1 47-51 How Big Is Your God
liberty bible church 11/18/07 a.M.
By Tom Zobrist
“how big is your god?”
Illus. of Humor: “False Prophets and Messiahs” Several years ago, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks did a comedy skit called the "2013 Year Old Man". In the skit, Reiner interviews Brooks, who is the old gentleman. At one point, Reiner asks the old man, "Did you always believe in the Lord?" Brooks replied: "No. We had a guy in our village named Phil, and for a time we worshiped him." Reiner: You worshiped a guy named Phil? Why? Brooks: Because he was big, and mean, and he could break you in two with his bare hands! Reiner: Did you have prayers? Brooks: Yes, would you like to hear one? O Phil, please don't be mean, and hurt us, or break us in two with your bare hands. Reiner: So when did you stop worshiping the Lord? Brooks: Well, one day a big thunderstorm came up, and a lightning bolt hit Phil. We gathered around and saw that he was dead. Then we said to one another, "There's somthin' bigger than Phil!" Left to his sinful self, man has the ability to create all sorts of gods and in fact has done that. In this example he makes fun of gods and religions. The world has been full of religions and gods too numerous to name from the beginning of time. Even within Christianity today, we view God differently. Different views of Theology Proper, Christology, and Pneumatology create different views of who God is, how He functions, and what He can do. We want to spend some time this morning thinking about God. Who is He and how big is He really and how should that affect the way we live?
OPEN to passage.
Prop. In this passage, we get a glimpse of how big God really is.
Open in PRAYER.
PREVIEW the passage. As Jesus continues to choose His disciples, we see that the views of who God was then and what the Messiah would look like when He came were different in many ways to Israelites. One disciple gets a lesson today on what the Messiah was like and how big God really is. So, how big is God?
i. big enough to see through you vs. 47-49
Illus. of the x-ray machines used in the 40’s and 50’s in shoe stores as a sales gimmick. Supposedly you got a better fit if these were used. Of course, they were outlawed after it was discovered how dangerous x-rays can be when one is overexposed. Man has created all sorts of devices to see through the human body, but none to see through to the human soul. That’s where God has an advantage.
A. He sees our attitudes
READ v 43-46 to get the context. Nathanael already has a chip on his shoulder. Maybe a little cynical, considering the political climate and the fact that God has been silent for so long. And now, you tell me the Messiah is here?
V 47 1. Jesus sees right through him. “guile” means deceit. Unlike Jacob in Genesis who had to scheme to get God’s blessings and birthright, Nathanael tells it like it is. He puts on airs for no one. What you see is what you get. He’s not going to be a people pleaser.
2. Jesus sees his heart, knows the potential that is there, and speaks as directly to Nathanael as Nathanael would to him. God is big enough to see our attitudes.
b. He sees our activities
V 48a 1. Nathanael has one of those “Have we met before?” experiences. How does Jesus know what he is like?
V 48b 2. Jesus responds that He knew what Nathanael was doing before Philip approached him. Frequently in the OT, this referred to leisure and supply. Cf. 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10 Some believe it refers to a place of meditation and that perhaps Nathanael was meditating on Jacob’s life, particularly Gen. 28:12. We’ll explain when we get to number II. The point of these verses is that God knows intimate details of our lives. Cf. Ps. 139:1-16 The rest we will read later. God is big enough to see our attitudes and activities. This should lead to…
c. understanding these truths leads to proper worship
Illus. of many struggle with worship or even being part of worship. The problem isn’t the music, it’s the improper understanding of who God is.
V 49 1. Nathanael moves from cynicism to believing. He sees Jesus as the Son of God and King of Israel. He maybe doesn’t understand everything about the Trinity just yet, but He sees Jesus as the fulfillment of OT Messianic prophecies. Cf. Ps. 2:6-7
2. He knew that the Messiah would have the Spirit of God and be able to have supernatural knowledge, if He so chose. Cf. Is. 11:1-2 Once again,
Trans. GOD IS BIG ENOUGH TO SEE THROUGH YOU. Second…
ii. big enough to steal the show vs. 50-51
Illus. of all the entertainment that has come into the church today. Does God need “stick” to reach people?
a. the greatest show on earth
V 50a 1. Nathanael believed because of Jesus’ demonstration of His omniscience. Is that all it took?
V 50b 2. You will see much more than this. Jesus is probably referring to the number of miracles that He would perform during His short ministry here on the earth, of which Nathanael would be an eye witness. If he was impressed here, it will get better. Illus. of when we are in tune with God, just when we think we have seen it all, God does something bigger and better than we expect. I.e. changing people’s lives. Not only is He the greatest show on earth, He is…
b. the greatest show not on earth
V 51 1. This is where many believe Jesus was referring to Gen. 28:12. Just as Jacob received confirmation from Heaven, so Jesus would be confirmed as the Messiah. The disciples would receive divine confirmation. Only instead of a ladder, the go between is the Lord Himself. In Genesis, Bethel means “God’s dwelling place.” Jesus was now God’s dwelling place at the outset of His ministry and today we are, through the same Spirit that descended upon Him.
2. “Son of Man” is used by Jesus more than 80 times and refers to His humanity, work, and suffering as the perfect man.
3. “Most assuredly, I say to you” occurs 25 times in John and always calls attention to important information. Nathanael would have affirmed the truths that he already stated here. Most certainly…
JESUS IS BIG ENOUGH TO SEE THROUGH YOU and JESUS IS BIG ENOUGH TO STEAL THE SHOW, on earth and in Heaven as well. If this is true, how should this affect us?
1. He knows whether or not we’re really saved. GOSPEL He called the hypocritical religious leaders, “white washed sepulchers. Don’t play games with God.
2. Psalm 139:17-18- God’s Word should be precious to us. We should care what God thinks about everything we do in life.
3. Psalm 139:19-22- The only way to slay the wicked is to win them to Christ. We can pray for them and share the Gospel with them. God will judge, we witness to. They may be our enemies, but we love them enough to tell them the Truth. We hate their sin, but love their souls.
4. Psalm 139:23-24- Invite God to expose our weaknesses and be ready to repent.
Illus. of “What It Really Takes to Follow” From a recent Hagar the Horrible comic: Hagar is inciting on his troops. "This is the moment we've been waiting for men! The moment we do battle with the enemy! Is everyone here?" They shout: "YES!" Hagar continues: "Okay men -- repeat after me. 'I am a Viking Warrior!'" "I AM A VIKING WARRIOR!" they shout. "And I will fight to the death for what I believe!" (silence in the next frame) (silence again in a second frame) In the third frame Hagar asks: "Okay, why aren't you repeating after me?!" One meek Viking speaks for them all: "Hagar, the men would like to change that to 'and I will fight hard until it's time for dinner.'" Similarly, could you image a poster of Jesus pointing his finger at you (like "Uncle Sam") with "I want you" printed in large letters. Then, in much smaller print: You will be arrested and persecuted. You will be handed over to religious and secular authorities. You will witness to these authorities about Jesus. You will be betrayed by family members. Some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all because of me.
Is your God big enough to sustain you through any of this? He is! Jesus proved it when He was here and He proves it today through His people. Will you be one of those. Let the world around you see how big God is by the way you live and love and serve.
“how big is your god?”
Left to his sinful self, man has the ability to create all sorts of gods. Who is He, how big is He, and how should that affect the way we live?
i. big enough to vs. 47-49
A. He sees our _______________________________
b. He sees our ________________________________
Cf. 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10; Ps. 139:1-16
C. understanding these truths leads to…
Cf. Ps. 2:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-2
ii. big enough to vs. 50-51
a. the greatest show ____________________________
b. the greatest show ____________________________
Cf. Gen. 28:12
If this is true, how should this affect us?
Cf. Ps. 139:17-18
Cf. Psalm 139:19-22
Cf. Psalm 139:23-24