Andrew Fountain - Stories of God's Power

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Full sermon notes - Stories of God’s Power

The Power of Stories

Famous talk:

“Why there are no Hittites on the streets of New York”

by John Patrick

  • (The Hittites were an ancient civilization contemporary with ancient Israel.)

“Hittites”

Image source: Sheila

“New York Street”

Image source: Grant Wickes

  • Do you notice any Hittites?
  • What’s the point?
    • There are Jews on the streets of NY!
  • Why did one group retain their identity and the other not?
    • Ultimately of course it is the grace of God
    • But God used means to help the nation retain a strong identity
    • One of them was in Joshua 4

Joshua 4

  1. …take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel,
  2. that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’
  3. then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan stopped flowing before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan stopped flowing.
    So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
  • Problem found by missionaries who did not tell stories of history, but just taught doctrine
  • Children extract meaning for life from stories, true or false

Theology

Systematic Theology Biblical Theology
Organize truth into a logical system Ask how God has organized truth
Doctrine of God: divide his attributes into categories How has God decided to reveal his nature and character to us?
Good as an end-point The best place to start
  • Very often he has chosen to use the accounts of what he has done and how he has related to people to tell us what his character is like.
  • So what is the very first thing God tells us about himself?
  • Creative Power

“Psalm 8”

  1. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
  2. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
  3. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
  4. what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
  5. Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
  6. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
  7. all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
  8. the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
  9. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Version: ESV


Psalm 19:1-4

  • Psalm 19 says the sky speaks:
  1. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
  2. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
  3. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
  4. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world…

“Stars”

Image source: Nasa

Sustains creation

  • The “Deist” viewpoint
  • He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)
  • The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:3)
  • In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:10)
  • In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)
  • Can you feel your heart beating? (try it now) —every one of them is from God
  • Problem: if he can, why doesn’t he?
    • e.g. Problem of two people praying for weather at the same time
    • Farmer praying for rain
    • Next door is a church building where there is a wedding...
  • Is there anything God can’t do?
    • Behave inconsistently
  • God reveals that he not only has power over the big, but over the small as well
    • Power over the small, even at the level of cells of the body:

Genesis 15

  1. …the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield and the one who will reward you in great abundance.”
  2. But Abram said, “O sovereign Lord, what will you give me since I continue to be childless, and my heir is Eliezer of Damascus?”
  3. “…This man will not be your heir, but instead a son who comes from your own body will be your heir.”
  4. The Lord took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars — if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.”
  5. Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord considered his response of faith as proof of genuine loyalty.
  • 25 years of waiting
  • Then told “this time next year”

Exodus

  • Mighty power, slaves to freedom

“Psalm 136”

  1. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
          for his steadfast love endures forever.
  2. Give thanks to the God of gods,
          for his steadfast love endures forever.
  3. Give thanks to the Lord of Lords,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  4. to him who alone does great wonders,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  5. to him who by understanding made the heavens,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  6. to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  7. to him who made the great lights,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  8. the sun to rule over the day,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  9. the moon and stars to rule over the night,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  10. to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  11. and brought Israel out from among them,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  12. with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  13. to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  14. and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  15. but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  16. to him who led his people through the wilderness,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  17. to him who struck down great kings,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  18. and killed mighty kings,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  19. Sihon, king of the Amorites,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  20. and Og, king of Bashan,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  21. and gave their land as a heritage,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  22. a heritage to Israel his servant,
          for his steadfast love endures forever.
  23. It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  24. and rescued us from our foes,
          for his steadfast love endures forever;
  25. he who gives food to all flesh,
          for his steadfast love endures forever.
  26. Give thanks to the God of heaven,
          for his steadfast love endures forever.

Version: ESV


  • Wilderness (food, water, forgiveness from sins)

Power & Love

  • If God is the most powerful being in the universe,
  • and he loves me,
  • …then what do I have to fear?
  • Last week we talked about God’s power in Jesus’ resurrection
    • our new-creation life
    • death is defeated
  • We should share our stories
    • As I was growing up, my parents were always sharing their stories of God with me
    • We can really help each other by sharing our stories
  • Message: God’s power is one of the most comforting facts to know
  • Think often about it
  • This power is accessible to us through prayer

“Psalm 29”

Thunderstorm

  1. A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
  2. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
  3. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.
  4. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
  5. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
  6. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
  7. The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
  8. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
  9. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
  10. The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
  11. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Version: ESV


Updated on 2013-06-18 by Andrew Fountain

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