Introduction: At a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 6, 2001, Billy Graham received an honorary knighthood from Sir Christopher Meyer, the British Ambassador to the U.S., on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. In this excerpt from his address, Billy Graham speaks about the great honor and gives all the glory to God: “I especially want to ask you, sir, to convey to Her Majesty the Queen, my deepest gratitude for the high honor she has graciously bestowed upon me this evening. I accept it with humility and unworthiness.
I read a quote that appeared in The Daily News in 1903 about Queen Victoria. After hearing the dean preach a sermon about Christ’s return to earth, Queen Victoria said, “Oh how I wish that the Lord might come during my lifetime.” When the dean asked her why, she replied, “I should like to lay my crown at His feet.” And that’s the way I feel tonight about any honors that may come to me. I’d like to lay it at His feet and plan to do it some day and at my age it won’t be too long.
In the same way, I want to give God all the glory and all the praise for what has been accomplished in my life and those of my family and associates that are here tonight. I, too, look forward to the day when I can see Jesus face to face and lay at His feet any honor I’ve ever received because He deserves it all.” Here is a noble man who knew how to truly Honor God.
Last week we began to unpack our mission statement at Hope Church that reads: “Glorifying God by becoming devoted followers of Jesus.” We will look at the ultimate example of Jesus, to understand what it is glorify God, how Jesus glorified the father and how we might glorify God in this postmodern world where you and I are called to represent Christ.
GLORIFYING GOD! John 17:1-5
Last week we looked at how God’s glory was manifested in nature and his creation, and how God wanted man to give him the glory that is due to Him. How can we mere mortals glorify God? Can anyone of us add anything to the splendor, and majesty of God? Then what does it mean to glorify God? Let’s refresh our memory again. What is glory? The Hebrew word Kabowd means, weight, honor esteem, glory, abundance and wealth. The Greek word, doxa from where we get the word doxology, means: appearance, reputation, glory, recognition honor and renown.
In John chapter seventeen, Jesus offered a prayer which is known as the high priestly prayer. Jesus prayed this just prior to his going to Gethsemane, where He became the High priest offering Himself as the pure sacrifice. He prayed this prayer, for himself, for the disciples, and for all of us only hours before His betrayal, arrest, flogging, shameful ridicule and crucifixion.
I. A PATH WAY TO GLORIFYING GOD.
Vs1-2 “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.”
These two verses talk about the intimate relationship Jesus cherished with God the father in heaven, and the goal of Jesus’ coming to the earth and the path he took to accomplish that goal. When Jesus said, father the hour has come, glorify (honor) your son, so that your son will glorify (honor) you, he was talking about his imminent death which ultimately would glorify the son. The goal is that the father may be glorified.
In Hebrews we read how this plan of glorifying God has worked out “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory..” Hebrews 2:9-10
Jesus Christ came into the world to reveal the glory of God to man, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” John 1:18. The apostle Paul refers God’s glory to the hidden mystery which was made visible in Jesus Christ, “the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:26-27
If it was not for Jesus we would not know the essence of God’s glory let alone how to give him the glory. Jesu showed us what it means to glorify God through his exemplary living. Paul writing to the Philippines encourages them to have the same attitude of Jesus Christ. “Who, being in every nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant…humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:1-9.
When we look at the life Jesus, he always did what he saw his father was doing. He lived and died and rose again in obedience to his father’s will. That obedience did not come automatically, he needed to learn through all that he suffered. Jesus was crowned with glory and honor which has always been there. Jesus brought glory to the father by completing the work of salvation, when he said it is finished on the cross.
But that was not the end, after he rose from the dead, he was ascended to heaven, since that time he has not stopped working to bring many of his sons and daughters to glory. You and I and all those who are born again belong to that list of the ones who are being glorified. Since Jesus glorified God through his death, and God glorified him by raising him from the dead. Jesus sent his disciples to complete the remaining work of taking the good news of salvation to all four corners of the earth. Now the remaining work of glorifying God is left to us, his Church.
The path way of glorifying God is marked with suffering, humility and obedience. Jesus, the son of God set the pace for us. The only way we can ever come to glorify God is through our humility, obedience and suffering, even if it means dying for the sake of the gospel.
II. WHAT IT MEANS TO GLORIFY GOD
It is hard to wrap our minds fully around all the glorious aspects of God’s glory. The Greek word, doxa also means honor, praise or to esteem. When we say we glorify God one way we are saying we are honoring, showing reverence and esteeming him above all else. Keeping these aspects in mind let’s now read this verse again “Father the hour has come, honor your son, so that your son will honor you.” When Jesus said, the hour has come, he was referring to the time of his imminent death on the cross and followed by his resurrection was at hand. Vs, 4 “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
Jesus honored God by completing the work he was given to do on the earth, that was to bring salvation to all people. God honored Jesus by raising him from the dead (Acts 2:24). God honored him by esteeming him on high, “Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” Philippians 2:9-10.
Can you imagine the weight, the scope, and implications of the name of Jesus that is greater than any other name? These days there is a controversy about taking a knee, but there will come a time when all the people in the world, including our president, and the world leaders will bow before Jesus, some out of reverence and others out of utter shame. How else God has honored his son?
“The Father handed all authority to judge over to the Son so that the Son will be honored equally with the Father. Anyone who dishonors the Son, dishonors the Father, for it was the Father’s decision to put the Son in the place of honor.” John 5:22-23 (The Message). We know a thing or two about honor. We want our kids get into honor rolls in their education, we admire sports people who enter the hall of fame. We honor the firemen, police and the first responders who risk their lives. We honor our veterans, and those who are currently serving in the army.
We stand up in respect and honor of our flag whenever it is raised, especially during the singing of the national anthem. When just mere humans of this earth are getting that much honor, and praise how much more our God the creator of the universe deserve honor? But where is the honor that is due to God? What does honoring God look like?
III. A FEW PRACTICAL WAYS OF HONORING GOD.
Here I suggest a few practical ways whereby we at Hope Church can honor Jesus. By surrendering our whole life to him if you haven’t yet already done so. By practicing the empowering presence of God. By engaging in God exalting worship. We honor God when we recognize all good things, including our very own breath comes from our father and give him praise and glory for all who God is and all he has done, is doing and will continue to do.
We honor him by committing ourselves to become healthy disciples. God is honored when we sharing the good news of the gospel with our family, friends and neighbors. We honor God when we esteem on another and not to judge, or gossip about one another.
We honor God by giving and receiving forgiveness. We honor him with our tithes, offerings, and using our God given talents to serve one another, without complaining and grumbling We honor God by becoming Salt in the community and by letting our light shine through good works, people seeing our good works will honor our Father in heaven.
Finally, we honor him when we live in unity and love one another. Listen to the word of Jesus, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35. As we leave this morning, let’s take these words of Jesus to heart. It is not through our preaching, evangelistic efforts, or works of service people will see us as the followers of Christ, though they all have a place in the kingdom of God, but it is through our love for one another. If we love Jesus, then we must obey his commandments.
How your love for Jesus is reflecting in your love for your fellow brother or sister in our Hope Church Family? I want to challenge all of us to make a firm commitment t to live out our mission statement that reads, “Glorifying (Honoring) God by becoming devoted followers of Jesus. Let’s honor one another by doing so we will be honoring God. Next week we will look into what it means to be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Amen