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Is your imagination of God starved?

Greatness of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Many are so distracted by the things of the world, that they have a distorted or limited imagination of God

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Sermon Text:

Is your imagination of God starved?

GOD, POWER OF

Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

—Rev. 14:7

GOD, POWER OF
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. —
e heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. —
William Temple once said:
Worship is the nourishment of the mind upon God’s truth. Worship is the quickening of the conscience by God’s holiness. Worship is the cleansing of the imagination by God’s beauty. Worship is the response of my life to God’s plan for my life.
Finally,  Imagination is more important than knowledge. —Albert Einstein, On Science
 Imagination is more important than knowledge. —Albert Einstein, On Science
Imagination
A popular song in my youth began, “Imagination is funny; it makes a cloudy day sunny …” Imagination is amazing! Imagination creates (think of Lord of the Rings, or a Shakespeare play, or a Beethoven symphony). It upholds relationships, for it shows you what the other person thinks and feels. As part of God’s image in us, it is good and essential; persons without imagination are badly lacking. But, like all good things, imagination can go bad. It can be used for withdrawing from reality into fantasy, and that is wrong and ruinous. Children love make-believe, but adult relationships need realism. If one imagines other people to be different from what they are, there will be trouble, as psychiatrists and marriage counselors know all too well. And what is true of human relationships is truer still of our relationship with God.
Imagining God
How should we form thoughts of God? Not only can we not imagine him adequately, since he is at every point greater than we can grasp; we dare not trust anything our imagination suggests about him, for the built-in habit of fallen minds is to scale God down. Sin began as response to the temptation, “You will be like God” (), and the effect of our wanting to be on God’s level is that we bring him down to ours. This is unrealistic, not to say irreverent, but it is what we all do when imagination is in the saddle.
 J. I. Packer, Growing in Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994), 243–244.
INTRODUCTION
Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things. .
The people of God in Isaiah’s day had starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their imagination aright… The test of spiritual concentration is bringing the imagination into captivity. Is your imagination looking on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Your work? Your conception of what a worker should be? Your experience of salvation and sanctification? Then your imagination of God is starved, and when you are up against difficulties you have no power, you can only endure in darkness. If your imagination is starved, do not look back to your own experience; it is God Whom you need.
One of the reasons of stultification in prayer is that there is no imagination, no power of putting ourselves deliberately before God. We have to learn how to be broken bread and poured-out wine on the line of intercession more than on the line of personal contact. Imagination is the power God gives a saint to posit himself out of himself into relationships he never was in.
 Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).

1. God’s salvation proclaimed a. Voice 1: Comfort God’s people b. Voice 2: Prepare the way for the Lord—repent c. Voice 3: Recognize the contrast between people & God d. Voice 4: Proclaim the “Good News” of God’s deliverance

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (). “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (). “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” ().
“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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high” ().
“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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high” ().
a. Voice 1: Comfort God’s people
“Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” ().
“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” ().
2) Their sins are paid for, pardoned: Because they had obviously repented
b. Voice 2: Prepare the way for the Lord—repent
c. Voice 3: Recognize the contrast between people & God
2) The result · God’s glory will be revealed · All mankind will see God’s glory
c. Voice 3: Recognize the contrast between people & God
2) God & His Word stand forever: He will fulfill His promises
d. Voice 4: Proclaim the “Good News” of God’s deliverance
2) Fearlessly proclaim God’s coming in power · to rule · to reward people

2. God’s greatness proclaimed a. The Lord is greater than the universe He has created b. The Lord is greater than any counselor or teacher c. The Lord is greater than all the nations of the earth—in all their power & glory d. The Lord is greater than all the images & false gods of this world e. The Lord is greater than all the people of the earth f. The Lord is greater than any being in the entire universe g. The Lord is more powerful than any trial or temptation

3) Fearlessly proclaim God’s tender care for His people · He feeds them · He leads them
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” ().
“Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” ().
“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” ().
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” ().
“And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” ().
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” ().
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” ().
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” ().
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” ().
“But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die” ().
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [housing, food, clothing] shall be added unto you” ().
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” ().
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” ().
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” ().
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