Why are you here?
Not just about Sunday School. Not just about church. Though it’s a good idea to remind ourselves from week to week why we really do these things — or why we should.
Why do we exist?
It’s a question that has been the province of poets and philosophers for thousands of years. Indeed, it’s a question that’s at the very root of art, music, literature and, yes, even Scripture.
Why are we here?
There’s your answer. Plain and simple. One word in English. Two in the Hebrew from which it originates.
Halllu Yah. Praise Ye Jehovah. Praise the Lord!
Webster’s dictionary defines “praise” as “to glorify, especially by the attribution of perfections.”
When we praise God, we glorify his perfection.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about today: glorifying God.
Read Psalm 148
All of creation — from the highest heavens to the Earth below, from the deepest oceans to the Earth above, from the creeping things to the birds of the sky, from the youngest maidens to the oldest kings — all of creation is called to praise the Lord.
Imagine how that would sound!
I was talking to my mother about one of our earlier lessons, and she made a great and exciting observation.
The God who hears our silent prayers, the God who knows when a sparrow falls, the God who set that neutron star spinning and thudding out the song that we talked about a few weeks ago must hear all of creation. Crickets chirping, brooks babbling, thunder rumbling, even the wind rustling the grass on a crisp fall day. What an orchestra that must be to Him — all of creation (or at least all that has not been given the free will to ignore the command) praising His holy name.
When he was taken up into heaven, John heard that orchestra. Here’s what he wrote about it, in Revelation 5:13: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
Creation glorifies God because God is worthy of it.
Only man, the only thing in creation “created in God’s own image,” chooses not to do so.
Which brings me back to the question I asked at the beginning of this lesson: Why are we here?
Whatever you do, wherever you live, whoever you love, know this: God made you to bring Him glory. He would be worthy of our praise even if He had done nothing more for us than he did for the beasts of the field, the galaxies in space and the great fish of the seas. He created us all. And He went a step further with man, breathing His own breath of life into us.
That which is created exists to serve its creator. And God calls His creation to praise Him, to glorify Him — not because He needs our praise, but because He deserves it. He alone is holy, He alone is righteous, He alone is mighty. How can we but praise Him?
We are called to glorify God. But how can we do that?
Let’s look at eight ways we can bring God glory in our everyday lives, and let me say that I owe this part of the lesson to the Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson, who lived from 1620 to 1686 and ministered in England.
First: we glorify God by aiming at His glory.
That means, first, preferring His glory above all things.
What does it take to be a disciple of Christ? Jesus said this: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
We must be willing to put His glory above everything else.
Aiming at God’s glory means putting His will above our own. Whatever His will might be. However much pain there is in it. Regardless of what it means for our own plans.
What did Jesus say? As he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing that he was only hours from suffering on the cross, He said: “Not my will, but thine.”
Aiming at God’s glory mans being humble, especially when that humility has as its goal the exaltation of God.
John the Baptist had developed a great following among the Jewish people prior to the ministry of Christ. And then, as Jesus began His ministry, following His own baptism by John the Baptist, some of John’s followers came to him upset that this man, Jesus, was baptizing his own disciples.
“You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him,” John said to them. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The second way we glorify God is in a frank confession of our sin.
We can’t try to excuse it or mince words about it. Think of the prodigal son: He didn’t wait for his father to charge him with his sins; he said: “I have sinned against heaven and before thee.” A straightforward, frank confession.
The third way we glorify God is by believing in Him.
In Romans 4, Paul says, “Abraham was strong in faith, glorifying God.” Unbelief is the unforgivable sin. It calls God a liar.
The fourth way we glorify God is by being tender to His glory.
If God is mocked, we His people should feel the shame for it. David wrote this: “The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” We who are made in God’s image and called by His name should suffer when God’s glory suffers.
The fifth way we glorify God is by being fruitful.
Jesus was very direct about this: As John recorded it, Jesus said, “Hereby is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” We don’t have time to discuss fruitfulness again, but put simply, God in us will bring the fruits of love and good works. If we’re not bearing those fruits, we don’t have God in us, and He’s not being glorified in our lives.
The sixth way we glorify God is in contentment.
Here’s Paul: “I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances.” And Paul surely had experienced some harsh circumstances in the ministry of Christ.
The seventh way we glorify God is by working at our own salvation.
That means practicing spiritual disciplines: reading God’s word, keeping it in our hearts, praising Him, communicating with Him in prayer, studying with fellow believers. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” Our practice of the spiritual disciplines leads to godliness, which glorifies God.
And finally, the eighth way we glorify God is by living to Him.
Those who love money will live for money. Those who love sensuality will pursue sensuality. Those who love God and seek to glorify Him will live for Him and live to pursue Him.
Now, go out and glorify God.
Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!