I trust that you had a blessed Thanksgiving with friends and family — a time to reflect and give thanks to our great God for His kindness to us and our great nation.
There is so much to be thankful for: health, provision, spiritual growth, and on and on. Scripture tells us in James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” As the saying goes, “God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.” The Bible tells us this throughout. Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 107:1 reads, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Even when life gives you lemons, God makes lemonade. Romans 8:28 declares, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Beloved, this is our great God. No matter the circumstances, God is good all the time.
So why is it that some churches don’t extol this great God of the Bible? For that matter, why do they even gather?
Years ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delivered a message that aired on the radio. In this national address, Barnhouse speculated about what would be the most diabolical strategy that Satan could employ against the church in the years to come. To the astonishment of many listeners, Barnhouse imagined that all of the bars in Philadelphia would be closed. Prostitutes would no longer walk the streets. Pornography would no longer be available. The streets would be clean, and all the city neighborhoods would be filled with law-abiding citizens. All swearing and cursing would be gone. Children would respectfully say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am.” Every church in town would be packed to overflowing. And then he said this: “What, you ask, could be wrong with this?” Barnhouse then delivered the knockout punch. The deadliest, most diabolical danger, he said, would be that in each of these filled-to-capacity sanctuaries, Jesus Christ would never be preached, and the glory of God would never be exalted.
Sadly, this is all too common in pulpits today. There is much religious talk, but nothing is said about the glory of God revealed in the supreme authority and saving work of Christ upon the cross. There is mention of morality, but no Christ. There are expressions of cultural concern and political commentary, but no Christ. There is positive thinking, and there are inspirational stories, but no Christ. There are plenty of the external trappings of Christianity, but no internal reality of the glory of God revealed in Christ.
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But not on our watch. Not us! No, when you gather, make sure your pastor gives you Jesus! The biblical Jesus. See to it that he gives you the great glory of our awesome God and not some sort of man-centered, culturally driven gobbledygook. It is our delight to exalt Christ. If your pastor doesn’t give you Jesus, then wake him up and tell him, “We need Jesus.” If he still doesn’t, then find a church with a pastor who does. Why? Because of who God is. He is the greatest person we can hear about when a preacher preaches. His characteristics are weighty and powerful.
In the Old Testament, the primary Hebrew word for glory (kabod) meant a heavy weight, such as a rich man’s possessions, which, when weighed, were very heavy. The richer he was, the more his possessions would weigh. With this wealth came a degree of clout, or a heavy influence upon others in the community. Thus, glory came to represent the greatness of a man which commanded the respect of others.
When it comes to God, when it comes to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, God’s “weight,” or glory, is the greatness of who He is. And there is nothing that outweighs it. He stands alone in His glory. His glory is the awesome gravity and weightiness of His name. It is the infinite wealth of His divine attributes — His holiness, sovereignty, wrath, grace, goodness, and so forth. Every aspect of His character is immeasurably heavy, incomparably great, beyond any human’s character or ability. Being absolutely perfect, God is awesome in every way. He is a true “heavyweight” in every one of His divine attributes.
God’s glory represents the greatness of who He is. The psalmist rightly says in Psalm 8:1, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!” This is the glory that inherently belongs to Him because of His holy character. Because God is God, He is the only being of whom it can be said that He possesses inherent glory. We cannot give this glory to Him. This glory belongs to God by virtue of who He is. But we can surely give Him thanks. So, Christian, don’t stop rejoicing in your great God. Continue to express and bring to the light His greatness. Why? Because God is the heavyweight!