out of society and live within society, the church is affected by society. One of those effects has been an increasing irreverence in the worship of God.
There is no doubt that a large portion of the churches in America, including many claiming to be evangelical, are no longer God centered in their worship. Their rituals and music provide a religious experience that focuses on moving the audience emotionally to feel good about themselves and God. The messages give practical advice for living a nice life and emphasize how much God wants to do good things for people and only wants them to love Him in return. The result is false beliefs about God and “worship” services in which the comfort of the patrons is paramount and the quality of the performance of the religious entertainers on stage is judged by the audience according to what they liked or did not like.
It is my firm belief that every problem of man is ultimately theological in its foundation, and this problem of irreverence in worship is due to heretical views of God among the unsaved and ignorance and wrong ideas about God among the saved beginning with His very identity and key attributes. I believe that a correct understanding of the glory and majesty of God as presented in His revelation of Himself in the Scriptures will automatically bring a person to a place of division in the direction life. He will either reject it and continue on his way in pride searching for ways to please himself and make sense of the world according to his own limited understanding, or he will be humbled and bow the knee in fear and reverence for the awesome God who created Him for His own purposes and glory.
I fully recognize that we will lose some people because of this series of messages for they do not want to believe in and serve the God described in the Scriptures as a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:9). They want a safe god who will make their lives better according to their own desires. There are plenty of preachers that will be happy to tickle your ears with such rubbish, but I am not one of them. I am here to declare the eternal truths about God as revealed in the Scriptures proclaiming His great love, mercy, grace and justice proven in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that provide redemption and forgiveness of sins for those who will believe, but to also warn those who will not repent of God’s future judgment and condemnation to eternal hell.
There is much that can be said about this topic, but last week I only got as far an introduction to it and the first point that God is the creator. Let me review quickly.
First, remember that 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, and His works are beyond the comprehension of mortal man.
Second, the starting point of understanding God’s glory and majesty is recognizing that He is the Creator and that He did it just as He said He did in Genesis 1. Psalm 33:6 is the Biblical big bang, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.” God spoke and Bang! The heavens and earth were created out of nothing just as recorded in Genesis 1:1 and declared in Hebrews 11:3. As a man trained in both the biological sciences and the hard science of physics and chemistry, I can assure you that the millions and billions of years demanded by evolutionary philosophy is the speculation of just so stories without the empirical evidence to back it up. In fact, the whole idea is contrary to the laws of physics. The material world naturally goes from a state of high energy to lower energy and from complex and high order to simple and low order. That is called entropy and it is part of the second law of thermodynamics. Evolution demands the opposite, and the claim that solar energy makes the earth an open system does not help because an energy source must have a mechanism by which to direct it to bring about useful work. There is no mechanism in random chemical reactions. In fact, solar energy breaks down chemical compounds required for biological life. It is God’s design in creation that enables life to exist and use solar energy and other energy resources to live.
Please check out the links on our web site for organizations dedicated to debunking the myth of evolution and promote true science.
The issue of creation is important for several reasons. Last week I covered the importance of truth itself for systems built upon lies cause irreparable harm and eventually collapse. That is true whether they are political, technological, social or religious. If evolution were true, then not only would there be no god, there would also be no meaning or purpose to your existence except the survival of your species and perhaps your genetic line. But since Creation is true, then man is responsible to His creator.
I also demonstrated this issue was important because Genesis is foundational for other Biblical writers who cite it as truth. Logically, if you believe the Genesis account is false, then you would have to reject the teaching of those who believe it. If they erred in such a basic premise, then their other conclusions could not be trusted to be true. Biblical authors that would have to be rejected include Moses, various Psalmists, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, John, Peter, Paul and Jesus.
I ran out of time last week before I was able to do much more than just mention a third reason for the importance of Creation. A primary reason that God is to be worshiped is because He is the creator, and He points to creation over and over again as evidence of His glory and majesty. I want to expand on that subject this morning.
Worship the Creator
Hymn writers have understood this point and expressed it in beautiful lyrics to remind us of this great truth while giving God the honor and glory He deserves as we worship Him. These include older standard hymns such as All Creators of Our God and King; This is My Father’s World; Come, Ye Thankful People, Come and Worthy of Worship. This theme is in many newer hymns and songs as well with Song Select having 2,627 listings for songs that include the word, Creator. But all of these are only reflections or expansions of what the Scriptures declare.
This is the theme of Psalm 95 which is a call to worship God and a warning of stubbornness. O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 3 For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods, 4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. 5 The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. 7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice . . .” The rest of the Psalm warns about being stubborn like Israel was in the wilderness resulting in their condemnation.
Psalm 100 is another invitation to worship that includes this theme. 1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
Such expressions of worship for God as Creator in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs rises directly out of the truth that He is the creator and that we as creatures made by Him owe Him worship. While Genesis explains the method, sequence and timing of God’s acts during Creation week, other Biblical passages express the same truth.
For example, Job, one of if not the oldest book in the Bible, records the understanding of wise men during the age of the patriarchs. When Job suffered horrendous loss of his wealth and children, his response was to fall to the ground and worship God saying, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord “ (Job 1:21). When Job is further afflicted and suffers from painful boils he still maintains his integrity though his wife seeks to incite him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9-10). Job’s three friends generally have a correct understanding of God and give advice accordingly. For example, Eliphaz correctly understood that man cannot be pure before His maker (Job 4:17) and that hope is found in seeking God (Job 5:6-7). However, because Job’s friends have false assumptions about why Job is suffering their accusations against him are false and admonitions misplaced. Job understood what they understood and fully recognized his own frailty as a creature fashioned by God and made as clay (Job 10:9-10). His correct understanding of God his maker enabled him to seek and trust God even though He slay him (Job 13:15). Job believed his Redeemer lived and would enable him from his flesh to see God even after his skin was destroyed. Job’s hope for eternal redemption was founded on his understanding of God’s character as his creator.
A similar theme is expressed in Isaiah 44-45. The passage begins with God’s promises concerning a future redemption of Jacob secured in God’s identity and sovereign ability to control the future. Verse 6 declares, “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.” Verses 7-8 explain His ability to declare the future for He is God. Verses 9-20 point out the foolishness of their idolatry before returning to the theme of a future redemption which gives reason for even creation to shout for joy (vs. 21-23). Verse 24 gives the reason for the security of these promises and those that follow, “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.
In Isaiah 44:28 Cyrus is introduced through whom God will accomplish these promises. Isaiah 45 begins with God’s directions to Cyrus with verses 5-7 recording Him saying, 5 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” Notice that His claim to form light and create darkness matches the claim of Genesis 1:3-5.
The chapter goes on to point out the foolishness of quarreling with your Maker (vs. 9f), the one that “made the earth, and created man upon it,” and “stretched out the heavens with [His] hands and [who] ordained all their host” (vs. 12). Verse 18 adds, “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.” The passage then continues on in verse 21f to highlight a second time God’s ability to declare exactly what will take place in the future long before it would take place. In this case more than 160 years prior (Isaiah 742-701 B.C. / Cyrus’ reign ~ 550-530 B.C.). The Lord can do this because there is no God beside Him, a righteous God and a Savior.
His invitation and warning in Isaiah 45:23-25 are as true today as they were then. 23 “I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 “They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 25 “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory.”
This same theme could be developed from other Scripture passages, but this should be sufficient to make this point. Our hope for the future is dependent upon God being who He claims to be. He is able and faithful to fulfill all His promises. This is tied directly to the Lord being the Creator and a faithful communicator of what He has done. If He is not the creator or He did not do it as He said He did, then there cannot be trust of Him to be able to fulfill His promises or that He has told us the truth. The hope of eternal redemption is lost.
We worship the God who revealed Himself in the Bible instead of the demons of false religions because His position as the Creator sets Him apart from the claims of false gods. He is God, there is none other, and He is sovereign over His creation.
The Majesty and Glory of God in Creation
For the rest of the sermon I want to focus on God’s majesty and glory as reflected in Creation. Next week I will focus on a selection of God’s other attributes that will cause us to fall down and worship Him if we will pay attention to Him. God is majestic and glorious in what He has done because those things are a reflection of who He is and what He is like.
Returning to Job, it is interesting what God does when He does finally reprove him. Job was in a difficult position. He had suffered appalling economic loss, then the death of all of his children. This was followed by intense personal physical suffering from boils. Though all of it was directly at the hands of Satan, from Job’s perspective it appeared that God had hedged him in and what he had dreaded had befallen him (Job 3:23-25). He did not understand why and his friends who kept falsely accusing him of sin only made it worse. Though Job knew he could not make himself clean before his Creator (Job 14:4), he still wanted to present his case to God. His attitude in this is clearly seen in Job 13:15f saying, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him. This also will be my salvation, For a godless man may not come before His presence.” Job requested that God neither remove His hand from Job or let the dread of God terrify him (vs. 20-21). Job wanted to be shown his iniquities, rebellion and sin and why, from Job’s view, God treated him as an enemy (vs. 23-24).
God’s response to Job is recorded in Job 38-41. He does not point out any iniquity, sin or rebellion in Job other than speaking about things he did not understand and finding fault with God’s actions (Job 38:2; 40:2). That in itself says a lot about Job’s righteous character. God’s answer is summarized in both Isaiah 45:9 and Romans 9:20-21as, who is man that he answers back to question God? The potter has the right to do what he likes with the clay. You may not like that answer, and many people do not, but it is reality because the Lord is God and you are but a creature He has made.
Since we have the book of Job including its first two chapters, it is apparent that God eventually told Job about what was going on in heaven between God and Satan and that Job’s desire to have his words inscribed in a book was fulfilled (Job 19:23). However, that is information Job was given subsequent to God’s declarations in Job 38-41. What is God’s response to Job? He points out various aspects of Creation and this brings about Job’s repentance. In Job 40:4-5 he says, “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. 5 “Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; Even twice, and I will add nothing more.” In Job 42:2-6 he says, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” 4 ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; 6 Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”
Even a cursory look at Creation should humble all men. Paul said in Romans 1:19-20 that is one of the ways that God has made Himself evident to men, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” God points out to Job a wide range of things about Creation. Some of them Job knew by experience, but many others were far beyond him and his understanding.
God begins by pointing out Creation itself beginning with the first day. Job 38:4, God says, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth!” Adding in verse 7, “When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:8-11 describes the third day of Creation when God gathered the waters together so that dry land could appear. We know about the Creation because God has revealed it to us. No man was there until Adam was created from the dust of the ground on the sixth day. Man’s contradictory speculations about it are foolishness. To consider the immensity of what took place in those six days and the beauty and dignity of a world untainted by sin is to be overwhelmed by what we cannot fully comprehend and the majesty and glory of God before whom we must bow in worship.
God then points out to Job the dawning of each day (38:12), the springs and recesses of the deep (38:16) which man had never even seen below 1,000 feet until the invention of the bathysphere in 1930. Then there are the gates of death, which when revealed to a man is too late (38:17). Only in the last century was man able to explore the “expanse of the earth” – the atmospheric heavens (38:18). Though our understanding has increased about the seas and the atmosphere along with the physics of the separation of light and darkness and the formation of snow, hail, ice and the causes of wind, we are still very limited and cannot control them in the least (Job 38:19-30). Then there are the constellations of stars which move precisely as God has designed so that they fulfill their purpose given in Genesis 1:14 as signs for seasons, days and years (Job 38:31-33). Does not the immensity of the solar system, our galaxy and the universe cause you to respond as David did in Psalm 8:3-4, “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?”
God points out various aspects of weather such as clouds, rain and lightning (Job 38:22-30, 34-38), none of which man can control. The water cycle is described in Job, but modern man did not get a grasp of it until the 15th century. At what point does weather make you feel vulnerable? My grandmother would hide during lighting storms, but I enjoy them and like to find a place to watch them. Seeing lightning, hearing its thunder and smelling its ozone all at the same time is startling, but I still like that too, but I have my limits. I am fascinated by the pictures of tornadoes taken by storm chasers as well as videos of hurricanes, but I have personally seen their damage and have had close enough encounters with them that I definitely prefer to keep my distance if possible. What about you?
God then describes various animals that Job would have known about or even seen for himself including the lion (38:39-40), the raven (38:41), mountain goats and deer (39:1-4), the wild donkey (39:5-8), the wild ox (39:9-12), the ostrich (39:13-18), the horse (39:19-25) and the hawk (39:26-30). Each of these animals have certain characteristics which demonstrate God’s care of them and Job’s limitations. As a trained biologist, the complexity, beauty and ability of animals to live, adapt and thrive in the wild causes me to praise God for His amazing design of them. Do you not get that sense if you read about them or watch a nature show even if they do give the obligatory nod to a just so story of evolution. It is obvious that none of these animals are the result of random chance chemical interactions. They are living creatures exhibiting the hand of their Creator upon them. Job understood this and recognized his insignificance (40:4).
Job 40 points out another creature that makes the other animals already mentioned seem puny. The transliteration of the Hebrew word is used here, behemoth, though it is a plural form of the word usually referring to four-footed beasts distinguishing it from man, birds and creeping things. The description of this animal in this passage uses singular pronouns and makes it clear that it is not like any living animal known to modern science. Those who have suggested it is a hippopotamus have not looked at the description very closely. A hippo’s tail is short, squat and very small compared to its body, but this animal has a bendable tail equated to a cedar tree (vs. 17). The suggestion is made by translators because it is obvious that God is talking about something Job has either seen or is capable of seeing, so they were desperate to find an existing animal known to have lived in the near East that at least somewhat fit the description. The description better fits some type of sauropod demonstrating they did not become extinct as early as modern scientists claim. (A problem among modern scientist is their disbelief of animals described and even drawn by indigenous people unless they can see one for themselves).
This animal eats grass like an ox. It has powerful muscles in its loins and belly. It has a bendable tail like a cedar tree. It has extremely strong bones and limbs. It lived in the swamp areas of the Jordan river and was not afraid of floods or man who could not capture him if he was watching.
The animal God describes in Job 41 is even more amazing. Leviathan is also a transliterated Hebrew word. It is neither a whale or crocodile since it has incredibly strong and impenetrable scaled armored skin with “underparts like sharp potsherd,” and both of these can be killed by the weapons described. Those who have suggested it was such animals have not paid enough attention to the description given here. The references to fishooks, harpoons and fishing spears as well as the sea, making the depths boil and leaving a wake, show it was at least semi-aquatic. The most formidable and astonishing aspect of Leviathan is “His sneezes flash forth light, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning torches; Sparks of fire leap forth. Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth, As from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, And a flame goes forth from his mouth.” There is truth in the ancient tales of fire breathing dragons. What would be your response if you saw such a creature?
I have not even brought up the Psalms and other passages in which God points to Creation to show His majesty and glory. We will examine more of this next week, but already there is plenty to call us to be careful to give Him the reverent worship that is due Him.
Sermon Notes – 3/26/2017
The Glory and Majesty of God, Part 2 – Selected Scriptures
Reverence in worship within the church in America has been ______________ for decades
Every problem of man is ultimately ____________________ in its foundation
A correct understanding of the glory and majesty of God ______________ reverence in worship
We are here to proclaim God’s word and humbly worship Him – not __________ the ears of people
Majesty refers to that which is ________________ in beauty, scale or dignity
Glory refers to high renown / honor won by ________achievements & what is magnificent or of great beauty
God is majestic and glorious in ______________ dimension – as Creator and in all His attributes
God’s glory and majesty begin with the fact that He is the ____________- and did it as He said
Evolution is _________to the established laws of physics – use our links to find sites dedicated to this topic
The issue of Creation is important because ____________itself is important
__________is foundational with many other Biblical writers affirming it – if it is wrong, they are also wrong
This includes Moses, various Psalmists, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, John, Peter, Paul and _____
A primary reason to ______________God is because He is the Creator
Worship the Creator
God as creator is a common theme in both older hymns and recent spiritual songs for they _______the Bible
Psalm 95 – a call to worship God, our ______________, and a warning of being stubborn
Psalm 100 – an invitation to come worship the Lord because He is our ____________
Job records the understanding of the _____________of the patriarchs
Job’s response to horrendous _______of his wealth and children was to fall to the ground and worship God
Job maintained his _____________despite his wife’s bad advice and the false accusations of his friends
Job had a correct understanding of God as his maker which enabled him to have __________and seek God
Isaiah 44-45 expresses the hope of future ______________founded in God as the sovereign Creator
God’s promises concerning Cyrus are based in the fact He is the ________________Creator
It is foolish to quarrel with your Maker who determines the ___________- Isaiah 55:9-22
His invitation and warning in Isaiah 45:23-25 are as ___________today as they were then
Our hope for future redemption is founded on God being the Creator, a _______communicator, & sovereign
The Majesty and Glory of God in Creation
God points to the works of His ______________to demonstrate His majesty and glory
Job did not know ________he was suffering but he still hoped in God and wanted to present his case to Him
Job wants his sins & rebellion to be revealed, but God _________mentions Job’s ignorance & fault finding
God’s answer to Job matches Isaiah 45:9 & Romans 9:20-21 – the _____can do what He wants with His clay
From Job 1 & 2 we know he was eventually told about _________role in his suffering, but not until later
God responds to Job by pointing out various aspects of _____________- which results in Job’s repentance
Romans 1:19-20 – God has made Himself _______________to men through Creation
Job 38: 4-11 – God begins with what He did on the first and third days of Creation
God points out the dawn, the springs and recesses of the deep, the gates of death and the expanse of the earth
God points to the constellations – the immensity of which should quickly humble man (Psalm 8)
God points out various weather phenomena – none of which man can control
God points out many animals well known to Job: lion, raven, mountain goats & deer, wild donkey, ox, ostrich, horse and hawk.
The complexity, beauty & ability of animals to adapt & thrive should cause praise for God’s amazing design
Job understood these things show the hand of the Creator, and he recognized his insignificance – Job 40:4
Behemoth, fits the description of a sauropod, not a ___________, and it was known to Job
Leviathan is even more amazing, and neither a crocodile nor a __________ fit its description
An incredibly strong ____________creature with impenetrable scaled armored skin
The most formidable and astonishing aspect of Leviathan – a description of a fire breathing __________
These aspects of Creation call us to be careful to give God the ______________worship that is due Him
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 how the things God has created affect your understanding of Him.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Do you think professing Christians in American are reverent in their worship of God? How do you think a Biblical understanding of God’s majesty and glory would affect the way people worship Him? Why is the fact that God is the Creator important? Is it important that Genesis 1 is a record of real history? Why or why not? What effect does its truthfulness have on the rest of the Scriptures? Is evolution scientifically feasible according to the laws of physics? Explain. What is the theme of Psalm 95. How important is God as creator to that theme? What is the theme of Psalm 100. How important is God as creator to that theme? How important is it to Job that God is the creator in order to have hope of future redemption? Trace the themes in Isaiah 44 & 45. How is God’s position as creator tied to His position as Redeemer? Why is it foolish to quarrel with God (Isaiah 45:9-18)? What is the basis of the invitation and warning in Isaiah 45:23-25? Job does not know why he is suffering, but he desires to know why. Why doesn’t God begin by revealing to him the information contained in Job 1 & 2 instead of pointing out various things He has created (Job 38-41)? How does God’s response match Isaiah 45:9 and Romans 9:20-21? What is Job’s response to God’ revelation? How has God made Himself evident to man through creation? What is your response when you consider God’s acts of creation during the first six days? What is your response to God’s creation of geologic, atmospheric, and celestial phenomena? What do the various animals reveal about God to you? What animal fits the description of Behemoth? Of Leviathan? How would you respond if you met one?
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