To the Praise of His Glory

Ephesians 1:3-14
October 28, 2018
Abraham Hong

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have an inheritance. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. We have forgiveness and redemption. We are adopted and loved and chosen. We have been blessed with everything spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is amazing to know that all of this, all of this marvelous salvation, is for us. God’s salvation in Christ Jesus is for you.

But it is not about you.

In the magnificent and breath-taking opening of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are reminded of one of the most important and basic and yet most mind-blowing and humbling truths in all of Scripture. And you must remember this for the rest of your lives on this old and fading earth. The ultimate goal of salvation is not that you are saved. The ultimate goal of salvation is that God is glorified. Salvation is for you. But it is not about you. It is about the glory of God.

Imagine that you are a guest at a wedding. The groom and the bride have a lavish wedding with beautiful flowers and delicious food and nice favors and memorable fun. And a lot of time and stress and money is spent by them so that you could have a wonderful time with them. The wedding is for you. But the wedding is not about you. It is about the groom and the bride. It is about their marriage, their joy, their future, their love.

Or imagine that you are an athlete receiving an award. People rise to give you honor and praise for who you are and what you have done. You deserve that award. The moment is for you. But the moment is not about you. It is about your coaches, your teammates, your fans, your family, and the game that is bigger than you - the game that you love.

Brothers and sisters, God has given you every spiritual blessing in Christ. God loves you so much. But do not forget about the bigger picture. None of this is about you.

Paul reminds us of this three times in today’s Scripture text. In verse 6, he says that God predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ… for the praise of his glorious grace. In verse 12, he says that we obtained an inheritance… so that we who hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. And in verse 14, he says that we heard the word of truth and believed in Christ and were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit… for the praise of his glory.

What Paul is getting at here is simple but profound. The whole point of the wonderful salvation that we have in Christ is to show how awesome God is. Don’t get me wrong. Salvation is awesome. But as one writer put it, there is genuine sense in which God’s glory is broader and more ultimate than our salvation. Our salvation happened so that there would be glory and honor and praise to God. It’s all about him.

Salvation is for you. But salvation is not about you. It is about the glory of God. God’s grace and love is for you. But God’s grace and love is not about you. It is about the glory of God. God’s forgiveness and redemption is for you. But God’s forgiveness and redemption is not about you. It is about the glory of God. The Bible and the Lord’s Supper is for you. But the Bible and the Lord’s Supper is not about you. It is about the glory of God. The church is for you. But the church is not about you. It is about the glory of God. The new heavens and the new earth is for you. But the new heavens and the new earth is not about you. It is about the glory of God. It is about his greatness and majesty.

Brothers and sisters, this simple but profound reminder about the bigger picture is a great help for our Christian lives. It is a great help for our joy, our humility, and our worship to God.

It is funny how some things just work out perfectly. The very word “joy” contains in itself the way that we can have joy in our lives. Great joy can be had when you put Jesus first (J), others next (O) and yourself last (Y). Dear Highland, are you living in the JOY of Jesus’ salvation? Or do you have it all backwards? Are you putting yourself first, others next, and Jesus last? Are you living in the YOJ of your own drama story? If so, then it makes sense that great joy is lacking in your life. Please stop. Please spell check your life. Please don’t be a wedding crasher. Please don’t do what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift. This is not about you. This is about God. Our salvation in Christ is to the praise of his glory.

But with great joy comes also great humility. It is humbling to know that while God’s grace and salvation is for us, it is not about us. We are not the center of the universe. God is. We are not the main character of the main story. God is. Listen to God’s Word from Romans 11:33-36. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” This is not about you. This is about God. Our salvation in Christ is to the praise of his glory.

And with great joy and great humility comes great worship. It may seem like a waste of time for me to say this. But it is not. If our salvation is about God, then let us worship God. Let us worship God because he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Let us worship God because he chose us and loved us and adopted us. Let us worship God because we have redemption and forgiveness and the lavish riches of his grace. Let us worship God because we have an inheritance and because we have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Everything is for you. But nothing is about you. Our salvation in Christ is to the praise of his glory.

End


Summary of Sermon

God has given us so many spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. We have an inheritance. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. We have forgiveness and redemption. We are adopted and loved and chosen.

But while all of God’s marvelous salvation in Christ is for us, none of it is ultimately about us. It is all about the glory of God. This is the ultimate goal of salvation. This is the bigger picture.

This simple but profound reminder about the bigger picture is a great help for our Christian lives. It is a great help for our joy, our humility, and our worship to God.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Questions for Discussion & Sharing

In what ways is a wedding for a guest but not about a guest? In what ways is an award ceremony for a champion but not about a champion?

There is genuine sense in which God’s glory is broader and more ultimate than our salvation. How does this bigger picture make you feel? How might this change the way that you correctly view all the spiritual blessings that you have in Jesus Christ?

Great joy can be had by putting Jesus first (J), others next (O) and yourself last (Y). In what ways are you exercising JOY in your life? In what ways are you exercising YOJ in your life?