The Ministry of God’s Glory
2Corinthians 3:7-18 September 21, 2003
Scripture Reading: Exodus 33:18-23
The Corinthians said Paul was discredited and ineffective as an apostle because he suffered too much, couldn’t make up his mind, and his messages had no value.
But Paul said God comforted him, his grace gave him direction, and his Spirit gave him credibility and competence.
Now, if all that doesn’t lead to the ministry of God’s glory, I don’t know what does.
DEFINE “glory”: splendor, grandeur, power or amazing might, brightness, honor.
ILLUSTRATION: John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, p. 5-8.
READ NT text:
RELATE to OT text:
EXPLAIN wrong interpretation (nuance) on Greek word for “fading” that actually means “being done away with” or “set aside”.
Explain In Context:
“18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." 19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." 21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."” (Exodus 33:18-23 NIVUS)
“29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.” (Exodus 34:29-35 NIVUS)
Moses’ pray to see God’s glory was not fully answered at the time:
“28 ¶ About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:28-31 NIVUS)
The glory of Jesus is the glory of God and he gives it to us – we don’t need to be afraid of it destroying us because he protects us sinners from God’s wrath.
SEE: John 17 and Jesus’ references to glory.
It is good for businesses to take an annual inventory to know how well they are doing and where they stand.
Nehemiah took such an inventory when he surveyed the walls and gates of Jerusalem:
“11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. 13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work. 17 Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace."” (Nehemiah 2:11-17 NIVUS)
We must also assess how well God’s glory is working in and through us as individuals and as a church.
Hand out and explain church survey.
OT glory through the law was limited.
NT glory through the Spirit is unlimited.
Ministry of the law was hindered/ministry of the Spirit unhindered.
Difference in type defies comparison.
Difference in endurance defies comparison.
The hope of a new type of glory gives boldness to reveal God in Christ.
The old glory was a liability.
The new glory is a luxury.
The new glory is transformational.