God Has Given Us Glory
“God Has Given Us Glory”
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 8, 2016
Readings: Acts 16:16-34, Psalm 68:1-20
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
The lesson God gives to us, especially from the Gospel, on this seventh Sunday of Easter is the height of Christ’s work for us, showing us God’s commitment to us and all of creation.
Scriptures aren’t just stories to be read; they are to be lived. Christ paid a high price for our deliverance. He came to destroy the works of the devil. On the cross, He said, “It is finished!” He has completed the work. He has given us true freedom. The problem with the Church today is She has made the Word acceptable to the people, instead of challenging them to live it.
John 17 is the prayer of Jesus for the Church. Verse 1 – “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You.” For us the word “glory” connotes something spectacular. But is the cross glorious? Wasn’t it painful and even disgraceful to the Lord? The word “glorify” in verse 1 means participation. It is God participating in Christ’s life that He may have the grace to face the cross. Glory comes with our obedience to God, our living out what we’ve been given in Christ. St. Gregory of Nyssa said that glory is the crown of all blessings; it is the participation of Christ in our lives. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Whenever we think or feel that God is not in our lives, He really is, even if what we’re going thru isn’t to our liking.
The devil has no right to exist in our lives because Christ has destroyed his works. We should stop dwelling on our inadequacies. We lack nothing. Our problem is we don’t realize and grasp everything that God has done for us. All things are new. He has given us new life, a life that’s far greater than anything that the enemy may try to bring into our lives. “The things I do, you shall also do but greater, because I go to the Father.” We are like Him because He is in us. Out of our innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. We are the source of blessing for the world because we’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing. We don’t seek to be blessed but to bless.
John 17:20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” This is Jesus’ prayer and God hears His prayer. All believers, regardless of denomination, are the same in God’s eyes. We are one. It is the same God who is in them because Christ died for all, and it’s the same Lord who is in them. We are a family. We keep separating because we have different opinions, but no one knows the full truth. Jesus came to bring healing to our division, that we may be one. The problem of our nation is not politics. The problem is the Church is not living as one; not living out the unity Christ gave us. We are one family whether we like it or not. God is our Father; we are His children. Muslims are also God’s children; they came from the same Father.
John 17:21 The glory which You have given Me, I have given them, that they may be one, just as We are one.” God has given us His glory; it’s in us. It’s His participation in our life which enables us to live and do what we do – procreate, create things that give us a better life, etc. No one can do anything apart from God, apart from His participation. God doesn’t need anything; He’s perfect; He owns everything. He doesn’t need us to glorify Him for Him to be glorious. He doesn’t get His glory from us. It is He who brings us glory. Every new life born into the world is God’s glory. With God participating in our lives, we can do anything. Nothing is impossible. Nothing can stop Christ in us from doing even what some think as impossible. God will bring something good out of the turmoil in our country.
“….that they may be one, just as We are one.” This is perfect unity – not human unity, but unity with the Father and the Son. When we have unity with the Father and the Son, we have unity with all mankind, even if we see disunity in what we in the flesh. When we see this unity, we will stop destroying one another through gossip and hurtful words. When hurtful words are hurled at us, we don’t retaliate but keep silent.
John 20:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” Jesus wants us to live out our lives here on earth in oneness with God. Holiness doesn’t have anything less than perfect in it. If God is in us, shouldn’t we also demonstrate holiness? We have no right to be sick because Christ has healed us. We don’t even have to suffer pain. God has put in us the perfection of His gifts. “I desire that they….be with Me where I am….that they may see My glory….for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” God loved us even before He created the world. We should never doubt His love, especially when things go wrong in our lives.
We are shaky in our faith because we don’t stand firm on who we are. We only have one Master – Jesus Christ. He doesn’t make us slaves but gives us His life. Ephesians 1 enumerates the things that God gave us. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Everything that God creates is perfect; therefore, we are perfect. This isn’t something we earned or chose. Christ did it for us. Our only responsibility is to accept this gift and live them out.
God dwells in us. He participates in our lives if we allow Him, so that we can be like Him. Do we accept all that God has done for us? He co-mingles with us for our delight and brings us to places where life is beautiful. God’s gift to us in Christ is to restore us to the perfection of what He created us to be. We don’t need to worry about failure or defeat. Eternal life is knowing Jesus; knowing Him and experiencing Him.
This seventh Sunday caps all that Christ has given us. And as if it isn’t enough, next Sunday He sends the Holy Spirit to seal us in Him and empower us to do what He created us to do. God has given us glory. We are glorious; God’s glory is shining in us! On this seventh Sunday of Easter, let’s pay attention to what God has given us – His glory. What He has done, we shall also do so we can change the world. The world will change and the things of the world will be destroyed and we will go back to giving the glory to God. We are a blessed people!