God as Artist

Scripture: Psalm 27:4
Date: 03/23/2012 
Lesson: 11
"God's skills as an artist have been underrated. His created world is often appreciated, but the expression of His artistic skills extends His great abilities much further. God designs that Christians especially should be a source of "beauty in a dark and dying planet." Sabbath School lesson
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church located in the capital city of California - Sacramento. We're so glad that you are tuning in from across the country and around the world for our weekly program where we get together, we study God's Word, and we sing your favorite hymns. Today is no exception. We are going to start with #223 - 'crown him with many crowns'. This is from bwambale in uganda, katie in Georgia, and trudy in New York.

We're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas. #223 - Join with us, those of you at home pull out your hymnals - 'crown him with many crowns'. 'Those hands the scepter sways from' - wrong verse - 'behold his hands and side, those wounds yet visible above, in beauty glorified. No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bends his wondering eye at mysteries so great.' Have you thought in heaven Jesus is still going to have those scars from when we put him on the cross. And the angels - it's a mystery to them.

But we will have all eternity to see those scars and remember it was us that put him there, but it was his love that overcame death and we are in heaven with him forever and we will have those symbols - those scars to look at and remember how much Jesus truly loves us. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it is so simple. Go to our website at 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link, and you can send in your favorite hymn request and we will sing that for you as quickly as possible. Our next song is #221 - 'rejoice the Lord is king' and this is - we'll do the first, second, and fourth stanzas. This is from miri in australia, and Mark and portia in south africa.

#221 - First, second, and fourth. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much that we can rejoice. We can lift up our hearts and we can praise you because you are our loving Heavenly Father, but you are also the King of the universe and we thank you so much for watching over us - for blessing us. Sometimes it doesn't seem like the blessings are flowing, but sometimes it's through the tears and the darkness that we have the biggest blessings because they draw our hearts to you. We pray that you'll be with us as we open up Your Word - we study together and that you'll be with our extended family around the world wherever they are, whatever their circumstances - that one day we will all be able to join together on the streets of gold and have another central study hour.

In Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor who, I've been told, is going to have a birthday by the time this program broadcasts. So, if you have appreciated Pastor Doug's ministry, go ahead - send him a message on Facebook or an e-mail and let him know happy birthday and keep praying for him. So, at this time, Pastor Doug will bring us our lesson study. Okay, I've got the microphone now, debbie.

You know, when I first started teaching here and they introduced me as the senior pastor, it was a misnomer. But now, I'm going to be eligible for aarp. So, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy - start calling a young man senior pastor and it may happen. Welcome friends. Good to see everybody.

Always thankful for any visitors we may have here in the Sacramento central church. I want to welcome those who are tuning in by design or by chance on television - and I know that we have some of our members in our class that are watching from around the world and we're just very glad you're here. Some of those who are tuning in are part of the central online membership. We have people all over the world and they may not have a local church they can attend but, through the internet or through satellite, they study with us and they're part of the membership here at central. We want to welcome you as well.

And if you're in that category and you're out there alone or you're isolated and you'd like to know more about that, just go to saccentral.org. By the way, we do have a free offer this morning for anyone who is studying along with us. It's a book that I wrote called 'determining the will of God'. You may be struggling at times to know 'how can I discover God's will on a certain point?' Or you need to make a big decision. Or you may know somebody that's facing a decision like that.

Using Bible principles we've put together this special book. How do you know - how can you learn or discover the will of God? And if you'd like a copy of this, we'll simply send it to you for asking. Just ask for offer #778. Call the number 866-study-more - that translates to 866-788-3966 and we'll send it to you for asking. We're assuming you haven't already received the book and we'll send you a free copy.

Our lesson today - continuing through - oh, you know, we've only got a couple more lessons in this quarter and I'm looking forward to our next quarterly soon. 'Glimpses of our God' and we're on lesson #11 'God as artist'. Lesson #11 is 'God as artist' and - broad kaleidoscope of verses we're going to look at, but we do have a memory verse from psalm 27, verse 4 - and that comes from the new king James version. In case you wonder, different pastors typically preach or teach from one version or another. For the time I've been here at central church, I use the new king James version.

When I do evangelism I often use the King James version because it's the most widely memorized version. And so why don't you say that with me? Psalm 27, verse 4 - are you ready? "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord. All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord." God is a lover of beauty. And when we think about the different ways that God is portrayed in the Bible, one of the things I think we sometimes neglect is that God is an artist. Now when I say that, I say it with some mixed feelings, personally, and this is just baggage and the hang-up that I have.

My mother was an artist - our home was festooned with paintings she painted. She was a songwriter. She was a playwright. She was a film critic. She was very gifted.

She was a poet. And she could put together a poem - a very clever song in a day and she'd sing it that night on the news. But artists are difficult people in my experience - can - do I get an amen anywhere out there? I mean, I'm so thankful for artists. There's a little side of me - I'm a little like my mom and dad, but so I write songs and I paint and draw a little bit, but because they sometimes have that stronger melancholy type of their disposition - very creative - and they can be fun to be with - their highs are high and their lows are low. And so when I think of God as an artist, I don't know what to think.

I like it when you think of an artist - I like to think of the artists that are more balanced - like David was. David was something of an artist but he also had - he was that balance of the phlegmatic and the melancholic and the sanguine along with the - what did I leave out? Choleric - you know he was also an organized person. David had that interesting balance of all those personality types. I mean, he could strum a harp and he could lead sheep and he could organize a kingdom and go into battle and he just seemed to have all of it in one package. But one of the characteristics of God is he is certainly an artist and he loves beauty.

Now, you can look at a few verses in the Bible and quickly see that. One of the first covenants that God makes has to do with a rainbow. If you look, for instance, in Ezekiel 1:28 and it says that God - it says it was "like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." God is surrounded with beauty and he made this first covenant with Noah as those great curtains of mist were rising and evaporating up into the heavens following the flood from the mountains there. He put a rainbow in the sky as a promise that they did not need to live in fear that the world would be destroyed again with a flood.

And it was something of just such majesty and beauty. Now, when you think about a beautiful picture - you know one of the first things that artists learn to paint is what they call landscapes. And the most beautiful landscape is if you can have a composition that includes light, sunset - different colors and variated - variegated shades of light, clouds, mountains, trees, water, rock - you get all those things - get a sunset where you've got the reds and the purples and the blues and the yellows and the fire of a beautiful sunset and it reflecting off the cloud and a wisp of a rainbow and you've got the mountains with the shades and they drift back layers of mountains and then they come down - you've either got a river or you've got crashing waves with light going through the waves and the ocean and the birds off in the clouds of the sky and a rock jutting out somewhere and you get that - and just something about that - you look at it and say, 'oh, it's awesome. It's beautiful. Who painted it?' Have you ever wondered - you know they've proven - and we'll get to music in a minute - they've proven that animals respond to music and animals can be soothed by soothing music.

There is no question - there is some music that is soothing and there is some music that is calculated to increase your heart rate. They haven't proven, but I suspect it's true, that animals appreciate beauty. I mean, when an eagle's up there and he sees the sun going down with the mountains and the clouds and the rainbow and the rock and the ocean, and they're soaring on the thermals of the afternoon - you wonder, 'what's that eagle thinking? Is he thinking, 'wow, that's beautiful.' Or do they have a sense of serenity because of the beauty?' I mean, I don't know that they've ever conducted a test, but God, obviously, injects beauty in his creation. Why do we - no, this is for me - this subject's interesting - one of the things I think is proof against evolution - at least that it happened by accident - there has to be an intelligent creator because why are creatures created with an appreciation for beauty and why would God make all these different colored flowers in a field? Why aren't they all the same color all over the world? They could serve the same function and all be one color. Why the variation of color? Why are these - why do we call that landscape or sunset beautiful? What is it that makes someone think that this arrangement of light and color is awesome and beautiful - appreciated - that it is inspiring? You know, the very word inspiring means it's breathed with the divine.

What is it within us that appreciates that? It has to be something of God in us that appreciates beauty, because if all of it happened by accident then how do you define anything as being beautiful? It's all just a biological function. Why would you ever appreciate beauty if we've all evolved? It's the God in us. So God's an artist and because we're made in his image, we appreciate beauty and art. So, we're going to find out some things about the different aspects of God as the artist. I haven't given all the verses out, but someone look up psalm , verse 1.

Psalm 19, "the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament above his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge." The glory of God is seen in the heavens day and night. You can just look up and see beauty. You can see it splashed across the velvet of the night sky with all these sparkling jewels. And you know, some of the stars - you ever look - at least when your eyes were young and sharp and you could look at night and you'd see they all twinkle and they're different colors.

You'd see some that are twinkling a little bit blue and some are twinkling a little yellow and some are twinkling even a little green or red. And it's just beautiful when you think about it. Why did God make this beauty in the heavens? I'm going to give you some answers here, I hope. Exodus 28 - now I gave out some verses - someone should have Exodus 28:2 and 3 - hold your hand up - right up here. Let's get the microphone up here.

Hold your hand up. And while we're passing that mic off, I'm going to read Exodus 31 - I'm going to read verses 1 through 6. Exodus 31:1-6 - just a moment and we'll read Exodus 28:2 and 3. Now when God was pulling together the artisans to build the temple, it says here in Exodus 31:1 "then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 'see, I've called by name bezalel The Son uri, The Son of hur, of the tribe of judah. And I have filled him - I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works," - God said 'I have inspired him - I've filled him with this knowledge and wisdom for art - for artistic works' - "'to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

And i, indeed i, have appointed with him aholiab The Son of ahisamach, of the tribe of dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans.'" - That's a good verse. I'm going to read that again - the last part of it there - "'I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans'" isn't it interesting when they were building the temple that God said there were some people that had this ability - this gift - to make these artistic works in the construction of the sanctuary? And you know what that means? Some don't. Some people have these artistic gifts and some don't. Some people can sing and some can't as well - but we should all make a joyful noise, right? And we're all invited. And you, if you've - some of you who taught in school then you know that you give out the crayons and the paper to the kids that if they're drawing some are going to hand you their paper and you're going to say 'wow, I'm impressed.

' And some are going to hand it to you - you're going to go 'you've got gifts I know, but this is not it.' So, the Lord, of course, he gives different gifts to different people, but some have these gifts of art. You know, I was going to have another verse here. Exodus 28, verses 2 and 3 - are we ready for that? Yes. Exodus 28. Go ahead.

And ye shall make holy garments for aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. So ye shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the Spirit of wisdom, that they may make aaron's garments. So some people have - some people have these gifts and some people have these gifts for making garments, it said. And what did it say about those garments? For beauty. Now, I've got to be very careful what I say.

Some people are addicted to fashion and they are so preoccupied with the threads they wear that it's an addiction. And some, they'll spend themselves into debt to make sure they've got the latest clothes and they're always in style and everything is always sharp and some are a little more flamboyant and ostentatious than they need to be. That's one extreme. And then there are others who take the position that we should all dress in black all the time and drive to church in black buggies with black horses. Now, some might wear different colors because it just looks better on them, but somewhere between those two extremes there's a principle.

But does God appreciate beauty? Did God acknowledge that when it came to making the priests' garments they should be attractive? So, I wonder if I'm underdressed then, right now, for my job. I'm not high priest so I'm absolved from that. But, I think Christians should have that balance of wanting to wear clothing that is both neat and clean - durable - and it should be attractive. But it should not be flamboyant and ostentatious where you're trying to get people to look at you. The priest was unique in his role because he was really representing the dazzling garments that were representing what Christ wears before The Father.

You've seen the descriptions of Christ that you find in Daniel, Ezekiel, John - how he was just glowing. Well, that high priest was sort of to represent, in his attire, our high priest, Jesus. So, his garments were to be above and beyond, you might say. And the ornamentation that he wore - I'm not suggesting that you all wear breast plates that are bejeweled with gold and all those gems and so forth. He had a special role, isn't that right? But at the same time, I think that we should appreciate beauty and clothing that's attractive.

Do you agree with me on that? Okay - but we shouldn't be flamboyant and say 'everybody look me' you know. And I think even in the styles - now this isn't in the lesson, but we are talking about art and the eye and having a sense for that. Styles change and it's not that the Bible sanctifies one style above another. I think the Bible sanctifies principles. The principle being that clothing should be - like I said - neat, clean, attractive.

Christians should maybe spend enough for clothing where there's some quality to it so it will last - it's got some durability to it and protection, but a Christian shouldn't necessarily be the first one to employ a new style - that is neat and clean and modest - they shouldn't be the last either. Now, some think that there's a holy virtue in wearing something that's always 50 years behind the times and what ends up happening is you become a spectacle and a distraction. It doesn't help you advertise for Jesus if you think that 'as long as I'm always 50 years behind the times in the style' that there's something holy about that. I've said enough. I'll get letters - that's all I wanted.

Just engage your mind. Amen. Isn't that our job to make you think about relevant things? All right, so where do these artists get this skill? God said, 'I have put in them this artistic ability' - that means God must have it. Is God an artist? Is God a fashion designer? I never probably thought of him that way. And he's also an architect - we'll get to that later.

All right. But next section is dealing with God as a potter. Isaiah chapter 64 - now someone look up Romans 9:21 - we'll get to you in just a moment, but who has that verse? We've got - oh, he's on the starboard side here - Romans - hold your hand up and we'll get that in just a moment. But I'm going to read Isaiah 64, verse 8, "but now, o Lord, you are our father; we are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hands." Why is it especially relevant that we think of God as the potter and us as the pots? Because what was adam made of? Clay. And when you think about it, we started as clay, we're going to end as clay.

I remember when I lived with my uncle in nageezi, New Mexico. It was on the reservation - he operated - uncle harry operated a trading post and there are still Batchelors there - navajo Batchelors that live in nageezi today that are my relatives. But he took me out to some of the ruins - now this is back before we realized that this was a protected archeological site. I'm talking many years ago - years ago - and I remember we would go among the ruins of some of the chaco canyon indians and he took me to the dump. And it was filled with ancient indian pottery scraps.

And I thought when I looked at it - and I picked a bunch up and I took some home and I - I don't know what ever happened to them, but some were painted with blue and you could still see the colors and they were hundreds, if not thousands, of years old - some of them. And I thought, 'this went from clay to a work of art that served all kinds of functions in this community, but then they cracked and they went to the dump and they were turning slowly back into clay again. Isn't that kind of what happens to us? God takes the clay and he makes us and we serve our purpose in life and then someday we return to dust and clay. And so that's a very fitting thing, but the artist gets ahold of us somewhere in between and makes something out of our lives to serve him in some capacity. All right, I was going to ask for Romans 9:21 - I think we've got that - kathleen, you're going to read that for us? We're ready.

Romans 9:21, "does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" Paul is using an extreme illustration here to say, 'God gives us all kinds of different gifts and we're all made different. We're all vessels that he wants to fill with his spirit.' How many of you remember that story that you find in Kings, chapter 4? There's this woman, she's a widow - young mother - two boys - young boys. Husband dies leaves them in debt - that's what happens with credit cards - but she took out money and he died prematurely, they couldn't pay off the creditor and in Bible times if you couldn't pay your debt you didn't file chapter 7 or 13 or , they just began - whenever it was payment day, if you couldn't pay they took something of value. And after her house was emptied by this creditor - she's got nothing left - and he says, 'I'm coming next time and I'm taking your boys.' And she goes to Elisha and Elisha says, 'what do you want me to do? What do you have?' She says, 'all I've got left in the house now - kitchen tables are gone, the beds are gone, the blankets are gone, everything's gone except my boys and I've got a little pot of oil.' He said, 'all right, here's what you do. Go to your neighbors and collect as many different pots as you can' - all these different vessels - he didn't tell whether they were to be tall or old or new or small or thin or wide or chipped or what - she just went through the community and took everything anyone would lend her and she filled her house with these different vessels and poured oil into them.

And all these vessels were filled, miraculously, from her little vial of oil. And then Elisha said, 'sell the oil. You and your children live on the rest.' But I always thought it was interesting that her home was filled with all different kinds of vessels. That woman is something like the church. That oil represents the Holy Spirit.

God's got all kinds of different vessels out there and all our vessels can be filled with his oil. But they might be different shapes and sizes and different ages - some might be ornate and painted, some might be plain, but they're his vessels that can be filled with his oil. And the church is like that. Some of us have different gifts. Some of us have different abilities, but you know what? People are often unhappy.

If I were to ask you to identify your gifts and if I were to ask you to identify things about yourself that you don't like, most people could more quickly identify what they don't like about themselves than their gifts. I - you know, it's interesting - if you go through hollywood and someone did something, I read an article one time, they asked these different hollywood movie stars that everybody worshiped for their good looks, what they thought about their good looks - and the movie stars all commented how insecure they were about their appearance. And some said, 'oh, my eyes are so far apart' and another one said, 'I've got no lips' and someone said, 'I've got fat lips' and another one said, 'I'm so short and I have no waist' - and they were all so self-conscious about their appearance and here everyone else was worshiping them because of their appearance and they weren't even satisfied. So they spent a fortune on cosmetic surgery. Isn't that right? And have we all seen people who at one time we thought they were beautiful but they didn't think so and they kept visiting the cosmetic surgeon until they looked a little freaky? Isn't that right? But when it comes to 'what are your spiritual gifts?' We kind of are stymied for a moment.

Don't worry about saying, 'Lord, why did you make me this way?' He's the potter you're the clay. He made you for a purpose and you need to say, 'Lord, what is my purpose? You give me your spirit and then tell me how to use it.' But - and then there's another illustration here about the potter and the clay I want you to think about. Jeremiah 18:1. Jeremiah chapter 18, 1 to 6 I'm going to read. "The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 'arise and go to the potter's house, and there I'll cause you to hear my words.

' - There's something I want you to see at the potter's house and I'll tell you the rest of it when you get there. "Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel." - Any of you ever seen a potter work with a potter's wheel? And they back - now they're motorized, but back in Bible times they had a wheel - usually a wood or stone table up here - usually stone - and then they had a big spin wheel - a big fly wheel down by their feet, and the whole thing was on this bearing and this axle and they'd take their foot and they'd spin the lower wheel that makes the top wheel spin. They'd put a blob of moist clay up there and they'd spin it with their foot and you'll - now they use just a little treadle for the electric power - and they're shaping this thing and they're working the clay and they're working it up into whatever shape they want and they let it get wide and then thin and they'll push their hand down and they'll start to feel the sides and - they've got - it takes a very dextrous and strong hand to get it where the sides are evenly lined as it's spinning on the wheel. But sometimes either the clay had something wrong with it, or the potter sneezes, and all of a sudden it's messed up and what does he do then? It tells us right here. I was watching him make something on the wheel - verse 4 - "and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter" - something went wrong so what did he do? He takes his fist and he pounds it down into a lump again and starts spinning the wheel and makes something else out of it.

"Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'o house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?' Says the Lord. Look, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, o house of Israel!'" Now this is really a wonderful promise. What was God saying to Israel, first of all? God had an original perfect plan for Israel. When they came out of Egypt into the promised land, he wanted them to be a light unto the nations but they got involved in idolatry, they turned from him, they messed up and they were carried off to Babylon and they probably thought, 'the pot is broken for good. It's over.

The vessel is marred. What shall I do now?' And God was saying, 'you know what? I can break you down again and make something else out of you. Maybe you will not fulfill my will perfectly the way I planned in Israel, but I'm going to use you to glorify me in Babylon through shadrach, meshach, and abednego and Daniel. I'm going to use you to glorify me in persia through Esther and Ezekiel. I'm going to bring you back and you might never have a king again,' - like they did before, - 'but I'm going to use you in that land again when the Messiah comes.

' He says, 'the vessel's changed. It's been marred. My perfect plan for you is not what I originally planned, but I can still make something out of you.' That's a wonderful promise because we are all vessels in God's hands and sometimes we realize we've become crackpots. The vessel is marred, right? It wasn't what he originally planned. Well, he can pulverize us again, add the water, and he can shape us into something else and put us through the fire and bake us into a vessel.

I remember I went to school in New York city and I had this one art teacher. He actually, in New York city, he had a kiln - a clay kiln in his house. And we all made something in class and we painted it and I thought, 'that doesn't look too good' and he said, 'oh, let me take it to my house. I'll bring it back.' And he would fire them and all of a sudden I had this porcelain thing I made. I remember still - I hadn't thought of this in years - it just came to me this very moment - it's called inspiration.

I read the book 'stuart little' and I made a picture of a mouse reading a book - and my mother was so proud of that - I wonder whatever happened to that - and I took it to this teacher's house, he fired it and brought it home and the glaze - he glazed it - and it was - I was so proud of that thing. But you have to go through the fire sometimes before that happens. Anyway, so the Lord says, 'I can do that with you.' Psalm 51, verses 10 and 11, is God an artist? "Create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit - or a steadfast - spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me." Now David - God had a perfect plan for David - he messed up big time with bathsheba - that whole episode - he then prays this prayer. So when he says 'create in me a clean heart' isn't he saying 'recreate in me a clean heart' in this psalm? It says 'I was a pot in your hands and you were doing wonderful things for me and the pot cracked.

Can you recreate me?' God's an artist who can also take marred artwork and fix it. Amen? All right. Look now at - we're going to look at God as architect. God as an architect. We talked about him as a potter and as an artist.

In Hebrews chapter 8, verses 1 through 5 - first let me just get someone else lined up here. Who's got John 14:2? Over here? All right, you'll be next. Is that you ray, or mrs. Ray? Okay. You're going to do it.

All right. Let me read Hebrews 8:1-5 "now this is the main point of the things that we're saying: we have such a high priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man." - God builds - "for every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, it is necessary that this one also have something to offer. For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve a copy and a shadow of the heavenly things, for as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For he said, 'see that you make all things according to the pattern shown me in the mountain.

'" All right, that's a long verse but let me try and summarize what's being said here and what the point is in the lesson. If I say that God is an artist and he makes pretty clouds and God makes flowing brooks and beautiful creatures and trees and - we always think about God creating in nature. And if I say 'this is a creation of God, look at what God has created.' We always think of animals and trees and minerals and mountains and space and sky - but we don't always think of God as making a building - a house - a structure. But God is also an architect and he does things by dimension. When God told Noah to build an ark and it had never rained before, did God say to Noah, 'Noah, I want you to build this great big boat.

' And Noah said, 'okay Lord, but we have no oceans and it's never rained. What's a boat?' And he said, 'Noah, you figure it out. Make one.' Is that what God did or did God tell him how to make the boat? Did he tell him what the dimensions would be? How wide it would be, how high it would be, how long it would be, how the - where the windows would be, how many floors it would have and - matter of fact, I think there were probably a lot more details that God gave Noah and Moses just - I mean, you know, the whole first half of the Bible would be an ark blueprint if God gave everything. But he gave the basic dimensions to us so we would know that for one thing - do you know most of the ocean liners and tankers today are built on the same ratio as Noah's ark - for stability in the water that was the best ratio for shipbuilding. And so, the Lord had that wisdom - he's an architect.

All right, read for us John 14:2 - ray. "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Notice here he says, 'I am going to prepare a place for you. There are many mansions' - who's preparing these mansions? Jesus. There's another verse for that.

Go to Revelation 21:2 - Revelation 21:2 - I'll read that for you. "Then i, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" - and who knows what the next word is? You're not there yet because I didn't give you enough time. - "Prepared" - God prepared - God The Son prepared. Jesus said, 'I go to prepare.' So here, it's not just a mansion, it's a whole city of buildings that God has prepared for the redeemed. And he's not only creating a new heaven and a new earth, but God's building a city.

He's not only an architect who can build a boat, he is an architect who can build a mansion. What will the mansions be like that the Lord's building? Is there any earthly builder here that's going to say, 'Lord, I like your mansions, but I built better ones on earth.' Ah, so I made my case. If you ever have longed for - you know, they've got these programs on television now of people who travel the world and they buy houses. And they're shopping for homes and Karen's pulled me into watching that a few times and I find I end up coveting my neighbor's house when I watch that. But just some beautiful, exquisite houses overlooking these exotic paradises in the ocean and I keep thinking, 'ah, Lord, but you're building a better one for me than that because you're not going to let any earthly architect say, 'I built better than Jesus.

' Oh, not only on the outside with their views and all the amenities they're surrounded - but the amenities on the inside - some are just really nice. And then I thank Jesus that in my Father's house are many mansions - there's plenty of room. The city area is 375 miles on each side, according to the Bible dimensions - 12,000 furlongs, 1500 miles, in our speech, around - that means just just the city is the size of Oregon - just the city. So there'll be plenty of room in that city for your mansion. We're not all going to be like little pillboxes stacked on top of each other in skyscrapers of japan.

The mansions he's preparing will not be little cubicles. You know, I've seen in japan they're always just struggling for space and - one of the smallest hotels I've stayed in was in frankfurt, actually, the other smallest one our family stayed in was in japan. You just kind of opened the door and you'd back in - and you'd fall into your bed. But now, they've got these businessmen - these business travelers in japan and it's a wall and there's two or three rooms behind this one door - they're little cubicles you crawl in - it's just got the bed and everyone shares the restroom and - just little bitty space - you sit up and you hit your head - it's that small, seriously. It's not the mansions Jesus is preparing - they're going to be beautiful because God's a great architect.

It says, this new city's coming down from God 'prepared'. Then you read a little more - there's a lot more - we don't have time to read it all - that you find in Revelation 21 and Revelation 22 about that city that God is making. "He carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and he showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of God - out of heaven from God. The construction" - notice that, God's a contractor - "the construction of its walls was jasper;" - now I don't know if Jesus was out there with a trowel and gold - gold bricks - maybe he used some angels. the Lord can speak things into existence, can't he? When he made man he used his own hands.

Man was formed, but he may have spoken this into existence. - "The construction of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass" - and he's got all these different minerals in the foundation that forms the look of a rainbow of jewels and - you look at the different dimensions in that city and it's going to be perfectly symmetrical and beautiful. And then we've got God as a musician. Oh, we can talk the whole lesson about this, right? Just talk about music. But is God a musician? Musicians are artists and it is a special gift - some have got gifts of architecture but they may not be able to sing.

You might be an architect and not be able to paint but you understand proportions and design and location and all those things and function. But then you've got some people who've got the gift of music. You know there are some people, I had a friend - I won't say his name - who was autistic, and in many ways he was handicapped - didn't know how to dress - he needed help - couldn't communicate socially, he was inept and just had a lot of struggles. But you sit him down at a piano and he was an artist. And few people could do what he did at a piano.

But he had all of the zip codes and area codes in North America memorized -he had a phenomenal memory - but he had a gift for music that was just amazing. And some people just have that gift. Where do those gifts come from? Now, while I'm at it, while we're talking about the gifts - some people have a gift of they're an artist - you can choose to use that gift for God's glory or for the world. Some have gifts of singing and they can use that for God's glory or they can use it for the world. How often have we heard about people that started singing in church and ended up singing in bars - or worse? And God gives these gifts and God gives these gifts of the spirit and people can understand the power of that gift for art or for architecture or for music or pottery - whatever it is.

And we have freedoms - how to use those gifts, don't we? God's a musician - 1 Chronicles :5 - "four thousand of these men were gatekeepers, and four thousand praised the Lord with musical instruments, 'that I have made,' said David, 'for giving praise.'" Four thousand. Boy, I tell you, there was nothing like it when you went to the temple back in the days of Solomon, after David got everything set up, they had ,000 people lined up and their job was to make sure music was coming from the house of God all day long. No, it was - it was 244,000 - that's 144,000 for the day - is that right? No, 288,000 - 144,000 for the day and 144,000 for the night. And then there were 24,000 - ,000 in the course of the day and 12,000 in the course of the night of people who would sing. But there were thousands of people - their full-time job was music in the house of God.

If you ever got near Jerusalem, music was rising all the time. Someone read for me Deuteronomy :19 - I don't know who has it - right over here - jolyne - that's appropriate, we've got a musician going to read it. And I'm going to read Deuteronomy 32, verse - no, I'm going to read 1 Kings 4:32 - 1 Kings 4:32 speaking of Solomon - Solomon was an artist in his own right - "he spoke three thousand Proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five." You know, I'm a songwriter - I've written some songs - I've got three songs that have been recorded and played - Christian songs - on the radio. And I love to sing - I can't sing very well, but I like to write - but in all The Songs that I've written, I can only think about 50 songs I've written. Solomon wrote a thousand songs - wow! - Can you imagine that? He was talented - where do you think he got his musical ability? From his father, but even more - he prayed for wisdom, didn't he? He got it from the Lord.

All right, read for us Deuteronomy 31:19. "Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel." Now, when you read about that song that you find - and, by the way, The Song itself that it's referring to here in Deuteronomy, is in Deuteronomy , verses 1 to 43. It's a song and if you've got a new king James version Bible, you'll notice that the print changes all of a sudden from the regular layout to the poetic layout, because they are lyrics of a song. The Song talks about God blessing his people when they're obedient and that if they turn away from him, trials would come. But it's not The Song of Moses.

This is The Song of God. God says, 'I have written this song' so God is a songwriter and the lyrics of The Song were designed to teach the people. Then you've got The Song of Moses and then you've got the song of miriam - you know the song of Moses and the lamb, it talks about that and the horse and rider thrown into the sea. It talks about that both in Exodus - and you can read about that in Revelation. It's a song of victory over the enemy.

It's a song of liberation from slavery. That's The Song of Moses. But don't forget, God writes a song too. God is a songwriter. And when you think about the Psalms - the book of Psalms - who ultimately inspired them? God did.

Does God sing? You're taking too long - you're either bored or you're taking too long to answer me. Is God a singer? He's not only a musician. Is there music in nature? Oh, someone's doing a birdsong. I can do it too - (whistles) - you didn't know pastor was so talented, did you? Oh wait, you gotta lick - you gotta lick 'em first - (whistles) - see? When you live up in the hills - you have nothing to do - you've got to entertain yourself. So God's a musician.

Oh, but I was going to read this verse for you in Zephaniah 3:17 - "the Lord your God is in the midst of you, the mighty one, will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you" - God will rejoice over you - "with" - we know the angels are going to sing. It says, "God will rejoice over you with singing." the Lord is going to sing. Boy, if you think the music of the angels is going to inspire you, what about when Jesus begins to sing? There's only one time in the Bible that records Jesus singing, but I'm sure he sang a lot. Isaiah 55:12 - what about the redeemed? "For you will go out with joy and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." Have you ever heard the music in nature? The hills break forth with singing. God's an author - I'm running out of time.

Who doesn't know God's an author? Of course the Bible is his book - but all the stories in the Bible - and he's writing a story in your life and mine - and what does the word history mean - but his story. Now, I'm going to jump down to the last part here - God is a sculptor. God is a sculptor. Somebody look up for me Genesis , verse 7 - who's got that? We've got one of two people - I gave a slip of paper to someone, who's got the slip of paper? All right, you've got it - we'll give you priority then. Sorry - all right, in just a moment we'll do Genesis 2:7 - let me tell you an amazing fact - I wanted to share this with you, which is why I jumped to this.

You know how they bid phenomenal prices for works of art? Does anyone here know what the most expensive price is that's been bid on a piece of art? Just 2010 at sotheby's auction in england, 104.3 million dollars was paid February 3, for a six-foot tall bronze sculpture called 'the walking man'. And you can look at this online - it's called the walking man statue and I don't want to - I don't want to say anything disparaging about the artist out there, but friends, it's bronze but you could give, in my opinion, a kid silly putty or play doh and they could have done it. It is mind-boggling to me 104 million dollars were paid for this long stretched out bronze skinny man walking - and it's all kind of a nebulous form but people - the art world just is all gaga about it. I couldn't believe it. God's artwork is a little better.

All right, go ahead. Read for us Genesis 2, verse 7. Genesis 2, verse 7, "and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." When it came to most creatures, God spoke them into existence. But when it came to making man in his own image, Jesus, evidently, got down on the ground, and he took the moist earth - the clay of the ground - and he physically sculpted man in his own image. And then inspired him - breathed within him - the breath of life.

Now, is the Lord encouraging idolatry by saying 'God is a sculptor'? No but, you know, just like painting, God can make a beautiful work of art - it doesn't mean that you make a God and pray to it - that's different. Did the Lord tell the children of Israel to sculpt figs and pomegranates and even oxen that were underneath the laver in the temple of Solomon? That was three dimensional - were there angels that were sculpted on top of the ark of the covenant? Not out of clay - they were out of gold - but sculpture is three-dimensional art that we're talking about. And so God is an artist in this way. And then what about when a new life is created and a baby is born? Ecclesiastes 11, verse 5, "as you do not know what is in the way of the wind or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything." God is a wonderful creator and you can see the evidence of his creation in the music, in the art, in The Song, in the pots - the vessels - that are around us in the sculpted works that he makes. Oh, one more verse, because I want to read this for you.

It's from the book adventist home. What's the most important artwork that we can do? Speaking of the mother, "no other work" - this is adventist home page 237 - "no other work can equal hers in importance. She's not like the artist who paints a form of beauty upon a canvas, nor like the sculptor who chisels it from marble. She is not like the author to embody a noble thought in word power, nor like the musician to express a beautiful sentiment in melody. It is hers, with the help of God, to develop in a human soul, the likeness of the divine.

" The most important artwork that we have in the world is how we influence character - especially among the young - to be like Christ. That's the greatest work of art is when people are transformed into his image. We are out of time but I want to remind our friends watching we do have a special offer if you missed it at the beginning, it's this book that I wrote called 'determining the will of God' - it largely takes the principles and examples in the Bible of how you find the will of God and you can apply them to your situation. And we'll send it to you for asking. Just call 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #778.

God bless you until we study together again. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location. So many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org.

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