A0392_Your Image of God
Date: 6th July 2008 (Sunday AM) Ref: A0392
Place: Kambah P.S.
Title: Your Image of God
Text: & Ezekiel 1:26- 2:1
Illust: In Fiji, door knocking, you get invited into homes, indigenous Fijian, Indian Fijian, doesn’t matter, all very hospitable & friendly will ply you with food & drink & chat. – Often been in homes of Indians, and all around will be pictures of the various hindu gods, grotesque images with many arms, elephants head, bulging eyes, blood red tongue. – This is the picture, the image that they have of their gods. – Some homes I have visited here – religious people – will have a picture up on the wall – mournful eyes, pallid face, weak look, Bleeding Heart. – This is their picture of their god.- What is your image of God?
I. Right View of God
A. What is your image of God
i. This AM, how do you think? – We all think in pictures, if I say horse, immediately you picture a horse, dog, cat, chair house, sky. Even emotion, symbols, heart / rose for love, why movies are powerful – visual display of emotion.
ii. What is your image of God, what is the picture that comes to mind? Is your view of God of the old man with flowing white robes up in heaven? ~ Is God to you like some simple minded nice old man, but with a lot of power, winks at us when we do the wrong thing
iii. Is it of some absentee landlord, not really interested in what is going on down here? – Occupied on a whole lot of other things, certainly not scrutinising your every action, word and thought. – Is God unknowable, unapproachable?
B. Why Does it Matter
i. Why does it matter what you picture when you think of God, what your perception is of God?
AW Tozer wrote: The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.
ii. Not a light thing to try to fathom / grasp the nature, the image of God. The eternal by definition He is beyond our comprehension. If we the creature could comprehend God then we would be His equal. ~ Clearly not the case.
iii. How you view God, how you imagine God to be, will ultimately play out in your life, it will influence the way you act, it will influence your worship.
Exodus 15:11 “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? (NKJV)
Psalm 113:5 Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, (NKJV)
A. Apearance & Likeness
i. Let’s look again at how Ezekiel wrestles with this. ~ & Vs. 26-28 – Note the words used here, over & over again throughout this vision which actually begins in vs 1, Ezekiel uses the terms appearance & likeness – I like & vs 26
I can’t describe it but it looks sort of like a throne, and on the thing that sort of looks like a throne there is something that sort of looks sort of like a man
ii. Here is the classic case seen in numbers of places in the bible where our human language, comprehension, understanding is unable to grasp & express the sheer splendour & majesty of God – John in the throne room of heaven: & Rev 1:12-16
Revelation 4:2-3 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. (NKJV)
iii. So we start this whole idea handicapped in that we have to admit that God can only ever be slightly like something, but He is far above & beyond even the likeness.
iv. To guard against idolatry & Exodus 20:1-5. – We recognise that in this we are not to carve or paint an image of God, but it goes much deeper than this. What about your image of God? – If you view God as being less than He is, If you view God incorrectly, a God in your image of what you want God to be like, then that is idolatry.
B. A Glimpse of Majesty
i. We will break down the vision of Ezekiel a bit:
ii. And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne,: Throne: authority, dominion, in appearance like a sapphire stone sapphire – intense blue – spiritual holiness
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. (NKJV)
iii. on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it Appearance of a Man. – What wonder that we have been created in the image of God. – God does not look like us, we look like Him, & even that does not describe Him properly, He is not physical, He is Spirit.
iv. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber Amber:
Hb chasmal, = electon – mix of Gold & silver – bright and shining
v. and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Fire: - the Wrath & Judgement of God all around & within
vi. He is an awesome, powerful, mighty God
III. Right Response
A. Woe is Me
i. What does it mean when you see that God is so high & lifted up, so majestic, awesome, powerful, terrifying – Begin to understand the power & majesty, the holiness the total & utter incomprehensibility of God – I can’t put it in words, indescribable – Has to be glimpsed, felt, encountered.
ii. Response is as with Ezekiel, & vs 28b, John & Isaiah
Revelation 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. (NKJV)
Isaiah 6:5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” (NKJV)
iii. Sinful humanity, you & I are crushed by the weight of our own sinfulness when we come face to face with the pure holiness of God, His wrath & judgement. Realisation that we are lost. That we are so far from being even good let alone perfect. – Your faults, your failures your guilt & shame visible in stark relief before God’s great glory.
B. Commissioned For Service
i. Brings us to an interesting part of Ezekiel’s vision & vs 28 - the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day - - The rainbow. ~ Around God’s glory & spreading over His wrath, is the symbol of His mercy. – The rainbow. & Genesis 9:12-17 – It was is this revelation of the awesome power of God, the just, righteous & deserved judgement & wrath of God, yet over all the incredible mercy of God that floored Ezekiel & should astound you.
ii. You know what you have done wrong, you know that in a just universe, you deserve judgement
Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; (NKJV)
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death,. (NKJV)
iii. Yet the mercy, the love of God is greater than His wrath. –
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)
iv. This is the awesomeness of & Ch 2 vs 1 – Ezekiel is bid stand in the presence of God, He is being commissioned for service. – The same with John & Isaiah
Revelation 1:17-19 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. (NKJV)
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (NKJV)
v. To fulfil a commission from God, you need to have an encounter with God, to have a realisation of just who God is & what He wants you to do – You are saved to be sent.