11 June 2017

LIVING FOR AN AUDIENCE OF ONE



Psalm 115:1-8

Who are you trying to please? Think about that question as we dive into this Psalm this morning. Think about the implications that the Psalmists is trying to tell you and me when it comes to who gets the glory in this life and throughout eternity. But first! What is the glory of God defined? As John Piper says “Defining the glory of God is impossible.” John is right, but let’s try anyways with our finite minds and understanding. The glory of God is the beauty of His spirit. It is not an visual beauty or a material beauty, but it is the beauty that stems from His character, from all that He is.

The glory of God is described as the supreme purpose for redemption “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Eph 1:11-14

The glory of God is described in His Lordship that everyone (the saved and unsaved) will confess that He is glorious. “and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:11

The glory of God is described as great “Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD.” Psalm 138:5

The glory of God is described in His workings. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1

The glory of God is exhibited in the Lord Jesus Christ. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:11
  
And we see the glory of God described twice in the opening remarks of this Psalm. “Not to us, O LORD, not to us.” (v1) What is the psalmist saying? Well it’s pretty simple to understand, God is the one who gets the glory, not you or I. It will be well to remember that this psalm was sung at the Passover, and therefore it bears relationship to the deliverance from Egypt. “Not unto us,” would seem to indicate a very serious desire to renounce any glory which they might at any time have proudly appropriated to themselves….you can include yourself it that as wellThis sets the foundation that God would at any cost to them, magnify his own name.

Let me explain!

When we achieve something or do something well at work, in the home or in school….God gets the glory! 
When we were saved by His grace….God gets the glory! 
When you and I deserve the wrath of God for our sin and God pulls you from the depths of Hell…..God gets the glory!
When you do ministry and serve the local church or your community…..God gets the glory! 
When you endure hardships and face trial and temptations and find victory over them….God gets the glory! 
When you stumble and fall in sin and become broken through repentance and restoration….God gets the glory! 
When you are sick and scared but are able to find comfort and rest…..God gets the glory! 
When you are faced with death and loss and you have a peace that overcomes the situation….God gets the glory! 
When you feel the peer pressures of this world but find a way to flee and resist…..God gets the glory.

Do you see a pattern to what I’m saying and what the psalmist proclaims to the nation of Israel? God gets the glory. He gets the glory in your pain and suffering to the joy of a beautiful sunset. To even answer a simple request by my daughter on Monday when we went to see grandma. God gets the glory…..we don’t have a right to boast or show off because what that does is steal the glory away from a holy God who gives us His steadfast love and faithfulness.
  
He gets the glory for this reason. “Our God is in the Heavens; He does all that He pleases.” (v3) What is the palmist saying? Again pretty clear understanding here. God is in Heaven and He rules over everything from His throne. What does that look like? Isaiah 6 gives us a vivid picture of His Lordship and sovereignty in Heaven. “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-4
  
Knowing all this humbles the true believer and causes our hearts to be filled with anguish over the lost people of Israel and for those who are close to us and our neighbors. Anguish means “anxious of body, mind, spirit, with grief and remorse for people around us. This is how I feel for loved ones and people I know who are going to Hell apart from God’s grace. This how the palmist feels when writing this Psalm (v4-v8) Since God is the one from who glory comes, He will not allow the proclamation that glory comes from man or from the idols of man or from nature. We were created for Him, to glorify Him with our lives on earth and in Heaven.
  
This is one of the problems in this Psalm that they love self and create idols for themselves. (v4-v8) This is the mistake many people continue to make: trusting in earthly things, earthly relationships, their own powers or talents or beauty, or the goodness they see in others. Everyone who has ever lived has committed this error at one time or another. We have all “exchanged” the glory of God in favor of the “glory of man.” Romans 1:21-25 says “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Romans 1:21-25. Our lives are created for His glory, not the other way around. When I preach, shepherd, serve and pray is for His glory and to elevate Him up not to elevate my ministry. When I love my wife and treat her as Christ did the church, I do it to please God and to give Him glory over my marriage. When I love my children by demonstrating Christ, I do this to please God and give Him glory for my precious children to sanctify us and protect my gifts of life. When I counsel, teach and live my private life, it’s for His glory that I’m able to do anything. When I walk, talk, smell, taste and live is all for Him and His glory, because He is the one I’m living for.

See! We are not to promote oneself or one another to the point where we steal and rob God of His glorious position in our lives. When we do things in the church and outside the church it isn’t to get noticed or have pats on the back it’s for God to get the glory and people need to see that. It’s not about impressing one another and finding our worth in the view or the response of man. It is to be found in God and God alone “Sola Deo Gloria” Latin for “to God be the glory”

What does that look like? There was a story about a young piano player who had his first recital. Before he went on stage, his maestro gave him strict instructions. The old man would be sitting in the balcony alone as the young man played. And he was to keep playing until he saw his mentor stand up. That would be his indication that the maestro was pleased with his performance. The young man went on stage and played his first song. The audience clapped enthusiastically. He played another song. The applauded again. But he kept playing. Another song. Then another. He was not playing to win the applause of the crowd. He knew his teacher was sitting in the balcony. So he continued to play until his master stood and applauded. His teacher’s approval was all that mattered.

Who are you trying to please? This psalm reminds us of who is in control of this world and who gets the glory whether we like it or not. Are we trying to impress one another or are we trying to elevate God to where He belongs. “Our God is in Heaven……to your name be the glory!”




Auido of Sermon correction!

Was referring to  Bernie Sanders comments on Christianity- Not Sen Chuck Schumer

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