Summary: Our devotion to Christ glorifies God the Father.
Title: Bowed Knees, Confessing Tongues and God Glorifying Lives
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
Thesis: Our devotion to Christ glorifies God the Father.
Flash mobs have become popular ways for large groups of people to assemble suddenly in a public place to perform or protest for a brief time and then disperse. It is usually highly organized through some social media. Perhaps you have seen YouTube.com clips of flash mobs and their performance art.
October 30, 2010, more than six hundred Philadelphia-area singers circulated nonchalantly among the Saturday morning shoppers in the large Macy's store in downtown Philadelphia. Dressed in street clothes, the inconspicuous singers mingled with other shoppers. Then, at exactly noon, the organist at the mall's historic Wanamaker organ (the largest pipe organ in the world) began playing the opening measures to the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah.
Suddenly, the choir members, sprinkled throughout the store, started singing in full voice. The video for this event shows the amazed shoppers watching the choir giving glory to the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
On November 13, 2010, a similar "flash mob" performance took place in the food court of the Seaway Mall in Ontario, Canada. Shoppers who paused for a quick lunch were surprised by 80 singers from the nearby Chorus Niagara who started singing the "Hallelujah Chorus."
(Greg Asimakoupoulos, Mercer Island, Washington; source: Peter Dobrin, "Song for the Shoppers," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10-31-2010)
These performances are stunningly beautiful and contagious events and something of a precursor of that day when the prophecy of our text is fulfilled when “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
However, we need not wait until that day to be people who bow the knee, confess with our lips and live lives that glorify God. For the people of God, living Christ honoring and God glorifying lives is the way we live.
We begin to live that out when we realize that is the purpose of our existence.
I. We exist for God, not God for us
“In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2:10
I want to lift from Hebrews 2:10 this statement about God. Everything exists through God and for God… It is God, “for whom and through whom everything exists.”
That is a powerful statement about who God is and the ultimate purpose for everything that exists. It means that God created and sustains everything that is and that everything that is, is for the sake or benefit or pleasure or purposes of God.
The Westminster Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” And then answers, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” My sense is that while we may parrot the catechism with our mouths, in practice we believe God exists to meet our needs and make us happy.
When all is well there is little thought given to the purpose for our existence in relation to God, but when there is a need or a crisis, it is with great clarity that we surmise that God exists to help us. God exists to make my child well. God exists to supply all my needs. God exists to save my marriage. God exists to enlarge my sphere of influence and to empower me for the challenges and opportunities of life.
In reality the question is, “Why do we exist?” And the answer is, “We exist for God.”
I live in a community where there is a home owner’s association. The home owner’s association exists for the greater good of the community. For example, everyone who owns a home in our community is expected to respect the rights of the other homeowners. We all have a garage and one parking space. If you need additional parking space you need to use on street parking. Of course this is the second most ignored of community courtesies.
The most commonly ignored community courtesy is the failure of dog owners to picking up after their pets. While most probably are responsible pooper-picker-uppers… many are not.
I once heard a Seinfeld sketch in which Jerry Seinfeld pointed out that if we were being watched by alien life from outer space… they might rightly conclude that the dog is the superior species and man the lesser species given the fact that dog owner’s scurry around picking up their dog’s little deposits. The dog leads the person around with a leash. The dog makes a mess and the person on the other end of the leash picks it up. Who exists for whom? Does the dog exist for the person or does the person exist for the dog?