Giving God The Glory—Selected Texts
As Christians, we know from the Bible that God wants us to give him the glory and no one or nothing else. In Isaiah, we read,
9 For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, And for my praise will I refrain for thee, That I cut thee not off. 10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. 11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: For how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another. (Isaiah 48:9–11)
We who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ want to glorify God in our lives. Of course, we should avoid worshiping modern-day idols like money, entertainment, drugs and so forth, but glorifying God is more than not doing certain things. There are also positive things that we should be doing—and those are what we’ll be looking at in this lesson. We’ll look at seven ways (and there are more) that we can glorify God.
1) WE GLORIFY GOD WHEN WE CONFESS OUR SINS
Can confessing our sins bring glory to God? Joshua thought so. In Joshua 7, we learn the sad story of Achan who, after the defeat of Jericho, disobeyed God and kept spoils of war for himself. The Lord revealed to Joshua Achan’s sin, and Joshua confronted him—
19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. (Joshua 7:19)
Why does confessing our sin give glory to God? Because confessing our sins is agreeing with God that our sins are an offense against his holiness. It’s like saying someone, “You’re right, I am wrong.” When we say that, we are giving glory to that person. The same is true when we confess our sins to God.
2) WE GLORIFY GOD WHEN WE PRAY FOR GOD TO BE GLORIFIED
Jesus tells us,
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
This does not mean that if you pray for a brand new car and tack “in Jesus’s name” on the end, that Jesus will do it. To pray in the name of Jesus means to pray in the character and purpose of Jesus. Jesus’s character, his purpose, was to glorify his Father.
This should give us pause to think about our prayers. Maybe we aren’t asking for brand new cars and we are praying for good things. But are we praying for self-centered purposes? Do we pray for healing for ourselves only so that we can avoid pain? Do we pray for a conflict to be resolved only because it causes us distress?
Praying for trials to end is not wrong, but we should open ourselves to considering how God might be best glorified in our trials. Could it be better to pray for God to be glorified first and, if he wills, that we be healed?
This is what the apostle Paul had to learn the hard way when he prayed three times for a thorn in the flesh to be removed. But God did not answer that prayer because God wanted to be glorified in Paul’s weakness. Paul reports that Jesus said to him,
…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Jesus’s heart is to glorify God the Father, so if our heart is truly to glorify God, then whatever we ask in his name, that he will be happy to do.
3) WE GLORIFY GOD WHEN WE LIVE PURE LIVES
The way we live in our bodies is another way that we can glorify God:
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18–20)
What do we learn about our bodies in these verses?
First, we learn that “fornication”—which often refers to just premarital sex, here refers to any kind of sexual sin—is a sin that closely involves our body.
Second, this sin is so bad because it directly assaults the “temple of the Holy Ghost,” which is what our bodies are.
Third, God is interested in us glorifying him not only in our spirits, but also in our bodies. There can be no separating the two—like, “I worship God in my heart, he doesn’t care what I do in my body.”
Fourth, our body is not our own. It is God’s. He owns it. He uses it as a temple, so it’s sacred ground.
I think the theological principle that we can draw from this is: to glorify God in our body, we must be careful to treat it in a way that takes into account that it is a temple that is owned by God.
We need to have the attitude of the apostle Paul who said:
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:20)
Paul understood that his body was a “temple” of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). He understood that he must make his body a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). He wanted the life of Christ to “be made manifest” in his body (2 Corinthians 4:10).
That’s what we should want for our bodies. Sometimes Christians get the mistaken idea that, since we’re getting resurrection bodies one day, it doesn’t matter how we treat these bodies we have now.
But even though these bodies will decay and one day be replaced with resurrection bodies, they aren’t just cheap, disposable, throw-away items. We are to glorify God with our bodies.
4) WE GLORIFY GOD WHEN WE SHINE OUR LIGHT
In Matthew 5, Jesus says—
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
What is your light? To begin with, it’s not precisely your light. It’s the light of Jesus that is shining through you. We talk about the moon being bright tonight, or having a romantic walk in the moonlight, but does the moon really have a light of its own? No. It’s the Sun’s light that’s being reflected off from the moon. So our light is really just light that comes from our relationship with Jesus who said that he was the light of the world (John 8:12).
What does it mean to shine your light before men? Jesus clearly connects “light” with “good works.” Glorifying God is not something that we do just by avoiding the really bad sins. It’s not something that we do passively. We need to do good works to glorify God—we were saved to do good works:
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10; cf. Titus 2:14)
These good works have to be the kind of works that point people to the Father, otherwise, they would not glorify him. There are atheists who do all sorts of good works (Bill Gates, for instance), but they give no glory to God.
I think it’s obvious that whatever good work we do, we need to let others know why we’re doing it. Our good works must be accompanied by good words about Jesus and our motivation for doing them. Our demeanor and attitude when doing good works will speak volumes as well.
Also, the “good works” that you do might not be something that we do for others, it could simply be obedience to God’s commands as you find them in the Bible.
Elliot Huck, a fourteen-year-old from Bloomington, Indiana, who had placed forty-fifth out of 250 spellers in semifinal competition, skipped the National Spelling Bee. [Why?] The 2007 National Spelling Bee was held on a Sunday. In Elliot’s eyes, the competition conflicted with the biblical command to rest on the Sabbath.
“I always try to glorify God with what I do in the spelling bee because he is the one who gave me the talent for spelling,” said Elliot. “Now I’m not going to spell and try to give glory to God in that..I have accepted that God knows what’s best, and I’m just going to do what he says.” (Robert King, “Sunday Contest Spells the End for Student,” Indianapolis Star [February 22, 2007])
Someone might say that he could have attended the competition and glorified God there. But listen, do you remember the champion from 2007? From last year? Elliot, in his active obedience, glorified God, and his testimony is still glorifying God to this day—because I just told it to you!
What are good works that you do? Are they done for the glory of God? Do others know why you do them?
5) WE GLORIFY GOD WHEN WE USE OUR GIFTS
The Bible says that we can give glory to God by using our gifts in service to God.
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10–11)
The key to using our gifts to glorify God is that we do so “…as of the ability which God giveth.” In other words, there has to be a reliance on God as we are using our gift. We must desire to use our gift for God.
You could, for instance, come and sing in the choir, play the piano, play the guitar and do it in a way that does not glorify God. You might have a grumpy attitude about doing it, or you might have a prideful attitude in doing it, but whatever it is, you aren’t doing it out of a dependence on God and a desire to please God. You are doing it in complete reliance on yourself and with a focus on yourself.
What gifts do you have? Helping, teaching, singing, praying? Glorifying God with them depends on first, actually using them. Not just warming a pew on Sunday morning. But second, it requires us using them with a godly, dependent attitude.
6) WE GLORIFY GOD WHEN WE PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL
Another obvious way of glorifying God is by proclaiming the gospel. Paul preached the gospel,
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord…(Acts 13:48)
And when Gentiles like Cornelius were saved, it was an occasion to glorify God:
18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18)
Sometimes we Christians think that we that we proclaim the gospel with our lives alone. We don’t swear, we are nice, we sign a petition for a good cause now and then. Those are good things. But they are not proclaiming the gospel. The person who said, “Preach the gospel always, if necessary, use words,” was flat-out wrong.
The gospel is words about a person, Jesus Christ, who is, by the way, called the “Word” in John 1. The gospel is communicating the message about our sin and it’s penalty and about how Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. The gospel is “good news.” How can you communicate news without words?
Most of us would prefer that proclaiming the gospel was just about being nice to people—that’s my inclination also.
But to proclaim the gospel we must speak up and use words. When we do, God is glorified in our obedience. And when people are saved, he is glorified all the more!
7) WE GLORIFY GOD WHEN WE LIVE WITH A PURPOSE
Our text for this one is 1 Corinthians 10:31—
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
There was a catchy title of an article about this verse that I have never forgotten: “How to drink orange juice to the glory of God.” The author’s point was that we should include God in every aspect of our lives.
But to do that, we need to have a God-centered purpose driving our lives. When we have such a purpose, it unites the various parts of our lives to give glory to God.
The last time our nation was united for any length of time was during World War II. A single purpose—defeat Germany, Italy, and Japan—united Americans in a way that hasn’t been seen since. People gladly accepted rations on food, gas, and even clothing.
Do you have a God-centered or a kingdom purpose in your life that unites the various parts of your life? That drives the decisions that you make so that, whatever you do, even the basics, like eating and drinking, are directed to God’s glory?
Why does God deserve to get the glory? For those who are in love with Jesus Christ, this is a question that doesn’t need to be asked. But there are those, perhaps even some Christians, who ask it. So here it goes:
1) God deserves the glory because he made all things.
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
We live and move and breath all because of God. How could we possibly think of giving the glory to anyone else? The fact that we don’t want to glorify God is what is at the core of sin. Sin says, “I want to do it my way, not God’s way.” So “all have sinned and come short of…” What? “…the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
2) God deserves the glory because he made us to glorify him. In Proverbs 16, we read:
4 The Lord hath made all things for himself: Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Proverbs 16:4)
Of Israel, God said:
21 This people have I formed for myself; They shall shew forth my praise. (Isaiah 43:21)
And of Christians, Peter tells us:
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Peter 2:9)
God made you to be in a relationship with him that gives him the glory. He wants you to be in a relationship where you, far from being forced like a slave, praise him willingly and joyfully for the great things he has done in your life.
3) God deserves the glory because he is our Redeemer. In fact, one more way to glorify God is to sing praises to him as our Redeemer. That is what we find the twenty-four elders doing in Revelation 5—
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelation 5:9)
Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone? Is he your Redeemer? Do you sing praises to glorify him?
Levi Durfey—LDM-Worship-Giving God The Glory-20190825FBCAM-SERMON