“’Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,” the angel messenger announced. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” (Luke 2:12b–14).
Glory to God… and Good will toward men.
From the start these two go hand on hand. Actually, the two are wed even closer than that, more like front and back of a single coin. It’s not so much that God has a two-fold mission as it is that He knows we are best fulfilled, most happy, most ‘blessed’ as we are in worship of Him.
Now, in our fallen state this often sounds unappealing. Our sinful self-interest fights against this. We presume God to be as wicked as us and that His interest in receiving worship must be motivated by supreme egotism. But it is not.
Think for a moment of His Creation. Look at the mutual relationship between flowers and bees. Bees draw the nectar they need to make honey by traveling from flower to flower and in doing so brings pollen to the flower.
Or consider the relationship between plants and people. We need the oxygen which plants produce and the plant needs the carbon dioxide which we expel. Neither can survive without the other.
Now of course God is not dependent upon us in any way, but we are totally dependent upon Him… and totally fulfilled in Him. As Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) so aptly summarized,
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”
Not only do we find our rest in God but also our purpose and our joy. The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646-47) grappled to express this in the doctrinal statement “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.”
As in the bee finds its fulfillment and sustenance and dare we say joy in the flower, so we also will only find these in God, in obeying His commands and in seeking first those things which please Him and bring Him Glory.
“Let us love one another,” writes John (1 John 4:7). When we do we play our part to bring ‘Glory to God… and Good will toward men. ‘
“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” (Ps. 145:21)
To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Media’ for the Sept. 1 message.