Summary: God is incomparable with everything and anyone, and He cannot be likened to our images of Him. He is God we are not, therefore we need to bow everything in submission to Him, and instead of declaring healing or blessing, pray that His will be done.
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Last week I shared about a gospel that is being taught and it is spreading like wildfire in Asia, Africa, Latin America and my country. It is a gospel that looks attractive on the outside, but on the inside it is a deadly poison. There are many names for it; prosperity gospel, health and wealth gospel, name it and claim it gospel, blab it and grab it gospel. I call it another name; a monstrous atrocity. It is an atrocity that demotes God and makes man divine. It is an atrocity that by your faith, you can speak into existence and declare whatever you want. Just declare healing in Jesus name. I will not have this cancer, I will be prosperous. Just speak it and declare it!
As I shared last week, it is based on 3 assumptions that are not Biblical. I heard a sermon on this by a good friend, Dr. Matthew St. John several months ago and he shared the origin and basis for this gospel. I appreciated his insight because it gave me a lot of insight into why these people believe like they do. For example, I mentioned being asked questions like, show me one verse in the Bible that says God is sovereign, or show me one verse in the Bible that says it is God’s will for you to be sick. It is these false assumptions that made me realize why they ask these questions. These assumptions are; man is a divine being, but he lost it to Satan when he sinned, Jesus in His death paid a ransom to get it back. The result of that is you are a “little god” who can manipulate God and the spiritual laws governing the universe. If this is not heresy, I don’t know what is.
And I went on to share 3 truths; only God is divine (Gen 1:26,27),, Jesus death was a payment for our sins, (2 Cor. 5:21) and we are not divine beings who can declare whatever we want into existence (Matt 6:10, Luke 22:42).
I want us to take a look at the God we worship; a window into God. Ask yourself, how big He is and how small we are.
How big is your God? The answer you give will tell the kind of spiritual life you live, how you serve God and how you live your life.
I am grateful to my friend Dr. Ramesh Richard who shared from this passage several years ago. I was at a singles retreat with my church in San Antonio. Ramesh was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He took a break for 4 years to pastor Delhi Bible Fellowship, in India. At the time of the retreat, I had no idea that a year later, Ramesh would be one of my professors at the seminary. I will admit, I admired his preaching and wanted to preach like that. As I get older, I still find myself wanting to imitate other preachers, but I eventually develop my style. But I remember being on campus shortly after I got accepted and on the campus is a big sign saying “Preach the Word” which is the motto of Dallas Seminary. That and Ramesh’s preaching inspired me to do just that. In fact Ramesh and his wife Bonnie are in Hong Kong now, finishing up an 18 day trip to Southeast Asia. I know they would appreciate your prayers as he has numerous speaking engagements. Too bad they won’t be in Bangkok, because I would let him preach this message instead of me.
Today I want us to look at a passage that, as Ramesh put so well, will give us a window into the God we worship. At AITCF I’ve heard the song, The God I Know. Make sure that the God you know is based on His word, and not something that you’ve made up.
Our passage is in Isaiah and I want to give you some background. It was written by Isaiah, which in Hebrew means YHWY is Salvation. The time of writing was between 740-680BC. Isaiah wrote it to the Southern Kingdom, Judah. If you read Isaiah, it is a message of judgment followed by a message of blessing. A common theme in the Bible is that judgment is always followed by blessing.
Isaiah is one of the best loved, if not the best love OT prophet. It is quoted over 400 times in the NT. Isaiah makes numerous reference to the Suffering Servant and Messiah.
Perhaps these pictures will help you to visualize what I will be talking about tonight. First, let’s go to the wilderness. In 1992 I went to Israel with a group of seminary students and 2 professors. I took hundreds of slides and pictures. I cannot remember all of them, but certain places will be burned into my mind forever. This picture is of the Judean wilderness. It is a barren, desolate place. You won’t find a Siam Paragon there. You won’t even find a shady place to rest. Vegetation is almost non existent. It is not a tourist attraction like The Grand Palace and Wat Arun.