The theme for The Church of Pentecost for the five-year period ending 2023 is “Possessing the nations.” However, the Lord gives us yearly themes out of the overarching theme and the theme for this year is “A glorious church to possess the nations.” The scriptures attached to the theme are Ephesians 3.21 and Ephesians 5.27. So, for the whole year, we will be looking at a glorious church possessing the nations. This morning I will be looking at a section of the theme and the topic is “The glory of God.”
Read Ephesians 3.20-21 and Ephesians 5.27.
Three important statements about the glory of God
Let me begin by making three important statements we need to understand:
1. One reason for the existence of the church is the manifestation of the glory of God
God has called the church for the manifestation of his glory among the nations. The church, therefore, is supposed to be the vehicle or conveyor belt by which the glory of God is revealed among the nations. In the Old Testament era, God decided to use the people of Israel to achieve this agenda so he called Abraham and transformed him into a nation and the agenda of God was to use Israel to reveal his glory among the nations. But God in his own wisdom in the New Testament era has decided to use the church to perpetuate his agenda. So, the agenda has not changed. The agenda that the glory of God will be revealed among the nations has not changed but God in his wisdom has decided to use the church in the New Testament era to achieve the same agenda. We are so honored and privileged to be used to achieve this agenda. By extension the believer, who is a member of the church, the body of Christ, must be a carrier of the glory of God because God has called us to reveal his glory among the nations. That is why the Apostle Paul says whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10.31).
2. It is the will of God that his glory must not be lacking in any generation
It is his desire that his glory abide from one generation to another. So, the scripture we read says “to him be glory in the church throughout all generations.” What it means is that the glory of God is so important that no generation should dare miss it. It appears that Apostle Paul in this scripture was attesting that the glory of God is the one most important thing that must not be lost in any generation. No generation should get to Ichabod, where the glory has departed. That is a disastrous and catastrophic state. I pray that in my generation they will see the glory of God and in other generations as well. May we be a church that will see his glory everyday and every time.
3. Jesus expects his bride, the church, to be glorious
Last year we talked about the church as a bride of Christ. Jesus is expecting his bride, the church, to be glorious—without spot or wrinkle. So, Revelation 19.7 says
Let us rejoice and be load and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (NIV)
Here, we see that the bride is ready but Jesus is expecting that the church will be without any spot or wrinkle. It would be so glorious that there will be no spot or wrinkle on it. Jesus wants to see his bride as holy and as pure as ever.
Let’s understand these three important things: that God has called us to reveal his glory among the nations; that his glory will abide from generation to generation; and that we the bride of Christ will be presented to him in glory without any spot or wrinkle.
Lessons on the glory of God from the book of Psalms
Let me take you through the book of Psalms to discuss a few scriptures that talk about the glory of God and we will pick some lessons from them.
1. God is a God of glory
David saw him as such so he said in Psalm 29.3 that,
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. (NIV)
When we talk about God, we are not talking about an ordinary person but a God of glory. Everything about him, his authority, power, wisdom, and everything about him is glorious. If God is the God of glory and I am a child of God then define who I am. We must be men and women of glory since our father is the God of glory. A cow does not give birth to a goat. That would be an anomaly. So, if the DNA of God is in me and I have been born of God then you should understand that I am not an ordinary person but a child of the God of glory. So, if you see me don’t look down upon me for I carry the glory of God. If somebody is treating you ordinary, know that you are not an ordinary person but you carry something inside of you and what you carry is the glory of God for you are a child of the God of glory. How I wish you would come to this understanding!
2. God is the king of glory
The second thing the Psalms say is that, not only is he the Lord of glory but also the King of glory. Psalm 24.7-10 describes him as such. Thus, our God is a God of glory but not just that. He is also a King of glory. Why should gates be lifted up? Because the King of glory is ready to make an entrance into them.
I declare, “Lift up your heads O gates and be lifted up O ancient doors.” We speak to gates doors and impossibilities to lift themselves up so that the King of glory may enter. It is the Lord of hosts that is the King of glory. He is mighty in warfare mighty in battle. I can imagine our God seated on the throne and around him is his glory. Let ancient gates be open and let doors be lifted up because the King of glory is ready to make an entrance. As you listen to the word of God, I see gates being opened because the King of glory, the Lord of hosts, is about to enter. Before him there is none and besides him there is none. He is unique as the King and the Lord of glory. Let every ancient door be open.
3. He is the glory of his children
Psalm 3.3 says,
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (ESV)
So, I don’t have any glory of my own. I don’t mind your impression about me for I carry a glory. He is my glory. I don’t have any glory of my own. Jesus who was crucified, buried, and came back to life on the third day is my glory. Thou O Lord are a shield around me. You are my glory. You have underrated yourself for far too long but God has put his word in my heart to proclaim to someone that you don’t have any glory of your own, but he is your glory. So, your opinion about how handsome or rich I am does not matter. The scripture says no matter how you look at me I am a carrier of glory and he is my glory. That is why you need to walk with your chest out. It is because you are a carrier of glory that does not belong to you but he is your glory. He is my glory.
You are a child of glory. Your father is the Lord and King of glory and he says he is your glory. May he overshadow you with his glory. As you step out of this room today may people look at you and be shocked saying, where has he been? Where has he gone to? If you forget everything remember that no matter who you are or the position you have or how life has treated you, remember that the God who is your father is the Lord of glory. He is the King of glory. He is my glory and my shield.
What is the glory of God?
The question now is, when we say “The glory of God” what is it? There is a Hebrew word and a Greek word. I will mention them and explain and then add my understanding to them. The Hebrew word in the Old Testament that was translated glory is “kabowd” and the word “kabowd” is used to speak of the glory of God. Its literal meaning is weight or heaviness. It carries the idea of that which is heavy and important. But in the scripture, you find that sometimes it is used for men, referring to their wealth, honor, or dignity. In Genesis 31.1 the Bible says,
Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” (ESV)
The word wealth there was kabowd. But when kabowd is associated with God, it carries the idea of honor, respect, and glory.
In the New Testament, the Greek, the word “doxa” is translated as glory and when we mention doxa, it leads to the notion of reputation, honor, fame, grace, praise, dignity, splendor, and brilliance. It also talks about real majesty, reputation, or opinion relating to God. When we put kabowd and doxa together we can have these two meanings:
1. When we talk about the glory of God it is all that God is—his power, his omnipotence, his omnipresence, his majesty, splendor and honor. So, when we say the glory of God we are talking about all that he is.
2. When we talk about the glory of God we are talking about his spiritual weight. May we be a church that is heavy and may your life not be a lightweight one. May you enter into the realm of the heavyweights where a person is heavy and weighty.
I remember when I was transferred to Asokwa I spoke to one of our fathers. All he said was to be heavy. I pray in the name of Jesus that you shall not be a lightweight Christian but a carrier of the glory of God.
3. When we talk of the glory of God, it is the glorious presence of God. So, whether the kabowd or doxa, all I know is the glories presence of God in his church and among his people. Carry the glorious presence of God so that when we come to church it is not to entertain but to see the glorious presence of God. So, when we talk of glory, we are talking about the presence of God in the life of the individual and among his people. This is what Moses and the people of Israel saw in Exodus 40.34-35 when the cloud of God covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it.
When the tent was ready the cloud covered it, Moses of all people could not enter. The glory is the glorious presence of God. It filled the temple. May the presence of God fill our lives. May our churches not be mere social centers but may the glorious presence of God fill them. We have gone past the era of clouds but I am talking about the presence of God when you yourself know you are a heavy person because you carry the presence of God that when you sit behind your car to drive, or you go to your office, or to the theater as a doctor, or to the lecture room as a student or lecturer, people will see something about you that they cannot understand and the answer will be the glorious presence of God.
What will happen when the glory of God is revealed
When the glory of God is revealed, three things will occur.
Read Leviticus 9.23-24 from the New Living Translation.
1. When the glory of God is revealed, the hearts of people are filled with joy. When there was the glory of God the people shouted for joy. They were not manipulated but just on seeing the manifestation of the glory of God, they shouted for joy. That is why people will come to church crying and with burdens but leave with joy. It is because of the glorious presence of God. May you continually encounter his presence. May we get to that level where we will not do our things to impress. We won’t dance or preach or sing to impress or show forth ourselves but because the glorious presence of God fills the hearts of the people. I speak to the heart that his saddened and crying that in this era of God’s presence, in the name of Jesus, may joy fill your heart. May he take away the cloth of mourning and put on you a garment of praise.
2. When the glory of God is revealed, worship and sacrifice are spontaneous. Nobody forces you to worship. Nobody forces you to sacrifice. Once the glory of God is revealed, worship becomes something that flows form within you and you sacrifice without thinking of the outcome. So, in the scripture we read in Leviticus, fire came from the Lord to burn the offering and when the people saw it they fell down in worship. May his glory cause you to take off your crown and lay it at his feet. It is amazing that we come to church and still carry our crowns. There is only one person who must carry a crown when we meet and he his Jesus Christ. So, when we come to him and encounter his glorious presence, there is only one thing we can do.
Read 2 Chronicles 7.1-3 where at the dedication of the temple Solomon built, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. That is the effect of the glory of God.
3. When the glory of God is revealed and encountered, there is a supernatural experience. Once you encounter the glory of God, you will definitely have a supernatural experience—an experience that does not come from man. If you go to the text from Leviticus we read, when the glory of God appeared, there was fire. In Chronicles there was fire—there is always a supernatural experience. May our church not be an ordinary and normal church but one that has supernatural experiences. As the glory of God is revealed, may you be a man and a woman who does not walk in the natural but encounters the supernatural. May you be a man and woman of the supernatural. From today you will lay hands on the sick and they shall be healed. From today God will begin to reveal deep things to you. You have been a natural Christian for far too long but it is time to move. I declare in Jesus name that may it be so for you. So, the glory of God brings about the supernatural.
We must have supernatural experiences as the glory of God is revealed. I want to live in the supernatural and I want you also to live in the supernatural. It must not be business as usual. When the glory of God is revealed there must be a supernatural occurrence. In the days of old they saw fire. We also want to see something that comes form above. The fire was not made by man but came from God.