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God and Beauty

God and Beauty

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Published by glennpease
Beauty is one of God's most blessed gifts to mankind. It's power changes lives.
Beauty is one of God's most blessed gifts to mankind. It's power changes lives.

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 22, 2009
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GOD AND BEAUTY Based on EcclesGOD AND BEAUTY Based on Eccles. 3:1-11By Pastor Glenn PeaseWhen my daughter was little I use to take her for a ride on a mini bike through the fields.There were a number of wild flowers, and just on impulse I said to Cindy, "Let's see how manyflowers we can find out here." Every time we saw a different kind of flower she would pick it, andwe would go on with the search. In a matter of minutes we were amazed at the variety, and withinhalf an hour we had the most beautiful bouquet of 23 different kinds of wild flowers. Such anexperience made a deep impact on both of us. We were impressed with the fact that God is a loverof beauty, and that there is more beauty in God's creation than most of us ever see. If you keepyour eyes open, you never know when or where you will experience new beauties. DouglasMalloch put it in poetry-Along the journey here and thereYou often find a flower,Just anytime or anywhere,No special place or hour.They are not planted in a row;You never guess, you never know;Around a bend a fellow goes,And right ahead he sees a rose.If a Christian is not feeding his soul on the beauties of life, he will not be growing in beautyhimself, and will be failing to fulfill the purpose of God in his life. Rousseau said, "Take from ourhearts the love of the beautiful and you take away the charm of life." Beauty plays an importantrole in the life of a believer, but it is seldom given serious consideration. Dr. Harry Fosdick oncesaid, "Nothing in human life, least of all in religion, is ever right until it is beautiful." Nothingthat is truly Christlike is ever ugly. All of the fruits of the spirit are beautiful.William Blake went so far as to say, "A Poet, a Painter, a Musician, an Architect, the man orwoman who is not one of these is not a Christian." He is saying that every true Christian will addsome beauty to life, or he is not being Christian. Marion L. Bliss in her book The Way Of Wonderexplains why this is so. "Because to be a Christian is to be a follower of perfection, and a manwho seeks perfection soon becomes an artist. The true philosopher is a follower of truth; the truemusician is a follower of harmony and law; the true architect is a follower of order and design andsymmetry; the true painter is a follower of light and beauty; the true poet is a follower of love.These paths are the paths of perfection, truth, harmony, law, order, design, light, beauty and love,and all lead to one goal-God."The Gospel and beauty have always gone hand in hand in their transforming march across theworld scared by sin. Whenever men turn to Christ their lives and their environment become morebeautiful. When John Wesley rode up and down through the English countryside during the lastPage 1
GOD AND BEAUTY Based on Eccleshalf of the 18th century, his soul was touched by the poverty, and ugliness of the village life. Hedecided to start a contest. He distributed flower seeds to all of the housewives, and he offeredprizes to those who could raise the most beautiful gardens. The result is that the Englishcountryside has the reputation of being the most colorful in the world. Wesley not only changedthe history of Christianity in the English world, but his love of beauty changed even the physicalenvironment. He would have said amen to the poet who wrote,If of thy mortal goods thou are bereft,And from thy slender store to loaves alone to thee are left,Sell one, and with the doleBuy hyacinths to feed thy soul.Our purpose in this message is to show that the Bible supports this emphasis on the importanceof beauty. It is not a luxury, but a necessity for the good and godly life. Philosophers have alwaysincluded beauty among the highest values of life. Their trinity of values have always been thegood, the true, and the beautiful. We want to consider this subject under three headings: The factof beauty; the form of beauty, and the force of beauty. Let's look first at-I. THE FACT OF BEAUTY.Our text tells that God has made everything beautiful in its time. If there is any man whocannot see that God loves beauty, he is blind indeed. You just as well try and teach a stone toappreciate Bach as to try and teach such a person to appreciate the Master Artist of all beauty.Such persons are rare, however, and Clarence E. Macartney, the great preacher, was convincedthat the love of beauty was so deeply implanted in us by God that this is the reason why peoplelong to escape from the city into the country. God planted a garden of unspeakable beauty forman's first environment, and Macartney says that man has never been able to throw off theinfluence of that early environment.The fact is, God made the first garden and all of its beauty. In the Old Testament there are 23different Hebrew words for beautiful, beauty, and beautify. In the New Testament the word isseldom used, but the emphasis is still there. Jesus, for example, pointed to the beauty around Himto illustrate His teachings. "Behold the lilies of the field. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayedas one of these." Jesus saw greater beauty in a flower than in the man made beauty of royalgarments. Jesus appreciated beautiful clothes, and He wore a robe of such beautiful handiworkthat the soldiers gambled to see who would become the fortunate possessor of it. For Jesus,however, nothing could match the garments God gave to the flowers of the fields.According to Ruskin in his book The Seven Lamps of Architecture, all man made beauty is animitation of what God has made in the realm of natural beauty. This is illustrated by the fact thatGod's design of the Tabernacle and Temple, and all that had to do with architecture and worshipwas exceedingly beautiful in color, form, and was to have flowers craved everywhere to ornamentthe place of worship. Let me share just a few of the many references.In I Kings 6:18 the temple that Solomon built is described: "The cedar within was carved inPage 2
GOD AND BEAUTY Based on Ecclesthe form of gourds and open flowers..." v. 29 says, "He craved all the walls of the house roundabout with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers..." Ex. 25 describes theflowers carved in the Tabernacle also. The fact is, God demanded everything connected with theworship of Him to be of the finest beauty.Psa. 96:6-"Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary."Ezra 7:27-"Blessed be the Lord, the God of fathers, who put such a thing into the heart of theking, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem."Isa. 60:13-"The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, tobeautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious."These are just a few of the many verses that make clear the fact of God's love of beauty. He wantsmen to create beauty by imitating His own creativity in nature. Let us next consider-II. THE FORM OF BEAUTY.We can only touch on a few of the many issues involved in what beauty really is. ManyChristians have had low standards in what they consider beautiful. In their rejection of theworld's values the Christians of the past have thrown out some of God's values along with those of the world. This is easy to do because some things are universally beautiful, and they appeal to allpeople whether they be Christians or unbelievers. What a Christian considers beautifuldetermines a great deal as to the character and conduct of his life.Frank Gaebelein, writing in Christianity Today, says that many evangelical Christians have,"The snobbery of the banal." That is, a pride in the second and third rate which expressescontempt for the first rate. Christians often call certain music, drama, and art, high brow andegghead. They are devoted to third rate TV programs and music that has nothing to do withworship. He writes, "Evangelicals turn away from art as a side issue or frill at the peril of theirown impoverishment and at the cost of ineffectiveness in their witness. For art, which is theexpression of truth through beauty, cannot be brushed aside as a luxury. We who know Godthrough His Son who is altogether lovely must be concerned that the art we look at, listen to, read,and use in the worship of the living God has integrity."He calls for Christians to get their youth involved in, not just hikes, picnics, games, and parties,but in activities where they learn to appreciate the beautiful in all realms of life. William LyonPhelps, the Christian professor at Yale, said, "The way to appreciate beauty is to keep looking atit; to appreciate music is to keep listening to it, and to appreciate poetry is to keep reading it." Allof this is but commentary on the words of Paul in Phil. 4:8, which opens up the whole universe of beauty for the Christian. Paul said, "...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there isanything worthy of praise, think about these things." The Christian is obligated to be devoted tothe beautiful in every realm of life.The Bible speaks of many forms of beauty. There are a number of women referred to asbeautiful. The fair form of the female is a form of art in which most men need no encouragementPage 3

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