*Glorifying God in the Church*
*by a High View of God and His Word – 2 Timothy 4:1-5*
For at least the first half of this message I want to lay the broader biblical foundation and framework of what is meant by a high view of God and His Word (and why it’s important).
Almost exactly a year ago, I shared with this congregation a list of pastor’s prayer requests, ways you can pray for me and the ministry.
I want to read the first and last requests on the list:
A Pastor’s Prayer Requests
*Humility:* I desire that I would be constantly fighting personal pride and cultivating humility, and striving to spread a high view of God and low view of self.
\\ *Reverence:* I desire to refuse to patronize sinners through entertainment but preach under the judicial gaze of a holy and awe-inspiring God.
/Isaiah 66:1 //Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?
\\ Isaiah 66:2 //“For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.
“But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and *who trembles at My word*.
\\ \\ /
I began my first sermon as Pastor here with these words:
*The great and pressing need of the hour is to have a high view of God and a high view of God’s Word.*
- Verse 1 of Isaiah 66 begins with a high view of God (creator of all, far greater than temple, heaven, earth, etc.)
- Verse 2 gives us a high view of God’s Word, it tells us we should tremble in reverence at it.
- And the fruit of this high view of God is that you have a low view of self, which we also see in verse 2 in the phrases “humble and contrite in spirit”
God is looking for humility, repentance, and trembling, i.e., fear.
These are the core values of ministry for those with a high view of God and His Word.
I cannot even begin to be used by God unless I am pursuing and cultivating humility and fighting all forms of pride in my life.
If we don’t have humility, we will not be the place or people God looks to bless and use.
God opposes the proud, but He looks with favor and grace to those who tremble at His Word, who hold it in a high and holy regard.
/When God’s Word first came from heaven, it was accompanied with trembling and fear of God./
Exodus 19:16 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp *trembled*.
\\ Exodus 19:17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
\\ Exodus 19:18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the *whole mountain quaked violently*.
\\ Exodus 19:19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and *God answered him with thunder*.
\\ Exodus 20:1 Then *God spoke* all these words, saying, \\ Exodus 20:2 “I *am the Lord your God*, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Exodus 20:18 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, *they trembled and stood at a distance*.
\\ Exodus 20:19 Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”
\\ Exodus 20:20 Moses said to the people, “*Do not be afraid*; for God has come in order to test you, and *in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.*”
Exodus 24:3 Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, *“All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!”*
\\ Exodus 24:4 Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord.
Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
\\ Exodus 24:5 He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord.
\\ Exodus 24:6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
\\ Exodus 24:7 Then *he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”*
\\ A high view of God and a high view of God’s Word go hand in hand.
Trembling when God speaks, having a healthy fear of God will keep us from sin and will cause us to want to obey and glorify God.
This pattern continues from the first book, the Torah, all the way to the last book in the Bible.
Turn to Revelation 14 to see another message from heaven that includes the fear of God.
Last week we looked at the worship of God in Revelation 4 and 5 (Holy, holy, holy, before the throne of God) and we considered God’s worship to be the major way we glorify God in the church.
Revelation 14 parallels the idea of worshipping God with how we /view/ God, whether or not we have a high view of God, a fear of God.
That’s the subject of this equally important study today I’m eager to share and am praying expectantly that the Lord might bless His truth again.
Revelation 14:1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
\\ Revelation 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.
\\ Revelation 14:3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.
\\ Revelation 14:4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste.
These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
\\ Revelation 14:5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
\\ Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an *eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth*, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; \\ Revelation 14:7 and he said with a loud voice, “*Fear God, and give Him glory*, because the hour of His judgment has come; *worship Him* who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
The main message in v. 7 is “Fear God and give Him glory” – this is a message that doesn’t get preached enough here on earth, but it’s the most important message from heaven, it’s the call to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, it’s the responsibility of every human being, it’s the first line of the eternal gospel.
This good news begins with and is centered on God’s glory before us.
The gospel call is not primarily about what can /get/ for ourselves, verse 7 is a call to /give God glory/ and fear God (which does benefit us but God is at the center)
Or you might say, we give God glory /by /fearing God, by viewing Him with awe and deep reverence and humility.
I wanted to start here because unless God is uplifted and upheld in the place of centrality and supremacy and source of all satisfaction and joy forever, the gospel is not fully good news nor is it fully glorious.
When the good news was first announced to shepherds in the field, they were /afraid/, and then angels from heaven proclaimed /good news/ of great joy, a Savior, and then “/glory to God/ in the highest.”
Fear comes first, then good news.
God’s highest glory brings men highest joy.
Verse 6 says this eternal gospel will be preached to all before the end, and notice in v. 7 that the ultimate reason the gospel will be preached in these last days is to give God glory, or the end of the verse says so that people will worship Him who are not currently worshipping Him.
God’s glory is a massively important thing, and it’s critical and vital that it has the central place in our life as a church.
God’s glory is not only the theme of this series we’re studying together, we want it to have the place of preeminence in all things in our lives, the ultimate purpose /out of which/ flows our worship, our preaching of the gospel and all the other mandates of the church which are ways in which we seek to glorify God.
Notice in verse 7 that this gospel message is not “feel good about yourselves” – the message here is “fear God and give Him glory … worship Him” (not only /trust/ Christ, but fear and worship Him).
To say it another way, yes the gospel call is to believe, but saving faith is not a merely intellectual knowledge, it is accompanied by a desire to worship Christ and honor and fear Him in awe and wonder.
And such love and praise glorifies God, our chief purpose.
There is a connection between glorifying God and worshipping God, as we saw last time, and there is also a connection between glorifying God and viewing God rightly and highly.
God’s glory is not only manifested in our worship, but also in our fear of God - having a high view of God’s awe-inspiring holy majesty that causes us to tremble and to reverence Him, which glorifies God.
How do we view God? Do we truly fear God?
If God’s glory is the most important thing in the universe, and it is, this is an important question, because there is a link between God’s glory and how we view Him, if we have awe and fear before God (or if we don’t).
This same writer of Revelation, the Apostle John also wrote earlier in his gospel (John 1:14) “the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his *glory*”
And what happened when people beheld God’s glory in Jesus?
Luke 5:26 They were all struck with astonishment and began *glorifying God; and they were filled with fear*, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Luke 7:16 Fear *gripped them all, and they began glorifying God*, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!” \\ \\
Matthew 9:8 But when the crowds saw this, *they were awestruck [lit.
afraid – ESV], and glorified God*, who had given such authority to men.
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and you could argue from these texts that the fear of God is the beginning of glorifying God, or at least a crucial and central aspect of it.
The fear of God is the most basic starting point of biblical knowledge or wisdom, but sadly it would seem there isn’t much fear of God today.
Instead of fear, there is a flippancy about God, there is a common casual and comfortable and shallow and superficial and low view of God that is all too frequent, even among Christians.
This is not a new problem in our generation.
In the first half of the twentieth century, there was a voice crying in the urban wilderness of America about his great concern over Christianity’s low view of God in his day, as he preached before and after World War II.
Perhaps no preacher in his time was more passionate about this theme and none more consistently pleaded for churches to return to glorifying God by viewing Him highly and rightly and fearing Him.
This pastor (now with the Lord) has been described this way:
Physically speaking he was not regarded as an impressive man.
His preaching … not characterized by great eloquence [listening to old recording of his sermons doesn’t do justice to his impact].
He belonged to a [group] of churches known for being non-theological and non-doctrinal.
He himself had never received the benefits of a Bible college education, let alone the advanced training of a seminary experience.
And yet, obvious to all who knew him, was the fact that he possessed a profound and deep knowledge of God, and even more, that he walked in great intimacy with this God he knew so well.
From 1928 until 1959 he pastored what many would regard as a very inconspicuous little church in Chicago; Southside Alliance, it was called.
And yet in those 31 years in the providence of God, he became to many, something of a prophetic conscience for the evangelical church.
His name was Aiden Wilson Tozer.
He preferred simply A. W. Tozer.
And it was Warren Wiersbe who said of him, “listening to Tozer preach was about as safe as opening the door of a blast furnace.
He was not hesitant to tell us what was wrong, nor was he hesitant to tell us how /GOD /could make it right.
If a sermon could be compared to light, then A. W. Tozer released a laser beam from the pulpit, a beam that penetrated your heart, seared your conscience, exposed your sin and left you crying ‘what must I do to be saved?’
The answer was always the same: Surrender to Christ!
Get to know God personally.
Grow to become like him.
When he preached the wind of the spirit blew and dead bones came to life.