Sunday, June 28, 2009

Romans Message #52 June 28, 2009

Treasuring Our Salvation & Missions
(Our Announcement to our church regarding going into Missions is included)
Romans 5:2


Have you ever met someone who claimed to have seen God?

I sincerely hope so and more than that I hope that someone is you.

And that is what we are going to talk about today.

And now that I have your attention please turn with me to Romans 5:1-2.

The last time we were in this passage, we talked about the fact that as those who have been justified by faith and are thus at peace with God and living under the dominion of His grace—we should be treasuring the fact that one day we will see God in His glory in the face of Jesus Christ and that we will experience for all of eternity the very happiness that God Himself experiences in seeing and fellowshipping with Christ.

Furthermore, in finding our complete happiness and satisfaction in seeing Christ in all of his glory and enjoying Him as God the Father does that this is what glorifies God the most.

And today we are going to look at the same passage in Romans 5:2 and in doing so see that seeing God and His glory is not just something reserved for Heaven.

Now—seeing Him in all of His glory and face-to-face and not dying is reserved for Heaven but the fact of the matter is those of us who have been justified by faith and are at peace with God and living under His grace can see Him and in fact should be seeing Him right now as a “pre-taste” of that glorious day when we are able to see Him face-to-face.

Let’s read Romans 5:1-2.

Paul writes that we who are saved should exult in the hope of the glory of God.

The word “exult” can be understood as esteeming something as of such value and importance that you treasure it.

Thus, we—as justified sinners—should be treasuring the expectation of seeing and experiencing the glory of God.

But, the word “exult” is not only talking about treasuring something that is only to occur in the future.

It is also talking about treasuring something that is occurring in part right now.
In other words, we should be treasuring the fact that not only will we see God in Christ, face-to-face, in all of His glory when we get to heaven but we can right now see God and His glory.

Look over at Matthew 5:8.

The pure in heart are people who have been made pure in heart through the fact that Christ has taken away their sin and given them His own righteousness.

And note that the pure in heart—the saved person—shall see God.

Hebrews 12:14 makes it clear that only those who are pursuing sanctification, which is what true believers do, will see God.

And whereas, there is an ultimate fulfillment to these promises that have to do with seeing God in all His glory in Heaven—there is also a sense in which these promises are being fulfilled in part in the lives of believers right now.

Here are some examples:

We, as those who have been justified by faith, see in Creation Who & what those who have not been justified do not see.

They see “mother nature and mother earth” whereas we see God.

When they look at a mountain or at a star or at a beautiful sunrise all they can see are natural causes—they cannot see God’s hand in all this.

And even though Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens are declaring the glory of God for all to see and to understand—the unbeliever simply cannot see Christ in all of this.

Oh, he can see an unknown impersonal intelligent designer but that is not the same as seeing Christ as the glorious Creator.

But we can. We can look at the creation and we have no trouble at all seeing God in His handiwork and in recognizing His glory—why?

Because we have new pure hearts that can see Him whereas the unbeliever does not.

We, who have been justified by faith also see God in Providence whereas the unbeliever only sees “dumb luck, karma, random chance, and good odds”.

Not only that, we see God and His sovereignty in history whereas the unbeliever only sees the consequences of human choices.

We see God in His Word whereas unbelievers see only a book of myths, wise sayings, distorted history, and moral guidelines.

We who are believers can also see God in our trials, which is what Paul talks about in verses 3-5 when he urges us to exult in or to treasure our trials.

Why?

Because we see in them God at work in our lives producing in us godly character, which again proves that our faith is real and that gives us the assurance of our salvation. (Philippians 2:12-14)

We see God in every aspect of our lives whereas the unbeliever cannot see God in any aspect of his life.

And the reason why the unbeliever cannot see God, as He is, in anything is because he is spiritually blind.

Look at 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 and 2 Corinthians 3:14-16.

And the only reason we who are believers can see God in all things is because God in regenerating us and saving us gave us eyes to see Him and desire Him in Christ Jesus.

In essence, He gave us spiritual eyes to see and then turned the light on for us to see and desire Him.

Look at 2 Corinthians 4:6.

Now what is really interesting in this passage is Paul’s allusion to Creation and in particular the creation of light on the first day of creation.

Look at Genesis 1:1-5.

Now why does Paul reference this?

Because of the fact that before light was created, the earth was formless and void and enveloped in complete darkness.

In other words, even though created by God for His glory it was good for nothing and certainly unable to glorify God in a positive way.

But after God commanded light to exist—this void and formless earth became a living planet that now had the ability to sustain life and glorify God in a positive manner.

Listen, before you and I were saved—we, even as created beings who were created in the image of God, were spiritually formless and void and engulfed in complete spiritual darkness unable to glorify God in any positive way.

And Paul’s whole point in referencing creation in 2 Corinthians 4:6 is to use it as an analogy for salvation and what had to occur in your life and in my life to save us and to give us the ability to glorify God in a positive way.

Just as God commanded light into the darkness of creation—He commanded light to shine into the darkness of our hearts so that we could see Him and His glory in Christ Jesus and once we saw Him we found Him to be so irresistible that we had to run to Him for salvation.

And in that initial act of opening our eyes and turning the lights on in our heart God not only saved us but gave us the ability to see Him and His hand at work in every aspect of our lives.

So, when you are doubting your salvation and wondering if God has truly saved you stop for a minute and ask yourself if you can see God and if you enjoy seeing God in creation, history, providence, and in every aspect of your life?

Listen those who are not pure in heart because they have never been justified by faith in Jesus Christ cannot see God in anything!

So—we should exult in the fact that we can see God in life and can enjoy Him in all things as well as enjoy all things in Him because this is one of the proofs of our salvation that gives us the assurance that we will one day see Him in all of His unveiled glory when we are in glory with Him.

But not only should we treasure the fact that we can see God in all of life—we should be concerned about those who can’t.

Listen Paul rejoiced in His salvation and mourned the blindness of the unsaved all at the same time.

Whereas, chapter and verse divisions are very helpful to us in finding passages quickly—they sometimes interrupt the flow of thought and cause us to miss very important truths if we are not careful.

One example of this is in Romans 8:28-39 where Paul is rejoicing in his salvation and the fact that he was absolutely secure in the love of Christ. And then right on the heels of that we should read Romans 9:1-3 where in the same breath and with the same stroke of the pen he expresses his great sorrow and concern for spiritually lost and blind Israelites.

You see, it is proper for us rejoice in our salvation and be concerned for spiritually blind lost people who cannot see God so as to be saved from their sins and the awful wrath of God.

But concern by itself does no good to anyone.

Paul knew this and he also knew that God used means to open the eyes of the spiritually blind.

Look over at Romans 10:11-17.

God is the One Who gives life to the spiritually dead person and He is the One Who opens the eyes of the spiritually dead heart and He is the One Who shines the light of His glory into the dead, depraved, blind, and hard heart so as to bring them to Christ and thus to salvation and thus to eternal life—

But He uses means to do it!

And the means that He uses is the proclamation and the incarnation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by those who are the followers of Jesus Christ.

Look at Acts 26:12-20 where Paul in rehearsing his testimony to King Agrippa makes it clear that he was God’s tool—God’s means, if you will, of opening the eyes of unreached Gentiles so that they could turn from darkness to light and from Satan to God so as to receive forgiveness of sins and a future with God’s people.

And according to verse 20, the way he opened their eyes was by proclaiming to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And by-the-way, the neat thing about proclaiming the Gospel to spiritually blind and lost people is that it is the only way to figure out who the elect are.

Listen, there are only two kinds of lost people in the world: and I liken these two kinds of unbelievers as moths and cockroaches. And the only way to tell the difference is to turn the light on—the moths will be drawn to the light whereas the cockroaches will run to the darkness.

So—if we are to follow the example of Paul as he followed Christ as we are told to do in 1 Corinthians 11:1 we should, as we are rejoicing in our salvation and treasuring the fact that we can see God in all of life—also be involved in proclaiming the Gospel to those who are spiritually blind and dead so as to be the means God uses to open their eyes and give them spiritual life.


CONCLUSION

Can you imagine a country the size of California with 270 people groups each with its own language—the majority of which do not have the Bible in their own language?

Well, that country is Cameroon in Western Africa.

In fact, on the far eastern border of Cameroon is a people group known as the Fulbe with over 1.5 million people and only 10 missionaries working among them.

In that same country is another people group known as the Oroko who just recently had the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Genesis translated into their language and now are in need of church planters and Bible teachers to come and teach them from these two Books of the Bible and establish churches among them.

Did you know that in Papua, which is just west of Paupau, New Guinea there are 250 indigenous languages with only one having the Bible translated into it. Thus, there are 249 languages to go which effectively means 249 people groups in need of God’s Word.

Wow—with great opportunities like these and literally thousands more—there is still a lot of room for us to be involved in God’s great work of making His Name known and loved and worshipped in all the earth as the tools God uses to open the eyes of unbelievers so that they can see Him, love Him, and worship Him.

And since you really cannot rejoice in your salvation apart from also rejoicing in the fact that God sent someone to you to open your eyes to the Gospel I hope you will also rejoice in the fact that God wants to use all of us in someway to open the eyes of others who need to see Him and be saved.

There is simply no other option for any of us as those who love and enjoy God and desire His Great Name to be honored than to either be a person who goes or supports and encourages those who go.

With that in mind—let me remind all of us to be praying more for AJ and to send him notes of encouragement on facebook or email or snail mail—whatever the case may be.

Listen—you cannot make much of God apart from making much of the Gospel and you can’t make much of the Gospel without sharing it and you’ll never share it consistently unless you really want to make much of Jesus by seeing people transformed from Jesus haters to Jesus worshippers.

Do you know what God exults in?

According to Jesus in Luke 15:7 & 10 He rejoices and celebrates when a lost and blind sinner repents and comes to Him in faith for salvation because this brings Him great glory and the repentant sinner great joy.

And if this is what makes God happy—I want to be involved in it—don’t you?!

I know that God has not placed within every believer the desire to leave their homes and culture to go to an unreached people group and that’s why those who do have the desire to go and dream of going should give thought and prayer to doing so.

The fact that you would have such a desire that is so dramatically different from that which most believers have may be, in part, the evidence of God’s call for you to at least investigate the possibility of going and offering yourself to the task of going to one of 1568 unreached people groups that have no missionary working among them.

I mean, if you have a desire to leave family, friends, your church, your home, and all that is familiar to you to go to a people group whose language you don’t know and whose culture is foreign to your own so as to make much of Jesus by sharing the Gospel with them—then you have a desire that is probably God-given and should be pursued.

And over the last year—this is what me and my family have been wrestling with, praying about, thinking about, and in fact—dreaming about.

We are one of those families that has a deep settled conviction and desire to go.

We want to be involved, first hand, in taking the Gospel to an unreached people group.

Last July we were given the opportunity to go to Alaska to work with a church that was interested in having a pastor come to teach and train natives to go into their villages as church planters.

It was an opportunity that I never saw coming and was very interesting to Nancy, the kids, and I.

We prayed hard and long over this and told the elders about it but finally came to the conclusion that with just beginning our building here at COG it was not the best time to pursue something like this.

So, we said “No”.

But, whereas we chose not to pursue this opportunity in Alaska, God did use it to earnestly challenge our hearts to begin considering foreign missions to an unreached people group.

We have given most of this year to this endeavor—researching mission agencies, fields of service, people groups, etc.

Finally, we were led to an agency called World Team, which is doctrinally like-minded and works in planting churches among unreached people groups in some very remote and hard to get to places.

With the elders knowledge, we made application to World Team and were accepted to their candidate class which begins July 18 and runs through July 26.

Now, this does not mean we are leaving COG in a couple weeks nor that I am resigning as pastor today.

All it means is that we have begun a process, which, Lord willing will lead to our departure sometime in the future.

Once we have successfully completed this week we will then choose a people group and make a trip to visit it for a couple weeks.

Then we will return back here and begin the process of raising support, which often takes from one to three years.

Once we reach 75 % of our support we will go to a 10 week training school in North Carolina where we will be trained in everything from language acquisition, living in a 3rd world country, cross-cultural communication, and how to survive in some very difficult remote areas of the world.

And then its onto the field for language school and service.

Right now, we are not sure when we will actually be leaving COG.

At some point in time we will need to hit the road visiting churches seeking prayer and financial support. At that time I will transition from the senior teaching pastor to a missionary pastor.

I envision this perhaps taking place sometime next Spring or Summer.

We shared this with the elders several months ago and we have been praying about and talking about what will be the next step for COG once we leave.

And as God makes things clear to us we will keep you all informed and abreast of what we think the future is going to look like in terms of filling my position as teaching pastor.

I do want you to know that while I am here functioning as the senior teaching pastor that I will continue to give you my best in terms of sound biblical teaching and that I will work with the elders as much as they desire to help in transitioning to a new teaching pastor.

Whereas, we realize this will come as a blow to some of you especially given the fact that others in our church are also leaving although much sooner than us—we believe God is sovereign and that He will ensure that COG has all the gifted people she needs to carry on in Edgewood for His glory and your joy.

Nancy and I really wrestled with when to tell you all this—and finally concluded that we wanted you to know now before we go to candidate school so that you can pray with us about all this and for us as we go through this week at World Team’s headquarters in Philadelphia.

World Team’s missionary candidate class is called RACE and it stands for “reciprocal assessment candidate evaluation”.

During this week we will learn everything there is know about World Team and there fields of service as well as be scrutinized fully by them.

We will go through differing kinds of scenarios, tested, prodded, and interviewed by veteran missionaries to determine our suitability to World Team.

Finally, we will sit down with the team that has worked with us all week and begin the process of choosing an unreached people group to work among.

I know this is a lot to digest and so tonight at our prayer meeting—if there is time I’d like to tell you a little more and also answer any questions you may have.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Romans Message #51 June 7, 2009

What We Have To Look Forward To
Romans 5:1-5

The other day Peter and I were at Walmart picking up some things for Nance and I knew we needed bananas so I headed over to the banana bin where there were some huge bananas. But they were green—I mean really green. Now, Peter was with me and he didn’t like the idea of me buying these green bananas because being the banana conusuier that he is—he knew bananas are supposed to be yellow.

So, after unsuccessfully trying to explain to my three year old that these bananas would turn yellow in a couple days and be great to eat—I just bought them and soon he was asking why we can eat green apples but not green bananas. Now the interesting thing about these bananas is that when people are buying them—they are really not so much concerned with whether they are ripe and yellow right now because they know that in a couple days they will ripen up, turn yellow, and be fine to eat—because that is what real bananas do—even if they are immature and unripe when you buy them.

And you know what—that is what real Christians do to. They mature and they ripen up and over time they become what God has designed them to become, which is Christlike.

But sometimes this is so hard to see in our lives. I mean sometimes we go for years wondering if we are getting any riper—you know any closer to becoming Who God saved us to be. And because we don’t always see fast and great progress—we can be tempted to doubt whether we will ever arrive at the destination God has for us—in fact—sometimes we even doubt we are real Christians. And so, with this in mind—Paul in Romans 5:2 assures us that if we have truly been saved—we will arrive at the goal God has for us and furthermore—just the fact that we are looking forward to that and are finding joy in that—is the assurance that we have been truly saved.

You see, as Paul talks about the assurance of our salvation here in Romans 5, he makes the point in verse 2 that those who have been justified and who have peace with God and who are living in grace—should be—finding as their greatest cause for rejoicing and as their greatest excitement in life the fact that they are going to experience the glory of God.

Thus, the very first proof of salvation that Paul gives us is not what we do or how we act but rather what we are looking forward to—what we are as Christians excited about and living for.

So, we need to find out what exactly is this experience of the “glory of God” we are supposed to be living for, which gives us the assurance of our salvation?
But before we look at the phrase, “the glory of God”, let’s see what the word “exult” in the NASV means. In the NIV and KJV it is translated as “rejoice”.
All are good translations of the Greek word and really should all be used together to understand the basic meaning of the Greek word.

The Greek word is kauchometha. Its basic meaning is to boast in, glory in, to find jubilation and joy in, to be proud of, to brag about, to think highly of, and to esteem most highly. And since it is in the subjunctive mood—it is telling us that this should be taking place in our lives if we are truly justified—this is something we should be involved in. In other words, what Paul is telling us is that as those who have been saved from the wrath of God for our sins and who are now at peace with God and living under the grace of God—we should be finding our greatest joy, happiness, reason for celebrating, and really the thing in which we take the greatest amount of pride in—is that we possess the hope of the glory of God.

Now, what does the word “hope” convey as Paul uses it here?
It’s the Greek word elpidi. It means that which is certain and therefore expected.

So, Paul is teaching us that as believers we should have as our ultimate reality and the one thing we should be living for—the certain expectation of experiencing “the glory of God”. OK, we are making headway here—but again—it all hinges on what “the glory of God” is. The phrase is possessive in that we are talking about the glory that belongs to God. Now Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 4:6 that the most pure manifestation of the glory of God is found in the “face of Christ”. In other words, if you are to see God’s glory as it really is—you must see it in Christ.

That is why the writer to the Hebrews made the point in verse 3 of chapter 1 that Jesus is the radiance or the brightness of God’s glory.
You see, the word that the writer to the Hebrews uses in verse 3 is apaugasma. It is referring to God’s glory being made visible in its brightest and most radiant display. In other words, Jesus is the brightest and most radiant expression and display of the very glory of God the Father Who, according to 1 Timothy 6:16, dwells in unapproachable light. Therefore, whereas, God the Father dwells in unapproachable light—God the Son is that unapproachable light’s very brilliance and brightness. Jesus Christ in all of His glory is in essence the definition of the glory of God. Thus, to see God one must see Jesus and to see the glory of God one must look into the face of Jesus. And this is exactly what Jesus desires us to do.

Look at John 17:24-26.

1. Jesus Desires That We Who Know Him Be With Him Where He Is So That We Can Gaze Upon And Enjoy His Glory. (24C)

The words “so that” indicate purpose. The purpose or the goal of our going to Heaven is not to walk streets of gold and enjoy our mansions sublime.

The goal of heaven is that we will have the opportunity to gaze for all of eternity upon Christ and His glory, completely unfettered by sin, in glorified bodies with glorified eyes and minds.

You see, once released from the presence of sin in our bodies, we will have an insatiable appetite and craving for Christ and His glory as well as a limitless capacity to feast upon the glory of Christ.

Whereas, Moses in Exodus 33:18-23 only had the capacity to gaze at the backside of God’s glory and was unable to look into the face of God as a mortal unglorified man—we—when we get to heaven will behold the very brightness and radiance of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ without a veil and face-to-face.

When we get to Heaven and see Christ—we will see Him who is very God of very God, Him who is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, Him in whom all the fullness of deity resides in bodily form, Him who is the image of the invisible God and as such is completely equal to God and we won’t die.

This is what Jesus longs for. This is what Jesus desires. He wants us to see Him as He really is because this is what will give us the greatest thrill, happiness, and pleasure in all of life.

And if this is Christ’s desire for us—shouldn’t it be ours too?!

Now if you’ll remember, back in Exodus 33:18-19, after Moses asked to see God’s glory—God’s reply was that He would make all of His “goodness” pass before him.

Now understand that everything God is and does is good and that there is no badness in God—Therefore, Moses was about to have all of God’s character, attributes, and majesty paraded before him but in his unglorified state he did not have the capacity to take it all in nor could he even sneak a glimpse of God’s face and survive.

But on the day we enter glory we will have the capacity to see and enjoy all of God and we will look directly into His face and live. And this is the great expectation we have as believers—that we should be rejoicing in and living for.

Now, it is not that we are unable to see Christ and glimpses of His glory now.

In fact according to 2 Corinthians 3:18 it is only as we gaze upon Christ as presented to us in His Word that we are able to grow spiritually.

But we must realize and understand that whereas it may seem to us that we have a tremendous appetite and capacity for Christ—in comparison to our appetite and capacity for Christ once we are in heaven—we are only nibbling and snacking right now.

The other thing we must keep in mind is that now we are beholding Him by faith as we believe the Word whereas then we will see Him face-to-face.

We often fail to understand the terrible toll sin has taken upon us even in our redeemed state of life. It limits our appetite for Christ as well as our capacity for Him. But once sin is removed from us—there will be no limit to the enjoyment we will experience as we gaze upon Him and His goodness in all of His glory.
But even this is not the end-all of heaven or as Paul put it in Romans 5:2—the ultimate experience of the glory of God.

You see, even seeing Christ in all of His glory is the means to a greater end and a greater glory.


2. Jesus Desires That We Who Know Him Be With Him Where He Is And Gaze Upon His Glory So That We Will Love, Treasure, Enjoy, And Delight In Christ As Much As God The Father Does. (25-26)

Here in verse 26, we have unfolded for us in 30 words the reason why God sent His Son to save us and bring us safely home to Heaven for all of eternity. We have, in this one verse the essence of God’s divine goal in saving us.

And here it is—Jesus’ divinely decreed purpose in saving us was that the pleasure, enjoyment, and love that God the Father has in His Son might become ours.

In other words, Jesus saved us so that we will become as happy and as thrilled and as satisfied in Him as God the Father is.

Listen to John Piper’s rendition of how the great theologian Jonathan Edwards expressed this:

“Who can look upon the Son’s face shining in full strength? The answer is that only God can. The radiance of the Son’s face shines first and foremost for the enjoyment of his Father. ‘This is the Son whom I love; he is my pleasure. You must fall on your face and turn away, but I behold my Son in his radiance every day with love and never-fading joy.’

. . . surely this is the one thing implied in John 17:26 that the day is coming when we will have the capacity to delight in the Son the way the Father does.

Our fragile eyes will get the power to take in the glory of the Son shining in His full strength just the way the Father does.

The pleasure God has in His Son will become my pleasure, and I will not be consumed, but enthralled forever.”

And it is important to understand that the Father has always loved and delighted Himself in His Son—thus the reason for the last phrase in John 17:24 (“for you loved me before the foundation of the world.”). There has never been a time when the Father has not delighted Himself and found complete enjoyment in His Son.

And because Jesus is One with the Father (John 10:30), we must conclude that the pleasure God the Father has in His Son is actually pleasure in Himself.

Since Jesus Christ is the express image of God and the radiance of God and the fullness of deity in bodily form and is equal with and to God, and is in fact God—God’s delight and pleasure in the Son is actually delight and pleasure in seeing Himself in Christ.

As Jonathan Edwards explained it, “the deepest and most foundational joy of God is the joy he has in His own perfections as He sees them reflected in the glory of His Son.”

Paul referred to this in 2 Corinthians 4:6 when he speaks of the glory of God in the face of Christ. In other words, when we gaze into the face of Jesus—we are gazing into the face of God because all that God is—is reflected fully and perfectly in the Son.

And because of the fact that God sees Himself and all His character and perfections reflected back in His Son--God is infinitely pleased, delighted and happy.

And while this would be outrageous for us to say, it would be idolatry for God not to revel in Himself because He is perfection and of the greatest value and worth.

In Henry Scougal’s book, The Life of God in The Soul of Man, written around 1670, Scougal states that “the worth and excellency of a soul is measured by the object of its love”.

If this is true and I think it is—then God is the most excellent and worthy of all beings—for He loves His Son--Who is the most worthy and excellent of beings--the very image of His own glory from all of eternity.

For God not to love His Son and find the greatest pleasure and happiness in seeing Himself reflected in His Son would make Him unworthy and less than an excellent being.

Now go back with me to John 17:25-26 and see if this is not exactly what Jesus said. He states in verse 26 that He has made the Father’s Name, which is referring to God’s character, perfections, and glory known and will continue to make it known (in heaven) so that the love with which the Father had and has for the Son may become ours.

In other words, in giving us the opportunity to love the most worthy and excellent Being—God The Son--with the very love that God The Father Himself loves the Son with—we have been given the opportunity to experience and enjoy the same love and the same joy and the same pleasure and delight that God the Father experiences when He looks at His Son.

A day is coming when the happiness and joy and enjoyment that God the Father has in His Son will be ours as well—thus we will become as happy as God—and this is what God created us for—to share in His happiness and joy.

Thus, the reason why, the Greatest Commandment is to LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR MIND, AND ALL YOUR SOUL.

You see in commanding us to love Him, the greatest and most excellent Being, with the intensity of our entire being—God was giving us the key to eternal and never-ending happiness.

And you see this ultimately glorifies God because He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied or happy in Him.


CONCLUSION

Essentially, the hope of the glory of God that we should be living for and rejoicing in and looking forward to is the fact that one day when we get to Heaven we will be able to see the glory of God in Christ and find ourselves to be experiencing the very same love and joy in Christ that God the Father experiences in Him.

In other words the promise of heaven—the promise of glory is that we will enjoy the greatest object of happiness there is—namely Christ Jesus to the same degree that God the Father does.

Imagine what it will be like to enjoy what and Who is most enjoyable in all the Universe with unlimited energy, passion, and time.

You see, the hope of glory is not that we will become as powerful as God or as glorious as God or as smart as God or as independent as God—all things that Satan convinced Adam and Eve they would become once they disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden.

No—the hope of the glory of God is that we will become as happy as God as we enjoy to the fullest the very One He enjoys to the fullest—Jesus Christ—in a perfect sinless world with nothing to hinder or limit our joy.

This is what we were created for—to look at, contemplate, and enjoy God as much as He enjoys Himself as God—anything less would be idolatry for both He and us.

And one final note—Jesus is not the only object of God’s happiness.

He is the ultimate cause and object of God’s pleasure and our pleasure but not the only object of divine pleasure and joy.

You see, according to Colossians 1:27, as those who have been united to Christ in salvation—the hope of glory that we have is the fact that Christ is in us.

In other words, His Spirit indwells us and is working in us to make us more and more like Him.

Thus, God also experiences great happiness when He is seeing Himself in us as He sees Christ in us.

And what will give God great joy and great happiness is seeing Christ’s image completely formed in you the very moment you arrive in glory.

So let me ask you—is this what you are living for?

Is this why you get out of bed every morning?

Is this what you rejoice in and get excited about?

Is this truth that one day we will be as happy as God and in fact should be in the process of becoming that right now as we grow in Christ—manifested in how we live and how we worship?

Are we making decisions in life which demonstrate that Christ is our greatest treasure and pleasure in life—our greatest happiness?

Do we enjoy all things in Christ and Christ in all things?

And finally, as we grow in Christ, are we finding Him to be more enjoyable and more pleasurable than anything and anyone else in life—including sin?
We should or we are not growing in Christ or worse than that—we may not even be in Christ.

You see, the hope of glory in which we become as happy as God is in seeing, interacting with, and enjoying Christ is a process that while culminating in heaven began the day you first came to Christ for salvation.

Thus, the true mark of a believer is whether Jesus Christ is becoming your greatest treasure and pleasure in life.



Let us then stand in awe of this great God!
And let us turn from all our trivial pursuits and fleeting treasures
And petty materialism and ridiculous desire to be made much of and thought well of.

And let us be caught up in the pleasure and the happiness that
God has in the glory of His Son, Who is the brilliant radiance of His Father and in
Whom all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form so that to see God we must see Jesus.

And let us live for that day when the very
Pleasure that the Father has in His Son will be our pleasure
In His Son.

And may God’s enjoyment of God—unbounded, everlasting,
Unhindered, unashamed, passionate, and divinely satisfying begin to become
Ours now as we gaze at the glory of God in the face of our God our Savior—Jesus Christ.

Pursuing the Glory of Christ as though He were the most important pursuit in all the world--Because He Is!

" Looking for the Blessed Hope and the appearing of The Glory of our Great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." Titus 2:13