Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Perspectives Week 2... The Story of His Glory

Perspectives Week 2… The Story of His Glory

Perspectives week 2 answered the following questions;
-What is the ultimate goal of the church?
-What was God’s purpose in creating the church?
-What was God’s purpose in creating the world, and mankind in particular?
-What is the goal of missions?
-Why do missions exist?

The answer to each is the glory of God.

In our lecture Coty Pinckney proposed that God’s ultimate purpose is to bring glory to His name, and that He does this by 1) gathering people to Himself from every tribe, tongue and nation; 2) overcoming all evil opposition.

Coty used numerous verses to show to us God’s passion for His glory, and those were just a few of the many in the Bible (the story of God’s glory). Since week 2 of Perspectives I have started to notice just how much scripture is filled with passages on God’s glory. Here are a couple of the verses that Coty shared.

Why did God create man?
Isaiah 43:6b Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

One might say that man was created to have a relationship with God. But in the trinity, I don’t think that God really NEEDS that relationship with us, even though I do believe that we are called to a relationship with Him. I can buy into the thinking that we were created for God’s glory, in that we are created in His image. As discussed later in this post, I concur with the idea that we are created to worship Him, and bring Him glory that way.

Why did God call Israel?
Jeremiah 13:11 I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory.

Israel was chosen, so that through them God may show His glory, and make Himself known to all the peoples of the earth (as discussed in the post from 4/14). God delivered His chosen people from Egypt, He gave them a land, He prospered, strengthened and grew them, yet they continued to turn away from Him and serve false Gods and fail to worship Him without inhibition.

Why did God save Israel as a nation yet leave the unfaithful generation to die in the desert?
Numbers 14:21-23 Truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the lord, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers.

God speaks of filling the earth with His glory, again as mentioned in today’s and Monday’s posts, scripture is filled with mentions of God’s glory spreading to the nations. God announces His judgement for those who have seen His glory (or known Him), but have rejected Him and not followed Him.

Why did God tell the restored Israelites to rebuild His temple?
Haggai 1:8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.

Why does Jesus tell us to do good works?
Matthew 5:16 Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.

Nothing we do should be for ourselves or our gratification, it should all be to bring glory, praise and worship to our heavenly Father.

What is to be our goal in all that we do?
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

How does God’s glory tie in with missions? God’s glory is the purpose for missions.

The ultimate goal of missions
Revelation 7:9-12 Behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb… and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”… “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Obviously there will be people from every nation, tribe, people and language at the throne. In another post I will address these terms in more depth, for now I want to focus on the fact that our job as believers in Christ is not done until people have been reached from every nation, tribe, people and tongue. To me, it sounds like Christ isn’t coming back until all of these people have been reached and had their chance to hear His message (again I’ll define “hear His message” and “reached” more in a later post). So what are we waiting for, let’s reach them… I want Christ to come back, how about you? Now isn’t that passage just a beautiful picture of people doing what they are created to do, and coming together in an ultimate worship of our Lord!

Psalm 96:1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.

Again, scripture is not short on the link between God’s glory and an ultimate, all peoples/ nations worship of Him.

In seeking His own glory, is God being selfish?
Our greatest joy comes from becoming what God intend us to be; worshipers of Him. “He is most glorified, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

The next statement that Coty made seemed to invoke a lot of questions and misunderstanding in our class. I’ll do my best to relay his statement, and at least explain what it means to me, but I’d advise you to take his statement and prayerfully arrive at your own conclusions.

“Missions exist because worship doesn’t.”

In reviewing this we must first define worship. It is easy to think about worship (in our culture) as the time when a church body comes together with singing and music in praise of the Lord. This is not an adequate definition for many reasons. First, many church bodies come together and sing and play music without their hearts truly connecting in praise towards the Lord. Secondly, worship can be many things in addition to just music; for example, tithes, acts of kindness, prayer, praises etc.

For our purposes I’ll use Coty’s definition of worship; worship is acting and thinking in a way that reflects the glory of God. And the inner essence of worship is valuing Christ far above all earthly possessions and attainments.

What is the ultimate goal of the church? Ask this question and you may get any number of answers. In a missions class like Perspectives one could expect an answer related to missions, spreading the gospel etc. Coty used everything that we have built on to this point to proclaim that worship is the ultimate goal of the church. This is where he ties in his point that missions exist because worship doesn’t. Since uninhibited worship from every tribe, tongue and nation is the ultimate goal of the church (as portrayed in Rev 7:9-12), missions exist only because that ultimate worship does not. Once the great commission has been fulfilled, and worship is truly taking place, there will be no more need for missions. (Again, I may have missed Coty’s point completely, but this is the answer that I arrived at). So let’s go out there and work on our worship and before we know it (relatively) we won’t need missions anymore.

From my writings so far have you been able to sense the growing burning passion for missions and the nations that has developed within me since starting Perspectives? Well if not, hang in there… we’re only on week 2 and I still have a lot more to cover.


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