Our concept of the Lord can get so small. We let our consciences and ideas box Him in. But He is the wise, eternal, immortal King of all kings. (1 Kings 20:28-29; Matthew 12:1-7)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11269
11:00 AM on 5/28/2017
Our theme is Your God is Too Small. This is a problem in our hearts and in the world generally that God is too small.
1 Ki 20. It’s kind of a humorous verse in a way.
vs. 27-28. They went to battle believing God was the God of the hills but then went in the valley and said God wasn’t in the valleys. They lost 100,000 men. After that they said God is the God of the hills and the God of the valleys. I wonder if he is the God of the swamp, prison, poverty. Is he in the pain, when a person has cancer? Is he able? Is he the healer? Who is God? God is too small for some people. That’s our subject today. Get stirred up! Say it dramatically like a Shakespeare actor. He is the God of the hills and the God of the valleys.
Mt. 12. Friday night was an amazing picnic. We had some hundreds of people in the parking lot with tables and grills and burgers and hotdogs. We even had coleslaw for those who are health food conscious!
My brother didn’t like tomatoes. My dad said why don’t you eat your tomatoes? Do you like ketchup? Then eat your tomatoes!
Friday night we raised money for Faith Promise. Amazing mission’s night…
Graduation yesterday, 32 graduates, good crowd, and pastors came from Tennessee, New York and various places. We appreciated the love and support. We had parties and barbeques in the afternoon…driving home last night after being with the Body was such a joy. This is the glory of God, to see the glory of God, to see God’s faithfulness.
We were in India a few weeks ago. In India we saw the glory of God. P. Carl and Suzi and then we went to Nepal in the mountains and saw God’s work there with the Spirit moving. Our God is not too small, but it happens I reduce God to something else. Our God is amazing and here we see something about that subject.
In Mt 12:1-2 they were raining on our party. They were discouraging us in our freedom. We were plucking corn on the Sabbath and enjoying it. There were people present with another concept of God and put that on the disciples and Jesus.
I’m reading a few pages here through the message by J. B. Philips. Is Your God too small? is the name of the book. “To many people, conscience is all they have by way of K of God. This still small voice makes them feel guilty or unhealthy before doing or after wrongdoing is God speaking to them…this controls their conduct…impels them to shoulder their irksome duty and choose a hard path….To make conscience into God is highly dangerous. Conscience is by no means an invaluable guide. It’s extremely unlikely we will ever be moved to serve, love a nagging inner voice….”
It’s not lawful to pluck corn on the Sabbath the Pharisees said. What were they using as a rule or guide but the Law of Moses? Their culture, upbringing or way of evaluating what is right or wrong. Christ wants to help them realize God is bigger than their conscience. Bigger than what some people would interpret to be Churchianity or churchiness which happens in an assembly when we live by rules and regulations. The Spirit of liberty and freedom is what I enjoy. So we can worship God and love him in the spirit of freedom without a guilty conscience. In the sense of God saying I am bigger than your trouble, the mountains. I’m even in your valley. I’m in your good times and bad times and I am God. I am a capable God, a gracious God, and an empowering God. I am the real God. The eternal, immortal invisible only wise God. In Nepal there is a lot of idolatry. We said God is invisible. To some of us that is obvious but it is not to everyone in the world. Even to us sometimes we package God in a neat package. Maybe in a church we might go and worship God and behave. We respect it but don’t package your God to a service you sit in. God is in the stars and the sky and the ocean. He is in the whole universe and beyond. He is invisible. The heaven of heavens cannot contain him. He is bigger than your concepts. In the Christian life, we formulate these ideas. God in a box.
“The man who is outside all organized Christianity may have and often does have a reference for God and genuine respect for JC. But what sticks in his throat about the Christianity of the churches but the spirit of churchiness that pervades them all. Captured and trained to their own liking something far too big ever to be forced into man made boxes.”
“This is what he thinks and feels. If church appears to be saying you will jump through our hoop or sign on the dotted line, then we will introduce you to God. If not, there is no God for you…. (He’s reading).
ln the church, it can be that our God is packaged. We reduce God to something we would expect people to do or perform. Jesus is so good at breaking the boxes.
vs. 2. We can’t pluck corn on the Sabbath? We can’t worship God outside of the church? God is frozen and the concept tof God. P. Mati said in the Islamic world when someone wants to know about Jesus the story about the adulteress is fascinating to them. Same in Islam the adulteress is to be stoned. P. Mati says, do you want to know what happened? They brought her to Jesus and he stooped down and wrote in the sand. He said whoever is without sin throw the first stone. Jesus said neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more. The Pharisees would say stone her. Jesus says no. I wrote the law. There is something more about God. Have you not read? These are Jewish people reading the Bible very much. They are masters of the Law. Have you ever read this? Three times he says have you ever read? There is something in the Bible God must open my eyes and understand who God is. We read the Bible and get answers about life that come from God. God speaks and he is the Word. This Book is the Word. Have you never read? Of course I read not to work on the Sabbath. Ever read how David went to the priest. He was a refugee running from Saul. He said do you have any bread? The priest said we have this holy bread. David said that will work. We’ll take it. The priest said if you have been with women recently, you can’t eat it. David said we haven’t been with women for three days and the priest said go ahead. They ate of the holy bread and David was of the tribe of Judah. It’s above and beyond our narrow frozen concepts sometimes from our guilty conscience. I remember being disciplined in prayer in the mornings. There can be that morning you get up and say a short prayer as you gulp something down and I haven’t prayed. What could God say? I am the God of the praying man and the God of the man who doesn’t pray. I am the God of the guy who does everything perfectly and the God of the guy who is upside down. Absolute perfection.
“Of all the false gods, no greater nuisance in the spiritual world than the God of 100%. Since God is perfection and has complete loyalty of his creatures, the best way of serving and worshipping him is set up 100% standards and see to it we obey them. Didn’t Christ say be ye perfect? It’s a real menace to C. of various schools of thoughts. It led conscientious people to what is called a nervous breakdown. …What is meant to be a life of perfect freedom has become anxious slavery.”
We don’t have this idea about God. We are all messed up! I ironed my shirt this morning but not the back because nobody is back there! What do you think about God? He is the perfect God; therefore, we have to do our best. I love it that God is the God of life, love, spontaneity, grace, and mercy. Can you pluck corn on the Sabbath? Sure. If you are hungry go ahead. The Pharisees are there (he’s making low mumbling noise sounds). I stay away from those people. I don’t care how they are living. I don’t care what their opinion is on this or that. Jesus said have you never read. It would be like David going to Catholic Church and said I’m starved. Have any of those wafers? The priest said yes we have the wafers. Who is God anyway? Do you have any food here? I’m not being sacrilegious and believing sacred things are not sacred. If God said that’s the food I got for you and enjoy it. Any jam? I want to make some wafer sandwiches. I’m trying to make a point. Have you never read? There is something in the Word of God that can blow your concept away…does that float our boat or what? Who is this God? We reduce him.
Mt 12:4 I’m putting in there the Catholic communion wafers that he had no right to get his grubby hands on it. Jesus aid haven’t you read that? By the law, that can’t happen but God is bigger than the law. What are you going to do about the adulteress? You stone her by the law but when Christ comes he is bigger than the law. Have you not read? You guys got to get going on your Bible reading.
Have you forgotten or not read this? Mt 12:5-6. This is amazing. They can’t get it.
vs. 7. You wouldn’t have been down our throats, on our case. You would refresh us with a picnic in the parking lot. Godliness in conversation and vision for world missions and taking the gospels to Nepal and the ghettos of the third world.
P. Satellite shared a touching testimony that he said I always remember the missionaries that came in 1987 P. Jeff and Nancy, Laura Joe, Andy Valaitis. I always remember the missionaries that came to bring us the message of the finished work. There is a message. There is a living Bible. There is the grace of God and feeds our spontaneity and ministers to us and encourages us and frees us. To some people the mental image of God is a blur of disappointment. They say resentfully …is one whom I trusted and he let me down. The rest of their lives is shadowed by this let down. There can be no mention of God, church, religion, pastors or priests, melancholy conclusion, God is a disappointment.” It’s kind of negative. Don’t talk to me about God. You don’t know what I have been through. Where was God when I was molested or when my father abandoned me. ..They use it to keep away from the whole topic. They build a wall around them to stay away from the whole topic.
God is bigger than your pain, your trouble, your life and my life. Can you stretch a little? Can you see here God reaching out to you and saying don’t interpret me through your pain. Get beyond your pain and trouble and seek me and you will find me. I will heal you. I will help you. I will show you who I am.
That’s what is so funny about us. We’re kind of crazy when you get to know us. There are tears, joy, and freedom. When we can get beyond ourselves, beyond the narrow human packaging of God and we can find him. When God shows up there is worship, there is praise, there is love that happens in our hearts. Not by works of R that we have done but by his mercy he has saved us. By the renewing of our mind we get to know him.
Why are there so many names of God? A Nepali said that to me. There are about 300 names of God. He wants to be everything for you. Why are there so many names? He wants to be everything for you. If you are hungry, he wants to be food. If you are lost, he says I am the way. I am the door. If stumble and fall down, underneath are my everlasting arms. If you are wicked, I am your R. If you need comforted, I am the Comforter. If afraid of death, I am the Alpha and Omega. I have the keys of death and hell. I made the universe, but I’m greater than all of it. Don’t reduce me to your small life, intellectual packaging and concepts and religious ideas coming from a guilty conscience. He is called King eternal, immortal, invisible, only wise God. All those words we can take a minute on every word. Immortal…Jesus is the light and we dwell in the midst of a God we cannot see but he is the only wise God.
There are other gods that are foolish, crusty, small little nothings. He is the only wise one. We were going to be going to Galatians but I think that’s it. We did the message. It’s over and done! I encourage you today if you are a GG believer you have a tendency to reduce God something less than he really is. I have a tendency to reduce God to something less. But also there is freedom that is refreshing. Perfect law of liberty. We said to a man soul winning, do you want to go to heaven. Do murders go? Yes. Then he said I don’t want to go. You have a choice. You can go to heaven where there are murderers who are saved, or you could go to hell where there are murderers who are unsaved. Not only in our country but around the world people are overdosing on heroine laced with fentanyl. It’s such a dangerous drug. Let God speak to your heart. Even to those addicted, God is bigger. He is bigger than the elephant tranquilizer that is now being used to lace heroin. And have the heartache to have a family member who losers a young man or woman. How terrible it is. P. Chris said we have seen God deliver people. They have a ministry called the Dry Dock. We are believing God for changes in their life. He is not only the God of the good people but the God of the bad people. He is the God of the down and outer, the guy in a lot of trouble in his identity and relationship. God can pick you up and set you on a rock. How is it I’m living like a saint of God? God is the God of sinners, the God that empowers us and sends us and we bear fruit. When you go home, bring joy with you. What’s up with dad? He’s been to church. He has joy. The flowers are blooming. Dad came home and brought joy with him. Liberating sponteaous joy, loving, serving. Our God is not like the other gods.
Maybe tonight we’ll preach in Lk 8 and Mk 5 the man was filled with demons living in a cemetery. Jesus is Jewish and goes in the cemetery. He should be unclean. Our God is bigger than that law. I can touch the leper and he will get healed. The demons are cast into the pigs. They say leave us Jesus. You are causing too much trouble. The pig industry has collapsed because of you. Jesus said go home and tell your family. Can you see the picture? He’s nuts, crazy, demon possessed. Jesus said go home and tell your family. Kids playing in the yard. Dad is coming home. What? Get under the bed. He’s nuts! He’s demon possessed. Dad is coming. But dad is coming in a different way because he is bringing the joy home. God changed him and healed him. Where are the kids? They are hiding! Leave us alone. Well, honey you will realize in a few minutes, I’ll be outside the door, don’t worry, but Jesus healed me and I’m back. It might take you a day or too but you’ll get to know it.
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