Well first up, Technology Park is a cool place to have a conference. It’s an old factory converted into a top class conference centre, complete with the original machines and cranes hanging from the roof. Cool in an ‘oh what? Concrete floors and rusty machines are super cool? We never realized…’ sort of way.
Piper is up first.
God’s Passion for His Glory in Christ
Piper’s thesis will not surprise you: God is infinitely passionate for his glory.
Firs,t three illustrations of people: Eric Reese, CS Lewis, Michael Prouse, Oprah Winfrey.
All these people struggled with this: that God is a God who demands worship, who demands to be glorified.
Piper argues that God is God-exalting, and passionate for his glory above all things. That is right at the centre of our faith where the cross is. The cross is the intersection of God’s passion for his glory. My hatred of his centrality and his passion for his centrality is in the cross.
Piper’s dad said to him as a kid, ‘Son, do all to the glory of God.’
What he missed was that everything God does is for his glory.
What is required is your whole life centered on him, with him as the supreme value, not yourself.
Of course most of us would say ‘yes and amen’ to this. But here is the test.
If I am only God centered, because God is only centered on me, I am really me-centered.
So it is crucial to be confronted by God and his passion for his glory.
Then we were taken for a journey through redemptive history to see how each step points to God’s glory.
We are predestined for the ‘praise of the glory of his grace
We were created to magnify God.
Magnify – microscope (make something bigger than it is) or telescope (make something look like it really is)
We were created to make God look like he really is.
Created in God’s image so that we would recognize in ourselves whose image we are.
Jesus came to make God trustworthy. To show God as what he really is.
Then Paul says ‘and, for the gentiles, to glorify God’’
So two reasons for the incarnation:
1. Confirm promises for Israel
2. Glorify God for his mercy.
Paul says that God forgiving sins is so massively problematic that Christ had to die. This makes no sense unless sin is a falling short of the glory of God. When you exchange the glory of God for something else you say he’s not worth much, which is an insult to God, and yet he hasn’t thrown us all into hell.
So the cross is the loudest proclamation of God’s passion for his glory.
Paul is praying to God for the Philippians be sanctify so that through Jesus God could be glorified.
Something changed with CS Lewis when he became a Christian. The Psalms no longer sounded defected when God says ‘praise me’.
‘I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is its appointed consummation.’- CS Lewis
It’s not egomania, its love!
God is summoning us to see him, know him, praise him – it’s not because he will not be God until his ego is stroked. God is the one being for whom self-exaltation is apt. He gives us the one thing that will make us happy forever, the ability to praise God for his glory. It is not that God is not fully God until he gets glory, but that we are not fully satisfied until we give it.