Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sermon Notes On How We Glorify God In Our Lives

The context of these notes is 2 Kings 19 when Hezekiah was seeking the Lord's deliverance from the army of the Assyrians.  Verse 19 states, "2Ki 19:19  So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone."  Notice how he acknowledges that their salvation was not to form the basis for God's blessings but instead it was so the Lord could reveal his power and might.  We might add that Hezekiah is seen as equal to David in his relationship to the Lord so we should take his prayer in that light.

"If this doesn’t form the basis for whatever we do including asking the Lord to save our skin we have completely missed the point.  Hezekiah, Jerusalem and we today have no relevance unless we honor our God and Savior.  Yes, he has an eye on his trouble but the other one is on the Lord revealing himself to everyone involved.

We need to see this because we have so many running around telling us that God has a happy plan for your life and it comes across like his main purpose is making you happy.  But the fact of the matter is that his “wonderful plan for our life” is that we find satisfaction and joy in worshipping him.  As soon as we make it about ourselves we show that Adam is alive and well in us.

Interestingly enough we have to be careful not to use this as some sort of magical formula for getting our prayers answered which invariably leads to selfishness.  Tacking on a phrase like, “may you be glorified in what I am asking for” even if it is from the heart doesn't mean that the Lord will be glorified by it.  Perhaps it would be better to say that often he glorifies himself through what looks like defeat. 

It is clear that a lot of church goers think that God is glorified and the cause of Christ is furthered by Christians appearing to have their act together physically, materially, emotionally and spiritually.  The humility that the Bible speaks of is seen as "loserville".  Christ and his people have to appear to be succeeding or it is a reflection on God.  But let’s remember Paul in 2 Cor. 12 where it was his afflictions and apparent weaknesses in which God’s power was most demonstrated in his life.  Elsewhere we learn that he wasn’t a polished speaker, he apparently was repulsive to look at; at least unimpressive and yet no one has been used any more than Paul.  

I think a more healthy NT way of seeing this worked out is by acknowledging in ourselves and when we see it in each other, how the Lord sustains and uses us in our afflictions as well as when he graciously removes our afflictions.  Had not Hezekiah and Israel been brought low in this trial none of these chapters would have been in the Bible.  Prosperity can’t begin to expose our faith like difficulty and humiliation can."

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