Ex-Pastor Ham

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Tag: God’s Glory

Knowing and Loving God: Part 4a

Click here for an explanation of this series

Thursday, June 19 (previous post here)

We’ve finally reached the next-to-last-day in our series. I must have gotten my second wind by this point during the class because my notes from Thursday and Friday are much more copious than the previous three days. That means that day 4 and 5 might end up being three or four posts each…..we’ll see. It depends on how long the posts are and how much time I have to write. As a reminder (the fuller explanation can be accessed at the link above), italics in this series means class notes, with non-italicized font indicating clarifications and thoughts I am adding as I write these recaps. Also, you will get far more out of this if you click the Scripture links referenced and read the passages. With all this in mind, let’s jump in!

The primary motive of evangelism ought not be our concern for the lost, though that is a concern. It ought to be that we look out at the world and it drives us nuts that there are all these people created in the image of God who are not giving Him the glory He deserves.

Psalm 19

  • Verses 1-6: God’s glory revealed in nature
  • Vv. 7-10: God’s glory revealed in Scripture
  • Vv. 11-14: God’s glory revealed in His servants (people) – We are the ultimate expression of God’s glory! The lost can argue against what He has made (nature); they can argue against what He has said (Scripture); but they cannot argue with the life He has changed.

Isn’t it vain or conceited for God to want glory? (After all, if we did it we would be arrogant: 1 Cor. 4:6-7 <– If any admiration is due, it goes not to the recipient of the gift, but the Giver.)

No. No one ever gave God anything that He didn’t already possess. They are already His and He has the right to receive them. They are Who He is. Furthermore, placing His glory on display is the most altruistic (generous, kind) thing He can do. (At this point Dr. Bauder gave an illustration of altruism using the story of a lobster fisherman from the east coast who found a rare blue lobster, a roughly 1 in 2,000,000 catch. Rather than selling or eating it, he donated it to a marine museum so others could enjoy it as well).

Remember, we praise what we enjoy. It is hard-wired into us. We can’t help it, and we love it. The most generous thing God can do is allow us to enjoy Him by praising Him, sacrificing to Him (O.T.), “giving” to Him. Not because He needs any of it (or anything, for that matter), but because we do!

If God either controls or allows everything, why the Fall of Man?

The answer has to be that God knew He could somehow gain more glory with fallen men than with unfallen. The final chandelier He is piecing together with the shards of the Fall will more brilliantly reflect God’s glory than the unshattered pre-Fall mirror  from whence they came.

Why doesn’t God save everyone?

  1. It cannot be that He is not able (Arminian view).
  2. It cannot be because He is not willing (the Bible tells us He is not willing for all to perish; He is willing for all to come to the knowledge of the truth).
  3. Bottom Line: I DON’T KNOW! Trust. Job 38-42: I lay my hand on my mouth and trust that He knows what He is doing.

NEXT: Knowing and Loving God: Part 4b

Knowing and Loving God: Part 3b

Click here for an explanation of this series

Wednesday, June 18, continued (previous post here)

THE GLORY OF GOD

What is the glory of God?

  • Hebrew – “Kavod” or “weight;” the sheer weight of His God-ness
  • Greek – “Doxa” or “opinion of oneself or others;” God’s reputation

His glory is His importance, His supremeness, and it encompasses His entire Being. Everything that God is is His glory, and none of Him or it can be divided into different parts. His perfection is all that He is, it is total, and it is infinitely beyond any of His creatures. He is infinitely and perfectly glorious in Himself. In a proper sense, no one can add any glory to Him or bring glory to Him. It cannot be increased or diminished. So…

What does it mean to glorify God?

While He is simple in the sense of being One, His glory is manifold, variegated, multi-faceted. He displays His glory in many ways. Two examples:

  • the Church (Eph. 3:9-12)
  • Justice (consigning the damned to hell)

To glorify God does not mean to add to His glory, but point to it (magnify Him).

[Side note from class: All Christians agree: the endgame for God is His own glory. However, covenant and dispensational theologians disagree on exactly what the center of God’s glory is. Covenant theology, in general, would say that God is centrally glorified through soteriology (salvation) and Christology (Christ). Dispensationalists would say that God is glorified in many other ways as well, and would ask questions of the Covenant position, such as: “What about God’s glory through the unsaved? What about God’s glory through the nations?”]

NEXT: Knowing and Loving God: Part 4a

God Is

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer

That quote sums up an idea that the Lord first brought to my heart something like ten years ago. A decade later, it is not nearly fully developed but it hasn’t been a passing fad. It has been a recurring theme that I cannot shake, nor do I want to. It is this: an improper view of God is incredibly detrimental to one’s relationship with Him.

The first times I remember this idea entering my mind were probably somewhere in my late teen or college years (early 2000’s). My dad sparked these thoughts first, if I remember correctly, with comments to me after talks with hurting and misguided Christians. His thought was that many of the problems that Christians face seem to go back to this root issue of having an improper view of Who God is. In his case, he was encountering improper views of God that his counselees owned which were directly related to being raised by an earthly father who was so unlike the Heavenly Father that their image of Him was badly damaged and distorted.

Now I am fully aware that many Christians (most of whom I haven’t even discovered yet) down through history have hit on this same thread of ideas long before my dad. Even going back to A.W. Tozer, we’re still only talking about the most recent 5% of Church history here. But this is where the progression of thought started for me.

Following my initial introduction to the idea, it lay somewhat dormant for a while; occasionally – and always briefly – coming up again throughout college in ways I didn’t even recognize as related to the central theme of my view of God.

But after marrying in 2007, and going through the most difficult decision my wife Stephanie and I ever had to make (this could be a whole series of blog posts to the praise and glory of God’s sovereign work in the lives of His children), the Lord brought it up once again. In early 2009 we began teaching the college Sunday school class at our church here in Michigan. In early 2010 this view of God issue had became so compelling to me that I decided to teach through the book “Our God is Awesome” by Tony Evans. I am not saying that the best approach to develop your view of God is to read some guy’s book, though that can be a helpful secondary source. Regardless, I believe the Lord used that class to continue developing this idea and desire.

[By the way, I’m hitting the high points here. Due to my lack of journaling discipline, I’m sure I’ve forgotten far more than I remember of this journey.]

Soon after entering the role of a staff pastor at Bethany Baptist Church this past Summer (2013), it came up again in the most direct and clear way yet (and finally became a more disciplined and biblical pursuit in my life). I was looking for a Wednesday night teaching tool that would help me give our teens a chronological overview of the Bible. This is something I felt would not only help them, but me too, with an understanding of the big picture of Scripture and the unfolding of redemptive history. I had no idea that I was on the brink of a study that would begin to significantly affect my view of God.

After starting into the lessons in the Fall, it became obvious that the historical Genesis accounts are not merely true stories of actual events related to men of faith and flesh who lived thousands of years ago. They are about God Himself. What’s more, they’re not merely about the mighty and powerful acts of God. They are about his nature and character, His very heart! From chapter one of Genesis, God’s glorious character is on display and we do ourselves no favors by failing to see it.

This Winter, another layer developed as my church small group began a study called “Behold Your God” written by John Snyder. No, it is not magical material. Its Driving Purpose isn’t a Church-saving rethinking of ecclesiastical marketing methods, but merely seeing God as He actually is. Unlike a majority of Christian fodder on the shelves at your local What’s-My-Imaginary-Idol-god-Done-For-Me-Lately Mart (or online at CBD.com where today’s specials include instant classics like “The Daniel Plan Cookbook” and John Hagee’s sermon-inspiring “Four Blood Moons”), this one forces us to Scripture to see God for Who He is; not for what He can do for me, or my family, or my church, or my bankroll, or my Furtick-esque square-footage, or even my favorite team. The theme of the material is “Rethinking God Biblically,” and as promised, it has repeatedly turned my eyes away from itself and myself and towards the God of the Bible through its faithful pointing to theologically rich passages like Isaiah 40, Isaiah 66:1-2, and Job 38-42

Editor’s Note (that’s just a fancy way of saying that I’m still the one writing, but I’ve switched from author to external policing agent who corrects or clarifies myself to my audience): This isn’t intended to be an infomercial for “Behold Your God,” but it is in fact a part of this story, so I included it. I could have anonymized it, but then some of you might have asked for the name so I just cut out that step.

I’ve found that as my eyes behold Him in the pages of Scripture, I desire to point others to Him as well. There is great joy in sharing with others the truths He reveals there. So with that in mind, my intent is to make a category on this blog entitled “God Is” which will be nested under the “Theology” tab on the blog’s front page. This will be the first post it contains, but I intend to add posts to this in somewhat of a series format over the course of this blog.

I pray that God uses them to spur an unquenchable desire within you to begin, or continue, an Exodus 33-like pursuit of Him – for the sake of nothing but Him.

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