Doing all to the Glory of God


1 Corinthians 1031 [fullscreen]

Doing All to The Glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:31

(and selected texts)

 

AUDIO FOR THIS SERMON CAN BE FOUND HERE

No doubt, virtually all Christians are familiar with this verse out of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians.

And it sounds good.

But the statement by itself begs several questions as we seek to understand exactly what it means and what its implications are.

It seems to me there are 3 essential questions we need to try to address in this regard:

  1. What exactly IS the glory of God?
  2. What does it MEAN to glorify God?
  3. WHY is glorifying God so important?

 

  1. What IS the glory of God?:

I am going to give you my very reduced but I believe Biblically defensible definition of what the glory of God is: It is simply – GOD REVEALED SO THAT HE IS KNOWN FOR WHO AND WHAT HE IS.

Exodus 14:4 “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.”

Exodus 16:10 “And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.”

John 2:11 “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.”

John 17:1–5 “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”

From Adam Clarke’s Commentary: A general definition of this great First Cause, as far as human words dare attempt one, may be thus given: The eternal, independent, and self-existent Being: the Being whose purposes and actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence: he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, and most spiritual of all essences; infinitely benevolent, beneficent, true, and holy: the cause of all being, the upholder of all things; infinitely happy, because infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made: illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of existence, and indescribable in his essence; known fully only to himself, because an infinite mind can be fully apprehended only by itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived; and who, from his infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, right, and kind. Reader, such is the God of the Bible; but how widely different from the God of most human creeds and apprehensions!

Glorifying God then isn’t making Him bigger or better than He actually is – it is letting others see Him for who He really already is.

God’s glory is wrapped up in:

Revealing His Person – His Character & attributes

Revealing His Mind – Through His Communications – Words

Revealing His Heart – Though His Plans and purposes

Example combining all three: Exodus 33:17–23 “And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

Exodus 34:4–7 “So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

 

  1. (6) The Lord, The Lord
  2. Repetition as emphasis in Hebrew.
  3. He made everything.
  4. It all exists by Him and for Him.
  5. He writes the rules – it all revolves around His plan and purposes.

 

  1. Merciful Compassionate – Acting to relieve the suffering brought on by our own sin.

 

  1. Gracious Friendly – He smiles upon His own.

He delights in and is friendly toward humankind and specifically, the undeserving.

 

  1. Slow to anger Just like “makrothumia” – it takes a LOT to get Him riled up. He is not perpetually grumpy or ticked off.

 

  1. Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness

Steadfast love: His love is not up and down, steady.  Loyal & unfailing.

Faithfulness: He is truthful – keeps promises, trustworthy.

 

  1. Forgiving iniquity AND transgression AND sin.

Hebrew has 12 different words for SIN – each with its own nuance.

Sin is complex and we need a Savior who can deal with every aspect of it.

Here, The Lord opens up the 3 most common and root ideas regarding sin – and thus the completeness of His forgiveness.

 

INIQUITY: Twistedness – inner warped-ness.

TRANSGRESSION: Rebellion

SIN: Missing the mark

Romans 3:23 reminds us: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

We were made in His image, to bear that image. By sinning, we fall short of being able to make His character and attributes known. When we sin, we obscure that image.

In every place and in every WAY we fall short of the glory of God, the image in which we were made and were made to reflect.

 

  1. But who will no means clear the guilty.

Holy and Just – He cannot simply dismiss sin.

How is it then that anyone can be saved – if God will by no means clear the guilty?

ONLY – if we are made “not guilty” – only if we are justified.

This then HAS to bring us to the cross, where righteousness and peace kiss.

Remember WHERE it is the glory of God is most manifested in the OT times? In the Tabernacle/Temple – more specifically over THE MERCY SEAT.

 

Now God has pursued a number of means to make His glory known, or to reveal Himself.

Creation – Psalm 19:1–2 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

Immensity       Infinitude        Order      Eternal    Beauty    Purpose

Word – God speaking. God revealing how He works and what His plans and purposes are. So the Bible reports:

What He did in Creation

How He deals with sin

What He made humankind for

How His Law reveals Him and our obscuring of Him

How He has dealt with the sin problem (the supreme revelation / glorification of His mercy and grace in Jesus Christ

Where everything is going

Manifestation – As we saw in the opening quotations.

Incarnation – Christ The EXPRESS image. Hebrews 1:1–3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,

John 2:11 “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.”

John 17:1–5 “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”

US! Mankind created to bear His image – make Him known.

 

So that brings us to our 2nd question

  1. What does it MEAN (for us) to glorify God?

Simply to make Him known with as little distortion or veiling as possible.  Obviously, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The human being, as made in God’s image, is more uniquely privileged to glorify God than the highest angels in Heaven.

For we alone were made especially to PERCEIVE Him for who and what He is, AND, to EXPERIENCE Him and enjoy Him in being the objects and recipients of MERCY and GRACE which are two hidden things in Him which He delights in to the highest degree.

We then can do this – can glorify Him a number of ways.

Let’s apply the passage we looked at earlier first, and then reduce it a bit.

 

  1. (6) The Lord, The Lord / Living consciously as under the authority of the One who made us for His purposes – and not for ourselves.

Not ruled by fate or Chance

Human governments

Circumstances

But by a sovereign, holy, loving Creator and God.

 

  1. Merciful / Being Compassionate & acting to relieve the suffering of other brought on by their own sin.

 

  1. Gracious / Displaying God’s friendly attitude toward humankind and others who – like we – are underserving, by our own attitude.

 

  1. Slow to anger / Being those whom it takes a LOT to get riled up. He is not perpetually grumpy or ticked off & neither are we to be.

 

  1. Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness / Steadfast love: Not up and down, steady. In our relationship with Him and with others. Loyal & committed. Faithfulness: Truthful – keeps promises, trustworthy.

 

  1. Forgiving iniquity AND transgression AND sin / Being those who forgive easily and quickly, even when it is costly.

 

  1. But who will no means clear the guilty / Aware of our own accountability before God, seeking justice and equity in the society around us.

As we live in relationship like this with God, and then endeavor to employ and display those same attributes to those we interact with.

 

This plays out in the following 4 main ways:

DECLARATION – Communicating God’s Word: Teaching, Preaching & Conversation John 16:13–15 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

WORSHIP – Psalm 86:12–13 “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

VINDICATION – Joshua 7:19 “Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

Israel’s defeat in the face of her enemies, makes it look like it is God who is not faithful to His promise. Clear God of the charge – establish His righteousness, let Him be seen as glorious by owning your sin.

In the Gospel, God is vindicated. Men show by their confession of sin that God is the good one and they are not. His righteousness is revealed. We justify Him, and by grace, he justifies us.

OBEDIENCE – 1 Corinthians 6:20 “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

When we walk as people who belong to the Kingdom of Christ.

NOTE: God does not need to be apologized for, nor tamed to make Him easier for people to reckon with.

The more Jesus revealed the Father, the more some were offended at Him.

Giving God glory NEVER includes lying about Him or trying to give false testimony.

He is glorious enough as is – He never needs us to use our sanctified imaginations in making things into to miracles that aren’t or making His interventions seems more spectacular, etc.

He does not need our help in that way – He just needs to be known for who and what He really is and really does. Nothing less, and certainly nothing more.

This is why we must be extremely careful not to put either words in God’s mouth or attitudes in His heart.

We must be VERY sure that when we say “God said” it is GOD who “said”.

Anything else is the very opposite of glorifying Him – because it obscures the truth.

This is why preachers and teachers need to be so careful in exegeting God’s Word – for we do not want to make it say what it does not,

nor leave out anything it does say,

nor use it as a pretext to communicate what WE want to say,

nor bend it to serve our purposes,

Nor simply say what we FEEL about it.

What did God say through His writers, to the people He was speaking to at the time?

 

III. WHY is glorifying God so important?

BIBLICAL MANDATE – 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

IT IS WHAT WE WERE CREATED AND REDEEMED FOR – Ephesians 1:11–12 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”

1 Peter 2:9–10 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Genesis 1:26–27 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

IT IS GOD’S MEANS TO GOD’S END – Romans 8:29 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

Ephesians 3:14–19 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

This is why Paul locates the focus of His own preaching and ministry in this very thing: 1 Corinthians 2:1–2 “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

This singular aim – to preach Christ and Him crucified is to preach the love of God for the lost,

It is to preach the epitome of God’s self-revelation in the giving of mercy to the guilty and blessing to the undeserving. Mercy & Grace.

IT IS THE HIGHEST ACT OF LOVE – What can possibly be better in blessing others than exposing them to the fountain of all good?

To the very ultimate of all blessing and good – God Himself as revealed in His mercy and grace IN Christ Jesus?

 

  1. What exactly IS the glory of God? Who and what He is.
  2. What does it MEAN to glorify God? To make Him known for who and what He is.
  3. WHY is glorifying God so important?

He is worthy

It is why we were created

It is the highest act of love toward Him and other of which we are capable.

 

 

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