What an Awesome God! (8/3/14)

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Sermons | 0 comments

Rev Bolton 2014-08-03 _0646

Rev. Jim Bolton

Pastor Jim’s sermon on Sunday August 3 posed the question, “what is awesome?”  We throw around that word so much that we allow it to describe almost anything.  Could it be that our trivial regard of God’s True AWESOMENESS has led us to regard God in our own limited terms?  Could it be that the God who created the universe is actually awesome enough to care about us? 

Here’s the audio recording (from the 11:00 service).  You can listen to the sermon while following along below.

The message is from Isaiah 40:10-31.  Click below to follow along…

Isaiah 40

Isaiah 40:10-41:1 10

10 Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.

11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?

13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?

14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?

15 No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.

16 All the wood in Lebanon’s forests and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough to make a burnt offering worthy of our God.

17 The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes they count for less than nothing—mere emptiness and froth.

18 To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him?

19 Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?

20 Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall down!

21 Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God—the words he gave before the world began?Are you so ignorant?

22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.

23 He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing.

24 They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.

27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?

28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.

31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

Awesome!

What is “Awesome”?  Things like these?

  • 1974- The Flyers won two Stanley Cups back to back:  Awesome!
  • 2008- The Phillies won the World Series:  Awesome!
  • Anytime on a formerly quiet street- A car’s sound system’s subwoofers going Boom-ba-ba-Boom:  Awesome (at least to the owners of the car).

Or God?  We have a way of applying the word “Awesome” to both.  But God can’t be compared to anything.  Check out these passages from scripture:

  • Isaiah 40:25  (&18)  “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
  • 1 Samuel 2:2   No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you;  there is no Rock like our God.
  • Colossians  1:16-17    For by him [the Son- Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

So what really deserves the title “Awesome”?  Subwoofers?  Phillies?  Flyers? Or God???   We shouldn’t use the same word to describe God and anything else.  They can’t be compared.

God Cares about… Us!!!

Even though God made the universe and even though He is truly AWESOME, He actually knows what we’re up to and wants to step into our lives and have a relationship with us.

  • Isaiah 40:22  “The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.”  Close your eyes and imagine a warm summer’s evening.  One of the sounds you’ll hear is the sound of crickets.  We tune them out.  They seem insignificant to us.  Even though the size gap between us and crickets pales in comparison to the difference between God and us, God wants  to step in and “make a tent” for us.
  • Colossians 1:17  Jesus sustains creation.
  • Matthew 6:26, 28-30   Our heavenly Father feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field.

“Do you not know?  Have you not heard?”  Why do we worry about life’s day to day problems and forget that “Our heavenly Father feeds the birds”?  Could it be that we have limited God to our own “Subwoofer” concept of awesome?

+   +   +   +  

Here are Three points about God’s AWESOMENESS that we should constantly hold before us…

1:  God’s Awesome Hand

There are 912,500 cubic MILES of water on the earth.  Verse 12 of our passage tells us that God holds all of it in the palm of His hand.  How much water can you hold in your hand???  What about the size of the universe or even of the distance between our little planet and the closest star (which we call the Sun)?  It’s 93 million miles between us and the Sun.  We have to measure things by the number of years it take light to travel.  But God simply marks it off with the width of His hand.

There’s hymn that most of us are familiar with: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”  If you’re not familiar with this hymn, click the “Play” button and “follow the bouncing ball”…

If God has the whole world in His hands, why do we worry? If God has enough grace and love to give us an eternal home in heaven with Him, why do we worry about finances, or health, or other day to day problems like broken subwoofers?

 

2:  God’s Awesome Handiwork

When we look at something like the Grand Canyon, or gaze at the stars on a clear night we feel awfully small.  In Isaiah 40 God views things much bigger than us as “dust.”  He sees us as “Crickets”  Compared to God we could fade into the background like the feeble chirp of a late summer cricket.  And yet… God chose to come to earth and live with us “crickets.”

We are all part of God’s plan- we’re not here by accident.  We are God’s handiwork.

In fact, God created this big “Awesome” universe so that we could catch a glimpse of His glory and begin to move into a closer relationship with Him.

  • Psalm 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
  • Psalm 50:6  The heavens proclaim His righteousness.
  • Psalm 97:6  All the peoples see His glory.
  • Romans 1:19 -20  God’s eternal power and divine nature have been made clear.  We have no excuse if we choose to doubt Him.
Nobody had to sail around the globe to prove that the earth wasn’t flat…

Years before Columbus, God said that the world was round, not flat:

  • Isaiah 40: 22   God sits above the Circle of the Earth.
  • Job 22:14    God walks around the “roof” or “circle” of heaven
  • Proverbs 8:27  God drew a “Circle” on the face of the deep.

None of this round earth stuff should be a surprise-  God’s always been behind creation.  It’s not an accident.  We’re part of a greater design, and God wants to connect with us.

If the thickness of a piece of paper were 93 million miles (the distance between the earth and the sun),  It would take a stack of paper from here to Lynchburg VA to represent the distance to the nearest star.

And yet- God is outside of all of that.  He’s bigger!  When is the last time we felt totally overwhelmed with reverence and love and wonder by this Awesome God we love and who loves us?

 

3: God’s Awesome Hold on Us

God’s love for humanity won’t quit!  Even though we’re as small as grasshoppers, God still cares about us. Isaiah 49:16   says that as a child of God, your name is written (“Tattooed”) in the palms of God’s hands.   In John 10:29  Jesus tells us that nobody can be snatched from His Hands.  We’re safe.  We’re guarded by the Good Shepherd… even though we’re puny grasshoppers.

The challenge before us is to trust God’s Promises and not our feelings.

 Galatians 2:20 says that we have been “crucified with Christ.”  Our life (and our “death to sin”) are so identified with Him that He will always be with us.  Even though we’re puny grasshoppers, God has invested a lot into those who believe.  If you were the only human being who needed saving,  Jesus Christ still would have come down and died for you.

In John 20:20-31, the disciples are hiding in a room with the doors locked “for fear of the Jews” (Jewish leaders).  They’re afraid.  They’re worried.  And yet, Jesus comes and stands among them and tells them “peace be with you.”  Peace.  Whatever we are facing, Jesus is right in the midst of that situation  What do we have to fear?

Zechariah 2:10-11 tells us that God will come and “dwell in our midst”  The AWESOME creator is with us.  In our midst.  In our problems, in our doubts, in our fears.

Haven’t you heard?  God never gets tired of us.  “Come unto me all who are heavy laden and I will give you Rest” (Matthew 11:28-30).  Our AWESOME God isn’t too big to hear our problems, and our AWESOME God isn’t too small to take them on.

What fills your heart about the AWESOMENESS of God???

Quiz Time!

Just for the fun of it, try out these True/False questions.   Don’t Worry- there’s no gradebook!

 

When you’re done, click the “Review” button to see the right answers.  If you missed any questions, re-read the scripture and try it again.  If you’re stuck (or disagree with the answer!), feel free to post a comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Some of the Scripture references in this post were quoted from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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