Praise God’s Glory (part 4)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
Sermon Title: Praise God’s Glory (part 4)
Sermon Text: Gospel of John (various passages)
Jesus is God’s Glory
Jesus Vindicates God’s Glory
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 saves us for the praise of His glory. Ephesians tells us that we are adopted, receive an inheritance, and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit with the expected outcome that we will praise God’s glory. God doesn’t want our money, time, talents, or abilities if they are not a result of our praise for His glory.
God has gone through great lengths to achieve this outcome. He sent His beloved Son to die on the cross for the purpose of His glory being praised. It behooves us to understand what is God’s glory and how do we praise His glory in a way which is pleasing to Him.
We have learned 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. His glory is seen in attributes that He shares with us. God is loving, holy, faithful, and good. We also are able to be loving, holy, faithful and good, but God is superior to us in every way with regard to these attributes. This makes Him glorious.
God is extremely glorious in His incommunicable attributes, those which He alone possesses. God is glorious because He alone is Yahweh, Creator, Savior, eternal, immutable, provident, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and Judge over good and evil.
God’s glory was challenged by one of His beings, Satan; the star of the morning. Satan did not see God’s glory and say “woe is me.” Satan sees the glory of God and decides he will become more glorious then God. Satan challenged God’s glory. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan said:
“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)
He desires to ascend to heaven and raise his throne above God. God is setting out 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).
God created the heavens and the earth and decided this is where the challenge for God’s glory will take place. The stakes are high. 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).
On the earth, the heavenly beings 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.
“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)
Until creation, 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 sinner to who God might demonstrate His unconditional love and mercy. None of these attributes were ever displayed until the creation of man.
All through redemptive history we see continual displays of God’s glory. God glorifies Himself through revelations of grace, truth, and mercy and God demonstrates His glory through His marvelous acts.
The most incredible display of God’s glory occurred in the town of Bethlehem a little over 2000 years ago. That is when God’s glory took human form and walked among us. This is what our message is about today.
Two books in the Scripture, Isaiah and the Gospel of John, are excellent resources for studying the glory of God. Of course, every book is an excellent resource, but these two are very helpful with explaining the glory of God.
Turn to Isaiah 6.
1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “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.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, and their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:1-10)
Who did Isaiah see? Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on a throne. Now, turn to John chapter 12. Jesus is nearing His time of death. He has entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Jesus spoke to the people and told them “the Son of Man must be lifted up and will draw all men to Himself”, but the people did not understand. They don’t understand the cross and Jesus’ mission. Their ears are dull and their eyes are dim. Look at what John says beginning in 37.
37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” (quoting Isaiah 6:9-10) 41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. (John 12:36-41)
In Isaiah 6, whose glory did Isaiah see? Isaiah writes he saw the glory of Yahweh on His throne. John says, Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Jesus. Jesus is the glory of God. All of God’s glorious attributes are found in Him.
We know Jesus is God in the flesh because Jesus said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:8-9). When we think of Jesus being God in the flesh do we also think of Jesus being God’s glory in the flesh? Jesus is God’s glory wrapped in humanity.
This is why John begins his gospel with these words:
14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
When John writes, “glory as of the only begotten from the Father,” he is saying it is a unique glory. There is only one of its kind. It is a glory which can only be of God.
This unique glory was witnessed by Peter, James, and John at Jesus’ transfiguration. They saw with their eyes Jesus standing in glory. God placed two citizens of heaven beside Jesus, Moses and Elijah. The glory begotten from the Father radiated from Christ as His face shone like the sun and His garments became as white as light. Jesus is the Shekinah glory radiance that guided the Israelites in the desert and filled Temple built by Solomon.
The glory of God became a human being. God’s glory became enveloped in skin and bones. God’s glory was carried about by legs, picked figs from trees, and taught Peter how to fish. God’s glory walked, talked, ate, performed miracles, wept, and rode a donkey. The disciples walked with God’s glory. They heard God’s glory speak. The Apostle John rested his head upon the bosom of God’s glory.
God gave His glory flesh so He might redeem His elect and to give them a new nature. Because of Christ, God’s glory, our eyes are opened, and we see and enjoy God. We are no longer blinded by Satan. God reveals to us the magnificence of His glory so we may turn our praise from that which is corrupt and temporary to find satisfaction in His eternal, perfect self.
The writer of Hebrews says Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3). The Apostle Paul says:
2 Corinthians 4:6 6For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Glorious Christ – Having the Same Glorious Attributes
If Christ is the radiance of God’s glory, we will find His character, abilities, and nature to have the same attributes of glory that we see in God!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3)
Jesus claimed He is eternal as God is eternal. He was around 30 years old and He told the Jews He existed before Abraham.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58)
Jesus demonstrated God’s omniscience, knowing all things. He claimed He to be the embodiment of the truth. He said I am the truth. (John 14:6). When He was only 12 years old and in the temple, Luke records that Jesus was conversing with the teachers and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers (Luke 2:46-47). The scriptures speak of How Jesus knew the hearts of people. When Philip told His brother Nathanael to come and follow Jesus, John says:
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” (John 1:47-48)
Jesus demonstrated having the glory of God’s providence by speaking to the wind and the waves and telling them to cease. He showed Himself sovereign over sickness and disease.
Scripture tells us Jesus is the judge over good and evil. Jesus cleansed the Temple on two occasions. He drove out the money changers. The Jews asked Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” In other words, what right do you have to judge what is good and evil? And Jesus replies, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:18-19). At the end of this age, all will stand before Jesus’ Great White Throne of Judgement.
If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I am confident you are able to see Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, in both God’s incommunicable attributes, and God’s communicable attributes of mercy, love, and forgiveness. Jesus showed Himself as having the glorious love of God on the cross. Jesus said:
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
Jesus is God’s glory. He came to show what God’s glory look when it is clothed in flesh.
However, Jesus did not just come to earth to be a living display and testimony of God’s glory. Jesus came to vindicate God’s glory.
Jesus Vindicates God’s Glory
There are other words which could be used, but vindicate is a very good word because it is very wide in application. To vindicate God’s glory means to support, prove, uphold, and defend God’s glory. It is more than defending or justifying God’s glory. Jesus set out to prove God’s glory is good. He showed God’s glory is above reproach, and perfect in every way.
Satan set out to challenge God’s glory and Jesus is the One who upholds and defends God’s glory. His role is to prove God’s glory is perfect and superior in every way. In vindicating God’s glory, Jesus is proving that challenging God’s glory is a ridiculous notion which never should have been put forth in the first place.
In vindicating God’s glory, Jesus provided examples for us to follow.
1) Jesus glorifies God – our example: don’t seek to glory ourselves
Unlike Satan, who did not give God the glory, but sought to glorify himself, Jesus did not seek His own glory. He said, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me (John 8:54)
Jesus is the perfect example of what it means to be a man. Jesus did not seek the glory of men, but only sought to glorify God. As a man, Jesus said we should never seek to glorify ourselves. God is the dispenser of honor and glory. God casts down those who are full of pride and seek to glorify themselves. Scripture tells us, humble yourself and God will lift you up.
2) Jesus glorifies God when tempted – our example: don’t exchange God’s glory for another
Jesus was physically weak from fasting in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. Three times in the wilderness Jesus stood for the glory of God (Matthew 4:1-10). Satan directly challenged God’s glory and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus did not exchange God’s glory authority and take matters in His own hands. Jesus obeyed God’s will. He knew God did not want Him to change the rocks to bread. He answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Our example to follow is to obey God’s word even when hungry.
Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus knew this would be a testing of the truthfulness of God’s Word. Jesus didn’t need to prove God’s Word to be true. Jesus had no question about God fulfilling what He said He will do. Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Our example, trust God’s word and do not put it to some sort of test. Have faith in God’s word.
In the last temptation, Satan brought Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Satan sought to have Jesus trade the glory of God for earthly glories. Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Our example, don’t worship the idols of this world. Don’t sin by seeking money and power. Worship God alone and trust His provision.
3) Jesus glorifies God at all cost – our example: give God the glory in every circumstance
Jesus left His glory behind. In His prayer to the Father before the crucifixion, Jesus said:
I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:4-5)
When facing death, the most extreme of all tests, Jesus passion was to give God the glory. Just a few days before He would be betrayed, Jesus knew His passion for God’s glory would be tested under the most difficult of tests. We must ask ourselves, are we able to give God the glory even when facing execution?
“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. (In other words, should I ask God to save me this extreme pain and suffering, even though my soul is very troubled at thinking about what the future holds in store? No, the reason I came is for this very purpose. My intent is to vindicate the glory of God) “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28)
Jesus vindicated God’s glory by showing God should be glorified at all costs. There is never a reason to not glorify God.
4) Jesus glorified God and gained – our example: God’s glory is our gain
God’s glory does not give us gain in a worldly way. The glory of the earth and the glory of the heavenly are two different glories.
God’s glory is abundantly rich. It is an endless supply of goodness for all of creation. God is God and we are His creatures. Whenever people usurp God, there is nothing but trouble. It is a disruption of the flow of goodness. God may not allow rebellion. To those who are willing to recognize God as God and find satisfaction with that arrangement (unlike Satan), there is much to gain.
God does not share His glory with regards to His incommunicable attributes. In other words, God alone is creator and judge. God alone is all-powerful. However, God is totally willing to share His communicable attributes such as love, generosity, forgiveness, and mercy.
Jesus desired to bring us to receive the riches which come from giving God the glory. As Hebrews 2:10 says, Jesus is bringing many sons to glory!
(part of Jesus’ prayer in the garden on the night He was betrayed) “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:22- 23)
God’s glory is bringing us to glory. When man was created in the Garden of Eden, He was made in the image of God. We are being restored into the glories of that image. We are to be a reflection of God’s glory so that we shine as lights, reflecting God’s beauty wherever we go. Are true purpose in the universe is to be a mirror for God’s glory.
Our destiny is we are to be a reflection of God’s glory. Consider these passages:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)
Paul continues in Romans by saying, “creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” because creation will also be set free and be placed “into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:18-21)
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
The primary means of bringing us to glory is the resurrection. The resurrection is the final outcome of Jesus’ defeat of sin and death and vindication of God’s glory.
Turn to John 11. This is the account of Martha, Mary and the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This is an important exchange for us to understand. Martha meets Jesus as He is on His way Bethany, outside the village. They have an exchange. Martha tells Jesus if He had been there, He could have healed Lazarus.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:23-26)
Jesus asks Martha, do you believe Jesus is the resurrection and life. Martha responds she believes this to be true. They finish traveling to Bethany and are now standing outside the tomb. Jesus tells the people to remove the stone from in front of the tomb. Martha objects because of the stench. Lazarus has been dead for four days.
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)
Martha could say, “No, you didn’t say that Jesus. You didn’t say I would see the glory of God.” You said I needed to believe in You; that you are the resurrection and the life. I believe that.” But, notice, Jesus didn’t say, “Did I not say to you that if you believe I am the resurrection and the life; all who believe in Me will live.” Instead, Jesus said, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
This is vitally important in understanding the glory of God. When we believe in the resurrection, we believe in the glory of God! They are one and the same. Before the death of Adam, and everyone who followed, there was no resurrection. God displays His glory in the resurrection. Jesus victory over sin and death and His resurrection from the grave are displays of the glory of God. It is a display of the judgment of sin and death and a display of grace and life.
Hopefully, after these past four sermons, we have a much greater understanding of the glory of God than ever before. As we look into Ephesians 1, we see the opening paragraph speaks of acts which prove God’s glory. God’s glory is all-encompassing and immensely rich.
God’s glory is everything to us. It is being forgiven. God’s glory is a beautiful radiance we may treasure and behold. God’s glory is tasted in fruit and smelled in flowers. God’s glory is the satisfaction of knowing truth. God’s glory is the just act of punishing that which is evil. God’s glory is receiving that which we do not deserve. God’s glory is having all of our enemies totally defeated for all of eternity. (I could go on and on.) God’s glory is life itself.
When we rightly understand God’s glory, we realize praising His glory is a joy. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness because we are recipients of God’s glory. We realize God paid a great price for His glory to be displayed. God desires His glory to be praised above all else.
Let me close with this prayer by Jesus, the One who is the manifestation of God’s glory.
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)
Jesus wants nothing more than to have us be with Him so we may enjoy His glory forever. There is nothing distasteful or unattractive about God’s glory. Enjoying God’s glory is a perpetual holiday.
We’ve had to take four sermons to contemplate the depth of God’s glory. Next week, the message will be entirely about how we may apply the doctrine of God’s glory to our lives. We will see how may we praise God’s glory in a way that is fitting for us who are created to be God’s children, made in His image so as to reflect His glory.