To Infinity and Beyond

Posted: November 17, 2017 by keystoneyouth in Incomparable
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Incomparable-series-Y

Series Introduction:

  • If you are a human, then you think thousands of thoughts throughout a day. And if you’re like me… those thoughts might be a little scattered.
    • At one moment thinking about what I need to do for my homework assignment, and the next moment wondering what Carson Wentz’s QB rating is.
  • It would probably be both fascinating and embarrassing if you could catalog all your thoughts for 24 hours and then go back through them all.
  • It would be interesting to see all the random thoughts, but also to see what I spent the most time thinking about throughout my day…
  • W. Tozer has said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
  • Over the next couple weeks, I want to spend time thinking about God and who he is by looking at some of the ways that God is different than us… what people refer to as his incommunicable attributes.
  • Tonight, we start by looking at God’s infinite nature.

 Attention Funnel: Videos/Stories of Pushing the Limits

Introduction:

  • We love to push the limits of what is possible.
  • Whether that is going to Mars, performing a quadruple backflip, trying to stay up all night with friends, or seeing how far your car can go after the gas light comes on signally that your tank is empty.
    • Story of you coasting into a gas station.
  • But ultimately, we are all limited.
    • If we make it to Mars, we will be reminded that we have not made it to Jupiter, Saturn, and the other planets in our solar system.
    • No one will ever land a decuple backflip (10).
    • If you stay up all night, the next day is miserable.
    • The day we run out of gas… we are shamefully reminded that a gas tank on “E” is not unlimited.
  • However, one of the things we learn about God when we read the Bible is that he is not limited.
    • Which is another way of saying that He is infinite.

Passage: Isaiah 40:12-31

 Big Idea: The unlimited God created us to be limited humans.

 Main Points:

  • God has no limits.
  • We try to limit God.
  • God created the entire world AND us with limits.
  • We try to throw off the limits God places on us.

God has no limits.

  • Isaiah is originally writing this passage to the Israelites who are in Exile in Babylon.
  • In the first part of chapter 40, Isaiah informs the Israelites in Exile that God is planning to bring them back to their homeland.
  • But in the face of such a claim, these Israelites would have most likely asked, “Is He able to do that?”
    • “Isn’t he limited by the fact that Babylon, who is far more powerful than us, has us in captivity and has never let any other nation return home.”
    • It would be like telling someone you are going to break them out of a Maximum Security Prison. They would be like “Great! But do you really think your able to do that?”
  • God responds to this perceived question with the ultimate “Watch Me Bro” moment.
    • Like when you’re out for a hike and you come across a river that clearly seems too wide to jump… so you say, “How are we going to get across. No one can possibly jump that.” And that one dude steps up, hands you his backpack, and says, “Watch me Bro.” And he proceeds to jump over the creek with several feet to spare so that you stand there with your mouth shut in the face of such amazing leaping skills.
  • God points to the things that appear most limitless to us… the Ocean, the dirt covering the earth, the mountains and hills, the stars in the sky.
    • “You know that Ocean that seems to have no limit… who measured it in the hollow of his hand?”
    • “You know Mount Everest and K2… I weighed them on scales.”
    • “You see all those stars in the sky… they are there because I put them there and know every single one of their names.”
    • “You think I can’t bring you back from Babylon? Watch me Bro.”
  • God appeals to himself as the creator and ruler of everything to show that he has no limits.
  • There is no boundary around God. There is no space that can contain him. There is no stat line that can properly describe his greatness. He cannot be measured or limited…
  • But we constantly try to limit God.

 

We try to limit God.

  • We may never voice the limits we set to God… but we are constantly putting limits on him.
    • He can’t possibly provide me with the joy I am longing for.
    • He can’t possibly give me the security I need.
    • He can’t possibly give me the love that I am longing for.
    • He can’t possibly work in the messiness of all my life for my good.
  • This is exactly what the Israelites constantly did as well… they limited the limitless God.
  • The book of Jeremiah tells a story about a group of Israelites who are fearful. They are afraid because they are worried that the King of Babylon is going to come back and harm them again. They have done something to make him angry and so they are afraid for their very lives.
    • So they go to Jeremiah the prophet and say, “We don’t know what to do, please go ask God what we should do!”
    • Jeremiah comes back to them and tells them, “God said he will protect you. You need to stay here in Israel and if you do God has promised that the King of Babylon will not harm you.”
    • That is GREAT NEWS! But do you know what happens? The people all decide leave Israel and go to Egypt.
    • Why??? Because they are convinced that Egypt, its military, and its gods can protect them. And yet shortly after, Babylon attacks Egypt and destroys it.
  • Why would the people not obey God??? Because they limited him. They chased after something other than God to give them what they thought God could not provide.
    • We want more and more stuff… nicer clothes, a better phone, a new Xbox, Madden 2018, Call of Duty 50… why? Because we think they will give us joy where God can’t.
    • We want a boy or girl to notice us and like us… and so we do absolutely anything to grab and hold their attention… why? Because we are convinced they can provide us with the love that God can’t.
  • We essentially tell God, “God you can’t do what we need… we will find someone or something else that can.”
  • And Isaiah rightly points out the foolishness of this in verses 18-20…
    • Who are you going to compare God to? Who is he like? A statue? That’s crazy!
    • Who are you going to compare God to? Who is he like? A large bank account and nice stuff? That’s crazy!
    • A beautiful girl or attractive guy? That’s crazy!
  • Anytime we look to something other than God to give us joy, satisfy our longings, give us security… we are limiting him.

 

God created the entire world AND us with limits.

  • The limits God puts in place are good…
  • The waters are measured by him. They have a boundary (Job).
    • What would happen if they didn’t? There would be utter destruction – just look at floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis for a small picture of this.
  • The rulers of the earth are like plants that barely take root before the wind blows them off.
    • Donald Trump’s tweets do not intimidate God. Kim Jong Un’s nuclear threats do not cause God to tremble… because they are both like plants that are here today and gone tomorrow… they are limited by God.
  • In fact, all the inhabitants of the world are limited, you and I included. Isaiah says we are like grasshoppers before God.
    • Just as a 5-year-old pokes and prods a grasshopper to make it go where he wants it to. So, God moves us as he sees fit.
  • We may think we have no limits… but even the strongest of us grows tired.
    • LeBron James eventually needs to rest.
    • Even Tom Brady will one day have to retire because his body fails
  • Beyond just giving us physical limits… God also gives us spiritual and moral limits.
    • He commands for us what is good and bad, right and wrong, beneficial and destructive, wise and foolish.
  • Every good father gives his children limits… “Don’t touch the electric socket with slobbery fingers. Stay back from the Road. Share with your toys with your brothers and sisters. Don’t eat all your Halloween Candy in one night.”
  • God also gives us limits…because he knows what is good for us.

 

We try to throw off the limits God places on us.

  • We are convinced that the limits God has given to us are not good.
    • We think that commands God has given us… the limits he has placed on us are not good. We are convinced that if we disobey him we will be better and happier.
      • So where God says Don’t (Don’t mistreat friends, be mean to brothers and sisters, disobey your parents)… we say, NO GOD, I will be happier off if I DO!”
    • And where God says DO (Forgive other people, love your neighbors, be generous)… we say, “NO GOD, that’s too hard!”
  • We are convinced we know better than God. We are convinced that we should not be limited by him.
  • My wife likes to tell me what to wear. And she has learned how to do it in a really good way. Rather than saying, “Kyle, you look like an absolute fool right now… I think you should go change.” She says, “Kyle what about this shirt?” “Or I think that might look a little better with these shoes.”
    • But do you know what happens whenever she makes a suggestion to me? I immediately don’t want to change into what she recommended. There is some rebellious husband gene that stirs up in me and says, “I’m a big boy, I can decide what to wear on my own.” Clearly I can’t… I usually do look like a fool based on what I choose. I would be much better served listening to my wife’s fashion advice.
  • With all of God’s commands that he gives to us there is something that wells up in us (sin), that says “I’m a big boy. I’m a big girl. I can decide for myself. I can do whatever I want. I don’t need a God to control me.”
    • And whenever that happens… we are headed for destruction.
  • It’s easy to feel like Christianity is holds me back from doing what I want to do… I remember especially feeling this way in high school.
    • And that is absolutely true! Because what we want to do is often dangerous and destructive.
    • And so, God rightfully and lovingly commands our limits.
  • One of the dares that is common among people is to touch an electric fence and see if it will shock you. Just try to grab hold of it and see how long you can grab it without it shocking you. We convince ourselves that we will be the ones who can grab onto the fence and it won’t shock us. So we touch it, and it doesn’t shock us. We grab onto and quickly let go, and it doesn’t shock us. And then we become convinced that everyone else before us was wrong. We can grab the fence and hang onto it and it won’t shock us. So we confidently grab it… defying all limits… and then two seconds later we squeal in pain. Why? Because the fence was never meant to be grabbed in the first place.
  • When we push the limits that God places on our lives… darkness, destruction, and shock are soon to follow. God means to limit us for our good.

 

Conclusion:

  • But here is the incredible thing… Isaiah 40 is written to people who have limited God.
  • It’s written to people who have thrown off God’s limits in pursuit of what they want.
  • And yet the message from God is not… “Well suck it up and deal with exile because I’m done with you.”
  • The message from God is, “I’m coming after you! I’m coming to get you! You are mine!”
  • And this is the exact message of the gospel… the limitless God calls out to us and says I’m coming after you! I’m coming to get you! You are mine!”

 

So What??

  • Praise God for infinite nature – Spend some time reading back over Isaiah 40 this week or read Job 38-41.
  • Look for and identify ways you are limiting God and trying to replace him with something else.
  • Find what limits you are trying to throw off in an attempt to be like God. Repent, seek forgiveness, and turn back to the God who puts those limits there for our good.

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