DashHouse.com

The Blog of Darryl Dash

This blog is about how Jesus changes everything. He changes:

Our relationship with God

Our relationship with others

Our vocations - how we live and work in this world

Our ministries

This blog exists to explore some of the ways that Jesus changes everything. It provides resources and articles that will help you think about the ways that Jesus can change every part of your life.

The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. (C.H. Spurgeon, All of Grace)

The Omnipotence of God

  • I don't usually think about power - not usually
  • but I'll bet the people of Quebec have been thinking about it lately
  • power is one of those things you think about only when you don't have it
  • when I go to plug something in the wall, I don't even think of the power necessary to make it work
  • unless, of course, it doesn't

  • think about your own life
  • have you ever lacked power?
  • if I really preach a good sermon one Sunday - I know that's a real stretch of the imagination - we can all discern that the message had power
  • but if a sermon really bombs, you could say that it lacked power

  • if you get really angry about something and pick up the phone to give someone a piece of your Christian mind, you want to talk to someone who has the power to make a change, don't you?
  • and when your car gets stuck in the mud, and you call CAA, you expect them to send a car that's powerful enough to get you out of the ditch, don't you?
  • no four-cylinder subcompacts

  • well, let me tell you something
  • compared to God, we have no power
  • the electrical plug, the supercharged sermon, the supervisor at the company you complain to, the eight-cylinder tow truck, the most powerful person in the world - all are powerless weaklings who don't understand the first thing about real power
  • let me say again: you are powerless

  • a day after the major earthquake and fire of San Francisco, a newsboy was directing a dazed man through the debris
  • as they walked, the boy said something profound:
  • "It took men a long time to put all this stuff up, but God tumbled it down in a minute. It's no use for a man to think he can out-power God"
  • we know that we lack power
  • but did you know that there's nothing that God cannot do?
  • we call that God's omnipotence - he's all-powerful
  • God has unlimited power to reflect his divine glory and to accomplish his sovereign will

  • if you took all the power of the universe - the power of every atom - all that power would be like a single drop in the ocean of God's power
  • I want you to see three things that will help us understand our great God and his unlimited power
  • three things - not original with me - but three things we need to understand about God's power
  • NUMBER ONE: GOD'S POWER IS UNLIMITED
  • unlike anyone or anything else, God's power knows no limits
  • there is nothing that God can't do

  • when the angel Gabriel visited Mary, he told her that she would have a child, even though she was a virgin
  • if you know the story, you'll remember that Mary asked, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"
  • the angel Gabriel responded with the classic line, "Nothing is impossible with God"
  • did you hear that?
  • nothing is impossible with God

  • to be completely honest, there are a few things that God can't do
  • every one in a while, someone will ask the question: "Can God make a rock so big that he cannot move it?"
  • think about it: if we answer yes, then there's something that God can't do: he can't move the rock
  • if we answer no, then we're saying that God can't build the rock
  • either way, we are forced to put limits on God's power

  • what's the answer?
  • the answer is to admit that there are some things that God can't do
  • he can't do the logically absurd or the contradictory
  • God can't make square circles or triangles with four corners
  • he can't sin
  • he can't die
  • God cannot act against his holy nature
  • he can't fail to do what he has promised
  • in fact, there are some things that you can do that God can't do
  • you can be illogical
  • you can sin
  • and you can die
  • when we define omnipotence, and say that God is able to do all things, what we mean is this:
  • God has infinite power over his creation
  • nothing stands out of the scope of his sovereign control
  • God's will is never frustrated
  • what he chooses to do, he accomplishes, and he has the ability to do it
  • (Psalms 115:3) Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

  • a little boy was standing in the church foyer waiting for his family
  • the pastor saw him, and decided to quiz him, to see what he was learning in Sunday school
  • "Young man, if you tell me something God can do, I will give you a shiny new apple"
  • the boy looked up at the minister
  • "Sir, if you can tell me something God can't do, I'll give you a whole box of apples!"
  • the little boy knew that God can do all things
  • he is absolutely unlimited in power
  • everything falls under his divine power

  • think about it: everything that was ever made or will be made was created by God's power
  • (Psalms 89:11) The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.
  • God's power is so unlimited that he only had so speak, and he could create ex nihilo, which means "out of nothing"
  • we can make from existing materials, but only God can create out of nothing
  • read Isaiah 40:28
  • (Isaiah 40:28) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
  • the other week it was my turn to cook, so I made a dish for the church potluck
  • I bet if you knew that I made that dish you wouldn't have had any, right?
  • when I finished making the casserole, I looked at the clock and realized it was time to make dinner
  • I turned to Charlene and said, "Do you want to order a pizza?"
  • after making a measly little casserole, I was too tired to make a simple meal
  • God doesn't get weary
  • God created the entire universe without becoming even a little tired
  • and I can't even make a casserole without stopping for a break
  • Tony Evans says, "It takes no more effort for God to create a universe than it does for him to create an ant"
  • all he has to do is speak
  • (Psalms 33:6) By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
  • (Psalms 33:9) For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

  • all power comes from somewhere
  • but God's power is self-generating
  • it's like a generator that always runs and needs no fuel
  • God's power is unlimited

  • for those of us who believe, what a tremendous comfort this is!
  • the same power that God displayed in creating the universe is at his disposal today
  • there is nothing that can frustrate his plans for us - nothing!
  • there are no maverick molecules that could disrupt his plans
  • no matter what is thrown at God, or at us, there is nothing that can withstand his power
  • he is almighty!

  • I said there were three things you need to know
  • the second is this:
  • GOD'S POWER IS BROAD IN SCOPE
  • I drove past the Ministry of Transportation on Thursday
  • what if I pulled in there and told them I needed a new health card?
  • they would have looked at me pretty funny and told me that they have no power to deal with such a matter
  • now, if I had to pay a traffic ticket, that would be a different matter!

  • have you ever spent an hour on the phone, being bumped from extension to extension?
  • "I'm sorry, ma'am, that's not my department"
  • after eventually being cut off, you have to conclude that it's nobody's department
  • well, I have good news for you: we will never go to God and find out that his power does not cover our need
  • there is never a time that we will go to God, that he will say, "Sorry, that's not my department"
  • (Jeremiah 32:17) "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heave ns and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

  • God has power over nature: just ask Pharaoh
  • ask the disciples who were on the boat in the middle of the storm
  • ask Noah

  • God has power to create life
  • parents don't create children; God does
  • (Psalms 139:13) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
  • (Psalms 139:14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

  • God has power over the enemy
  • (1 John 4:4) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
  • the devil wants to destroy you, but God has more power than the devil and all his realm

  • God also has power over sickness
  • Luke 9:11 says that the people brought their sick ones to Jesus, and he healed them
  • the Bible is full of examples of God's healing power
  • God is able to heal today

  • God even has power over death
  • for man, death is the ultimate enemy
  • but for God, death is conquered
  • whenever Jesus said to a dead person, "Get up," you had better believe that person got up
  • only God has power over life and death and everything in between
  • God's power is broad in scope; it is not limited

  • whatever is troubling you this morning, you can take to God
  • you might think that your concerns are too trivial to God
  • they're not
  • (1 Peter 5:7) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
  • no matter what's troubling you this morning, God is powerful, and he won't turn you away

  • there's one last thing you need to understand about God's power
  • GOD'S POWER IS PERSONAL
  • I love preaching this morning's sermon, because it's so encouraging to me
  • and here's the most encouraging part: the ones who really get to see God's power are - his people!
  • God's power is available to us as his people this morning
  • one of the first sermons I preached at this church was based on the following text:
  • (Ephesians 3:20) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
  • (Ephesians 3:21) to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
  • did you catch that?
  • "according to his power that is at work within us"

  • if you have trusted in Christ as Savior, God's power is at work in you as we speak
  • and his power is personal
  • and he shows his ability in his power to save
  • there is no one whose sin is to great for God
  • God is able to save even the "worst of sinners" according to 1 Timothy 1:16
  • (Hebrews 7:25) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
  • somebody has paraphrased this verse to say that God can save from the "guttermost" to the uttermost and to maintain us all the way

  • God shows his power in his ability to preserve us
  • (Philippians 1:6) being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
  • (John 10:28) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
  • (John 10:29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.
  • aren't you glad that if you're a believer, Satan can't snatch you from God's hand?
  • his grip on you is so strong that nothing can break it

  • God shows his power in his ability to meet needs
  • (2 Corinthians 9:8) 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.
  • what a strong verse!
  • Paul is talking here about what happens when we honor God in the area of our finances
  • he assures us that when we put God in first place, he is able to take care of those bills
  • he can pay off those credit cards
  • he has power over your mortgage
  • God can meet the needs of his people
  • (Matthew 6:31) So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
  • (Matthew 6:32) For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
  • (Matthew 6:33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

  • God has power even in your weakness
  • (2 Corinthians 12:9) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
  • it's in your weakness that God's power best shows up
  • I'm not talking about sin, I'm talking about those limitations in your life that you can't change
  • these show off God's power to his glory

  • friends, nothing in the universe can thwart or frustrate God's plans
  • and that power is available to we who are his children
  • a little boy was asked by his father to pick up a heavy rock that was in their way
  • the boy tried, but couldn't, and he said, "Daddy, I can't lift it!"

  • the dad said, "Yes, you can"
  • the boy tried again: "Dad! I can't lift it!"
  • and the father said once again, "Yes, you can"

  • this went on a few more times
  • finally, the father put his arm around the boy and said, "Son, you don't understand. You didn't use all your strength. You didn't ask me"
  • God can pick up the rocks in our life, but we have to ask him
  • he has the power in your finances, your marriage, your job, your family
  • he has power over your health and your spiritual life
  • but we need to ask him
  • "Without me," Jesus said, "you can do nothing"
  • let's ask God to display his power in us right now as we pray

Adapted in part from Our God is Awesome by Tony Evans

The Sovereignty of God

  • you might remember that time, so long ago, that you thought your parents could do anything
  • it makes sense: from the time we are infants, these really big people provide us with everything: with food, warmth, shelter, and love
  • as a child, I was completely insulated from the pressures my parents faced
  • when my father was laid off from his job, I never worried about the money
  • my parents had always come through - why should I worry now?
  • when my mother and father split up and my mother was left to raise us by herself, with no child support or job, I had no reason to worry
  • mum had never let me down before!

  • you might have experienced the same thing as a child
  • but one day you realized that your parents couldn't walk on water
  • I still remember the day that I saw my mother cry
  • I began to discover that she didn't have supernatural powers to know what I was doing even when she wasn't in the room
  • honest - she would leave her glasses pointed at us and say we had better behave because she was watching, and we believed her!
  • but the day came when we realized that she was just another human being - a remarkable one, mind you, but a very real human being with strengths, weaknesses, and normal human frailties

  • some people have begun to wonder this about God
  • we're accustomed to thinking of an all-powerful and mighty God, but some questions trouble us
  • why is there evil in the world?
  • why do babies die?
  • if God is sovereign, why does he allow certain things to happen?
  • some have begun to question whether God is sovereign or not
  • in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold Kushner questions whether God is all-powerful and able to stop evil from happening
  • maybe God is like the father watching his children play on the front lawn
  • he sees a car coming and wants to save his children from harm, but is powerless and can only watch helplessly as his child narrowly escapes being run over
  • is God like that? he means well but is not always able to help?

  • I'm here to tell you this morning that the Bible paints a very different picture
  • God is sovereign
  • he rules absolutely over all of his creation
  • he sits on the throne of this universe as Lord
  • let me emphasize: everything, and I mean everything, that happens comes about because God either directly causes it, or because he consciously allows it to happen
  • nothing ever happens that does not come under the complete and total control of God

  • this morning I'd like to look at God's sovereignty
  • let me begin by challenging you: is your God too small?
  • does the God you worship seem weak and anemic to you?
  • many Christians mistakenly begin to think that God doesn't have the ability to make a difference, to turn things around
  • we easily lose sight of God's sovereignty, and sometimes we act like Satan is on the throne of the universe, not God
  • but this morning I tell you: God is on his throne!
  • he rules over heaven and earth!
  • there is nothing that can thwart his rule

  • Ephesians 1:11 tells us:
  • (Ephesians 1:11) In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
  • notice this: God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will
  • everything!
  • there is no event in his creation that escapes his sovereignty
  • I want to begin by tracing God's sovereignty over everything
  • and I'm going to begin with the inanimate creation, then move to animals, and then finally trace God's sovereignty in our lives, the lives of human beings

  • DID YOU REALIZE THIS MORNING THAT GOD RULES OVER INANIMATE CREATION?
  • there are a lot of things that we think of as being natural occurrences
  • Harold Hussein tells us when it's going to rain and when it's going to snow
  • Christina goes out in the evening and says, "Hey, where did the sun go?"
  • she knows very well that the sun will be back in the morning, without fail

  • but the Bible tells us that God causes all these things to happen
  • in Psalm 148:8, we read of "fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command"
  • we read in Job:
  • (Job 37:6) He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
  • (Job 37:10) The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.
  • (Job 37:11) He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them.
  • (Job 37:12) At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them.
  • (Job 37:13) He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water his earth and show his love.

  • God even causes the grass to grow
  • (Psalms 104:14) He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-- bringing forth food from the earth:
  • according to Job 38:12, God even continually directs the coming of the morning
  • all this takes place under the sovereignty of God

  • at one point, God asks Job:
  • (Job 38:32) Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
  • "the Bear" is what we call the Big Dipper
  • God's point is clear: remember who you are
  • you don't cause the sun to rise and the moon to shine
  • you don't bring out the stars and the constellations
  • I do!
  • just remember who sits on the throne of this universe!
  • when you start making universes, creating planets, and giving life, maybe then you can start dictating how God ought to run the universe
  • but until then, God has the prerogative
  • let God be God!

  • sometimes I've seen a large group of animals, and I've been amazed that all of them can live
  • around Christmas, we took Christina to the zoo
  • I'm always amazed by the different types of animals from around the world, and the fact that all these creatures have their own niche
  • they all manage to scrounge or find enough food to stay alive, procreate, and live, generation after generation
  • BUT GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ANIMALS
  • he feeds the creatures
  • (Matthew 6:26) Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
  • (Matthew 10:29) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
  • if you've ever seen a colony of ants or a hive of bees, just remember: God knows each of these insects
  • he knows when even the smallest insect, the smallest creature, is alive, and when it dies
  • God rules over creation

  • now here's a good reminder for some of us
  • this past Friday was Friday the 13th
  • somebody wouldn't give me something that had the number 13 on it, especially on Friday the 13th, because that certainly wouldn't be good luck
  • but listen: there's no such thing as luck
  • there's no such thing as a "random" or "chance" event
  • GOD RULES OVER THE SEEMINGLY RANDOM EVENTS OF OUR WORLD
  • a cowboy once applied for health insurance
  • the agent routinely asked him, "Have you ever had any accidents?"
  • the cowboy replied, "Well no, I've not had any accidents. I was bitten by a rattlesnake once, and a horse did kick me in the ribs. That laid me up for a while, but I haven't had any accidents"
  • the agent said, "Wait a minute. I'm confused. A rattlesnake bit you, and a horse kicked you. Weren't those accidents?"
  • "No," the cowboy replied, "they did that on purpose"

  • the cowboy was right
  • things don't just happen
  • everything that occu rs, occurs under the sovereign hand of God
  • there are no chance happenings, no luck, and no mistakes
  • good and bad fall under his sovereign control
  • nothing could be more random than the roll of a dice or the flipping of a coin
  • but the Bible says:
  • (Proverbs 16:33) The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

  • think about even the affairs of nations
  • GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE MIGHTIEST NATIONS OF THIS WORLD
  • (Job 12:23) He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
  • (Psalms 22:28) for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.
  • Nebuchadnezzar got a little too big for his britches, and God decided to teach him a lesson
  • he was walking on the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, thinking:
  • (Daniel 4:30) he said, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?"
  • he was saying, "I'm the man!"
  • while the words were still on his lips, the next verse says, God decreed that he would become insane, live with the animals, and eat grass like the animals
  • only when he recognized God as sovereign would he return to sanity
  • at the end of seven years, listen to what happened:
  • (Daniel 4:34) At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
  • (Daniel 4:35) All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
  • Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses when he realized that God is sovereign
  • it doesn't matter how high you climb, how mighty a nation you are - God is in control

  • but do you know something else this morning?
  • GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIVES
  • it is amazing to discover in Scripture how God brings about various events in our lives
  • every time we eat, we're reminded of our dependence on God to give us our daily food when we say grace, or pray, "Give us this day our daily bread"
  • even though we work for the food, and obtain it by going to the grocery store, ultimately it is God who provides all that we eat
  • Paul says in Philippians 4:19:
  • (Philippians 4:19) And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
  • how does God provide our needs?
  • sometimes through very ordinary means - but make no mistake, it's God who provides everything for us!

  • God planned our lives before we were born
  • (Job 14:5) Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
  • success and failure come from God, for we read:
  • (Psalms 75:6) No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man.
  • (Psalms 75:7) But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
  • our talents and abilities come from God, for Paul could ask the Corinthians:
  • (1 Corinthians 4:7) What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
  • even our plans are under God's control:
  • (Proverbs 16:9) In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
  • I could go on and on, but it's enough to realize that God is in control of every area of our lives

  • right now some of you are wondering, "If God is in control, where do I come in? Don't I have free will?"
  • Scripture nowhere says that we are "free" in the sense of being able to make decisions that are outside of God's control
  • but somehow God does allow us to make willing choices that have real effects, and we're not aware of any constraints on our will from God while we make decisions, yet God is still sovereign
  • I remember as a child thinking, "If God is sovereign, than how can I choose what facecloth to take out of the closet? God has already chosen it for me"
  • yet the Bible always affirms that while God is fully sovereign, we still have real choices, and these choices will have real and eternal results, for which we will be held accountable

  • what about the problem of evil?
  • we don't understand it, but the Bible affirms that God never does evil directly, and never takes pleasure in evil
  • this is a very complicated issue that I can't fully answer here
  • we can't fully understand this, but it's a little like light
  • in physics, there's a large body of evidence to show that light consists of waves, and there's an equally large body of evidence to show that it consists of particles
  • we don't know how light can be both waves and particles, but the evidence is there, and so neither theory can disprove the other
  • these two seemingly incompatible positions must be hold together, and both treated, in some sense, as true
  • it will drive crazy our tidy minds, but there it is

  • it's what theologians call an antinomy: parallel truths which run side by side, and do not appear to cross each other
  • on one hand, we have a sovereign God
  • on the other hand, we have evil, and the ability to choose
  • which is it?
  • somehow, it's both, but we affirm: God is sovereign, and he is in control

  • this morning, we can have confidence and comfort that God is in control
  • there is nothing outside of his reign
  • we need never be afraid
  • with God on our side, as Paul says, we can "do all things through him who strengthens me"
  • in the midst of difficult circumstances, we can rest assured that God is on his throne, and nothing can knock him off that place of authority
  • there is nothing that can challenge him
  • we see the part: God sees the whole picture

  • somebody has compared to what God is doing in our lives to baking a cake
  • some ingredients of a cake taste good by themselves
  • other ingredients taste terrible by themselves: nutmeg, baking soda, and so on
  • but when you mix those things together, and get the mixer churning, the good and the bad blend and turn out for the better
  • when that cake finally comes out of the oven, the good and the bad have been so mixed, so integrated, that they have produced something well worth the wait

  • God is baking a cake in your life
  • he's taking the good and the bad, mixing them through the Holy Spirit, and when he finishes, all the trials will come out of the oven smoking
  • and all the good and the bad will be mixed together into something even better, that tastes good, and gives him the glory
  • whatever difficulty you are now facing, remember - God is in control

Adapted in part from Our God is Awesome by Tony Evans

The Holiness of God

  • there have been a few people in history who have had a unique experience
  • it's an experience that we all look forward to, but these select few have experienced it already
  • it's best summarized by a verse in the Old Testament, written about Moses
  • (Exodus 33:11) The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
  • (Deuteronomy 34:10) Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.

  • sometime in our lives, probably all of us have been or will be surprised by the majesty and power and holiness of God
  • something, sooner or later, causes you to gasp and cry out, "What kind of God is this that I've been reading about and singing about all these years?"
  • at different times, we've experienced the majesty and holiness of God, and it has caused us to shudder within ourselves
  • but imagine for a minute actually meeting God
  • in Genesis 32:30, Jacob marveled after wrestling with God, and exclaimed, "I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
  • Gideon just met the angel of the Lord, and the book of Judges says:
  • (Judges 6:22) When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"

  • one time Moses asked,
  • (Exodus 33:18) Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
  • and God replied:
  • (Exodus 33:20) But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
  • God showed Moses just a portion of his glory, and yet when Moses came down from the mountain, he was unaware that his face shone because he had been with the Lord

  • on every occasion in which people encountered the glory of God, there is a sense of mystery and awe
  • words can't explain the transformation that took place
  • but on two occasions, human beings were able to witness angelic worship in heaven
  • in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, we read very similar passages
  • two men, Isaiah and John, both attended a heavenly worship service, and here is what they witnessed:
  • (Isaiah 6:1) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
  • (Isaiah 6:2) Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
  • (Isaiah 6:3) And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
  • (Isaiah 6:4) At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
  • according to Revelation, this is the song that is repeated day and night, without end, in heaven: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

  • what we witness here is spectacular
  • at different times, I've witnessed a performance of some sort that I was literally moved to action
  • I remember clapping spontaneously, or crying, or even jumping out of my seat without any shame or self-consciousness
  • my reaction was a spontaneous expression of my admiration and appreciation
  • we witness a similar thing in these two passages: having seen the glory of God, the natural and spontaneous result is praise

  • sooner or later, we realize that no "box" we've constructed for God can contain him
  • no mystery can confound him
  • no problem can defeat him
  • no sin we've committed escapes his notice
  • sooner or later, we bow our knees and cry out with a pure heart, "Holy, holy, holy...there is no one else like you!
  • sooner or later, we will cry out with the seraphim, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
  • or, with Moses:
  • (Exodus 15:11) "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you-- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

  • here, my friends, we've encountered God's central attribute
  • Tony Evans calls holiness the "centerpiece of God's attributes"
  • of all the things that God is, at the center of his being, God is holy
  • God's holiness is central to understanding who God is, and all that he does

  • never in the Bible is God called "love, love, love," or "eternal, eternal, eternal," or "truth, truth, truth"
  • but twice in the Bible, God is addressed emphatically by his central attribute: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts"
  • on this aspect of his character, God has laid the most stress
  • in fact, I think the entire Old Testament can be summed up in the concept of God's holiness, and his desire that we be holy
  • (Leviticus 11:45) I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
  • again and again in the Old Testament, it is stressed that we must keep our place, and our distance, in the presence of a holy God
  • you can't know God unless you know his holiness
  • everything God does is holy; all that he is is holy
  • and our eternal song will be about his holiness

  • the word "holy" has two distinct meanings
  • the first, and the primary meaning, is "apartness" or "otherness"
  • to be holy literally means to be separate
  • when we say that God is holy, we're recognizing that is profoundly different from all his creatures
  • he has a transcendent majesty, a superiority, which merits our honor, reverence, and worship
  • (Isaiah 57:15) For this is what the high and lofty One says-- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
  • God dwells in a high and holy place, because he is the holy or separate one

  • the Bible also speaks of holy places, people, and things, because they had been set apart by God for a special purpose
  • when God comes in contact with the ordinary and the commonplace, his holiness makes the ordinary into the extraordinary, and the common into the uncommon

  • a couple were invited to the White House for a meeting with the president
  • within the dining room, a deep voice announced the president of the United States
  • and in came the president, and his wife - at that time, the Bushes
  • as they entered just a few feet away from this man, he thought to himself, "Here is an average-looking middle-aged couple, no different than hundreds that I see every week"
  • in reflecting on his experience later, he commented, "Upon first glance it was their humanness, it was just their normalcy in appearance and countenance that struck me"

  • now friends, when we meet God, because he is exalted and holy and we're not, the first thing we'll notice about him is his "otherliness"
  • there is no one else like him!
  • his uniqueness, his majesty and his holiness will knock the wind out of us and will force a reflex reaction from us ... of falling to our knees and agreeing with the angelic hosts: "Holy, Holy, Holy, we have never beheld the likes of you! You are in a category all your own! You are majestic! We are common. You are holy! We are sinful. You are the Creator! We are the creatures. You are worthy!"
  • the Bible says that not one of us will escape that day on our feet
  • all of us will be knocked to our knees in worship and adoration of God who is so great

  • when the Bible speaks of God being holy, it's speaking of this "otherness" - that God is completely separate and unlike anything else

  • but there's another sense in which the word "holy" is used
  • the Bible also talks about God's holiness in the sense of his purity and righteousness
  • God can do no wrong
  • God is completely separated from sin and evil
  • John writes:
  • (1 John 1:5) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
  • he is perfect in holiness
  • James 1:13-14 says that God can't sin, can't be tempted to sin, and cannot tempt someone else to sin

  • in this sense, God is holy, and we are not
  • unlike with us, there is no evil mixed in with his goodness
  • somebody once said, "There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much evil in the best of us, that it's hard to know what to think of us"
  • with God, there's no doubt
  • he is holy; his actions are holy, and there is no evil mixed in with his goodness

  • somebody has said that the concept of God's holiness is the single best argument against the notion that human beings just made up the concept of God
  • human beings might very well imagine a sort of deity who is loving, merciful, forgiving, and powerful
  • but mistake-prone human beings would surely stop short of inventing an absolutely holy God who would hold them accountable to His own exacting standards of holiness

  • can you imagine a "hole-y" golf instructor?
  • one that could hit a hole in one every time and thoroughly expects you to do the same thing, holding you accountable if you miss?
  • we would never invent a holy and righteous God who expects us to be holy, just as he is holy
  • but God is intrinsically holy
  • and when we see him in eternity, we'll cry out on cue, without any prompting, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!"

  • in the time we have left, let me focus on some practical applications of God's holiness that you might not have thought about recently
  • and the first is this: we are very blessed to live in a universe that's governed by a holy God!
  • many of us can't imagine what it's like to live under harsh dictators who make life miserable for the citizens of a country, and govern, or even kill, at whim
  • but there are some here this morning who know from personal experience what it's like to live under oppression and poverty
  • friends, when was the last time that any of us thanked God for his holy rule over this universe?
  • when was the last time we fell to our knees and cried out, "Thank you, Lord; thank you for not using your lofty position of cosmic sovereignty to aggrandize or ingratiate yourself! Thank you for not abusing or ripping off the citizens of this world or imposing unfair expectations on them! Thank you for not favoring the powerful or making deals with the rich!"
  • when was the last time we thanked him for his divine standards of righteousness, that he gave to us as an extension of his holiness?
  • can you imagine living in a universe governed by an unholy God, writing unholy laws, taking bribes and not caring about righteousness on the planet?
  • praise God for his holy rule over the universe!
  • praise God that he is on the throne

  • second, when last did you thank God for his laws, which have provided us with a measure of protection in this world?
  • I came across this interesting thought in my research on this topic this past week
  • I'm reading through Leviticus right now
  • the key thought in the book of Leviticus is the holiness of God
  • the word "holy" appears more times in Leviticus than in any other book of the Bible
  • a natural consequence of God's holiness, in Leviticus and elsewhere, are the laws he has given us which reflect his holiness
  • as a reflection of his holiness, God says, "Don't steal" - and my possessions enjoy some protection because of this aspect of God's holiness
  • God says, "Don't murder," and as a result of God's standards of holiness, I haven't been murdered yet
  • I don't know if you've thought of it before, but our moral code flows out of the holiness of God!
  • there is a moral code, a sense of rightness, within each of us, and aren't you glad that God set this moral code rather than Satan?
  • maybe you haven't thanked God for that lately!

  • third, when was the last time you thanked God for his commitment to making you holy?
  • (1 Peter 1:15) But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
  • (1 Peter 1:16) for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
  • God is involved in a quest to make every believer more and more like Jesus
  • it is our ultimate goal, that one day, when we appears, we will be like him
  • God is committed to making you holy
  • if you are a Christian, you are experiencing the 24-hour a day ministry of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying you
  • your entire life, he is chipping away at your character
  • one of his primary activities is to cleanse us from sin and "sanctify us" or make us more holy in actual conduct of life
  • once you've become a child of God, you're called a "saint," because you are set apart already, and will continue to become more holy until the day you meet him
  • Howard Hendricks wisely observed, "It is foolish to build a chicken coop on the foundation of a skyscraper"
  • the Christian who fails to live a holy life is failing to utilize the foundation for his life that Christ has given him

  • God is willing to cleanse us
  • the holy God who created this world can give you a clean heart
  • when was the last time you praised God for this?

  • my prayer for you this morning is the same as that of the apostle Paul
  • he wrote:
  • (1 Thessalonians 5:23) May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • (1 Thessalonians 5:24) The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

Adapted in part from Our God is Awesome by Tony Evans