The author inserts personal comments when quoting Scripture which are indicated by square brackets. All biblical references are quoted from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
The subject is the glory of God. Take your Bibles and turn to Exodus 33. It is a wonderful theme, the glory of God. The glory of God refers to what He is, all of His attributes, His greatness—that is His glory. That is a glory that we need. And by the way, that is a glory that we can receive. The Bible speaks about the transference of the glory of God to the glory that we need. But the glory of God also refers to what He deserves. We are to glorify Him. That’s something we give to God. We can give glory to Him.
The psalmist in Psalm 29:2 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due His name.”
In 1 Chronicles 29:13, after David collected the money for the temple project that his son Solomon would build, he said, “Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.”
Psalm 145:5 says, “I will mediate on the glorious splendor of your majesty.”
“It doth not yet appear what we shall be [Praise the Lord for that] but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
“I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Glory time is coming. The glory time can also be here, but only in measure.
Several years ago when we were in Argentina and seeing the blessing of God there and multitudes coming to Christ, the crowds would shout out, almost in utter abandonment and ecstasy, Gloria Dios! Gloria Dios! Everywhere you went everybody was saying it. Glory to God! Glory to God! This is the time to praise the Lord. All heaven breaks out in joy. The angels of God are rejoicing over one sinner who repents.
Some of you may not know, but our current western culture was really baptized in revival and evangelism. And as it came into the last part of the 1800s, something like the Great Awakening that brought this United States of America into existence, it seemed to happen all over again. God took an uneducated man named Dwight L. Moody and began to turn the nation upside down for God. Over a million people came to profess faith in Jesus Christ. Men followed him, like Billy Sunday and others. Sunday was a great song man for Dwight L. Moody who used to move audiences so much that Moody would not preach. He would just give the invitation after Billy sang. And there was a song that captured all those great days of evangelism and revival. It was called, “The Glory Song.” It was my privilege to hear Ira Sankey on a cylinder roll with his voice singing this song:
When all my labors and trials are o’er and I am safe on the beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore, will through the ages be glory for me.
O that will be glory for me. Glory for me. Glory for me.
When by His grace I shall look on His face, that will be glory, be glory for me.
Charles Gabriel, who wrote that song also penned,
When by the gift of His infinite grace I am accorded in heaven a place, just to be there, to look on His face, will through the ages be glory for me. Friends will be there I have loved long ago; joy like a river, around me will flow. Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know, will through the ages be glory for me. O that will be glory for me, glory for me, glory for me. When by His grace I shall look on His face, that will be glory, be glory for me.
It was a past generation that spoke of the glory that is coming. It seems to me the present generation is interested only in our own glory.
Father, we desire that You be glorified. We desire to understand Your glory and the dimensions and extent of it. Lord, we know one day, You have told us, that glory will be a reality in our lives. Father, help us to focus on who You are. Help us to focus on the wonderful hope that we have in You. Help us, Lord, to be lifted out of the struggles now. To see You in all Your glory. Remember King David said, “I long to see Your glory as I once saw it in the sanctuary.” Remember Isaiah spoke of Your glory as the posts of the temple were moved at the voice of Him who cried and the place was filled with smoke. God, may we see and understand Your glory. Thank You, Lord, for what You are going to do. And it is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.
The glory of God is revealed in several ways and understood and seen in several ways. One of which is certainly in God’s power. In the power of God you see glory, especially in creation. Psalm 19:1 says,
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the expanse shows the work of His hands.
Psalm 8:3–4 says,
When I consider the heavens and the work of Thy fingers, and the sun and the moon and the stars, what is man that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou would visit him?
You see the glory in what God has made. Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 1 and we see an indictment against man who refuses to glorify God, for the glory that is seen in His power. In Romans 1 beginning at verse 18, the Bible tells us what happened to those who decided not to glorify God and wound up exchanging the glory of the Creator into the glory of something that that person had designed or made.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress [or hold down] the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up.
What is the real answer to this particular passage when we read of God saying, “I am through with them?” Verse 32 says that those who practice such things are worthy of death and deserve the judgment of God. We look at all this and say, “What brings this indictment from God against man?” And the answer is because they refused to glorify God for what they had in creation.
The power of God displays, declares, reveals, the glory of God. Notice in verse 20 it mentions His eternal power. Whoever made this had to be in existence before it was made. This is eternal power. And whoever did it is obviously bigger than you and I. This is God’s eternal power and we are held accountable for those two facts no matter what else we know about God’s plan of salvation. The creation reveals a God of power. The heavens declare the glory of God.
The second way in which we see God’s power is actually in His presence. This is very fascinating to me. Turn to Exodus 40. The presence of God was displayed and reveals the power of God in it. And I kind of wish that something like what we are going to read about would happen today. If it did, some of us would call 9–1–1 rather than realize it was the power and glory of God. In Exodus 40, after the Israelites had all the instructions about how to build the tabernacle and all the instructions about how to manage the worship of that facility, something interesting happens when they get all done with the project.
34 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Wow! Imagine what that was like. It was a cloud, a visible demonstration of the presence of the Lord. And it is called, “the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
Turn to Leviticus—the next book—just over to chapter 9. And look, please, at verse 22. The glory of God is revealed, not only in His power, but in His presence. And He demonstrated that presence in a visible manner to the children of Israel. In Leviticus 9:22–24,
22 Then Aaron lifted his hand toward his people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings.
23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.
24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
Can you imagine this? That giant bronze altar, which the priests had to climb up to and there are animals all over it. He has sacrificed them. They go for a moment into the tabernacle of meeting, stopping for a moment at the laver to wash their hands, then they to go into the presence of the Lord. And they come back out and say a blessing for all of the people. And all of a sudden, God displays His glory and fire shoots out of heaven and burns up everything on the altar. And all the people fall on their faces. Maybe we should have that happen here today, amen? We lose sight of the glory of God in a generation filled with the glory of man.
Look at 2 Chronicles 7, please. It is interesting that it happened again when the temple was built. This was a temple far more beautiful, far more permanent it seemed, than the tabernacle. And yet it was not too long after this that it was destroyed. But Solomon had made a tremendous prayer of dedication, dedicating the temple for the worship of the Lord. And something happened when he finished praying. 2 Chronicles 7:1 says,
1 When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
2 And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house.
Folks, the presence of the Lord is so awesome; it is like a thick cloud. Isaiah said it was like smoke. You cannot see and you cannot enter the building. And it is just filling the place. No wonder the people responded, “Gloria Dios! Glory to God!” God is visibly manifesting His presence among His people.
Turn to 2 Corinthians 3 and let me show you a third way in which the glory of God is revealed. Not only in His power, especially in creation. Not only in His presence as it was visibly demonstrated to the children of Israel, but also in those principles that we call the law of God. Those principles that a lot of people would just as soon not read today or pay any attention to, but instead they reevaluate or reinterpret. The Bible says the glory of the Lord was there. You learn something about God by finding out what He believes is right and wrong. The law was never intended to save us, folks. The Bible says the law was a school master to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
The Bible says, “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The Bible says, “The law was added because of transgressions” (cf. Galatians 3:9). The Bible says that we did not receive the Spirit by the works of the law, but rather the hearing of the faith. And the Bible also says that we do not become mature or grow in the Lord by keeping the law, but rather by faith in what God says. I understand all of that. But in this generation we have decided the law has no purpose, no plan, no meaning, no significance to our life. Well, it certainly does. The law reveals what sin is from God’s point of view. And that is the only thing that makes sin be sin. It is not our view, it is what God says.
And in 2 Corinthians 3, we have an analysis of the glory that was in the law, compared to the glory that is coming in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 3:7 it says, “But if the ministry of death”—now what that means is that the law simply condemned us. If you offend in one point you are guilty of all of it. The Bible says the soul that sins, it shall die. So it was a ministry, a service that God gave to us that really wound up in death. It tells you what is wrong and why you are going to suffer the consequence.
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, [The Bible said God wrote it with His own finger, right in the stone. Can you imagine being Moses and seeing that? It says, if that] was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away:
8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, [and it did] the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech⁸
13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.
14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read [and he is every Shabbat] a veil lies on their heart.
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory [presumably His] to glory— [presumably ours] just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Now that may be a little difficult to comprehend if that is the first time you have ever heard it or gone over it. But let me explain what it is saying. In the law there is glory. In Christ there is glory. In the law, it is passing away. In Christ it is permanent. The glory that we receive because of faith in Christ, though we do not see the visible demonstration of it, we will one day. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be,” the Bible says. But one day you are going to look at each other and say, “Man, glory!” But today you look at them and say, “You need help!” But one day it will be glory. The Bible says our body will be fashioned like unto His glorious body, the body of glory. It is going to happen one day.
Now to illustrate that the glory of the law was there, it does reveal the character of God, but it is passing away. It does not achieve the purpose that we need to have done in our hearts. The glory of Christ does. To illustrate it, here is what God did. When He was talking to Moses and giving those Ten Commandments and other instructions on the tablets of stone, God caused the brilliant light of His own presence to reflect off of the face of Moses. Now it is very interesting. When he came down from the mount, it was shining so brightly it was like having a bright light right in your eyes. And the people could not look at him, so he had to put a veil over his face. The interesting thing is that would fade away after a while. And then they could look at him again. He could remove the veil.
The law had glory in it. Does the law tell us about Jesus Christ? Oh, yes. In the law is the sacrificial system. In the law we learn that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. There was glory there in the law; but it is a glory that passes away because of the reality of what it was picturing has not come yet. And just like the fading face of Moses, that is what the glory of the law is. It does tell us about the Lord. But it does not give us the solution. It points to the solution. But the law itself does not save. Only Jesus Christ saves, who is the fulfillment of the law. All of the law pictured the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is fascinating, as Moses’ face would glow, so the law glows. It glows with everything man needs to know about sin and about sacrifice, but it pointed to them. It was, as Paul said in Galatians, “a tutor, a school master,” saying that it is over there that you need to go. It is Jesus Christ you need. He is the fulfillment. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to those who believe,” says Romans 10:4.
The glory was there though. Turn back to Exodus 34. The glory was in the principles that God gave when He said, “Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal.” God’s glory is there.
29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.
30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.
32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
34 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.
35 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.
What a fascinating analysis of the glory of God. If you think about it, if you really start thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense in a lot of areas. One thing that really struck me, is that Moses simply reflects the glory of God. That is true of us as well. But did you know that according to the Bible, when you become a believer in Jesus Christ, you are not simply going to reflect the glory of God, which you do once in a while? Not always, but once in a while this happens and I call it “leaking out glory.” You dribble out something good and folks say, “That must have been the Lord.” But anyway, most of the time you look pretty much like everybody else and you do not look like you are shining in any way. But the truth is that God places within you the glory of God, in the person of Jesus Christ, and you have this treasure in you. And one day you are going to really shine. And it will not be a reflection anymore. It will be the glory of the Lord in your life forever. And I say, “May that day hurry because some of us are looking pretty crusty!” Amen? We look like we need help soon.
Now turn to John 1 please. Not only do you see God’s glory in His power and in His presence and His wonderful principles we call the law, but you see God’s glory in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. In John 1:1, John refers to it and he said, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Then in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His [What?] glory; the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John, when did you behold His glory? What do you mean you beheld His glory? A lot of folks who saw Him did not see what you saw. What are you saying?
Turn back to Matthew 17 please. The apostles went around in the early days of the church telling folks they had seen the glory of the Lord. John was a part of a special group of three men who were on the mountain of transfiguration with Jesus Christ. It says in Matthew 17:1–2,
1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
By the way, if I were the devil and I wanted to counterfeit this, which the devil always does, then I would make you see lights. It is amazing to me how many experiences people have that talk about “near death” or “out of the body” or whatever, and they always see a light. And there is some tunnel and there is light at the end. Hey, it may be the lights of an oncoming train! You know, you may have had too much chili—that may have been your problem. Let me tell you the devil can deceive you. The Bible even says in 2 Corinthians 11 that his angels (his demons or his ministers) literally change themselves into angels of light. How interesting! The devil himself knows this light issue very well.
The light we need is the light of Jesus Christ. The Bible says He was transfigured in front of them. Now something else happens. Verse 3 says, “Behold Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with Him.”
I was talking one day with a Jewish friend and we were discussing the matter of the two witnesses in the book of Revelation. And I told him I thought it was Moses and Elijah. And I still remember his words, they were kind of cute. He said, “I will tell you what, Dave, if Moses and Elijah come back, I think I will believe along with a lot of other Jewish people.” Moses was the greatest law giver and Elijah was the greatest prophet. Can you imagine the joy that is in Peter, James, and John’s heart? Peter speaks up—he usually did. In verse 4 it says, “Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’”
Now, is that unbelievable? I mean, that is like saying the obvious. “Boy, this is great! Let’s not go anywhere else. I will tell you what, we will build three tabernacles; one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for You.” And all of a sudden the visible manifestation of the glory of the Lord comes. I did not make it up. Look at verse 5. “While he was still speaking”—perhaps Peter said—“Let’s get it organized. John, James, you guys go into town and get the nails. We will build this thing right here.” And while he is still talking [thunder sounded].
“Man, it is getting cloudy here. You guys better get into town and get that stuff quick. Let’s not lose what we got here.”
“Who said that?”
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
I don’t know if he got the message or not, but it means—forget Moses and Elijah. You want to know what these guys thought of that event? Turn please to 2 Peter 1. Their lives were changed by what they had seen. John said, in John 1:14, “We beheld His glory.” And in 2 Peter 1:16–18 I read these words:
16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
[They saw it.]
17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
“We were eyewitnesses. We saw it. We beheld His glory,” they must have said.
I do not know what happened during the transfiguration people. I really don’t. A lot of folks ask and I have studied it. I have preached sermons on it and I still do not think I know what I am talking about. I am serious. I know this: that God says one day we will not need the sun, the moon, and stars because the glory of the Father and the Lamb is all the light we will need. In some mysterious, powerful, and supernatural way, Jesus pulled back the curtain of His flesh (which made Him look like any other man) and all of a sudden the brilliant, glory of God appeared in terms of rays of light that came shooting out of His body. It literally was stunning to Peter, James, and John. When they finally opened their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only, and they never forgot the experience. The glory of God is in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord. You talk about glory—that is Jesus.
Now number five. Turn back to 2 Corinthians 3 again. The glory of God is revealed in His power, in His presence, His visible presence to the children of Israel, in His principles we call the law of God, and in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. But the glory of God, praise the Lord, is also revealed in His people, those who come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I can look at you and you can look at me, and we can say, “There is glory in them bones.” There is glory there. Sometimes you look at somebody and say, “I do not know. Are you sure they are a Christian?” At other times you look at them and say, “There is glory there, man, there is glory in that believer.”
We read at the end of 2 Corinthians chapter 3 the words that, “We, with unveiled face beholding in a mirror [the Word of God itself is that mirror] the glory of the Lord.” You see who God is. The Bible says, while you are doing that and looking at who God, or who the Lord, is you are being transformed. That is the word “metamorphosis”—the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. “You are being transformed into the same image from glory (the glory that is the Lord’s) to glory, (the glory you now have) just as by the Holy Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18, paraphrased). The Spirit does it as you look into the Word.
How does one get transformed? How does one change? To put it in our vernacular, how does one go from what looks like a bombed out, “grossville-type” person, into somebody that can be used of the Lord? How does it happen? It happens by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God, changing a person on the inside. The problem is, you see, it is not always visible on the outside. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Jump down into chapter 4 and I will show you what I mean. In 2 Corintians 4:3–7 it says,
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake.
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure [this glory of God in the person of Christ—we have this treasure] in earthen vessels, [that is clay pots, not worth much] that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
Now folks, in the ancient city of Corinth, as you head towards the judgement seat called the bema seat, still sitting there today, you walk down the main street on either side there are shops and a few little dwelling places. The remains are still there and in these shops we found clay pots from first century A.D. Corinth. And these clay pots were used in Corinth which was a very wealthy city—extremely wealthy—and in that city they would use clay pots to put their precious treasures in, of gold and silver and jewelry and so forth. They put it in a dumb-looking pot so that nobody would think to look there. If you put it in a very nice gold pot, then people would think that is where your treasures are kept. The point is then taken by the apostle Paul. He said, “That is a good idea; that is just like what God does.
Do you know what you look like? A clay pot. That is not exactly thrilling to your self-esteem, I know, but that is what you look like. God says you are a clay pot, but inside there is a wonderful treasure. It is the glory of God and you have not yet seen how glorious it is. But one day you are going to see what glory is all about. We are going to shine in His brightness. We are going to explode with the radiance of God’s life within us. It is like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. And some changes do take place. We are being changed. And every now and then a little wing sticks out of the shell. And then he pulls it back in.
Well, every now and then you do the same thing. You dribble out a little glory and somebody looks at you and says, “Boy, that must have been the Lord!” But then they look again and they say, “No, no. He is still a caterpillar.” They see the shell. That is all they see. And that is the game that we are in, isn’t it? It is a terrible way to live. I wish Christian people would live beyond that, but that is the game we are in. What we do, and what we say; we are into everything. We are into the outward appearance. That is what our whole life is all about and that is where we struggle. That is where we have hurts. That is where we have disappointments and frustrations. That is what it is all about. Listen folks, one day it will all be over, praise God! It will all be over and it will be glory day like you have never seen. But the truth is that the glory is there now, in the people of God.
I love to look into the eyes of a precious saint who is just falling apart physically and near death in terminal illness. I have seen that many times in my life and I love to look into their eyes because I can see glory. I can see people wracked with pain who long to be with the Savior and have a joy and have a peace that is unexplainable in human terms. I have seen glory in their eyes. Let me tell you, I have not seen anything compared to what we will one day be. All of the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared—and what are we doing? We are comparing them all the time. That is what is big to us—all the hassles of life. It is not what’s coming. We don’t even like to live that way.
We were programmed and taught—this generation more than any one in our culture—was taught to focus on itself. And you know that and I know that. We have been programmed constantly to think that. We are into appearances. We are into things. We are a materialistic generation and we have lost sight of heaven. We have lost sight of glory and that is why we cannot endure when things do not go right for us. That is why when trouble comes, we fall apart. It is because we have never learned where the glory lies. The glory does not lie in the pragmatic business matters of our life that you and I have to deal with every day. That is not where the glory lies. The glory is inside every believer and one day will fly forth like the butterfly. And one day you will see what you cannot see now, that we are filled with glory. And the next time you are ready to rag on somebody and put them down and criticize them, you remember that James said, “You better be careful. You are doing it to the glory of God.”
There is glory in that person. Well did you see what they did? I know. Just wait. They are just caterpillars. But the DNA is not caterpillar. It is glory! It is a butterfly. And one day they are going to fly forth. One day.
We need to look at each other in the light of eternity not in the light of the present. Some of us are going to make a miserable mess even today. Amen? You can go home from church, you can be so fired up, get in the car and something happens and your whole day is blown. Everything you heard in church is blown. And you are grumpy and miserable and upset the rest of the day. You can go home and rip your family apart and say, “Hallelujah” to the Lord. Listen folks, “It does not yet appear what we shall be.” I am so glad that one day it is going to be glory time, aren’t you? It is coming. Be patient, my fellow, beloved pilgrims. The coming of the Lord is drawing near.
And that brings me to the sixth way in which God’s glory is revealed. Turn to Matthew 24. It is revealed in the promises of His coming. I do not know about you, but I am getting pretty excited over the Second Coming of Christ lately. I know this is not a series on prophecy, but I am going to slip it in wherever I can. I can remember sitting in a classroom in seminary, dreaming about what might happen in society that is happening right now. I pulled out a sermon I preached in 1963 when I was just a student preacher. And that sermon was on Revelation 13 on the mark of the beast. I told the audience— I remember it well because it is in there in my notes—that one day I could see a confederacy of nations in Europe who would have one common currency. I did not even know what I was saying. A lot of people responded, “Oh man, he is just a kid. He will learn.” And look at us. You know I can hardly keep from buying a newspaper every day. I do not know about you, but it is so exciting right now for me. You know it is almost like God’s writing the headlines. And that is something for me to say, knowing my attitudes toward the media. I mean, that is great. I mean it is like God is just putting it out there for us.
I few months ago I read on the front page of the Jerusalem Post that Israel wants to have a security agreement with the United States of Europe to guarantee the peace and security of their borders. I said, “Hey, pack your bags, folks. We are going home. It is not going to be long.” Listen, that is spoken of in Daniel 9. Eighty percent of the agricultural products of Europe are coming out of the little agricultural nation that we call Israel. And they have got to have a pact. Listen, God set that whole thing up long ago.
And look at the movement towards peace in our world. God told us, “When they say, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child and they will not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). “It is a false peace,” God said. When it comes from the leaders of this world, watch out. Oh, we all desire peace. I am just telling you, folks, we are getting near glory time, amen? Hey the Lord is going to come.
The other day a fellow told me, he said, “You are into escapist theology.”
I said, “You bet. I am out of here. You bet.”
Matthew 24:29–30, watch it says,
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great [What? What does it say?] glory.
You want to know about the glory of God? You will see it when Jesus comes again. The whole sky will be filled with His glory. Man, what a day that is going to be!
Turn to Colossians 3:4, please. The exciting news is that something is going to happen to us too. Not only will there be a glory displayed in the actual event of His return, but there will be glory displayed in the lives of every believer. Colossians 3:4 says, “When Christ, who is our life, appears then you also will appear with Him in [what?] in glory.”
Turn to Titus 2 and look at verse 13. You talk about glory! It says, “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing [the appearing of glory] of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” It is glory time coming.
I like Psalm 24:7–10 which says,
Lift up your heads O you gates. And be lifted up you everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads O you gates. And lift them up you everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts. He is the King of glory.
One day at a tour, for a little tour group we had on the temple mount, we were over by the eastern gate. And the eastern gate in Jerusalem is all walled up, as many of you know. And we were standing there with the tour group and the guide was, you know, talking to us about different things. And I asked him about those gates. I said, “Hey, why don’t we knock down those gates and open them up.” He said, “Oh no. Only the Messiah can do that. Only the Messiah can do that.” I said, “Where is that found in the Bible?” One little older lady in our group mentioned, she said, “I think it is in the Bible somewhere about meeting Him at the eastern gate over there.” That is a song, but it was a nice thought. It is a song, but the idea was that the gate is toward the east.
When you build the tabernacle or the temple, you know, your gate is always toward the east. And the idea is that the Messiah will come. They are not going to build the temple there, they say, until Messiah comes. He is going to build the third temple. The first one, Solomon built. The second one, Herod built. The third one is going to be built by the Messiah. The dimensions of which are described in Ezekiel 40:4–8. And the glory of the Lord will come through the gates. We finally brought out the fact that it is in Psalm 24:7–10 where it says, “The King of glory is going to come through those gates. And who is the King of glory? He is the Lord of hosts. He is the King of glory.” One day the Lord is going to come and it is going to be glory.
Turn to Philippians chapter 3. Now when the Lord comes, here is what is going to happen to you and me. Philippians 3:20–21. Our “citizenship,” that is the English word “politics.” It comes from that Greek word, our politics is heaven. It is good to remember that when we go to vote on something, isn’t it? Our politics is in heaven and I like what one writer said. “May heavenly politics govern our voting on earth.”
20 For our citizenship [politics] is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, [the body of His glory] according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
God is going to change our body. He calls it now, lowly—literally, humiliation or body of humiliation. You are into your body and God says it is not worth a dime. God says it is just a clod of dirt. Amen? Does that thrill you? I mean, that is what I think about all the time. Our world is filled with emphasis on the body. It really is. It is just filled with it. You know that and I know that. You know, pumping iron, doing aerobics. You know, eating well and all that stuff. Which, you know, if you want to enjoy life you probably should do that. But let me tell you something, in reality, you are falling apart. Amen? You are going down the tubes. It will not be long now till it is over for you. You may say, “Man, how thrilling. I am glad I came to church.”
The good news is that one day God will take that body of humiliation that is in fact decaying, as we all know, and God will change it and it will never decay. One day there will be no more sin, no suffering, no sickness nor death. Our body will be fashioned like the glorious resurrection body of Jesus Christ and that day is coming.
Look at 1 Corinthians 15 and notice please, verse 39. Talk about glory in the body! In verses 39–40 it says,
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
Listen to me folks, in the Greek there is a play on words here that is not immediately observable in English. There are two Greek words for “another.” One is our word which we would say, “another of the same kind.” You are just like me. You are another one like me. There is another word that is our word heteros which means “another of a different kind.” Alos means the same kind. Heteros means a different kind. Heteros is on many English words, like heterogeneous. A culture that is heterogeneous is different, very different, or very distinct—not the same kind.
Now I just thought it was kind of sweet of the Lord to show us that there are some kinds that are alike. But there are other kinds that are totally different. And when He said that the glory of the celestial is one kind and the glory of the terrestrial is another, He uses another of a different kind. I just want everybody in the audience to know that one day you are going to be different than what you are now. And I say, “Praise the Lord!” You are going to be different, totally different.
41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, [they are the same] and another glory of the stars [that is the same]
But when you compare the heavenly body with the earthly body it is totally different. So the illustration here is not only using the planetary sun, moon and stars—that is one kind of glory. They are all kind of the same. But they are different from what we have on earth, verse 39, birds and flesh and beasts, et cetera. And the point of it is remarkable in dealing with the resurrection body. Keep reading.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in [What? What does it say? It is raised in] glory.
My dear friends, one day you are going to have a body that will never again be sick. One day you are going to have a body and you will never again face death. One day you are going to have a body that will not have to worry about diet. Amen? You talk about being delivered from bondage. There it is. One day you are going to have a body that is glory. And guess what? Your faith in Jesus Christ has already planted the DNA of that body inside of you. Is that not something? You are looking at me saying, “I know that guy.” What is he doing up there? I know exactly what he is like. I have known that guy from the past. And there are some ladies here that have known me since I was a little kid in Sunday school. And they know I am a miracle up here. They know that. And maybe you are thinking or saying, “Who do you think you are up there?” I don’t think anything, man. I just know there is glory coming.
And let me tell you something. When you look in the eyes of somebody who says they are a believer and they know Jesus Christ as Savior, the next time you look at them you be very careful what you say about them or to them. They are glory. “And it doth not yet appear what they shall be.” It is going to all change soon, everybody.
Turn to Revelation 15 for one last point. You see the glory of God revealed in a number of ways in the Bible. In His power, especially creation; in His presence, through a visible demonstration to the children of Israel; in His principles we call the law; and in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ; in His people who come to know Him; and in the promises of His Second Coming; but you also see it in the place where God dwells.
In Revelation chapter 15 the scene is heaven. Verse 7 says,
7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.
8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
Obviously the visible demonstration of God’s glory in heaven was similar to what He had in the past in the tabernacle, in the temple. It was filled with smoke ushering out from His presence. Amazing!
Look at chapter 21. In that city we call the New Jerusalem, the holy city, we affectionately refer to it as heaven. It says in Revelation 21:10–11, 22–23,
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 having the [What? What does it say?] glory of God.
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
Folks, the place where God dwells is nothing but glory.
I read in Psalm 23, the Shepherd’s Psalm, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There is nothing but glory there. We do not need the sun, moon, and the stars anymore. They are only a reflection of the power of God. They are only the finger play of God. We will have Almighty God and all the light we need is God and Jesus Christ. That is all we need. Talk about glory!
Well this message makes a couple of verses very interesting. Romans 3:23. “For all have sinned and come short of [what?] the glory of God.” There is the problem right there. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That is why you need a Savior. There will be no glory in your life until you get Jesus—none.
The second verse I find very interesting for all Christians is this. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the [what?] the glory of God.” Everything, means things that are as menial and common and everyday as eating and drinking, do everything to the glory of God. Have you done everything today to the glory of God?
Father, You know how we come short of the glory of God. The psalmist said, “Not unto us but unto You give glory.” It seems like we are doing the opposite all the time. You said, “He who glories let him glory in the Lord.” And we keep boasting in ourselves and our own achievements. God, I pray for those in our audience that have never begun to experience the glory of God because they have yet to make a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God, help them to see that He is glory. And we will never begin to experience it until we know Him. God, I pray for those in our audience that are not sure if they died now whether they would be in heaven or not. God, help them to see the seriousness of this moment. You tell us, “If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we would be saved.” God, bring us to that place of commitment where we trust You and You alone, so that the glory of God in the person of Christ will now be in our lives, a treasure in earthen vessels.
And God I pray for believers who are here, how easily we stray from Your glory. How easy we glorify ourselves. How easily we concentrate on our own feelings and attitudes and opinions. O God, thank You for the hope we have. Thank You that one day it will be all over. We will be with You forever. God help us now to focus on Your glory. As Paul said, “That the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us and that we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord.” That is the glory the whole world needs to see that has come to our lives, the joy, the peace, the love, everything He has brought, are all reflections of His wonderful glory and nature. It is all because of Him and our faith in what the Bible says about Jesus Christ. God, we do not always reflect it as we should. But one day, we will be revealed that we are truly sons of glory. And we thank You, in Jesus’ wonderful name we pray. Amen.