Series: Sword of the Spirit – Course: Glory in the Church
Lesson: The glory of God – Topic 1: Glory in the Old Testament
Teacher: Colin Dye
Announcer: Welcome to Sword of the Spirit, written and presented by Colin Dye, senior minister of Kensington Temple and leader of London City Church. Sword of the Spirit is a dynamic teaching series equipping the believers of today to build the disciples of tomorrow. We pray that you find these programs inspiring, and a catalyst in deepening your knowledge of God, your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and your intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
Colin Dye: Hello, and welcome to The Sword of the Spirit, a school of ministry in the Word and the Spirit. Today we begin a new topic: Glory in the Church. And it’s really so exciting to know that God is going to get glory to Him through the church of Jesus Christ. When people talk about the church, they think of many different things. But we’re going to lay aside some of our preconceived ideas about exactly what the church is and reexamine this in the light of the scripture. Many people when they think of the word ‘church,’ they think of a building. Perhaps building with a certain kind of architecture. Other people say, no church is not buildings. Church is people. And they think about congregations and still in their mind, they think about different ways of worshipping God, worshipping styles that differ in different parts of the world, and at different times in different nations. But when we come to the Bible, we find that church is really about our relationship with God corporately together. In other words, we’re not called to follow Jesus Christ and to be disciples of Jesus on our own. We’re called to do so as part of the wonderful community, a community of God’s people that crosses all racial barriers, every culture barrier, in fact we are all one in Christ Jesus. And that’s why I am so excited as we begin to study the church today. The Bible also teaches us that the church was founded by Jesus Christ. In other words, it’s all about Him. He is as it were the cornerstone of the church. He is the foundation stone of the church, and He is the purpose of the church. The Bible says that Jesus fills His church with His wonderful presence. The church is likened to His body which, of which he is the head. In other words, Jesus fills His body. He dwells within the body of His people, the church of Jesus Christ. And we’re going to begin to look at how God intends to get glory to His name through the church of Jesus Christ. This is happening and it’s going to happen all the more as God’s people look towards Him to fulfill His wonderful purposes for the church. We’re going to be looking at what is the church, how does the church operate, how is the church to be ordered here on the earth, and what does it mean to be part of the church of Jesus Christ. All these topics are going to come up in this series. So right now we go to glory in the church.
Hello and welcome to this Sword of the Spirit teaching session and our theme is Glory in the Church. I’m so excited when I come to the subject of the church of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus’ church. He loves the church. We ought not to talk down the church of Jesus Christ. It’s His body. It’s His bride. It’s so precious to Him. Jesus gave everything that the church may be His and the theme is glory in the church. That’s what we’re looking at: to see how God wants His glory revealed through the church. Now when many people talk about the church, they think of different things. They think of the building, they think of church meetings. Some people even think of the people being the church which is the more biblical idea. But they’re still confused as to how the church should be operated, how the church should run. And we have so many different views on this subject. Now my purpose in this series is to present to you the Bible’s teaching. The Old Testament and the New Testament combined to bring a biblical perspective on the subjects, and we’re going to look at this for glory in the church. So let’s have a look at our goals. The goal for this teaching series on the church is that you might see God’s purpose for bringing glory in the church by Christ Jesus, that you might see and understand that God is going to reveal His glory in the church so that all the nations in the world will come to the light, and so that you will know how you could work in partnership with God by the Holy Spirit to bring this about in your life and in your church and in your experience. Now many people will be going out from here planting churches, seeing churches growing, there is no other agenda that God has than to see the body of Christ grow and develop and come to maturity and reflect His glory to touch the nations of the world. And so if we want to be part of God’s purpose in the earthly realm, we must be part of the church of Jesus Christ. So we go now to the section one. We see there, we’re looking at the glory of God. We’re going to begin with the Old Testament. Now many people will seem as if this is a bit surprising to them because we need to think of the church as a New Testament concept because major teaching about the church is in the New Testament but as in all of the Sword of the Spirit series, I present the Old Testament background as a foundation. We need to see how this applies to the church as well. You wouldn’t understand for example that the church is God’s building without some Old Testament knowledge of the teaching of the Tabernacle or the Temple. You wouldn’t understand the New Testament’s teaching of the bride, the bride of Christ without being aware of some of the Old Testament passages about Israel being the beloved and so forth. You wouldn’t understand too much about the Lord’s Supper without examining its roots in the Old Testament Passover. And so, we need to look first of all at Ephesians chapter 3 verses 8 to 21. This is in many ways the background of the Glory in the Church theme and we’re going to just touch on this and read it to you, then we’re going to go into the Old Testament background of the word “glory.” Here we have the apostle Paul saying, “To me,” this is Ephesians 3 verses 8 through 21: “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given that I could preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. Through the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places according to the eternal purpose which here accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from whom the w hole family in heaven and the earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” So, amen. Don’t forget the amen there. Alright. So, we see that every aspect of the church of Jesus Christ is offered here by the apostle Paul towards the single aim of bringing glory to God and revealing glory to God in the world and to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This is the main, overarching aim, goal of God for the church. And so we have to grasp that in the purposes of God for the church, His glory is absolutely paramount. Notice its glory in the church by Christ Jesus. In other words, Christ will be at the center of this. It’s Christ who brings glory to God. So now let’s pick up this theme of glory in the Old Testament and I want you to notice straight away that in the Old Testament, the glory of God is linked to sacrifice. Let’s keep that in your mind as we come to have a look at this. The glory of God in the Old Testament linked to sacrifice. Exodus chapter 24 reports how the glory of God appeared to the seventy elders on Mount Sinai after a sacrifice. Leviticus 9 verses 6 to 24 show that God’s glory was regularly seen in the wilderness Tabernacle at the hour of sacrifice. Exodus 40 verses 29 to 35 describes the way, the only way into the Tabernacle, the altar of sacrifice. I Kings 8 verses 1 to 11 records that God’s glory filled the Jerusalem temple after innumerable sacrifices had been made. Hebrews 1 verse 3 states that Jesus was and always is the outshining of God’s glory, but we also see that the glory of God in Christ is seen supremely in His sacrifice. Have a look at John’s gospel chapter 13 and verse 31, it says, “So when he had gone out,” that was when the betrayer had left the upper room, “Jesus said, now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in Him.” Then in John’s gospel 17 and verse 5 it says Jesus praying, it says, “And now Father, glorify me together with you with the glory which I had with you before the world was.” So we know that on the eve of the sacrifice of Jesus, He spoke about glory and John’s gospel particularly shows us that the sacrifice of Jesus, the lifting up of Jesus on the cross, was the supreme hour of His glory. And so the Old Testament linkage of sacrifice with glory is now wonderfully brought together in the person of Jesus Christ. And then for us as well, Romans 8 verse 18 teaches that we must share in the sufferings of Jesus’ sacrifice if we want to share in His glory. Now the word “glory” has a ring to it, an onomatopoeic word, the sound echoes its sense. It’s a glorious word, glory. Everybody likes that word. Sacrifice however is a word that we’re not that keen on, but we need to go back and see how and why sacrifice and glory are linked. And it’s very very, a very key foundational truth that we need to hold for the doctrine of the church of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word for glory in the Old Testament is kavod. Some of you may not know though we teach in this Sword of the Spirit series regularly that Old Testament is written very largely in Hebrew and so the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for glory is kavod. Now it literally means heaviness or weight. That’s what it means. And occasionally it’s used to describe material prosperity, physical splendor or even the good reputation of people, but less, and less commonly it describes the warriors of a nation, the glory of a nation, or the soul of a person – the glory of a person. But normally kavod, weight, gravity, heaviness, is normally reserved for God and we see this in II Chronicles chapter 7 verses 1 to 3, a wonderful passage, a key passage from the Old Testament in relation to the glory of God appearing in the Tabernacle, the Temple, the newly constructed Temple of Solomon which is a picture of the church of Jesus Christ. All these themes and concepts are linked and they build up for us a picture of the church of Jesus. Let’s read it together, II Chronicles 7 verses 1 to 3: “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices.” You see the linkage? The very next phrase goes on to say, “And the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. And all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the Lord on the Temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshipped and praised the Lord saying, for He is good. For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 113 verse 4 speaks also about the glory of the Lord. “The Lord is high above the nations, His glory above the heavens.” Now, the Old Testament word is used in two different ways. The glory of God is used first of all as a parallel to the name of God which is speaks of God’s self-revealed nature, His self-revealed character. So when you speak about the glory of God, you could almost use it as a synonym for the name of God. God’s glory is His name. Then the second way it’s used is a visible manifestation, a visible revelation of God’s presence that shekinah, the presence of God. And so we can speak of shekinah, glory, the glorious presence of God. So this means that God’s glory can be seen and it is shown to God’s people and the glory of God was seen in the Old Testament through the pillar of fire at night and the cloud, the glorious cloud in the daytime shown to God’s people, seen by God’s people. But also shown to the principalities and powers, the demonic forces hate the glory of God. They tremble in fear at the glory of God. And where God is, that’s where His glory is. Now in the New Testament, both these aspects of glory, the name and nature of God and His manifest presence, both these are perfectly fulfilled in Jesus, for Jesus is the full and complete self revelation of God and also the clearest possible revelation of God’s presence. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Now for the New Testament church, this shows us that if the glory of God is to be revealed in and through the church, it must mean that we are called to reveal God’s holy name and His holy character. And through us, the name of God must be revealed to the world, to the unseen powers, to the principalities and powers as we read in Ephesians chapter 3 and that also we must be seen to be the place where God lives. We must be seen to be the place where God’s glory is, where the presence of God is, to move amongst those who are in the church of Jesus Christ and to come into contact with the church of Jesus Christ, should be to come into contact with God. I think of that verse from I Corinthians chapter 14 where Paul describes the church at prophesy, when the church is prophesying and people come in and they hear the secrets of their heart being revealed, they fall on their face and say God is amongst you. He really is here. And so through the gifts of the Spirit and all the other manifestations of God, every way in which the glory of God is to be manifested, it’s there to demonstrate that glory to the world. Now the New Testament word for glory is doxa. Doxa. And like kavod, the Old Testament word, it can refer to human armor, but normally it’s used to describe a revelation or a grace, that is revelation, a gift of God’s grace or His powerful activity or a revelation of God’s nature. And we can see this in Luke’s gospel chapter 9 and verse 32. But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep. And when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. So here we have an amount of transfiguration, we have this wonderful manifestation of the glory of God and it’s, it’s a gracious revelation of His presence, a powerful awesome revelation. Have a look also at John chapter 2 and verse 11. This is the miracle of turning water into wine. John records this and he says, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him. And so the glory of God here is the manifestation of the nature and character of God and as we can see already, it’s very closely linked to Jesus Christ. II Chron-, Corinthians chapter 4 verses 4 to 6, “Who’s minds the God of this age has blinded, do not believe less the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God should sign to them, we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus is Lord and our, ourselves as your bondservants for Jesus’ sake, for it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shown in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” And so we see, I’ve chosen verses here that speak of the church, that speak of the glory of God, that speak of Jesus Christ. Can you see how the church, the body of Christ, the person of Christ, the glory of God, all these things are bound together as concepts woven together to talk about the church of Jesus Christ. Well doxa means everything that kavod means, but it adds to it also a sense of demonstration. That’s the idea behind doxa. It carries with it a sense of demonstration of [stutters] of an exhibition of beautiful perfection, of a display of magnificent power, and you can see all those things come together in each of those few New Testament references I’ve mentioned and the other ones that are recorded for you in the manual. So we see that in Jesus, the glory of God, the Father’s splendid excellence is displayed beautifully, excellently displayed in Jesus Christ. We also begin to see especially from that verse in John 2 with the revelation of the glory of God in the miraculous signs and wonders that a key way that God’s glory was manifested in Jesus was through the things that He did, His marvelous signs. You remember in John’s gospel chapter 11 just before Jesus raises, [stutters] raises Lazarus from the dead, and also I think the statement comes afterwards as well, Jesus says, didn’t I tell you, if you believe you will see the glory of God and through the miraculous manifestation of this raising of Lazarus, the glory of God was seen. But the glory of God as I’ve already suggested to you was seen nowhere more clearly than in the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary, because that’s the greatest possible demonstration of His grace and of His love. It is the supreme manifestation of God’s absolute holiness and the perfect display of His beauty and of His power and of His authority. So when we today talk about the glory of God and the body of Christ in meetings and services, when we praise Him for His glory and call upon Him for His glory and pray that His glory might be seen, we are praying that the holiness of God, that His grace and His power will be seen in us and demonstrated to the world which is why the apostle Paul cries out, for glory to be in the church and for God’s to be glorified in the church. When we say Lord glorify your name, we are pleading that God’s character, His beauty, His majesty would be unveiled to the world and yet and here is a very important point and I’m going to make similar points throughout the whole of this teaching series, I want you to grasp it from the very beginning, and yet that glory if this is God’s plan, can only be seen in the church. This is not just like one option amongst many. Oh yes, the heavens declare the glory of God. So much in the created order declares His glory, but there is a level and a manifestation of the glory of God that can only be seen in the church. That’s how God has purposed it. And so if we are not living the way He calls us to live, if we are not making that glory visible, then we are working against the very purpose of God for the church. That’s our destiny. It is for glory. I Corinthians 11 verse 7 speaks about man being the image and glory of God. But this is not man as an individual. This is mankind as well, which means together, we complete the revelation of God’s glory and nature. Romans 3:23 reminds us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We have fallen short of that glorious destiny. God’s purpose for creating mankind was that mankind should display His glory. But mankind has sinned and that glory has been removed. Ichabod written over the human race. But in the church, the glory, kavod, has been restored and is being restored and that’s God’s purpose for mankind – being restored. And if you remember in Hebrews chapter 2 verses 6 to 10 is the full reference, where the phrase occurs that God’s whole purpose in bringing many sons to glory is fulfilled in Jesus for we see Jesus glorified but it’s not just Jesus himself glorified. It’s us in Him also being glorified. It’s the glory of God restored through the person of Jesus Christ to a lost humanity. And the redeemed company is the church. And so the new humanity is the church of Jesus Christ redeemed men and women of God brought into vital relationship with Jesus, there’s the family image that’s used, many sons to glory, and He is the elder brother in that same context. But there are many other images as well as we shall see pictures of the church, but there’s the family image that is used. That’s where the glory of God is being restored. And so when we see Jesus crowned with honor and glory seated in the, on the throne of the universe, we find there God’s plan for mankind being fulfilled. What is man that you are mindful of him? You know, you made him a little lower than the angels and you have crowned him with glory and honor. We don’t yet see all things made subject to him, but we do see Jesus who is crowned with the glory and honor right now and when we see Jesus, we see our destiny. We see the glory of God that he has for us. Arise; shine for your light has come. The glory of the Lord has risen upon you, Isaiah says in chapter 60 verse 1 and 2. Now we know that because of the cross, God’s glory is seen on the face of Jesus Christ, and that same glory is reflected through us. That’s the destiny of the church. We are made to be the visible revelation of God’s character, the image and glory of God. We have been made as human beings to be visible revelation of God’s presence. God with us. But we’ve so fallen short of this that it took the death of Jesus Christ to restore us back to that place and to make it possible again. And so glory is the church’s birthright. The beauty and majesty and the holy nature of God Himself is being held out to the church and in our rejoicing let’s never forget that it is glory that comes only through the cross of Jesus. It is glory in and through sacrifice. And that will lay down some very strong principles on us in the church of Jesus Christ if we’re going to see that glory fulfilled.
That brings to an end today’s teaching on Glory in the Church. And I pray that you’ve been blessed as you’ve been watching today’s program and that you’ve discovered something new and fresh out of the scriptures concerning who we are as the people of God. We’ll be back next time for more on Glory in the Church.
Dye, Colin. The Rule of God
Kensington Temple, 2007
Watson, David. I Believe in the Church
Hodder & Stoughton Educational, 1999
Stockstill, Larry. The Cell Church