28 October 2010

Verse-by-verse through Philippians (4:19-4:20, part 1)

What do we mean when we say, “Glory to God?” A lot of people will walk around saying “Glory to God!” or “Praise God!” when they have been delivered out of some dire circumstance. And yet if you look at the other 99.999% of their lives, they want nothing to do with God. Question: Can a person who does not know God, glorify God? They can with their lips. I've been trying to slog my way through Jonathan Edward’s masterpiece “A Treatise on the Religious Affections.” In one section of one of his chapters, he makes the case that even though a person may glorify God with their lips, this is no proof that they are saved:
[P]ersons, without grace, may have high affections towards God and Christ, and their affections, being strong, may fill their mouths and incline them to speak much, and very earnestly, about the things they are affected with, and that there may be counterfeits of all kinds of gracious affection. But it will appear more evidently and directly, that this is no certain sign of grace, if we consider what instances the Scripture gives us of it in those that were graceless. We often have an account of this, in the multitude that were present when Christ preached and wrought miracles; Mark 2:12, "And immediately he arose, took up his bed, and went forth before them all, insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." So Matt. 9:8, and Luke 5:26. Also Matt. 15:31, "Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel." So we are told, that on occasion of Christ's raising the son of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:16, "There came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people." So we read of their glorifying Christ, or speaking exceeding highly of him: Luke 4:15, "And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all." And how did they praise him, with loud voices, crying, "Hosanna to the Son of David; hosanna in the highest; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," a little before he was crucified! And after Christ's ascension, when the apostles had healed the impotent man, we are told, that all men glorified God for that which was done, Acts 4:21. When the Gentiles in Antioch of Pisidia, heard from Paul and Barnabas, that God would reject the Jews, and take the Gentiles to be his people in their room, they were affected with the goodness of God to the Gentiles, "and glorified the word of the Lord:" but all that did so were not true believers; but only a certain elect number of them; as is intimated in the account we have of it, Acts 13:48: "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed." So of old the children of Israel at the Red Sea, "sang God's praise; but soon forgat his works." And the Jews in Ezekiel's time, "with their mouth showed much love, while their heart went after their covetousness." And it is foretold of false professors and real enemies of religion, that they should show a forwardness to glorify God: Isa. 66:5, "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word. Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified."

It is no certain sign that a person is graciously affected, if, in the midst of his hopes and comforts, he is greatly affected with God's unmerited mercy to him that is so unworthy, and seems greatly to extol and magnify free grace.
(Jonathan Edwards, "A Treatise on the Religious Affections", 1997 ed., pp. 94-95).
A person who does not know God can give Him glory from their lips, even while their hearts are far, far away from Him. “Praise God, He healed my momma! Let’s go get a case of beer and celebrate!” BEEN THERE—DONE THAT. And even our president--our quote-unquote "Christian" president--signed a proclamation declaring June 2010 as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.” This man who claims to be a Christian, who ends many of his speeches with the phrase “God Bless America”—glorifying God with his lips, while his actions do anything but glorify God.

BUT!! We’re going to look at what it means to truly “give glory to God.” I'm gonna do my best, but I know there’s no way that I could ever do justice to this subject. To start, we’re going to examine just what we mean by the phrase “the glory of God.” Then, once we understand that, next week we will look at (1) how we glorify God here on earth, (2) how God is glorified in Heaven, and (3) we will even talk about how He is glorified in Hell. That’s something we don’t like to talk about—how God is glorified when someone winds up in Hell. God doesn’t want to send anyone there—but when He does, He is glorified.

Philippians 4:19-2019 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Let’s start out by defining some terms here. First, the word “glory.” The Greek is δοξα (doxa). We get words like “orthodox” and “doxology” from the Greek. At its very core, it means “opinion” or “reputation.” And when it is used of God, it takes on the meaning of “The honor resulting from a good opinion.” We give honor and respect to men who are in positions of authority and power. And we do this, many times, for no other reason than the position they hold. They may be the most rottenest rapscallion in the room, and use their title and power for selfish reasons—but we still honor them because of their position.

And even if that ruler is rotten to the core, and is the most incompetent rube on the planet, keep one thing in mind--God put that man in power (for whatever reason). John 19:10 (NASB)“You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.” Romans 13:1 (NASB)Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Colossians 1:16For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All rule and power and authority on earth (thrones, dominions) and in Heaven (principalities, powers) were established by God. And they do what God tells them to do. Even if a president approves of homosexuality, or a king takes Israel captive, and even if a Roman emperor slaughters Christians in some of the most horrific ways possible—that ruler’s heart is in the hand of God. 1st Peter 2:13-15--Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Proverbs 21:1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; and He turns it wherever He wishes. Daniel 2:37-38"You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all." Whether that person is a scoundrel or a righteous man, we are to respect them, in their office, because they were put their by God.

However, the honor that God deserves is not only because He is in a position of not a little power—He is, after all, King of kings and Lord of lords. But, as opposed to men who abuse the power they have over, let’s face it, relatively small portions of this tiny little planet, God rules over not only this planet, but also Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, and all the gazillions of stars and over every square inch of however many trillions of light years this universe is in size—but He does so with love, with righteousness, with justice, and without partiality. Deuteronomy 10:17YHVH your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. Acts 10:34-35Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Romans 2:11There is no partiality with God. If God were like men, and had all the power in His hands to do whatever He wanted—I don’t know if that’s something I even want to think about. Because if men will abuse the power they have, in the ways they have, in their short lifetimes—imagine what an infinite God could do if He was predisposed to acting like a man.

BUT—the glory of God—another fellow defines it as “The kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler; majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity.” God’s glory far exceeds man’s glory because His rule is perfect in every way. He does not use His rule and authority for unrighteous purposes. That stupid movie a few years ago, “Bruce Almighty”—that was blasphemous on so many levels. But it also painted a very skewed picture of man. Because if a man had all the power God had—without God’s righteousness, justice, and love—Earth would be destroyed in a day. We would be hopelessly enslaved to Satan, and every evil that you could think of—and many that we can't—would take over in an instant. But God rules perfectly because He is righteousness, justice, and love. Deuteronomy 32:3-4“For I proclaim the name of the LORD: ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” Ezra 9:15O YHVH God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt. It is because of God’s righteousness, justice, and love that He rules as perfectly as He does. Psalm 115:3Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Good thing for us He only wants to do what is righteous and just. Titus 1:2God, who cannot lie… Hebrews 6:18It is impossible for God to lie.

To God be the glory, great things He has done
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

What man would ever do that? If God were like man, He would never send His own Son to pay for our sins. But God did. To Him be the glory.

Question: What was the first manifestation of God’s glory?
Answer: Creation!

Psalm 19:1 (NASB)The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. The “telling” and “declaring” are in the present tense—the heavens “ARE telling” and their expanse “IS declaring.” I think we would all agree that it is impossible for us, in these bodies and with these minds, to grasp how glorious God is. In Exodus 33:19-23, Moses was on Mt. Sinai, receiving the Law from God. He was pleading with God to not simply give him this Law, but to go with the people that they may fulfill it. Moses wanted to see God in all His glory. Don’t we all? But, God’s glory and His perfections are so glorious and so perfect that if we saw Him in all of His glory and perfection, we would die. Exodus 33:19-23God said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you…But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Any time God displays His glory, He always shrouds it in something. He has to. If He didn’t, it would kill us. Kiel and Delitzsch:
“When God talked with him face to face, or mouth to mouth, he merely saw a ‘similitude of YHVH,’ a form which rendered the invisible being of God visible to the human eye, i.e., a manifestation of the divine glory in a certain form, and not the direct or essential glory of YHVH…What Moses desired was a sight of the glory or essential being of God, without any figure, and without a veil…YHVH granted his request, but only so far as the limit existing between the infinite and holy God and finite and sinful man allowed…No mortal man can see the face of God and remain alive; for not only is the holy God a consuming fire to unholy man, but a limit has been set…between the infinite God, the absolute Spirit, and the human spirit clothed in an earthly body…which, so long as it lasts, renders a direct sight of the glory of God impossible…As our bodily eye is dazzled, and its power of vision destroyed, by looking directly at the brightness of the sun, so would our whole nature be destroyed by an unveiled sight of the brilliancy of the glory of God.”
Suppose I climbed into a spaceship and headed directly for the sun. My ship would probably start to disintegrate before I got a few hundred thousand miles away. It’s inapproachable. And to an infinitely greater extent, God in all of His unveiled glory cannot even be looked upon by us in these unredeemed bodies. We can glimpse at the sun for a second or two. But if we were to even look out of the corner of our eye and catch a glimmer of God’s pure glory—we would die. PERIOD—PARAGRAPH. 1st Timothy 6:16 (NASB)He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

Immortal, invisible, God only wise
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Some more manifestations of the glory of God. After King Solomon finished building the temple, he consecrated it through prayer, and in 2nd Chronicles 7:1-4 (NASB)Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of YHVH filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of YHVH because the glory of YHVH filled YHVH's house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of YHVH upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to YHVH, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” And as glorious as this temple was, God promised through the prophet Haggai that one day He would inhabit an even greater temple. Haggai 2:6-9--"Thus says YHVH of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says YHVH of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says YHVH of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says YHVH of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says YHVH of hosts." This was of course telling about Christ, who Himself said, John 2:19, 21“Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days”…He was speaking of the temple of His body. And of course the closest we have to someone seeing the full glory of God is Isaiah 6:1-4--In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is YHVH of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. And when the prophet saw this, how did he respond? Isaiah 6:5--So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, YHVH of hosts.”

When we say we “give glory to God,” we don’t mean that He does not already have glory, and we give Him more. His glory is eternal. He has always had it, and He will never lose it. When we say that, we are simply acknowledging what is already true. BUT—we don’t just do it with our lips. We live our lives as if we believe it.

Fathers—when you tell your kids something, and you ask if they understood what you said, and they went right out and did what you told them not to do—Did they really get it? And did they give you the respect they should have? But when they say, “Yes Daddy”—and they do what you said—then you realize they get it. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. May we ascribe glory to Him, may we acknowledge and confess that He deserves our worship—and may we give Him that praise and worship He deserves in this body, on earth, and for all eternity in Heaven.

Jesus Christ is Lord.
Amen.

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