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Description: Exhibiting God’s Glory
Exhibiting God’s Glory
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Will you turn to the study today loved ones in Ephesians 1:17. It’s a continuation of the statement
that Paul is making in verse 15 so let’s being at Ephesians 1:15, “For this reason, because I have
heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give
thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of
glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.” Then verse 16
says “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” and it is good for us to
remember that this dear book is supernatural and every word is precious and every word is
significant and important. So it is good to see that everywhere there is guidance for us and there
is guidance here for us in our prayers, because Paul is saying, “I do not cease to give thanks for
you, remembering you in my prayers,” and then the very first thing that he says is, “That the God of
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.”
I’ve mentioned this to you before, how I saw the danger in my own prayers where I would have the
idea that Jesus was right beside me. I obviously didn’t think of him as my pal but as my friend who
was right beside me, and so he already knows all these things so I can get right to the point right
away. And so I’d get right into by saying things like, “Lord, will you help Myron in this struggle
that he’s having with this issue,” and I’d get down to describing the thing to God. Of course it
wasn’t long before I realized that the Bible is very clear on that point, why do you ask because God
knows already what you have need of.
So I did see that this is rather silly, me going into such detail with God or with the Savior about
this thing because he already knows it all. And then I got caught with the problem, well then how
do I pray? Obviously, I have to pray about something and I’m supposed to be concerned about these
things, and I don’t see how to explain it or almost fill up the time unless I go in detail into what
the needs of Greg are, or what the needs of Marty are, or what the needs of Martha are, or what the
problems are that I’m facing myself and yet I sensed in some way, this is a little like talking to
In fact, often I would find it wasn’t very different from worrying. It often didn’t seem very
different from the machinations of my mind when I was actually just concerned about a thing I’d
think, “Now, what am I going to do about this sale?” Or, “What am I going to do about this issue I
have to deal with financially? Now, I could do that or I could do this,” often talking it over with
God seemed not very different from what I did when I was just thinking about the thing in my own
mind and trying to work out answers. And actually, to tell you the truth, often the prayer that
went like that left me as worn out as I was when I was just thinking about the thing or tossing it
over in my mind.
In fact, often it was as exhausting as what happened at night in my half-conscious existence where I
would kind of be thinking and worrying about the thing, and wondering about it, and half trying to
think out solutions. And so I found that that kind of prayer was draining, it wasn’t very
uplifting. So I knew that that was wrong in some way. But it was quite some time before I thought,
“Who am I talking to?” I mean, it was a sudden as that. “Wait a minute, who am I talking to? What
is God doing at this moment?” And the first thing that hit me was, I’m carrying on a conversation
that I regard as being with him, but actually I suddenly realized that I don’t give him a thought
I’m preoccupied with the thing itself and I’m preoccupied with outlining it all.
And if you had said to me, “Yes, but isn’t it more in the back of your mind that you’re talking to
him?” Oh, way in the back of my mind I thought, “God is somewhere there,” but my mind wasn’t on
him, it was on the things that I was praying for, or the people I was praying for, or the problem I
was facing and I suddenly realized that I am not thinking of God at all. I am not even trying to
imagine what he is doing at this moment. I’m not thinking for a moment whether he’s surrounded by
angels and archangels and all the company of heaven. I’m not thinking for a moment whether Jesus is
with him. I’m certainly not thinking about what he’s thinking of me. I’m certainly not wondering
what he thinks of when he looks down at me or that his eyes are looking at me now, so what is he
thinking? I wasn’t thinking that at all.
And it was then that I began to see the point of this whole emphasis on adoration and thanksgiving,
but particularly I’d have to say adoration because I did do thanksgiving at times. Even as a child
I said, “God bless mum, God bless dad,” so I was thanking God for the home, and my parents, and my
brother, and my school, and all that kind of thing. So in a way I knew about thanksgiving and I saw
that thanksgiving at times could be as preoccupied with how lucky I am counting all my blessings
rather than thanking the dear person and being grateful to him. I saw that even thanksgiving could
take on that same characteristic as my petition. That is, it could preoccupy me with the earthly
So I had some sort of experience of thanksgiving but I had no idea about adoration at all. I knew
the adoration of the Magi; I knew that story how the wise men bowed down before the Lord Jesus in
the stable and that was adoring him. And I knew that the angels all put their wings down and adored
God and praised him, but I myself had no experience of adoration and it was then that I began to see
that this is the heart of prayer. This is what prayer is about, it’s about adoration. And of course
this is what God in his kindness is teaching us very clearly here through Paul.
Paul doesn’t say, “I don’t cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that you may
have your problems solved, especially the little difficulties you’re having with the evil spirits
and the church there, and all.” No, he says, “Remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,” and that’s where his prayer started. And to tell you the
truth, I think it’s where they end it usually. He went right to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When he knelt down in prayer he didn’t immediately think of all the problems the Philippians or the
Corinthians or the Ephesians were having. His eyes and his heart went immediately up to God and he
immediately thought, “This is the person I’m speaking to. Lord, I’m coming before you; you’re the
God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And I don’t know if you’ve thought through that one; that first of
all he doesn’t say, “You’re the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, and all the others that
I respect and I know of, the forefathers, the forerunners of our race.” But he says, “The God of
our Lord Jesus Christ.” He doesn’t say, “The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He says, “The God
of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It might be good for you to remember if that is the timeline [indicating a long line], it’s very
important to remember that the little piece that we’re concerned with this morning is just there
[indicating a very small section]. In other words, eternal time is there and eternal time is there,
and this is a little piece here that we’re talking about. Creation takes place there and presumably
the end of the world will take place there, and then of course, it will go on into infinity there.
This piece (our present time) is only a tiny piece in the great sea of eternity, so we need to keep
that in mind. But it is important for us to see again that here in eternity somewhere God begat his
son, his only son, and that at some point which we cannot imagine, that was the relationship; God
the Father and his only son Jesus. But so close that there probably is no difference in time. And
so close to that, a millisecond later, God created his own son as man. Here his only son had a
Father. Here his only Son had a God.
In other words, Jesus was the divine only begotten son of his Father and then the Father said, “Son,
I want you to be man and I want to create men and women inside you, I want to make them part of you.
They will do all kinds of things with their free will inside you and I want you to keep them in
yourself and to bear them through death and destruction, and to hold onto them so that you can come
back to me. If you will do that my son, I will express that grace of mercy to them.” And so in the
depths of eternity, long before the creation of the world, in precreation eternity, that incredible
transaction took place where God’s only son became man, and inside that man was created all these
other little men and women of whom you and I are part. And at that moment, God made a covenant with
his son-man and said, “If you will hold onto them my son, I will show mercy to you and to them, and
will bring them back into life in you.” And at that moment back then God made a covenant with man
and that’s why Paul refers to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You and I share that same covenant that Jesus has with his Father, that covenant of grace, that’s
called the new covenant. So back then, Jesus’ Father became his God and that’s why Paul says, “The
God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and he’s saying in effect we are to look up — first of all, when you
kneel down in prayer, look up to God and say, “This is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is
the God who made me inside his own son Jesus. This is the God who regards me as part of his son.
This is the God of whom I am the apple of his eye. He regards me as his own son Jesus. He regards
me as part of his son.” And Paul says, “First of all fill your hearts and your thoughts and your
minds with that.”
I don’t know what all the Monks and all the Sisters do now, but certainly when you deal with Saint
John of the Cross and Thomas a Kempis and the well known ones that’s what filled their hearts in
prayer. That’s what their prayers are full of. They’re full of the God himself and his
relationship to them, and the fact that he has made them in himself, and that they are dear to him,
and that he loves them as his own. That’s what fills their prayers. Why? Because the other wears
you out, the other way just drains you. And if you ask me what I’m doing, am I saying “Oh,
wonderful God?” No, I’m just thinking, “Lord, you are my Father and I am part of your dear son
Jesus, and you think of me as part of him, and you love me like that.” I’m thinking of that.
Somehow as you do that, first of all the time passes very quickly. But then your own heart gets
filled with a certainty that of course God loves you, of course you’re in his arms, of course he has
control of everything and there rises up within you a certainty of faith that everything is right
and everything is well. Not only that, but it seems somehow as you sink into him, you see things
the way he does and suddenly all things take their proper place. Instead of the things being
thought about in your mind and growing bigger and bigger, and becoming more and more of a worry to
you, they become smaller and smaller and you see them as unimportant things, as things that he has
already taken care of. Indeed, the Holy Spirit then brings to you that kind of fact; God has worked
all things according to the counsel of his will. He has brought everything that you’re experiencing
even when you’re up at three o’clock in the morning and you feel tired, that’s part of God’s plan.
He has all that in his hands and so everything begins to be brought together in God’s own heart
rather than kept outside in the midst of your little petty mind and the best thoughts that you have.
So that’s why Paul puts it that way, “Remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ.” First of all that’s what we need to do in our prayers and probably if you do it, you’ll
get no further in your prayers than that, but that’s the first step; time before God thinking of
what he is and who he is and thinking over these things yourself. And it’s not bad if you twist
your own mind round this infinite truth that we’ve shared. It’s not bad if you think about how that
could be. It’s good to think on these things and as you think of them, God gives you light and
gives you spiritual understanding so that you can begin to sense it yourself.
But that’s what Paul is saying first of all, “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and then you see
the next phrase, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones
says we are to take our shoes off because we’re stepping on holy ground. The Father of glory, it is
so difficult to talk about. One place where it occurs, and it’s about Stephen, is Acts 7:1, “And
the high priest said, ‘Is this so?’ And Stephen said, ‘Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of
glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said
to him, ‘Depart from your land and from your kindred and go into the land which I will show you.’”
“The God of glory”, so that’s one of the moments.
Then Romans 6:4 is interesting and I’ll explain what little I understand of it, “We were buried
therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of
the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” So it’s a phrase that was used in different
places and in odd places where you wouldn’t think of it, “So that as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father.” You wonder what on earth does that mean.
It’s very hard to begin to outline it, but obviously the glory of God is all the perfections of God;
he is perfect love, he is perfect joy, he is perfectly peaceful, he is perfectly at rest, he is
perfect in his understanding and his thinking, he is perfect in his appearance, he is perfect in the
way he deals with us all and so there’s a glory in that. So that’s at least what glory means; it
means the sum total of all God’s perfections. He is the Father of glory too. He is the one that
has created glory. He is the original source of glory. He’s the perfect embodiment of glory.
But it seems also something to do with the sunset. Have you ever seen a startling sunset? We tend
to see it in Florida; there are times when you look up and it’s beyond anything you could imagine.
The whole sky is lit up; there are colors of gold and silver that you could never imagine together.
There’s a shining behind the clouds that you couldn’t think of and you’ve never seen in a painting.
It bursts upon you the shear glory of it. I suppose you feel the same thing at times when you see
certain perfect flowers, or you see a perfect rose and it just fills you with glory. And it’s what
Manley Hopkins tried to get at with the grandeur of God. “The world is filled with the grandeur of
God, it will shine out like shining from shook foil, it gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil
crust, and all is filled with the glory of God.”
And it seems that things are filled with that glory, that beauty, that shining brightness that is
beyond anything you imagine. I think very enjoyable as a motorcyclist and a guy that loves risk and
excitement to see that God is called the Father of glory. Jesus was not raised by the machine like
regularity of the work of God but is raised by the glory of God. It’s as if the glory of God breaks
out and breaks through the deadness of Jesus’ body and lifts him up.
G. K. Chesterton used to say that now people will say that the rising of the sun each morning is
just the working of a natural law that is built into the universe. He said, “Have you ever seen a
tiny little baby lying on the floor and it’s filled with joy and delight. And what is it doing, it
beats its feet up and down regularly in joy and that’s what God does. He raises the sun regularly
day after day in joy.” And it seems that “the Father of glory” says that God is a Father of glory
and beauty and excitement and unexpected wonder and delight, and something that you would never
imagine yourself, a bursting forth.
I know there’s a lot of imitation in the charismatic movement, but at heart there is something of
that wonder. It is still true that David danced before the Lord, and it is true that there is great
exhilaration when people come close to God himself. And it seems to me it’s because God himself is
the Father of glory. And there are wonderful verses that you can see yourself, because Jesus says
in John 17:5, there’s something obviously real about it. I think that’s what this brings forth.
John 17:5, “And now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with
thee before the world was made.”
So obviously, there is a sense in some way in which Jesus himself has a glory that God possesses.
And then of course, the wonder of it is in 1 Peter 1:21, “Through him you have confidence in God,
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” The
indication there is that Jesus was raised and was given glory so that our faith and hope are in God
and that becomes real when in John 17:24 Jesus prays “Father, I desire that they also, whom thou
hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love
for me before the foundation of the world.” There it’s obvious that we’ll see Jesus’ glory.
But then 2 Corinthians 3:18 is the one that states very clearly that we’ll not only see his glory
but “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his
likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Don’t think for a moment that the beautiful sunset and the beautiful sunrises are just for us to
look at. I think they’re God telling us, “You personally, will experience greater glory than this.
You’ll experience greater excitement and greater exhilaration than you’ve ever experienced on earth
or that you’ve ever seen in my heavens. You will receive a glory that is beyond anything that you
And it seems to me it’s the logical completion of the truth that we are the crown of creation. That
everything that we see around us is only a poor illustration of what we each, in Jesus, are going to
experience. And that’s why I think it’s a very real thing that we’re moving from glory-to-glory
even in this present life. Its why at times, for example, Marty might think “Lay off me Pastor; I
tend to be quite bright inside, but practically I am just beginning to catch up with things so lay
off me for a while.” But I think God has prefect and wonderful glory for us. We won’t all reach
absolute perfection in this life but it is God’s will that we should be rising from glory-to-glory
and reaching out for the perfection that he has for us in Jesus. And it seems that that’s part of
the excitement and the wonder of life.
We’re not meant to creep along just above the level of the surface of the water. We’re meant to be
flying like the eagles and reflecting his glory, and rising in his glory. And finally, although the
mixture of words that I’ve used are poor to describe what his glory is, finally, there’s something
beyond words in this, but isn’t it wonderful that he’s called here the Father of glory? And glory
is not just that he is the one that we’re all bowing down to and we’re all praising, it’s not simply
that. It’s the sheer wonder and brightness that we see in sunsets. It’s the beauty that we see in
roses. It’s the perfect peace and calm and serenity that we see in Jesus’ eyes. It’s the complete
summation of everything that is perfect and that’s what he has for us.
Let us pray.
Dear Lord, we thank you that you are our loving Father, but you are the mighty God, the omniscient
Creator of all that we know. And we thank you Lord that you are the one who not only makes the
little insect and the little worm, but you make the mighty eagle. You make not only the smallest
particle that the physicist have discovered but you make also the mighty mountains and the wonderful
planets, and stars. We thank you Father that you are the one who fills the sun with her heat, and
her light and brightness. We thank you Lord that you are the one who reflects that and beams that
light down into the clouds that so often cover our earth. And we thank you Lord, that you make out
of those clouds beautiful reflections that put all our best pictures to shame. We thank you Father,
that everything you do is beyond us and fills us with a sense of wonder and awe.
We thank you Lord, that you are the Father of glory. And we do thank you that the more we lose
ourselves in you in prayer, the more we ourselves are elevated, lifted out of this pitied world and
this pedestrian existence and brought into the higher levels of life that you have reserved for us
in Jesus. We thank you especially our Father that you have destined us to be part of yourself and
part of all this beauty and wonder that you are composed off. We thank you Father that you have
bowed down to us to give us all that you have and all that you are. Lord, we thank you. Amen.