Sermons

Summary: Our words, actions and lives are to glorify God. In other words, we are to reflect Christ for others to see. The problem is trying to reflect the light of Christ.

Glory Road

John 12:20-26

Steve May tells the story of Dennis Byrd, who was an up-and-coming defensive tackle for the New York Jets. He was predicted to help turn the Jets organization around and recorded 27 sacks in his first 3 years. Then tragedy struck. On November 29, 1992, the Jets were playing the Chiefs and Dennis was about to sack the quarterback when he collided with a teammate and snapping his spinal cord. In a split-second, his football career ended and he was paralyzed from the neck down. Everything he had planned for his life came to a screeching halt. He woke up in the middle of the night in a hospital bed with a halo brace, not knowing where he was, why he couldn't move, or what was happening. Suddenly, he went from dreaming of making it to the Pro Bowl to hoping he could someday hold his daughter in his arms again. At his first news conference, the world watched and listened as Dennis Byrd told the media that Christ was his source of comfort in his time of tragedy and his strength for the days that lied ahead. The doctors announced to the media that Dennis may never walk again, and it would be years before they would know. Dennis told the media that with God's help, he would walk again—soon. On opening day of the 1993 football season, less than a year after the tragic collision, millions of people watched Dennis Byrd walk out for the coin toss at Meadowlands Stadium while 75,000 fans stood cheering in ovation. Steve May writes, “The miracle in Dennis Byrd's life is not that he broke his neck and walked again. The miracle is that the injury that destroyed his career didn't destroy his life.” Or his faith and through it all, his life, his actions, his words and his faith gave glory to God.

Glory. It’s a significant theme in the Old Testament. It means the visible presence, power and majesty of God in your midst. We see the glory of God at Mt. Sinai: ‘The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai… The appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel’ (Exod.24:16,17); We see it in the Temple ‘The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord’ (1 Kings 8:10,11) We see it at significant times in the life of Israel. Whenever there is glory, there is God’s visible presence, power and majesty.

But perhaps nowhere is God’s glory more prevalent than in the person and presence of Jesus Christ. The verb ‘to glorify’ - doxazo - is found 23 times in John’s gospel referring to Jesus. In Jesus’ birth and throughout his life on earth, this glory was made visible to everyone. John writes, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” We see the glory of God in Jesus through his teaching, his miracles but even more, in the person of Jesus. But we also see the glory of God in Jesus’ decision to go to the cross. As we learned the first week of this series. Luke writes, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” The ESV Translation says, “He set his face towards Jerusalem.” Jesus set his focus on the cross, the road less traveled, and in that decision and in his journey, God was glorified and His glory was made known. It was in Jesus’ willing scourging, crucifixion, death and in God’s resurrection of Jesus that we most profoundly see and experience the glory of God.

We see a lot of people seeking their glory these days. James Chandler writes, “Too many times people want glory just for themselves….Football players score a touchdown and do a dance wanting everyone to applaud them and their greatness….Baseball players hit a homerun and prance around the bases. They want the crowds to worship and adore them. If we want to stay on the right road, we need to seek to glorify God with our lives. I was looking at the full moon a while back, so full, so bright. Then I realized it is only bright because of the sun. In our lives, we need to reflect the light and glory of God.” To travel on Glory road means to glorify the Father. Our words, actions and lives are to glorify God. In other words, we are to reflect Christ for others to see.

The problem is trying to reflect the light of Christ. Bill Hanes writes, “The headlights on my old farm truck grew dimmer as the years passed, and I was puzzled. The lights were still burning, the wiring was OK and yet, the lights became so dim as to be almost useless. One day I decided to invest in new headlights in spite of the fact the old ones appeared to burn just fine. When I removed the old headlights I realized the mirrored coating behind the filament had gradually flaked off, and though the filament burned brightly, there was nothing left to reflect the light outward. And then he writes, “We are not the source of spiritual light, but like the mirrored coating in a headlight, we are meant to reflect that source. If we are not careful, the cares and stress of life can diminish our ability to reflect Christ as we should. For God said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 So how can we glorify God?

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