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TEXT: Psalm 29:2
SUBJECT: Watson on the Chief End of Man #2
Tonight, Lord willing, we'll move on in our study of Thomas Watson on the Chief End of Man. The words are taken from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It begins,
"What is the chief end of man?
Man's chief end is to glorify
God and to enjoy Him forever".
The words are not in the Bible, but they summarize its teaching very well. Your number one goal in life ought to be the glory and enjoyment of God.
Last week, I tried to explain what it means to glorify God, how you can do it, and why you should. Now, we move on to some examples of glorifying the Lord. They're things you can do-even tonight-to bring glory to your Maker and Redeemer.
How do you glorify God? Last time, Watson said you do it in four ways (1) appreciation, (2) adoration, (3) affection, and (4) subjection. These are all true, but they're a little fuzzy, aren't they? But now, we'll get into some real, solid things you can do to glorify the Lord.
Now, remember, merely doing things isn't enough. The Pharisees prayed, fasted, and gave alms, but didn't glorify God by them because they did them "to be seen of men".
So, if you have a good attitude, the following things will bring glory to the Lord.
First of all, we glorify God by trying to glorify Him.
This seems obvious, but how often do we do it? We try hard at school or work honestly on the job, or behave ourselves at home, but are we aiming for the glory of God in doing these things? Well, are we? We ought to be. For it's not going through the motions that please Him, but reasonable service. Watson says,
"It is glorifying to God when we aim at His glory.
It is one thing to advance God's glory, another
Thing to aim at it. God must be the ultimate
End of all our actions".
Watson distinguishes between advancing God's glory and aiming to do it. Everything anyone does finally brings glory to God. Stubborn Pharaoh, for example, glorified the Lord's justice and power. But he didn't mean to! Thus, it was not the God-glorifying thing to do.
Unlike the wicked king, we ought to aim for God's glory. In whatever we do, we ought to think of how it reflects on the Lord. Are you treating your kids in a way that hints at His loving, patient, and wise care for His children? Or, does your working suggest that the Lord is honest and reliable?
Aiming for God's glory makes it really hard to sin. But more than that, seeking to glorify Him turns everything into an act of worship.
When we mess up, the Lord is so good as to accept what we meant to do instead of what actually happened. II Corinthians 8:12 is encouraging to people who tried to do the right thing, but made a mess of it,
"For if there is first a willing mind, it is
accepted according to what one has,
and not according to what he does not have".
Aiming for the glory of God will not result in a perfect life-or one nearly perfect either! But it will make you better; and it will honor the Lord. That's Number One.
We glorify God by being content with His well-even when it crosses our own.
Nobody is more submissive to the will of God than I am-when it's the same as mine! When He give me what I want and when I want it, then I adore that will. But when His will is different than mine-and even contradicts my own-then it's not so easy to accept. But if you want to glorify God, you've got to accept it. And not just accept it, but be content with it.
Eli was not the best man in the world, yet when the Lord spoke about the judgment that must fall on him and his sons, even the old priest said,
"It is the Lord, let Him do what
He sees fit".
This brings great glory to God in that it means we know that His wisdom is greater than our own. Of course we know that-in an abstract sense-but do we know it in the real things of life and death? When God says No to our most earnest praying; when the Lord takes away something that is very precious to us? Do we then know that
"Whate'er my God ordains is right?"
That's the trick to glorifying God. It's not easy to do, but do it we must if we hope to make Him look good in the world. Watson says,
"We aim at God's glory when we are content
that His will should take place, though it
may cross ours. Lord, I am content to be
a loser if you gain by it, to have less health
if you have more glory".
Paul was a fine example of this. In one sense, he was no different than you and I. He wanted the ordinary blessings of life-good health, a nice wife, fine kids, a fair income, an soft place to lay his head. But when he prayed for these things, God said No, they're not for you! Others can have them, but you can't!
How did Paul respond to God's will?
"Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities,
in reproaches, in needs, in persecution,
in distresses, for Christ's sake. For
when I am weak, then I am strong".
This submission to Providence is not the fruit of a strong personality or a good education. It's by grace alone. Some people put a good face on their problems, but only the believer finds in them something better than health, family, and comfort.
Nothing glorifies God more that accepting His will for life. From the heart.
Thirdly, we glorify God by enjoying the success and happiness of others-even when they're greater than our own.
There's no sin more common or corrosive than envy. It's that feeling of unhappiness when others have more than we do. You see it in kids; and we never outgrow it. But envy doesn't glorify the Lord. Quite the opposite, it mocks His goodness and pollutes anything we try to do for Him.
If you go through life feeling cheated-that others have what you deserve-you're not glorifying the Lord but are bringing great dishonor on Him and making yourself miserable too. Watson says,
"We aim at God's glory when we are content
to be outshined by others in gifts and esteem,
so that God's glory may be increased. A man
with God's glory in his eye desires that God
should be exalted; and if this is effected
it makes no difference who is the instrument!"
When a man is thrown out of the ministry, it's almost always for one of two sins: adultery or embezzlement. From this, you'd thing that lust or the love of money is the number one sin in the pastorate. But you're wrong. From my experience, the thing that eats at pastors more than anything else is envy!
Why does he have a bigger church than I do? He can't preach half as well as I do, but look, he's invited to conference-and I'm not. This wicked attitude comes out in feeling sorry for yourself, in grumbling, and-most of all-in sniping at successful men.
If God is the disposer of all things (including your place in life), then envy is a complaint against His wisdom. While rejoicing in the success others have praises the wisdom of God in doing all things well.
Again, Paul is a first-rate example. When jailed in Rome, little men tried to outpreach him. When Paul heard about it, he regretted their pettiness, but rejoiced in their preaching and the souls won by it.
Number four, we glorify God by honestly confessing ours sins.
"We glorify God by an sincere confession of sin.
The thief on the cross had dishonored God in
His life, but at death, he brought glory to God
By confession of sin--`We indeed justly'.
Joshua commanded Achan, `My son, give
Glory to God and make confession unto Him.
A humble confession exalts God. How free
Grace is magnified in those who admit they
Ought to be condemned.[while]
The excusing and mincing of sin casts
Reproach upon God".
Owning up to your sin glorifies God in that it assumes He knows all about it, that He condemns it, and that He will forgive you.
But hiding your sin, blaming others for it, and similar dodges are wickedly insulting to the knowledge, justice, and grace of God. Has a child ever lied to you about a sin he obviously committed, but claimed not to? If so, how did you feel about it? I know you felt sorry for the kid, but is that all you felt? Or did you also assume that he thought you were stupid?
"No, I didn't eat the Oreos" he says--though he's got black and white crumbs all over his face!
When we confess our sins-as fully and honestly as we can-we glorify God. We're saying-in effect-that He knows all about them, that He condemns them, and that He'll forgive us. Thus, the wisdom, justice, and mercy of God are lifted up in every word of confession.
Finally-for tonight-we glorify God by believing Him.
Watson minces no words on this one,
"Unbelief insults God, it gives Him the lie.
`He that believeth not, maketh God a liar'
says I John 5:10. But faith brings glory to
God, it sets to its seal that God is true".
Do you like to have your honesty questioned? Of course you don't-nobody does. It's very insulting to be called a liar. But why is that? You don't like any criticism of course, but this one is particularly hurtful. And do you know why? Because it goes right to the heart of your character. You can be guilty of many sins and still be a good person. But if you're a liar, you're not a good person! That's why you laugh off other criticisms, but feel the sting of this one.
If calling a man a liar is a bad thing to do, how much worse is it to call God a liar? Yet that is exactly what unbelief is. That may not be the intent (you may blame yourself for being weak or scared or confused), but that is the result.
Do you want others to think God cannot be taken at His word? If you don't, then you've got to show them that you believe Him, that you take His Word seriously.
This greatly glorifies the Lord. There's no higher praise a man can receive that this one: You can count on him. He may not be flashy, but he's solid. If he says he'll be there, he'll be there.
Most men don't deserve that kind of praise. But the Lord does. Because-unlike the best men-"God cannot lie".
If your words, attitudes, and actions show faith in His Word, then you bring Him much glory.
Do you want to glorify the Lord? Some of you, I know, don't. Because you're not saved. You wonder what's the big deal about glorifying God? You'll never know till you know Him up close and personal. When you do, then you'll know what all the shouting is about. If you but knew the greatness and the mercy of the Lord, you'd want to glorify Him. You'd see nothing in life more worth doing than honoring the God who saved you.
I wish someone here-some kid maybe, or grown-up, would believe in Christ and begin to feel the great duty and privilege of glorifying God.
For the rest of you-the saved-I wish you'd get serious about glorifying Him. At church, of course, but also at home, at work, and in the neighborhood.
Glorifying God is not a Sunday morning thing-it's a 24/7 thing!
"Whether you eat or drink, or
whatever you do, do all
to the glory of God".
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