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December 8, 2019, 8:54 PM

The Message of Christmas: Peace


THE MESSAGE OF CHRISTMAS: PEACE

Trouble comes in this world. Travel from outside ourselves and from within. We are attacked by those around us, a cascade of problems comes unexpectedly. People around us attack without provocation. That doesn’t even count the irritants of a broken world.

 

More insidious than the attacks from without are the attacks from within. Our minds convince us that because of past failures we’ll never measure up. Our flaws stand out while are strengths are buried deep in our minds.

 

Calm turns into chaos quickly. Like a raging volcano spewing its molten ash we find our lives covered in the soot of an angry, out of control world. Into the madness comes the message of Christmas: Peace!

 

I pray for all who hear these words. May you know the peace of God. May He calm your spirit with the message of this season, speaking calm into the chaos. He is whispering tranquility into the tragedy.

 

The Biblical words for peace are so meaningful they demand attention. The Hebrew word is still heard today, “Shalom.” It was the favorite greeting carried even into the New Testament. It is found at the beginning or end of each NT letters except James and 1 John.

 

The New Testament, Greek, word is Eirene. From that word we get the word serene. Peace is the presence of serenity. It is NOT the absence of trials, but the comfort of God.

Together the words mean uninjured, safe, whole, and sound. It includes the concept of completeness. We are sound and whole.

 

We need peace because we live in a troubled world.

Jesus said as much when He gathered the disciples in that upper room before His crucifixion. He warned them that the world would hate them. He didn’t say if but that in this world we would have tribulation. (See John 14-16)

 

Expecting this world to be our friend is more than merely unrealistic. It is the opposite of what Jesus taught us.

 

Despite the presence of struggle, we can have peace. Jesus said he would give us his peace. His peace is so different from that which is offered by the world. It is unbound by the situation. It is a peace inside our hearts that expels our fears, strengthens our hearts and changes our outlooks.

 

We have peace because of who Jesus is.

We have peace because Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah predicts the titles of the Messiah in the well-known passage

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 emphasis mine)

 

Peace is one of His titles. He is bound by His name to bring peace into our lives. In the Old Testament His name is “Yahweh Shalom,” God our healer. Jesus bears the name peace in His title.

 

The problem is that there Their peace was conditional. They had peace so long as they maintained a right relationship with the Lord.

 

God brought peace into that troubled situation. Jesus came to change it. Isaiah continues:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

 

Peace because of what Jesus DID

The first message delivered announcing the arrival of the King was the message of peace. The shepherds heard:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)

 

We have peace through Christ’s blood on the Cross

      • Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
      • Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

These passages show us that the work of bringing peace with God has been done! It is accomplished once and for all time. He took the initiative to bring peace with God to us.

 

The word of God does not say peace will be made. No! It says we have peace with God now. It doesn’t say we might have peace! God’s word says we have peace, right now! It is accomplished and paid for by Jesus’ work.

 

 

Jesus made peace with the world.

“That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

 

Take a moment and consider your list. Make a list of all the times you have failed. List all the sins, all the flaws. What would that list look like? Overwhelming? Depressing?

 

Did you see that? The great news of peace. Shalom says that God does not count your sin against you. God reconciled the account. He put His righteousness on the side opposite your sins and declared the sheet paid off.

 

He makes us RIGHT with God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

Paul continued the discussion by telling how Jesus made the reconciling possible. He took your list and put it on Jesus, thereby wiping your column out. He took your sin and put it on Jesus. That is how peace is made.

 

Did you also see what happens to your sin? It doesn’t count.

 

My son, Josiah, is currently playing a basketball game on his tablet. It’s a three-inning game. He has an undefeated season going. Today I learned how it has happened. With one out left he was losing the game. So instead of finishing the game he stops it. Game stopped, no entry in the loss column. All the negatives of the game are wiped away.

 

While his method may be questionable, it is a beautiful illustration of the spiritual truth. God wipes out the game, erasing all the negatives. And he does it again and again. He allows for you to have a perfect record!

 

RESPONDING TO THE PROMISE-BECAUSE OF PEACE:

  • Let peace GUARD your heart (Phil 4:7, Colossians 3:15)

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7)

Peace stands guard over your heart, protecting you and allowing you to stand even when it does not make sense.

 

  • Let Peace HEAL your relationships (Col 3:13-14)

Christians should live in peace. To live in peace does not mean that suddenly all differences in opinion are eliminated, but it does require that loving Christians work together despite their differences. To live in love leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers.

 

  • Let Peace CALM your spirit

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

God’s peace will rule in our hearts. It is in control.

 

This season, when the busyness of the world presses all around us may you know peace. May His peace settle on your heart amidst the chaos. Listen to His still small voice. Allow it to calm your spirit and soothe your anxiety. He is there right now.

 

Know His peace today. Receive it. Your alternative is to try to make peace yourself. It won’t work. Accept what He did for you. Say this prayer:

 

Dear Jesus, I need you now. My list is really long. I cannot fix all of it. I believe you died for me moving my sin to your account and your righteousness to mine. I believe that you became sin so that I could be clean. I also believe that you rose from the dead. Please come into my life right now. Take me sin away. I receive your gift.

 

If you prayed that prayer, please know that you have been completely washed by the blood of Jesus. You have been adopted into His family. Please share your decision with me. Blessings on you!




December 1, 2019, 8:12 PM

The Message of Christmas: Hope


This morning my congregation and I embarked on a four-week season of advent. This season concludes on Christmas eve with a celebration of Christ’s arrival. The word advent means “coming” and remembers the hundreds of years the people waited for the coming of the Messiah since the end of the Old Testament prophecies. Indeed, people waited for 4,000 years for the promise to unfold.

 

We will unfold the beautiful news that Jesus has come as we explore four themes: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. These messages echo through time, filling our hearts with good news. Jesus’ coming was the fulfillment of each one of these promises. Jesus fulfilled them in us.

 

Our first message is the Christmas message of Hope.

 

THE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE OF HOPE

Every parent knows the worst phrase of every trip. Say it with me, “ARE WE THERE YET?” It’s a message that we are tired of the waiting. We want to be there already. That heart beats for hope. It still does.

 

Hope is a powerful force in our lives.

 

Consider hope denied. One of the most negative things to say about a person is to say that they are hopeless. To say that is to give up on any chance of redemption. To view a situation as hopeless is to have not prospect of improvement. The word is vastly overused today but still very, very powerful.

 

We also know the pain of hope deferred. This is the belief in hope that is out there in the distant future. We believe change can come but it is so far removed from today. It is difficult to wait for hope out there.

 

The word “hope” is a powerful word. The Greek verb elpizo calls for people to exercise trust and hope. The noun elpis speaks of expectation and confidence. Together the words mean: To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

 

Scripture is full of the message of hope. It is from cover to cover. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden there were inevitable consequences, but also a promise. God gave hope for deliverance when the Savior would wound the serpent. We will live in that hope.

 

The end of the story contains hope as well. After telling about our home to come John cries with all of us “Maranatha” which means “Come Lord Jesus.” We have hope for the day that Jesus comes for us.

 

From beginning to end hope fills the pages of scripture. Over and over we hear the message. It echoes from each corner of Scripture. The pages are full of hope. For this morning’s message I will mention four verses.

 

 

  • We have a LIVING hope. 1 Peter 1:3

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

 

God has given you new birth. It is a birth not into a system of works and self-righteousness. No, our new birth is into a living hope. It is sealed by the power of the resurrection of Jesus.

 

  • The LORD is MINE. Lamentations 3:22-25

“The Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great. I say to myself, “The Lord is mine, so I hope in him. The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who seek him.”

 

The Lord gives us mercy every day, filling us with the strength we need for the day because He is ours and we are His. He is ALWAYS good to those who put their hope in Him. He strengthens those who seek Him.


The author continues by saying it is good or us to wait in hope. 3:26it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

 

  • Jesus living in us is the Hope of GLORY. Col 1:27

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”

 

The hope we have is the hope of glory. We are assured of our spot in glory. This mystery is possible in us only because of Christ living in us. He lives in you and lives in me. That is our hope and our assurance of glory to come.

 

  • He Overflows You with Hope-Romans 15:13

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Hope gives us

 

PROMISE-BECAUSE OF HOPE:

  • FAILURE is not ULTIMATE

Yes, you failed. You didn’t measure up to what you were supposed to do. But that failure is not the end of the story. Hope says Jesus is in you and you start over. You can experience forgiveness.

 

  • CIRCUMSTANCES are not PERMANENT

Today may look dark. The struggle is real. But today is not the end of the story. There is another chapter. There is another day, a bright day. Hope looks for God’s tomorrow.

 

  • We can Hope in times of CRISIS

No matter what struggle tomorrow brings there is hope. God is greater than our struggle. Christ in you is enough to face every pain, every difficulty.

 

  • We have ULTIMATE hope for the PROMISE

The hope Jesus came to bring is a hope finding its fulfillment in the day when the clouds break open and the trumpet sounds. We will see Jesus face to face. While this hope is coming, it is not a deferred hope filled with doubt. It is a certainty based on the shed blood of Jesus.




November 24, 2019, 9:34 PM

God is Grace and Mercy


GOD IS: GRACE AND MERCY

 

In January of this year we started a journey together, exploring the names and nature of God. Our goal then and now was to experience God in new ways as we understand Him better. I prayed over you as you studied and listened to these words.

 

Now we climb to the summit and finish our journey with two words that set what we believe about God on the pinnacle. There are doubtless many more sermons and studies we could do, but today we complete our look at God. At least for now we will move forward.

 

I’d like to ask you to answer one simple question. If you could sum up all that we have talked about what one word would you use? If you could summarize God our Father with one word, name it. Law? Faith? Salvation? Love? The choices are myriad.

 

Try this one: GRACE.

 

Boil all of humanity’s beliefs about God and you have two choices. Every religion, every belief system comes down to these two options. Faith either points to God’s response to us based on something we do or based on NOTHING we do.

 

Any system that has even a small percentage of earning God’s favor by our conduct leaves us with a salvation based on works. These thoughts leave us with a God who responds to us based on something or many somethings that we do to earn that favor. Grace is negated by any works built into the system. We minimize mercy when we have any combination of “God loves us or receives us because of my doing ….”

 

If a man is saved in any way based on his own works, then he is not saved at all by grace. The two thoughts are mutually exclusive. The good news is that grace is real. It sets us free. We are released from the endless list of legalistic do’s and don’ts. We are redeemed from the worry of being good enough. The shackles of works drop as we understand grace and mercy.

 

Two interrelated words wrap up our study. Grace and Mercy are powerful truths that describe God. These are not mere characteristics of God. God IS grace and mercy. Examine each term with me.

 

GRACE

Definitions for grace vary greatly but contains important words. Grace is an outrageous blessing that is unmerited. It involves no compensation on our part because it is a free bestowal.

 

The Greek word for grace is Charis. One author defined it this way, “Grace is an outrageous blessing bestowed freely on a totally undeserving recipient.”[1] It is something totally undeserved and is always free. You can not earn it and you could NEVER pay it back.

 

Examine a few scriptures about grace.

  • God’s overwhelming message is GRACE. (Ex 34:6)

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”

  • He wants to POUR grace on you. (Ephesians 1:5-8)

“He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

 

He chose you as a recipient of His grace. He picked you from before time began. He doesn’t give you a little bit of grace. He wants to lavish, or pour out, His grace on you. He loves you and longs to show it to you.

 

  • SALVATION can only come because of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

  • His grace is enough for every weakness (2 Cor 12:9)

“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”

 

Paul struggled with his thorn in the flesh, crying out to God for relief. Each of three requests for the thorn to be removed was met with a firm “no.” Instead Jesus said that His grace would be enough. His grace is always enough, no matter what struggle we face.

 

  • Grace is ETERNAL (2 Timothy 1:9)

“Who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”

 

When did God start planning for you to receive grace? BEFORE the beginning of time. Grace started at the very beginning and will continue through the end.

 

Grace is THE central characteristics of God. He has always responded with. Consider the alternative-having to work and earn salvation. Grace stands in complete opposition to working to please God. You don’t have to earn God’s favor. He has given it to you freely.

 

MERCY

Mercy is God’s response to man’s hurt. It is always motivated by compassion. It is His reaction to the offender. God is tender hearted, showing compassion to the miserable needy people. He chooses not to bring fallen people what they deserve.

 

Mercy presupposes that man is a sinner, in need of a Savior. Mercy is his tenderhearted, loving compassion for fallen creatures. His response to us is driven by mercy, always.

 

Jesus modeled this tenderness of heart. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

 

This attribute assumes the need on the part of him who receives it. His resources are adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it.

 

Mercy differs slightly from grace. Grace is not getting what we do deserve, and mercy is getting what we do not deserve. In grace God forgives us our sin, and in His mercy, He gives us eternal life. (Titus 3:5)

 

  • Mercy refuses punishment (Nehemiah 9:31)

“But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.”

 

  • He DELIGHTS to show mercy (Micah 7:18)

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”

 

  • He is RICH in mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5)

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”

 

  • He SAVES through mercy (Titus 3:5)

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”

 

Mercy comes at a high cost! The holiness of God demands satisfaction and sin demands judgment. On the cross God literally reached down and paid the price for my sins and your sins. He doesn’t give us what we deserve. If he gave us what we deserve we would be end in hell.

 

THREE WAYS OF WALKING IN GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY

  • I will accept God’s gracious offer of SALVATION

You are free from walking the tightrope of fear of death and punishment. Step into the realm of His outrageous love. You can only be saved by His grace. Accept His offer of grace.

Would you rather accept grace or continue to try to earn salvation? Say this prayer now,

 

“God, I hear your message of outrageous grace. I admit that I have a great need for you. I have sinned so often and cannot fix it. I believe that in mercy, you, Jesus, died for me and rose from the dead. I accept your message of grace and ask you to live in my life right now.”

 

In God’s eternal plan you have read these words. If you said that prayer you have just been washed in His abundant grace. I rejoice with you now, celebrating God’s work. Please reach out to me and share your decision. I will celebrate with the angels in heaven as God has welcomed you into His family.

 

  • I will stand in the continuous BLESSING of grace and mercy. (Mercy gives us HOPE and keeps us HUMBLE).

God not only gave you grace when you accepted His gift of salvation, but He gives grace for the daily struggles of life. Grace is the soothing balm that gives comfort to the downtrodden.

 

Grace and mercy are for the broken, for the criminals, for those who are spiritually bankrupt. Once we realize that we need them, He provides all the grace and mercy we need. We experience God as He showers us with these traits that reflect His character.

 

Grace and mercy keep us humble. As we realize all we have is a product of both grace and mercy we cannot possible live in pride. A deep awareness of our great need and God’s provision make pride impossible.

 

  • I will extend grace and mercy to those around me.

The grace of God is the answer to our spiritual struggles. The world around us crying for that same grace. You can offer them the same grace you have received. You can show the same mercy you are desperate for. Spend less time criticizing and more showing grace. Operate in the realm of freedom.

 

[1] Hybels, 113.




November 16, 2019, 7:37 PM

God is Constant


In many religious settings if the speaker starts by saying “God is good…” people instinctively finish the statement with, “all the time.” The next phrase, “And all the time” leads to the phrase, “God is good.” Such phrases lead to choruses of Amen.

 

Excited proclamations aside, the phrases just mentioned illicit many reactions. At times when things in our lives are good, we agree wholeheartedly. At other times, when the days are hard, are heads spin and our hearts struggle to find the goodness of God.

 

At these moments of struggle our theological words, while real, become challenging. Is God good when the pain overwhelms? When the hurt abounds?


Our world changes fast. Think about just the difference just in cell phones in the last twenty years. Change is everywhere. We long for stability in the face of a world changing so fast. The more things change, the more they stay the same is so true. God doesn’t change.

 

We live in a throw away society. Jobs don’t last. Marriages end. Star athletes leave one team as soon as their contracts allow. So long ago we left the world where a business deal was sealed with a handshake. Promises made are not promises kept.

 

Into this fray stands our God. He is constant when all else fails. If there is anything humans are, it is unfaithful. And if there is anything God is, thankfully, it is faithful. He keeps His word. He can be trusted in everything.

 

Today we are going to nearly wrap up our year-long study on the names and characteristics of God. I’ve saved what I believe to be the best characteristics for our wrap up of this study next week. Today we are going to make three statements about God’s nature, each with three Biblical and theologically supportive truths.

 

Moses summarized the statements in one simple verse. “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

 

GOD IS CONSISTENT IN MORALITY

  • First Phrase: God is Good

The Hebrew word for “good” describes what is pleasant, agreeable, and beneficial. Not only is God altogether good, He is consistently good. God doesn’t know how to be anything but good.

 

God’s goodness is found throughout Scripture. Psalms 25:8-10 “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.” (See also Psalm 145:9)

 

  • God is Righteous

The words justice and righteousness come from the same root words. Justice is defined in terms of righteousness. When God is just, He is doing what is right. The root meaning of the Hebrew ṣaddîq is “straight.”

 

Because God is righteous, what He does always measures up to the standard of holiness. He judges sin and vindicates the innocent. He will be completely just and fair in His dealings with us.

Psalms proclaims God’s righteousness in multiple places. “For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.” (Psalms 11:7, see also 111:3, 119:137 and 145: 17)

 

  • God is Just

God is always right. He, in His person, bears the burden of justice. He is the plumb line by which all justice is measured. He is always fair, showing no favoritism.

 

In justice, punishment must be meted out for sin. But His justice is so much different than ours. He seeks reformation. And then because He is also full of love, the cross paid the penalty His justice demands.

 

Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”

 

GOD IS UNCHANGING IN INTEGRITY

  • God is Truth

In definition, He is that which is real as opposed to the fictitious or imaginary. In God there is no falsehood, lack of consistency, or deceit.

 

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

  • God is Genuine

God is real; he is not fabricated or constructed, as are all the other claimants to deity. In the world of the artificial, our God is real. (See Jeremiah 10:5-10)

 

  • God is Sincere

God does not change or lie. “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind." (1 Samuel 15:29, See also Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2)

 

 

GOD IS CONSTANT IN DETERMINATION

  • God is Immutable\

He simply cannot change. Think it through. If would change that change would have to be either in the direction of going from worse to better or from better to worse. Either of these are impossible for . If gets worse, He no longer would be God. If He got better, then before that improvement He would have been less than .

 

There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time.

 

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Malachi 3:6 “I the LORD do not change. So, you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

 

  • God is Faithful

God will always be true to Himself and His word.

 

He is faithful at the beginning of the covenant. Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

He is faithful unto the end. Revelation 19:11 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.”

 

God’s faithfulness to us is not contingent on our faithfulness to Him! 2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

 

  • God is Persistent

The word describes God’s long-suffering nature and His patience toward His people.

 

Psalms 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

 

HOW DO WE WALK IN FAITH, TRUSTING OUR CONSTANT GOD?

  • I will trust that God is good, all the time. Trust that He will supply your needs. Trust even when the circumstances do not make sense.
  • I will have faith in the God who is always the same. He has never failed a single person and you won’t be the first. We cannot rely on fallen humanity but can rely on God.
  • I accept the word of God in making me right and just. He can’t wait to declare you justified. He changes your standing before God. This God has declared you new, changing your forever. Your sin is gone forever. (See Romans 5:1-2)
  • I will depend on the God is who is always true to His Word and to His people (the Church). We can count on Him to keep His promises. We can know that He will complete that spiritual work He has begun in our lives (1 Thess. 5:24).



November 10, 2019, 11:47 PM

God is Glorious Light


Glory comes in many forms. Think about ways you see glory. The answers may differ. Your answer is your own.

 

Allow me to give you two examples. One name. David Freese. Cardinals facing Texas Rangers. Last Chance. Game Six of the World Series. Crack of the bat. Home Run Cardinals. Comeback complete. Game seven route. Cardinals crowned champions!

 

Not everyone who reads these words would identify with this being a display of glory. Fans of the Cardinals will quickly identify with the moment, however. Watching him round third and seeing his teammates mob him when he arrives at home plate will not forget the scene. Pandemonium ensued.

 

On an entirely different page though is the glory of a newborn baby. Four times I’ve been blessed to be in the room for a birth of a child bearing the name Friesz! Each time the moment is electric with glory. This moment, no baby. The next, a precious little one. Now I realize that for their momma, the moments between were filled with something not quite resembling glory. However, from this daddy’s perspective it is impossible not to see the glory.

 

I get absolutely overcome at his display of God’s glory. I’d like to say that I lose it like that only when talking about my children or now grandchild. However, its not so. One of my joys as pastor is getting to welcome the little ones. I get to the hospital just as soon as possible when they are born. And as soon as possible I get that baby in my hands. With the parent’s permission, of course, I hold that precious infant up and offer God a prayer of thanks and invoke God’s protection and provision. And I cry like a baby! Every time!

In these situations, I see glory. One very secular, the other quite sacred. Add your own thoughts to the discussion. Perhaps you are captivated by a scene from nature. Does your list include a medical miracle or a miracle that defied medicine?

 

Whatever your perspective we see God’s glory on display. He intends it to be that way. Across the heavenly realm we hear echoed the following thought: Isaiah 6:3 “And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

 

Take all of the scenes of glory, put them together across all of the people who love our God and we only get the faintest whisper of His eternal glory. His glory is so much more than any of the things we see or feel.

 

The whole earth is full of His glory. In fact, His being is glorious and all that He does is designed to show His glory. The glory of God is the antithesis of mankind’s self-centered tendency. Without His glory all that we do is just empty noise. Our churches are empty shells. Our lives are meaningless routines.

 

God is glory. The Hebrew word is picturesque. It is the word Kabod and carries the meaning of weight or heavy. It is a perfect picture of that sudden sense of weight that comes over you when you realize you are in God’s presence. The heavy sense of “God is here!”

 

Charles Swindoll in a message on his radio show, “Insight for Living” says that the synonyms for kabod include the following: great honor, fame, renown, highest praise, splendor, worshipful admiration, radiant beauty, magnificence, circle of light. The word speaks of God’s dignity.

 

While the word is a simple enough one to understand it is wise to examine how God’s servants interacted with His glory in the Old Testament. One example being positive, the second negative.

 

Let us examine the encounter Moses had with God’s glory. Moses repeatedly asked God to see His glory. Like a petulant child he repeatedly asked for God to display Himself. God’s answer was a clear no. Not taking no for an answer Moses continued to ask to see God’s glory.

 

The final request and God’s response is recorded in Exodus 33:18-23

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

 

Moses begged to see God’s glory and God finally gave in to the request. The lesson we learn here is that no person can see all of God’s glory.

 

The second lesson comes in the next chapter. After seeing God’s back Moses went on to receive the commandment of God chiseled on the stone. He then made his way down the mountain to meet with God’s people.

 

 

 

Exodus 34:29-30, 33-35 records what happened when Moses came down from the mountain.

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.

 

God’s glory ALWAYS changes us. Moses was not the same for the rest of His life. His face reflected the glory of God. Like the moon reflects the sun, so we reflect God’s glory.

 

We must understand that God is a great God, full of glory. He is also a jealous God. He will not share His glory and He will not allow us to take His glory for granted. King Uzziah illustrates this truth in 2 Chronicles 26.

 

The first fifteen verses of this chapter records Uzziah’s rise to fame. He came to the throne at sixteen years old. While I will not seek to elaborate on all of his successes a cursory glance through the verses describe a king who was very strong, and extremely successful. He built walls and designed machines for warfare. He became famous. Most notably, he fought the Philistines.

 

2 Chronicles 26:3-5
3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.

 

Two secrets to His success are outlined in these verses.

 

First, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. When he knew what God wanted, he did it. He lived consistently committed to obedience.

 

Second, he sought God. This word is also very specific. He set himself to seek God. More than anything else He wanted to live in God’s glory. He yearned for and chased after God’s glory.

 

The result was that God blessed him. God was His focus and God rewarded that focus. All was good until…

 

 

Skip ahead in the story a bit.

2 Chronicles 26:19-21
19 leprosy broke out on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him. 21 King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the LORD. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.

 

The Amplified Translation says it simply, “He was a Leper!” What a fall from a mountain peak he endured.

 

How did it happen. How did this strong and blessed king fall so far?

 

The Chronicler tells the sad tale: 2 Chronicles 26:16-19
 

16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.” 19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.

 

What a sad tale. He took God’s glory lightly. “He became powerful…” Pride and power are addictive. He was so proud that he blatantly disregarded the law and barged into the temple. Doing so, according to the NIV translation proved him to be unfaithful to God.

 

King Uzziah was so full of Himself that he left no room for glory. So full of pride that when 81 priests, including Azariah, attempted to warn him of his error, he tuned them out. For this pride, for this indifference to God’s glory he paid the price.

 

How do we, who live under grace, approach this passage? Understand this, that the most glorious thing God has ever done is the cross. By saving sinners He brings the most glory to Himself. The cross, far from being a picture of loss and defeat was the ultimate display of glory. For in it, He bought our salvation. That salvation brings glory even after we fall because we are covered in His grace and washed in His blood.

 

God is light. Scripture makes this statement very clear.

  • 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
  • John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

 

God’s light is an evidence of His glory it is on display in His world and in our lives.

 

WALKING IN THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY

  • I will exalt God’s glory in WORSHIP. I will respect and honor His glory.
  • I will LONG for His glory in my life and in my life with others.
  • I will REFLECT God’s glory and light to others. Let His light shine through you. Let His glory be reflected on your face. He chooses to weak, fallible, redeemed humans to preach the gospel because that brings Him glory.
  • I will CELEBRATE on the day when God’s glory will be fully displayed.

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