Understanding The Bible
"Bringing the Glory of God to Your Home Church"

"Bringing the Glory of God to Your Home Church"
J. Deering,


Bringing The Glory of God to Your Home Church


(John 17:1)  After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  (:2)  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. (:3)  Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  (:4)  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  (:5)  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

In John 17:1-5, we're at the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, He asks the Father that He may be glorified on the basis of His ministry which will shortly come to a close at The Cross.  That glorification would come as the result of the establishment of "The Body of Christ, The Church," and the ramifications of His finished work at the cross upon all who have believed, are believing, or who will believed.

Chapter 17 of John is the content of "Jesus Christ's High Priestly Prayer" where Jesus asks His Heavenly Father
     1.   to Glorify His Son, that the Father might be glorified
     2.   to Protect "those who belong to Him" by the Power of The Father's Name
     3.   to Sanctify "those who belong to Him" with the Power of The Word, and
     4.   to Unify "those who belong to Him," into a complete unity with one another.

While the complete content of this chapter will be brought to light over the next few weeks, I wish to concentrate on the first five verses, where Jesus asks that His Father would glorify Him and that this would, in turn, bring ultimate glory back to The Father.  What part can and do we play in the fulfillment of Jesus' request to bring great glory to the Father.

(17:1) "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

To Glorify means to "measure the weight."  When we openly proclaim the good qualities, as if weighing them (and finding them weighty), we are bringing glory to the one being measured.   Jesus asks that He be "glorified."  But in a very special manner, only as it brings glory to God, His heavenly Father.  The meaning here is that what Jesus has done, would be weighed in the balances and found of great value.  So much value, in fact, that God His Father would, in fact, receive the glory as a result. When we consider our glory, could we be weighed in the balances and found to be of great value like His, or would we be found wanting.  When we are weighed in the balances, what would be the result?

Many churches today are medium sized.  Many have had good success in past years with building a body and building a facility to operate from.  Many, even now, have a good sized body, and a still functioning facility busy with committees and activities.  But, are they exploding with excitement, are they un-containable with growth, are they abounding with joy, do they show forth the love of God by loving each other as we're called to do?  I think there are individuals who could truly say that these things are evident in their lives. There are others who cannot.  But what of the body?  Is our body functioning well enough that we would be weighed and found to be of great value, enough value that the Father would receive great glory because of us?

As background for this study links Exodus 40 to John 17.  The connection between these two verses isn't all that obvious.  Let's look at them verses again.


(Exodus 40:1-5) 
(:1)  Then the LORD said to Moses:  (:2)  "Set up the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the first month.  (:3)  Place the ark of the Testimony (Covenant) in it and shield the ark with the curtain (The Holy of Holies).  (:4)  Bring in the table and set out what belongs on it. Then bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps.  (:5)  Place the gold altar of incense in front of the ark of the Testimony and put the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle (The Holy Place).

(Exodus 40:33)
(:33)  Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.

Remember ...  the curtain between the Holy of Holies and the rest of the Tabernacle was split in two when Jesus Died on the Cross.

(Matthew 27:50-51a)
"And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom."

This was one of God's very special symbolic acts.  It wasn't until then that God opened the curtain between His holiness and our sinfulness, but only through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

(Exodus 40:34-38)
(:34)  Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the GLORY of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  (:35)  Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  (:36)  In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; (:37)  but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out--until the day it lifted.  (:38)  So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.

God led the men and women in the wilderness by showing them His Glory in the "Cloud" by day and the "Pillar of Fire by night."  When His GLORY moved, God's people moved.  No one, not even God's friend Moses, could go into the tabernacle when His glory was there.  Unrighteousness, sin, and evil, were simply not allowed into God's presence.

In this day and age many of God's people seem have lost that sense of God's GLORY that provides the motivation for daily lives, or work lives, or even Church lives.  How sensitive are we to God's movements among us.  It's a question often asked from the pulpit,  "Would we know Him if He was among us."  Would we recognize Him if He were seated somewhere in the sanctuary?  Would we give Him the place of special honor if He was one of our guests in our home?  Would we be able to be moved by the Glory of God when He moves?

We would like to think so, but, all to often, if we are "Traditionalists," we depend upon what we have known in the past to motivate us.  If Jesus was to sit in the pew in front of me, would I, as a traditionalist, indicate to Him that the seat He was in belongs to the "Smith's" and they'll be along shortly to sit in it (Step aside please, next!).  And if He were in my seat, would I mummer and grumble that I had to move.  The problem with tradition is that it is so wonderfully comfortable.  Please don't misunderstand.  Tradition is the glue that keeps the past, the present and the future a meaningful continuum.  It carries with it the  teaching, experience, pleasures, and warnings of the past.  Without tradition there would be no contact with the experience of the past, no opportunity of growth.  We would all be relegated to committing the same errors over and over again with each new generation.  But, our traditionalism can also prevent us from seeing the Glory of God move among us, so that we would not move with Him?

On the other hand, if we are "Modernists," we depend upon what we know in the present to motivate us.  If I move to the other end of the spectrum and look to "the modern way" as the way to do everything, wouldn't I place myself into the position of making change for the sake of change (art for art's sake, yuk).  The problem with a modern outlook, is that it often lacks experience, and therefore may not last.  After all it has to stay modern to be modern.  Anyone who owns a car more than a year old knows that!  But, approaching a ministry without modern elements is a lot like our car example.  An older car may be tried and true, but not everyone wants an old(er) car.  And because it is tried and true, doesn't mean it will start tomorrow! So how do we relax the tension between these two points of view?

Campus Crusade's Bill Bright had a catch phrase you will remember, "God loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life!"  While the phrase if well worn, it will never loose it's truthfulness. And God not only has a plan for your life, but He has a plan for your Church.  Instead of looking to our traditions or looking to modernize, we should be looking to HIM and THROUGH HIM for our motivation by watching for evidences of the movement of His Glory among us.

And we need to be listening to the other members of The Body of Christ, in whom Christ is also working through His Spirit to show us what we should be doing, what we should be planning, where we should be going.  After all, this is The Body of Christ.  He has specifically chosen us, and His Spirit has specifically given each of us gifts FOR THE MINISTRY.  And those gifts are given to all members of the body whether they see ministry in terms of tradition or change.

The Nation Of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness.  The population of Israel was recorded at 600,000 men, plus women and children, when they left Egypt.  A total of nearly 2,000,000 people.  In Deuteronomy Chapter 34 God said to Moses,

"This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it."

As a matter of fact, of the original 2,000,000 Israelites only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter into the promised land.  All the other original sojourners of the Exodus, died in the desert.  Only Joshua, Caleb, and those who were born in the desert were allowed to enter in ... because of sin in the camp.  The people of Israel grumbled and murmured at every turning of God's Glory.  They murmured and grumbled about their food, water, living conditions, the fact that they were in the desert at all, and their leadership.  They murmured and grumbled about everything.

God did not allow them to enter into the promised land because of it.  Don't let our humanity, our fascination for the past or the present, to get in the way of seeing the movement of God's glory among us.  Don't allow sin in the camp to prevent the blessings of The Lord from coming upon you, your family, or this body. Let me share this little place in the Scriptures I found while preparing: Hebrews 11 records the great people and deeds of faith (Knowing the truth, when it is the truth, even when you lack physical evidence).

Hebrews 11:24
(KJV) "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward."

Moses gave up everything the world had to offer ... to follow the Glory of The Lord.

Hebrews 11:30-31
(New International)  "By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.  (31) By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."

The nation of Israel, the city of Jericho, Rahab: (who was to know that the prostitute who helped the Israelite spies escape the city of Jericho, on a rope, out her window, would fall in love with one of them and become the mother of Boaz who was the Father of Ruth, who was the mother of Jesse, the father of David, and take a major place in the genealogy of Jesus Christ as His Grandmother on His father's side, some 32 generations earlier).

Rahab, a lowly prostitute of Jericho, listened to The Glory of The Lord, and became the great-great grandmother of the Messiah.

(John 17:2)  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.

The reason that Jesus gives for His desire that the Father show Him glory, is that the plan of the ages for the salvation of those who would believe had been finalized and put into place.  With His death and resurrection would come the fulfillment of every prophecy made concerning the way in which the salvation of mankind would come about.

What a wonderful thought it is that God the Father gave men and women to Jesus Christ, for the sole purpose that they might have eternal life.  That the fellowship broken in the Garden of Eden so long ago, should be mended in such a way.  God wants our fellowship, He wants our love, He wants our devotion.  He has given us Jesus Christ.  Jesus, alone, is the satisfaction of all of God's demands against humanity's sin. (John 17:3)  "Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."

Are you looking for eternal life, here's the answer:  To Know God the Father, and Jesus Christ, whom God the Father has sent.  Only you can make this decision.  I felt the call of Jesus Christ at the age of 23, while working for an evangelist! For each of us there is only that burning question, "What should I do about Jesus Christ and His claims."  The answer was simply, "I choose Christ, and give my life to Him."  Don't live out your life without making your decision for Jesus Christ.

Here are some verses that deeply affected my life.  I have them written down in my bibles, in a sort of chain.  Beginning with:

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 3:23
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9-10
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

1 John 5:11-13
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (John 17:4)  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  (:5) And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

May we, as individuals, and together as the local Body of Christ, keep our eyes upon His GLORY, as it says in (Hebrews 12:1-3),

(:1)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (those who we have named in Hebrews 11), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  (:2)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (:3)  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Let the Father do His work in each of us, that Jesus' prayer would be fulfilled in us as He watches from "The Right Hand of God the Father."