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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - God's Greatness, A Source of Comfort

Charles Stanley - God's Greatness, A Source of Comfort

Charles Stanley - God's Greatness, A Source of Comfort

When you think about God how do you visualize Him? I mean, do you see Him as a young man? Do you see Him as middle aged or do you see Him as an old man with white hair sitting on a throne somewhere? When you talk to Him what do you talk about? What is the theme of your conversation? What's the major thing you're interested in? What you admit that most of the time that most of our conversation of to Him is about something that we need. If we were really and truly honest, we would sort of be at the center of our conversation, what we need, what we want, our cares, and so forth. Don't you imagine that God would oftentimes, love to hear us talk about Him and to praise Him and adore Him and worship Him and maybe recall His attributes and His characteristics and how great and good and mighty and powerful and loving and kind He is to us rather than, so much of the time, hearing about our need which He is more than willing to grant?

Well, when you and I look at the scriptures and we look at the prayers of these Old Testament saints so often when they prayed, at the heart of their prayer was the greatness and the power and the might and the majesty of Almighty God. And that's what I want to talk about in this passage because if you, for example, will recall, in the Psalms, how often you have read the Psalms and how many times the greatness of God is mentioned in the Psalms. For example, the Psalmist says, He speaks of God being very great, that He's the great king, that His mercies are great, His loving-kindnesses are great, His deeds are great His that He does great things, that His glory is great, His strength is great, His deliverances are great, that He doeth mighty things the scripture says, or great things, that His name is great and that He does great wonders and that His greatness is beyond human understanding.

Now, I want you to turn to the eighty sixth Psalm, and in this Psalm David begins like most of us begin our prayers. He starts off by talking about His affliction. And I want us to read a few verses of this Psalm. And then I want you to notice toward the end of this first portion that the basis for which he makes His request is His understanding, faith in and belief in the greatness of God. He says, beginning in verse 1 of Psalm 86. "Talking to the Father now he says," "Incline Thine ear, O Lord, and answer me; for I am afflicted and needy". Doesn't that sound like us? That's the way we start them off. "O Lord" "Do preserve my soul, for I am a godly man, O Thou my God, save Thy servant who trusts in Thee. Be gracious to me, O Lord, For to Thee I cry all day long. Make glad the soul of Thy servant, For to Thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee".

See now, He's talking about, He's switched over to God now. "Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; And give heed to the voice of my supplications! In the day of my trouble I shall call upon Thee, For Thou wilt answer me. There is no one like Thee among the gods, O Lord". See how he talks about what his need is and he talks about how great God is. "For Thou wilt answer me. There is no one like Thee among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Thine. All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; And They shall glorify Thy name". Now look at this next verse. "For Thou art great and doest wonderful deeds; Thou alone art God".

I think this is a good pattern for us to think in terms of our own prayer life, that in our praying that we don't get on some particular need that we have and we just sort of laying there and hanging there about I need this, and I need that, and I need the other. If you'll notice, not only did he present his needs, but he mixed his needs, beautifully balanced, with the nature, the attributes, the greatness, the power and the love of God. He says, "I know You're going to hear and answer my prayer. You're a great God. All the nations of the earth come before You". He says, "Thou art God and the only true God".

So, what I would like for us to think about this morning in some ways here is the greatness of God maybe in a little different way than we normally think about it. And I want us to think about how God reveals His greatness to us. And one of the ways that His greatness is reveals is the fact that if you'll think about what He's like in areas that you and I normally would use specific words and that is that, how great is God in relation to space? We know that He's everywhere but when we think about, "Well God is over there and God is over here," we think about finite objects and we think, "Well now, this pulpit here is right here. This pulpit can't be any other place as long as it's right here because all finite objects are limited to where they are". So we say, "It's here. It can't be here and over yonder and over here at the same time".

God is spirit. He is absolutely limitless. He cannot be limited by anything when it comes to space because God is the One who created space. There was no such thing as space until He created it. Before the creation of the world what was there? You and I cannot even describe it. God, in His infiniteness, that is, He is infinity in every aspect of His being, and you cannot separate who God is from His attributes. So, when you and I say that He is within us, because that's what Jesus said, He said, "I'm abiding in you and you in Me".

The Holy Spirit comes to indwell us when we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior so that we can rightfully say that God is now indwelling us. He's living on the inside of us. My heart, your heart, people who live in Brazil, He's in their heart. People who live in South Africa, He's in their heart. People who live in China, He's in their heart. He's in their heart, He's in our heart. How do you define and locate God? You cannot locate Him. You can take all of the measurements and you can take maps and globes and you name it, you cannot put a finger on where God is. While He is everywhere you cannot say, "He's here but not over here". And so, He is above all space and beyond all of that. He is the kind of God who is absolutely limitless.

Now what does that do for me when I come to Him with my own requests and my own desires? For example, what comfort is there in this? And because I want us to see this in the light of the greatness of God our Comfort. And that is, if He is infinite, limitless in His in His capacity, unlimited by space then that means this, that no matter where you and I are, whatever the situation, the circumstance you cannot say that God is not there. And when a person walks through a period of deep, dark aloneness in their life what you and I want to say to them is that the God who is Spirit, He is not limited by space. So, no matter where you are today, tomorrow, or where you'll be next year or where you have been you have never taken a single step, you have never breathed one single breath outside of the presence of God.

Now, to all of us who are believers that is the most comforting, reassuring thing, that when we walk through those deep, dark valleys of aloneness and feel that aloneness. It may be something we feel but we're not feeling reality. Reality says, "I'm walking in the presence of this God whom I cannot touch with my physical hands, whom I cannot see with my physical eyes and whom I cannot feel this way but He is here". You cannot name a place God is not because he says, "Where shall I go to hide from the presence of God"? There is no place to hide from Him. God is above He is above space, and He reveals His greatness in the fact that He is. Secondly, God's greatness is revealed in the fact that He is above and beyond all time. Time cannot limit God.

Now, when we think of time we have to fit into certain schedules and that's the way we operate. The wonderful thing about God is this, when He thinks in terms of time He is above all time and therefore time has no affect upon Him. There's nothing outside of God that affects God. There's nothing outside of God that makes God do anything. And so He sees all things in relationship to time. Now, God is like a little boy who stands up in the top of the steeple and watches the parade from where it starts to where it ends. And so, at each segment along the parade he can see the whole thing. Now he sees this van here, this van here and these people marching here. He sees each one in their order, each one in their perspective.

And so he sees it all at the same time but any given time he sees any part of it at any given place. That's the way He looks at your life and mine. That's the way He looks at all of society. That's the way He sees all of history. God sees all of history from beginning to end. And therefore, He is not affected by what's going on in time. And here's one civilization that can last a thousand years and here's one that'll last three hundred years. So, all of that is under the scrutiny, all of that is under the vision of God. He's seeing all these things that are going on. He is above and beyond all of that. And so when people rise to power and they threaten each other how insignificant they are compared to this Almighty God who is above all space and all time and who is looking and seeing all things equally at the same time.

And so, the wonderful thing about all that for us is this, that here we are in life, moving along, and God, who's not limited to time therefore can see it all at the same time, He knows what's in the next block in your life. He knows what's two blocks away in the parade. He knows what's three blocks away. So, when God, in His infinite wisdom above and beyond all time says to us, "Wait, wait upon the Lord. Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait". You know why He says wait? Because He, unlimited by time, seeing it all, knows what's coming. And therefore, He knows that at this time in your life it is time to slow down, at this time in your life it's time to move on, at this time in your life He knows He's going to have you take a turn.

And so, therefore, one of the comforts of the fact that God is above and beyond all time and space is that He is controlling and will govern and guide our life at every single segment. We don't have to worry about the timing as long as you and I are walking in time and in concert with Him. And so, as you'll think about, all through the scriptures for example how oftentimes that the Old Testament characters, especially, God would work in their lives. And you and I can see how the timing was so very, very important. Turn to the ninetieth Psalm. The ninetieth Psalm and the first couple of verses here. He says: "Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world". Before all of time: "Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God".

And so, you can't fit God into time. And therefore, when we say, "Lord, I think You need to hurry up and let's get this done". Now here we are telling God to hurry up when He's above and beyond all time and sees everything in perfect perspective. The greatness of God, when you and I come to Him in prayer we need to mix in our prayers not only what we are asking Him for but to recall to His glory and to recall to His honor and to recall to His praise those attributes that this God whom we serve is omnipresent, all places are in His presence, that He is absolutely omniscient, knows all things, omnipresent, has all power. He is above and beyond all timing and scheduling of man. Therefore, when I come to Him, I don't have to come fretting and fuming about, "Suppose this, that, and the other".

If I am walking in concert with His will since timing is under His control and He perfectly times every single thing... You see, sometimes we'll hear some liberal theologian talk about the miracles in the Bible and explaining them away and say, "Well, these things just happened to happen at this particular time". Why certainly they did. Who do you think was controlling the time? God, who is above and beyond all time controls that. So, one of the aspects of His greatness is that He's above and beyond all time and space. A third expression of His greatness is the way He expresses His greatness through His power. We say that God is omnipotent. That is, God, in all of His infinite, awesome power is in absolute control, sovereignly controlling every single aspect of life. There's not anything that's not under His control. If there is anything that is not under His control, then He's no longer omnipotent. And if He's not omnipotent then He's no longer God. Whatever can control God is greater than God and therefore He can't be God and have something else controlling Him.

Now think about this, if you don't believe in the sovereignty of God, if the omnipotence of God is not a reality in your life when you come to Him facing some strange and strong difficulty and hardship, if you don't believe that God is in sovereign control here's what you have to see, listen, I either believe in the sovereignty of God or I believe in victimism. That is, that I am a victim of circumstance. If I am a child of God and God is Sovereign only what Almighty, Sovereign, Omnipotent God chooses to allow can happen to you and me no matter what. That's why I don't believe in accidents. And people talk about, "Well, good luck".

Don't give me any of that. I don't want good luck. I want, listen, I want the intervention. I want to be accompanied by the wisdom and the supernatural power of God. I don't want luck. Luck is something the world talks about. We're talking about the supernatural power of God. And into the life of every single believer, all that God is lives within you and me. All of the power of God exists within us.

You say, "Well wait a minute now. If all the power of God exists within us we could do supernatural things". Well, there are many things that can be done through a person, supernaturally, when God chooses to allow that power to flow through that person. Just because you and I are indwelt by the supernatural power of God because of His presence doesn't mean that you and I are going to believe Him enough to allow that supernatural power to operate in our life, though we can. That doesn't mean that we can do anything. It is Christ living within us, it is the power of God within us because He is indwelling us.

And I can tell you this, all of us would see more of the power of God exercised in our life if we could grasp the fact of the greatness of God indwelling us and allow Him to exercise His authority and His power which begins with the absolute total submission of my will and my ways to God. Otherwise, what would we do? We would want to use that power for ourselves. The supernatural power of God flows, listen to this, flows the fullest and with the most energy and with the most thrust in the life of those people who are fully submitted to the will of God. If you want the supernatural power of God in your life then submit yourself totally to Him so that it is all of God and not yourself or you and I will take advantage of situations, circumstances and we will want to manipulate God to accomplish and achieve things that we want.

And so, if I want if I want the supernatural power of God in my life it begins with the absolute total submission of my will to this God. His power reigns supreme over anything and everything. Now, likewise, His greatness is revealed in His knowledge. What is it that God knows? We say He's omniscient. He knows everything. Turn to Psalm 147. In the hundred and forty seventh Psalm, listen to what he said. He begins this Psalm, of course, this is a Psalm of praise and thanksgiving to God and about all the things that He does, and he says in verse 5 of Psalm 147: "Great is our Lord and abundant in strength, His understanding is infinite". That is, God is so absolutely, perfectly knowledgeable that God knows everything there is to know. He knows things that are to be known that you and I haven't even thought about. He knows all the truth that no man knows, truth that has never been discovered.

There is not anything that is knowable that God does not know, that there is not anything that could be knowable that God doesn't already know. There are no limitations to His knowledge. He knows absolutely everything and that is to our great, awesome, wonderful advantage. Even when you and I pray. Why do you think he said, in Romans 8 for example, when he said, sometimes we don't even know how to pray as we ought but the Holy Spirit, God, in His Spirit, makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered? Even when you and I don't even know how to ask and what to ask what is He doing? He is petitioning the Father in our behalf when we don't even know how to pray. That is the awesome wisdom and knowledge of God that has absolutely no limitation. What a comfort to know that He knows it all.

Another way He expresses His greatness is in the expression of His constancy. That is, He's unchangeable. He is constant. There's not anything changing about God. And He says, for example, look in Malachi chapter 3. Third chapter of Malachi he says it about as clear and is about as concise here as you're going to find it anywhere. He says in the sixth verse of Malachi chapter 3: "For I, the Lord, do not change". Now you don't get it any clearer than that. He identifies who's speaking. He says: "For I, the Lord, do not change". So that, when you and I learn the principles of scripture and you and I begin to learn the ways of God and we understand the ways of God and we understand the teaching of scripture, we begin to understand who He is, the wonderful thing about it is He never changes. There's not anything about Him that changes. So what?

So, when you and I learn a principle, we don't have to wonder, "Is it going to work today but not tomorrow"? No, it's going to work today. It's going to work tomorrow. It's going to work all the time because He is a changeless God. And so, we sing, "Our God is an awesome God". Why is He so awesome? Awesome because he's above and beyond all space, above and beyond all time, above and beyond all knowledge. He has it all. Above and beyond all power. He controls all things. He is absolutely faithful and reliable, and He is always there, never changing, always trustworthy God. But you know one of the expressions of God and one of the revelations about God that probably, for me personally, that is the most awesome one of all in His great.

And that is that this God who is above and beyond all time and space and has all knowledge of all things, this God who has all power to rule and reign over all this universe, every single, solitary person, all of nature, all of history, all of the events of mankind, all of human personality. Here is the greatest expression of the greatness of God to me and that is, this God, in His infinite, inscrutable, unsearchable, fathomless personhood, that in all of this greatness and power and might, creation, naming the stars, numbering the hairs of our head, creating all the foul of the air and the fish of the sea, ruling and reigning in everything that happens in all of life. Here's what He said. He said, "This is the way I want to relate to you". He says, "I want to be your Father, your shepherd, and your friend".

Now, how do we get this awesome, fathomless, immeasurable God? And He says, "I want to be your Father, your shepherd, your friend". You talking about awesome. So, what did He do? Here's what He did, this God who spoke and said, "Let there be light. Let there be the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea. Let us make man in Our own image". This same God, in His love for you and me and wanting to walk in such intimacy with us, in all of this immeasurable, incomparable, inexplainable, inscrutable self of His, He capsuled Himself to be born in the womb of a virgin called Mary. Inside this young woman was God. He was born like a normal child but conceived of the Holy Spirit. Grew up like a normal little boy, only without sin. Came into teenage years without sin, to manhood, and at the age of about thirty He began to preach about His heavenly Father. And for three years He walked among men.

The same One who said, "Let there be light. Let there be the fish of the sea. Let there be mountains. Let there be waters and a firmament". This is the same God who walked on this earth in the form of humanity, clothed, this is God clothed in human flesh walking among men, talking to mankind about their heavenly Father and "I am the good shepherd". And He says, "I am your friend". This is the same God who spoke all of this into being, who has all power. He's the same God who spoke to the storm and walked on the sea and broke the bread. This is the same God who sent the plagues into Egypt and the floods into the early world. This is the same God who talked about naming the stars in space.

Now He is here in human flesh and being verbally abused by mankind He comes to the cross. And He takes upon Himself, in all of His sinless being all of the sin of all of mankind and it is all wrapped up in Him, laid upon Him. And then think about the awesomeness of this. This same God, walking in flesh, God the Son, allowed Himself to be separated from God the Father and to bear the punishment and the condemnation and the judgment and the guilt and the wrath of almighty God the Father in order that all of mankind may be set free of all our sins. They buried Him in a tomb and it couldn't hold Him. You know why? Because nothing can hold omnipotence.

The same God who created the rock allowed Himself to be sealed there. The same God who created this earth and allowed cotton to be grown and the weaving to take place wrapped in those cloths just simply moved out of that cloth and left it laying just like it was wrapped around Him. And this is the same God who is now walking among His disciples, walk right through this door. He's here and He's gone. He's over there. They got just a little inkling that space nor finite objects can control Him. The greatness of God that He would come and walk among men and speak to us in a language that you and I understand and say to us, "This is what God's like, loving, forgiving Father who wants the best for His children".
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