Ephesians 1:3-14; 1 Chronicles 16:8-36
Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:8-36
Sermon Title: Praise God’s Glory (part 5)
Sermon Text: Ephesians 1:3-14; 1 Chronicles 16:8-36
MAIN IDEA: Seek to have these four characteristics in your praise for God’s glory.
Praise for God’s Glory is God-Centered
Praise for God’s Glory is Shared
Praise for God’s Glory is Proclaimed
Praise for God’s Glory is Enjoyed
“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.
Our God is glorious.
God proves His glory to be unquestionably good. He is of superior value to all that is in the universe and all that is in the spiritual realm.
We taste and see the Lord is good. God gives us senses, emotions, and intellect so that we may enjoy His glory. Our mind marvels, and is entertained, by contemplating His wisdom and power displayed in the stars of the universe and in the gracefulness of the mountain goat. Every element of nature: rocks, mountains, rose petals, towering redwood trees, whispery clouds, and tsunamis, is designed that we may fully experience God and wonder at His glory.
We see God’s glory manifest in human history. God showed His glory in the judgment of the flood and in the delivery of the Israelites from Egypt. His mighty power brings trembling and fear to the human heart. At the same time, we see the kindness of His care for the less-fortunate, His love for the orphans, and the intimacy of Song of Solomon, and our trembling and fear is met with love and affection for His ways.
Every molecule of the Universe and ever page of Scripture unveils God’s glory. Those who have eyes to see are awestruck at His mighty power, amazing love, and infinite wisdom.
The greatest, and most compelling, manifestation of God’s glory is seen in the person of Christ; when God’s glory became flesh. God’s glory walked among us and mankind received firsthand experience of His glory.
Jesus proves God’s glory to be good. Jesus is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and truth, forgiveness, and demonstrates God’s judgment upon the guilty. It is through Christ we experience the very best of God’s glory.
In Christ, God blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. God chose us to be in Christ before the world was created. He adopted us and given us an inheritance of eternal life filled with joy. God lavishes us with undeserved love, grace, and mercy because He desires to display His glory.
God’s expected response to His work of salvation in us is that we will praise His glory. God went to great lengths for us to praise His glory. He sent His beloved Son to suffer and die for His glory. Jesus had great anguish and sorrow, but sought to glorify God rather than remain in comfort. Jesus counted God’s glory as more valuable than life itself.
What is praising God’s glory? What does it look like in the life of the believer? To answer these questions, we will look at 1 Chronicles 16 and learn from God’s inspired Word to the people of Israel.
Praise for God’s glory is timeless. All the saints are chosen for the purpose of praising God’s glory.
Around 1000bc, during the beginning of the reign of David, God’s people were commanded to praise God’s glory.
The setting of the Psalm is the celebration of the Ark of the Covenant being brought into its final resting place in Jerusalem. The Ark represents the presence of God among the people of Israel (Psalm 132: 1-5). After David became King, one of his first priorities was to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. Until this time, the Ark remained outside of Jerusalem. David placed the Ark in a tent on Mount Moriah, where it would stay until Solomon built the Temple, and the Ark was placed in the Holy of Holies.
There is great reason for celebration in Israel. All the enemies are defeated. The loved King David, is on the throne. The Israelites are living in peace and prosperity in the conquered Promised Land; the land of milk and honey. The Ark of the Covenant, symbolizing the presence of God, is with them in the capitol city of Jerusalem.
David makes an offering to God and distributes to everyone in Israel, “both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread and a portion of meat and a raisin cake.” (1 Chronicles 16:3). King David appoints the Levites as ministers before the Ark and has Asaph write a Psalm to celebrate. The praise band plays harps, lyres, cymbals, and trumpets. As a highlight of the celebration, this psalm is sung.
There are three reasons why Asaph’s Psalm of Thanksgiving is suitable to help us know how to praise God’s glory. The first reason is this:
In this psalm, we see many references to God’s glory. There are many mentions of God’s name, (Lord Yahweh) and to call upon His name. The psalm speaks of God’s attributes which make Him glorious, such as His strength, wonders, marvels, splendor, majesty, and strength. God is glorious because He is Judge and the psalm says God’s judgments are in all the earth. The psalm speaks of God’s eternal nature, speaking of it being forever and ever, and everlasting. The psalm says God is glorious because He is the Creator and made the heavens and the earth and it is because of Him it is firmly established. Most importantly, the passage speaks of God’s saving His people. God gloriously cares for them, shows them lovingkindness, and provides an inheritance.
This passage is very similar to Ephesians 1:3-14. This passage and the Ephesians passage provide a beautiful summary of God’s work in saving His chosen people. They both talk of God’s deliverance and redemption, salvation, worshiping the Lord in holiness, and God’s lovingkindness and mercy.
Both passages are a call for God’s chosen people to praise God’s glory. God desires we be pleasing to Him for the works He has done.
Ephesians 1 and this psalm are both a call for God’s chosen people to praise His glory.
The third reason this psalm is suitable to instruct us on how to praise God’s glory is:
This psalm has 25 commands telling how we may praise God’s glory. Some commands are repeated.
These are all very good commands. They cover a wide range of ways we may praise God’s glory. We may tell others, we may call upon God to save us, gather us, and deliver us, we may show thanks, give an offering, and proclaim the good tidings of His salvation.
It is very good if we could take this list and write down all the commands. We could make a checklist and endeavor to do a different command every day. Perhaps Monday I will sing a song or listen to songs of praise. Tuesday I will write a thank-you note to the Lord. Wednesday I will make it a point to think of all the wonderful things about God and be sure to bring them up in conversation with others. We could take this list and be very busy in our praise of God’s glory.
It is beneficial to remind ourselves of these commands and intentionally seeking to honor God in doing them. God would be glorified and we would be blessed. However, the concern is that we might become duty-bound and check-list driven. Glorifying God is not completing a checklist. Glorifying God is an attitude. God looks upon the heart. It is most glorifying to God when we do these things because it is our desire.
A check list implies there is time to do some things on the list, and the rest of the day is spent doing other things. Go to work (check). Eat lunch (check). Seek God’s face (check). Change the oil in the car (check). Glorifying God is not a part-time, compartmentalized task. It is an affectionate lifestyle of perpetual devotion. As the psalm says, we are to glorify God continually (v.11), forever (v.15), day to day (v.23), and from everlasting to everlasting (v.36). It is not a once a week duty, nor is it a daily chore like cleaning the stalls, doing the dishes, and feeding the chickens.
Worse yet, would be for us to complete the checklist, and still not please God. It is possible to remember His covenant or sing a song, but to do those things in a manner which is not glorifying to God. Glorifying God is an attitude which flows from a heart indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit.
Therefore, with the list of ways to glorify God given in Asaph’s psalm of thanksgiving in mind as a very good list, knowing these are good and right, let’s focus on the characteristics which these ways to glorify God have in common.
This is the main idea of the message this morning:
In other words, my praise of God’s glory is best if it incorporates these attributes.
This is not an all-inclusive list of characteristics. I am sure you might think of more that are good to have. These are obtained from observing the commands to praise God’s glory in Asaph’s psalm.
The first is this:
When reading the Psalm, we cannot help but notice the numerous mentions of the Lord God. Everything is focused upon Him.
We need to make sure our fulfillment of the commands listed are God-centered. For example, if we are to give thanks, we give thanks to God. If we are to sing, we are sing to God. If we are to speak, we are to speak of God’s wonders. Over and over again the psalmist points us to Yahweh. There are 61 mentions of God in 28 verses. Clearly, the Psalm is about God’s person and His work.
Notice the Psalm is not about King David’s conquests, the people’s fulfillment of the Law, or being able to enjoy the bounty of the Promised Land. The Psalm is not about the Israelites. The Psalm is about God’s character and God’s working in favor of His chosen people.
We might think how incredibly obvious it is that we are to be sure to have God be the focus in the praise of His glory. But, as I think back over my life, and as I hear Christianity talked about, we often focus on the wrong things. Let me give you a few examples.
We might desire for people to come to church. We might say things like this:
All of these things are true and they are all very good, but they are not spoken in a way that is God-centered. We need to consider how we might rephrase these statements so they are God-centered.
Be thankful for God’s provision, but don’t be thankful for the gift, be thankful for the One who gives. Be thankful for the wonderful deeds God does in our lives, but don’t be thankful for the deed, be thankful for the One who works wonders.
Sometimes we talk of everything that is good about Christianity, but we are afraid to talk about God for fear of turning people away. I understand. I catch myself doing this as well. God is not popular in our culture. So, instead, when we talk of Christianity, we talk about the benefits. Christianity is family focused. It will help you be a better employee. You will be blessed by the great fellowship. The Bible provides instructions and answers about life. In doing this, we leave out God with the hope people will come and discover God. Be bold. Trust God’s Word. God says to speak about Him. He should be our focus. Talk of His wonders and His deeds. Tell of God’s goodness, mercy, and love.
We do well in glorifying God when we are unashamed to talk about God. Christianity is about Him. Read the Psalm and learn how God’s praise for His glory is about Him first and foremost.
Praise of God’s glory is God-centered.
Notice in the psalm the frequency of the mention of a collective group of people. God works through individuals, such as Abraham, but He did so He might gather together a people to praise Him. We are a chosen people, not chosen individuals.
The Psalm talks of the Sons of Jacob, God’s anointed ones, and the families of the peoples. When we make known His deeds we do so among the peoples. Notice, at the end of the psalm (v.35), it doesn’t say, “save me, gather me, and deliver me” but it says, “save us, gather us, and deliver us”. When the psalm ends, all the people together say “Amen”.
We live in a society that stresses the individual. We celebrate our uniqueness. We value our privacy. We promote ourselves and we take care of number one. We value our “me-time”.
God did not save us as individuals. God saves us as a people. Together we are the bride of Christ, not the many brides of Christ. God intends for us to be gathered as one body. We are many members of one body.
There are two ways we violate this principle.
The first way is to be selfish and to seek our own preferences above the needs of others. Too often people are dissatisfied because their individual needs are not met. People leave churches because it doesn’t suit their preference. They speak of distaste for a particular worship song because it is not their preference, but they don’t consider how that song might help someone else worship. Sometimes people don’t fulfil their obligations because they don’t feel like attending a meeting, even though their presence and input may be helpful. We can all think of ways in which people put their own preferences over the needs of others.
We glorify God when we recognize and put the needs of others before our own. This is the example Jesus gave. The Son of Man came, not to be served, but to serve. When we display an “others-first” attitude, we show God’s glory at work and we are a reflection of His goodness. His glory becomes magnified in our lives.
The second way we don’t share in our praise of God’s glory is that we struggle on our own without seeking the help of others. We become embarrassed to ask for help. We think we know the answers. We make important decisions without talking to other people. We don’t enter into discipleship relationships. We become spiritual lone rangers who think we have it all together. Not one of us is a strong enough Christians to live apart from the body. We need each other. Glorify God by being in the fellowship of believers.
When thinking of how to fulfill the commands of praising God’s glory, think of how it may be done as a shared experience with one another. Let’s call upon God together in increased corporate prayer. Let’s sing of God’s goodness together. Let’s seek God together. Praise of God’s glory is shared.
The next characteristic we need to seek to have in our praise of God’s glory is this:
There is no such thing as a silent praise for God’s glory. Look at the many commands (the majority) in which we are told to speak:
Scripture clearly teaches God chooses His elect so that they will declare His praise. God gathers us as a people to speak of His glory (Isaiah 43:21). Peter says:
… you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
Jesus said repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all the nations. This is the primary mission of the church. We need to step out of our comfort zone and recognize our need to proclaim the glory of God.
(there he goes again, talking about evangelism)
Telling of His glory among the nations begins with telling of His glory to the people God has placed in our lives. Our friends, coworkers, relatives, and neighbors need to hear about the goodness of God. Speak of His wonders, tell about His eternal nature, His marvelous work of creation, His judgment, and the good tidings of His salvation. Be willing to say among the people, “the Lord reigns!”
The government will not declare God’s excellencies. The schools will not declare God’s excellencies. We are not going to hear a Coca-Cola, or a McDonalds jingle, proclaiming God’s excellencies. Only the church is commissioned to declare God’s mercy and judgment. We are the people God desires to proclaim His excellencies. What better spokesperson may there be to proclaim God’s glory than those who have been directly blessed by the goodness of God’s glory? (Amazon verified purchase gives weight to the endorsement)
Pray God gives all of us the boldness to declare, “Our Lord reigns. He judges and He saves. He is to be feared and He is to be worshipped. God is good.”
Praise of God’s glory is God-centered, shared, proclaimed, and the fourth characteristic we need to seek to have in our praise of God’s glory is this:
There are only four verses which directly reference joy in this passage.
Verse 10, “let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad”.
Verse 27, “strength and joy are in His (God’s) place”.
Verse 31, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice”.
And verse 33, “then the trees of the forest will sing for joy”.
However, to see enjoyment we need not only look for words which mean joy. For example, the psalm tells us to give thanks. Have you ever been thankful for something that did not bring you enjoyment? None of us are thankful for things which bring us misery, but we are thankful for things which bring us joy and happiness. We give thanks when we enjoy what we have received.
What about singing? Sing praises to God (v.9). It is hard to sing heartily when in a foul mood. I realize it can be done, but it is rare. We have a song in our heart when we are joyful. God’s goodness to us causes us to want to sing.
Speak of all of God’s wonders (v.9). We enjoy things which bring us wonder. When athletes perform difficult feats we exclaim with wonder, “how did they do that?”. We are entertained with wonderful things. We enjoy beautiful things. When we speak of God’s wonders it is because we enjoy those things which stretch our imagination and cause us to appreciate their beauty and strength.
All through the psalm, we find words which are sources of delight. We are to remember God’s wonderful deeds (v.12). If we don’t think of them as wonderful, we would say, “remember what wonderful things?” Instead, we do think of them as wonderful, so we say, “where do I start!”
We are to speak of Hs marvels and “proclaim good tidings (good news)” of His salvation and speak of the “splendor and majesty” which goes before Him. All of these require we find God to be marvelous, His salvation to be good news, and that we understand Him to be splendorous and majestic.
The psalm says to seek the Lord (v.11). Do we seek things which are not enjoyable? No. We seek those things which we desire to seek. We seek what we want. The more we desire it the harder we seek. We seek God because at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.
We are created to enjoy God. God opens our eyes so we are no longer blind. He opens our senses so we may taste and see the Lord is good. We see His glory and we find ultimate satisfaction for all of our needs.
We are guilty sinners and the glory of God gives us joy in mercy and forgiveness.
We are scared and anxious and the glory of God appears to give us peace and security which we may enjoy.
We are confused and perplexed and He who is abounding in truth shows us the way.
We are orphans and outcast and God’s glorious love adopts us and calls us His children and we rejoice.
God is changing us from one degree of glory to another. God is glorifying Himself in our lives and in our person. He gives us life as new creatures in Christ. We are blessed to see and savor God’s glory.
Every other religion calls for people to work for their salvation.
Our God is so amazing, He requires us to do nothing but enjoy Him forever. Enjoy God and, in doing so, we bring Him glory.