Tuesday, February 03, 2009

THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
...the heart of biblical worship

"Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thes. 1:11-12).

The Christian life is not first and foremost about man and his needs, but about God and His glory! As John Calvin so poignantly pens in the 100 aphorisms of his institutes, "The sum of the Christian life is denial of self [to the glory of God]." God won't share His glory with another, beloved, and we must use all our gifts, talents, and abilities ultimately for one preeminent purpose-not to magnify ourselves or further our own name, but to glorify the Lord and Him alone!

The greatest songwriter in the Bible, David, exclaimed, "Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name…(Psalm 105:2-3) The centrality of glorifying God is also proclaimed in Psalm 29:2, "Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

We are not to seek this glory from man (Matthew 6:2, 1 Thes. 2:6) for the glory of man quickly passes away (1 Peter 1:24); nor are we to glory in our own wisdom, might or riches (Jeremiah 9:23), but to glory in understanding and knowing the Lord (Ibid. 24). This glory is given by God (Psalm 84:11), secured in Christ (John 17:22), and is the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).

All the heavens declare the glory of God; and they give evidence of His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature (Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:20-23) clearly seen so that no man is without excuse. 

God is the only One worthy of praise, worship and glory, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth" (Psalm 115:1). Lucifer fell from heaven because he would not glorify God and tried to exalt himself above God by desiring worship for himself (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28). King Nebuchadnezzar lost his throne and was driven to insanity for seven years for not giving God glory (Daniel 4:19-36). Herod in Acts 12:20-23 was struck by an angel of the Lord, eaten by worms, and died. Why? "Because he did not give glory to God" (verse 23).

Nowhere, however, is God's glory more magnified and exhibited than in the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:1-5). Jesus Christ is the full expression of the glory of God. "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6). But He is just not a reflection of God's glory-for He, Himself, is God of very God (Phil. 2:9-11, Hebrews 1:8). "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col.2:9); "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made the Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36); and as the writer of Hebrews affirms when describing the supremacy of Jesus Christ, "Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

7 comments:

Detoured By Travel said...

Steve - Thanks for this. I always appreciate your devotion to present God as He really is, praiseworthy, beautiful, glorious, holy, magnificent, and loving.

Your article brought out this leading in my heart yet again...until I seek God in worship for who and what He is, and allow this worship to permeate my everyday life...am I really living a life that is fruitful and pleasing unto the Lord?

I have been a practicing musician for over 40 years and music is inherently important in my own daily worship. However, I have grown very weary of much of the "praise and worship" music I hear these days, both on the radio and in assemblies. While there are indeed remnants that truely seek to lead worshippers to the throne in Spirit and Truth, there are too many that try to catch the ear with familiar riffs and hooks. Is this really what the Word means by going out into the highways and byways and compelling them to come in (Luke 14:23)?

As a musican, I really enjoy playing the music, but as a worship musician I am really concerned. The bottom line continues to be souls saved, lives changed, and hearts/minds turns toward Christ.

Oh that worship leaders would seek to lead people to His throneroom in thankfulness, in humility, in reverence, in awe, and in the wonder at who He is and what He has done. Otherwise, aren't we leading people to the rock n' roll itself instead of to the "rock that doesn't roll" (borrowed from Larry Norman)?

Thanks again for this.

SJ Camp said...

Detoured By Travel
Oh that worship leaders would seek to lead people to His throneroom in thankfulness, in humility, in reverence, in awe, and in the wonder at who He is and what He has done.

Exactly! But that takes discipline study of God's Word. It takes a commitment to represent a high view of the One Triune God in song. And lastly, it takes dedication to the discipline of sound doctrine and biblical theology.

This is what the Chief Musician was in the Scriptures. Skilled in the craft of God's Word and skilled in the art of the music as well. Both were necessary. Oh for Chief Musicians to be in our churches once again leading in song the people of God in praise and adoration of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We need to: Make His Praise Glorious! Amen?

Thank you for your excellent words here today.
Campi

Alan Kurschner said...

This is humbling and sober:

"God won't share His glory with another, beloved, and we must use all our gifts, talents, and abilities ultimately for one preeminent purpose-not to magnify ourselves or further our own name, but to glorify the Lord and Him alone!"

Joe said...

I really enjoyed this, it seems very timely. The Glory of God is something that often seems so lost in today's culture. Many of today's theological disputes could quickly be ended by simply determining whether it is God or man that is being glorified, and abiding by those doctrines that rightly bring God the glory, rather than man. Even in seeking to be faithful, it is often very convicting to see how much emphasis is put on God's glory in scripture, and how little we seek to glorify Him in our daily lives. Such omissions seem to be at the very heart of a multitude of troubles we as Christians encounter. I hope and pray that the whole body would gain the humility that can be attained only with the knowledge that we serve such a Glorious God.

Soli Deo Gloria

Joe

SJ Camp said...

Alan
Good to have you aboard... my yokefellow in the faith.

All things for His glory and our good.
Amen?

SJ Camp said...

Joe
Once again you demonstrate tremendous wisdom way beyond your years.

Many of today's theological disputes could quickly be ended by simply determining whether it is God or man that is being glorified, and abiding by those doctrines that rightly bring God the glory, rather than man.

How easy to forget God and His glory in the midst of defending His own Word and championing the essentials of the faith.

Thank you brother for that reminder this evening.

As Job would say, "though He slay me, I will hope in Him..."

Grace and peace,
Steve

Adamgv said...

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Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.

http://ccrg.info/cas.htm

Tell All!!!