The Greatness of God



By the grace of God, I am preaching after a break of six months from all preaching engagements. In this break, one of the things I learned was that, it is indeed a great privilege to preach the word of the Most High God. It is a great privilege, a privilege that is matchless and for which I am eternally thankful to God. Oh what great a privilege it is to preach His precious word to His precious people and declare to them what His word says about Him.

Today I am going to preach something I have never preached in my life. It is indeed a daunting task for me today. I will first show you the Scriptures pertaining to this subject and then show you the practical applications of knowing this truth. I am going to preach on 'The Greatness of God'. It is a sermon that is way beyond me and I am only attempting to make you know His greatness. So let us pray:

Heavenly Father, we come before you in the name of Your Son, Lord Jesus Christ. We want to thank you for your good providence for bringing us together to worship you and learn more about you. Father I pray that now You will open our eyes to see Your truth in Your word. Help me to proclaim these truths that are way beyond me. I commit myself into your hands. I need your grace Lord. I am what I am by the grace of God, what do I have that I have not received from You, nothing good shall come out of man, every good and perfect gift comes from You, O Father of lights, and who am I, but Your workmanship in Christ Jesus and every good deed that I do, You have foreordained in Christ Jesus. So Lord, I trust in you and to you be all the glory always, in Jesus' name, Amen.

I. The Testimony of Scriptures on the greatness of God

Let me show you scripture after scripture dealing with the greatness of God. My aim is to show you the testimony of Scriptures regarding the greatness of God. We will move from one verse to another and thus have the panoramic view of the perfections of His greatness.

First, let us go to the last Psalm, the 150th Psalm and verse 2, which goes like this:

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.”

The above verse says that the greatness of God is one that is surpassing and in KJV the word used is excellent. So the subject I am dealing today is one that is surpassing and excellent. The word surpassing means matchless, so the Psalmist is saying that God is matchless in His greatness or that His greatness knows no bound. Thus it is an eternal imperative that He be praised.

Turn now to Deuteronomy 10:17, where it is written:

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

This verse gives a good understanding on the God of the Bible. He is the God of gods, which means He is the God or the only God. Surely there are no other gods, but only one God who is the Creator. Then He is the Lord of lords, which means He is the Supreme Authority over all things. He is then the great God, one whose greatness is matchless. He is also mighty and awesome or as KJV renders it as mighty and terrible. So God is the Mighty One or the Powerful One or simply Almighty and He is terrible or is an awe-inspiring God. He shows no partiality, which means He is absolutely just and righteous. He does not accept bribes, which means He cannot be swayed from His ways by bribery or put simply His purposes are immutable. So here we have the God of the Bible – one who is the Creator and the Supreme authority, whose greatness is matchless, who is unlimited in His power and does mighty deeds which bring forth awe, who is absolutely just and righteous and one whose plans are immutable. Behold the Lord of glory!

Let me share with you one important aspect of understanding the beauty of God. When we say God is beautiful, we actually mean that God is perfect. It is true even in the case of earthly things. We look at someone who has a very fit physique and say 'it's beautiful', when we actually mean is the perfection of that man's body. No one looks at a fat man or his pot belly and says 'it's beautiful', for his body is imperfect. So when we appreciate beauty, we are appreciating perfection.

Now when it comes to God, let me tell you the reason why God is altogether lovely. God is prefect in all His attributes. So when we say, God is holy, that does not merely mean God has holiness, but that God is perfect in His holiness. So here we have God who is perfect in His holiness, perfect in His mercy, perfect in His justice, perfect in His sovereignty, prefect in His omnipotence, perfect in His wisdom, perfect in His immutability, perfect in His loftiness, perfect in His eternal existence and likewise perfect in all His attributes, which thus make Him of surpassing greatness.

Thus the God we worship is both wonderful and terrifying. Job 13:11 says “ Would not his splendour terrify you? Would not the dread of him fall on you?”. The Bible is clear that the splendour of God produces great trembling in the hearts of His worshippers and they dread Him for who He is. Unveiling of the majesty of God and His boundless greatness will always result in the trembling of the saints before Him. Today's Christianity and especially Charismatics have rewritten this testimony of God by saying 'Should not His splendour tickle you?', which is not true biblical Christianity. True Christianity where God is revealing Himself on the face of the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, has Christians falling face down in loving adoration and reverence and tremble and awe for God. True revelation of the greatness of God thus produces a mixed response of great joy, adoration and fear.

The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread” Isaiah 8:13

Now let us turn to another verse, which is in I chronicles 29:11 where it is written

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

This verse clearly brings out another important truth regarding the greatness of God, which is that, greatness, power, glory, majesty and splendour for all things in heaven and the earth has always been and is and will always belong to God. It is not that God gained or earned His greatness, but it has always been His. He the person is great enough and glorious enough to own all greatness and splendour. The worth of God's greatness is found in the great Person that He is. We are not primarily dealing with the greatness of the deeds of God, though they are very great, but rather the greatness of God within Himself. That is why we looked and will be looking at verses which give a collective testimony of the many glorious attributes of God.


Exodus 15:11 - “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?"

God is one of a kind or in other words there is no one like Him, is proven in this text from the book of Exodus. Compared to God, no one is quite like Him. In not that distant past, devotional preachers used to ask a tricky question to their people – Who is closer to God – the bacteria floating in your sewage or the Archangel who stands before the throne of God in Heaven? The answer is not the Archangel, for the question is not on proximity. The answer rather is neither one of them is like God. This is because God is not part of creation and nothing in creation is quite like God. So we end up asking the same question that Moses asks in the above verse – Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Now let me show you how this great God of ours is also great in His deeds. We are not moving away from looking at Him to what He does. But rather certain attributes are clearly seen in the deeds of God. So let me turn you to Psalm 86:8-10:

Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God.”

Again the Holy Spirit has testified in Scriptures that God is one of a kind and He is of matchless greatness. Hence all nations shall worship Him. The moral and eternal imperative for worship is the knowledge of God's surpassing and excellent greatness. Also please note that the Spirit makes it clear that it shall happen and there are no if's and but's attached to it. One day all men – every individual shall worship and acknowledge that there is only One True God who alone is absolutely, matchlessly great and worthy of worship. It says in Philippians 2:10 that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” God shall cause it to happen and every creature in heaven and on earth and even under the earth shall worship Him. The reason how this shall come about is given in the 10th verse of Psalm 86 as God is great. In other words, God is great enough to bring about this great and marvellous victory for His great Name. Since God is perfectly great, He is victorious in all His deeds and is invincible in all that He does. Thus His deeds are truly incomparable and marvellous. Thus He is altogether worthy enough to be glorified by all. O what an awe inspiring, glorious, great and victorious God we serve.

Every time we kneel down and pray to God, remember we are praying to this Great and Lofty One, who is victorious in all He does and is unhindered by anyone else and is unlimited in His power to do whatsoever He pleases in accordance with His eternal purpose, which is to glorify Himself. Therefore a Christian who takes the Bible seriously and prays over the clear revealed will of God in Scriptures, has great confidence that God shall meet his prayer. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (I John 5:14) When we know how great God is and what His will is according to the Bible, O what confidence it births, O what joy bursts forth in our heart, O what spirit of triumph we have in God – the great and only God.

Our God is so great because He is also the Sovereign One – who is well able to accomplish all that He pleases to do. As it is written in the book of Daniel, the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar after God dealt with him in chapter 4:34-37:

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 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?” At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honour and splendour were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”


Nebuchadnezzar learned who God is through the trail he went, owing to his pride. His testimony of God is recorded here for us, by the Holy Spirit and we ought to see the picture of God in these verses. First of all he calls God, the Most High. It is a reference to the transcendence of God or the loftiness of God, that God is above all. That is, He is not of creation, He is not even an extension or modified form of creation like a superman. God is totally other and superior in all respect. Thus He is the Most High, 'the high and lofty One who dwells in eternity' (Isaiah 57:15).

Secondly, he calls God the one who lives forever. He recognised the eternal nature of God. Our great God has no beginning and no end. There was no creator of God who asked God to be this great God. Our God has always been what He is and will always be what He is. He will always be the Great “I Am What I Am”.

Thirdly, He recognised that the Lord reigns forever. Christians who are scared of the devil should know this. It is true that for the time being the world system is under the dominion of the dark one, but even then, even now – The Lord Reigns and the devil is only serving God, to bring glory to His Name. The Lord has let loose the devil to do as much as he can to bring evil in this cursed world, but God still accomplishes His end, in spite of a devil ruling it. Thus He uses the devil and brings about a great revelation of His glory. Therein we have the greatest manifestation of the invincibility of God, for He is sovereign over all.

Nebuchadnezzar continues to explain the sovereignty of God that all the peoples of the earth are nothing before Him and He is free and able to do as He pleases. Man cannot by any means hinder or fail the plans of God. What God pleases to do, by the exertion of His mighty strength, He shall accomplish it. Whether it be powers of heaven or peoples of earth, God is free to do as He wishes and accomplishes all that He has planned, in conformity with the purpose of His will. And there is no one of authority or might to question Him or hold back the hand of God and stop Him from accomplishing His end.

Thus the great God, the King of heaven whose ways are just and right and one who is able to humble those who are proud, is gloriously invincible.

Out of the north he comes in golden splendour; God comes in awesome majesty. The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. Therefore, men revere him, for he does not have regard for any who think they are wise.” (Job 37: 22-24)

Also Psalm 115:3, says "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases." In Isaiah 46:9–10 God says, "I am God and there is none like me . . . saying 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'."

It is to this glorious, matchless, excellent, prefect, sovereign and awe-inspiring God, that we pray and have believed and put our trust in and the One who has saved us and begotten us in Christ. This glorious great God is your Father, my dear brethren. He is our reward and portion forever. Whom else do you want? What else do you seek? The Lord of glory is your treasure. This one of a kind, treasure-worthy, absolutely glorious God is yours, freely through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh don't you know that our Lord taught us that this is eternal life: to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He sent.(John 17:3).

Oh what shall we say to His glorious gift of Himself to us.

For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary . Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.”(Psalm 96:4-9)

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” (Psalm 145: 3-5)

II. Practical Applications of Knowing the Greatness of God

In this section, I want to show you five practical, daily applications of knowing the greatness of God. Please note that I am speaking of the practical effects in the life of a Christian who by the grace of God has come to know the greatness of God. I am not giving exhortations to you to strive in your flesh to do these five things. But my point is that when a Christian, through the glorious work of the Holy Spirit in teaching and enlightening, comes to know the greatness of God, he shall do these things and much importantly do these willingly and passionately seeking grace alone.

1. When we know the greatness of God, we shall be glorious worshippers of Him

The primary area which gets affected, when we behold the greatness of God is our worship of Him. We will worship Him out of our divine compulsion owing to our knowledge of the absolute worthiness of God in worship. When we know how much God is deserving to receive worship, that knowledge compels us to see Him worshipped in our life, with all our being. The relationship between us and God will not be one of mere gratefulness over gifts received, but will be one of appreciation of His worthiness and beauty, whether our needs have been met or not.

In Daniel 3:17-18, we have the good example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego whose testimony before Nebuchadnezzar, on the verge of being thrown into a fiery furnace is “ If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

The testimony of a true worshipper is that he trusts in God for all his needs, But even if God does not, he will worship only His God. We need to realize that even when our needs have not been met by God, God is still worthy in worship and He should be worshipped. Our needs being met or not, does not change His worthiness in worship. Please note that this passage is not on the heroic act of these three men but rather the worthiness of God, that He is this worthy to be worshipped that men should risk their life and be on the verge of being thrown into the furnace. This passage is on His worthiness and not on the heroism of these three men, for what they did is truly deserving and fitting to God. And for a worshipper, it is normal and natural to offer everything and all to God, whom alone He worships.

Thus a Christian who by the grace of God has his eyes set on the worthy God of heaven and earth has only one care and concern – the worship of His God. That is the only need in his life, that he desperately wants God to meet. Thus whatever he does, whether it is eating or drinking, preaching or studying scriptures, praying or overcoming temptations, working at his home or at his secular work, helping or evangelizing others, he does it all for the glory of God. There thus is great unity between him and God in their ultimate purpose which is - God's glory.

Like men in the book of Revelation, the worshipper is always before the throne of God, caught in ecstatic worship, offering everything to God – for He is most worthy of all.

2. When we know the greatness of God, we shall faithfully take up the cross daily

It is indeed strange that what the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to do daily – take up one's cross – is the least preached subject of all topics in the Bible. When was the last time you heard a sermon on it?

Anyhow, what Jesus told us to do daily is to be done daily and many a Christian has tried by his own striving in the flesh to no avail. In Luke 14:26-27, where Jesus sets before His followers, His conditions for discipleship, He says as follows: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Notice the fact that loving God supremely is the key to being a disciple. Jesus put it in another manner of hating anything or anybody other than Himself. The key to taking up the cross is treasuring Christ more than one's own life. It is written about the overcomers in Revelation 12:11, that they did not count their lives dear to them. How did they do that? They saw and savoured their God alone. They delighted in God alone. When we see the beauty of God, we treasure Him more than ourselves and His beauty is awesome enough to overcome our selfishness. that the strongest of all men shall fall down in loving adoration and fear before the Lord of glory. His greatness is able to melt the selfishness and stubbornness of our heart, that counting Him alone dear, we shall offer our very own life for His will to be done and His glory to be known.

Our Lord Jesus has set this great example for us in John 12:27-30, where He is approaching the cross and though having a heavy heart over His upcoming separation from the Father, He did not pray “Father save Me” (v. 27) but rather He prayed 'Father glorify Your Name'(v28). A true worshipper shall walk in the footsteps of our Lord saying, ' I am willing to suffer any amount of suffering, provided in the end my God shall be glorified'. In other words, the worshipper, since he is compelled by the absolute worthiness of God in worship, is willing to suffer any amount to see God glorified. Thus we shall take up the cross – die to our self will and obey His will, out of our insatiable desire to see God worshipped as He ought to be.

3. When we know the greatness of God, we shall effortlessly overcome sin

Fruitfulness in Christianity is not a result of our striving in the flesh, but rather is the result of our unity with the Lord. Communion with Christ, in whom is eternal life is the key for bearing much fruit. Jesus said in John 15:5 “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”. Here again, embracing the Lord Jesus Christ with all your being is the way to this effortless fruitfulness.

When we are thoroughly convinced in the matchless beauty of God, we shall desire Him and thus a worshipper embraces Jesus Christ always. He longs to be with the Lord alone always. He is drawn to the Lord in radical devotion and thus as a by-product he bears fruit in His life.

We overcome sin by embracing Jesus Christ above all other passion and love in our heart. Like Paul said in Romans 13:13-14 “ Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

The way out of all the sinful pollutions of this world to know the matchless greatness of God and thereby be compelled by His worthiness in worship, to treasure Him and clothe Him alone.

4. When we know the greatness of God, we shall zealously share His gospel

The Christian who has come to know something about the surpassing greatness of God, cannot keep quiet but is compelled to make known the riches of Christ. Like it is written in Jeremiah 9:24, the only thing worth boasting about is the knowledge of God. A worshipper is compelled to boast about the Lord and His worthiness. Like it is written in I Corinthians 1: 30-31, where this verse in Jeremiah is quoted :"It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” the worshipper boasts in his Lord, who has become for him all in all – wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption.

The gospel is all about making known the riches of God and calling men to worship Him. By our holy boasting, we lift Him up in our conversations and either the believers who hear us will become passionate worshippers or the unbelievers who hear us will get convicted of their offence towards the great God Almighty. Either way it is profitable for the Lord.

It is noteworthy that the last place where the word 'gospel' comes in the Bible, has a description of the gospel. It is in Revelation 14:6-7, where it is written as follows: “Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth — to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgement has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

The exhortations attached to the gospel proclamation in the above verse are as follows: Fear God, Give Him glory and Worship Him. Every one of these can be fulfilled if one knows the greatness of God. Thus by our boasting in the greatness of God, we shall be instruments in making known the sinfulness of the sins of sinners. In light of the greatness of God, may they see how ruthlessly arrogant they have been and has offended the majesty of all majesty, by belittling the great One, having no thought for God in any of their affections in life. May they thus see their absolute worthiness in God's judgement and fierce wrath and realize their crisis without Christ. Thus may they repent and take hold of the promises of grace in Christ.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)

The good news, the glad tidings, the message of salvation we proclaim is that 'The Great Lord Reigns'. Thus knowing the greatness of God causes us to boast much about Him.


5. When we know the greatness of God, we shall passionately study His Scriptures

It is through the Bible, that we learn about the greatness of God. Having seen and tasted the Lord through the Bible, our hearts shall long for more of His glory from His scriptures. Thus the heart that has been enlightened on the greatness of God, passionately studies the scripture. We shall undertake painstaking, time-consuming, personal and studious study of scripture out of our great hunger for God. Bible study done with all other motives shall fail for sure. Most Christians I know do not have a systematic study of Scriptures. They read sometimes and that too random passages. Most of us live on sermons we hear and there are not much good sermons these days that's well nourishing for our inner man. We have shallow sermons, having no proper inspired understanding of the fundamental doctrines of God. Men despise doctrines these days. But the practise of the Bible, especially the Apostles was to first enlighten the heart with doctrinal understanding and then instruct the mind with practical exhortations. That is what my dear brethren I did today. I showed you doctrine from Scripture and now I am giving practical effects of it.

When we know the greatness of God, we shall delight and rejoice at His word. Listen to the following verses, where men who were blessed by God with His knowledge, testify their relationship with His word:


"The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart." (Psalm 19:8)
"I will delight in thy statutes, I will not forget thy word" (Psalm 119:16).
"Oh, how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97).
"Thy testimonies are my heritage for ever, yea, they are the joy of my heart" (Psalm 119:111).
"Thy words were found, and I ate them, and thy words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart;" (Jeremiah 15:16).
"This is my comfort in my affliction, that thy promise gives me life . . . When I think of thy ordinances from of old, I take comfort, O Lord" (Psalm 119:50, 52).


Conclusion

Our God is a great God and one who is to be greatly praised. Whatever happens in our life, may we never forget that our God is absolutely worthy and He deserves to be worshipped. Flee from today's commercial Christianity which praises God only when they receive physical blessings. Be like Job who lost everything and still prayed “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.
I leave you with Psalm 40:16 “ But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “The LORD be exalted!”

May we always have this one desire and may we always say : The Lord be exalted.

May the Lord bless His Church, Amen.


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