~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Pastor Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, What is our purpose? (part 3), by clicking here.
We are on earth to know and enjoy God. That is why He created us! That is our number 1 purpose. “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3) Eternal life = knowing God! Wow. That is so powerful to realize. Knowing God is not some sort of “relational aside” in our purpose with God. Knowing God is at the CORE of our purpose on this earth! The closer we get to God, the more we get to know Him, the more we are filled with Life! Jesus said that He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life! Life is in God!
Jerimiah 17:13 says that God is the fountain of living waters! Psalm 36:9 declares God to be the fountain of life. Ps. 16:11 says God will show us the path of life. It continues to say that in God’s presence is fullness of joy – and at His right hand are pleasures for evermore! God created you to know and enjoy Him! Everything you want is in the presence of God! Everything! There is not a thing that you want that is good that is not found in the presence of the Lord. The presence of God fills us from head to toe with joy! We do not have to wait to get to Heaven to begin to experience His awesome presence – we can commune with Him now!
We may be apt to think of the presence of God as a nebulous concept, but throughout scripture, the presence is not abstract but tangible. Consider Moses: “ But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded. And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.” (Ex. 34:34-35) Look at Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration: “His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.” (Mt. 28:3) Look at John’s account of the Son of Man in Revelation chapter 1: “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” (verses 16b and 17) Wow! The presence of God is not abstract – it is powerful! It is noticeable! It will change our very countenance. When we spend time in God’s presence, the Spirit of God will literally change your physical body!
What is Glory?
Glorifying God is our 2nd purpose! But what does “glory” mean? The two scriptural words for “glory” are Doxa (Greek) & Cabode (Hebrew). Let’s look at some examples of how the Bible uses “glory.”
Eph. 1:6 “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Glory equals greatness and/or splendor. This verse from Ephesians speaks to the greatness of His grace! Think about it . . . you were no first round draft pick! And neither was I! When God chose you, you were not all cleaned up – in fact you were corrupt, but God still chose you. God still extended grace to you – to the point of shedding His own Son’s blood! That is GREAT GRACE! That is GLORIOUS GRACE!
Ex. 24:16-17 “Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.” Notice that the children of Israel were not on top of the mountain in the midst of God’s glory – but instead looking up towards it. And although God’s glory was in fact covered in a cloud, it was so great that the somewhat distant bystanders saw it as a consuming fire. God’s glory, covered up, from far off, looks like a consuming fire! Wow! God told Moses “no man can see Me and live!” (Ex. 33:20). Jesus said “No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only He has seen the Father.” (Jn 6:46)
Jn. 11:40 “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Jesus spoke these words when He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. In speaking to Martha (Lazarus’ sister), Jesus refers to what is about to happen (the power of God raising someone from the dead) as the GLORY of God.
The Glory of God = the power of God, the consuming fire of His presence, & the greatness of His Grace!
Mt. 4:8 “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” Now, what sort of glory is this verse referring to? Was it the greatness of the world’s kingdoms as it related to their character? As it related to their holiness? No way! This is the kingdoms of the World we are talking about! Their character was bad and their holiness was more like filthiness! So what was their glory that satan was showing Jesus? It was their wealth! The Bible clearly refers to money or riches as glory.
Now, you may think that is a poor example to base that connection between glory and wealth on – because it involves the devil tempting Christ. But look at Mt 6:29 “. . . Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Solomon’s glory was his wealth, and even Jesus referred to it.
See Gen. 45:13 is another example: Joseph is speaking to his brothers and He instructs them: “So you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here.” What was Joseph’s glory that he wanted his father to see? Read verses 8-11 “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph: “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine.”’ Joseph’s glory was that God had made him lord of all of Egypt and a father to Pharaoh – a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Joseph’s glory was that he could keep his entire family from poverty – in the time of famine!
Hag. 2:3-9 says “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Here again we see: God calls wealth “glory!”
Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” Watch how verses 2 and 3 continue: “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” The world may be dark, but your light – the glory of the Lord – will only shine brighter and brighter on you! And what is the result of that? See verse 5: “The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.”
So, what is glory? Glory is greatness in every way that we can even think of. Glory is being incredibly kind. It is being unrelentlessly forgiving. It is being so full of love that people know what to expect from you – love, joy, faithfulness, loyalty, purity, etc! Excellent character is glorious in the eyes of God! We glorify God by loving people, being kind, forgiving! There is a serious inability to show forth all the glory of God when we are sick and broke. Don’t rule those things out! As you have seen, the Bible doesn’t leave those aspects out!
Allowing God to bless you (glorify you) is key to being pleasing to Him! Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb 11:6) He wants to glorify us so that we can glorify Him! He wants to fill His later temple with silver and gold. And He also wants hearts that are right in receiving that. Our lives should be blessed in every way – because God is our provider and His hand is not short to be able to provide for us marvelously in every area of our life! If we are going to let the world see God through us, we are going to need to let God be God in our life! Religious thinking will rob God of being able to do what He wants to do in our life! Glory simply means greatness in every way! We must throw off religious thinking. It is our responsibility before God to let Him bless us! We are being irresponsible with our mission to let the world see who God is to not allow Him to bless us! We should be as Solomon in all of His glory! If a child of God has the heart of God and has wealth . . . they give it away in abundance! We are blessed in order to be a blessing. His blessing in our lives makes us a blessing in the lives of others and brings glory to Him!
You have a purpose. You have a destiny – and it’s beyond marvelous in God! Let God bless you so the world can see how good your Papa is!