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, pt2:
- This morning we continue looking at 2 Corinthians 3:18 in order to aim at living for God’s glory. Last week we looked at how we can aim by choosing to glorify God, confessing our sin, and honouring Him through truth.
- After I recap last week’s points, we’ll look at being fruitful in attitude & action, praising Him, and through prayer! So let’s pray and recap!
1. Choosing to Glorify God:
- Paul uses the word ‘behold’ which refers “to look closely at.” After examining God’s glory, we need to choose if He is worth more than our desires and our goals. If you want to aim your life at the glory of God you need to choose Him above everything and everyone no matter what.
- 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. In addition, if you want to glorify God, you do so by…
2. Confessing Your Sin:
- 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. When we confess our sin, we experience Christ’s grace. Therefore, when aim your life at glorifying God through the confession of your sin, confess it specifically.
- Nehemiah 9:33, “You have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.” That’s how you aim for God’s glory when you confess your sin. The next point goes hand in hand…
3. Honouring God through Truth:
- Paul says we stand ‘with unveiled face’! So if we say God is worthy to be believed in, then He is worthy to be trusted! You need to learn to trust God in your circumstance. To trust that when Philippians 4 says, “My God shall supply all your need”.
- 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?” Friends, Jesus is worthy to be trusted. He can do what He says; He will do what He promises.
- 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 you through all the trials and temptations of life, all the tribulations, and bring you to His glory.
- And on that note, we continue with part two, looking at how we should aim our lives at glorifying God through…
4. Being Fruitful in Attitude & Action:
- Text – 18
- Explanation – Paul says our transforming which glorifies God comes by the Spirit. So turn to John 15:8 which ties in to this. “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciple.”
- This tells us that God is glorified when you bear much fruit. In fact, it is so important that we do, Paul prays this for the church in Philippi. Philippians 1:11, “that you would be filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”
- Illustration – How does this look? Romans 2 gives us a graphic insight. See, the Jews of Jesus’ time, claimed to serve God. However, they had no fruit in their lives. And in verse 21 we read Paul’s interrogation to their false claim, “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, through your breaking the law, do you dishonour God?”
- Then in verse 24, Paul accuses them, “For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” Essentially, Paul is saying, “You are not a source of glorifying God, you are a source of blaspheming God; you are a discredit to God. You say you belong to God, but your life is filled with stealing, adultery, and idolatry.”
- Like the Jews, you may say, perhaps even believe, that you glorify God with your life, even though your aim is hitting the bullseye of sin! Yet, it dishonours God!
- Application – In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, your fruitfulness and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” This is what we ought to aim for!
- In 2 Thessalonians 1:11, Paul says, “To this end we pray for you always, that our God may count you worthy of your calling… that He would fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power… in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you.” For what? So that God can receive honour and glory because of the way you live.
- You say, ‘what’s the point? What glory is there in my suffering?’ If that’s your attitude, you can’t say “Christ lives in me.” Because where is the evidence of His righteousness in your life? Where is the fruitfulness?
- Conclusion – There are two kinds of fruit: action and attitude. Action is what you do, it is righteous deeds. It could be anything from leading someone to Christ, or it could be what Paul calls fruit in Philippians 4:17, “fruit which increases to your account when you give.” In other words, it’s giving, being generous.
- And it could be what Colossians 1:10 says, “bearing fruit in every good work, every kind of righteous deed.” It is any kind of righteous good work, any kind of righteous gift, any kind of righteous praise to God. But if they are just actions by themselves, they are meaningless.
- But behind our action, there should be a glorifying attitude. An attitude of love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. For what good is our works, if our motive isn’t to glorify God? You’re just doing things on the outside that don’t come from the heart.
- What God wants is that you walk in the Spirit, as the Spirit produces this attitude, and in this attitude, you ought to act in obedience to the Lord’s Word and in His righteousness.
- Bridge – Friends, if you are suffering, and your attitude isn’t in the fruit of the Spirit, and your actions seem good, then you are not aiming at glorifying God. You are wasting the opportunity for Him to work in and through you.
- You are missing out on being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For you are not walking in the Spirit who enables this grace. This brings us to…
5. Praising God:
- Explanation – I know this isn’t in our passage, but it is a result of aiming at glorifying God. When tribulation strikes, praise is fitting. Psalm 50:23 says: “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me.” So when you offer God praise, no matter how good or bad things are, you’re glorifying Him, you’re honouring Him.
- Psalm 92:1-2 reads, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” That’s just part of glorifying God.
- Illustration – Therefore the call is to, As Psalm 95 says, “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.”
- We need to praise Him. 1 Chronicles 16 says, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.”
- Application – So how do we do that? Firstly, Remember God’s works. Habakkuk gives us an example in chapter 3. In the midst of his trouble nothing really changed circumstantially, but he just starts to remember what God has done. He just starts to look back and remember all of the mighty acts that God did.
- He started to say things like, “His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise. His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, and there is hiding of His power. Before Him goes pestilence, and plague comes after Him. He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, the ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting.”
- Why should we remember? It causes us to be mindful of what God has done in the past, and helps us to be assured of His faithfulness in the present. So when you begin to remember everything God has done, your problem seems fairly small.
- Secondly, remember His attributes. See when your problem, small before God – but overwhelming to you; your mind begins to change when you begin to run down the record of all of God’s attributes. When you remember that God is absolutely powerful, that God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, that God is immutable – never changing, that God is all-wise, and perfectly just, holy, and righteous.
- Conclusion – What happens? It changes how you view life, and you’ll begin to trust God in a greater way. That’s the benefit to praising God. And so thirdly, we give thanks! I stress this because it is a sin not to be thankful. Because you are being ungrateful to God.
- Let me explain. When we are overwhelmed in stress, and when we are dressed in the fear of our worry, and we say – God, I don’t like this, you are not caring for me, we are actually saying – I disagree with your plan of transforming me from one degree of glory to the next.
- Friends, you don’t have to like your trial, but you need to be thankful in the Lord and in who He is. We can’t do that when we grumble, or when we are discontent.
- Bridge – Therefore, we can glorify God by remembering what He has done, by His attributes, and thanking Him for both – His comfort & grace. That’ll change how you handle your trials, no matter how severe they are. But it takes growth to get there. Therefore, we need to aim at glorifying God through…
- Explanation – Do you know why the Lord answers prayer? Please don’t say, “to give us what we want.” Or, “to give us what we need.” The real reason that He answers prayer is to put Himself on display. John 14:13 says, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
- He answers prayer so that you can glorify Him. When you’ve prayed for someone or something, and you’ve prayed for long… perhaps years. What was your first response? Did your cry out to God with gratitude? You thanked Him right?
- See, the person who doesn’t pray may have everything he needs; he won’t understand that it is all from the Lord. And so where prayer is absent, it creates the idea that we’re okay without Jesus. And by not regularly praying, it teaches you that God is needed only in special situations and not all the time.
- Illustration – The reason for this is because prayer is designed so that when God acts you’re going to know He acted. The reason we pray is not so we can change God’s mind about what He’s going to do, but so that we can give Him glory when He does it.
- Jesus says “when you pray in My name” meaning your prayer is based on His merit, in union with His person and His purpose and for His glory. And when the result of your prayer is revealed, God will put His glory on display, because He is putting His power on display. Therefore, prayer glorifies God because it puts Him on display. And then you glorify Him in response to that display.
- Application – So how should we approach prayer? How should we be engaged in prayer? Firstly, prayer is talking to God: Just talk to God like you would talk to your best friend. You don’t need to learn to talk to God. You just do, but address Him with honour! Speak to the Lord, knowing He is holy, but also gracious!
- Second, prayer is requesting something from God: Paul says we ought to make our requests known to God. And so, prayer is our pleading that God would hear our need and asking that He address it!
- Conclusion – Thirdly, prayer is aligning our will with God’s: Prayer isn’t about getting anything from God or causing Him to act in a certain way. He knows what you need and has already determined if he’s going to give it to you. And therefore, when you pray, come surrendering your will by trusting in His.
- And fourthly, prayer is “calling on God to come through on his promise.” Calling on the name of the Lord is more than just saying his name out loud. The name of the Lord is synonymous with the nature of the Lord. To call on his name is to make an appeal to his character. It could be a cry for help, a plea for wisdom, a concern for others, etc.
- Bridge – So think of prayer as God’s prescription for hope. As prayer eases our concerns as we appeal to our gracious God, trusting that we will be able to glorify Him in and through our worst.