“The Three Fingers of God”
In 1989, a Philadelphia financial analyst purchased an old, torn picture of a country scene for $4 at a flea market in Adamstown, PA because he liked the frame. Later, when he attempted to detach the frame from the painting, the frame fell apart in his hands and he found a folded document between the canvas and wood backing which appeared to be an old copy of the Declaration of Independence. A friend who collected Civil War memorabilia advised him to have it appraised.
It was real -- one of 500 official copies from the first printing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. (Only twenty-four similar copies were known to exist before this find, of which a mere three were privately owned.) This rare document was offered for sale by Sotheby's on June 4, 1991 and the lucky find fetched even more than had been anticipated: the $800,000 to $1.2 million estimate turned into $2.42 million by the sound of the gavel.
Last month (June 2000) Donald Scheer of Atlanta, who purchased the original copy for $2.42 million put it up for sale a second time. Months prior to the auction, Sotheby's confirmed the printed broadsheet not only as authentic but also as one of the three finest known - as crisp as it was on the evening it was printed by John Dunlap to carry the news of America's independence to the people of the thirteen colonies. This time, the find that was purchased for $4 at a flea market went for a whopping $8.14 million in an on-line auction!
If that handwritten note, signed by the 56 founding fathers that declared America’s independence from Great Britain was worth $8.14 million, think what an original hand-written note from God must be worth!
I think it is interesting to note that…
PROPOSITION: Three different times in the course of history God took the time to write out His thoughts by hand. What he had to say was so important that he gave hand-written notes so we wouldn’t miss the intent of His message.
I want us to look at those three places in time today.
INTERROGATIVE STATEMENT: What are you going to do with God’s three handwritten notes? Are you going to treat them with great value and respect or are you going to handle them foolishly?
There’s eternal treasure at stake here today. I hope you realize the great opportunity before you.
When Adam and Eve lived in innocence in the Garden of Eden there was no knowledge of good or evil because evil did not exist in their hearts or minds. However, when they fell prey to Satan’s deception and ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, sin entered their world and they were suddenly confronted with choices they never needed to know. Innocence was lost. That’s one of the by-products of sin – it’s steals your innocence. At this point in time God wanted to make the boundaries of sin very clear to His chosen people so He sent Moses up Mt. Sinai and He etched in stone with His own finger the “10 Commandments.”
He wrote the LAW. It was important because it gave us God’s clear-cut definition of sin. The LAW points out what sin is so we can recognize it.
Don’t have any other gods before me.
Don’t make idols.
Don’t misuse the Name of the Lord your God.
Don’t forget the Sabbath.
Don’t dishonor or disrespect you father and mother.
Don’t commit adultery.
The first time God wrote, he wrote the LAW. He drew a line that we shouldn’t cross over. He created clear and distinct boundaries and told us if we move outside of them, we have sinned. It was a high standard but God is a holy God. It created a lot of guilt because we are all sinners and we continuously fall short of the mark.
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
You and I were never expected to live up to God’s standards without help from God. He drew the lines in an effort to bring definition to sin and to draw us to Him for help. Unfortunately, to this very day, a great many of us either think we can be holy without Him or we get hung up on all the “DON’TS”. You can find people who feel they are saved because they practice a man-made religious system of “do’s and don’ts”, and you can find people who will tell you they don’t need the guilt or the hassle of someone telling them what they can and can’t do.