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Praise God’s Glory (part 3)

Sermon Date:May 22, 2016

Sermon Topics:Ephesians 1:3-14; Exodus 34:6-7

Author:Allen Burns

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 14:12-19

Sermon Title: Praise God’s Glory (part 3)

Sermon Text: Isaiah 14:13-14; Exodus 34:6-8

MAIN IDEA:  God works our salvation in Christ for the praise of His glory

God’s glory is that every aspect of His person, including His character, abilities, and His nature, is infinitely superior to all that is seen and unseen.

 

God’s glory challenged

God’s glory proven

 

NOTE:

“Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB."

I provide this manuscript as a courtesy. I do not follow the document word for word during the message. I also do not write the document with the intent of publication; there may be grammatical errors throughout. Unfortunately, there is not always time to proofread. I choose to use my available time for studying, finding ways to explain the truths of Scripture while keeping a balance of time for visiting and discipleship of people in the church. Thanks for understanding.

 

God’s Glory Challenged

God saves us so we will praise His glory.

God’s glory is that every aspect of His person, including His character, abilities, and His nature, is infinitely superior to all that is seen and unseen. God’s glory makes Him preeminent; He is weightier in every way and we are to have a high opinion of Him. God’s glory is not something which may be added, but it is inherently existing already in His being. His glory is at maximum capacity. When the Bible says, “give God the glory” what it means is we are to “recognize the truth that God is glorious; therefore, tip our scale of opinion correctly.”

We share in some attributes of God. He made us in His image. God imputes to us the ability to love, be wise, to forgive, and many other attributes. However, we never equal God in these attributes. God is glorious because He stands alone in His purity and quality of His attributes. We are loving, faithful, and good; however, God is most loving, faithful and good. He is the standard and measurement of these attributes.

There are attributes of God He alone possesses. These are referred to as His incommunicable attributes. They may not be communicated to another being. God is glorious because He alone is God, Creator, eternal, Savior, omnipresent (present everywhere), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), immutable (unchanging), provident over Creation, infinite, and the Judge of what is good and what is evil.

There are glorious beings in the universe greater than humans. They are referred to in the Scripture as principalities and powers; angels and demons. They are spiritual beings. Scripture indicates they were created by God before God created the universe (Job 38:4-7). They are powerful and are created to be servants of the Most-High God.

The prophet Isaiah was given special revelation of these creatures. In Isaiah 6, he writes about His vision of the throne of God. Above God’s throne is an angel Isaiah; a Seraphim. He describes the Seraphim as having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. The seraphim called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”

When the prophet Isaiah sees the grand vision of God upon His throne, his response is to cry out:

“Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)

Not all created beings respond to God’s glory in the same way. Isaiah tells of an incident which took place before God created the earth. In Isaiah 14, our Scripture reading, Isaiah records that Satan, one of God’s angels, stood before the throne of God, and had a much different response to God’s glory than Isaiah. Lucifer, the star of the morning, did not see God’s glory and say “woe is me,” instead he responds just the opposite. Lucifer sees the glory of God and decides he will become more glorious.

“I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14)

Satan saw God’s throne and was jealous of the praise. Satan saw God’s majesty and splendor and Satan desired it for himself. Satan was not satisfied with being the splendid, beautiful, creature God created, Satan wanted more. Satan wanted to be a creature greater than God. He desired to be the king of glory.

Satan is more powerful than we give him credit. He has enough power that he believes he may launch an assault upon the Almighty Creator of the universe. Satan is wiser than we think. He has enough wisdom that he believes he may outwit the all-wise God.

We cannot help but wonder, “As Satan is looking at God upon His throne, what does he see in God’s glory that makes him think he is more glorious? What makes Satan think he is better than God?” He looks upon the One who is most powerful and believes he is more powerful. He looks upon the glory of God’s wisdom and believes himself to be wiser. What did Satan see in God which caused Him to think He could be more glorious?

God heard Satan’s challenge and God accepted the challenge. Satan’s will and desire is to ascend to heaven and raise his throne above God. God’s will and desire is to prove He deserves all the glory. God declares, “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another” (Isaiah 42:8).

The depth of God’s glory revealed in Creation

Thus began the battle of the wills. God created the heavens and the earth and decided this is where the challenge for God’s glory will take place. Satan versus God and earth is the battleground. Isaiah 14:12 tells us Satan fell from heaven and was placed upon the earth. Jesus told His disciples that He was watching as Satan fell from heaven like lightning and was sent to the earth (Luke 10:18).

Satan set out to deceive those who were made in God’s image in the Garden of Eden. Satan attacked God’s role of authority by speaking to the woman instead of the man. Satan challenged God’s command saying if the woman eats the fruit, “You surely will not die! God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5). In other words, “If you eat the fruit, you will be like Him. God doesn’t want you to be like Him and share in His glory. I know firsthand. Eat the fruit and discover you will not die because God does not leave the guilty unpunished. He is not powerful enough to make you die. God is not abounding in truth; His word is not true. Discover your own glory by being like God. God is not the judge of good and evil, you will be the judge.”

Satan’s work of seeking to ascend and be lifted above the throne of God began in the Garden of Eden. Satan blinds the eyes of the unbelieving so they may not see the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan began to prove his glory.

A whole new side to God’s glory.

The answer to the question, “what did Satan see in God which caused him to think He could be more glorious than God” is, it is not what Satan did see, but what He did not see.

It is in the garden we see a whole new side to God’s glory. When Satan launched his assault on God’s glory, there was a side to God’s glory that had never been revealed until after the earth and man was created. It is the side of glory which makes God most glorious. It is the glory which God proclaimed to Moses.

God didn’t walk by Moses and exclaim, “I am the Lord Almighty. I created the heavens and the earth. There are none more powerful than I. There is none wiser; I alone hold all the knowledge. Only I am present everywhere. I exist for eternity. I am unchangeable and infinite.” These attributes are glorious, but they are not what God exclaimed. What God did proclaim is:

“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:6-8)

God’s grace and mercy had never been displayed or enjoyed. There was nobody to forgive. There was nobody to extend grace. There was no object of love. None of these attributes were ever displayed until the creation of man.

God began to demonstrate and prove His glory in the Garden with Adam and Eve. God demonstrated He is slow to anger by not immediately annihilating Adam and Eve. God demonstrated He is compassionate by clothing Adam and Eve. He showed His glory of being gracious by promising a Savior. God did not let the guilty go unpunished, but punished all three of them. God proved His word is abounding in truth because Adam and Eve did die. God proved He is gloriously forgiving of transgression, iniquity, and sin.

It is these attributes of God’s glory, those which were not seen before, which are most beautiful. The glory of God’s power, wisdom, and strength is that it is undergirded by grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and the judge of what is good and evil. Satan has none of these qualities. He lacks the true strength of God’s glory. God created the earth and mankind so He might showcase these previously hidden attributes of His glory through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

We see in the Scriptures God’s glory is to be praised. Yes, we praise Him because He is the all-wise, all-powerful, eternal Creator of the universe, but our deepest, most-heartfelt praise pours forth in response to His grace, mercy, and love. His goodness toward us in our salvation is what moves our soul and what we appreciate and enjoy the most about God. Yes, He is the Almighty God of heaven and earth, but most wonderful is that He adopts us as children and tells us to call Him our Heavenly Father.

God saves us that we will praise His glory. God lavishes us with grace, adopts us as His children, gives us an inheritance in Christ, and indwells us with His Holy Spirit so that we will praise His glory. This is all God expects from us. God desires His glory be praised above all things.

What are we to praise? We are to praise the glory of God’s incredible, undeserved, goodness to mankind. Praise the LORD God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; and He keeps lovingkindness for thousands, and He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.

God’s Glory Proven

God created the heavens and the earth as a proving ground to display and demonstrate His glory. He manifests His glory in countless ways. God gave us eyes, ears, smell, taste, emotions, intellect, every part of our being for the purpose of being able to experience His glory.

How does His glory appear to our eyes, ears, and mind? Our mind experiences God’s glory as we grow in understanding of the astrophysics and biology of the universe. Our emotions experience the glory of God’s compassion when we are forgiven by others. We know of God’s glorious eternal nature when we witness life’s decay and death. We know God is gloriously good when we taste and seeing His goodness every time we eat.

Every second of every day we see, taste, feel, and think and our faculties experience the glory of God. Even in our sleep, when we are least active, we experience God’s glory because we know He never sleeps or is tired. We work and experience fatigue and we know God never runs and becomes weary. God is continually working in our lives to prove His glory.

We look at creation and see God’s glory displayed in the revealing of His eternal power and divine nature. God created the heavens and the earth so that the full manifestation of His glory is made known. The heavens declare the glory of God. Night after night they speak of His awesome power as they burst forth energy. They speak of His providence as they follow the pathway according to His direction, they display the wonder of His expansive greatness as they reach beyond telescopes, and they display the radiance of God’s artistic beauty and handiwork.

God’s glory is most wonderfully displayed in His redemptive work in mankind. We experience God’s glory in being forgiving, because we are forgiven. We experience God’s love because we may point to the cross and say, God demonstrates His own love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins.

Everything in the physical realm is proving God’s glory. God’s glory became manifest in Ephesus. God glorified Himself by imposing His will and revealed Christ as superior to the devil’s god Artemis. God revealed His Word is truth and the people in Ephesus burned all their satanic magic books and counted the lies of the magic books as rubbish compared to the truth of God’s Word.

God’s glory is not words of declaration. God’s glory is unmistakably present and visibly proven in the lives of Moses and the Israelites. Here are some examples of God’s glory proven to Moses:

God’s glory is manifest in hearing prayers for deliverance

The Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush and said:

“I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8).

Moses saw God’s glory in action because God heard the cries of God’s people. God showed His glory over Satan’s Pharaoh. The event was so incredible that over 40 years later, in the town of Jericho, a harlot named Rahab heard of the God of the Israelites and she feared His glorious power. God worked His glory in her so she was delivered and became one in the lineage of Christ.

God hears the affliction of His people. He shows His glory to us. God hears our cries to Him to deliver us from the bondage of sin. God works miraculously in us to give us forgiveness and works in us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to continually give us the strength and ability to overcome sin.

“… call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)

God’s glory is manifest in the blood of the Lamb

God told Moses the blood over the lamb applied to their doorpost would save them from the angel of death. Moses and the Israelites put their faith in the blood of the lamb and God spared them. They trusted in God’s glorious power to save. They celebrated the blood of the lamb every year in a feast which they called the Passover.

Today, we celebrate the glory of God every time we participate in communion. We celebrate the blood of Christ applied to the doorposts of our heart and the angel of death passes by us and we have life forevermore. When we take communion, we remember we are freed from our sins by His blood and we say, to Him be the glory.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)

God’s glory is manifest in His Judgment of unrepentant sinners

God proclaimed His glory as He walked by Moses, and said He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. God judges the guilty. God called Noah to preach repentance. The people did not repent and God showed His glory in the flood. God showed His glory at Sodom and Gomorrah to unrepentant sinners. God showed His glory in the wilderness as He passed judgment on those who participated in Korah’s rebellion. God showed His glory in the Law when He told the Israelites to cast unrepentant sinners from the camp.

We see God’s glory taking place when, as a church, we call upon sinners to repent, and if they do not, we cast out unrepentant sinners and treat them as Gentiles and tax collectors. We know we may trust in God’s judgment of the earth. Even though sinners are getting away with murder, blasphemy, immorality, and all sorts of evil, we may trust God will show His glory.

Revelation 16:9 says:

Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

Those who do not repent from their sin refuse to give God the glory. They will be forever cast into the lake of fire.

God’s glory is manifest in saving His people from sin and death

Moses saw God’s glory of salvation in the wilderness. The Israelites became impatient with God’s timing and they tired of straying in the wilderness. They sinned against Moses and God by complaining about the food, calling it miserable, and saying God only brought them out of Egypt so that they would die in the wilderness.

The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21:6-9)

God proves His glory by atoning for the sin of His people.

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! (Psalm 79:9)

Nicodemus asked Jesus how to receive eternal life. Jesus answered,

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-16)

We recognize our sin, as the Israelites recognized their sin, and we ask for forgiveness and mercy. In His mercy, God lifts up His Son on the cross. Do you want to see the glory of God? Look no further than the cross of Christ.

We gaze upon His glorious act of love, forgiveness, mercy, and judgment and we bend our knee and we declare we have seen nothing more glorious than the Son of Man lifted up. We put our faith, not in ourselves, but we put our faith in Him who is Mighty to save! We see God’s glory proven on the cross of Calvary.

God’s glory is manifest in the promise of His Kingdom

They (God’s saints) shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power (Psalm 145:11)

Moses spoke of the glory of God’s Kingdom to the Israelites. Moses told the people, “I Am” has sent me to lead you to the land flowing with milk and honey. The Israelites heard Moses and followed him as they sought the Promised Land.

Before He died, Moses saw God’s glory as he stood on the mountain and gazed upon the hope of the Promised Land. He was blessed to be shown a glimpse of the glory of God’s promise.

We also have been shown a glimpse of the glory of God’s Kingdom. The Lord God reveals to us a description of His glorious Kingdom as we see read John’s vision of heaven in chapters 20 and 21 in the book of revelation. To prove the glory of His promise, God indwells us with the down payment of the Kingdom, our inheritance, with His Holy Spirit.

Closing

God continually works in Creation to reveal His glory. Every event and circumstance in life taking place in the physical realm has behind it the revealing of God’s glory. The universe is the physical manifestation of God working out His will of bringing all things under the feet of Christ and prove Him to be the King of glory.

There are countless other ways God’s glory was made manifest during the time of Moses. There are countless ways God’s glory is made manifest in our lives. Every time we eat, breathe, walk, think, or feel, we experience the glory of God. We just need eyes to see.

It is easy to see the glory of God in Creation. Sunsets. Stars. What about the difficult times? Do we see God being glorified in adversity?

God’s glory is manifest in what is beautiful and God’s glory is being manifest in that which appears to be ugly and tragic, such as suffering and death. Look how God glorified Himself in the life of Job. God asked Satan if while he was wandering about upon the earth, did he consider how Job gave God the glory? Job feared and honored God. Job understood God deserved the glory.

Satan said, the only reason Job gives You the glory is because of all of his riches. Take away his wealth and we will see the only reason Job gives You the glory is because of his wealth. God allowed Satan to do just that. And Job still gave God the glory. Even under great diversity, Job gave God the glory.

Countless times we hear of stories of missionaries who were tortured and died for the cause of the gospel. They believe God is true and not a liar. They know God’s glory is He abounds in truth. They counted the glory of Christ as more important than life itself. Through their death, God’s glory is made magnificent. They saw a glimpse of the glory of God’s kingdom and they were willing to trade the wood, hay, and stubble of this world for the glory of God. Their death and suffering proves the goodness of the glory of God.

Like the missionaries, prophets, and the apostles of God who have gone before us, we are being changed from one degree of glory to another. We are given God’s communicable attributes of love, forgiveness, mercy, and goodness (among others). God is glorifying Himself in our lives and in our person. He gives us new life as new creatures in Christ. As God does this, the principalities and powers of the Universe see the display of God’s glory being proven over and over again.

Ultimately, we know Satan loses the battle of the wills. Satan failed to see the full nature of God’s glory. At the moment God’s glory was challenged, God could have rightly judged Satan and cast him into hell. But, in His wisdom, God did not. God desired to reveal the fullness of His glory to all of creation. This way, at the end of the age, when Satan and his followers are cast into the lake of fire, all of creation will know without a doubt, God is truly glorious. There will be none who question His glory ever again.

Satan tried to make us think we were glorious. But, we are no longer a creature who thinks too highly of ourselves. We used to be people who thought we were quite something. We thought we were good, but now we know only God is good. We thought we were rather clever inventing automobiles and computers and designing buildings and fixing broking things and planting gardens, and God revealed His glory in being the architect of creation and showed us the wisdom of His Word. We thought we were beautiful with our flowing hair and smart clothing and God revealed the lilies are more gloriously arrayed than Solomon.

Glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. God reveals to us His mystery which is hidden to the rest of mankind. God reveals the glories of His Son. We are the most privileged of all people. We are also privileged to not just have Christ revealed, but to have the message of truth; Gospel of salvation, revealed to us and made known to us. We are like Moses. God has walked by us and shown us His glory.