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Summary: Over the next 3 weeks, we are going to magnify our focus on God, lifting Him up as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today our focus is on the Father.

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“Behold the Greatness of God”

(Part 1 - Our Heavenly Father)

Psalm 103:1-18

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - Jan. 20, 2008

*Is there any praise in your heart this morning? Take a good look inside and ask yourself: “Is there any praise in my heart today for the Lord?”

*David must have asked a similar question before he wrote this Psalm. And he must have seen a lack, because he started the Psalm by talking to himself -- Challenging himself to praise the Lord with these words, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits”

*The word picture for “bless” there is bowing down before God in loving adoration. It’s the same word Job used after losing most of his possessions and all of his children. He fell on the ground, worshipped God and said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

*In Psalm 34:1-3 David said: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.”

*Over the next 3 weeks, we are going to magnify our focus on God, lifting Him up as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today our focus is on the Father.

1. So give Him glory, first of all, because He gives us the ultimate forgiveness.

*As David said in vs. 3: He “forgives all your iniquities” How many of our sins is God willing to forgive in vs. 3? All of them! God’s forgiveness is the ultimate forgiveness.

*David gave us a wonderful expression of this truth down in vs. 8-12, where he tells us that: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

*God takes our sins away as far as the east is from the west! But how far is that? Well, the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy. This “next door” galaxy is 2 ½ million light years away from our own, and that is an incredible distance! But when God took our sins away, He was just getting started when He got to the Andromeda Galaxy! As far as the east is from the west -- That’s how far He has removed our transgressions from us!

*But where did they go? There was only one place that they ever could have gone, and that was on Jesus Christ, when He died on the Cross for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. . .” Dad, would you be willing to do that? But “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The ultimate forgiveness came at the ultimate cost. The Father gave His only Son to die on the cross for us.

*But wonder of wonders, He rose again from the dead! And God promises total forgiveness to all who trust in Him. Think of it: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

*Wendell Sellers once heard a pastor preaching about God’s forgiveness. And he told a story about a coloring book his mom bought him when he was in the first grade. This little boy didn’t want to be called a sissy, so he started scribbling on the first page until it looked horrible. He had reached page ten when his teacher caught him. And from then on she helped him color until the book was finished.

*A few weeks later it was parent night at the school. When he walked in his classroom with Mom, his heart sank, because their coloring books were on top of each desk. And the preacher said, “My mother picked up my book to look through it and I shouted, ‘Oh no, Mother! Look at the book Jane colored.’ -- But she wanted to see my book.

*As she turned the first 5 or 6 pages I saw a tear roll down her cheek. I knew this was the end for me. But then she smiled and picked me up and kissed me and said, ‘Son this book is beautiful. I am so proud of you.’

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