Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”

Jan 8, 2017
“God's Miniature" No.19 by Rev. Toru Asai
Ps 8:3-5, John 5:41-44, 15:8, etc.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)

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When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings (lit. God)
and crowned him with glory and honor (Ps 8:3-5).

When it comes to keeping the commandments, we Christians think that it only means to not do anything wrong: as long as we do not do those of "You shall not …," we are not sinning and we are okay. But according to the above scripture, as for "anyone … who knows the good he ought to do," if he "doesn't do it," he sins. In our minds, doing what is wrong is not the same as not doing what is right. Yet, the Bible says, they are the same. "The good he ought to do" is to love, and not to love is a sin. Not to love does not merely means to hate, but also to have passive attitudes about the command to love one another.

Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor (lit. glory and beauty, Exod 28:2).

God gave Moses some detailed instructions as to how to make priestly garments—what material in what color is to be used, etc. The priestly garments show the kind of glory and beauty a priest has in the spiritual world. Glory and beauty in their world are as real as those in our physical world, and whoever has them is admired by all. In the Bible, we have a story of the demon possessed man who ran and fell on his knees in front of Jesus shouting, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God!" To the eyes of the evil spirits, the glory that surrounded Jesus was more than they could bear. Glory is spiritual and comes from God who is spirit. Therefore, the glory that comes from God and the splendor of this world that we see with our eyes are not only different from each other, but also incompatible to each other. You cannot seek both glory from God and glory from men (or praise from men as in NIV) at the same time as you cannot serve two masters, God and money, or love both the Father and the world. Jesus said:

I do not accept praise (lit. glory) from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise (lit. glory) from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise (lit. glory) that comes from the only God (John 5:41-44)?

If you seek glory from men, that is the only kind of glory you will receive, and you are alien to Jesus' discipleship. In fact, such an attitude is evil and Satanic that it contagiously makes others unclean in the church. Jesus said to his disciples on the night he was betrayed:

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (15:8).

To our minds, to seek God's glory is to seek to sit on Moses' seat in a synagogue, or to sit on the right or the left of Jesus as the two sons of Zebedee once sought. To Jesus' mind, however, it was to die on the cross that was for the glory of the Father. Jesus said:

Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? "Father, save me from this hour"? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name (12:27-28)!

And as his disciples, we follow in his footsteps. It is to our father's glory that we bear fruit and become his disciples. Jesus had earlier said:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it (Mat 16:24-25).

This is the only way to bear fruit and glorify the Father, and when he is gloried through us, he will share his glory with us.

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