A Sermon Delivered December 2, 2010. The audio (with slight variation from the written text) is available here: http://calvarybiblechurch.org/
One hundred and some years ago, a cranky, odd bachelor named Thoreau determined that he would live in a tool shed beside a pond a couple of miles outside of town. He wrote a book about his adventure, which consisted of little more than staying around the pond, reading, writing and on one occasion eating a woodchuck that strayed got into his garden.
Very little happens in this book. And yet the book has been read and studied and considered and quoted for the past 150 years. Why? Thoreau said that he went into the woods because he was afraid. His fear is our fear – it is the fear of anyone who takes the time to think about themselves and their life. He was afraid death. He wrote that he did not want Ato die, [and] discover that [he] had not lived@.
Death is inescapable. Should you be born, you will certainly die B unless the Lord determines to wrap up this present evil age during your lifetime. Death is a certainty B whether you are young or old. I have seen the burial of my grandparents. I have buried my father. Today is the 11th anniversary of the loss of my oldest son. He died an infant. During the night, he breathed his last in his mother=s arms. I can still remember the hollow feeling in my chest when I knew that he was dead.
Death is a brutal guard. He stands darkly in the doorway when we sleep. He stalks our joys and sorrows. He rides in our car and sits on our porch. We will never know when he will swallow our last breath. Adam=s sin purchased our death. Our first father murdered all his children.
But it is actually worse than all that. Poor Thoreau came to die only to find that he had never lived. We – you, me B all human beings are born dead: dead as a doornail. We are dead from the moment of conception. We have fled so far from our Creator that we are dead in life. There are cells moving about, multiplying, repairing, replacing. That is often called Alife@, but it is no such thing. Life is a thing given by God. As Jesus said in John 5:24:
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
We are estranged from our Creator and thus we are without life. We are narrow, self-centered, self-contained, covetous, prideful vipers B by birth. Paul writes that our heart of flesh is at war, at enmity with God. Even our kindness is poisoned. We cannot, we will not love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. We cannot love our neighbor as ourselves. We live like the dead B even when we have been offered life.
This is the mark of the Fall. It the likeness of Adam after sin. The mark of sin is the failure to love. How do I know this? Because God tells us that love B true biblical love B is the mark of life:
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
1 John 3:14.
How does one move from death to life? We do not have such a power in ourselves. Only a supernatural power will make such a change. We must be created anew B we must be re-created, we must be new creatures if we are to move from death to life. Only God the Creator can remedy this ill.
Our text this morning will be Hebrews 1:1B4:
1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
We are going to spend out attention on the words at the end of the second verse:
through whom he also created the world.
To understand what those words mean, we will need to take trip. First, we are going to start with a problem: we, as Christians, have great difficulty living as God in Christ re-created us to live. Second, we will consider the story is a story which begins in the first creation and continues through to the New Creation. Then we will look to see where the answer lies.
Here is the problem:
Our Lord laid burdens on which we simply cannot bear ‑ alone. He makes demands upon the natural man, the man of death, which the natural man cannot bear. He makes supernatural demands upon us. Even after we have passed from death to life, the stench of our old man sticks to our flesh and the memory of former sin clouds our hearts. We see the demands of God and we think we must fulfill these things of ourselves. But this is not possible. Seriously consider these commands:
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:32‑36. Do you really follow after that command? Do you really love the person who has just offended you, or who does not like you, or who has slandered you?
More likely, you have added exceptions and caveats and conditions which God never wrote. Here and there you have re‑written the command of God in such a way as to make the command to love manageable. Let’s test that: Have you ever thought, we are supposed to love one‑another, but that doesn’t mean that we need to like one‑another?
Maybe you are more sophisticated in your subversion of the Law of Christ. Perhaps you think or say, Well I love them, but we really don’t need to hang out. Why? Because you love them? You have excuses B good ones: too old, too young, too strange, too normal, too fat, too thin, too B whatever. In the end, you act little different than the rest of the world. In the end, you stay nestled in your little shelter of like minded tax collectors and prostitutes. In the end, you love those who love you. You love those who are like you. You love those who give you what you want.
Is this segregation into little comfortable areas where love means never having to spend time together true Christian love? Is this how Christ commanded you to love?
But some will say, You see, we live in the real world. You do not really expect me to spend an afternoon with her! You cannot expect me to really like him! Look at him. Have you ever tried talking to him?
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:2‑4. This is hard work: cross-carrying work.
And so, you reduce love to a pained courtesy, an extra smile and otherwise acting exactly like you would if you had never taken the time to go to church and call yourself a Christian. As you know, tax collectors always feel more comfortable with tax collectors, sinners with sinners and you with your friends.
I have seen Christians, both in this congregation and outside this congregation, prefer themselves, count themselves as more important and wear their self‑righteous piety like a badge. They cut the throat of love to treasure their pride. I have seen this in my own life. I have inwardly groaned to see some‑one person approach only to feel shame when they showed me a kindness or asked for prayer and help in a trial.
And this is only to speak of love to those who too love the Savior and whom we call brother or sister. What of the enemy! We must invent a great many excuses to live with such sin. Oh, the hypocrisy we must bear.
Hypocrisy is a sly sin. He does not come without an excuse tailored to the shape of your soul. Hypocrisy’s coat always fits, it never hangs slack nor will it pull tight. Nothing brings such warmth and comfort as an excuse for sin which calms the conscience and fluffs the pillow of self‑righteousness as you drift off to dream the dreams of self‑love.
How shall we cure our soul of the seductive sin of hypocrisy? What power in heaven and earth will cause me to love you? What touchstone will discern the deceitfulness of sin as it hardens the heart, blinds the eye and causes you to sin against that man or woman, that girl or boy, whom Jesus came to save?
How will you lay the sharp edge of the cross to your precious prejudice and slay that sin you hold so dear?
Now, I must disclose your disease is worse than you thought. Let me direct your attention to 1 John 4:20‑21:
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
So, when you sit at the cool kids table, or complain at about woman who never seems to learn how to be exactly like you’ve told her to be make you happy, or that person who bugs you bugs you one more time, you declare to all of creation that you do not love God.
Your heart, my friend, has deceived you. You have excused your sin and called it wisdom or grace or have so mangled the concept of love as to leave no distance between yourself and the most jaded of tax collectors. Your own heart has played traitor against your Lord. As the Lord said,
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
Now the story which explains how we got this problem:
I will need to tell a story which goes back to the Creation and comes forward to the New Creation. Let me explain:
A very long time ago, God created the World. On this world, he placed a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. He gave them everything they needed to be happy. The creation was laid out before them. But more than that, God gave himself.
God gave Adam a single rule: Adam was required to leave one small corner of the creation to God alone. Adam was forbidden a single tree. I need you to pay close attention to what happened at the moment of sin:
Adam rejected the Lordship of his Creator. Satan=s temptation was that upon eating from the tree, they would Abe like God, knowing good and evil.@ Eve and then more importantly Adam, took the bait and rebelled. He rejected God and made himself a god. Adam rejected true worship of God. Adam set himself up as a god.
Now we are born in the image of Adam, stuffed with pride and stuffed with self, each of a born idolater B and there is no idol like self.
With sin, love is destroyed. Rather than God being the end for which all things exist and for which they are created B each human being sets themselves up as the ultimate end and goal of Creation. Listen carefully: Pride and idolatry destroy love, because sin cuts us off from the true fountain of Love: God. Without the Creator=s blessing, there can be no love.
Our father Adam rebelled against God, and so God cursed Adam and cursed all of the Creation. In Genesis 3:23 it reads:
Therefore the Lord God sent him B that is Adam B out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove the man out …
At that point in time, a chasm was created. On one side stood God; on the other side were the children of Adam. The children of Adam knew they were under the Curse of God; they knew that God=s judgment and wrath were awaiting them. Human beings face a stark choice either choose God and with God a relationship of love toward the world; or choose to abide under the wrath of God. We either interact on the basis of love or fear: sinful, slavish fear:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, AI love God,@ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:18B21.
Adam choose against God. Adam=s children follow in his steps.
Let=s pick up the story in Romans chapter 1. In this place in Romans 1, Paul is beginning to lay out the universal problem for mankind and the solution of God to that problem. In verse 18, Paul says that all men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Then look at 19‑20:
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
God is shown to everyone in Creation. Then in verse 21 we read:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Do see a core fault of humanity? God is there. God is shown in creation. And yet men dishonor God by not seeing Him rightly. They do not honor God. They do not give thanks to God and so they become darkened in their hearts.
Think about this for a moment: God created human beings. Human beings were created to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. But, as a result of sin, mankind becomes corrupt. The creation is marred. Now man can longer see God rightly. The desire for sinful things destroys the ability to see God.
If God is joy, then sin B which is rebellion against God B is misery. To be turned over to sin, is to be turned over to misery. To have my fill of sinful desire is to have my fill of misery. Sin is a prison.
Your failure to love is not merely one sin among many. A failure to love God lies at the core of human rebellion. The human being, rather than being transparent to God, rather than being meek before God, rather than being poor in spirit and rich in God himself, becomes self-centered, self-loving, self-absorbed. Seeking to be free, we become slaves. Rather than seeking forgiveness which comes from God we spout nonsense like the need to forgive ourselves or love ourselves. God and the neighbor are lost in our self-righteous, self-serving religion.
To not love swings open the front door and calls the pigs and rats B all manner of sin B into the living room. Hypocrisy keeps the door propped open.
Some may think: But in Romans 1 Paul is speaking of the unredeemed, those who do not know God. You are correct. And so you think, But I am saved, I am redeemed. Let us say that you are. Does your redemption make sin a whit different than it was before? You now have the ability to please God, to serve him and love him. But sin is exactly the same. Sin did not change. In Galatians 5:16-17, Paul writes:
But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
You see, the desires of the flesh ‑ which is merely a way of saying, sinful desires ‑ continue to exist with the believer. After conversion, the believer is no longer the sole prey of sinful desires. The believer no longer must follow his sinful desires. However B and this is an important however B the believer is still within gun shot of his sinful desires. Sin never changes its spots.
Imagine that you were a slave. As a slave you were deprived all the rights and joys of being a human being. You were treated like an animal, lived in a cage, driven by the lash. The human being who has not been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ is just such a slave. The man without Christ is a slave, an animal chained to his desires, caged by his desires, driven by his desires.
Then imagine someone has come and freed you from your slavery. That is the Gospel. Whereas before you a slave, now you are a free man. You can come go as you please. The law of slavery has been abolished. Yet the slave master is still as vicious and wicked as ever. The slave master may try to track you down and frighten you to return. The slave master may promise you that things will be better in the future. But you do not have to return. You are no longer a slave: now you are free.
You see, the slave changed to a free man. But, the slave master did not change.
When the Holy Spirit changes your life, you are set free from sin. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are a new creature. But the slave master sin has not changed a whit. Sin still hates God. Sin still seeks to enslave the human being. Sin still seeks your misery. Sin still begs and pleads and deceives and destroys.
Slavery to sin is the norm for creature after the Fall and the Curse. Ever since Adam sinned, slavery has become the normal for the natural man. The life of sin is the life of this present evil age B as Paul calls it in Galatians 1:4.
The present evil age lays a trap from which the natural man cannot escape. At conception, the bars of this trap are built into your very being. The lies of sin run through your heart and tangle your hands and eyes. By nature, you are trapped in a nightmare of deception and devilish desire from which you cannot escape.
Nothing within fallen creation can rescue you. Only one greater, one from beyond the present evil age could free you from the curse. Only your creator can free you. You cannot escape this land of death unless you are made alive.
In Jesus Christ, God has begun to re-Create. God the Father spoke in these last days. Rather than send a prophet, God sent his Son B the Creator. The Father sent his Son the Creator to bear the curse of sin which fell on the entire creation B including man. The Son became a man and suffered the entire curse of sin. In Galatians 3:13 Paul writes:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for usCfor it is written, ACursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree@C
And in 2 Corinthians 5:21:
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
But this was not the end. Jesus did suffer the curse. Jesus was hanged upon a tree B that is the Cross B and Jesus died in our place. But that is not the end. Jesus rose from the dead, having conquered sin and death. As it reads in Hebrews 2:14-15:
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Those little words in Hebrews 1:2 which tell us that God has spoken in His Son mean that God sent the Son of God to redeem the fallen Creation from sin and misery and death.
When Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus inaugurated the New Creation. The Son was the Creator of the First World. Now, the Son is creating the New World. We are called to live as sons and daughters of the New World. We are being called to things which are utterly beyond our abilities to do. We are called to supernatural tasks, but we are offered supernatural help.
The shedding of sin, the shunning of sinful desire B these are tasks beyond us all. Left to ourselves for a moment, we fall. Like Peter upon the water, should we take our eyes from a savior for a moment … we sink.
I know that you fail at loving one-another. I fail, too. To love is so absolutely foreign B to truly love is unlike anything which blind and rebellious human beings ever do. But to love is the hallmark of belonging to that new world. Jesus made this plain in John 13:34-35:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Jesus= disciples will be known by their love for one-another.
And so our problem is that often we don=t look like Jesus= disciples B certainly not to the degree to which we have been called.
Now, let us move to the solution: Look to the Creator
Romans 1:28 says that God has given those who do not honor and thank Him to a debased or depraved mind, literally to an untested or unaccepted mind. But in Romans 12:2, Paul uses very similar language to say that in the believer God is undoing this effect and is creating a new mind:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2. Your mind before was given up to seek that which was not approved by God. But now, God is at work to change your mind to that which is approved.
How does this happen as a practical matter B what must I do change my mind? Change your focus. Like Lot=s wife, we look behind, longingly to the Sodom from which we fled. Oh that past is a shameful place, but to turn and look B just a glance B seems that it will do no harm. We grow slack, we fail to set our hope fully upon the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Then we stumble and fall to the sin which so easily besets.
Think of yourself as a mirror: the image in that mirror will be the reflection of what is seen. The image of your life will be the reflection of what you most dearly adore. Those who give adoration to idols, who make idols, who worship to idols will B as the Psalmist says in Psalm 115:8 B will become like them.
It is the same with a sight of Christ. As you see Athe light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God@ you will become like him. This morning we are going to come to the Son and gaze at his glory. Bride of Christ, I am going to bring you to your husband and give you a glimpse of his glory.
Gather up all your sin and bring it to him. Expose your wound, and he will heal. The woman who bled for years knew that if she could touch the hem of his garment she would be healed. The sight of Christ will cure your sin. As you gaze upon Christ, the Holy Spirit will transform you to the image of Christ:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18. And 1 John 3:2
When he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
This is the remedy for all the illness of sin. When Paul sought to turn the Philippians away from their inter‑church squabble, he showed them Christ. When he sought to cure the Galatians of legalism, he showed them Christ. When John sought to fulfill the love of the Church, he showed them Christ. When Peter sought to encourage the struggling Christians, he showed them Christ. And, in the book of Hebrews, where some believers are on the verge of giving up, he shows them Christ.
Before the first Let there be light, the Trinity dwelt alone in perfect fellowship, harmony love and joy. There was not a lack for a thing. There was no eternal boredom, for God is infinite and infinite in His delight. Then, for some excess of joy and love, God spoke. God the Father of all things, spoke through His Son:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
John 1 gives us more details. In verses 1‑3 we learn that the God who spoke Let there be light was the Father acting through the Son:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:1B3. So, in Genesis 1:1, where it reads that God created, it means that the Father Created through the Son. In Hebrews 1:10, we read that
the heavens are the work of your B that is, the Son’s B hands.
In Colossians 1:16 Paul writes:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesCall things were created through him and for him.
AFor by him all things were created”. There is a world to come, an age to come. The Son has created an age to come, freed from sin and death. The Son has now opened the door to the age come. When Jesus resurrected from the dead, Jesus went ahead into that new land. Jesus is the pioneer of salvation, the founder, the one who went first into that brave new world. When God the Father sends the Spirit of Christ into our hearts, we begin to partake of that New Creation.
In the Church, the Creator is busy at work re-Creating. His New Creation is being performed in you. If you know Jesus Christ, then he is busy remaking you.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17. Why, then do you hold onto the habits of your former life? Why do you wallow in the sink and ignorance of your former passions, why do you allow the darkness of sin to continue to cloud your sight? Has not you not suffered enough under the misery and shame of sin? Why do you turn like Lot=s wife? You have escaped this age. You are new!
But when you fight and squabble, when you turn and devour one another you are denying the purchase of Jesus Christ. When you refuse to love you are living like you never became new.
You died and life and is hidden with Christ in God!
Col. 3:4. But you are living like a mere son of this present evil age.
Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that God the Father spoke to us by sending his own Son. This Son is the Heir of all things. This Son is very God of very God. This Son is the King. This Son is your Creator.
You are a creature, but your great Creator has come to speak with you.
Do think it a small thing that God sent his Son?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16. Think of the care of the love of God. God has honored us with Himself. For the Son of God is God. There is only one God, there are not three. When we think of the three we must immediately think of the one. And when we think of the One we must immediately think of the Three. When God sought to speak, God sent God to us. My God, my Creator has come to my world B and why?
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:17. God the Creator came to seek and save that which was lost. I was lost and hopeless. It was to me that the Holy Spirit wrote:
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph. 2:12. When I think of that time in my life, I shudder now and feel ashamed. I was dead, I was alone, I was without God and without hope. But God: God spoke. God sent his Son. God came Himself to save a wretch like me. That is precisely what we read about Jesus’ work in Col. 1:19‑20:
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Col. 1:19‑20. God took enemies B namely God and man B and reconciled the two together in the body and blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Now you my dear brother and sister B do you see the absurdity of your loveless attacks upon those God came to save. That brother who you “love but do not like” is more closely related to you than a blood relative who does not know your Lord. When you harbor unforgiveness in your heart, you are refusing to forgive the one Christ died to forgive. If God has forgiven the sins of your brother, who are you to complain? You are a fool and a vicious one at that to harbor unforgiveness.
When you say that you do not need to hang out with so‑and‑so because she bugs you or bores you, then you are saying that you have higher standards than God. God has invited her to the marriage feast of the Lamb and into the eternal delights of God. But you will not bring her by for an afternoon.
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:1B2. Are you excited to think that you could show hospitality to an angel? An angel is just a ministering spirit. A man was created in the image of God. A brother is one Jesus died to save. Yet you would show more honor to the servant than to a joint heir of Christ. No:
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Pet. 4:9. Live like you belong to the age to come!
Again to the Problem
Let us circle back to the beginning and consider the problem. We do not love truly, because we will not worship rightly. Imagine that you intended to paint your house. Yet, rather than paint you have a bucket of pig manure. No matter how diligently you apply pig manure to the side of your house, you will only have a sty.
In the same manner, no matter how greatly you think you want to love like Christ, you will never do so until see and savor Christ. Until you can rightly see and love your Creator, you will never love. Until you move out of the cold, damp, dark shadow of the idol self, you will never love. Human beings are cold blooded when it comes to love B we are like reptiles when it comes to love. When we cower in the shade of our own selves we will be nothing but cold and reptilian. We must move into the full warm sunshine of Christ before our limbs can stretch in love.
Love is a foreign thing to the human heart after the Fall. Oh we desire it greatly. But we are like children who live in the ruins of a civilization. We can see the great buildings and towering arches. We can wish to live like the giants who went before. But we have no knowledge or ability to become great.
We will be forever crawling over piles of rubble, our snakish bodies clinging close to the stone, until Christ sets aside the Curse and shows us himself. And even then, we are liable to return to our former haunts. The habits of the snake cling so closely to our flesh, that unless we continually seek a supply of eternal aide we will hiss and hide.
There is only one way to set aside the worship of an idol: it is to leave off worship of the idol and take up worship of God. In his sermon on the First Commandment Thomas Watson warned of idol worship. He then gave this needful advice:
Let it call us off from idolizing any creature, and lead us to renounce other gods, and to cleave to the true God and his service. If we go away from God, we know not where to mend ourselves.
The solution to false worship is true worship. True worship leads to true change. True worship leads to true relationship with God. True worship leads to true love. But we must start with seeing and savoring, profoundly loving and worshiping our Creator.
If you are having difficulty in loving your brother B much less your enemy B then the solution is to begin to truly adore and worship Christ the Creator. As you gaze upon his beauty and sing his praise, your foolish heart will melt, you will become meek and humble, gentle and kind. Your pride will dry like dew from the grass. To praise God rightly is to admit that He is greater than you. To worship means to bow yourself before God.
Only in worship can you see the beauty of God. Indeed, when you rightly see your Creator all of your life is one of worship: worship of praise, worship of obedience, worship of humility, worship of love. Even your weakness becomes worship, because in your weakness, in your trials and temptations you must in faith seek the grace and help which comes from your loving Creator who made you B and, when you rebelled against him B he gave himself for you to redeem from your own sin.
When you see him, you will be like him. When you praise him, your foolish, selfish, loveless heart will fade. The reason you sin so greatly is that you love so little. Truly love the Son through whom the Father spoke; truly praise the God who created you and more suffered for you to redeem you from sin. Being to praise him even now and you will praise him then. For, when you see him, you sing with the heavenly hosts as we read in Revelation 4:8‑11:
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty‑four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
You must glorify the God who made you. To give glory to God is not to add to his glory but to display, to reflect his glory. The glory of God in the face of a true child of God reflects as love to others. To behold God rightly is to love God, and to love God rightly always entails loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Our God has so dearly loved us. Think how patiently he mends our faults. Think how lovingly he corrects but does not crush. Think how longsuffering he has been with our sin. Think how greatly he has changed our ways. Even when we fail, he bids us come to him to receive grace in a time of need. Have you failed? Come! Are you weak? Come! He sits upon his throne to receive sinners into grace. His comes to make us new, inside and out; thoroughly new. Such love must be displayed.
The love displayed is not ours but the love of God as shown forth in his Son B the Creator and King. No man has such love in himself, alone. Such love is the reflection of God=s love.
The moon without the Sun is a dead stone. But the moon reflecting the sun lights a way in the dark.
A man without Christ is a dead, cold stone. He reflects nothing. His love is merely greed for self. His hope is sorrow. But the light of God reflecting in the child of God, the new creation of Creation, shows forth the glory of God. Such a man abounds in light.
When we=ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We=ve no less days to sing God=s praise
Than when we first begun.