As we embark on this 21-day journey, I want to draw your attention to Emmanuel’s mission statement: We exist to display God’s glory, declare God’s gospel, and disciple for God’s Great Commission.
We will spend the first week focusing on Displaying God’s Glory, the second week on Declaring God’s Gospel, and the third week on Discipling for God’s Great Commission.
If you do a Google search by typing in the phrase “Why do I exist,” you will find 11.8 million hits. The top websites listed are geared toward psychology and atheism with a few Christian ones sprinkled in as well. Amazon.com has 24 books with the title “Why Do I Exist.” There is no shortage of resources on finding purpose and meaning in life.
As humans, we have a fascination with finding ultimate purpose in life. In reality, since we are created in God’s image, He has hard-wired us to try to answer this ultimate question of why we are here on planet earth.
The comprehensive and Biblical answer to that question is summed up in the famous line from the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”
This statement is not the answer you will hear from the world. The world says that life’s meaning is wrapped up in self-centered pursuits of pleasure. The world’s mantra is this: “The chief end of man is to worship myself and enjoy as much selfish pleasure in the here and now as I possibly can!”
Think of all the commercials that you see in a given week. They try to sell you the message that YOU are the most important thing in this world. They sell you the American dream that since you’re the center of the universe, you deserve to have whatever it is they are selling.
Even within the church we are often coddled into thinking that we exist for our own glory and not for God’s. We often think God is a genie in a bottle that exists for our comfort.
A.W. Tozer said, “The purpose of God in sending His Son to die and rise and live and be at the right hand of God the Father was that He might restore to us the missing jewel, the jewel of worship; that we might come back and learn to do again that which we were created to do in the first place – worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, to spend our time in awesome wonder and adoration of God, feeling and expressing it, and letting it get into our labors and doing nothing except as an act of worship to Almighty God through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
He says that worship is what is missing in our churches today. Is that a radical statement? Do you agree with him? Could the American church truly be guilty of not actually worshipping God?
We exist to bring glory and honor and majesty to God in everything!
Isaiah 43:6-7 “…bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Why has the sovereign God of the universe created us? Was He lonely up in heaven and needed companionship? Absolutely not! We must never think of God as needful of anything. He is the self-existent powerful God who created all things.
Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
Yet, God created us for HIS GLORY. He formed and made us as His children so that we would display His glory back to Him in joyful worship.
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
This word for “glory” in the Old Testament Hebrew is “kabod.” It literally means “weight” or “to be heavy.” In summary it means that as His creation, we should view God as weighty and worthy of honor.
The glory of God is His splendor, majesty, weightiness, holiness, and power that is intrinsic to His nature. He is absolutely glorious. He alone as Creator is the only One around whom the entire universe centers itself.
Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
What does it mean to “ascribe” glory to God? Do we add to His glory? Do we somehow make Him more glorious than He already is? Absolutely not!
To ascribe glory means to give Him what He alone deserves. We don’t add a measure to His glory, but we reflect back to Him the glory that He inherently has. The shining forth of His glory we are to give back to Him. His name is worthy and we are to give that worth back to Him in our praise.
The word for “glory” in the New Testament is “doxa” which means to honor someone’s reputation or to make much of his name.
So if we look at the totality of Scripture, we are called to make much of the Father by giving proper honor to Him with worship. He is worthy. He is majestic. He is powerful and glorious and as a result, we are called to live such a life that would put on full display this glory of God.
In his book “Desiring God” John Piper defines worship this way: “Worship is a way of gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of His worth…It doesn’t mean making him honorable or increasing His honor. It means recognizing it and feeling the worth of it and ascribing it to him in all the ways appropriate to His character…For many, Christianity has become the grinding out of general doctrinal laws from collections of Biblical facts. But the childlike wonder and awe have died. The scenery and the poetry and music of the majesty of God have dried up like a forgotten peach in the back of the refrigerator. . . . In the end, the heart longs for God Himself. To see Him and know Him and be in His presence is the soul’s final feast. Beyond this there is no quest. Words fail.”
Spend some time today meditating on what it means to display God’s glory. Think about what it means to give Him the “weight” He alone deserves.
We were created to display God’s glory!
A. W. Tozer, “Worship the Missing Jewel,” A Treasury of A. W. Tozer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1980), 284.
John Piper, Desiring God (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishing, 1996), 83,89.