God is Great!
Study using “Gripped by the Greatness of God” – James MacDonald
Personal Introduction – Message
If you are a guest with us today, I’m doing things a little different than normal. We were scheduled to begin the book of Hebrews today. However, that’s going to wait until next Sunday.
Wednesday Night we will begin a new Study entitled … “Gripped by the Greatness of God” by Pastor James MacDonald of Chicago Illinois.
I will be using his study to direct us each week. The study will use passages from the book of Isaiah to lead us. If you would like to follow along in the workbook, you may order one and we will get them for you, the cost is $12.95. However, I know some of you will be going through Masterlife or other studies and may not have time or inclination for another daily study at the same time. So, if you don’t want the daily study, I will give some assignments each week for the coming week. So, make sure you bring a notebook each week for notes and writing down assignments
Some of you have never been with us for a Wednesday Night Study and you may want to know, what happens. Well, let me give you a taste. We won’t do it exactly like it … but the first thing is … I’m not up here on the pulpit. Bryan bring me my Wednesday night podium. I don’t have on a suit. There is more time for you to ask questions and interact. But one thing that IS the same is we Study the Word of God and allow it to speak to us.
There is a phrase that we have all heard, perhaps you were taught it as a prayer … I can start it and you can finish it … but while I’m not a big fan of rote prayers, there is GREAT TRUTH … in this little phrase … I want us to use it tonight to set the tone for what we will study for the next couple of months … on Wednesdays
Finish it For me …
“God is Great … “
Something else we do on Wednesday Night. I want you to turn to a few people around you talk about those 3 things for just a minute …
What comes to mind immediately when you hear …
“God is Great”? tell them
“God is Good”? tell them
“Let us Thank”? tell them …
On Wednesdays I would give you a little more time to talk about it, share a scripture you think of … but for now let’s go back and take a few minutes on each phrase
Isaiah 1:2-3 (NIV)
2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
The problem folks is sometimes we forget who our GOD IS. We believe He is less than good and less than great. Could we be so bold as to say sometimes we think God is average and mediocre or daresay bad?
I want to remind you today who your God is and what you should do about it
1. God is Great!
Let’s look at a few verses and be reminded I’m going to let the Word speak
A. He is Great in Character
Deuteronomy 10:17 (NIV)
17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.
Deuteronomy 32:3 (NIV)
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
2 Samuel 7:22 (NIV)
22 “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
Job 36:26 (NIV)
26 How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.
Psalm 48:1 (NIV)
1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Psalm 104:1 (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He is GREAT in Character … He is …
Constant, Holy, Transcendent, Immanent, Eternal, Spirit, One, Trinity
Revealed in Glory, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Righteous, Sovereign
Savior, True, Faithful
B. He is Great in Deeds and Might
Deuteronomy 3:24 (NIV)
24 “O Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?
What God is there? What person is there who compares to God
Job 37:5 (NIV)
5 God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
Psalm 71:19 (NIV)
19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?
Micah 5:4 (NIV)
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
Luke 9:43 (NIV)
43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,
C. Great in Salvation – in Gifts of Mercy and Grace
Psalm 69:13 (NIV)
13 But I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
1 John 3:1 (NIV)
1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ....
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Psalm 96:4 (NIV)
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise…”
Say it out loud … GOD IS GREAT! <repeat>
Oh help me with something … when I say “God is Great” you say “God Alone”
Me à “God is Great”
You à “God Alone”
Which leads me to the 2nd one …
2. God is Good
God is Good _____ ALL THE TIME
ALL THE TIME … God is Good!
Do you believe that or is it just something you are supposed to say?
Do you ever forget it from a practical sense?
I know you KNOW it in your head … but in your heart do you forget sometimes?
Do the circumstances of life sometimes make you doubt it?
Do the forces of evil seek to make you doubt the goodness of God?
Mark it DOWN … Remember the greatest tools of the Evil One
Causing us to Doubt God’s Word
Causing us to Doubt God’s Goodness
Causing us to Doubt God’s Plan
He told Eve … in Gen 3
à“Did God REALLY Say?” … doubting God’s Word
à“You will not surely die” … doubting God’s Word
à“God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened” … doubting God’s Goodness – he doesn’t want what’s best for you
à“you will be like God” … doubting God’s plan … God’s plan is not as good for you … he’s trying to keep you down …
Well … Ladies and Gentlemen, Students, Boys, and Girls … Wild Animals, Farm Animals, Fish of the Sea and Birds of the Air …
GOD IS GOOD!
A. God is Good in Character
Deuteronomy 4:7 (NIV)
7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
2 Samuel 7:28 (NIV)
28 O Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
Mark 10:18 (NIV)
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
Jesus is saying, you feel my goodness in your heart don’t you? Don’t you realize I AM God? Oh God is Good, Jesus is GOD, Jesus is GOOD!
B. God is Good in Purpose
In Genesis One we see a Creator God who is GOOD … altogether Good
Light, Land, Plants, Flowers, and Trees,
Creatures of the sea, Birds of the Air, Wild Animals, Domesticated animals, and People and it says that
ALL that He Made is GOOD …
1 Timothy 4:4 (NIV)
4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
Psalm 84:11 (NIV)
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
C. God is Good in Ruling – everything he asks from you will be good
Psalm 143:10 (NIV)
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Jer 29:11 – “I know that plans I have for you … plans with hope and a future”
D. God is Good in Provision – everything he gives or everything he withholds is good …
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 (NIV)
16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
James 1:17 (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Matthew 7:11 (NIV)
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Luke 11:9-13 (NIV)
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Not only that but sometimes children ask for things that SEEM Good but a good Father knows better and says “no” … and that is GOOD … “NO” is a Good answer when it comes from God … “Wait” is Good when it comes from God … Just as MUCH as “Yes”
Did you see or read the Chronicles of Narnia … Remember that C.S. Lewis was writing an allegory, and teaching about God and his people as he told that story. Remember that Aslan is a type of Christ. He died a sacrifice for his people and he rose again. In “the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe” … Mr. Tumnus is speaking about Aslan and says “one day, he’s here, and the next he’s not, but you must’nt press him, after all he’s not a TAME lion.” To which Lucy replies, “No … but he is GOOD.”
In the book “The Horse and His Boy” the lead character, Shasta is with the King and his hunting party, and warning them of the impending invasion, but Shasta becomes lost in the fog and separated from the King's procession. After continuing blindly for some way, he senses that he has been joined in the darkness by a mysterious presence. Engaging in conversation with the unknown being, Shasta confides what he sees as his many misfortunes, including being chased by lions on two separate occasions, and concluding with "If nothing else, it was bad luck to meet so many lions." His companion then proclaims himself as the single lion that Shasta has encountered in his travels:
"I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you." – Aslan
Don’t get too caught up in YOUR perception of what is happening, our “understanding” whether we think “good” and “bad” is not always the same as God’s.
àJoseph was sold into slavery by his brothers … good or bad?
àJonah was swallowed by a whale … good or bad?
àJob saw his whole life fall apart, destruction, loss, financial ruin, illness, desertion, … good or bad?
àMary found herself with child … good or bad?
àJoseph’s betrothed was with child … good or bad?
àPaul was taken to Rome to prison … good or bad? Caesar’s own household had many who embraced the gospel and spread it throughout Rome
à Jesus was wrongfully accused, wrongfully arrested, illegally tried, illegally crucified … good or bad! GLORIOUS
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
ALL Things are not GOOD … But GOD IS GOOD IN ALL THINGS
When I say “God is Good” you say “Every Time”
“God is Good”
Hallelujah! Oh somebody … that is GOOD NEWS
THAT IS TRUE
THAT IS LIFE GIVING
THAT IS BEAUTIFUL
THAT IS AWESOME
What a Good Great God We have
So WHAT should we do in LIGHT of this FRESH Understanding …
What else can you do?
You might need to start with confession –
“Lord forgive me for doubting your Greatness”
“Lord forgive me for doubting your Greatness for every need I face”
“Lord forgive me for doubting your Goodness in my circumstance”
Then … from Holy Ground, from Fertile Ground … You know what Fertile Ground is don’t you? Ground that has been Broken Ground that has been Fertilized
From Brokenness and the Nurturing Fertilizing Truth … Sow the Seeds of Gratitude!
Reap the Harvest of Gratitude!
3. Let us Thank
Do you struggle sometimes with a bitter spirit instead of a grateful spirit?
Sure you do … I’m talking about Gratitude REAL Gratitude
Real Gratitude will change your Attitude – I see people sometimes and if you ask them “Are you Grateful to God” they say “Oh I’m grateful” … but I’m thinking, “well you need to tell your face” J you don’t look very grateful
Lift your Chin, Raise your gaze, change your Sad Shuffle into Jumping for Joy
è You see we aren’t grateful because we don’t look at the Greatness of God – when you full of wonder about the greatness of God you will be grateful!
è We aren’t grateful because we ascribe to others the things that are achieved by the greatness of God – don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong and much right with thanking people, but Remember God is IN All. If you are praying for something and someone comes and gives it to you don’t say “thanks anyway Lord … but Suzy provided it …” No you say “thank you Suzy for being Used by God to meet my need … (and) Thank you Lord for meeting my need through Suzy”
è We aren’t grateful and rejoice in ALL things because we DOUBT or Question the GOODNESS of God …
A. Living in Gratitude
Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Why? Because GOD IS GOOD in ALL THINGS …
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NIV)
4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Why? Because God is Good … God is Great
Let us Thank …
Oh I need to Finish …
B. Proclaiming Gratitude
Psalm 106:1 (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 66:3 (NIV)
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
Why? Because God is Great and God is Good … when you confess it you are grateful
Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him 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. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Oh aren’t you glad …
Real Gratitude will Change your Attitude
Can you say “Lord Make Me Grateful”
Can you Just Make a List of What God has done for you?
Your greatness of God list will make your anger list useless
Your goodness of God list will make your frustration list pointless
Your gratitude list will make your “I was wronged” list will become worthless
Oh has God done enough right to counter all the wrong that someone else has done?
David taught us … “The LORD is my Shepherd”
The LORD … Yahweh, Jehovah, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Forgiver, Lover of My Soul, I am the Apple of His Eye, he is the Lifter of My Head, He is my Coming King, He is my Indwelt Provider, He is my Guide, my Strength, My Hope, My Glory, My God and My KING!
YES HE IS
YES HE IS
The LORD is my Shepherd
Oh I am Grateful …
Me à “God Is Great”
You à “God Alone”
Me à “God is Good”
You à “Every Time”
I give you thanks
For all you’ve done
I am so blessed
My soul is at rest
Oh Lord, I give you thanks
How Great is Our God