Sermon by: Oshea Davis, March 2006 (Sermon.mp3)
Main Verse & Prayer:
"When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, And your bones shall flourish like grass; The hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants, And His indignation to His enemies.
For behold, the LORD will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many.
For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory."
(19.)) I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations...to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.
If I were to ask you to sum up the bible in one word or two what would it be? Would it be love, Gods love letter? Although this might seem like wisdom and right philosophy in this day, it is not the right answer. The bible is all for Gods Glory; it is about Gods Glory being manifested. This is the message the bible gives when summed up to its most fundament point
Here in our text (Isaiah 66:19) the Gospel is spoken of as the declaration of the Fame and Glory of God. But if the Gospel is about the declaration of Gods glory then surly of all creation is for the same purpose since the rest of creation surrounds the central purpose of the gospel.
(A.) Which show all is for Gods Glory
The end for which God created the world and all of Creation was for communicating His majestic Glory. Including Human beings. Gods Glory went Public. It was all done for His Glory, or for His Name. This is the end Reason, the one ultimate and chief end for which every thing God does. Nothing in creation or reality escapes this purpose. God dose not create because He needed relationships, but created out of His own happiness in Himself and was pleased to express this happiness by manifesting His greatness through creation. As a fountain is prone to overflow, so is God, the endless fountain of absolute perfect moral nature, and attributes. We are the product of a Happy God creating out of His own joy in Himself, for Himself. God is the one original being, who was here before time began, since a past eternity. God is Supreme, a law unto Himself, there is no other like Him. All things are done according to His will. His will, which is passionate to show love, patience and mercy. God made man to display His Glory by seeing Him and savoring Him, to have man understand Him with the whole mind and treasure Him with the whole heart. This is why we are here in existence so we can show, by knowing Him, enjoying Him and valuing Him, that Christ is Supreme over all. This will show Christ is the greatest Treasure to all creation, powers and authorities.
It only makes since that if we know what the end purpose of redemption is, which redemption is the end reason of all creation in general, then we would know what is Gods main passion and goal in creating the universe in the first place. So listen as our beloved Lord and Savoir as He speaks about this issue, "But for this purpose I came to this hour." Father, glorify Your Name(John 12:27-28)." Christ clearly states that the reason He came to this earth to save sinners, as His Chief and most Ultimate end, was for no other reason other than, to Glorify the Father. The same is spoken of Christ's ministry by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me[Christ], Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor ... To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound ... That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified", Isaiah 61:1.
Ephesians 1:5,11-12, "In Love having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace...... In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory"
[Herein doth the glory of grace by the redemption of Christ much consist, viz. in its sufficiency for the pardon of the greatest sinners. The whole [machinery] of the way of salvation is for this end, to glorify the free grace of God. God had it on his heart from all eternity to glorify this attribute; and therefore it is, that the device of saving sinners by Christ was conceived. The greatness of divine grace appears very much in this, that God by Christ saves the greatest offenders. The greater the guilt of any sinner is, the more glorious and wonderful is the grace manifested in his pardon: Rom. 5:20. " Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (Jonathan Edwards)]
Isaiah 43:6-7, "I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth --Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him."
Ezekiel 36: 21 "But I had concern for My holy name, Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went "And I will sanctify My great name"
Psalm 138:2, "I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word."
Isaiah 48: 9-13, "For My name's sake I will defer My anger, And for My praise I will restrain it from you, So that I do not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another. " Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last. Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, And My right hand has stretched out the heavens; When I call to them, They stand up together."
As we all know when the Holy Scriptures repeats something it is very important. Here we have "for my own sake" repeated 3 times along with the phrases "for my Praise", and "My Glory". Thus it is very evident God saved Israel for the Sake of His praise and His Glory as the ultimate reason for what He did. Or do you suppose there is a Higher calling in the Universe than for Gods praise and Glory. Maybe, "free will" falsely so-called, I sure hope all such, "boasting" is far out of the picture by now.
From Isaiah 48 we see 3 clear truths.
1.) That for His praise and Glory He defers His anger. And for the larger picture He defers His anger off of us and onto Jesus Christ thus showing us endless mercy and Kindness, for "His Glory" and "Praise."
2.) For his praise and Glory he sanctifies us, "I have refined you...for My own sake."
3.) Lastly God will not give the Glory of the first two points to no one, but only for Himself.
First lets look at Ephesians 1:22-23, "He put all things His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Here we see just about the only time the bible gives a direct definition of the church. But the odd thing is the saints are not even mentioned here, why? The answer is clear. Before hand we see in the same chapter that we were saved to the purpose of the "praise of His(Gods) Glory." And now we see the definition of the church in these words, "which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." As if the whole sum of the church is simply for the display of the absoluteness of the Fullness(i.e. Glory, Supremacy) of Christ who "fills all in all."
But just in case this might seem to singular to our prideful minds, Paul repeats the same thoughts in Colossians chapter 1:18 when he said, "He is the head of the body, the church, that in all things He may have the Supremacy." Again we see the definition of the church as simply for the Display of the excellence and "Supremacy" of Christ. Which again in this verse the saints are not even mentioned, as if the answer was of the easiest sorts, that the sole reason is to magnify the "Glory" and "Supremacy" of Christ. But this should not be a surprise because we find in Revelation 14:7 the same thing in the words, "...angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth ...saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give Glory to Him, worship Him"". Thus we see the Gospels purpose is summed up as if it is solely for the purpose of giving "Glory" and "Worship" to Him who created us.
So let it me understand that God is most passionate for His own Glory above things:
(B.) Verses that show the Gospel is to make known Gods Glory
17. For in the it[Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress 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
Romans 9:22, "What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction
(23) and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory
Ephesians 3:8, The unsearchable riches of Christ, 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord
1 John 4:9, "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him."
Revelation 15:4, "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
John 17:24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me
In such light of the Gods marvelous Gospel reveling such a grand and manifold display of Gods Glory and perfections, what does this mean for the saints?
1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (10) who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy."
Romans 15:8-9, "Christ became a Servant... that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy." Thessalonians 5:18, "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
(C.) Christ accomplishes to great things on the cross and in His life.
(1.)To save helpless sinners, by His mercy, and thus bring
His church He intended to save to heaven with Him forever.
(2.)To make known the Glory and Fame of the invisible God.
Moses in Exodus 33 asked the question of God, "Show me your Glory". To which God did show Moses his Glory, in chapter 34, but at the same time God only showed Moses His "back". Upon seeing this Glorious sight of God Himself Moses face shone with light. So much so that he put a veil on His face so that the people at the time would not be afraid of Him. Now this is amazing to think about how Moses' face shined with light from just seeing the "backside" of the All Glorious Being.
Corinthians 4:6, "For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." Please notice the fact that here in our scripture above the Glory of God is being manifested, as with Moses. Then notice which part of God is being shined. Is it His backside as it was before? No. This time the very Face of God is being shone through the "face of Christ". If Christ is God himself as He is, then if we see the face of Christ we have also seen the Face of Gods Glory as well.
Jesus is the light to the world, both as a light of hope and a light illuminating the true Glory of the Father. Example Psalm 119:130, "The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple." As much as David saw God luminated in the words of the commandments in the law, how much more does the One, who is the very "Word or God", who by His words the worlds were created, display the True Glory of God and by His light. Which illuminated infinitely more the true Excellence of God the Father. Christ, who is God Himself gives us the purest, most perfect and most wonderful display of the Fathers true "Glory", "light" and "beauty". When we see Jesus Christ we see the Divine Father.
In Romans Chapter 1 verses 19-20 we are told that creation does a great job of displaying many of Gods majestic attributes. So well in fact, that every human on earth is responsible if they don't believing and Glorifying God as His benevolent Creator. But compared to the Glory represented to us in Christ the whole of creation is as nothing. Here is how John Owens puts it in his book, "The glory of Jesus Christ".
I say all this to make the infinity wonderful point that the Gods Glory has Now, through the bloodshed of Jesus Christ, been perfectly know to us sinners. Which it is us sinners, that the Holy Scriptures indicts us as so evil that we were not only lost and blinded by darkness but "were once Darkness"(Ephesians 5:8) itself. It should fill us all with, "joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8)", that the once enemies of God, who had in their darkness, no way possible of ever enjoying the Eternal pleasure of God, which comes through beholding His Glory, now through the Divine Eternal Son have this freely given to us.
What good is it for us to be brought near the "INVISIBLE" God, "(1 Timothy 6:16) who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light", if we cant properly see Him and properly enjoy the infinite Glory He alone possess? This is an important question to ask. Its answer is both worth understanding and knowing.
God has infinite Wisdom and we see this clearly in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. God in His wisdom sent Jesus Christ not only to buy for us eternal salvation but also to make known the Glory of the "invisible God" in the face of His Son.
The question can also be asked what good is it for God to make His Glory and Holiness known in an infinitely excellent way, if all human beings have "fallen sort of the Glory of God" and must be eternally "punished"? The answer is it would be pointless. But God in infinite Wisdom and power planned to both save sinners and also properly Display His Glory through the life and death of His eternally loved Son. God the Father planned in eternal wisdom this Glorious story of salvation and of His Glory being displayed, God the Son in His incarnation was the actual means by which this was accomplished and the God the Holy Spirit is the one who by His power burns this Light of this Glorious Gospel, like fire, in our Hearts and will unto all eternity do so. The Triune God has in perfect presicision accomplished all He has desired. Just as the Psalmist of old said, "God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases(Psalm 115:3), "Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps."
Christ as done what only He could do, which is make know the "invisible" God. Many of the attributes of God can be seen in Creation and Old Testament Law such as His; eternal power, Godhead, holiness, kindness, Righteousness, Justice and others. But as much as these were displayed of old our Lord Jesus Christ makes them infinitely more "known". But interestingly Christ also makes known some attributes of God the Father which are exclusively only made known by Christ Himself, such as Godly Mercy, by totally forgiving guilty sinners by His own blood. So much so that if a sinner but only confesses His sin He is eternally forgiven and "cleansed from all unrighteousness(1 John 1:9)"
Oh the depth of wonder of knowing how little or how nothing we do to find forgiveness. This should bring us to the point of meditating on Glories of Christ and the depths of His Godly Worth and suffering, which has bought such a Grand salvation for sinners such as us. What and infinite Gift Christ purchased for His saints, His church. I believe this is what the Old Testament prophet meant when he wrote the words, "Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price." Truly the depths of the Worth, Wisdom, and Grace of our Heavenly Father are uncomprehendable. Thanks be to God, for His Mercy found us in the darkness, and now has brought us to His "unapproachable light".
It is in Christ many of the Gods attributes were Manifested, some exclusively and many more amplified. Understand with out Christ dieing for ours sins we would have never known how infinitely Holy Gods love, wisdom, Justice, and Mercy are etc. And if we did some how know the true Glory of God and then tried to approach God wanting to enjoy His Displayed Holiness, He would have destroyed us on the spot. Meaning our hearts and mouths should continually pour forth in depth gratitude, Love and admiration of Jesus for (1) making Known perfectly to us the true image of Gods beauty and so many of Gods Attributes that other wise we would have never been able to know, and (2) For making it possible for us to have eternal access to Him and the Fathers communicated Holiness and Glory, by His own Holy blood and resurrection, so that we might enjoy forever the infinite pleasure that comes from knowing Him the only Living God.
One would think with such a Grand and Clear abundance of Gods' Glory and Salvation being known through the "face of Jesus Christ", that all would run with out delay to know and serve this Holy God. But it seems this is not the case with so many, even with in the church. It is clear many in the church pursue happiness, pleasure, satisfaction far more in this worlds wisdom - falsely so called, and fading luster than in the Eternal Glory of Jesus Christ. But the eternal words of God still stands, He is still the "fountain of living Waters" and this world is nothing more than a "broken cistern(Jeremiah 2:13)".
Therefore with such a clear representation of the Glory and Holiness of God in the person of Jesus Christ let us not be slack in our diligence to know and love our God, who in suffering, made Himself known to us who were His enemies. Let us press on to know the Lord as we devote our time and the meditation of our hearts to seeing His Glory in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lets us make no stops or glances backwards as we seek with our "whole heart" to know the Lord and trust in nothing but the Blood of Jesus Christ, which never fails us. With all that has been said lets consider the awe and wonder of God that His number one commandment to us is simply, "Love your God with all your heart, mind, soul and Strength". May our hearts bow in worship on every remembrance of this thought.
What we have heard is the story of the Infinitely Happy Divine Being who is Glorious in all that He does. The Triune God in three Persons who in perfect harmony planned and worked the preordained story of redemption. God the Father who planned and "sent His Son"(1 John 4:10), and God the Son who in His "mediator"(Hebrews 9:15) office was the actual accomplishment and God the Holy Spirit who strengthened Christ for His work and is the "Gift" purchased for us that enables us to live for God. Thus the Holiness of God is eternally and effectively shown through Jesus Christ for all living beings to see. And for those who see Gods Glory in Jesus Christ for what it truly is, they will eternally be filled Gods pleasure, just as we are told (Revelation 22:17), "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."
"I suppose it will not be denied by any, that God, in glorifying the saints in heaven with eternal felicity, aims to satisfy his infinite grace or benevolence, by the bestowment of a good infinitely valuable, because eternal: and yet there never will come the moment, when it can be said, that now this infinitely valuable good has been actually bestowed."(Jonathan Edwards)
I believe Edwards makes a great observation that is worth discussing. First, God is so infinite in both His Grace and abilities to show Grace, that not even eternity in Heaven, will give God enough time to show His Saints all His good. Second, the reason God will for eternity show us this grace is credited only to the amount of grace, which Jesus Christ sacrifice bought for us, or how pleased God the Father was with the sacrifice. Since God will show his saints eternal grace and goodness then it is clear God the father is Infinitely Pleased with His Son and the work Son under went for His Father and the saving of His church. By God, who is the only Supreme Being, being so pleased with Jesus Christ His Son, shows to all how Admirable and Wonderful the Son really must be. Therefore since God is the Gospel, or in other words Jesus is the saints final and ending Good, then what a Grand Hope we have knowing such a splendorous future awaits Gods elect, that we by the mercy of God, will be brought into forever increasing fellowship with the Divine Being, who alone rules the worlds by this good pleasure.
Lets review. We have learned about the Holiness of God, of what it is and lastly we have learned where to see it, in Jesus Christ the King of kings. Again John Owens says it best. "For herein is [Christ] infinitely glorious above the whole creation, in that in and by him alone the glory of the invisible God is represented unto us. Herein do our souls live. This is that whereby the image of God is renewed in us, and we are made like unto the first-born." Christ has made known the Holy Father unto us. Therefore we honor God the Father by whole heartedly seeing the Glory God, which He has made known unto us through His Son Jesus Christ. It means to believe in Him as the Son of God and Savoir to men and to delight in Him for manifesting the Glory of Father for all to see forever, even at the cost of His own life. This is how seriously, John Owens states this matter.
"Nothing is more fully and clearly revealed in the gospel, than that unto us Jesus Christ is "the image of the invisible God;" that he is the character of the person of the Father, so as that in seeing him we see the Father also; that we have "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in his face alone," as has been proved. This is the principal fundamental mystery and truth of the Gospel; and which if it be not received, believed, owned, all other truths are useless unto our souls. To refer all the testimonies that are given hereunto to the doctrine which he taught, in contradistinction unto his person as acting in the discharge of his office, is anti-evangelical, antichristian,-turning the whole Gospel into a fable."("The Glory of Jesus Christ")
(A.) Is your life relevant for the Glory of God?
Maybe at this point you might say that all this theology stuff is fine but how is it relevant to my life and or my church. How is this relevant to my job, family, bank account, or business. First may I ask, is this the right question to ask? Does the bible primarily assume the general position of you reading it so that you may find out how relevant Almighty God is to things in your life? I would say no it does not. Sadly, many pastors and evangelical book writes assume this wrong idea. Did the "Lord of Glory" create humans beings and put them in existence so that we may come to the realization primarily how God is relevant to our Jobs, families, and vacations, no. The bible paints the entirely opposite story. What we learn from the Holy Writings from cover to cover is to be this. How relevant is your life to the "Lord of Host" and His number one passion for His Glory? That is the question the scripture ask us. What we learn is if your life is relevant in that you "seek His kingdom first" then we find out, "all these things will be added to you."
What we have done is made the gospel a man centered Gospel and not a God Centered Gospel. Do you see it in the question when asked, "how is God relevant to me." The question ends with "me" as the center and not God. Don't miss read me and think I am saying that a biblical question can never with "me", because it can. See if you ask, "how is my life relevant for God", you will find God at the Center, yet amazingly in this you also will find your life "complete" (Colossians 2:9-10), when you ask the right question. What you find is by making your life relevant for the Glory God, that in this you find Gods beauty satisfies completely the desires of your hearts deepest cries. What you find is an infinite fountain of pleasure in knowing and living for the Glory of Jesus Christ. That your quest for satisfaction is ironically found not is living "how is God relevant to me" but living to know and display the Glory or Jesus Christ. What you find is Satisfaction found not in living for your self but for Gods as the scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:15 when we read that, "He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."
Again the bibles view is this; how is your Job, family, vacation, bank account, and business relevant to God? Just from the pure logic we can see why this is true, in that God is made the Center of everything when the question is asked the right way. For you can search all you like but will not find scripture saying serve God primarily because He is relevant to your job and family. But instead you will find the Holy Scripture saying if your "barns"(bank accounts) are not relevant for the displaying of Gods Fame and Glory then you will hear these words, "tonight your soul is required of you(Luke 12:20)." Or if the life you lived in your job, family and business displayed the Glory of Christ, you will on the other hand hear these words, "well done my good and faithful servant enter into your Master Joy(Matt. 25:21)." Here we see two opposites, in that one lived a life not relevant to God and one who did live a life relevant for this display of the "treasure" (Matthew 13:44) of Jesus Christ.
When we hear the words of Jesus "let the dead bury the dead"(Matt. 8:22), or "difficult is the way which leads to life(Matt. 7:14)", or " if you eyes cause you to sin pluck it out and cast it form you(Matt. 5:25)", it is clear they were not given to make Christ relevant to a bigger houses and toys but instead leading us to beg for mercy before a Holy and Infinite God, just like the tax collector said when he wouldn't even look up to "heaven" but "beat his chest" and said, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" When you hear the Creator of "all things" say, "Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me(Luke 19:27)", we better know what it takes to make our lives relevant for what He wishes them to be. Which is to love and treasure Him above all and then second to love others, which both is in effect, the display of His Infinite Glory, Fame, and Worth. Again the shining of the glory of Gods holiness is seen in that He would call sinners like you and I to an eternity of enjoying Him and honestly loving one another. We are here to make much of Jesus or in other words to "worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus."(Philippians 3:3)
For we were created for the "praise of the Glory of His Grace(Ephesians 1:6)", "so that in everything He might have the Supremacy(Colossians 1:18)." Dear reader is your life, all of it in line with that cause? If we are to give the proper Honor to God then we need to ask the right type of questions so that the questions and their answers are God Centered. Again I say does the "king of Glory" deserve this type of discipline and does He require it?
James I believe makes this clear when he wrote, "you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."
Understand not only is the Glory of God at stake when we don't Honor God in living life and speaking a " God centered life" in every we do, but we ourselves forfeit the deepest pleasure and peace and satisfaction that goes beyond what we are able to articulate. That is why understanding this is so important because it is first practical in that it helps us to know and love our "Father of Glory" and His Son "Jesus Christ", secondly it helps us to find the soul satisfying joy that we were created for in Him. Which in return helps us know better how to authentically Love our fellows, by helping them see and enjoy the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things. There is nothing more important or practical than that end, The Glorified God and the satisfied soul in beholding and valuing the Glory Jesus Christ.
(B.) If you truly love God, then diligently pursue those things which
best help you to see the Fame and Glory of Jesus Christ.
(1.) The basics, Scripture reading (2 Corinthians 3:18,4:6 Psalm 111)(how should you read your bible if you know that all creation and redemption is Gods self revelation of His Glory), scripture meditation, memorize the scripture, communion with God through the Scripture. Prayer, talking about Gods Glory, singing about Gods Glory. Using things such as Creation as means of pointing you to think upon the Glory of Jesus Christ.
(2.)Only 3 things would prevent a person from not grabbing hold of an abundant treasure, if it were told them the treasure was just a few feet down in the ground in front of them.
One is that they did not believe the report, and thus never went after it. Second they do not find treasure of gold and precious jewels beautiful, and would rather pursue other treasures, which to them are worth pursuing. Or third they believed the treasure was still too hard to obtain.
Christ is the greatest of all treasure, and is a treasure to all who would find Him admirable and worthy above all things (Matt. 13:44). Therefore look, see and know that Christ is such treasure and seek Him. Therefore be also like Moses who saw the true reality that "Christ" was "greater" compared to the "fleeting pleasures" of Egypt and of this world(Hebrews 11:24-25), thus Moses found Christ as a treasure who is worth seeking after, at all cost.
And lastly don't think that this treasure is to high to obtain, that you don't have enough to buy such an infinitely great treasure. Notice the Treasure and Glory of Christ's "Mercy" spoken about in Isaiah 55:6-7. This mercy is so Great that the prophet records God saying, regarding this Glory of His mercy, "My thoughts are not your thoughts....for as heavens are higher then the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways." This signifies the Glory and treasure of Gods Mercy is so high above us, that we are unable to even comprehend its depths and worth. But, this is the response we are instructed to give, by the writer, before such an infinitely grand treasure? (55:1) "Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price." Therefore let us come as we are, empty handed, to our benevolent Savoir knowing He offers us the treasure of His Mercy without price or with money. Let us run to Him putting away all distractions and hindrances for, "in [Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."(Colossians 2:3, Ephesians 3:8)
(3.) If we are not seeing Gods radiant glory, it is our faults for not looking at it, for God has reveled it in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. It all depends on how much we are willing to let go of this world and our selfish wants in order to see more of the Beauty of our Great God. How much do you love Him? How much do you desire Him over the "fleeting pleasures(Hebrews 11:25)" of this world?
Now as I come to the end this little sermon I wish to exhort you from a quote by Jonathan Edwards.
"The wisdom of God has [obviously planned]that there should be all manner of attractiveness in the benefits that Christ offers you. There are not only the excellencies of the person of Christ to draw you to him, but the desirable benefits he offers. Here is what is most suitable to the cravings of the human nature. Men when distressed and burdened, long for ease and rest. Here it is offered to us in Christ. "Come unto me", says he, "all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest." - Men when in fear of danger, long for safety. Here it is provided for us in Christ. God promises that he will become a shield and buckler, a strong rock and high tower to those that trust in him. - Those that mourn need comfort. Christ tells us that "he came to comfort those that mourn," Isa. 61:2. - The blind need to have their eyes opened. The light is sweet to men. Christ offers to anoint our eyes with eye salve that we may see glorious light. He will be our sun, and the light of God's countenance. - What is more dear to men than life? Christ has purchased for men, that they should live forever. Psa. 21:4, "He asked life of thee and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever." - How greatly is a crown prized and admired by the children of men! And Christ offers this - not a corruptible crown, but an incorruptible and far more glorious crown than any worn by earthly kings; a crown of glory, the luster of which shall never fade, nor decay; with an everlasting kingdom. - Do men love pleasures? Here are pleasures forevermore. What could there be more to draw our hearts to Jesus Christ, and to make us willing to accept of him for our Savior, with all his unspeakable benefits?" (J. Edwards, "The wisdom of God")
Men crave Greatness (benefits, Greatness)) so they may find true satisfaction of soul. And the fact will always remain that God is the Greatest Greatness in the universe. (Psalm 16:11) "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Therefore He shows us His Glory through Jesus Christ, by the means of His Blood being a propitiation for our sins and rising on the third day was proof of the Fathers public acceptance of this divine act. God demonstrates His love for us, in that He joined with us in our pursuit for satisfaction and therefore led us to the Cross of Jesus Christ where His Glory and Holiness are properly displayed for all to believe and enjoy. Which, it is here in Christ, the love God shines the brightest as, we for all eternity, enjoy making much of the Father and Jesus Christ. Therefore "press on to know the Lord(Hosea 6:3)", who is the "Fountain of Living Waters(Jeremiah 2:13)", understanding, "once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy", "that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light"(1 Peter 2:9:10).
(C.) If this is true(the gospel is God making know His Glory), then all true virtue and love consist in leading others to find satisfaction in the Glory and Fame of Jesus, to lead them to see and savor His Glory.
Which is why "All true virtue among human beings must aim at bringing people to rejoice in the Glory of God. [Why]Evangelism means depicting the beauty of Christ and His saving work with a heart felt urgency of love that labors to help people find their satisfaction in Him. [Why] Christian preaching, as part of the corporate worship of Christ's church, is an expository exultation over the Glories of God in His word, designed to lure God's people from the fleeting Pleasures of sin into the sacrificial path of obedient satisfaction in Him. [Why] The essence of authentic, corporate worship is the collective experience of heartfelt satisfaction in the Glory of God, or a trembling that we do not have it and a great longing for it. [Why] world missions is a declaration of the Glories of God among all the unreached people, with a view to gathering worshipers who magnify God through the gladness of radically obedient lives. [Why] the task of Christian scholarship is to study reality as a manifestation of God's Glory, to speak about it with accuracy, and to savor the beauty of God in it. [And why] The way to magnify God in death is by meeting death as gain." (John Piper, "Reflections on Jonathan Edwards 300 years later")
If you have heard what has been said today and long to know this God of Glory who has made His Fame known for all see and to enjoy, then I encourage all to forsake this life and know that there is mercy in Jesus to pardon the greatest of sinners. Psalm 25:11 "For Your name's sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great." If you feel truly aware of your guilt for despising the Glories and beauty of Jesus Christ, realize God is ready to forgive. And so if you wish to come to Christ for the forgiveness of your sins then 2 things should be understood. Fist that
(1.) "People who are not sensible of their guilt cannot truly look to God for mercy; for it is the very notion of divine mercy, that it is the goodness and grace of God to the guilty. [You] must be sensible that it is a very dreadful thing to be the object of the wrath of God; that it is a very awful thing to have him for [your] enemy; and that [you] cannot bear His wrath.
(2.) [You believe and trust] The mercy of God is as sufficient for the pardon of the greatest sins, because his mercy is infinite. That the satisfaction of Christ is as sufficient for the removal of the greatest guilt....[You] must come to God for mercy in and through Jesus Christ alone. All [your] hope of mercy must be from the consideration of what [Christ] is, what he hath done, and what he hath suffered; and that there is no other name given under heaven, among men, whereby we can be saved, but that of Christ; that he is the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world; that his blood cleanses from all sin, and that he is so worthy, that all sinners who are in him may well be pardoned and accepted."
[Therefore understand] Christ having [suffered] for sin, God can now love the sinner, and give no [appearance] at all to sin, however great a sinner he may have been. God may, through Christ, pardon the greatest sinner without any prejudice to the honor of his majesty. The honor of the divine majesty indeed requires satisfaction; but the sufferings of Christ fully repair the injury. The sufferings of Christ fully satisfy justice.(Jonathan Edwards, "Pardon for the Greatest Sinners)"
Alter-call: of repentance, for not pursuing to know and treasure the Glory of Jesus Christ with all our hearts. And prayer for Gods divine help for a more willing and zealous heart and mind to pursue knowing the living God. To confess our desire to see and know Him better. A time for repenting, that in light of all the abundant display of Gods Glory in creation and especially in Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have spent far to much time wasting our minds and emotions treasuring other things more often than Jesus Christ. Or even now maybe some of you have been board with this discussion of the Fame of Jesus Christ and quite frankly would just rather go home and watch TV. For many, especially in America they are so helplessly in love with the Banal and Trivial entertainments of this world they have lost the mental and emotional capacities for seeing and enjoying the infinite beauty of Jesus Christ.
Allow me to put this in a way that will make it clear of what is being said. Any thing you think, feel, do or enjoy more than Glory of Jesus Christ is Idolatry. God created the mind, which is able to think and understand complex thoughts and realities. God is also the creator and designer of the human heart. Therefore it is most natural to conclude that the mind and heart were above all things created to comprehend and enjoy the Glory and Fame of Jesus Christ. Can you say this is true of you?