Here are the slides from today > The Glory of God
At some point in your life, God appeared in your story – “and the Glory of God shone all around them and they were terrified”. When God appears, your story changes. He is beyond all comprehension.
Sometimes this happens quite innocently – you’re 12 years old, off at a church youth camp and God moves on your soul and you accept Jesus as your Savior. For others of us, this moment comes when at the depth of our depravity and sin, we reach a level of brokenness that can only be saved by a miracle … and God … shows up. Others of us have pursued our flesh, chased our pleasures, sought after money and possessions to medicate our broken souls and a friend introduces us to perhaps a better way … and we meet Jesus for the first time.
Whatever the case, when God truly comes into your life, whenever God moves upon your soul – your life will never be the same. And you will know by the fruit it bears. You will know it when that man walks away from his selfish desires of “me first” and changes seemingly overnight. You know it when the drug dealer becomes a missionary. You know it when a woman stands to testify and she can barely get the words out of her mouth about how radically transformed her life is because of Jesus. HE is who we worship. HE is why we praise. HE is why we stand and sing and dance and why we move towards others in love as brothers. HE is why we give up worldly pleasures to chase after more of God. To God be ALL the Glory!
The missionary Jim Elliott famously said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. Let that soak in.
And so this morning, We challenged the current status quo and asked some tough questions. Why are you saved? Is it for prosperity? Is it so you can be comfortable? So you can lead a blessed and prosperous life? So you can keep your faith to yourself because you’re really not comfortable intruding into others lives with a discussion of spirituality?
Why are you saved?
What purpose did God have in mind when He rescued you? What is your calling? What is your divine purpose? You possess the most valuable treasure in the universe – a God who loved you so much that He GAVE Jesus … for you. He did so … for a reason. You have a role to play in HIStory. What is it?
The problem with the “why are you saved?” question is that for many of us, we’ve fallen into the trap of living out an inverted theology. Instead of “Glory to God in the highest” as our first and foremost, we’re living out “my” story. It’s me. Mine. My glory. My accomplishments. The success of my kids. The success of my career. My pleasure. My consumption. My gratification. My trips. My luxuries. My comfort.
To that end, I ask you, “If your sin is not gluttonous and ravenous, then what is it?” I mean really. Let’s just say it like it is. Indeed, my sin is both full of a gluttonous, and ravenous hunger that cannot be quenched. There isn’t enough sex, isn’t enough gratification, isn’t enough pleasure or money or applause, approval, devotion, attention to fill the hole in my soul.
And you know this too by its fruit – a man cannot sin in isolation. His ravenous appetite for “more” always brings collateral damage to others.
The inverted theology explains so much. It explains all the Goliath’s in our life and why they are so powerful. It explains why we leave our church because the music is too loud or not reverent enough. We leave because the kids program isn’t exactly how we think it needs to be or because the pastor won’t take the political side we need him to take. We are there in church as a consumer. Inverted theology fully explains the prosperity “gospel” because, after all, it is all about “me” and God wanting to bless me. Inverted theology explains why we’ve watered down the Gospel, won’t take controversial stands and why we’ve embraced a “politically correct” stance. We’re making it all about us instead of being all about God and what HE is doing.
I fear we’ve lost sight of that radical God and the earth-shattering transformations He has brought about in our lives. When you know that God, you will chase after Him with all your might. You will worship and sign and dance and you’ll not care what others may think about you. You’ll “get” what Jim Elliott was talking about. The things of this earth won’t satisfy and you know it. You’ll want more of God and less of the world. God saved you for a reason, for a divine purpose. We live in a toxic “me-first” world and we have an enemy just waiting for the chance to trip us up and lure us into a self-absorbed lifestyle. He lulls us into a spiritual complacency and a “nice, comfortable” Christianity and as Louie said last week, the enemy is fine with that as long as you invert. If you make the story about you and your wonderful life, he is fine with you adding, “Oh, and I worship a great God”.
What the enemy fears is you waking up to what is going on and re-inverting the story to put God rightfully back up on top of the story. Now it is HIStory and I have a supporting role to play. I will go anywhere, do anything He calls me to. Will I have worldly success and all the creature comforts? Surely not but I am giving up things I cannot keep anyway for treasure I can never lose. A man told me today about a young girl hoping to go to North Korea as a missionary… North Korea! He said, “that’s pretty risky” and she said, “Oh I never envisioned entering heaven with all my arms and legs anyway”. Wow.
What are you going to do with all this … ?