The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting. We encourage you to please contact us if you would like to know more about us.

Click here: 2 Corinthians 3:18, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: 2 Corinthians 3:18, for the video version. Alternatively, you can read the notes below, or follow along as you watch or listen.

2 Corinthians 3:18, Aiming For God’s Glory, pt1:
• This morning we continue with our mini-series looking at how we can live for God’s glory! And really, the purpose of today’s study is to aim, to aim for God’s glory. Interestingly, if you are into any shooting sports, you might relate to the following.
• The art of target shooting in any formal setting dates back to at least the 10th century. This form of sport was first used as military training activities, but the Greeks also held archery contests to shoot pigeons on top of tall poles in honour of the gods. Indians, Persians, Slavs, Celts, and Germans engaged in similar activities.

• So by the 10th century, marksmanship evolved into a social and recreational sport. Regarded as the forerunner of great shooters, Swiss hero William Tell gained honour during the 14th century after successfully shooting an apple off his son’s head.
• Imagine he missed! It would be devastating! It would be sin! See, in actuality, missing the mark is sin. But sin isn’t mistakenly missing the mark! It is to willingly miss the mark. To choose to aim in the wrong direction!

• Therefore, we come to 2 Corinthians 3:18 in order to aim at living for God’s glory. And we do that by choosing to glorify God, confessing our sin, honouring Him through trust, being fruitful in attitude & action, praising Him, and through prayer!
• So how do I aim at living for God’s glory? Firstly by…

  1. Choosing to Glorify God:
    • Text – v18
    • Explanation – Paul says he beholds the glory of God! Now the word, ‘behold’ refers “to look closely at”, so I guess it is the best place to start if you want to hit the target. You need to aim, and part of aiming is to zoom in, to look closely at! To look at what? God’s glory.
    • It is the very purpose of my life to bring glory to God, so much that His glory surpasses any of my own desires, relationships, goals, dreams, and ambitions. I need to choose to live for His glory, that’s how I’ll glorify Him.

• Illustration – Here’s the thing though, it can be very costly to aim your whole life at glorifying God. Moses, in Exodus 32, had come down to find the people of Israel worshiping a golden calf. He had been up getting the law of God. Not only were they worshiping a golden calf, but they were engaged in gross sins and he had to confront this.
• I guess the saddest point of all was that his own brother, Aaron, was leading the people in immoral idolatry. What glory did it bring to God for them to be acting like that? None. However, there was a group who wanted to glorify God with Moses.

• “All the sons of Levi gathered together” to Moses, the priestly tribe came, those responsible for the worship. They said that they will take a stand against the sinfulness for the sake of choosing God’s glory.
• In verse 29 Moses said, “Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord, for every man has been against his son and against his brother, in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today. Dedicate yourself to the Lord now so that He can bless you.”

• Application – That’s it! Choosing to glorify God. And if you aim your life at the glory of God you need to choose Him above everything and everyone no matter what. Now Peter’s life was an example of this in John 21:18-19. It reads, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go. (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.)”
• Essentially, Jesus told Peter that he was going to glorify God in death. That he would die while being so focused on glorifying God, honouring Him to the point of death. Tradition tells us they crucified him, and that he didn’t want to be crucified like Jesus, he didn’t think he was worthy, so he asked to be crucified upside-down, which they did. But that’s how he glorified God. It cost him his life and that was his aim!

• Conclusion – In 1 Peter 4:16, Peter said, “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. If you have to suffer to glorify God, suffer. The Spirit of grace and glory rests on you.” So what does it mean to aim your life at that purpose? It means to choose the glory of God above everything else.
• You may be asked by God to give up your goals, your dreams, your plans, and your possessions. But when you behold God’s glory, it should outweigh them all anyway. It should cause you to say, God is enough, He is worth more than my pleasures, and my dreams!

• Bridge – because at the end of the day, if you are not aiming for God’s glory now, when will you? And don’t be fooled by lying to yourself, saying that ‘I’ll know His glory when He comes…’ well, will you really? If you aim like that, then you will purposefully miss the target! You will miss Him. Which brings us to the second element…

  1. Confessing Your Sin:
    • Text – 18
    • Explanation – Paul says that we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” Which means we are moving away from sin. You see, one of the reasons you confess sin is to restore your fellowship with God.
    • If you confess your sin to God, then you have glorified God. Why? Because you are acknowledging that you are wrong. But if you won’t accept the responsibility for your sin, then He isn’t glorified.

• Illustration – Here’s the issue, we live in a culture where people don’t want to take responsibility for their sin. No one is being responsible for their sin, or being responsible for anything in their lives, and therefore do not glorify God.
• It doesn’t glorify God when you blame somebody else for sin. Nobody is responsible for your sin but you, not your mother, not your father, not anything. Therefore, the sooner you acknowledge that responsibility, the sooner you’ll be at peace with God.

• Application – But we are good at denying sin… Adam started it. The first sinner shifted the blame. Genesis 3:12, “it’s the woman You gave me.” Instead of giving ourselves to God’s mercy and redemption, we want to look innocent and blame our disgrace on anyone or anything outside of us!
• But when we confess our sin, we experience the application of Christ’s atoning work. Then you can see that what Jesus Christ did on the cross was to appease/please the wrath of God by satisfying His justice on our behalf.

• Conclusion – Therefore, when aim your life at glorifying God through the confession of your sin, confess it specifically. God will show you grace, and His mercy will not be forgotten. God doesn’t change!
• Nehemiah correctly said, Nehemiah 9:33, “You have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.”

• Bridge – So you see, when we admit our sin, it glorifies God, because it puts His holy wrath against sin on display and it displays His sweet merciful grace for the sinner. That’s how you aim for God’s glory when you confess your sin. Our next point goes hand in hand with what we’ve just discussed…

  1. Honouring God through Truth:
    • Text – 18
    • Explanation – ‘with unveiled face’ can mean that we have a clearer understanding or perspective of God. So if we say God is worthy to be believed in, then He is worthy to be trusted!
    • But when we question what He does, or doubt and fear; then people should have a right to say, “Well, if you trust God so much, why do you live in doubt? Why do you live in fear? If God is who you say He is, shouldn’t He be trusted?” therefore, we need to aim at glorifying God by trusting Him.

• Illustration – Turn to Romans 4 real quick. In the account of Abraham and Sarah, Paul reminds us that God had promised to Abraham that he would have a seed. According to Genesis chapter 12, as the stars of the heavens or the sands of the sea.
• However, by the time Abraham reached one hundred years they had absolutely no children and Sarah’s womb was dead, having no fulfilment of the promise.

• But in spite of that, Romans 4:18 tells us that Abraham hoped against hope. When it made no sense to believe, he believed. When it made no sense to hope, he hoped. He believed that if God said, “You’re going to have descendants,” that he would have descendants. And verse 19 says, “Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”
• Look, from a human perspective, it wasn’t going to happen. Verse 20 says “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore that faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

• Application – He trusted God for that which was humanly impossible. And the result was giving glory to God. So do you trust God in your circumstance? Do you trust that when Philippians 4 says, “My God shall supply all your need”? Do you believe it, or do you worry about your need?
• When Jesus says, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink… Look at the birds of the air… your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” don’t you think He’ll do it?

• And if the Scripture says that there never will come a trial into your life that is more than you can bear, do you believe it? Because if you don’t, and are anxious and worried, you have denied Him the glory that He is due.
• Friends, He is worthy to be trusted. He can do what He says; He will do what He promises. And our distrust questions His integrity, it doesn’t glorify Him. 1 John 5:10 says, “The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar.”

• When you don’t trust God, you are treating God as if He lied. The Lord says He’s going to meet your needs, He’s going to lead through all the trials and temptations of life, all the tribulations, and bring you to His glory.
• We dishonour God when we claim to believe in Him, and yet we can’t cope with life, and we can’t solve our problems, and we can’t rest confidently and assuredly in His wisdom and His power.

• Conclusion – Now yes! Life is full of troubles; but our God is beyond all of those. Look at the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were told that “If you don’t worship, you’re going to be immediately cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.” Nebuchadnezzar further motivated, “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”
• And so staring death in the face… “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this. We don’t have to say anything to you. If so be, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King.’”

• Daniel 3:18 further says, “Even if He doesn’t, let it be known to you, O King, we’re not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you’ve set up.” What did they mean? “Even if God doesn’t protect us from the fire, He’ll take us out the other side.” They were so confident in God’s power and God’s promise that whether it was in life or death, they knew God would deliver them.

• Bridge – That is how we honour God, when we aim to glorify Him through putting our only trust in Him. When we say “I trust God, who is perfectly wise and powerful to have anything beyond His control.” Faith glorifies God.

Application:
• That’s where we’ll end it for today! We still need to look at how we can glorify God by being fruitful in attitude & action, praising Him, and through prayer! But we’ll do that next week.
• For now, let’s recap; if we want to aim at glorifying God with our lives, we need to aim with the choice of giving God the glory in our sufferings. And when our aim is off the mark, it is because we are choosing to sin. Our aim is restored when we choose to confess our sin, and admitting our wrongs, knowing that God is glorified when He restores us.

• And finally, our aim to glorify God is through honouring Him by trusting Him. By taking God at His words and knowing that He will do what He has promised to do!