The Fame of God

Posted: March 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

Preaching the Word is something that absolutely sets me on fire.  I feel a great weight to the task.  A preacher that doesn’t feel the weight of the task every time they are about to step into the pulpit is a preacher that probably shouldn’t be preaching.  Only by the grace of God can we handle this task effectively and in a way that honors Jesus. 

With that being said, preaching on short notice is never ideal but sometimes necessary.  Things come up.  Pastors have business to tend to and pulpits need filling.  I am thankful that God has allowed me to fill pulpits for others over the years.  I am always happy to do so.  Still, short notice leaves one with a sense of anxiety. A sermon must be produced without the normal, or at least desired, amount of prepatory time.  Thankfully God is not surprised by these occasions and has a plan already in place.  Be faithful with the time you have been given to prepare and God will honor that.

This week I am on standby due to unforeseen circumstances at our church.  The pastor has some things that require his attention and I have been asked to “be ready if needed.”  So today I started to prepare.  I have the luxury of having preached regularly for about 3 years at my last church and have accumulated a number of sermons that I can pull from to preach if asked.  This afternoon I dove into my archives and pulled out a sermon that I thoroughly enjoy preaching, that God has honored in the past, and that needs to be heard by Christians from every walk of life. 

I think expository preaching is the desired method for the preacher.  However, I also believe that from time to time the occasion arises to address a topic (which should still be done in an expositional way).  This Sunday, if I am to preach, then I will address “The End for Which God Created the World.”  Jonathan Edwards wrote a book about this in the 1700’s and John Piper has articulated this idea in more modern ways.  It all comes down to the fame, or glory, of God. 

My sermon starts in Malachi 1:11.  God declares that His “name will be great among the nations.”  One can trace this theme through both the Old and New Testaments.  God acts for the sake of His name (Psalm 106:7-8; Ezekiel 36:20-23; Psalm 25:11) and for the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:6, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 John 2:12).  This is not an idea that Jonathan Edwards, John Piper, or Jonathon Woodyard have made up.  This is thoroughly biblical.  Everything exists for the express purpose of exalting God above all things.

I address five things specifically to drive the point home. 

  1. The Bible is God-centered.  It opens declaring the existence and creativity of God.  It closes waiting on the return of God, namely His Son Jesus Christ. 
  2. Creation is God-centered.  Psalm 19:1 reminds us that the universe is declaring the glory of God. 
  3. Humanity is God-centered.  Not in the sense that all men have given God His rightful due.  Instead, all mankind exists for the glory of God.  We will either bow our knees to King Jesus and magnify the grace of God or we will not.  If not, then when magnify the justice of God as we bear His wrath against our sin at judgment. 
  4. Redemption is God-centered.  Paul declares that salvation is “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:6). 
  5. And finally, Jesus Himself is God-centered.  He comes to “do the will of His Father” (John 5:30, 43).  John 7:18 says that Jesus seeks the glory of the “One who sent Him.” 

All five things, the Bible, creation, humanity, redemption, and Jesus Himself, have one driving purpose.  The glory, or Fame of God!

What does that mean for us?  We exist for this purpose (Isaiah 43:7).  We do not wonder about in a sea of confusion seeking to find our purpose in life.  We are not existentialist!  Purpose to existence is not ours to invent as we please.  God has told us why we are here.  We exist to make Him famous.  And the great news is, as we exalt God, as He is lifted up, then people turn their eyes to the One who alone can satisfy.  This is why God is not an ego-maniac.  He seeks to make Himself famous so that we can turn our eyes from those things that bring no lasting happiness, peace, and joy to the one who provides all those things perfectly and eternally.

Make this your single passion:  The Fame of God.  As you do, watch as He satisfies your heart, gives you peace that lasts, and gives you joy unspeakable.  As that happens in your life, others see God for who He is.  And when they do that…well…they run to God as well.  And God gets the glory.

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