This is the third lesson in a series on the mission of God. I started previously with a series of thoughts initially on the image of God filling the earth and then wrote the lesson itself over on the Search Party site.
From there, we moved on to underline the idea that God’s mission should fill the whole earth. That means that God’s redemption is available to everyone. God wants everyone to return to him, to be with him as he originally intended.
Now, we want to ask and answer the next questions such as, “Why is God doing this? Why is he going to all of this trouble?”
Created to Glorify God
Let’s start with a scripture in the book of Isaiah:
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth — everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. ”Isaiah 43:5-7
Through Isaiah, God is saying that his people will come from the ends of the earth back to him. Those people whom God made and that called by name, he is now calling all of them back to himself.
But God says something interesting in the midst of calling the people back. He gives the reason WHY he created them. He says that he created them for his glory.
As God’s people, created in the image of God, we are created for a purpose. That purpose is to give God glory.
Killed to Glorify God
Now we move forward in the book of John to see if this is also Jesus’s perspective. Does he also believe that his purpose is to give glory to God?
At the end of Jesus’s life, he begins to teach and prepare his disciples for his death. As he speaks about his death, he admits that carrying out this mission even is difficult for him, but he wants to bring glory to the Father:
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”John 12:27-28
Jesus’s overriding concern is that God would be glorified. Even if he is troubled; Even if it means difficulty or pain for him; Even if it means that he would lose his life, the most important thing is that God would be glorified. This is the overriding purpose for God’s people: To give glory to God.
What about me?
So let’s apply this to each of us. What does this have to do with me? If I believe in Jesus and am one of God’s people, what is my purpose?
As you probably have guessed by now, we must also live our lives to bring glory to God. Take a look at what apostle Paul said in the book of Romans:
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”Romans 15:8-9
In this passage, we see that there are two purposes for Jesus to become a servant of the Jews. Paul says that he did it so that the promises that God made would be fulfilled and that the Gentiles would glorify God. In this case, God’s credibility is upheld in that his promises are fulfilled. However, we see again the purpose of the people: that they give glory to God!
This, therefore, is also our purpose. We have been made to give glory to God. But how? How do we give glory to God?
We don’t need to look any farther than the way that God’s story finishes. God brings all of the nations back to himself exactly as we saw in the prophecy above from Isaiah. God said that all people, including both the Jews and the Gentiles, would come to him to give glory to him.
And that is exactly what happens:
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,Revelation 5:8-10
and they will reign on the earth.”
Believing in Jesus and following him is not just about avoiding Hell. Instead, following Jesus is all about bringing glory to God. We bring glory to him when we join God in his plan and his mission to bring people from the ends of the earth to worship him.
To believe in Jesus and follow him is a first step, but there are many other steps to follow to be his disciple and follow him, all for the purpose of bringing God glory!
We actually ended up doing the study a little bit differently than what I wrote above. Instead of going through each of the scriptures, we actually worked through the concept in a different way this time. Here were the steps we went through:
What do you thank God for this week?
What do you need prayer for this week?
How did you obey God from our last meeting?
What does the word “glory” mean? What does it mean to give God glory?
Read Isaiah 43:5-7.
What is this scripture talking about? How would you summarize it?
This is what we were made for: To give God glory!
Cat vs. Dog Metaphor
Who considers themselves to be a cat person? A dog person?
How does a cat think? A cat thinks, “You pet me, you feed me, you love me. I must be God.”
But a dog thinks differently. The dog thinks, “You pet me, you feed me, you love me. You must be God.”
Is the point of the story of the Bible about you, or about God? Try these statments:
|Jesus left the Father’s glory for…||Me||The glory of the Father|
|He suffered for…||Me||The glory of the Father|
|He died for…||Me||The glory of the Father|
|He’s gone back to heaven to build a mansion for…||Me||The glory of the Father|
|He’s interceding for…||Me||The glory of the Father|
|He lives for…||Me||The glory of the Father|
So if we understand and believe that the point of our lives is to give glory to God, and then if we understand that we also can have a tendency to make the story about God instead of me, what should we change? For example, here are a few questions we might ask ourselves:
- How should my prayer life change if I live to give glory to God?
- How should I spend my time if I live to give glory to God?
- How should I spend my money if I live to give glory to God?
Does God accomplish his plan? Read Revelation 5:8-10.
Who is there around God’s throne?
What can I do this week to join God’s plan and give him glory?
Who can I share this lesson with this week?
Several of us at Search Party worked through the Perspectives class several times and have heard Bob Sjogren share on this topic several times. He has been a great influence to me regarding this subject. I recommend checking out this whole video to hear Bob teach this subject. You will see that a portion of what Bob teaches has been included in this lesson.