We have been blogging in recent weeks about our church’s mission statement – “Making Disciples, Teaching God’s Word, Glorifying God”. We have looked in some detail at the first two parts of this mission statement and today I would like to share some thoughts on “Glorifying God”. The Greek word for glory is “Doxa”, from which we get our song “The Doxology”. In the Old Testament, the glory of God was intimately connected with God’s self-revelation. In the Old Testament, the word “glory” has the concept of “heavy” or “weighty” and suggested an impressive or worthy person. It was typically used of someone honored in ancient culture who had a high position with a consequential wealth. It was an attribute that was used to ascribe to people who were surrounded by regal splendor and majesty, such as in the case of some of the kings of biblical times. In the New Testament “Doxa” focused on the opinion that people held of a superior person, and it expressed the valuation of one’s actions and accomplishments. God’s glory is found in His essential nature and on display in nature and in the material universe, but most of all in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We see this clearly in John 1 when John, referring to Jesus, writes, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Doxa, Doxa as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth,” (v.14 NASB). It is those who see with believing eyes the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in His redeeming actions that fully understand how much God loves us and cares for us.
The question must then be asked, how do we “glorify God”? I believe Jesus very clearly answers this question from the text that I preached this past Sunday when, in the context of bearing fruit, Jesus says, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so proved to be My disciples,” (John 15:8 NASB). In the previous verse, Jesus had instructed us, “to ask whatever we wish, and it shall be done for you”, but this statement is completely in the context of bearing fruit for God’s glory. When the branches bear fruit they are carrying out the purpose for which God intended them. Fruit is the natural outcome of the life of a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. If we stay connected to the vine, the Lord Jesus Christ, we will produce “much fruit”, for God’s glory. This farming analogy shows how God is glorified when people come into a right relationship with Him and begin to bear much fruit. For the farmer raising his crops, God is glorified when He sends the sun and the rain, and the farmer has a great harvest on his hands. God is glorified when you and I produce “much fruit”. This is also a sign of our discipleship as Jesus states when we read, “and so proved to be My disciples”. What a moment of glory for the Lord of the harvest when you and I produce much fruit in Jesus’ name.
Many today are functioning out of a total fear basis in their daily lives. But if we are truly connected to the vine and interested in producing fruit for God’s glory then we must function, not from a fear basis, but from a faith basis. Jesus is interested in glorifying His Heavenly Father through our prayers and through our active service for Him. When our prayers are in accordance with the Word of God and the will of God, God will move! God wants us to try great things where the Holy Spirit has free access into our hearts to take control of our lives so that great fruit is produced. The Son reveals the Father’s glory through His miracles and by His teaching. The gospel is both a message and a person that reflects back the glory to God. When the seed of the Word brings forth fruit in our lives it is acting in accordance with the new nature that we have received, this is for the glory of God.
Our mission, in the face of difficult and challenging times and circumstances, is to be about- “Making Disciples, Teaching God’s Word, Glorifying God”. May Jesus’ words and will guide our prayer lives and direct our actions in fulfilling the mission to which He has called us. Won’t you please pray about how Jesus can use you as a fruitful branch for His glory and honor at NDC or anywhere else? As we seek to minister through this time of transition in our nation and church may our Heavenly Father and His precious Son receive all the glory and honor from the fruit that we will produce, as we stay connected to the vine.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo