Treasuring God #1

All Church Retreat Follow-up

We talk about treasuring God a lot at New Life Church. At the church retreat last weekend I tried to explain why that is so important to us. It is important for three reasons:1) God is infinitely perfect and gloriously satisfying. 2) God’s glory and man’s happiness are the same end. 3) God is ours because of the gospel.  Each of these reasons builds upon the preceding reason. 

God is infinitely perfect and gloriously satisfying.

This is the foundational reason we treasure God -- God treasures God. Here are some of the supporting scriptures:

  • Psalm 115:1-3  Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Why do the nations say, "Where is their God?"  Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.
  • Isaiah 42:8  "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
  • Isaiah 48:11-13   For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.  "Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.  My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.
  • Revelation 4:11  "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.“
  • Psalm 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

God’s glory and man’s happiness are the same end.

This will be most clearly seen from the references below in reference to the Gospel, but God acts for the sake of his glory and it also turns out for our good. They are not in opposition as though God must choose one and he chooses himself. He has created a world in which he acts for the sake of his reputation (or "name") and that same action works for good for those "who love him and are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Here is what Jonathan Edwards says about it:

[Thus] God’s respect to the creature’s good, and his respect to himself, is not a divided respect; but both are united in one, as the happiness of the creature aimed at, is happiness in union with himself.
— Jonathan Edwards, End for which God Created the World, Banner of Truth, I, 120
God glorifies himself towards the creatures also two ways: (1) by appearing to them, being manifested to their understandings; (2) in communicating himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in, and enjoying the manifestations which he makes of himself.
— Jonathan Edwards, Miscellany #448
The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on this beauty, and it is never weary of it. The mind never has any satiety, but Christ’s excellency is always fresh and new, and tends as much to delight, after it has been seen a thousand or ten thousand years, as when it was seen the first moment. The communication of God’s virtue or holiness, is principally in communicating the love of himself. And thus we see how, not only the creature’s seeing and knowing God’s excellence, but also supremely esteeming and loving him, belongs to the communication of God’s fullness. And the communication of God’s joy and happiness, consists chiefly in communicating to the creature that happiness and joy which consists in rejoicing in God, and in his glorious excellency; for in such joy God’s own happiness does principally consist.
— Jonathan Edwards, End for Which God Created the World, #269
God communicates himself to the understanding of the creature, in giving him the knowledge of his glory; and to the will of the creature, in giving him holiness, consisting primarily in the love of God: and in giving the creature happiness, chiefly consisting in joy in God.
— Jonathan Edwards, End for Which God Created the World, #270

God is ours because of the gospel.

In the gospel we see most clearly how God has acted to glorify himself and make us eternally happy. Note in each of the following verses that God acts for himself and we receive the glorious benefits!

  • Revelation 5:9-14  And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. . . Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped. 
  • Colossians 1:13-18 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
  • Ephesians 1:4-14 In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
  • Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-- by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 
  • Romans 3:23-26 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 

 

I hope this will give you some idea of the center of New Life Church. Our eternal joy is at stake in selling all we have to gain this treasure!

 

Scott ReavelyComment