Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We are selfless followers of a self-centered God

The God Who Exalts God

“We are selfless followers of a self-centered God.”

Ezekiel 36:22-23 (p. 614) March 18, 2012


“Therefore say to the House of Israel, this is what the sovereign Lord says, “It is not for your sake O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.”

God was pretty much telling the nation of Israel “You do not exist for your glory—you exist for my glory! I did not call you to be a holy nation so that I can meet your desires, give you everything you desire and demand. I called you to be a nation that glorifies my holy name and exalts me as the one true God among nations who worship thousands of false gods!

He is telling them and us I am weary of you all…all your life, all your budgets, all your ambitions, your programs, your relationships, your possessions, your careers and your trust! I do not exist to be your mistress on the side; I demand absolute faithfulness.

You remember the story about the guy who pulled up to the corner while driving his car and Jesus was standing there. He opened the passenger door and invited him to get in for the ride. And Jesus just shook his head. So the guy opened the rear door, maybe he wants to be chauffeured around. And Jesus shook his head again. Finally the guy opened the driver’s door, got out from behind the wheel and Jesus got in while he went around to the passenger side.

Here is the radical truth of Christianity, whether we like it or not, we have lost the right to drive the car. We have surrendered the right to direct our lives. Don’t deceive yourself. Jesus will never be in the passenger seat. God will never be your co-pilot. He is only satisfied in the pilot’s seat!

God is sovereign. He is Lord. He is master. He is our king. He holds our lives in his hands and He is free to spend our lives anyway He chooses. Why? Because He doesn’t exist to serve our will. We exist to serve His and to glorify His Holy name.

God is self-centered. And before you think “Wow, why is that?” answer the question—who else would we have Him exalt? For at the moment He exalts anything else or anyone else, he is no longer the God who is worthy of all glory. Everything God does, even the salvation of his people, ultimately centers around Himself. Because He is worthy of all praise from all people.

Here’s a quote from David Platt in “Radical Together:

See attachment #1

Here’s an important question in regard to this issue:

I. What are we working toward with all our hearts?

There’s a line in my job description for Senior Minister at Fern Creek Christian Church that reads “plan yearly for vision and goal setting.” I’ve got to tell you that the word “vision” has somewhat become like the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” song in my life. The first time I heard it, or just the first handful of times I heard it, it was okay. Now it just kind of makes me nauseated. Setting and reaching goals is important. But my vision has been averted from where I used to look. Am I supposed to bring a large crowd together in a great environment where we hear terrific music, see killer videos and then blast out 25 to 30 minutes of teaching? Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision, the people will perish. But if this is to be the life and focus of my ministry I’d rather perish.

It’s a vision that’s dangerous because it can easily become selfish and member focused instead of God focused and God exalting.

So the important question must be asked, “What are we working toward with all our hearts?” The only possible vision for the church of Jesus Christ is to make known the glory of God in all nations. This is the vision that must drive the church because it is what drives God.

The danger for churches is that we say this is our vision and focus, but in the reality of our decisions it’s not what we’re working toward with all our hearts. We’ve asked Jesus once again to ride in the passenger seat. “Jesus, we are aware of the direction you want to go, but right now we’re gonna decide where we’re going.”

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