With this post we conclude our series on the 4-fold vision statement of Koinonia Fellowship: Know Christ, Grow in Christ, Proclaim Christ and bring Him glory. Actually, glorifying Christ is the foundation of anything and everything that we do as Christians, both inside and outside of the walls of the church building. To define what the glory of God means is nearly impossible because the glory of God is a manifestation of all that God is.
Psalm 19.1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork
Psalm 115.1 Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.
Romans 11.36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen
Ephesians 3.20,21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen
Revelation 21.22,23 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof
The very heavens declare the glory of God, and nothing can hinder the message that the beauty, majesty and vastness of creation preaches to us every second of every single day about our Creator.
All glory and honor is to be given to Him in the church because all that the church is enabled to do stems from God’s grace and not ourselves.
The very glory and splendor of the New Jerusalem is The Lord God Almighty and The Lamb Jesus Christ.
The glory of God is everlasting, because God is glorious and everlasting. So in one sense you cannot diminish God’s glory. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, you cannot diminish God’s glory any more than a madman can diminish the sun merely by scribbling “darkness” on the walls of his cell.
The glory of God is a subject that we could talk about for an entire year and still not scratch the surface of what it means. That is because to try to describe the glory of God is in one sense as impossible as it would be to perfectly understand and define the totality of the character of God Himself.
Simply put, the glory of God is the visible manifestation of His character and His divine nature. It is the very essence of His presence. The Hebrew word for this glory of God is kabod, which can mean heavy. The word was used in Genesis 31 for animals heavy-laden with gold. The word also refers to the shining light of God’s presence. That glory was the cloud by day and the fiery pillar by night that led the people of God through the wilderness. Later it was the light that filled the tabernacle and the temple. Exodus 24:17 tells us that God’s glory was like a consuming fire on the top of Mount Sinai.
In the New Testament we have a Greek word—doxa, from which we get the English word doxology. That Greek word has the idea of honor, dignity, and reputation.
That last word—reputation—brings us very close to the meaning of “glory” in 1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I want us to think of what those words in 1 Corinthians 10.31 mean for us individually and congregationally. That passage on living for the glory of God touches every area of life, doesn’t it? It gets down to the very basic things in life like eating and drinking and then an all-encompassing whatever you do.
In other words, whatever you do for the glory of Christ touches the clothes you wear and the cars you drive. It touches how you spend the money that God provides for you and what you spend it for. It touches how you spend the time that God gives you during the week. It touches the books you read and the movies you watch. It touches the radio stations you listen to and the shows you watch on TV. It touches your personal habits, your language, your friendships, the places you go to eat, and the things you drink. It touches the people you date, how you dress on a date, where you go on a date, and what you do on your dates. All of life, inside and outside of the walls of this church building matters to God and His reputation as His children.
Paul would go on to write that the reason for living in such a way is in order that we, Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
So what does this fourth and last vision statement – to live for the glory of Christ – mean to you and me practically? What does it mean to display the glory of God? Often, during worship, we sing of displaying God’s glory. Consider these familiar lyrics, “In my life Lord, be glorified…in our home, in our church…be glorified.” What do those words mean? How would you explain what those words mean to your unsaved neighbor?
Well, for God to be glorified in my life, I must realize that my life is not about living for me, but living for Him.
Romans 12.1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Galatians 2.20,21 I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
2 Corinthians 5.14,15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
The first point that needs to be made is that a God-glorifying life is not about me. A God-glorifying church is not about us. A God-glorifying life and church is all about loving The Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Start by asking yourself, “How committed am I really to the Lordship of Christ in my life? Do I really desire to honor him in everything I do?”
Now I want you to think about all of the people that your life intersects with on a regular basis: your family, the people at your workplace or school, the people in your neighborhood, the people at the local grocery store. Ask yourself, “Is my life a living testimony of the Lordship and glory of The Lord Jesus Christ? Is my life a stepping stone or stumbling stone to others coming to Christ?”
Living for the glory of God in the world
To live for the glory of Christ means that all that we do in the way of good works, whether they are for Christians or non-Christians, inside or outside of the church are to be done for the glory of God.
Matt 5.16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
There are many reasons why people do good works. Some do them out of obligation. Some do them to impress others. Some do them in order to earn the favor or blessing of God. As Christians, we are to do all that we do for the glory of God. To please God and to honor Him.
Living for the glory of God in the church
1 Peter 4.10,11 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen
It means that we are going to be wise stewards of the gifts and talents of God for His glory and honor. Jesus did not speak fondly of the person who was given a talent and chose to hide it under a bushel, instead of using it to bless others and give Him glory. Remember that Jesus did not accept the person’s excuse for not using their talent.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book The Cost of Discipleship, talks about our being a visible community and the opposite, being an invisible community: “Flight into the invisible is a denial of the call. A community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow him.”
Living for the glory of God in my body and in my personal life.
1 Cor 6.12-20 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Thess 4.3-8 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit
A Christian’s body belongs to the Lord (v. 13), is a member of Christ (v. 15), and is the Holy Spirit’s temple. My life is not to be ruled by inordinate concern for food or sexual intimacy that is contrary to the Word and will of God. I glorify God by choosing to deny myself and my suicidal pleasures and lusts and by the grace of God, choose to live a life of purity and holiness.
Living for the glory of God in a world that is anti-christ and hostile to the Name and gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4.12-16 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Far too many professing Christians suffer for being a jerk or a spiritual bully or a self-righteous, holier-than-thou legalist. I glorify God when I am prepared to suffer as a Christian and not be ashamed.
We are living in an age where the church is told to engage with the culture. There is something to be said for engaging culture and meeting them where they are. But let me tell you beloved, the bible also talks about confronting culture and their blasphemous, twisted views.
2 Timothy 3.12 all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Matthew 5.10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness ‘sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you
Living for the glory of God as a community of believers in Jesus
Romans 15.7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
Please note that living for the glory of God is something that is to be on display within our church community. Receiving one another as Christ received us for the glory of God. Receiving our guests and visitors as Christ has received us. I believe this means that we should strive to be absolutely committed to love, forgive, nurture, challenge, and care for one another for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. This is rarely easy, often sacrificial, and most of the time demanding.
But here is my difficulty. I am a whole lot better at talking about it than doing it. At some point you’ve just got to get out of the chair of comfort and ease and get into the game! If we wait until we figure out how to do it perfectly, we will never do it.
Living for the glory of God even unto death
John 21.19 This spake he, signifying by what death he (Peter) should glorify And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
The fall and the misplaced glory of man
Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been trapped into the trap of misplaced glory that has ben the root cause of all sin, sorrow and shame.
Romans 1.20-23 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
Fallen man has a misplaced glory problem. Instead of living to glorify God and give Him thanks for His daily provision of grace and mercy, he or she is a self-centered person who is choosing to live for his or her own glory and honor. Instead of beholding the beauty and majesty of Jesus Christ, they are people who have exchanged the glorious beauty and treasure of The Lord Jesus Christ for the artificial beauty or pleasure that they obtain from someone or something else. Instead of worshipping The Sovereign Lord God Almighty in Spirit and in truth, they worship the creature or created things more than The Creator.
I Am The Lord Thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Beloved, to put anybody or anything before God is idolatry, plain and simple.
The purpose of the cross of Jesus Christ was not only to provide forgiveness of sin in order that we might be brought into true fellowship with God. But that He might deliver us from the self-centered deception and bondage of exchanging the glory and pleasures of fellowship with The Living Christ for the misplaced, broken cisterns of this present world.
The prophet Isaiah said Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live
Jesus told the woman at the well, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4.10-12).
The sum of the 4-fold vision statement is not about living for me and my glory; it’s not about you and living for your glory. It’s not about the church doing our week-in and week-out religious thing and making a name for ourselves on Facebook. It’s all about knowing Christ, growing in Christ, proclaiming Christ and giving Him all the glory and honor that He is worthy to receive.