Summary: Understanding the glory of God
Returning Glory (7) :
1. Review of Glory
a. The Glory of God is defined as “VISIBLE MAJESTY OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE. “
b. Understanding and Seeing/Encountering God’s Glory is important to us because:
i. It causes us to worship.
ii. We assume our rightful, created place and purpose before our creator.
iii. It leads us to transformation.
c. We also have looked at Jesus’ glory while on earth and found that he revealed it during his first miracle at Cana, at the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and during the transfiguration where his divinity became visible to the disciples, who up to this time, had considered him just an extraordinary rabbi.
d. We examined why and how we are to reflect God’s glory.
e. And last week we looked at the concept of God’s glory departing from our lives.
2. Our subject today is Jesus’ Return in Glory.
a. I have heard very little teaching describing the person of Jesus Christ when it comes to His return.
i. Most of what I have heard has had to do with the sequence of events and timing of His return and the events surrounding His return.
ii. In fact, I recently got an invitation to a “prophecy conference” hosted by a local church.
iii. I tossed it in the trash.
iv. Why? Because so much more emphasis is on the rapture, the tribulation, the nation of Israel, and even given to the antichrist in some of these teachings that Christ himself!
v. So today, we will focus on Jesus.
1. Not on the events, not on the timing, not even on all of the other characters of the end time. Just Jesus. And His Glory. And how we are to prepare and conduct ourselves in light of what we believe about His return.
3. But to get to the return, we must first grapple with the departure of Jesus.
a. In Luke 24:26 “Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
i. Right after the resurrection, on the road to Emmaus with two of the disciples, Jesus appears (they don’t recognize him) and travels with them, explaining what had happened.
ii. Over and over again, before his crucifixion, while the disciples are looking for the Messiah to be the conquerer, Jesus keeps pointing to a suffering cross.
iii. This is because there is a foundational principle concerning glory. Suffering must precede glory.
1. Most of us view suffering as the “ultimate” evil.
2. We run from suffering, we flee from it’s threat.
3. We take pain pills, we avoid painful situations…and it is part of our survival wiring we are given.
4. Yet, suffering is common to all people.
5. Suffering is something we really cannot control. But what we can control is our response to it:Why Me?
a. “In all fairness, if we ask the ‘Why me?’ question in regard to our burdens, we should also ask it in regard to our blessings.
b. “We take for granted 100 days of perfect health, and then grumble about one day of aches and pains.
c. “We drive the freeway hundreds of times without incident, and then ask, ‘Why me?’ the one time we have a flat tire or engine trouble.
d. “We casually accept the fact when our family is together for the holidays, but when we are separated, we dwell on our loneliness.
e. “How often do we say, ‘Why me?’ as we count our blessings?
f. “Rather than feeling sad about what we don’t have, doesn’t it make more sense to feel a kind of rollicking rejoicing over everything we do have?
6. And suffering is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Separation from God is the worst thing. Suffering is a natural and normal part of life in this deteriorating, human body.
7. Yet Jesus embraced suffering, knowing it would be redemptive, it would purchase people back from rebellion toward God. Jesus knew that suffering was not the worst evil…lost men and women were the worst thing in creation. And he would pay the price to win you and I back.
iv. Look at Hebrews 2:9-10 “ But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, 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 to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect (complete) through suffering.”
v. It is through suffering that God makes us complete. Painfully complete. And through suffering is found glory.