The gospel of glory

1 Timothy 1:11

The gospel of glory

 

In the Garden, Adam and Eve got distracted from glory (they had face to face fellowship with God) and began paying attention to a lie and a tree.

 

The lie was that somehow this glorious God was holding out on them by keeping them from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “He knows you will be like God knowing good and evil.”

 

The devastating consequence of the decision to eat from the forbidden tree has caused us to be born into sin and rebellion, into Adam. We bear Adam’s nature and guilt and therefore, we bear Adam’s name (see Romans 5).

 

Apart from being awakened by the glorious regenerating work of the Spirit through the preaching and hearing of the Gospel, we remain dead in Adam.

 

In our dead state we are blind to truth and we produce the fruit of the world system (desires of the eyes, desires of the flesh and pride in possessions). We believe the wrong things and we act on the wrong things.

 

Now, having believed the gospel we are now alive. We have been resurrected by the work of the Spirit through the preaching of this glorious law-agreeing gospel of the blessed God and we have beheld glory in this gospel and it has saved us and given us a new life altogether.

 

The challenge is that we have remnants of sin in us and the Father is graciously pruning those off, but we have the tendency to be distracted by plausible sounding arguments and philosophy according to human tradition and the elemental spirits and by teachings based on speculations from endless myths and genealogies.

 

These off base teachings captivate our sinful tendencies and cause us to stop gazing at glory and start gazing at inferior things that really just destroy and lead astray.

 

This is why Paul tells Timothy to charge certain persons to not teach any different doctrine. Those who hold to something other than the gospel of the glory of the blessed God make a shipwreck of their faith (1:19b).

 

Paul’s chief concern (with the church at Ephesus as he wrote to Timothy) was that the life-style and testimony of a Christian aid in the spread of the gospel concerning Jesus. The false teachers in Ephesus had given their energies to many enticing replacements for the gospel. That trend had to stop![1]

 

I would argue that much of evangelical Christianity in the west is full of enticing replacements for the glory of God in Jesus Christ and therefore, God is boring to us and expendable. Probably tipping our hand that we have never really beheld the glory of God in Jesus Christ and therefore not really Christians.

 

Father is anything but boring. This is the wildest ride. Following Jesus scares the mess out of me and yet attracts me to the risk in an irresistible way.

 

Not boring!

 

So, Paul makes this glorious transition from laying out the purpose of the law with verse 11, “…in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”

 

As I shared with you last week, this verse did a number on me. I had to jettison my notes on it and even as I taught through it the work of the Lord was ongoing.

 

This is how the Lord works in me though. I’ll go weeks and sometimes months with seemingly no overt “activity” and he’ll do something like that which is soul-quaking and then follow it up with aftershocks of little glories that inaugurate a new bit of growth in this branch of a soul.

 

These moments are fruit that come from abiding in Christ and Christ in me.

 

I don’t want to move on with this most important book and just pretend like these little glories are irrelevant to the rest. They are not.

 

1. Father’s work in me directly affects you and vice/versa. We are to see glory together.

2. Father’s work in me, due to my calling, must shape how I address the text.

3. Father is still showing me/us wonderful things out of his law

Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

4. Scripture is inspired, and phrases like this in verse 11, are not to be just read over so we can move on. They are profoundly significant and pregnant with truth that influences what was just said in the text and what he is going to say in the text.

 

This gospel that accords with the law contains immeasurable glory that we are to behold and people who behold glory get saved and then grow in restoring glory from their fallen state.

 

The church is a glorious body that Paul says is displaying the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10). What that means is that the church is reflecting the glory she is beholding. We have been entrusted with this gospel of the glory of the blessed God and it must saturate everything in the church and in us.

 

1. Paul wants the church at Ephesus to see glory and in seeing glory see God

 

People captivated with the Father don’t have time for petty myths and genealogies that create divisions and stupid distractions that get them off mission and help them to shipwreck their faith.

 

People here were distracted by myths and endless genealogies. Paul reminds them of the beauty of the law when one uses it lawfully.

 

That lawful use is ultimately to show us the glory of God!

 

Isaiah 40:9

This verse is the introduction to a chorus telling of glory of God.

 

“Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength,

O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not;

Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’”

 

Jerusalem is personified as a herald that has a gospel (good news) to proclaim. The content of this gospel? “Behold your God!”

 

The message was to gaze upon God and see glory!

Implications:

 

A. God is the gospel

B. God is glorious

C. We need to see God

1. If the eyes of our heart have not been opened to see the glory of God we

are not Christians.

D. The gospel changes people so much that their greatest want is God

 

“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”[2]

 

2. We will be transformed into the image of what we behold

2 Corinthians 3:12-18

 

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

 

When, by grace, we have our eyes opened to see the glory of Jesus, the Lord begins to restore his broken image in us and the glorious process of sanctification begins where the glory of God is restored in us one degree at a time.

 

A. If we continue beholding glory in Christ we will continue to grow in Christ

B. If we seek to behold speculations, myths and endless genealogies we will make

shipwreck of our faith and show we are not in the vine as branches but rather

pretenders who will be gathered and burned in the fire.

1. Those who do not behold the glory of the gospel continually become like the idols they behold (Psalm 115:4-8) (Psalm 135:15-18).

 

a. Gaze on the Lord through reading his word

1. When you read the word probing questions about the text are the Spirit’s windows through which we can glimpse glory!

2. Gaze on the Lord through the preaching of his word

a. Don’t assume you have anything better to do than be preached to

b. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

c. Illustration: What happens when I get preached to?

d. Don’t take the preaching of the word for granted.

 

3. To not see glory is to be lost and in the blind state of captivity to Satan

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

 

A. Satan has blinded unbelievers in their fallen state (v. 3-4)

B. Followers of Jesus have had God shine the light Jesus into their hearts so they

can see the glory of God (v. 6)

 

4. The Gospel is the glory of the blessed God and we are entrusted with it

1 Timothy 1:11

 

A. This glory is available to us. It’s at our fingertips. It’s the Scriptures.

“The law is good/beautiful if one uses it lawfully…”

1. The beautiful use of the Scriptures is to look in and see the glory in the

gospel.

2. Don’t let go until you see glory.

3. We need first the new birth (John 3) to see then we need continual

counseling from the Spirit to keep showing us and reminding us of

glory (John 14-16)

B. We must be people who reflect glory as we imitate our Father of glory

C. We must be people who tell glory as heralds of the good news of God in Jesus

Christ

D. We must be people who fall down and worship because we are so in awe of

the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ as revealed by the gospel through

the Spirit as we sound the depth of his word.

1. Ezekiel 1:28b

 


[1] Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, vol. 34, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 72.

[2] John Piper, God is the Gospel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s