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1291. Our Great God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2022 7:00 pm

1291. Our Great God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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July 11, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Alan Benson begins a series entitled “Our Great God” with a message from Jeremiah 10:1-13.

The post 1291. Our Great God appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're beginning a series called Our Great God. Today's message will be preached by BJA Executive Vice President, Dr. Alan Benson. Take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah chapter 10. I'm introducing this morning our doctrinal theme for the semester. And it is by topic in theology what we would describe as theology proper. We add the word proper why because we think generally of theology as kind of all these categories of theology. And yet this one is not necessarily describing the whole thing. It actually has a primary focus and it's God himself.

God himself. And so the theme for the semester is Our Great God. And what I want to do today is kind of frame our thinking with regard to the nature of this study as well as begin it. Why the snow globe? Well, I need you to engage with me for just a minute, okay? I fought for an illustration to help with this and this is what I came up with.

So you bear with me. Imagine as I recently had my little granddaughter came to our house and of all the things that enamored her about Christmas, there was a particular item in our house that Mimi, my wife now, her grandmother, and I'm not going to call her Mimi. She's still babe to me, but anyway. Introduced my granddaughter to and it was a snow globe. And when you turn it on the snow would move in it and it put a rainbow on the ceiling. Well, she associated that with grandma.

It was like no one else could turn that on. That was something that Mimi did. She's 18 months. Anyway, imagine that you have a snow globe and you've got a child older than 18 months because you're going to talk to them and explain to them. And there's a mountain inside the snow globe. And they've never seen a mountain. And you're going to describe for them this mountain in the snow globe.

Are you beginning to feel my frustration? Even though it's small and you're looking at it and you're going to tell them about a mountain because you want them to be excited about the mountain. Imagine that in your mind. Set that aside for a minute and I want you to imagine with me that you have successfully summited Mount Everest. And you know what went into preparing for that and then what it actually took to do that and you're navigating it and you are talking to someone who has never and will never see Mount Everest until they have to climb it.

And they have to climb it. And you are now going to give them a description of this mountain because they have to climb it and you know if not rightly prepared they're not coming back. Think of those two descriptions for a minute.

And maybe let me give you another one. Imagine you're somewhere and you're sitting with someone who has never seen a car. And you're going to describe to them a car. Now imagine you're sitting at your kitchen table with your 15 year old and you are going to teach them to drive exclusively by what you tell them about the car sitting at the kitchen table. Like you're not going to take them out and teach them to drive.

You're going to sit at the table and you're going to tell them enough about the car that you're going to hand them the keys and say now go drive. Think of those two descriptions. And now I want you to think about what we are and what we aren't going to attempt to do in theology proper.

We're not going to attempt to do the first one. In other words, this series isn't going to be designed for you to know about God. We're not looking to describe a mountain in a snow globe so that you kind of know about it.

We're not looking to describe a car so that you if you ever saw one said, Oh, I think that's one of those car things. We actually are looking in this series to give you a description that leads us to experiential knowledge. We don't want you to know about God. The purpose of looking at God in his inspired word is for you and I to know God.

And so I hope that will frame kind of what we do in this whole series, as well as what we will do in our session today. You're in Jeremiah chapter 10. Listen to the word of the Lord Jeremiah chapter 10, verse one. Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel. Thus sayeth the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen.

The lost. Those that don't know God. And be not dismayed at the signs of heaven for the heathen are dismayed at them.

Why? Because they don't like lightning and thunder. For the customs of the people are vain, empty. For one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workmen with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold.

They fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not. They are upright as a palm tree, but speak not. They must needs be born because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them for they cannot do evil.

Neither also is it in them to do good. That's the gods they've made. For as much as there is none like unto thee, O Lord, thou art great and thy name is great in might. Do not fear thee, O king of nations, for to thee doth it appertain. For as much as among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. But they are altogether brutish and foolish. The stock is a doctrine of vanities.

Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. The work of the workmen and of the hands of the founder, blue and purple is their clothing. They are all the work of cunning men, but the Lord is the true God. He is the living God. And an ever lasting king.

None like you. The one true and living God. As we come to explore God.

So that we might know God. We actually are going to come to his self revelation in the Word of God that actually is characterized in an interesting way. God throughout his self revelation in Scripture gives us terms that seemingly are opposites. What we would refer to as antinomy or seemingly self contradictory statements. Because in the tension of those statements, it actually leads us beyond knowing about God. Because if these things were really true, we wouldn't know about God. But because we feel the tensions, we come to know God himself.

What am I talking about? The Word of God reveals God to us that he is both transcendent. He's completely separate from us and yet he's imminent. He's completely involved in everything in life. He's both.

What does that mean? How could he do that? What does it mean to be God and be completely removed and yet completely involved? He is unfathomable and yet knowable by revelation. In fact, not just knowable, but knowable in a way that man is accountable to know him. Yet he's unknowable. He is both sovereign over a world. And yet that world is marked by his own design by free moral agents. In fact, more than that, he is sovereign over a rebel kingdom. We don't yet see all things put under his feet.

What does that tell me about God? He is both three in one sense and one in another. He is Elohim over all the earth and also Yahweh in covenant with his own people. He is invisible and yet incarnate in his son.

He is unchanging and unchangeable and yet he is intimately involved in and responsive to the minutest of human affairs. You see, as we come to this series, I don't want us to ask and answer the wrong question. I don't want us to merely ask the question, what is God like?

I want us to ask ourselves over and over and over this question. Who is my God? And so I ask you this morning before we start this series, who is your God? See, I think Jeremiah 10 gives us some interesting insights into how we might naturally as opposed to supernaturally answer that question. And I want to challenge our thinking because if we're not intentional in knowing God, we will default to the natural means of knowing about God and we will frame God according to our natural inclination. So I want you to look at this passage of scripture and I want us to see, first of all, man's attempts to make God. If you won't read it again, you see the opening verses that talks about not fearing the gods of the heathen, not falling prey to the approach of the heathen in their thinking to who God is. There is in man, because he is an image bearer of God, created by God in God's own image, there is in man a God-shaped hole.

And either man will come to God for the knowledge that is necessary to fill that hole, or he will turn to the created order and he will try and shape that hole to a way that he is satisfied in filling it. Do you realize there's a lot of people living in our world today who actually, because of the way they live, want an angry God? There are others who completely just want a God that they describe as loving, who nothing really matters to him. That's how they define love.

No matter what I do, no matter how I treat you, or if I even think to treat you at all because you're love, none of that matters. And so, in these attempts to make God, I want you to see, first of all, the rejection of God. I think Paul articulates this best for us in Romans 1 when he says in verse 24, Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.

And notice the next verse. Because of their behaviors, they shaped their belief. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator who is blessed forever.

Amen. You see, there is this natural inclination in us because of our behaviors and because of the way that we live in and out every day to shape our thinking about God. Paul adds to that in verse 28 of Romans 1, and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient. Because of their behaviors, there came a rejection of who God is and it led them to a process of thinking differently about God.

I think this is a challenge for us. Because men who reject God always become God makers. Whether that is by intention or not. At the level of which I reject the knowledge of God and choose a behavior that is contrary to it, if I live there long enough, I will remake God in the image of my behavior because I don't want to live with a guilty conscience. I don't want to live the way I'm choosing to live and feel a continual sense of accountability that robs me of the pleasure of the way I'm choosing to live. And so what ends up happening is first of all I ignore the knowledge of God that would make me accountable and eventually I reshape God so that I'm no longer uncomfortable. So I ask you today, who is your God? How are you living and if you're honest today, you have already begun the process of ignoring God and reshaping God so that you are comfortable with your behaviors and you are shaping your beliefs. You see it's easy to live that way and say sure let's sit in chapel for nine times and tell me about God because I want to know about God. Friends, God doesn't want you to know about him. God wants you to know him. So not just the sense of the rejection of God but then the re-creation of God and this is a challenge because it's incremental. Like you may be sitting here today and say I would never do that.

I would never try to re-create God. So I'm just going to give you some of the primary ways that it's being done and these are all primary ways that are currently infecting our culture. Why are we seeing things that we're seeing in our culture? Romans 1 describes in a sense what is happening in a God rejecting culture or a God re-creating culture and as you listen to these I want you to think about what am I hearing in the world today? What am I hearing in philosophy today?

How do we re-create God? Well one of them is what you might know as animism. A belief in a multiplicity of spirits teaches that nothing is ultimately inanimate but that all things are actually alive with spirits that are either beneficial or detrimental to mankind. Everything in a sense is God. Where will you hear that in our culture today?

Listen very very carefully to the mantra of environmentalists today. Fetishism is a belief that a spirit may temporarily dwell in an inanimate object and that the object is therefore sacred because the spirit lives there. God has moved into something. Pantheism is a belief that God is all and all is God. Reality is God and therefore everything is a manifestation of God. Panentheism is a belief that God and the physical universe each need each other for integrity and each are in a state of becoming. God is the universe as one's mind is in his body.

This is how God is. Pantheism is a belief that many gods exist however one God is both superior to and is to be worshipped to the exclusion of the rest. Sure there's a God but there's a bunch of gods. And at some point yes we have our God but it's okay for there to be other gods and other people to have other gods. Polytheism is a belief in the existence of many gods all of whom are to be worshipped. You hear that expressed in well there's many pathways to God. And then deism is a belief in one God who is removed from the world. Yeah he created it.

He may have gone through different processes and we can debate over that but he somehow either pushed the plunger to start the Big Bang. But then he disconnected from that world. He has abandoned that world. He has no present relationship with that world. And so I live in the world that he made and I have to figure it out on my own because God really is disinterested and disconnected. You might say well I don't ascribe to any of those but I challenge you in your thinking about how you live every day and I ask you the question which one of those is incrementally beginning to frame your thinking about God.

What does that begin to look like? Friend, do you believe in deism when you sit in your room and think that God doesn't see you on your device? You see your behaviors are beginning to shape your belief about God. Well God doesn't see. Well maybe he does but really he doesn't care.

Or maybe he does but you know he is loving so it doesn't matter. And you see how your behaviors are shaping your belief about God and I ask you sitting here today who is your God? Because this passage then brings us to the necessity of knowing the true God. For as much verse 6 of Jeremiah 10 as there is none like unto thee O Lord thou art great and thy name is great in might.

There is none like unto thee at the end of verse 7. Verse 10 but the Lord is the true God. He is the living God and an everlasting king. And so who is the true God?

I think Strong captured it well when he said God is the infinite and perfect spirit in whom all things have their source, support, and end and all three things are vitally important to knowing who he is. He made it. It belongs to him. He supports it.

It matters to him. And he is the end. He has a purpose for it.

And that it includes you. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says it this way God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Friends there is one true, one true and living God and he has purposed in his creation to make himself known. Why did he create? To display his glory to a being made in his image so that he might be known by you.

Do you think he's okay if you change who you think he is? If his purpose was to be known? Do you see why idolatry matters? God isn't interested in you worshiping something. God isn't interested in you figuring out a way to fill the void in your life with something of your own making. If he was he wouldn't have created but let me take you deeper than that.

Imagine in the brokenness that came as a result of the fall. And all of a sudden a God who has made everything that he might be known. Man rejects the knowledge of God.

Remember the whole conversation about the knowledge of good and evil. He rejects the knowledge of God. So what does God do?

God becomes man. That through the incarnation God the Son would make known God the Father. And that through him and his redemptive work we might know him. You see the truth of being precious in his holy sight isn't some sentimentality to make you and I feel good. It actually is about God and his redemptive work. So who is God but then I want to leave us with this one question. Because this is what will frame this entire series for us.

How can I know him? Take your Bibles and turn quickly to Psalm 19. Psalm 19.

I want you to see in this passage really just three pointed things that I hope will then frame our mindset as to whether or not we even want to listen during doctrinal chapels. Psalm 19 begins this way in verse 1, the heavens declare the glory of God. The first thing I want us to see in the revelation the self revelation of God is that he gave us if you look in verses one through six and we won't read them all general or natural revelation. God in his created order created a world that everywhere you look if you look honestly says something. I believe Paul categorizes that for us back in Romans one when he writes in verse 20 for the invisible things of him the things I can't see from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made. There's something about God that I can't know because I can't see it that becomes understood because of the things I can see what are those things he says it this way.

Even his eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse those who have rejected God. When I look at natural revelation it tells me something about God. What does it tell me? It tells me two things basically there is a God and I am not him. That's what the world tells me when I go outside and I look at the splendor of the rolling ocean.

And how it is this ongoing perennial machine that just rolls wave after wave after wave and it's seemingly the self generating energy source and I see how it shifts and moves the tides come and the tides go and I see all of that. It says something to me. There's a God. So general revelation does teach me something about God but I ought to be incredibly thankful that it is not the only thing God gave me to teach me about him why because what general revelation provides me is this accountability. So here we have the rest of Psalm 19. And I want you to see that in verses seven through 11 we have these statements.

Verse seven the law of the Lord, latter half the testimony of the Lord, verse eight statutes of the Lord, latter half the commandment of the Lord, verse nine the fear of the Lord, latter half the judgments of the Lord, and then it says this more to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey in the honeycomb, moreover by them is thy servant warned and in keeping of them there is great reward. What we want to see then is God gives us a second source of knowledge about him and we call that special revelation or what you and I know as the word of God. God has given us his word God breathe word so that you and I might know more about him than just our accountability, because the spoken word the inspired word the God breathe the word is a source for us not just for accountability, but for answers. You see rather than just our natural inclination the natural order of things to allow our opinion of God to become shaped by the influences around us and our behavior shaping our belief God says to you, I want to give you a source of truth.

If you will come to this word, it actually can inform your belief and through your understanding and knowing of God, you then actually can see the opposite happen and your behavior becomes shaped by your belief. This is why it's so important that we answer the question who is your God. If you look at this thought if you look at the end of Psalm 19 you see there, a prayer, a prayer that I want to challenge you throughout this series to make your prayer.

Read with me if you will the end of Psalm 19 verse 12 says who can understand his errors. This is where we need to sit okay God, I need to know if I've been making you in my own image. Have I been shaping you in life because I need to learn who you are. Who defines me from secret faults God, I want you to shape me.

I realize I'm broken. God I need through the knowledge of you for you not to allow me to shape you but for you to shape me. Who is my servant from also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me, then shall I be upright and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Oh God verse 14 let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight. Oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Friend I ask you, who is your God? And I invite you to join us on the journey in this doctrinal theme of not knowing about God, but getting to know God. Father, help us we pray. Enlighten and illumine us that we might know you. Whom to know is life eternal. We pray these things in Jesus name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon which was part of the series called Our Great God, preached by BJU Vice President, Dr. Alan Benson. Listen again tomorrow as we continue this series on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 22:55:56 / 2023-03-25 23:05:23 / 9

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