(Psalms 8:3-4) 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?
I have done exactly what David was doing in the above verses. I have looked up at the sky and considered the vastness of the heavens. In David's day, it must have seemed impossible to try to count the stars, but now we have made great strides in our telescopic technologies. I was reading of the attempt made in 2003 by some astronomers in Australia. Consider what they found.
The Australian astronomers used some of the world's most powerful instruments to measure the brightness of all the galaxies in one sector of the cosmos - and then calculated how many stars they must have contained.
From that measurement, they proceeded to work out a figure for the whole of the visible Universe, which they believe is much more accurate than previous estimates.
That figure - presented to the International Astronomical Union conference in Sydney - is the kind that really can be called astronomical: 70 sextillion, or seven followed by 22 zeroes.
That is more than the total number of grains of sand in all the Earth's beaches and deserts. But that is only the stars in the visible Universe within range of our telescopes.
Let me try to help put this in perspective. If we took only one quintillion of the stars and simply count them [from 0 to quintillion] one count per second, day and night, this will take 32 billion years! That is how long it will take to just "count" them.
We can appreciate the vastness of our universe if we imagine going on a journey through space at the speed of light (670,616,629 miles per hour) that is only slightly faster than JR travels in his Mustang! When we leave the planet Earth towards the sun, at the speed of light, in only 8 minutes we reach the sun, which is 93,000,000 miles away. If we wanted to leave our galaxy (the Milky Way) it would take us more than 50,000 years! 'Are we there yet?' It would take 2,000,000 years to reach the next galaxy and 10 billion years to get to the outer edge of the universe.
But all of this was spoken into existence by God when He created this world. (Genesis 1:1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. God is great, but how can we understand His greatness?
I. He is Great in His Goodness
A. God is Good
1. We use the phrase, "God is good".
2. Of course He is good. He can't be anything else.
3. He is good because He is God.
4. He is not good because of what He does, but He is good because of who He is.
5. He is not good because He does good things for you. He does good things for you because He is God.
6. He is good because He is God, but He is not God because He is good.
Psa. 107:8, "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
B. God is good…all the time!
1. God is not fickle…He doesn't have 'good days and bad days'.
2. God is eternal…He is everlasting…He will not and cannot change!
3. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
4. The God on the mountain is still God in the valley…The God of the day is still God in the night.
5. Praise Him for His goodness!
II. He is Great in His Grace
A. There Is No Measure To His Grace.
1. Two wonderful words are Grace and Mercy.
2. Although they are similar they have distinct meanings.
3. God's mercy is demonstrated by not giving us what we deserve.
4. God's grace is demonstrated by giving us what we do not deserve.
5. Example of the Prodigal Son
a. He deserved to be turned away…
b. He made his prideful choice to go his own way…and now he was suffering because of it.
c. He deserved to be mocked and scorned for his foolish choice…but the father didn't give him what he deserved…that was mercy.
d. When he drew near to the old home place, his father saw him…ran to him…and embraced him.
e. He wasn't even worthy to be called a servant…but the father restored him as his son.
f. The father called for the robe, the shoes, the ring, and a celebration.
g. This is an illustration of God's mercy and grace.
B. His grace still amazes me.
1. One of the most beloved hymns ever written is 'Amazing Grace'.
2. It was penned by a former captain of a slave ship.
3. His name, John Newton.
4. Can you imagine that? A man who made his living buying and selling other human beings?
5. His testimony is written in the words of that song…
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound) That sav'd a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
C. If you are saved this morning…it is ONLY by God's grace.
(Ephesians 2:8-9) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
1. Salvation by grace is basic Bible doctrine.
2. Many groups confuse grace and works.
3. It is vital that we understand that God's grace is amazing because He saved us…
4. Not because we earn it or deserve it…but simply because of His grace!
5. Praise God for His grace!
III. He is Great in His Gift
(2 Corinthians 9:15) Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
A. That Gift is His Son, Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
B. That Gift is Eternal Life.
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
C. That Gift means we have an inheritance.
Ro 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Why is God so great? Because He saw you and me in our sin, condemned to hell, and because He was not willing that any should perish; He sent His Son to become sin for us and to give His righteousness to all who will believe.