THE POOR AND LOWLY AND THE GLORY OF GOD
What does the glory of God mean?
What comes to mind when you hear someone say “The Glory of God”?
Does it make you think about……
Transcendent power and majesty
Unlimited supply of mercy and grace
The believers chief end
The central them of the Scriptures
A bloody cross and a glorious empty tomb.
The glory of God is the beauty of His spirit. “Glory” simple means “honor” or “excellent reputation” This expression is used to describe God when Isaiah penned these words “everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory (my honor, my excellent reputation), whom I formed and made." The glory of God is not exactly an attribute of His being but rather it describes the superlative (unmatched, excellent, unbeatable) honor that should be given to God by everything in the universe. We read in the last Psalm “Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” Psalm 150:1-6
The whole earth is screaming the glory of God. And His glory is something that belongs to Him alone and is the appropriate outward expression of His own excellence.
J I Packer said “It is not an aesthetic beauty or a material beauty, but it is the beauty that emanates from His character, from all that He is.”
Isaiah wrote about that glory when he was in throne room. “And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" Isaiah 6:3
What else do we need to understand about the glory of God
as we approach our text this morning?
The glory of God is something that we shouldn’t take lightly; and it shouldn’t be something that we say loosely either. When Isaiah was in the throne room he felt unworthy, unclean, to be the same room, especially in the holy presence of the glory of God. Isaiah 6. Peter, James and John felt the same way on the Mount of Transfiguration when fear came over them when God the Father spoke. Luke 9:28-36. We read in Matthew’s gospel “When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” Matt 17:6-8. To truly understand the glory of God is fall to our knees in humility and adoration for His excellence and supremacy.
Why do I say that? The bible declares that….
The glory of God is described as great in Psalm 138:5 says “and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.”
The glory of God is described as eternal “May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” Psalm 104:31-33
The glory of God is described as rich, and that it gives us strength to endure. “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:14-19
Understand…. God created us for His glory, we read in Isaiah 43:7 “everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made." It’s the power and grace of God, in the regeneration and conversion of His people; in which He created us, for the glory of His grace.
We know this to be true by what we see here in this wonderful Christmas story of the poor and lowly (meaning humble in manner or spirit; free from self-righteous pride.) Simple shepherds watching their sheep at night. The good news of the Savior’s birth came first to a most unlikely group of people.
I say that because…… Shepherds were near the bottom of the social ladder. They were uneducated and unskilled. And because sheep required care seven days a week the Pharisee’s viewed the shepherds as being in continual violation of the religious laws. So they were seen by the religious as dishonest, unreliable, disgusting characters. I find this interesting! Because there are two very important people in the Old Testament who were shepherds! Moses (Exo 3:1), and David (1 Sam 16:11-13).
It is through these shepherds witness, that we get to see into the life of the poor and lowly who saw the glory of God on display. (v8-v21)
And this is what we are to fix our eyes and hearts unto as we go through each and every day as His redeemed children. Because this passage is more than just a story of promise; though that’s enough for the redeemed sinner. This is a story that invites us to see the glory of God and the peace it brings into the even the hardest of hearted sinners like me. The greatest display and expressions of the glory of God is seen in the incarnation of Jesus. The greatest display and expressions of the glory of God is seen the person of Jesus Christ, God who walked amongst us. The greatest display and expression of the glory of God is seen at the cross of Christ.
This is what we would call the highest degree of
the glory of God.
J C Ryle wrote “By the appearing of His Son Jesus Christ in the world. He by His life and death on the cross will glorify God’s attributes of justice, holiness, mercy and wisdom, as they never were glorified before. Creation glorified God, but not so much as redemption.”
The Hebrew writer expressed it this way “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...” Heb 1:1-8
Jesus is! Light flashing forth (from), radiation, gleam of the glory of God. Luke writes “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace amoung those with whom he is pleased.” (v14)
What does that mean?
The incarnation of Jesus is the exact image of the glory of God and it’s in His person that we get to see and taste this glory on this side of eternity. It’s through the radiance, the beam of light of the Son in His glory that we get to see and taste forgiveness and eternal life. And it’s in the display of His glory that we have an eternal peace though the glory of the Son. Luke says “Glory to God in the highest” which is the highest degree; it doesn’t get any higher than this. So the poor and lowly who live on earth, the lowest place in comparison to Heaven receive the greatest news and soon will see the glory of God first hand.
And it’s because of this Luke pens something that should melt our hearts with adoration and thanksgiving.
A peace that is transcendent! A peace that brings an end to the conflict between man (mankind) and God. A perfect peace between a holy God and sinful man. Meaning! Those who hear the message of the Messiah, who hear the gospel and respond to its message. The gospel brings an end to the war, the war is over and the peace Jesus brings is an eternal peace that sets the captives free. It’s a peace that administers CPR into the hearts of dead men and woman, so that we can live in peace. Our peace has come in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the exact imprint, the radiance of the Godhead.
”The Glory of God” that shines into
the hearts of the redeemed.
Paul wrote that the glory of God is the supreme purpose of redemption “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” Eph 1:12
Paul wrote “For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," 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
Remember what James wrote to the redeemed “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” James 2:5. Our peace has come in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. These shepherds saw this for themselves; and we get to see this as well through them and their story. But not only that! We get to live each and every day for His glory as we shine like lights in this darkened, depraved, and lost world. Jesus said "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matt 5:14
This is what Jesus came to do! He came to glorify the Father through His earthly life. “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” John 17:1-5
There are two things
that come with this peace.
1. Jesus is the only one who can bring everlasting peace on earth, which He will do in the end. There is no other God, no other savior, or way, that can deliver us from the hands of God. There is only one who gives us everlasting peace and His name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus offers peace from God. Rom 1:7
Jesus makes peace with God on our behalf. Ron 5:1
Jesus brings peace from God. Phil 4:7
And we know the angels pronounce that peace only comes through Jesus Christ alone. Luke 2:14
2. God’s peace is only available to men and women; when they yield their lives to Him. A rebellious heart that fights God will never have true and genuine peace that only God can provide. This peace only comes when we yield to God as His servants, His property, wholly consecrated to Him. We are to love Him supremely, and the one yields himself to God, yields all his property, his influence, his time, whatever he possesses, for it is God's.
We as His children are to be reflections of His glory through the gospel that saved us for His glory. 2 Cor 3:18 we read “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….” In Matt 5:16 we read “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Paul wrote in Phil 2:15 “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Shine as lights that display
the glory to the poor and lowly,
Telling the story to others about some simple men who watched their sheep at night. Simple men who got to witness the radiant glory of God, the pinnacle glory of the radiance of God in the person of Jesus Christ. A glory that made Heaven break- loose in worship over the birth of Jesus Christ. (v13)
What does the glory of God
mean for you and me?
Everything…from the time we wake up, to the time we close our eyes…..every single day.
Every single day we get to be reminded and taste the glory of the Son though His sustaining and redeeming grace though the gospel.
R. C Sproul said “Augustine often spoke of the seriousness of worship, the seriousness of mind that we must have when we enter into God’s presence. We worship a weighty Lord, so we must always consider whether the worship we offer is light or weighty. Does our worship reflect the full significance of all of God’s attributes, or does it treat Him merely as our “best pal”? To glorify God is to give Him the honor He is due, so let us never offer anything less to Him.”
What does your worship say about you when you hear
“Glory to God in the highest”
Is light or is it weighty?”