Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
May 29, 2016
How can we explain the Glory of Jesus?
The culture of America is much like that of the first century. It does not welcome testimony about Jesus Christ. In fact such testimony is resisted to the extent that most Christians remain silent about their love for Jesus, speaking of him only in “comfortable” settings.
This was not the case in the first century when the church was born. Early Christians spoke boldly about Jesus and were willing to suffer, even to die, for the honor of speaking his name in public. So today we ask ourselves the question: How can we find the courage to boldly tell others what Jesus means to us, and what he can mean to others who will trust him?
Like many others my wife Dean has struggled with this question. In a study of chapter one of the Book of Hebrews, Dean expressed some of her insights in both prose and poetry. Her observations may be helpful as you ponder how to share with our post-Christian world “the Glory” of Jesus:
“My mother took me to church when I was an infant so I have been in the Church for 84 years, but I have not been ‘in Christ’ for that long. We can come to church without coming to Christ. We can even sing, ‘The Church’s one Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; she is His new creation by water and the Word,’ without having a clue what that means.
“When we ‘join’ the Church we are asked some questions. ‘Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior?’ (Hebrews 4:14 reads ‘Let us hold fast to our confession.’) (The Living Bible reads ‘never stop trusting Him.’) ‘Do you put your whole trust in His grace?’ We promise to serve Him as Lord and live as faithful members of the church. Church membership, however, is but the beginning of our search to understand the glory of God that we never discover until we fall in love with Jesus.
“Here is my poetic attempt to describe the glory of God that I found by falling in love with Jesus:
Pictures cannot describe or frames fully hold
Your marvelous love for us to see.
How can mere books your story unfold
Or how can I tell what you mean to me.
My words fail to express
The thing I know you to be,
My stammering tongue must confess
That I am overwhelmed by your love for me.
When I think of new life you give
To those who heed your call,
My greatest wish is so to live
That I give you my life, my all.
My heart aches when I look around
To those who never speak your name.
I pray for a language profound
So I can tell other why you came.
Oft when day is o’er and work is done
I wish for your face to behold,
Then I would know if the victory’s won
When your story I have told.
“Explore with me what the gifted writer of Hebrews says in chapter one. He reminds us that while God ‘spoke’ his plan for his people through the prophets, he has now spoken to us through his Son. What follows are some of the most profound words about Jesus ever penned:
1. God has appointed Jesus Christ His heir. He is Heir to all things. He is the firstborn heir of God. Paul says that we are joint heirs with Christ and if we suffer with Him so then we also will be glorified with Him. That means Christ shares his glory with us.
2. Through Jesus Christ God made the universe. He created all things. Before anything else existed, Christ was with God, sharing in the creation of the world.
3. The Son is the radiance of God’s Glory. God’s Glory is like a great beacon light The Son is the radiance, the rays of light, that shine out from that beacon. Let me try to express this ‘revealing light’ in poetic terms:
As the rays of sunlight
Come shining into a darkened room,
So God’s light frees the soul from night
That we may not walk in gloom.
The glimmering light spills
Over our innermost parts
To show us what God wills
For our sinful hearts.
The rays search out every shadow
That lingers still to lure,
But God is ready to bestow
His love to make us pure.
Slowly the sins that we concealed
Are laid at the throne of Grace.
There the Holy Light revealed
The radiance of His face.
4. Jesus Christ is the exact representation of God’s being. The Son himself is God. The Son is the perfect picture of God. When we want to know what God is like, we look at Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.’
5. Jesus Christ sustains all things by His powerful word. It is He who holds everything together. When we study the atom we find that there is a force that holds it together. Jesus is this ‘force’ and much more. He holds me together! He is the great ‘glue’ of the universe! During many ‘long nights’ in my life Jesus has held me ‘together, helping me deal with sin and death. Here is how I have tried to express my gratitude poetically in a piece I titled ‘Long Night’:
As I crouch with covers
O’er my head,
I ponder my fears and
The things I dread.
In my tomb of darkness, no light
I come to grips with death and sin.
Things look so grim in the middle
Of the night.
You wonder if the sun will ever
Shed its light.
So the soft breathing of my child
Comes into my coverlet cave.
What devil caused these covers piled
As if they alone could save?
Where is the strength for which
There are those who need me strong,
Not hovering like a coward
Where is the faith for which
With Christ within I need
New strength I gain with Him
He is with me in
He covers me with His Light.
6. Jesus Christ saves us from our sins. Through His redeeming death on the cross Jesus paid the price for our salvation. I took Jesus as my Savior. He is the One who provided a way out of my sins. The Son’s purification for sins includes both forgiveness for past sins and a heart-cleansing that empowers Christians to live a life of holiness. Jesus willingly gave himself to God to die for our sins – The perfect sacrifice!
7. Jesus Christ sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Having sat down He indicated that the work of redemption is complete and He is ruling with God, the Father, over all. His enemies are being made a footstool for His feet. He is our perfect sacrifice, our perfect Savior, our perfect Priest. He has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities and powers made subject to Him. What a Savior!
“There is a power that is beyond our imagination, so great, so wise, so wonderful, yet so close, finger-tip close to us, that we can reach out and take hold of it by faith. We can receive it and become brand new. His divine power gives us everything needed for life and godliness. He calls us by His own Glory to live glorious lives – and to explain as best we can his Glory to those who are still living in darkness! Let us find ways to do it so that others can with us be blessed by the radiance of His face!” + + +