I mentioned a meme in my sermon last week, and I can’t seem to let the premise of that meme go. The general idea was that the parents of millennials were good at church but “not good at life”. I spoke of my dad and his siblings and what they lost in their lives and how they still made it. He would have been 73 years old this past Friday and I tell you, not a day has gone by in these nearly 10 years that I have not thought about him. He was a man that rejoiced greatly in God’s glory.
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When I think of him, one of the first things that I am reminded of is just how unashamed he was in his faith. He would constantly speak of how good God had been to him in his life. We could be out in public, for example, at a school concert and the chorus could be performing a gospel song, and he would pop up to his feet and shout to the chorus – “sing it!”. That was him rejoicing in God’s glory. Do you ever rejoice in God’s glory in such a manner?
What Is God’s Glory?
I don’t believe we do, as far as my generation goes and I can’t leave out Gen X or the “Zoomers”. Many of us don’t believe we have much to rejoice in, right? We look around at a world that’s being ravaged by hate, then there’s a pandemic, and when those things aren’t going on, there’s war and mass shootings. After we look around at those things we turn our attention to ourselves and we consider where we are in life compared to others and there’s not much to rejoice in. Many of us, I imagine, are probably wondering, what exactly is God’s glory in our world today?
Trying to define God’s Glory
I believe you would get a wide spectrum of answers to that question if you were to ask a group of believers that question. This is the case, I believe, because all of us experience a different relationship with God even though all of us, as believers, are in fellowship with Him. God truly is all-encompassing so this creates so you’re going to get a wide range of answers as to what exactly is His glory in our world today.
One will say that God’s glory is His holiness. To this they may be referring to His presence being a divine and illuminating presence in our spiritual lives. Another may say that God’s glory is what He manifests in our lives. In our recent Sunday School, we have been taking a look at the manifestation of God’s only begotten Son and how He revealed the glory of God through His teachings and through miracles such as raising Lazarus from the dead.
Others will simply say that God’s glory is revealed through His works. Some will point to the heavens (space) and say that we are beholding God’s glory. Others will point to this world that we live in and speak of its beauty and say that we are beholding the glory of God when we take a look at this beautiful world. I believe all of this to be true. Yet, I tell you today, I feel there is an even more important work of God that gets left out when we begin to speak about His glory.
God’s Important Work
Now, I cannot say whether this next work is His most important work or not, but I certainly think it ranks high. What if I told you that you are (or can be) the glory of God? God is involved in your daily life and He is working a great work in you so that you can become glorious and reveal His glory to those around you!
Do I mean that God is working in us through the blessings that God bestows upon us daily? I feel that we often get caught up on the material work of God. No, the work that I am speaking of today is the work that the Lord does in us through the workings of the Holy Spirit.
Working of the Holy Spirit
This is something I feel I preach about often because I’m more of a spiritual preacher than I am a material preacher. I believe the most important blessings and work that God does in our life is what He does in our spirit.
A scripture that I often reference when I talk about the Holy Spirit is a passage of scripture found in John’s gospel. In John’s gospel, Jesus speaks of the coming Helper to the apostles. He says to them, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:26).” Again, a very familiar scripture to those of you who have heard me preach over the years.
So, let us note that Jesus says the working of the Holy Spirit includes teaching you (us) “all things”, and bringing to remembrance all things that Jesus said to you (us). This, I want you to understand, is a work that I believe goes on daily inside of all of us. To be more specific here, we will see Jesus also teach that the “Spirit of truth” (the Holy Spirit) will “guide” us into all truth (John 16:13).
I want you to understand that this guidance of truth is not about worldly truths. No, this guidance is on the way of God. “He (the Holy Spirit) will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you,” says Jesus (John 16:14). What belongs to Jesus?
He specifically says that all things that the Father has are His (John 16:15). Of this, Paul quoted Isaiah (Is. 64:4-9) when he wrote, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:9-10).”
In the scripture he quoted from Isaiah, you will see further that this work of God is a spiritual work. Isaiah wrote, “we are all like an unclean thing, and ‘our righteousness’ are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6).” He went on to say, “You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand (Is. 64:8).” I want you to understand that God is shaping and molding you on the inside into what you ought to be in the world.
You see, God’s work in us is a transformative work. We are to be the glory of God! Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14).” You see, we cannot be the glory of God – a light of the world – by being the sinful creatures we were when we first came to Him! So the Lord must work in us and change us from a spirit that is corrupted and filthy because of sin. We are in this world to bear fruit — good fruit! Fruit that is spiritually fulfilling and not temporary.
One of the striking things to me about us is that we will complain so much about how the world is a terrible place, yet we won’t do anything about it. We wait for God to snap His finger to take away everything, like magic, but forget that God has created in us the kind of heart that could make some serious change! You are the glory of God and have good fruit to share with the world! So what are you going to do with God’s glory?
That is the question for every true believer today. God has given us the ability to end the strife end the world today by manifesting the work that He has done within us! Let us manifest this work!
Rejoicing in God’s Glory
I believe that this is what my dad rejoiced greatly about: he rejoiced in the work that God had done in him. His favorite scripture is in Paul’s second letter to Timothy when Paul said, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Tim. 1:12).”
Paul was imprisoned when he wrote that, yet he was not ashamed of God or God’s gospel. He was ashamed of the race he had run and the work that he had done. My dad was a man that often spoke about no longer being “Spook” – that is a family nickname. He had gotten so that he didn’t care much about that person because God had transformed him into being a new man. It was a work that he rejoiced greatly in.
Yes, God certainly poured out his blessings on him and he was thankful for those blessings. Yet, it was the work that was done in him – a work in his soul – that he rejoiced greatly in. Why? Because that work was a work that saved him.
A constant work
I believe God constantly works in us every day of our lives. Someone may say, “preacher, I don’t believe He works in me as you say.” To this, I would say that we must open ourselves up to the Lord’s work. God is not going to force Himself on anybody. Sure, the Lord could certainly do that, but God is not a dictator! The Lord looks to be a companion with us in fellowship.
It is when we are in true fellowship with God that He reveals His wondrous works in us. When we recognize all that God has done for us and in us, it is enough to bring a tear to the eye of the believer. When we recognize God’s glory in us, it is enough to make us shout praises of joy and that the Lord is good! We will be unashamed to rejoice in God’s glory!
On such a day, we will be like David and we will rejoice with our whole heart! If today is that day, and you realize the work that the Lord has done in you, rejoice! Be glad! Then, I pray that you go out and reveal God’s glory to all of those around you.