Summary: We must be growing for God’s glory! How can we do it?
Growing for God’s Glory
Sermon by Rick Crandall
(2007 Series - Giving to Grow)
McClendon Baptist Church - Sept. 16, 2007
*Today is the first big day in our Giving to Grow Campaign for our new Children’s Building. In Isaiah 61:3, we see that the ultimate purpose for growing as a church is to give glory to God -- The ultimate purpose for us growing as believers is to give glory to God. As Jesus told His disciples on the night before He died on the cross: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples (John 15:8).” We must be growing for God’s glory! How can we do it?
1. First, by listening to the Lord’s proclamation.
*We must listen to His Good News about salvation in Jesus Christ. As He says in vs. 1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor.”
*How do we know that these words are about Jesus? We know because in Luke 4, Jesus went to the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth, and read these same words from Isaiah. Then Jesus sat down to show His authority and said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)
*Jesus Christ has a message of Good News for you today, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor.” But notice that the Lord is not just talking about people who are financially poor. Surely the Lord loves poor people, but here He’s talking about someone who is spiritually poor -- and knows it. This is the same idea Jesus had in mind in Matt 5:3, when He said: “Blessed (or happy) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is talking about people who have realized that they have no righteousness on their own -- But they are happy, because they have trusted in the Lord.
*As William Barclay wrote:
“Blessed is the man who has realized his own utter helplessness, and who has put his whole trust in God. . . He will become completely attached to God, for he will know that God alone can bring him help, and hope, and strength. The man who is poor in spirit is the man who has realized that things mean nothing, and that God means everything.” (1)
*Albert Barnes said:
“To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by the rich grace and mercy of God . . . “ (2)
*Timothy Smith said:
-Please grasp this principle: You are nothing without God!
*Think of it. You cannot boast to God about your goodness.
-You don’t impress officials at NASA with a paper airplane.
-You don’t boast about your crayon sketches in the presence of Picasso.
-You don’t claim equality with Einstein because you can write H2O.
-And you can’t impress God by your success. (3)
*But God has Good News for you today! He loves you in spite of your ungodly, selfish, sinful ways. Jesus Christ died on the cross to take the punishment for your sins, and rose again to give eternal, abundant life to all who will turn to Him in faith. As Paul said in Rom 5:6&8, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (And) God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
*You will never grow into the person God wants you to be until you receive the life that Jesus died to give you. He is longing to give you that life today. And good news! He will! -- if you will receive Christ as your Savior and Lord. Jesus is calling out to you today to give up on yourself and put your hope in Him.
2. Listen to His proclamation. And let the Lord give you His liberation.
*Part of the Good News in vs. 1 is “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” Here God is not primarily talking about prisons made with concrete and steel, though many Christians around the world are locked up in prisons like that today. They are suffering in places like China and Iran. And one day they will be free. But here God is mainly talking about the prisoners who are trapped by their own sin, trapped under a sentence of eternal death, trapped in the prison of their mind, with no way of escape except through Jesus Christ.