2007.08.19 God Reveals Himself to Us Part II
God Reveals Himself to Us – Part II
In a Very Special Way
If you recall from last week we discussed God revealing Himself to us through general revelation – through his creation, through nature, through His picture to us. You may remember the illustration I used of my proposal to Rachel – that I had her put together the puzzle of me on one knee, you may remember her quote about the picture puzzle, “one of those cheesy OPP puzzles” – well she soon realized that the puzzle was me on my one knee ready to propose to her. But as you recall the picture was not enough for us to be engaged – sure it indicated my desire to be with her and my love for her, but the actual proposal was not official until I said the words, “Will You Marry Me?”. Likewise, God’s picture to us through nature and his creation (general revelation) is not enough to generate a new saving relationship with Him. It only serves to make us without excuse – we know that there is something more, b/c we see that there is a creator. So God also, has given us more than the picture – He has made His proposal to us official by giving us His Word – revealing more of Himself to us through the Holy Scriptures – revealing to us His Son Jesus Christ and revealing a path to reconcile us (sinful man) to Himself (holy, righteous, just God). Wow. Last week we focused on the picture, this morning we will focus on the proposal. God’s proposal to us and what we say to his proposal to us. We will look at how he has revealed Himself to us through the Word. Realizing that this could be a 10 part series (discussing special revelation, discussing God’s Word – this will be an upcoming EXALT class in the next few months), we will be merely scratching at the surface, but none the less this morning we will see how God reveals Himself to Us in a Very Special Way.
Our text this morning is found in Psalm 19 once again. Last week we looked at verses 1-6 and this week we will be looking at verses 7-14. This is a beautiful Psalm outlining both general and special revelation. Read 7-14…
You likely noticed that there are six synonyms for God’s Word in the first few verses. The law of the Lord;
The testimony of the Lord;
The statutes of the Lord;
The commandment of the Lord;
The fear of the Lord;
The judgment of the Lord
Notice they are all ‘of the Lord’. There is no mistaking that the Scripture is of the Lord. The Word is of the Lord. The law indicates the teaching or instruction of the Lord, the testimony refers to Word as it “bears witness” of the author – who is the Lord; Statutes are the orders, charges of the Lord; the Commandment of the Lord – refers to the Word as the divine order – to command the followers; fear of the Lord – properly teaches reverence for the Word; and judgments of the Lord – refers to His judicial decisions that are contained in the Word.
So the law of the Lord is perfect, converting (or restoring, rescuing) the soul. The aspect of the Word being perfect is that it lacks nothing, within the Word there is fullest of God’s revelation to us. It is an unerring guide of conduct – there is nothing in the Scripture that would lead a man to sin or err – rather it is perfect converting the soul. The Word turns one away from sin toward holiness. By upholding the law – it refreshes man’s soul.
Notice in verses 1-6 (from last week) that God’s revelation in nature does not penetrate the soul, but rather points us to an awesome creator – to the glory of God’s works. However, the Word or the law penetrates a man’s soul – his inmost being is changed by the Word – restoring the soul. The law preserves the life of the one who studies it – making God’s will known. The glory of the law, or the revealed truth of God, is, that it bears directly on the soul of man, turning him from the error of his ways and leading him to pursue a life of holiness. Converting power only comes forth from the ‘law’ of God or His Word to us. God definitely reveals himself to us through his perfect Word.
We need to know the power of the Word – b/c there is really nothing that we could read that has more benefit for us then God’s Word – the Bible. No newspapers, magazines, internet sites have the power that David describes about the Word. Not that we can’t read other things, b/c all of us do and we can receive encouragement from reading, but what importance do we place on making sure we read the Scriptures. What importance do we place on allowing the Scriptures to dictate our conduct, or allow the Scriptures to restore our souls. Many of us could testify of times in our lives when the Word has refreshed us – like nothing else could – there is great comfort in the Word. Maybe during a trial in your life it was the Scripture that brought peace to your troubled heart. It is interesting when I visit people in the hospital – they never want me to read a magazine to them – they want me to read God’s Word to them – b/c the Word is powerful! What importance do the Scriptures play in our lives? We need to invest our precious time in reading about God as he has spoken of Himself to us through the Bible, that the Scriptures may make us wise, that we may allow the Scriptures to encourage our hearts to rejoice, that our eyes may be enlightened.
Some people look at the Bible – which is God’s word - as being very restrictive, while others see the Bible as freedom. Those who see it as restrictive are only saying that b/c it gives direction against or inhibits them from pursing what their sinful hearts want to indulge in – so they attack the Bible as being restrictive or intolerant or narrow. However, those who see it as freedom, realize that the Bible directs one away from the bondage of sin, thus creating freedom from the consequences of sin.
Some say the Bible is a bunch of rules, while others see it as a whole bunch of wisdom.
Some say the Bible is legalism, while others see it as life.
The law points out our sin, those who do not want to be reminded of their sinfulness are offended at the Bible, while those who want to know about their sin in order to repent and try and avoid future sin, they rejoice in the law and see the Bible as encouraging, as an irreplaceable component of their spiritual walk, and long to be taught by the Bible.
The righteous man, as described in Psalm 1 – delights in the law of the Lord, and in His law (in God’s law) he meditates day and night. The Words of God are precious to the man of God, he desires to know more about God and so he ponders the law of the Lord – all the time – day and night. He finds great solace in the law of the Lord, great comfort, great joy and delight knowing more about God – as God chooses to reveal Himself through his law – through the Bible.
David is Psalm 19 speaks of God’s Word as being perfect, reliable, right, pure, fair, enduring, true, trustworthy & righteous. We know in John 1: that Jesus is referred to as the Word (The Word became flesh and dwelt among us) and I can’t help but also think of Jesus as perfect, reliable, right, pure, fair, enduring, true, trustworthy and righteous. What an interesting parallel and interesting how there is no contradiction of Scripture there.
Let’s take a look at what God says in His Scripture about Scripture. The Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to instruct Timothy that, “all Scripture is God breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The Word of God is exhaled from God – it is breathed out from God. God used real men to write His Word for us. He used their minds and vocabularies and experiences to produce His perfect Word – without error and incapable of error – b/c it is His Word.
2 Peter 1:20, 21 say, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:16, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas” The Holy Spirit spoke through David. The Holy Spirit didn’t just show up at Pentecost, no the Holy Spirit is one of the Trinity – eternal and working throughout the Old Testament time as well. David was carried along by the Holy Spirit to produce God’s Word.
1 Cor 2:6-14. This passage is amazing.
6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. Paul here is talking about Christ 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"[a]—
10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit has shown us Christ and the salvation that comes through putting our trust in him, recognizing that our sinfulness can only be taken on by Christ – he is the only one who could pay the penalty for our sin and as a result of us putting our faith in Christ we receive his righteous and his cleansing blood that was shed at Calvary on the cross – washes us clean and makes us pure and saves us from destruction and death.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. So can we know the thoughts of God? – YES. Not all of His thoughts, b/c many of his thoughts are too vast for us – but we can know of His provision for us – portrayed in the life of Jesus Christ. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[b] 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
We have not rec’d the spirit of this world (as believers) we have rec’d the Spirit of God so that we can understand, so that we can comprehend, so that we may know what God has freely given us – He has given us freely – eternal life through Jesus and we can know that b/c he reveals that to us, He desires us to know Jesus. So Paul does not speak in words of human wisdom, rather he speaks in words that are taught by the Spirit of God. So God ensures that His Word is recorded accurately and we know that He does not lie (Titus 1:2). The Scripture cannot be broken. It is perfect, without error, it is trustworthy and righteous.
Let us turn back to David in Psalm 19, verse 10 regarding the perfect Word of God, David says about the law, the testimony, the statutes ‘of the Lord’ that “More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” If you have a choice between the Word of God and gold – you need to choose the Word. If you have a choice between the Word of God and much fine gold – choose the Word again. You can see there is great value placed on the Word. Money and riches cannot buy the wisdom and the life that is contained in God’s revelation to us – the Word. You can not buy God’s revelation – it’s not for sale, although many do try and use their riches to earn favor – God’s revelation is not for sale. In fact, it is free to us. You and I merely need to pick it up and read it, praying that the Holy Spirit would illuminate the Word of God, that the Holy Spirit would make the Word make sense to us – so we could understand God – as he reveals Himself to us, as we learn more about Him, as we gain more knowledge of Him. Let us not take for granted the value of the Word of God. Although our society will try and convince us that we should seek much fine gold, we know that the Word of God has much greater value for us. Jesus shared his perspective regarding material things and the Word when He said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Bread has some value to sustain us temporarily and physically, but the Word has greater value to sustain us eternally and spiritually.
John Piper gives an analogy that I read this week that I thought was very good. He said, let us not be like the child who chooses the penny over the dime because it's bigger. Adults look on and shake their heads and try to teach children how to see what is really more valuable. We may be lured by the materialistic culture to pursue riches and we are trained by the culture to put away our Bibles – b/c we are told that Bible is for the weak, the uneducated – that it is a crutch, be let us not be fooled by what appears to be valuable – but leads to destruction, rather let us cling to what we know is valuable, which contains true wisdom and life, true riches – the Scriptures – the Scriptures hold true value!
David continues in verse 11, “Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.”
David really is saying, there is blessing in obedience. By keeping the Word there is great reward, there is value in following the Bible. We will experience the presence of God in our lives – God revealing himself to us – the more obedient we are to His commands.
Acts 2:22 says, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” Jesus of Nazareth was a name that was used to show his humanity of humble origins – b/c of Nazareth. He was accredited by God through miracles, wonders and signs to them, in that God validated Jesus as the Messiah through these signs and wonders and miracles. God did these supernatural things among them (the people) through Christ. You may be thinking How does this relate to obedience? Well….what is interesting here is that Jesus did not use his His Deity to perform these miracles, rather he was totally dependent as a man on the Father and He was totally obedient to the Father – so it was God that did the miracles through Jesus as Jesus trusted fully in God the Father. As Jesus was obedient, God was revealing Himself and His plan for Salvation through Jesus to those around Him.
Listen to what Jesus says in John 14:21 part of our Scripture reading today, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." So Jesus says, Whoever has my commands, whoever has my Word – the Bible and obeys these commands, who obeys my direction, he is the one who truly loves me. Our love for Jesus will be apparent through our actions of obedience to the Scriptures. Not only that, but as we obey his commands God the Father will love us and so will Jesus and he says that he will reveal himself to us or show himself to us. So obedience shows our love for Him and opens up the opportunity for us to know Jesus more thoroughly – he will reveal himself to those who truly love Him. Wow!!! Is that not a huge encouragement for us to be obedient.
I need to make one thing clear, we are not considered righteous b/c we are obedient, or we are not saved b/c of our obedience – rather once we have put our faith and trust in Christ alone our obedience serves to enhance the intimacy that we will experience with the Almighty.
In Hebrews 1 it says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” God has spoken to us through Jesus.
Jesus loved the Father and was totally obedient to the Father. All of Jesus’ teachings (that were for us and for our benefit) originated not from himself, but with God the Father. In John CH7 – as Jesus taught in the temple, the Jews were amazed and wondered, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” Jesus answered, “My teaching in not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” God was revealing himself through Jesus’ teaching.
Jesus also says in His prayer to God for His disciples, “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” God has disclosed his redemptive purposes through Jesus (his character, life, & teachings) and also through other godly men who were carried along by the Holy Spirit who wrote God’s Word.
The primary purpose of Special Revelation – God revealing himself through the Bible is to present us with the path for man to be united to God. God reveals the plan of salvation, making provision to rectify man’s sinful condition so that we could have a restored relationship with Almighty God. General Revelation we learned last week, does not lead us to salvation. However Special Revelation – God revealing Himself to us in a very special way through the Word (the Bible) and ultimately through Jesus Christ – provides a way unto salvation. We can know God more fully through his Word and we can know the way unto salvation. God’s proposal to us is – salvation through Jesus Christ. God has given us everything we need in the Word for life and life everlasting – for the here and now and for the days when we depart from this world.
Let me take you back and give you a little more information about the getting engaged to Rachel. It is often customary to ask your potential father-in-law for his permission to marry his daughter. The problem was that I was running out of time to ask his permission, I had already planned the proposal day and I already had the ring, but I hadn’t asked permission yet. I couldn’t go to Rachel’s house and take her dad out for coffee – she would know for sure that soon after a proposal would be coming, and I didn’t want her to know when the proposal was going to happen, I wanted to surprise her. I had to be creative, so I abused my authority as an officer of the law just a bit. On his way to work I pulled him over in my police cruiser, the only problem was that her uncle was with him. So I didn’t ask him then. I thought I’ll pull him over tomorrow on his way to work and maybe her uncle won’t be with him. Sure enough the next morning I pulled over again and her uncle was there again. I was really running out of time, so I asked her dad to go for coffee in the morning. We decided to meet at Tim Hortons, later that morning. As we were both sitting in the Tim Hortons, just before I was about to ask for his permission – I pulled out my gun and set it on the table, it was sort of pointed at him and asked, “I was thinking about marrying your daughter, what do you think?” No! I didn’t do that. But I did ask his permission which he granted. I thought of it after, I wonder if he felt pressured to say yes, considering I had several use of force options to persuade him to say yes, similarly when I proposed to Rachel (and yes I did actually get down on one knee) I had the same use of force options at my disposal. She could see them as I proposed. She knew I carried a loaded gun and several other weapons but she felt no pressure and in fact she didn’t even think of those things when the proposal was happening. She only saw my humble heart before her and my love coming through my smile to her as I asked her to marry me.
Likewise, God is much more powerful that a police officer and is mighty and strong, yet that is not what we see either when he makes his proposal to us. You see God reveals Himself to us and in his proposal to us he shares the love of Jesus with us, he presents the gospel message to us – that Jesus came to this earth and died on the cross because of man’s sin, b/c of your sin, b/c of my sin – Jesus was the only one who could pay the penalty for man’s sin b/c he was perfect. So Jesus blood was shed and it purifies us who believe. There is nothing that we can do to earn salvation, it only comes through faith in Jesus. Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me. We have to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we have to repent from our sins and turn to God, if we hope to spend eternity with God. We need God’s forgiveness and he freely gives us forgiveness and grace and mercy when we trust in Jesus as Savior. When we ask Jesus to come into our lives, we are asking Him to take on our sin, so that we can receive His righteousness – so that ultimately, through Jesus we can have eternal life with God in heaven. That is God’s proposal to us, He does not pressure us into accepting his proposal, he doesn’t persuade us or force us, he does put a gun on the table pointed at us forcing us to accept his proposal – rather through His Word the Bible – he reveals Himself to you and to me in a very special way. To have eternal life we must accept his proposal, we must say yes to his offer of salvation, to His offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
You can say yes to that offer right now. I will give you the opportunity to do that this morning. If you would like to repent from your sins and receive Jesus Christ, to accept God’s offer for the first time as your Lord and Savior right now I would ask that you just stand up right where you are………….I know standing can be difficult, but we are a family here at Peoples and we would love to see you make that decision and we would love to celebrate this new life in Christ with you. If you have trouble standing in the church when you are surrounding by people who love you, then you will have more trouble standing for Jesus in the world where people will not be as supportive of your decision. So if the Lord is convicting you of your sin and you would like to receive His grace I ask that you standing briefly, I will acknowledge your desire to accept God’s grace and His salvation and you can sit down again, some people will pray with you right where you are, you will not have to come to the front. I pray that the Lord would give you strength to stand for Him today and accept his proposal of life everlasting. Is there anyone who would like to make that decision today, just stand right where you are………………. Praise the Lord – welcome to God’s family.
[If no decisions]
I am so thankful that God revealed his Son Jesus to me, that I repented from my sin and put my trust in Christ – it changed my life. I am thankful that God continues to reveal himself to me, so that I may know him more and more. May we all strive for obedience so that He will show himself to us and that we may conform our lives more and more to his image. There is victory in Jesus.
We praise you heavenly father, for your creative power and might, we praise you b/c you are God – you are worthy of our praise and so much more. We thank you that you are not a distant God, no you are a personal Lord and you care deeply for each one of us here. Thank you for your Word to us – revealing Yourself to us more fully. May we never take for granted the blessing of having your Word. Keep us from willful sins. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer. (If salvations – then praise God for the new lives in Christ, those who have courageously indicated that they would want to know you more and accept you into their lives). May you receive all the glory. In Jesus name, Amen.