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WHERE CAN WE LOOK TO SEE THE GLORY OF GOD?
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
1 MARCH 1992
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
Preparation Verse: (2 Corinthians 3:18)
But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Let me begin our sermon for today by asking you a few questions.
Do you think that every believer is capable of seeing the glory of God here and now, upon this earth?
Would you think it strange if I said that we are not only capable of seeing the glory of God, but it is desirable for all of us to do so, and in fact, we all should see it?
Do you think that is a strange statement?
But it's true.
Then, since this is true, where can we look to see the glory of God?
Peter and John and James saw the glory of God upon a mountain top.
Let's go up upon the mountain with them and experience what they did, as recorded in Luke 9:28-36.
28. And some eight days after these sayings, it came about that He took along Peter and John and James, and went up to the mountain to pray.
29. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.
Peter and John and James were seeing the glory of God, but the fact that they saw it was not as important as what took place – that they could see it.
Did you note why they went up onto the mountain?
They went with Jesus because He wanted to pray.
And it was while He was praying that the glory of God transfigured Him.
Do you remember that a few weeks ago we discussed the fact that even Jesus, while in the body of a man, found it necessary to pray?
So, we should remember that we need to do so more often.
As the glory of God became more and more evident upon Jesus, they began to see this vision of heaven itself.
30. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah,
31. who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Moses and Elijah also appeared in this glory.
And since Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the Prophets, we should be able to see more of the glory than that which appeared upon them.
We should see the glory of God in the books that they left us.
But we all too often get too tired or too lazy to read these books of our Bible so that we might see it.
We become like the three who went up upon the mountain with Jesus.
32. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him.
33. And it came about, as these were parting from Him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah" – not realizing what he was saying.
Many of us are very much like Peter. When we become bewildered, we have a tendency to put our foot in our mouth.
They slept through the important part – that it was Jesus' prayer that triggered this glory. It was not the vision or some special gift.
34. And while he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
35. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!"
This is God's polite way of saying to Peter, and to us, "Stop flapping your mouth so much, and listen for a change, or you will never understand."
36. And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.
Well, this time they were listening; and perhaps we, also, need to hear God's voice speaking to us in this way.
So, where do we look to see this glory for ourselves?
Let's take a look at what happened to Moses 1,500 years before this time. Turn with me to Exodus 34:29-35.
29. And it came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.
30. So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
Moses didn't seek to have the glory of God shine forth from upon his face so
that others would see it and know that he had been in the presence of God.
The glory of God was not a status symbol to him, nor should it be to us.
But when we have been in the presence of God, others know it.
31. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.
32. And afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai.
33. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
Why did Moses feel it was necessary to cover his face with a veil?
Because as Moses was speaking with the people, he saw that they were more interested in the glory of the Lord upon his face than they were in listening to the words of glory spoken from his mouth.
Thus, he covered his face so that they would not see the fading of the glory, and assume that God had left him.
The glory of God upon us does shine forth, but it is not everlasting. It requires fuel to continue glowing.
We all need to be fed, over and over again.
We cannot expect to hear the word of God once, and expect it to last the rest of our lives.
We cannot just go to church during the holidays and expect to have everything we need.
We are not better than Moses.
34. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,
35. the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.
In 2 Corinthians 3:12f, Paul speaks of the glory of God upon himself and upon other believers, and he uses this example of Moses to show how this all applies to each believer’s life.
Let's turn there and take a brief look at what he is telling us about the eternal glory to come, which will not fade as does that which we can have now.
12. Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,
13. and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away.
We have a tendency to seek only that which is visible to us now, and not the greater spiritual glory which is as yet invisible.
We must be willing to spiritually look beyond our present surroundings and circumstances.
14. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
15. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
16. but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
When Jesus died for our sins, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, so that all who enter through Christ may have direct access to the throne of God.
As we submit our will to that of the Lord, the Spirit enters us and gives us a different vision.
17. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
So, where can we look to see the glory of God?
I pray that it is in our mirrors.
I pray that we see the glory of God in all of His creation, as it was in Eden before the Fall, where both humans and other animals never hurt one another, but lived together in peace.
I pray that we see the glory of God in Isaiah's vision of the peaceable kingdom, and in our efforts to make this a reality in the hear and now.
I pray that each morning, as we intently look upon ourselves, that we will see His glory shining forth from within us.
And if we have trouble seeing, then cry out to Him, "Lord, I need you! I need your presence within me. Direct my life today and forevermore."
And as we continue to do this, let's pray that we will also see the glory of God on the faces of other believers.
Your Comments are welcome
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