Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from The University Chapel Platform.
Just over 500 years ago, in October 1517, Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses, which is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation. For the next several days on The Daily Platform, we'll be studying some of these doctrines in a series called Truth Triumphs. Let's listen to today's message, preached by Jason Ormiston, a professor in the School of Religion. The title of his message is, For God's Glory Alone. We're having Dr. Jason Ormiston come. He'll be speaking on the series that we've been having this semester entitled Truth Triumphs, Why the Reformation Matters. And so Dr. Ormiston is going to come and he's going to speak on the theme of Sola Gloria, that is, For God's Glory Alone.
Dr. Ormiston. Take your Bible and turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 10. We're going to look at a very familiar verse given the topic at hand. My concern is that this topic is way too familiar and we miss the power. And how can you miss the power of God receiving all glory?
I think it becomes very commonplace to us and we need to address that. And I want to encourage your hearts with a very familiar verse. 1 Corinthians 10 verse 31. In fact, you probably don't even need to look at this, right?
You probably know this. Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. What we're talking about today is the fifth of these Solas and this is Soli Deo Gloria. And this word, this Latin phrase, directs our attention to the center of the Reformation and I'm going to propose to you the center of the Bible and it should be the center of your life and my life.
God receiving all glory. And as you consider what this means to us in so many different facets, it will challenge our perspective on what we're doing right now. In fact, I am very aware that you're here with me because you have to be.
And I have a very short period of time that some of you look at as an opportunity to just relax and make it through it and then go on with the rest of your day. And I'm challenging you that we're talking about God and His glory and His majesty. And I may be just a simple pastor, a professor here who's communicating this weighty truth and I am that. But for the sake of His glory, for the sake due to the holiness of His name, I just want to invite you to think with me and reflect on how great is our God. I think of some of the reasons why maybe we miss the significance of the glory of God, the weight of who He is, His holiness. It's because we're used to reciting it at a very popular camp, the Wild's Christian camp, right before we eat.
It's like the thing we do right before we eat. And then we eat, now the intention of having that verse there is the same intention of having the creed before chapel. Good intentions to direct our affections towards God who is worthy of our praise. Do you know any songs that deal with God receiving glory?
I wrote down a couple. Praise God to whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise God above you heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The doxology. Maybe you're more familiar with 10,000 reasons or how great is our God. But we sing these songs and then we move on. And I want us to slow down, take a deep breath, and take God in in all of His glory and majesty. So as I do that, I don't think that I am sufficient in the time that I have to really get you going and keep you there and satisfy your soul because you're made to worship God. So you're familiar with this phrase, if I want to help someone, I don't just give them a fish and feed them just one meal.
I teach them how to fish and feed them for a lifetime. I'm going to give you a couple resources at the very beginning as we start an application. I want to encourage you to go and check out these resources. All of the sermons on the solas that have been covered in chapel, you can get on livestream. Each of the solas are also turned into blog posts. So what I'm preaching on right now is going to end up in a blog post on Friday. And in that blog post, I'm going to include several other links to resources to encourage you to warm your heart as you view and worship the great God that we have come to know, the great God who has created us, the great God who has redeemed us, the great God who demands and deserves all of our praise. So I want to encourage you to look in that way as we get started, maybe jot these resources down. Now these are not the only resources.
Bob Jones University does not hold the corner on the market when it comes to the Reformation. You can go all over and see wonderful series done and articles written. And I want to encourage you, if God's glory is important to you, as it should be, you should take some time to pause and learn more about it. We give you the greatest source, though, outside of sermons and blog posts, the Bible. We have to look at a verse like this in Psalm 115, 1, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truths' sake.
Pretty simply stated. It's not about me, it's not about you, it's about God and His glory. And here's the one that I just got done quoting so that you could see it. I hope your Bible is open to that. Look down at your Bible in 1 Corinthians 10 and you see a series of things happening. In the first couple verses, verses 1 all the way through 13, we see the children of Israel as they wander through the wilderness. They're first blessed with the exodus and then they're challenged with their own temptation.
Verse 13 tells us that God offers the way of escape that we may be able to bear it. Verse 14, if you're looking down at your Bible, you see a call to avoid idolatry. And then Paul continues to talk about this concern of placing something over God. The worship of God gets replaced so many times by our own ambitions, desires, or stuff.
And Paul says don't do that. And he gives this example of eating meat offered to idols. It's interesting in verse 23, he says all things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful for me, but all things edify now. So we need to ask the question as we're choosing to do the right thing or the wrong thing, does it bring glory to God, does it edify those around us? And then he wraps up his concept with this verse, whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Yet this is in a series, all of these thoughts are in the series about the Reformation.
And so I have three simple points for you to consider this morning. I want to help you understand the demand for this concept of Soli Deo Gloria. It's a response to Catholicism.
I want you to see that there's a distortion, and if we're not careful, we'll distort this. And this is a reaction to the complexity of God. And finally I'm going to show you the delight, the great delight of this concept of Soli Deo Gloria, a reflection on the sovereignty of God. So let's jump into this thought process of all to the glory of God as it relates to the Catholic Church. Why was this one of the pillars of the Reformation?
Well, a simple illustration to point this out would be a look at a guy named John Tetzel, a good looking fellow, as you can see. He's famous for arousing the fury of Martin Luther by his outrageous claims for the sale of indulgences in his effort to follow the encouragement of the man who became the Pope, Pope Leo X, to help build up one of the many cathedrals, St. Basilica. And so in his efforts to do this, Martin Luther said, that is ridiculous, that does not match up to what the scripture teaches.
But do you even know what indulgences actually are? They are claims that Jesus, Mary, and the saints did so many good works that they left behind merit that they didn't need. The treasury of that merit is the possession of the church, and so if you want a little bit of that, you've got to pay for it. And if you pay for it, you can purchase time out of purgatory, and actually help your relatives get out of purgatory, though I think most of you already know that. John Tetzel went around and proclaimed by using manipulation and the great fear, what happens when you die. Now some of you would say, that's ridiculous, why is anyone concerned about what happens when they die? Well I want to ask you, how many of you thought about Planet X hitting the Earth a couple of months ago in September? Anyone think about that at all? Anyone think about the end of the world? I know some of you did.
And there was like a one week when you thought that maybe my life, which seems like it's going to go on forever, might end. And so this is what captivated those during the Reformation period. This was a time called the Dark Ages, and so John made the most of it, and Luther responded with the 95 Theses, as we've already heard. Just yesterday marks a very significant day, it's not Halloween. It's the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation.
Let's consider some of the things that he debunks, and the Bible debunks. First of all, what I want you to understand is that salvation is a free gift from God. For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourself. It is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. Now as we understand that, we need to know that the Catholic Church taught it's a cooperative venture.
In other words, it's God and me working together to figure out how I can really be saved. And that's not how salvation works. And so Luther taught the opposite of what the Catholic Church was promoting. He also addressed this idea that all life is sacred.
And this is something that we miss many times. We miss the concept of making all life and acknowledging that all life is sacred before God. And the Catholic Church taught that there is the sacred part, and that would be the church, and the priests, and they're close to God, and they're able to read the word. And Luther came along and said, no, all life is sacred. Every man has equal access before the throne, and should have access to the word.
And so he promoted something that was far different than what the Catholic Church taught. How do we fall prey to this? We fall prey in several categories. We go to church on Sunday, feel like we've checked our box off, we've done our thing. On Monday, we don't change who we really are, we aren't conformed to the image of Christ, we just kind of go with the flow. Or you are at a church and you think, as the Catholic Church taught, it's all about the pastor, and the pastor does the work of the ministry.
No, it is the pastor who is called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. And so Luther helps us understand that all life is sacred. And some of you need to think about these implications as to what you consume as far as movies, and music, and just normal life practices. All life is sacred. It's an important Christian worldview to wrestle with. Then we see also, as it relates here to response to Catholicism, that believers have direct access to Christ, to God through Christ. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, it says in Hebrews 4, 14, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was at all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. You don't have to go to a priest. You don't have to go to a Bible professor.
You don't have to go to your parents. You can go directly to God through Christ. And this is good news. And because of it, God receives all glory. And you might say, I know these truths.
What are you doing with these? Are you still trying to gain favor with God by your good deed doing? It's not about what you do, it's about what Christ did. It's about you understanding that concept and living in light of that.
Stop doubting your salvation and realize that Christ paid it all. It's not about you going through this process of saying, I'm going to divide my life. Like Bob Jones has these rules, I'm talking to the student body, and I know there are high schoolers here, and this is the very thing why you're like, I don't know if I want to go to BJ. All these rules. We do have rules that are designed to help us grow in our discipline and affection for Christ. And I don't think anyone in here would say we love all the rules. I don't like speed limits. I don't like the fact that in my home it's like November 1st, then we can start listening to Christmas music. Who came up with that?
That's goofy. There are rules out there, and you can start getting into that, but when it comes to the rules and all of it, how it works out, sometimes we say, well, actually my desire to walk with God is bigger than the rules set in front of me, so if listening to this or doing this practice helps me grow with my God, then I'm going to do it, and you break past a boundary that God established, and you divide a secular and sacred thing. Or you have this idea, I'm going to go do this over here during these days, I'll be this way at work, but I'll be this way at school, and I'll be this way at home, and I want you to know all life is sacred.
God sees it all. And some of you are struggling right now because, yeah, it's November 1st, and you're thinking, I just barely made it through midterms, and I am tired, tired, tired. I want to remind you of a couple things.
It is November, which means Thanksgiving break is coming, and then on the heels of that, Christmas break is coming. But in the process, have you stopped to call out to your God to ask for help through Christ? Notice the reaction to the complexity of God.
I'm just going to mention some things here that I hope will spark interest in you investigating further. I think that we have a potential of looking at this all to the glory of God concept, this fifth in the pillars of the Reformation, and because of the complexity of God, we kind of get things wrong, and here's one of them. We ask the question, is God egocentric? What right does God have to say, all glory to my name? If I stood up here and said, all glory to Jason Ormiston, you'd be like, no thanks. All glory to God, and we're like, ah, I mean, you saved me, so that's cool, but I don't know.
It seems like it doesn't quite resonate. This is what Moses says, for thou shalt worship no other God, for the Lord whose name is jealous is a jealous God. God has a radical devotion to himself, and you say, that doesn't sit well with me.
I read an article that was, is Jesus Christ egocentric, or is he an egomaniac, by John Piper. This is what John says, and what became clear to me, and remains clear to this day, is that many Christians think it is good for us to be God-centered, but don't feel all comfortable with God being God-centered. We should be Christ exalting, but Christ shouldn't be Christ exalting.
And what we're doing is we miss the depth of scripture, which calls us to consider that God creates all things for his glory. Isaiah 43, six through seven, God elects Israel for his glory. Jeremiah 13, 11, God saves them from Egypt for his glory. Psalm 106, seven through eight, God restrains his anger for exile, for his glory.
Isaiah 48, nine through 11, God sends his son at the end of the ages for the praise of his glory and grace. God is not an egomaniac. He is the ultimate object of all of our worship. It would be wrong for God to say, worship someone or something else.
It can lead us, though, to the second concern, that man becomes narcissistic. That means you get all into this idea, I'm going to do this, I'm going to reform my behavior so that God can be glorified. Now, I have to be careful as I talk about all this because we just got done reading 1 Corinthians 10, 31, whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. But check this out, if you are in the process of thinking that you're adding something to the glory of God, you are sadly mistaken. It's not about you and your reformation of behavior, it's about the God who has all glory, regardless of how you respond to him. Does he want you to submit to him?
Absolutely he does. But it is not about man, and it's so easy for us. Article from David Van Drunen, But when solely, dear Gloria, is presented as if its heart and essence concerns how we live, how we carry out our vocations, how we formulate and execute political agendas, we might ponder whether what was supposed to magnify God alone has taken a puzzlingly, albeit unintentional, turn towards man. He actually says anthropocentric turn. And I don't want you to turn to man.
I don't want you to turn to yourself. I don't want you to think that we're going to do these things in order for God to be more glorified. God is glorified because he's God. God cannot be more glorious than he already is. Joy is not thinking highly of ourselves. Joy reaches its heights in moments of self-forgetfulness in the presence and beauty of greatness.
And as we look at God, we are exalting him and who he is. And I'm reminded as to a source for you to consider would be Jonathan Edwards. Practically, I want to encourage you, you can get into and research works of Jonathan Edwards, but are you aware that he wrote down 75 resolutions? So I'm going to encourage you to consider something. If you're trying to wrestle through is God an egomaniac or am I too narcissistic, you could go and look up the 75 resolutions by Jonathan Edwards and read one each day and ask yourself, am I following these?
Just a couple for you to consider. Resolved, I will do whatever I think will be most to God's glory and my own good, profit and pleasure for as long as I live. I will do all these things without any consideration of the time that they take. Resolved to do whatever I understand to be my duty and will provide the most good and benefit to mankind in general. Resolved to do this whatever difficulties I encounter and no matter how many I experience or how severe they may be.
Resolved, number seven, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. If you're really serious about to God be the glory, then why don't we start doing things like researching songs that exalt God so we start our day exalting him in song. How about thinking about resolutions each day that push us towards magnifying his name in all areas of our life, every area of our life, because all life is sacred before him.
And then I want you to consider the delight, the delight of Soli Dea Gloria, a reflection on the sovereignty of God. God is the highest object of your worship. If you need a quick reminder of that, I challenge you to meditate on Isaiah 6. When Isaiah 6, it shows us Isaiah coming before God himself and he sees the pillars starting to shake and he is absolutely in awe of the power and the might and the majesty of God so that he falls down as if he were dead and he would not be able to speak apart from one of the seraphim placing a coal on his lips.
Atonement is necessary, but atonement is provided in Jesus Christ. He is the highest object of your worship. He is the highest object I hope of your praise and he is the greatest source of your strength. Are you looking to him for strength? Are you giving him glory? Or are you cutting the corners and complaining all the time about how overwhelming life is?
Life usually gets more difficult before it gets better. You go through trials to just train your character and conform you to the image of Christ. Psalm 73, 25-26, whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Can you say that? To God alone be the glory.
Too many times it's put in your name. To Sam alone be the glory. To Justin alone be the glory. To Kayla alone be the glory. To Jennifer alone be the glory.
Oh no, we wouldn't say that. It's to God alone and let's eat. In some ways I wish we could just pause and pray and praise and thank God for who he is.
But I'm sitting here looking at a clock and I know you're looking at your own clock and you're like, okay, is he almost done and when do I need to pick up my books? To God alone be the glory. I'm talking about God here. You get me? I can't make you get me. I get that. Martin Luther got it and he wasn't perfect. Do some research on that. I won't get into all of his flaws, but you can get into all of my flaws too, right?
I can get into all of your flaws. But 500 years ago one man had the courage to risk everything and stand for truth. One man took on the most powerful institution of his day.
One man, holding to the conviction of scripture alone, teaching justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, said to God, be glory alone. So we must do that. So here's my application for you. I want to encourage you to submit to the priority of God's glory. And I want to encourage you to think about it this way. It is not about you.
I want you to repeat this after me. It is not about me. And I'm thinking you're saying it about yourself.
Ready? It is not about me. But too many times it's all about my agenda, my goals, my ambitions, and then God throws a curve ball and I get ticked at him.
Because God, I'm doing all these things for you and you're not quite hooking me up. It's never been about you. It's always been about God and his glory. And that is a good thing, everyone. It is a good thing for us to delight in God and say, God, whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, I am here for you.
I am going to submit to your glory above all things. I thought of a real practical example of this. Lisa Turkhurst. She is the founder and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. So she's a lady speaker, very popular on social media.
Guys, you probably wouldn't know of her any more than I would normally, right? But I'm married and my wife keeps me informed. And this lady who has written a prolific writer and speaker on women and how they should submit to their husbands and love on their families announced in June of this year that she has to seek divorce because her husband has been unfaithful to her.
That's a bummer. And I don't mean that with any joke intended. I mean, think about how devastating it is to go through a divorce period and then to be on a national scene and the very thing you're talking about is the very thing that it's falling apart in your own home. And she responded with God being the object of her worship and glory. She says, I'm just telling you this is what's going on and I'm trying to process this. Just yesterday she posted on social media that she found out that she has breast cancer. And in 10 days, November 10th, she's going to have a double mastectomy. And you know what her response is? To God alone be the glory.
You follow me? Because what I'm saying to you is that we're like, oh man, I wanted this relationship to work out. I wanted to get a better grade on that Old Testament messages test. You do all sorts of different things and it hasn't happened.
This stinks. The thing is we're supposed to love God, delight in Him, give Him glory in all things. Leave the results in His hands. I encourage you to reject the dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. Sacred and secular, there you go, I got it.
Reject that dichotomy. It's so easy for us to say, I'm in church, I'm going to be this way. I'm out in work, I'm going to be this way. And I'm telling you, it's all God's. We belong to Him. And if you don't belong to Him, I want to encourage you to submit and come to Jesus. There is great joy in knowing Christ as Savior.
Here's the last one. Enjoy the privilege of direct access. You might be overwhelmed.
Who isn't, right? Call out to God. He's able to take on all burdens and He's able to lead you and direct you.
He gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is to the praise of His glorious grace. Let's pray. God, thank you for who you are. Thank you for what you have done. Help us to live in light of your glory in the day in front of us, in the month in front of us, in the year and lifetime that you give us so that we can join together as a choir of worshippers giving you all praise and glory. In Jesus' name, Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Jason Ormiston of the Bob Jones University Religion Faculty, part of the series about the Reformation called Truth Triumphs. If you appreciate this program and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's Word, would you consider sending us a special financial gift?
You can easily do that through the website thedailyplatform.com. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you're looking for a college, please consider BJU, where our Christian liberal arts education will prepare you academically and spiritually to reach your highest potential for God's glory. For more information about our more than 100 accredited undergraduate and graduate programs, visit bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
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