WSC 001 Giving Praise, Getting Joy –

Loving God as He intends us to love Him

 

 

Here is the written draft of the sermon. It is close to what was preached …

 

This is the first in our new series of sermons drawn from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, first published in 1647. This sermon uses updated versions of the WSC.

 

Hear now the Word of God, God’s Word for God’s People.

I am reading from John 15:11 in the ESV.

(The Gospel of John Chapter 15 verse 11 in the English Standard Version.)

 

Jesus said, These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

May God bless the reading and the hearing of His Word today, we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

I started my sermon research by looking at the END of the answer. We are going to ENJOY GOD FOREVER.

From Rev 21: 3-4

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

How can that be? We are such sinners, such reprobates, such unclean people. Yet by grace we become confident we can enjoy God in the New Heaven and New Earth as it tells us in Rev 21:3-4:

            • There, we will be God’s people
            • God will be with us
            • no more tears
            • no more death
            • no more crying
            • no more pain
            • The future is under His control, and
            • it sounds real good.

But what about TODAY in this world, in this moment?

Somehow, Christians in general have a misconception about the KoG. Many live as if the KoG is ONLY tomorrow.

Perhaps that happens b/c this life is bleak for so many, and sunrise in glory will be glorious.

So we say, someday … this vale of tears will give way …

That, however, is NOT what Christ taught.

He taught the already/notyet of God’s Kingdom.

If we are understanding His teaching correctly, we realize that the KoG is present with us today. Not in its fullness, but in its larval stage.

A pupa – a caterpillar in its cocoon – is a butterfly. But it is not yet time for its big reveal.

You won’t see a caterpillar crawling on a branch, fall off, sprout wings and fly away. C, Pupa, Bfly

A fetus in the womb is already human, complete with lungs and heart and jaw and brain by only a few wks, though it is not yet time for the big reveal.

By gestation week 9 the baby’s basic physiology is in place. He even has tiny earlobes, arms, legs, toes and fingers.

By gestation week 13, the last week of the first trimester, the baby’s tiny fingers have fingerprints. Her veins and organs are clearly visible through her skin. A girl’s ovaries contain more than 2 million eggs.

So too with the KoG: you are a pupa in the KoG, being prepared for the big reveal of Heaven.

You are a fetus in gestation, being prepared for the big reveal in God’s presence.

Yet you are already there! Your big reveal lies in the future, but you have discernible features of a child of the King.

What are some of those features? Not wings or tails, but praise and joy.

A modern version of WSC Q1 reads like this:

Q: What is the primary purpose of all humanity?

A: The primary purpose of all humanity is to give glory to God, and to receive joy from Him in return.

REPEAT:

What is the primary purpose of all humanity?

The primary purpose of humanity is to give glory to God,

REPEAT:

and to receive joy from Him in return.

Now, what is meant by “give glory to God”?

Yes, you are right. God’s glory is complete. He is perfect and secure with His glory. God is glory. But listen to these words from 1 Chron 16:28–29

“Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

bring an offering and come before him!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness”

(1 Chronicles 16:28–29, ESV)

Later, read the longer passage, 1Chron 16:23-36

Scripture teaches that His glory has two components:

his essential glory and

his declared glory.

God’s essential glory is that which he is absolutely and perfectly and completely in himself. In Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14, ESV)

God is complete and needs no additions to His glory.

Yet He permits, and calls for, and commands, declarations of His glory. This is God’s declared glory. This is what we give him in obedience to His commands, in response to His awesome being, as described in 1 Chron and as specified in Q&A 1

God’s declared glory is that glory shown or made known in and by his creatures.

The heavens declare the glory of God – should we not?

Isaiah in 44:23 writes, “Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it!

And Isaiah answers the WHY question as well: do this, He says in v23, For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.” (Isa 44:23, ESV)

God has worked redemption, and He will be glorified by His redeemed people!

The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Thess. 1:10 [Christ Jesus] “will come on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed”

Christ will be glorified by His redeemed people. Psalm 103:1–2 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,” (Psalm 103:1–2, ESV)

To give Glory to God then is to declare the glory of God by word spoken or deed done IN THE NAME OF pX.

After all, as we are taught in John 1:14,

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

How are you giving glory to God these days? Do you show the wonders of His mighty love? Are you living with His glory on your face and in your heart?

Does your heart sing Bless the Lord?

When Moses came down the mountain, his face shone so brightly with the glory of God that he had to wear a veil. Now, in this NT era, Paul writes

2 Cor 3:15-18 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

So other ways to ask this Q1 …

What are we doing here?

Why am I here?

We have a legitimate and critically important answer to that question.

We are here to give Glory to God.

Q: What is the primary purpose of all humanity?

A: The primary purpose of all humanity is to give glory to God, and to receive joy from Him in return.

Listen to these words from 1 Chronicles 16:28–29

“Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

bring an offering and come before him!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness”

(1 Chronicles 16:28–29, ESV)

Why are we here? We’re here as PUPAE, caterpillars in transition to the K of G, but still already there. We are learning to give glory to God.

Why are we here? We’re here as fetuses in transition to the K of G, but still already there. We are learning to receive joy from God.

Jesus said, These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

What is a person’s chief end? Why are we here? What is the primary purpose of human existence?

A person’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

A: The primary purpose of human existence is to give glory to God, and to receive joy from Him in return.

Jesus wants to receive the glory due His name, and He wants your life to be filled with His joy!

(The conclusion to this sermon is on the audio.)