Summary: We all stand rightly "struck with astonishment" at the greatness of God!
The Greatness of God! Luke 9:28-43a
Are you extremely proud of your lifetime accomplishments? I have known the lure of pride in the accomplishments of my life; perhaps you have as well. It was on November 21 of 1877 that Thomas Edison announced to the world that he had invented the phonograph. Edison’s accomplishments are often forgotten. In his Menlo Park, New Jersey fix-it shop he designed the following items: the household light bulb, a motion picture device, the telephone transmitter, stock ticker improvements, the mimeograph machine, the dictating machine and much more. If anyone had a right to brag, Edison did.
However, he humbly acknowledged he couldn’t create the simplest form of life.
The Creator of everything and everyone has this perspective on bragging rights. He inspired the prophet Jeremiah to write, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24 NIV). When we understand how incomparable our Creator is and then realize how our knowledge, talents and wealth are but gifts from his limitless storehouse, then and only then we will discover how few bragging rights we really have.
In today’s text the disciples of Jesus learn this lesson and much more. Indeed, they and the crowds saw the incredible power of god displayed that day.
This morning my aim is simple. While it is always my goal to do it in a way that is interesting and stimulating, my method is simply to see what God has to say to us today in the pages of the Bible; God’s holy word and our guide for life.
Thesis: By way of examining this passage of Scripture I hope that we all will be encouraged – amazed – by the greatness of the God whom we serve.
When I consider the works of God I am utterly amazed. Consider the wonder of creation. All that it is was created by God “ex nihilo,” out of nothing. According to the plain teaching of Holy Scripture, there was no precondition of creation upon which God stumbled and reformed. According to the Bible there was no broken world which God fixed; neither anything set in motion nor left to its own devices as is the proposition of theistic evolution.
Consider the words of the Psalmist, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (8:3-4 KJV)
When I consider the works of God’s hand in creation I am struck by the sheer inadequacy of humanity’s ability to formulate a more theory or hypothesis which is in any way provable and exceeds the authority of the word of God.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3 KJV)
Perhaps Francis Shafer, in his systematic theology, says it better than anyone:
“With no ability to receive the things of God or to know them, man is unable to give intelligent consent to the dictum that all existing things were created from nothing by the immediate fiat of God (Heb_11:3). Recognizing, however, that all existing things must have a beginning, he proceeds to construct his own solution of the problem of origin. The best he has done is represented by the theories of evolution, which theories, because of their inconsistencies and unproved hypotheses, are somewhat worse than no solution at all. Is man who so fails to discover any reasonable solution of this problem at the same time to be credited with the authorship of the Genesis account of creation, which account is the one basis whereon all subsequent revelation proceeds?”
What Shafer is saying is twofold: (1) Man is unable to look back into past and test his evolutionary hypothesis as to viability. (2) Has man invented a theory which exceeds the revelation of Scripture and if he has not then how can he, as some have asserted, be credited with writing the Genesis account of creation?
If man’s wisdom is insufficient to test his claims as to origins, then how can it be said that his wisdom is greater than the revelation which God has given?
Further, he is implying that if the revelation of God is otherwise proven to have power, authority, and truth value, then the totality of its value is credited. In other words, when biblical truth is applied to my life in matters of practical value and my life greatly improves this may be seen as a “proof” of its truthfulness.