building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “God’s glory”

Proper Understanding

Question: “What is the chief end of man?” Answer: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” I read that in a book by John Piper (Let the Nations Be Glad) yesterday morning. I have heard this saying some time ago but it hit me fresh again as I began to read in chapter one. In the first chapter, John Piper gives the case of God’s glory as the foundation for our worship. Scripture after scripture, he reminds the reader that throughout the Bible it’s about God’s glory. He said that God’s goal is “to uphold and display the glory of his name.” I think we’ve forgotten how to truly be in awe of God.

In generations past, they had a different view of God. I think it’s been just a century of prosperity that we have displaced God’s glory with our own. We worship the wrong things and the wrong people. We truly don’t worship God in the manner we should. I witness the subdued attitude when we gather together to worship and notice the difference at a basketball or football game. I’m no better at worship either. There may be a time or two of hand-raising and a few tears, but are our hearts truly worshipping God in the right manner?

In our prosperity, we’ve lost something fundamental in our view of God. Most of us can get by without God. We don’t need Him as society once did. Our needs are met without much thought to how we get what we have – we’ve earned it ourselves. We’ve done it all ourselves or at least that’s the perception. That was the way I thought for many of my early career years. Everything though comes from God. We get nothing on our own. It’s all by the grace of God.

There is an identity crisis in this land. We don’t know who we are, and we have no idea who God truly is. First, if Jesus is our Lord and Savior; then we have a new identity. We have been adopted into God’s family. We are heirs with Christ. We have His righteousness. Jesus traded our filthy rags for His cloak of righteousness. We have been set free from the bondage of sin. We are secure in our knowledge of our eternal home. Jesus provided our new identity by His death and resurrection. Not because of our goodness, but because of His.

There isn’t anything that we could have done to make our place secure; it’s a gift. We have a position in God’s family based on Jesus and not our performance. There is nothing we can do to earn His favor. And in this gift of salvation, we are complete; we lack nothing. Complete but unfinished. There is work that still needs to be done in us. Every now and then, I get a thought of what I could have been if not for the fact that Jesus pursued me and changed my life. Those are the times when I truly worship God.

Every now and then, I also get a glimpse of the greatness and glory of God. Louie Giglio has a message on YouTube called Indescribable. I found it last week and watched the different pictures of the universe – the vastness, the beautiful images of the known universe – flash on the screen. He said that we should remember that God holds all of it in His hands. We are this one little speck on this one little planet in the vastness of what God has made. Pastor Louie said that he wasn’t trying to make us feel small, but to remind us that we are small. And yet, God watches over us with the love of a Father. His eye is on us.

Paul wrote out a prayer for the saints in Ephesus to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ; to know this love that surpasses knowledge and be filled with the measure of the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18,19). I think we miss this understanding. Maybe its head knowledge, but I don’t think we have grasped the heart knowledge of how true this really is. When we finally have a proper understanding of who God is and what He has done, then I think we will truly worship Him in the proper manner. God is Creator – the known universe testifies to His glory. God has created us for a personal relationship with Him that we may glorify Him and worship Him – the one true God. We are made in His likeness so that we can glorify Him through our lives.

Do you understand who you are and your purpose? I think I am finally coming to my own revelation. I hope you do as well. Let it be said of us – we know how to worship God because of our love for Him.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. Ephesians 1:4-6 (NLT)

Aged to Perfection

I love the first miracle Jesus performed was done at a wedding festival. Who doesn’t love a good party! Jesus told the servants to fill the stone jars – not just any ordinary stone jars, but the ones used for cleansing preparation. When water was placed in those jars, it was considered holy. It was ceremonially clean. Jesus not only used holy water to make the wine, He used many jars to make an abundance of wine. He could have told the servants to fill one jar, but He told them to fill all the jars. Six jars that held 20 to 30 gallons. That’s a lot of wine!

I had an “ah ha” moment this past week while I was listening to a lecture on this miracle. There is an aspect of the creation story in Jesus’ first miracle. Jesus created water out of wine. I think we all get that aspect of the story. The deeper truth though is that the miracle shows Jesus’ ability to create something from nothing just as it was done in the very beginning of time. He took ordinary water and made it wine – not just any wine, but the really good stuff. In those days, new wine was put into new wine skins to age. Jesus bypassed the aging process and just put it into jars. It was already aged to perfection. The “ah ha” moment came in the statement that God takes age into account when He creates.

When you consider creation – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” – He brought the earth and the heavens into its fullness in aged perfection. They were created in the perfect way, and it was sustainable from the beginning. Light years didn’t develop over time; it was on the first day. I have always struggled with the idea about earth being billions of years older than what the Bible and theologians say is only thousands of years in existence. I can’t explain dinosaurs or antiquity either. It has baffled my mind for years.

But I figured God doesn’t tell us everything for a reason. It’s called faith. Take it on faith that what we are told in the Bible is the Truth. And the Bible is confirmed by the Spirit. So I believe because God said it was so, and the Spirit confirms what I read. If Jesus can age wine in the miracle, then I believe God can age the earth in the miracle of creation. It makes perfect sense in a supernatural way. Only God knows the complete story of creation. We are given the highlights, and left to discover the rest in the right time. However, doubts come when things don’t seem to add up to our logical sense.

The disciples all believed Jesus was who He said He was after that first miracle. This miracle was the first sign of Jesus’ glory: “and His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11). But it took the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in them for them to become true witnesses throughout the world. John wrote his Gospel of the accounts of Jesus so that readers of his Gospel would believe (John 20:30-31).

The first miracle had significance for many reasons. It wasn’t because Jesus was so cool to bring His glory to a party – even though He is pretty cool like that. John’s Gospel is the only Gospel that records some of the amazing things Jesus did while He walked the earth. John gave us an eyewitness account of these things. He testified of Jesus’ glory just as John the Baptist did when Jesus was baptized.

After the resurrection, Jesus walked with the two men to Emmaus and explained what had taken place. The men said the words spoken by Jesus burned in their hearts (Luke 24:32). Luke recorded the conversation in Luke 24. Jesus “explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” We are given these things so that we too may believe.

God’s story is aged to perfection. One day, we too will be aged to perfection in our glorified bodies when we are resurrected from the dead. Yes, God considers the aging process before time began. The Ancient One came to live among us so that we would believe in the One who sent Him – Jesus testified about His Father. Believe it as Truth because He said so!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. (John 1:1, 14, 18)

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