Course: The Attributes of God
The Greatness of God
The author inserts personal comments when quoting Scripture which are indicated by square brackets. All biblical references are quoted from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
Turn to Psalm 8. Our theme is the greatness of God. Our series, “Who God Is,” to me is so crucial. I do not know how many times I say it, but I know it is often. The root of our problem is a misunderstanding or a misapplication of who God is and what He can do. The focus for a long time has been on man. It is everywhere. What we are going to say in this series is in direct conflict with what our society believes. Our society believes the most important question to answer is: Who are we? Who is man? They are dedicated to it. There are seminars and books on it everywhere. Not just a few hundred, but thousands upon thousands of titles in our bookstores are dedicated to one thing—helping man find out who he is. God tells us we will never find out. God tells us we are going to get confused and messed up the more we search into the depths of who we are.
Why do we keep doing it? Why is it our obsession? Why is it our priority to find out something God says we cannot discover? The need in our generation is not to find out who we are. The question is not: Who am I? The question is: Who is God? Once we find out who God is, then we can understand who we are. And there is a sense in which all of us are going to pale in significance in some way. Initially that might seem hurtful because today people want to know who they are, and find self-esteem and worth. And that is important only from God’s point of view.
What we are going to teach in this series is that when you focus on God and who He is, all of a sudden self-esteem has a new foundation, a new root system. It is entirely different. It changes your life, your perspective.
I do not know what your relationship with God is like. But no matter how long you have been a Christian, you and I both know that the most fundamental thing to Christianity is a living and vital relationship with the God we say we believe. It is a personal relationship. It is not a group of facts and dogmas that we preach from the pulpit. Even though we must teach truth, we also need to apply that truth. We need to have a living, vital, personal relationship with the God who made us. There is nothing as important as that.
O LORD, our Lord, How excellent [majestic, awesome] is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! [Talk about greatness!] When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? O LORD, our Lord, How excellent [or great or majestic or awesome] is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:3, 4, 9 NKJV)
Turn to Psalm 83:18 please. The Bible is replete with statements about God’s greatness.
That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:18 NKJV)
There is no one higher than God. You talk about the greatness of God. He is described as the Most High over all the earth.
Look at Psalm 96 please. The opening verses exhort us to praise Him in our worship and proclamation.
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.
For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. (Psalm 96:1–6 NKJV)
Psalm 145, the opening three verses. You could almost make this the key text of the day. They are good verses to memorize.
I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day [no exceptions] I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:1-3 NKJV)
The New International Version says, “His greatness no one can fathom.”
One last verse. Psalm 150:2. In the last culminating psalm of this beautiful worship and praise book of the nation of Israel and of all of God’s people, there is a symphony of praise to the Lord.
Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! [or the expanse of His heavens!] Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! (Psalm 150:1–2 NKJV)
Great is the Lord! Let us pray.
Father, I pray in these few moments together You will help all of us to focus on the greatness of our God in a fresh and wonderful way that will cause us to stop doubting, to stop being confused about what the answer is to our problems. It is so frequent in all of our lives that we seek every possible solution except You. May You become a living, personal, vital friend and relationship to every single believer here. May those who are not believers long to know a God who is great like the Bible expresses. May we see that we need to trust Him, to worship Him, to honor Him, to consider Him in all of our ways. Thank You, Lord, for all You are going to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
There are three things, basically, that comprise the greatness of God. One, which is rather surprising in that our whole series is dedicated to knowing about God, is the fact that He is incomprehensible. I want to focus on that a little bit. God is incomprehensible. That is, it is impossible to know Him. And yet we are going to try. All we have at our disposal is the written revelation of God, facts that God has chosen, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to allow us to see about Himself and His greatness. But within those facts, God reveals that we will never discover all that He is. He is the incomprehensible God. He is beyond knowing.
Please turn to the book of Judges 13. After the opening five books of the Law, you have Joshua, Judges and Ruth. The book of Judges is a terrible period in Israel’s history. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes, but there were some notable exceptions of people who really called on the Lord and saw great and mighty things. No matter how rotten society can become, there is always that power of the living God, the greatness of God that can change any person’s life, any person’s situation. The parents of Samson, the judge, who was mightily used of God, were such people. What a wonderful story it is: Samson’s parents, a man named Manoah and his wife, lived through many childless years. They had no child so they prayed and asked God to give them a child. And the angel of the Lord paid Manoah a visit. It was not just an ordinary angel, but a particular messenger of the Lord, with a title that usually refers to the Messiah. It is my belief that our own Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is appearing to Manoah and his wife.
It is interesting in verse 17,
Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, “What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?” And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (Judges 13:17–18 NKJV)
What? What does it say? “Wonderful!”
In English the word wonderful, means fantastic, terrific, and really great. That is not the meaning of the Hebrew word. The best English word I know for the meaning of the Hebrew word is incomprehensible. It is too difficult to understand. When Manoah wanted to know what the name of the Angel of the Lord was, he said, “It is too wonderful for you.” The greatness of our God is seen in that one word wonderful, incomprehensible.
You remember the verses that we often see at Christmastime on plaques and posters. We use the verses a lot at that particular time.
Isaiah 9:6 says,
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called wonderful.
We read in Psalm 145:3 that His greatness is unsearchable, that no one can fathom it. We are talking of the greatness of God. And what do we mean? He is incomprehensible. It refers to three things: what He knows, what He does, and who He is.
Let us start with what He knows. Why is God so great that it is impossible to know what He knows? And the answer is that not one single person who has been created by God has ever been given the capacity of God Himself. We are all limited in our knowledge, but He is not. He knows all things. From beginning to end, anything that has ever happened in your life or in mine, the Bible says that God knows it all. He knows our weaknesses better than we do. He knows what sins have been in our lives or will be. He knows what tragedies will come. He knows what sorrows we bear and what pains and hurts are ours. And because we do not understand that doctrine, we quickly move to the belief that somehow God does not care. And yet over and over again He says He cares. He knows and He cares. He will not do it like you think, but He will do what is right. And He will do it for His glory and His honor. And He asks us to trust Him, but we want to be in charge. We want to be the captain of our own fate, the master of our own destiny. We want to grab hold of it and make the decision. And God says, “You will never know what I know—ever.”
Let me give you an example. Turn to Psalm 139, a wonderful, beautiful psalm, whose opening six verses deal with the omniscience of God, that He knows everything and the fact that we cannot know it. So He is indeed incomprehensible to the human mind. He knows what no one else knows.
You know after this Job tried to find out why he was suffering so much. Have you ever tried to find that out? I think if we had a testimony time right now and asked people to share what they are going through, we could spend hours here just hearing incredible stories. It would almost be like one-upmanship. It is like the guy who said, “I complained that I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.” Each one of us could go on and on, telling how tragedy struck. And it would get worse and worse and worse. Every one of us has an incredible set of problems in our lives, from past, present, and I am sure in the future. And we could continue to pour out those problems and those difficulties and those hurts.
Job went through a lot. Everyone who reads the Job passage while going through suffering, gets a measure of comfort. Because they can see in their life the same things that Job went through. Job tried to understand, Why, Lord, is all this happening to me? God never gave him any answers. God made him suffer through the wisdom of friends who really tried to give him correct Bible doctrine. They pointed out that maybe one of the reasons was his sin. They pointed out that maybe God was just showing him how fragile human nature is. Well, actually it was the worm syndrome they gave him.
God gave Job a lot of friends who did not give him correct information. And you might ask, “Since God knows all things, why did He do that?” Why does God let us be exposed to a hassle of things that never bring us the truth? Why does God even allow that? The whole book of Job has that message, in addition to the message of encouragement in suffering. Perhaps it is the fundamental message. Job finally, after hearing all of his friends, said, “Miserable comforters are you all.” He was getting no peace for his torn apart heart. He was not getting any satisfaction as to why he was suffering. He lost his family, his possessions and his personal health deteriorated. He was in sackcloth and ashes and nobody was helping him. But when he finally ran out of conversation, God talked to Job. I do not know how God said it, but He sure got his attention. And He brought two gigantic animals, which I believe were dinosaurs, to his attention. He said, “Nobody can conquer these Job, I made those.” Job saw this whole vivid illustration in front of his eyes and said, “Now I know You can do anything.” And listen to these words: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know.”
The meaning of wonderful, is incomprehensible. God, I do not know what You are doing. I have been a motor-mouth on this. I have uttered things constantly that I did not understand. I tried to act like I could possibly understand. Lord, I am now going to rest in the fact that I do not know why You have done this. But I know that You have a purpose in it. So I am going to be quiet. God says, “Good, now I can bless you.”
Boy, is that ever something for us to take home today and put in our hearts. May God teach us all to rest in Him when we do not understand. The greatness of our Lord, it is incomprehensible. It refers to what He knows.
And listen to these words in Psalm 139.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1–6 NKJV)
The last phrase explains the meaning of wonderful. It is so high! Your knowledge is so vast, so great, above all things that I can never hope to understand it. I cannot attain it. Lord, You know everything. And I do not know what You know. And I do not know why You are doing what You are doing. You are incomprehensible. It refers to what He knows.
Isaiah 28:29 says, “He is wonderful in counsel and knowledge.” It means it is incomprehensible to us. We have to trust Him that His advice, His counsel, is what we all need.
Not only what He knows, but what He does is wonderful. Turn to Isaiah 25:1. I love this verse.
O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things. (NKJV)
Incomprehensible things He has done. You see, the fact that God is great and incomprehensible in that greatness not only refers to what He knows but what He actually does.
Let me ask you if you understand why God does what He does? Listen, the only time we ever understand it is when it turns out that it is good in our category. Amen? Do you follow me? If what God does is in our list of really super special good things this week, then we say, “Oh what a wonderful God He is. Let me tell you what He did.” But nobody goes on to describe it like this: “You know, I had a bum week. I am telling you, I mean, I do not even know why it happened.” Those are not the testimonies we thrill in. But do you know that God delights in that human frustration? God delights to hear people say, “You know, I do not know what God is doing. Let me tell you what happened to me. I do not know why it happened.” But from God’s perspective praise, glory and honor have just reached heaven’s throne, because now man is in the place where he can enjoy and understand the eternal God and what He wants to do in his life.
It is when we think we have a hold on everything and we understand what He is doing, that we are far from the truth. We just do not know it.
You know, I am in the business of explaining things in the Bible to people. And it is amazing how many people come up and they think that I have the answer. Now I try to take them to the Word as fast as I can. But even when I quote some of the passages to people, they get irritated when I say, “Well, there are three or four good views by different people. And here is the correct one.” They get irritated. But I think we need a little intellectual honesty along the way. Even these wonderful things that seem so simple that a child can see them and understand them, we know that there is a depth to the riches and knowledge of God that sometimes embarrasses us later.
Do you know how God normally embarrasses speakers like me? It is often through a tape ministry. People come up all the time and show me a tape I did ten years ago. They say, “You now disagree with what you said on that tape. What are you going to do about it?” The only thing I can say is, “I am growing, okay.” I think the most important thing you can do in life to demonstrate that you really understand what I am saying is to disagree with yourself at some point. At some point to argue against yourself and admit that you, in fact, were totally dead wrong and now, your mind has been changed. Some of us are bound and determined never to change. “Listen, I still believe what I always believed.” Well then, you are not growing.
There are certain facts that we must always believe, even though we do not understand them. It is what faith is all about. But to try to let folks believe that we know everything is the height of human arrogance and conceit.
God’s knowledge is important and God’s actions are important. And they are both incomprehensible. Think about what Paul said in Romans 11:33. It says, “His ways are past finding out.” But a lot of us think we know. In Isaiah it says, “His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.” Then why in the world are we trying to act like we know and we understand what God knows and does?
Turn back to Psalm 145. It is not just what He knows or what He does, it is who He is that is incomprehensible. And that is what we read a moment ago in Psalm 145. Look again at these three verses. It says,
I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD.
Here, it is not the knowledge of the Lord. It is not the works of the Lord. It is the Lord Himself.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:1–3 NKJV)
His greatness is past finding out. There is no limitation. It is impossible to understand. When you ask me, “What is the meaning of the greatness of our God?” I say, “Incomprehensible.”
Number two, when you ask me about the greatness of God, I immediately contrast it with man. So I give you a second word, He is incorruptible. That is why He is great. Everything else in life is corruptible. It is falling apart—including all of us. Amen? Now that can be depressing unless you have the joy of the Lord. Every last one of us, given enough time, will prove that we are falling apart. Amen? Now you can think about that and really be blessed by it. Amen? It happens to us emotionally and it happens to us physically. All of life demonstrates one thing—we do not last.
Everything they sell us does not last either. Have you noticed that? And I have been thinking about this for many years. I think they are making stuff to look better and to last a shorter period of time than ever before. I believe that is because they want you to experience that thing breaking, in order to get you to buy the latest one that they have coming out. Nobody is selling stuff anymore and saying, “Well, it is crummy, but you will never see that break down. It does not look good, but I will tell you that is solid.” All of us are finding that it is the glitter and glamour of everything that they sell to us. But the truth of the matter is down in our hearts, we know that nothing lasts. The world is passing away and all that it contains.
God is so different. When you talk of God’s greatness, He is incorruptible. And there are two things that are behind that. One, is because He is holy and the other is because He is eternal. Because He is holy, He is not like that which corrupts. Everything that corrupts is unholy.
Special attention will be given to the theme of the holiness of God before we are done in our series. But at this point, let me tell you that there are two ways to describe the holiness of God. The word holy, used all the way through the Bible, means to be separate, to set apart, separation. There are two ways in which God is holy. One, He is separate from sin. That is what a lot of us understand as the fundamental idea of holiness, separate from sin. Are you glad He is not separate from sinners? Our Lord Jesus was a friend of sinners, but He was totally without sin. Now that is a major idea of holiness.
But the fundamental idea of holiness, that is, the root behind that one, is that God is separate from everything that He Himself made. He is separate from the material and physical universe and all of its creation, including angels and man. What that means is we are not pantheists. God is not in this table. He is not in this microphone. He is not in the trees. He is not Mother Nature. God is totally separate.
New Age thinking is permeating our schools, our educational systems. It is permeating our business community with all kinds of seminars and learning tools. There are books everywhere. Their number one thinking purports that God is all and all is God. It is pantheistic through and through. It is discovering the god that you are. It is seeing God in everything, the trees, the plants and the animals; therefore, save the whales. Everything goes on like that. “Kill the babies; save the whales” is of course, philosophical nonsense. But this generation is not thinking clearly.
God is not to be identified with that which He Himself created. He is not trees and He is not mountains; that is the result of His creative power. God exists behind that, outside of that, and totally separate from it, although He invades it all with His omnipresence because He is everywhere at once.
Turn to Psalm 30:4 and let us just look at this for a moment concerning the greatness of God. Because His name is holy, therefore He is great. He is not like man.
Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
His name is holy.
Turn to Psalm 97:12.
Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
He is holy.
Turn to Psalm 99, which is really a psalm about holiness.
The LORD reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! The LORD is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy. Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy. Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the LORD our God is holy. (Psalm 99:1–3, 5, 9 NKJV)
Turn to Psalm 111:9.
He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name.
Greatness and holiness are put together. Why is God so great? It is because He is incorruptible. He is holy. He is separate from what was made that will not last. He Himself will last. He never is corrupted in any way, shape or form. Neither sin, nor circumstances, nor any physical factors, that affect all of us like weather and health and bugs and viruses, can affect God at all. He is the incorruptible God, as well as being incomprehensible.
Turn please to Psalm 72. He is not only holy, He is eternal. Everything else does not last, and everything has a beginning. God had no beginning. He has always existed, and that is how great He is. I can still remember my theology class on the doctrine of God. I spent one solid semester going every single day with hours of reading all kinds of books on it, and I was just learning about who God is. And I can remember the discussion about the eternal character of God. I can remember my head hurting. I mean, it bothered me so much. I was bound and determined to understand how God could be eternal, have no beginning and no end. I tried to think of illustrations. I did a study project. I wrote a paper, which the teacher said was nonsense. I did everything I possibly could to discover what the eternal character of God was all about. You know something? I still do not know. Everything that I am used to, had a beginning. God never started. Every time I think about anything, I think there is a beginning and end, a cause and effect. I am sorry, I cannot help it. It is what I am all about and what you are all about. Somehow we have been programmed that way. And yet, God had no beginning and will have no end. He is the incorruptible God.
In Psalm 72:17, it says, His name, His character, what He is all about, shall endure forever. His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him. All nations shall call Him blessed.
Talk about a contrast. In Psalm 102:11–12, God takes man and contrasts him with Himself. The psalmist says,
My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass.
That is man. We are just a shadow. Whatever time of life we have it is just a lengthening of that, but we will wither away like grass. That is all we are.
But You, O LORD, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
In the little community where we live there are trees, like in most communities, but they have been planted with special design. There are lovely trees there, but some of the trees have something wrong with them and the leaves are dying and withering. I was sitting out by the pool and I was talking to a gentleman who has lived there longer than we have. And he was discussing with me the tragedy of the trees and how we can solve this. “Because,” he said, “you know the trees last forever.” If he just had not said that I could have done like my wife and kept quiet. But when you hear wrong doctrine it is hard to be quiet. I know we are supposed to slip it in on them and build bridges of friendship. But I cannot stand it! I said, “That is an example to me of all of life. Nothing lasts.” He looked at me and said, “What are you so down about?”
My dear friends, God is eternal! He lasts! He has no beginning. He has no end. He has always been there. He is what it is all about. In Psalm 102:11 we learn about man’s fragile nature and that we will not last. But look at the conclusion in verse 12.
But You, O LORD, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
Look at Psalm 135:13.
Your name, O LORD, endures forever, Your fame, O LORD, throughout all generations.
Why is God incorruptible? It is because His name is holy and because His name is eternal.
We have given you two things. When we talk about the greatness of God, He is incomprehensible and incorruptible. But I love the third and final point. He is incomparable. You want to know how great He is—He cannot be compared to anything. He is incomparable. Where are you going to start?
And I want to give you just two things that demonstrate the incomparable nature of God. First is His position, and second is His power. He is incomparable in terms of His position, as well as His power.
In focusing on His position, would you turn to Ephesians 1. Remember that our God, who made everything, is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—one God manifesting Himself as three persons. The eternal Son of God is under discussion and the greatness of our God applies to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In Ephesians 1:19–23 it says,
And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, [Now watch this] far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (NKJV)
It is as though we are not getting the point. What he is saying is, in so many phrases, point after point after point, no one is higher than God. How is God great in the sense of being incomparable, affecting His position over all? No one is greater. He is far above all principalities and powers. Name some great leader, some mighty force. God is above it all. The Lord Jesus Christ is above it all.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11 NKJV)
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
He is above all names that are named. Not only His position, but also His power, demonstrates that He is incomparable.
Turn back to Psalm 66:1–4. The power of our God demonstrates that He is incomparable. A description of His greatness must include that. No one is to be like Him.
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.”
Why? It is because of the greatness of His power.
Look at chapter 68:32 please.
Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; Oh, sing praises to the Lord, To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old! Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice. Ascribe strength to God; his excellence is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds. O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God! (Psalm 68:32–35 NKJV)
What is at the root of our problems? It is a misunderstanding or a misapplication of who God is and what God can do.
Let me give you two illustrations of the incomparability of God, in terms of power. Just two things: first prayer, God is able to answer prayer. Amen? Turn to John 14. God can answer prayer. Now, either you understand what I am saying about the greatness of God and who He is, or you don’t fathom all of its implications. But the major point is that one of the first applications in the heart of the believer is that praying to Him is not a waste of time. Praying to Him is not meaningless. Praying to Him may be the most important thing I can do in life. God really does have power and greatness, as opposed to anything I might try; therefore, praying to Him is what I need to do more than anything else.
All of a sudden, when you understand who God is, guess what? Prayer moves up the list and becomes a priority in the believer’s life. Prayer is always down on the list when the preaching, teaching ministry of the church is focusing on the needs of people—believe it or not. Often that is where prayer requests come from, the needs of people. But what in fact happens is that because of the concentration on man and not God, the motivation to prayer becomes a weak matter. It is a difficult thing. Repetition becomes a problem of just going through the motions and saying the same kinds of words you have always said. We even teach children how to pray and new converts how to pray, and so there is a routine. Christians get used to it. We offer quickies when we have food, before we go to bed at night or when we get up. It becomes a routine or a pattern, and in some terrible sense it becomes empty because we forget who God is. It is the greatness of God and His power that says to me that prayer is most important.
I read in John 14:13–14 that Jesus said,
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
And we can find an incredible list of reasons why that does not happen and it reveals our arrogance, conceit, doubt, and discouragement. And it reveals that we do not believe in who God is. That is what He said. Look in John 15:16. Jesus said,
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
And in verses 23–27 He says,
And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. (NKJV)
What He is telling us is, “Ask. I can do it. I can answer prayer.” Talk about the power of God! He is incomparable. Who else can do this for you?
How about saving people as a second illustration and final word? Who is like God? Who has the power to save the human heart from sin, death, and hell? Read in John 1:12.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
You talk about incomparable. Peter said in Acts 4:12,
Neither is there salvation in any other name, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
It says in 1 Peter 1:5 that we are kept by the power of God. Is there anyone who can save us and keep us and bring us finally to our heavenly home but God Almighty? The Bible says, “No! He is incomparable.” Nothing else will do. No other message will work. It is only Him. And He asks us to bend the knee and confess with the mouth, believe in our hearts that He indeed is who He claimed to be. God wants you to trust His greatness. God wants you to believe in Him, not in your ability to believe it. “Though we believe not,” Paul says, “yet He abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
Jesus honored the great faith of the centurion. Yet it is recorded that he said, “Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). The key issue is not my faith. The key issue is who God is. God is asking us to trust what He tells us in His Word about who He is. And He has the power to save you right on the spot, right where you sit now. No matter what your agnostic attitudes have been or your hesitancy has been, God Almighty has the power to save you right now. Call upon His mighty and powerful name. Ask and you will receive. God can do it because of who He is.
I love to talk about the greatness of God. Let us pray.
Father, You know that there is a hesitancy in our hearts because we focus on our circumstances, our problems, whatever the reason on our human abilities. But there is hesitancy in our heart to trust You. God, I pray that You would set us free. That can be an agonizing and painful way to live. God, You are great. There is nothing too hard for You. Each of us has to walk out of here and run smack into life again. And it can be so routine, dull, overbearing, hard, and difficult. You will test us again to see whether we believe in the God described in the Bible who is great and awesome. When we do not know what is happening, God, help us to remember that You do, so teach us to rest in You. When we find ourselves weakening and see everything around collapsing and perishing, help us to remember that You are eternal. When we see everybody trying to exalt their own importance, God, help us to remember that You are incomparable. There is nobody like You. There is nobody that is more important for us to know than You, and that You can answer prayer, and that You can save us. God we thank You. Work in our hearts as only You can do. By Your Holy Spirit, draw us to the Lord Jesus. We pray that we might bow the knee and acknowledge that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Thank You, Lord, for what You are going to do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.