There are a number of words that have complex definitions and people end up arguing about which one is the correct one. But in truth, many words do have several legitimate definitions.
When I was in seminary, Dr. Branine, the wonderful man who taught most of the theology classes in the seminary I attended, tried to make sure that we learned concise, simple definitions of biblical words that would service us throughout our ministries. Moreover, Dr. Branine was all about teaching and he correctly predicted that we would all have ministries where we would be called to teach others. He believed that simple definitions were the best – they were memorable and impactful.
Glory is one of those words that can be used casually, or with the deepest respect and sense of awe. We can glorify someone by giving them an award at a celebratory dinner. Or we can speak about the glory of God! So what does “glory” mean?
Well, Dr. Branine taught us that glory was “the best part revealed.” Certainly, it can also mean to praise or worship but God’s journey with mankind has been one where God continues to reveal more of Himself to us. And we are made in God’s image that also reinforces the idea that we are blessed and the best part of us is revealed. So when we glorify someone at a celebration, we are talking about a good thing they did and recognizing “the best part of them’ which has been publicly revealed and acknowledged. As a result of that, we bestow honor, praise, or admiration.
When we do something for the glory of God, we are giving our best effort as an act of love and respect for God. We want to show that God is supreme and we are quick to work toward preaching the unparalleled attributes of God. Said another way, we exalt God as unique in all creation and we want to acknowledge that by worshipping God – that idea of bestowing honor, praise and admiration to God.
Paul was a great example of someone who broke into praise when he became overcome by the love, generosity and awesome nature of God. It was common for Paul to stop his writings and break into what we would think of as benedictions or blessings – he glorified God every chance he had.
Our verse for tonight comes from Paul’s letter to his church at Ephesus. This was Paul’s most spiritually mature congregation and our verse highlights the very thing that I wrote about. Paul actually breaks into praise in the middle of his letter. Paul tells us, in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Paul wants the best part of Jesus to be revealed in us and for our work in the church to be a reflection of that. My encouragement this evening is that we are God’s workmanship and as followers of Christ, it is our pleasure to be the best that we can be – for God’s glory. My prayer is that we will always be great ambassadors for Christ and that we will glorify one another, revealing the best parts of each of us, as we wait to spend eternity with God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…