To the Praise of His Glory ~ Palm Sunday, March 16, 2008
As we think about Jesus’ entering Jerusalem just days before his crucifixion we must remember that he entered the city with the full knowledge of coming events. Entering the city as he did reminds us that he came to do His Father’s will and by doing so gave us an example of what it means to do all to the praise of His glory.
I want to take a closer look at this phrase to see what Paul meant by it and what it means for us today. To the praise of His glory, what is Paul saying about God?
I. The Glory of God
a. God brings praise to His name
Three times in the first 14 verses of Ephesians 1 Paul writes this phrase.
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:12
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
This is more than just an off-handed phrase. Paul is showing us here that God has given us these five spiritual blessings not only to bless us but ultimately to cause praise to be given to His glory.
b. Understanding God’s glory-when we think of God’s glory what do we think of?
i. Webster - Brightness; luster; splendor. When giving glory it is praise ascribed in adoration; honor.
ii. Grudem – God’s glory in the visible manifestation of God’s character and the appropriate expression of His excellence.
I am kind of treating this as I did the attributes of God but this is not really an attribute in the same sense as we have seen before but rather the manifestation of all that he is.
We are not able to behold his glory in its fullness. Remember that Moses asked God to see His glory. What did God say? “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” God’s glory in one sense is way beyond what we can either take in or understand. Yet it is clear as we read our Bibles that this is something that we ought to be very aware of.
iii. What scripture says
Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
Here God makes it clear that we are created for His glory.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Paul tells us in this verse that we don’t measure up to God’s glory. We are not worthy of it.
“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:5
Jesus, in this prayer to His heavenly Father, reminds us that He did not make full use of His glory while here on earth and refers to the glory that he enjoyed with His father.
The Old Testament speaks of God’s glory often. David asks the question, “Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” [Psalm 24:10]
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty, Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
In the New Testament we also have mention of God’s glory.
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
We know that God’s glory was also seen at the transfiguration of Christ. So God is not hiding His glory, just the opposite, He wants us, not only to be aware of His glory, but also to worship and praise Him because of His glory.
Look again with me at the way that Paul uses the phrase “to the praise of His glory”. He is showing us that this is the reason that God has done these things, so that His glory will be praised. It is not that God needs to praise Himself but rather that He is worthy of our praise and expects us to praise Him. It may be a simple thing but we should think for a minute about…
II. Giving Praise
There are several Greek words that are translated into our word ‘praise’. They are all rooted in our basic understanding of praise.
a. Praise defined - To extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works. Webster
i. The bible contains hundreds of passages that exemplify the giving of praise to God. It is clear that this is something we are to do.
b. Praise illustrated
i. God is worthy
David says, “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.”
2 Samuel 22:4
Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven. Psalm 148:13
ii. Acceptable through Christ – Christ is our access to God and the way our praise is accepted. Notice also that the writer gives us one of the means of praise.
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
iii. We are called to praise
Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. Psalm 30:4
This calling includes what we have done here already this morning. As the writer to the Hebrews says ‘our praise is a sacrifice, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. We who are the godly ones are to sing praises to Him.
We need to be careful that we do not consider our singing on Sunday mornings our only sacrifice of praise. This is where the application of Paul’s words comes in. What does it mean to live to the praise of His glory?
III. Living to the Praise of His Glory – as I said earlier this is how Jesus lived his life. Everything he did was to bring glory to His Father.
a. We are made to reflect His glory
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Through the Holy Spirit God brings us to an increasing awareness of His glory. The longer a Christian walks with God the deeper his understanding of God’s glory. The more Christ-like we become the more we desire to reflect His glory. The more we desire to reflect His glory the more others will see Christ in us.
Our ability to reflect God’s glory to others may be likened to an old dirty dust covered mirror found in the attic. It will take time to get a clear reflection from that mirror. The first time you try to wipe the grime from the glass its reflective ability grows. But there is still a lot of dirt hindering the reflection. The second time it is better. It will take some time to bring the mirror to its fullest potential. So it is with us. As God continues to work in our lives we are repeatedly cleansed and better able to reflect His glory
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”Matthew 5:16
As we grow in Christ we should be coming to the place where we want to do all for the glory of God.
b. We do all to for the glory of God
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.Colossians 3:17
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.Colossians 3:23-24
In light of the spiritual blessings God has given, let us live to the praise of His glory.