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Sunday, 5 February 2017

'DECLARING GOD'S GLORY

Rev. Brian Wilkie
By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                    

Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
Rockland, Ontario

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, February 5th, 2017:

http://accm.ncf.ca/images/17.02.05.mp3
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Broadcast Notes:

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Welcome to Good News In the Morning a program of words and music bringing a Christian message of hope and encouragement to those who are looking for intelligent meaningful and spirited approach to faith and to life.

This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries PO Box 184 Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0. I'm your host today, Brian Wilkie of St. Andrew's Christian Church in Rockland. As always I want to start by thanking you our listeners because we are so grateful for your encouragement and support. Please remember that you can always visit our website for materials to encourage and support you in your Christian walk.

If you miss an episode of the show you can go to our website and download the podcast or the MP3 of our broadcast. Details can be found on our website which is www.GNCM.ca.

www.GNCM.ca.


Today I have a special thank you for the sponsor of this show, it's a thank you to the United Church Women of Dominion-Chalmers Church. Dominion-Chalmers is a church where I used to do ministry for 7 years and I'm really pleased they've stepped forward to sponsor this show today. Thank you again.



Declaring God's Glory

Today, as we begin I want to share with you a scripture that speaks of the glory of God. That's my theme for the show today, Declaring God's Glory.
This scripture is taken from Chronicles although the words are also repeated in the Book of Psalms.

Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy in his dwelling place.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
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 his holiness.
Tremble before him, all the earth!
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
Then the trees of the forest will sing,
they will sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Cry out, “Save us, O God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
that we may glory in your praise.”
Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD.” (1 Ch 16:23–36)

That's actually a part of the Scripture where, "the people say, 'Amen,' and 'Praise the Lord' in response to this glorious theme of praise. We're going to look at the theme of Praise throughout the scriptures. In fact the first words of the Bible are, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth," and we soon see the story of scripture, which is set in the heavens and the Earth he created, is really the story about the one true God and His glory. We're going to explore this theme, and to begin I'd like you to listen to a song of praise sung by Jaci Velasquez from her 1998 album named with her own name. The name of the song is simply titled 'Glory ."

The praise of God and the Declaration about God's glory is seen throughout scriptures and there's a great emphasis on God In Action, with God being glorified in what he does for his people: God, who created all universe, who created all things, who made the Earth and prepared it for humanity; God, who walked in the garden with Adam and Eve and who was patient with them despite their Rebellion; God, who disciplined the Earth, who judged the Earth; who caused all things to move forward in his Plan of Salvation. The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, describe a God In Action, working to redeem a world that has turned away from his love. So throughout the Torah we see God glorified in what he does for his people and that glory is seen in his work to deliver the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, even as all the events that led to them going to Egypt to save them from famine were part of his plan and bring glory to his name.

Then the Torah spends an awful lot of time talking about the wisdom of God, describing God's wisdom in the way he directs the people of Israel how to live; how to live in a society that is free and is capable of fixing itself on serving their neighbors, blessing one another and obeying their God. God in action and God in Word glorified by his wonderful, wonderful work.

When we get the further on we go through the histories of Israel. God is glorified, and that is the theme again, by the way he keeps reaching out the people of Israel and restoring them after they drift away from wisdom and truth. He calls them to worship him alone because he knows that the false gods of the nations around them, these idols made of stone and connected with purely imaginary ideas these gods are no good and of no use to them. To praise those gods is to waste yourself and to demean yourself.

The Book of Psalms speaks about the worship of those Idols, saying that those Idols, "have mouths but don't speak; have eyes but don't see; ears, but don't hear - and those who worship them become like them! God calls the people of Israel to worship him in his glory because only the glory of God can give them life and lead them in the way Everlasting.

Throughout the Book of Psalms there are different themes about how God is glorified. In some Psalms they remember the works of God. Looking back over the whole history they praise God and declare how wonderful he was to their ancestors to bring them to this day and this present moment.

But other times the psalms delight in God's law and explore the wisdom of God, declaring his glory in the way he has given beautiful direction to his people.
Other psalms, more personally, speak about experiencing the goodness in of God
In Psalm 18 it reads, (Ps 18:46–50).       

         The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
         Exalted be God my Savior!
         He is the God who avenges me,
         who subdues nations under me,
         who saves me from my enemies.
         You exalted me above my foes;
         from violent men you rescued me.
         Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD;
         I will sing praises to your name.
         He gives his king great victories;
         he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
         to David and his descendants forever.

There's no doubt about the subject of that psalm: God's blessing on the King as he enables the King to overcome violent enemies of the nation and to keep the people of God in Freedom.

Later on and Psalm 119 a psalmist declares how wonderful God's word is. Psalm 119 is a huge, long structure with a very careful pattern, so that it tries to imitate the orderliness of God's law and his creation.
In Psalm 119 in the 89th verse it reads:
(Psalm 119: 89–96)

         Your word, O LORD, is eternal;
         it stands firm in the heavens.
         Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
         you established the earth, and it endures.
         Your laws endure to this day,
         for all things serve you.
         If your law had not been my delight,
         I would have perished in my affliction.
         I will never forget your precepts,
         for by them you have preserved my life.
         Save me, for I am yours;
         I have sought out your precepts.
         The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
         but I will ponder your statutes.
         To all perfection I see a limit;
         but your commands are boundless.  

This Psalmist shows us that in looking at how God has shown his love by directing his people along the right path,  that in meditating on that law, meditating on the word of God, there is great delight and great Wonder at the glory of God.

Then we can turn into a psalm that is far more personal, that has become a heartfelt prayer for many Christians and Jewish people through the ages, when the psalmist David writes,

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul."

Psalm 23 speaks about an experience of God that is a blessing to the individual end: Salvation and nurture and Care coming from the Most High. God is glorified in his tender loving care for his people.

As you read the Psalms you will find the theme of Glory in each of these ways. Even in the dark times of life when people are going through the most difficult trials they find that their hope secured by looking, not to the problems, but to the glory of God who can save.

We're going to look at some of the other themes of the glory of God in the scriptures, but I'd like you to hear a traditional hymn sung by Michael Card, "Holy God We Praise Thy Name," from his album StarKindler.
Michael Card, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, StarKindler, 2:55

To continue with the theme of the glory of God in the Old Testament, we can look into the books of the prophets, where people are called to remember the glory of God and where they're called to live out their lives in a way that gives glory to God.

When the prophets call for wisdom and call for people to act with justice and mercy, they're calling for people to demonstrate the things that glorify God for God has been glorified in his wisdom and his Justice and in his Mercy.

But I want to turn to the New Testament and we see the glory of God declared and demonstrated in a whole new way - consistent with everything from the Old Testament but brought into our presence in a new way.

For the glory of God is theme of the New Testament as well. and it begins with announcing the glory of God, declaring the glory of God, around Christ's birth.

Now the Christmas season is past now, and it's easy to forget all the things that they were going on in the Christmas story, but let's remember for a moment how theme of the Angel song was the glory of God. When Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit she spoke of the glory of God and how God was glorified in Saving his people through Jesus Christ. When Simeon received Jesus in the temple, he, again, made the theme of the glory of God the theme of his praise because in the baby in his arms he saw the glory of God revealed, the salvation from God in this little child. When Jesus comes to do his ministry and to teach the kingdom of God is the theme of his ministry and he speaks over and over again about how we can glorify God by loving our neighbour, by doing the will of God and having hearts shaped and filled with the righteousness of God. the glory of God is the theme of his ministry and the goal of his works.

We see that even when he comes across a person born blind his disciples ask the question, "Lord, was this fellow born blind because he sinned or because his parents sinned?" (Because that was the way people looked at the trials, the hardships of life: that somehow you got what you deserved you got what was coming to you). And Jesus changed the whole dialogue by saying that the reason this person is blind it so the glory of God can be revealed in him. Then he revealed the Glory of God by healing the man and giving him his sight back.

The glory of God is in restoring the beauty of creation, restoring the Wonder and purpose of human life. The glory of God is in him pouring out his love on his people. Even as we go through hardships, we might want to take a moment to think about how God will be glorified as he delivers us. It may not be in this moment, it may be a future moment that we are looking forward to,  but we can anticipate the glory of God and be lifted up in our difficulties.

When Jesus healed the sick he was glorifying God and when he fed the hungry he was glorifying God. When he cast out demons and set people free from evil influences in their lives he was glorifying God. When he welcomed outcasts, when the sinners, as the Pharisees called them, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, when they all discovered that God was inviting them home that he was calling them to turn from their ways and receive the blessing of peace and fellowship in the family of God, many of them flocked to him, because the glory of God is not setting up walls between the sinners and the righteous, but inviting the sinners to come and receive the glory of God in his salvation.

When Jesus died on the cross the theme was glory. God is glorified when he demonstrates his love in that full sacrifice of himself for the sake of his creation. He is Glorified in the Son's obedience to the Father and in the Father's willingness to send his Son to redeem the Earth. What great love he has for us that this Son whom he loved, he was willing to allow to come and bring us to Salvation.

Of course, it's easier all God's glory in the great things - when Jesus rises from the dead, when we see that death has no hold on him! It's easy to see that God is glorified in that powerful work of Resurrection! We can make that the theme of Easter songs in a few weeks time, we can make that the theme of our celebration every Sunday as we sing "Jesus Christ is risen today" but let's not forget that His Glory also in the darker, shadowy times when he shows his love in the humility and in the pain of working for our salvation.

The Apostle Paul describes the glory of Christ in these words from the book of Colossians:

(Col 1:15–20). He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Jesus glorifies the Father, and he glorifies the Father by reconciling all things to himself. When he calls to you and invites you to turn to him for forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of eternal life, then God is glorified, God is glorified!

The purpose of Jesus' life and the goal of God's work in creation is to bring lost people back to himself.

Our story maybe a story of a joyful life, a happy, contented life and that does bring glory to God. Someone who grows up in the knowledge of God and from early age has received Christ as their Savior, going from one good thing to another - that's a great Story, that's a wonderful story! But so is the story of the person who felt at one time that they were so far from God that the gap could never be closed; who felt that their deeds had put an impenetrable barrier between them and God; who was trapped in a lifestyle which they felt they could never get out of. But then the light of God shone in their lives and the barrier came down and the shame was taken away, the guilt was erased and the power to live a new life was granted through the Holy Spirit - this is a great story! This is the story for so many of us: that God has glorified himself by showing his ability to save, his ability to deliver, his ability to bring peace in storm, to shine light into darkness and to never be overcome.

I hope that you have a story like this: that even if right now you feel distant from God that you will recognize that God wants to close that this distance and bring you back to himself; that you can pray to him and know that he will hear your prayer and he will be glorified in Saving you and saving others with his great love.
Let's turn to God In Prayer now!

Almighty God thank you that you are full of glory, that the heavens and earth declare your glory and that we, in our way, can declare your glory as well, as we call out to you in our need and recognize you as the one who can save; as we call out to you in thanksgiving for the gifts you have given. As we praise you for the hope that we have, the promise that we will receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. we give you thanks and praise in his name, amen.

Once again I want to thank you listeners for your encouragement and support. We do thank you because you keep us on the air week by week. We want to encourage you to support our ministry financially. Did you know the good news ministries has only one major cost? Your hosts Brent, George, Juliet and myself are volunteers. So are the people who manage our website, organize our events and operate our board. Your gift can help us to continue to meet that one vital expense, the cost of broadcasting, which enables us to reach you and over 7000 listeners in the Ottawa River Valley. If you can please make a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries and send it to P.O. Box 184 Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0 we will be happy to send you a receipt at income tax time. I also want to encourage you to tell others about this program

Be sure to worship in a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity and resolve. Now to conclude our program I would like to have you listen to a song by the Rend Collective, called  Praise like Fireworks, from their album, Homemade Worship, 2:48

I do pray that the Lord will hold your heart and you would know Jesus personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart, may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love.

Good News In The Morning is produced in the Studios of News Talk Radio 580 CFRA.

Rev. Brian Wilkie
St. Andrew's Christian Community, Rockland, Ontario
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To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

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