The Glory of the Lord
March 22nd, 1970 @ 7:30 PM
THE GLORY OF THE LORD
Dr. W.A. Criswell
3-22-70 7:30 p.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message from God’s Holy inerrant, infallible Word. Could I once again invite you to share with us these Pre-Easter services beginning tomorrow at high noon in the Palace Theater? The service will last from thirty to thirty-five, forty minutes at the most, and if you would invite someone where you live or a neighbor down the street, you would be blessed in their coming too. The theme this year concerns some of the great certainties of the faith. Tomorrow the subject is We Believe in God; and Tuesday, We Believe in Christ; and Wednesday, We Believe in the Bible; Thursday, We Believe in the Judgment; Friday, the day He was crucified, We Believe in the Atonement. It ought to be a great week. And we are hosts to the city, let’s be there, and if friends who know us come, let them see us there. We will have a great time together in the Lord.
Now if you listen on the radio, turn your Bible with us here in the First Church in Dallas to the Gospel of John chapter 1. We shall read the first fourteen verses out loud together and the text is the fourteenth verse. The title of the sermon is The Glory of the Lord. The Glory of the Lord, that is from the fourteenth verse of this first chapter. Now all of us out loud reading the first fourteen verses of the first chapter of John together:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth
And that’s the text, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” [John 1:14], the glory of God.
There are two kinds of glory that pertain to our Savior. One, there is an inherent glory, an essential glory, and second there is an acquired glory, a bestowed glory. I speak first of the essential inherent glory of the Lord. That is the glory of His deity. It is of essence. It is essential glory. It is a component, constituent part of His being, what it is for Him to be God. That is a glory that He referred to in the seventeenth chapter of John in the high priestly prayer when He said, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. The glory which I had with Thee before the world was” [John 17:5].
That is deity, whatever deity is, which to our minds is unfathomable and impenetrable, unknowable, unsearchable, ununderstandable; it is as high above us as the heavens are high above the earth. That is the essential glory, the inherent glory of the Lord. It is a glory that is not shared; an angel does not possess it, an archangel does not possess it, a cherub, a seraph does not possess it. There are no redeemed that possess it; there are no created creatures that share it. It is a glory that is unique and a part of the being of deity, of God Himself.
I was invited one time by a friend when I was over in the eastern part of the United States to attend a district meeting of a colored association. It was somewhere on the Kentucky, Tennessee line. I have no idea where. The country was far out, and it was very rough. And it was in the month of August. This preacher said that the association is having a meeting and would I like to attend. I’d never been to such a convocation, so I said, “Yes, I’d love to go.” We got in his car and drove, and drove, and drove, and out and away, and finally we came to the place. It was covered with black people. They had hamburger joints there. They had soft drink stands there. They were selling popcorn and peanuts. They were everywhere, all over those hills way out, I don’t know how far out. They were there by the hundreds and the hundreds, and it looked to me by the thousands, the district Baptist Association for that colored people group meeting once a year in August.
Well, you could not even get near the church house. They were surrounding it ranks deep all the way around. But I was determined I was going to get to that window at least and look on the inside. So I started working my way little by little by little through that throng that surrounded the church house, and I finally got up to the window. I put my elbows on the window and propped my face up with my hands and watched the service.
First, they sang, and they sang, and they sang. There was no song to which they did not sing at least seventy stanzas as a minimum. They had no musical instrument, they just tapped with a tuning fork bing. And the outliner, the liner, the music leader would line out the words of the song, and they’d just sing and sing and sing, and it seemed to me he’d make it up as he went along. Ah, they just sang, just sang out of their souls. They just sang. Well, after the singing and the singing and the singing, why, the preacher got up to preach. He was a most impressive man. His hair was white and kinky. He was very tall and slender. And even though it was a hot August day, he was dressed in a Prince Albert coat that buttoned at the top at the collar that went clear down to the ankles of his shoes. And he stood there, and he began to preach.
Right in the middle of his sermon, he stopped and he looked around. All in front of him was that jammed church full of people and all behind him were his fellow negro preachers, and I with my head stuck in the window propped up on my hands. So in the midst of his sermon, he stood to a dramatic height and asked the question. He said, “My brethren and my sisters, where was the Lord before the world was made? Hmm? Where was He?” And all the brothers and sisters said, “Mm, preacher, we don’t know. Where was He?”
So the preacher turned around, and he looked at all of his fellow ministers there on the platform, and he asked them, “My brethren and my preachers, where was the Lord before the world was made? Hmm,” said all the preachers, “We don’t know. Where was He?”And he looked over at me with my head stuck in that window. And he pointed me out and said, “White man, where was the Lord before the world was made? Hmm? Where was He?”
“Mm,” I said, “I don’t know. Where was He?” He drew himself up again into his greatest height, and looking triumphantly over that throng, he said, “My brethren and sisters, where was the Lord before the world was made? The Lord,” he said, “was in His glory!” And all of the brethren and sisters out there said, “Amen, preacher, that’s right. The Lord was in His glory.” And he turned around and looked at all of his fellow ministers, and they said, “Mm, that’s right, preacher, the Lord was in His glory!”
And then he paused and looked over at me with my head stuck in the window, and I thought, “Dear idiot me, why in the world didn’t I think of that?” The Lord was in His glory, and I say that is unfathomable and indescribable on our part, but that is the truth of God. There is an essential, inherent glory that belonged to God from the eternity of the eternities, and that’s what He referred to when He prayed. “Now, Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” [John 17:5].
Now this is the glory that the Lord laid aside when He came down into this world, when He was born in human flesh. Paul describes it in one of the greatest theological sentences in human language:
The Lord Christ who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped, to be equal with God:
But made Himself of no reputation, but poured Himself out, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of a man:
And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross
It is that essential, inherent glory, the iridescent robes of God, it is that glory that Jesus put aside when He emptied Himself and became a man, and a servant, and subject to death [Philippians 2:6-8], and finally crucified [John 19:16-34].
But once in awhile in the days of His flesh, the essential, inherent glory of God would shine through. In the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Matthew, you have the description of the transfiguration of our Lord. That is an instance where the deity of Christ, the essential glory of Christ shined through [Matthew 17:1-2]. Another instance would be in the ninth chapter of the Book of Matthew when He said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” speaking to a paralytic [Matthew 9:2]. And all those around said, “He blasphemes [Matthew 9:3]. For no man can forgive sins but God” [Luke 5:20-21]. And He said, “That you may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins,” then He said to him who had the disease, “I say unto thee, take up thy bed and walk” [Matthew 9:6]. And the sign of His deity, and they were correct, only God could forgive sins, but the sign of His Godhead, that man stood up, carried his bed and walked [Matthew 9:7].
Now that’s what the apostle referred to when he said in my text, in the one you just read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw, we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of God)” [John 1:14]. That’s the glory that He laid aside [Philippians 2:6-8], but even in the days of His flesh, upon occasions, the deity of Christ, the essential inherent glory of the Lord, shined through [Matthew 9:2-7]. And John says, “We saw it and we beheld it, the glory of the only begotten of God the Father” [John 1:14].
Now, second, dear me, where does the time go? The acquired, the bestowed glory of Jesus, the glory that was given Him because He voluntarily came down into this earth, assumed human flesh and form, and died for our sins on the tree; the bestowed, the accorded, the acquired glory of Jesus [Hebrews 10:5-14]; if we had several hours, we’d just look at those acquired bestowed glories of the Lord. I pick out just three of them.
First: Paul says because He emptied Himself and became a man, and became obedient to death, and was crucified, therefore, therefore, “God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name” [Philippians 2:8-9]. He is a man now. God has a form and God has a body. God has flesh and blood. God has flesh and bone [Luke 24:39], and He who sits upon the throne of the universe now is a man, the God Man, Christ Jesus [1 Timothy 2:5]. And because He did that, because He became flesh [John 1:14; Hebrews 10:5-14], and because He died for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3], therefore, and this is the first acquired bestowed glory of the Lord:
Therefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess of things in earth, and things on the earth, and things underneath the earth in the netherworld,
And everyone should confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The first bestowed, acquired glory of Jesus is: He is a man, but a Man whose name shall be above every name of everything God has created; first, exalted, foremost, highest of all is Jesus our Lord, the Christ of God [Philippians 2:9-11].
All right, the second thing that God hath done for Him: God hath made Him judge of all souls, and of all lives, and of all history, and of all destiny. In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, he says, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” [John 5:22]. All of it. Then in a verse further down, “God hath given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man” [John 5:27]. One of the acquired glories of Christ, one of the bestowed glories is that God hath chosen Him to be the Judge of all the earth. That was a part of what Paul preached on Mount Mars’ to the Athenians when he said:
Because God hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He had ordained; whereof He hath given assurance . . . in that He raised Him from the dead.
God hath appointed Jesus to be the Judge of all men of all created time of all the earth [Acts 17:31], and someday we shall stand before Him [2 Corinthians 5:10]. You shall be there. I shall be there. We who are Christians shall stand at the bema of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10]; and those who are not Christians shall stand before the great white judgment throne of Christ [Revelation 20:11-15]. But all of us shall be judged by the Lord. We shall stand someday before the Judge of all the earth.
Now, the third tremendous acquired glory of the Lord is one that is infinitely dear and infinitely precious to us who by faith have come to God through Him. He is the great High Priest, and representative, and intercessor of all humanity, all who will love and come to Him. That’s what the Book of Hebrews is about. For example, the author shall say that, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, and now crowned with glory in heaven; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” [Hebrews 2:9]. He died for you. He suffered for you. He tasted death for every man. And He continues, “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, like us, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, that He might make intercession for us, for in that He himself hath suffered being tried, He is able to succor those who have known trial, and sorrow, and temptation, and tribulation” [Hebrews 2:17-18].
Then he continues the whole Book of Hebrews about this:
Wherefore, we have a High Priest who is touched by the feeling of our infirmities, and was tried in all points like as we are . . . therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we might find grace to help in time of need.
That’s one of the glories of the Lord. It was bestowed upon Him because of His sufferings. “In the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him who was able to deliver Him . . . though He were His Son, yet He learned obedience by things which He suffered” [Hebrews 5:7-8]. “And, being made perfect”—that is having accomplished the great purpose that brought Him into the earth—“He is become the author of eternal salvation unto all who call upon Him” [Hebrews 5:9], “Being called of God an High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” [Hebrews 5:10].
This is one of the bestowed acquired glories of the Lord. He is now our faithful, understanding, sympathetic High Priest to whom any man in the earth can make appeal [Hebrews 5:9-10]. For, He Himself knows our infirmities, and our weaknesses, and He has suffered our trials [Hebrews 4:15]. There is no thought, there’s no revelation, there’s no word of God in the whole gamut of the Book that means more to us than that. For all of us are buffeted, and all of us are battered, and all of us know what the storms and the furies of life are like. When you become of any age, you are conscience of the wars, and the conflicts, and the pressures—the child feels it.
I used to think childish tears, they’re just a baby crying, but the frustrations, and the disappointments of a little child are as real and as poignant as any that an adult feels. There are heartaches and sorrows and tears of childhood. There are heartaches, and sorrows, and buffetings, and wars of the spirit that are known by teenagers. You know them when you come to the threshold of manhood and womanhood. You have them in middle age in the strength of adulthood. And you certainly have them when you start down that long road that leads to senility, and age, and finally death.
But there is no sorrow, and there’s no suffering, and there’s no trial, and there’s no frustration, there’s no agony of spirit or of body, and there’s no death but that Christ has suffered it too. He knows all about us, having lived our life, and having died our death [1 Corinthians 15:3], and having been tempted and tried in the spirit [Hebrews 4:15]. And that’s one of His acquired glories. Because He suffered these things, He is our great High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek without father, without mother, without beginning, without ending, without descent, without predecessor, without successor, the eternal great High Priest of God who reigns up there in the heavens, and who makes intercession for us [Hebrews 7:25]. Why don’t we pray more to Him? Why don’t we lay these causes of life and death, and vision, and ambition, and trial, why don’t we tell Jesus all about it? What a friend we have in Jesus? Oh, bless God for Him.
Now may I conclude in just a minute? The last part of this sermon is that the acquired glory of Jesus, the bestowed glory of our Lord, is one that He shares with us. Isn’t that an astonishing thing? In this passage, the seventeenth chapter of John, the great high priestly prayer of Jesus when He prayed that He might go back to heaven, and that He might have the glory which He had with God before the world was [John 17:5], now in that same prayer He says, “And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them” [John 17:22], the glory of our Lord. We’re not deity, He cannot share with us that inherent, essential Godhead. He can’t share that glory with us, but the acquired glories of our Lord are shared with us. He gives them to us [John 17:22]. Look, for example, here in this blessed Book, we are told that we also shall judge the world. In the sixth chapter of the first Corinthian letter, Paul says, “Do you not know that the saints, we who are saved, shall judge the world?” [1 Corinthians 16:2]. And then the next verse, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” [1 Corinthians 6: 3]. The Lord God Christ shall sit on the throne of His judgment to judge the whole earth, and we shall judge the angels with Him. It is a shared glory.
Look again. In the eight chapter of the Book of Romans, the apostle says that we are joint-heirs with Christ. And we shall be glorified together with Him [Romans 8:17]. Whatever inheritance Christ has, we have. And whatever glory the Lord has, we have. And whatever throne He shall sit on, we shall also sit by His side [Revelation 3:21]. Then finally in the Book of the Revelation, oh how many times is this emphasized, “He hath made us kings and priests unto God the Father” [Revelation 1:6]. And again:
They sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy . . . for Thou hast redeemed us by Thy blood out of every family, and nation, and kindred under the sun,
And hast made unto us our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
If the Lord God Christ is a King, we shall be kings with Him. “And we shall reign on the earth.”
And in this final chapter of the Revelation, it says, “And we who are saved, we shall see His face; and His name shall be in our foreheads” [Revelation 22:4]. I wish I knew just what that meant. In the Book of Exodus, there is another deity; there’s another person, and that person is the Lord Christ [1 Corinthians 10:4], in the old Bible named Jehovah [Exodus 6:6], in the new Bible named Jesus [Matthew 1:21]. And in the Book of Exodus, the Lord God says, “Mine Angel – capital A – Mine Angel shall go before thee, and see that you reverence Him and obey Him, for My name is in Him” [Exodus 23:20-21]. That is God’s description of Christ, “The Angel of the Lord, and My name is in Him” [Exodus 23:20-21]. And when I turn to Revelation, that same thing is said about us. God’s name shall be written on our foreheads [Revelation 22:4]. We shall be identified with Him. We shall reign with Him [Revelation 5:10]. We shall share the throne of the universe with Him [Revelation 3:21]. We shall be a joint-heir with Him [Romans 8:17]. We shall be sons of God with Him [Romans 8:29]. And whatever Christ is, we shall be also, for we shall see Him as He is [1 John 3:2].
No wonder when the apostle came to the eleventh chapter of the Book of the Romans, he said, “O the depths of the wisdom, and goodness, and mercy, and grace of God” [Romans 11:33]. It is unfathomable. It is unimaginable; grace greater than all our sins, grace abounding and overflowing, grace saving and exalting, grace promising, assuring, O Lord, what God hath in store for those who love Him [1 Corinthians 2:9]. As the apostle says, Our eyes have not seen it, and our ears have not heard it, and our imaginations, however high they might rise and ascend, cannot touch it, the depths of the riches of the glory of God the Lord hath in store for us who love Him” [1 Corinthians 2:9]. Plain stolid me; worm of the earth, I, mortal man made out of dust and ground and dirt, I; resurrected, immortalized, glorified, exalted, uplifted, made like unto the Son of God [1 John 3:2].
Lord, I just can’t imagine it, the destiny for God’s people. Lord, give me faith and understanding, and exalt my soul, and magnify my mind, and open the floodgates that my heart, and mind, and soul, and life might comprehend somewhat of the riches of the glory of God in Christ Jesus extended to us, to you and to me. O Lord, when you get to thinking about these things, you say, “I just can’t imagine that God should have done all that for me, that God should be preparing such marvelous things for me.” Lord, Lord, that I just might do better for Thee and be more worthy of Thy love and grace. O Savior, that we might love Thee more every day.
Now we’re going to sing our song of appeal. And while we sing it, a family you, or a couple you, or a one somebody you to give himself to Jesus, while we make the appeal, while we sing the song, would you come down one of these stairways in the balcony? Would you step out into the aisle down here on the lower floor? And would you come and say, “Pastor, tonight I give you my hand. I’m giving my life to God. I’m taking Jesus as my Savior. I’m making a deposit tonight; I am putting my life in the Lord’s hands. I’m opening my heart to His will. I want God to lead and bless and give strength and direction. I want Him to forgive my sins [Colossians 1:14]. I want Him to save my soul [Hebrews 10:39]. I want Him to write my name in the Book of Life [Revelation 20:12, 15, 21:27]. I want to be a Christian. I want to be God’s and I’m coming tonight.” However the Spirit shall press the appeal to your heart, come now. Do it now, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.
OF THE LORD
I. Essential glory
A. Glory He possesses
from eternity, as God (John 17:5)
B. Our minds cannot
fathom (Acts 9:3-4, Revelation 1:16, Exodus 33:18-23)
C. This glory is
1. District meeting
– “The Lord was in His glory!”
II. This glory laid aside (Philippians 2:5-11)
the days of His flesh, essential glory sometimes shone through (Matthew 17:1-8,
III. Acquired glory (1 Peter 1:21)
A. His name
B. Judge of men (John
5:22, 27, Acts 17:31)
C. His priesthood
(Hebrews 2:9, 17-18, 4:14-16, 5:7-10)
IV. He shares the acquired glory (John
A. Judgment (1
B. Joint heirs (Romans
C. Kings and priests
(Revelation 1:6, 5:9-10)