07 Jun 2016
Recorded on 07 June 2016
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Randy Pope – Glory – The Search for Satisfaction
The team that I minister with, Bill and others suggested to me that I would spend at least two nights addressing the subject matter as you see there, ending the search for life satisfaction. Now there's a book that I've written called “The Answer” that many of you have been given or exposed to, I think, and perhaps you would already have read some of this… be familiar. But hopefully this will be beneficial, walk through this again, even if you have read some of this in the book.
But privileged to be here with you, let's jump right into it. I was in my study at the church and while I was there my assistant interrupted me and said, “Randy, it is very important that you meet with a lady who has come to speak to you.” And I was busy, it was not on my schedule and I said, “Is it urgent?” She said, “It's very, very urgent.” And she said, “I think you'll see, as you talk to this lady, you do need to meet with her.” And I said, “Perfectly fine.” And so she came in. I'd never seen the lady and I said, “How can I help you?” Her name - Judy and Judy said, “I'm about to take my life. I am… I'm through with living. I have no interest to continue living any longer.”
Now, I've had many people who have shared with me that they are suicidal. At most, all of which I've not actually believe they were. Though very depressed, very down but not people that I thought would truly take their life. This lady I was convinced, was about to take her life. She went so far as to tell me how she was about to do it. She said, “No one will know that it is suicide except you and I am assuming that you will be confidential enough by me coming to you like this and not share with my family that it was suicide.”
As we talked she said… eh… she said, “I have no reason to live any longer.” I said, “Well, tell me a little bit about your life and your circumstances.” She said, “No, it has nothing to do with my circumstance.” She said, “In fact, I'm very happily married. I have a wonderful husband, two adult children, wonderful children. I have good income, I have a wonderful home, I have a great job.” She said, “There is absolutely no reason that I should even be thinking about desiring to die but that's why I'm so concerned. Why? Why? Why? But I have no reason to live.” I said, “Why are you coming to talk to me? Sounds like you're convinced.” She said, “Well, I am convinced but I watched my… my child and his wife who are grown adult children. I watch them go through a big change in their life and it happened when they started coming to your church. I don't understand what's happened to them but they seemed to have something different in their life and I thought maybe… maybe… maybe there's something to be found here. So I wanted to talk to you.” (03:29.7)
Now when I heard this story, obviously I'm saddened for this woman. I hate that she's in such pain but inside me there was something that was smiling because I knew that there was something that I could share with her that would probably change her entire outlook about life. And it was at that moment that I got to introduce her to three words.
I said, “Judy, I'm going to share with you three words. I think these words may tell you exactly what your son and his wife have found. I think you're going to find in these three words everything you're looking for in life.” I said, “Judy, you know the reality is: you're a lot smarter than most of us because you come to the end of the Internet, so to speak, we're all still surfing that Internet of life. And in our minds we're saying there's something else out there that we're going to find and when we find it, we're going to find unusual life satisfaction. We still don't know what it is but it's out there and I will find it. But you Judy, you've come to the real end. You understand what most of us don't know and that is: There is nothing out there on that Internet of life and you've surf enough to say, enough is enough. You lost hope. But I can share with you three words that I think is going to make a difference.” With that she was thrilled. She said “I'd love to hear.” I introduced her to the first of these three words. The first was the simple answer to her need. The other two words would tell her how to find it. (05:18.3)
Tonight what I'd like to do is, I'd like to take just the first word. It's the word – Glory. You see, I think it's like the people that I meet with. I meet with men over and over. Weekend and week out; over lunch, two lunches, sometimes three lunches a day. I'll meet with men, many many of which are non-Christians. I meet with these non-Christians and I talk about life and I listen to their story and they're all looking for something. It's like there is a puzzle of life they're trying to put together and it's like they're working so hard to get this puzzle place all together where it makes a beautiful picture, except there seems to be one piece that's missing. They can't see the picture because of that missing piece.
Folks, this is the missing piece. The word is glory… glory. That if you are familiar with the Christian faith and obviously being a part of a great church like this, you're very familiar. You read the Bible very much. You know, you see that word ‘glory' over and over and over. The word ‘glory' - those used in three different ways. A lot of times, we don't understand this. Three ways the word ‘glory' is used. Very common to us, is the use of the glory of God. We talk about God being a glorious God. We talk about the glory we give to God. Glory to God in the highest. Right? Glory. (6:54.8)
Well, there for me with those two ideas of glory. There is a third use of the word ‘glory'. It's the one that I'm referring to, the one that I shared with Judy. I said, “Judy, this is the glory that comes from God. From Him to you and me. That's what I think you're really looking for is glory.” So I said, “Can I share with you what I called ‘The story of glory?'” She was…she was very interested to hear. She said, “Sure.” And I said, “Let me… let me put it to you this way. I like to think of it as: Six Chapter Titles. And I'm gonna tell you, Judy, the Six Chapter Titles, and I think just the titles themselves tell the entire story of glory.” And let me say to you tonight, I'm going to suggest to you that this is gonna put life together for you too. Not that you don't understand life, not that you don't understand the missing piece. But I think the way you hear this might well put it in a framework that from now on you'll think about glory in a new way. And you'll be able to articulate with other people who are looking for life as to why they can't find it.
So let's walk through it. Six chapters okay? Here's the first type: The first title, chapter number one - Design with Glory. Design with Glory. What we're suggesting here is that glory can be defined in this way. It's… it's defined as splendour, renowned. It also can be used to refer to satisfaction. When I say design with glory, what I'm suggesting is this: that God when he created the first man and the first woman, they came into this world with glory, designed with glory. That's what life was all about.
Many of us think about man's chief end, the Westminster divines put it this way: what is man's chief end? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Well, what we failed to realize is, it's not just we're designed to give glory to God, we were designed with the glory that God has given to us. So we come to this world having this splendour, this renown, this satisfaction. We have everything we need. I love the songs that we sang tonight. They told the story over and over. I sat there listening to songs in line with the talk and I went: “My goodness! It's the same story and song.”
We're designed with glory. I said, “Judy, there's chapter number two though. Chapter number two is Fall from Glory. We're all probably here familiar with Romans 3:23. For all have sin and fall short of the what? Glory of God. So mankind, we sin and Adam. And as we sin what happen? The glory is stripped from us. We don't have that glory, the renown, the splendour, the satisfaction that we were designed by God to carry throughout life. (10:22.7)
So that takes us to chapter number three. Chapter number three is: Search for Glory. Now here's what happens: we come out of the womb… we come out of the womb, we are conceived, we are born in sin, right? Meaning that that glory has been stripped from us. So we're in a search for something and from the very beginning of life, we're looking for something out there that if I can get it… If I can get it; if I can get him; if I can get her; if I can get that reputation; if I can get that material possession; if I can get that toy… if I can get something, I will be satisfied.
Well, here's the interesting thing. We go after those things and we get it and what happens? Initially we are satisfied. You know what happens? Doesn't take long, it no longer satisfied. And we have to go after something a little bit bigger, a little bit better and we find the next thing, we say “That's it!” And it satisfies. And I said, “Judy, that's what you've been doing in life. You got a good home; you got a good husband; you got good children; you got a good job; you got a good income; you got everything you need but it doesn't satisfy. It's like an addiction. You get, it feels good but in no time you have to have more, in order to feel better. Judy, you just understood that there's nothing out there that's going to… that's going to ultimately satisfy and so you've lost hope.” (12:04.9)
I had a man who called me. He said, would you meet with me? I said, how did you get my name? And he told me of a dear friend of mine. I just become good friends with a man. I'd met him and shared Christ with him and he had become a Christian just recently. And so this man tells me that they were at his mountain home. A beautiful second home on the mountain and he was out with my friend. And they're out looking over the mountain range. And this man who's called me, he said that I turn to…I turn to this friend of mine and said, “Are you satisfied with life?” My friend responded by saying, “I am now.” He said, “Now? What do you mean now?” He said, “Well it's hard to explain to you. It's all new to me but I've been meeting with this man and he's been walking through some things with me that is…help me understand life…and…and I'm finding satisfaction now in life.”
Here's why I want to meet with him and that's how he initiated the phone call. So I said, “Sure, I'd meet with you.” So we meet for breakfast at a little restaurant. We're sitting there together and I said, “How can I help you?” He said, told me the stories: “I… I just need to find out something that would satisfy in my life.” And I said, “What you need to hear is the story of Glory.” I gave him chapter 1. He listened. Chapter 2, he listened. And I said chapter 3 and as soon as I got into chapter 3 - Search for Glory and described it, he slapped his hand down on the table and he said, “That's me!” And I said, “It's not just you, it's me, it's everybody.” He said, “No, no, no, no, no, let me tell you.”
Now, this is a very, very, very wealthy man. Very wealthy. Had one of the nicest homes in Atlanta. Incredible business, successful business; beautiful wife. I have met his family, beautiful wife. Two very handsome young boys. He had everything in life he could want. And he said, “There's something about clothes… I have to have high end clothes.” And he said, “I go down to my favourite store - a place called Buckhead in Atlanta.” It's very high end. Very much like where you guys come from in Singapore…high-end you know and he said, “I buy thousands of dollars' worth of new clothing.” And he said, “I have this rush that just comes over me. It's just so satisfying.” He said, “Just as I purchase it, I put it in my trunk, I get in my car and I'm not even home before I find myself totally dissatisfied. It's just…it no longer satisfies. What's wrong with me?” And I looked at him and I said, “I know you don't understand, you're like all of us. What we do is we go from garbage cheap to garbage cheap; we go toy to toy; we go relationship to relationship; we go fix to fix. We're constantly out there looking. What is it that's going to satisfy? And we keep thinking we found it but then it doesn't satisfy.” (15:29.6)
Here is an interesting text in Scripture, an interesting text in Psalm 16:4. It says, the sorrows of those who run after other gods, they shall be multiplied. The more we run after other gods, meeting the things of this world, the people of this world, whatever it is - good or bad. The more we go after those things, the more our sorrows will be multiplied. As most of you know, we have a place called Hollywood, in the United States where the movie stars live. Read their stories, they're the most miserable people in the world. They own drugs; they've been in their third, fourth, fifth marriage. They can't find happiness. They're miserable, they commit suicide. Why is that? Because they keep in the search and nothing, nothing satisfies.
Won't you listen to Peter Kreeft who write, this is what he says, just listen carefully. He says the four most salient facts about the human condition are: One - all desire perfect happiness. Two - no one is perfectly happy. Three - all desire complete certainty and perfect wisdom and four - no one is completely certain or perfectly wise. (17:02.1)
The things we all want are the things no one has. We behave as if we remember Eden and can recapture it, like kings and queens dressed in rags who were wandering the world in search of their thrones. If we had never reigned, why would we seek a throne? If we've always been beggars, why would we be disappointed? People born beggars in a society of beggars accept themselves as who they are. The fact that we do not accept ourselves as we are, strongly points to the conclusion that we must at least unconsciously desire and thus somehow remember a better state.
Many of you know the name CS Lewis. Lewis writes in a similar way. This is what he says: If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is, that I was made for another world. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust in them. They are not the thing itself. They are only the scent of the flower we have not found, the echo of a true tune we've not heard; news from a country we have never yet visited.
Search for glory, so I explained that to Judy. Judy wanted to hear more. I said, “Judy, let me tell you the last chapter that you really need to hear right now. It's chapter 4 and it's called Discovery of Glory.” Discovery of Glory. And I was able to take her to Colossians 1:27 where it says… and Christ is the hope of what? Glory. You see, that's what Jesus was saying. When Jesus says, “Come to me you that are thirsty, you'll never thirst again. Come to me you that are hungry, taste of me and you will never hunger again.” He's saying, “Look! If you want to find satisfaction, you come to me and that's where you're going to find your satisfaction.” Chapter four - Discovery of Glory.
Now, for you… I'll get back to Judy in a minute. But for you, I want to give you a fifth and sixth chapter, very important for the Christian life. Chapter number five - Deposits and Withdrawals of Glory. Here's what we read in 2 Corinthians 3:18. It says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory and are being transformed into his likeness”, and listen to this: “…with an ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Hear what He's saying? Why do you think it's like this? Yeah…tell you what, I'll do it. Can I pull this out and use the …I'm going to pull this out real quick. Maybe I can show it to you better than you think. You have a little bit of this diagram in there and let me just put it this way.
Here's life moving in this direction when we come to faith in Christ, when the search for glory comes to the end, because we discovered glory. It's just an initial glory, so I'm going to put “IG” here for initial glory, alright? And I'm going to place it down here. We receive the initial glory. Now as we start going through life, we start saying: okay, I got this glory. I now know Jesus, I want to know Jesus better and so as we start pursuing Jesus, another way that text can read in a different translation is: glory is additive glory. And so output glory plus glory plus glory. That's the Christian life as it is meant to be. Glory as we follow what? And I'm gonna put the word “truth” here.
As we follow the truth, glory is added in, glory is added in glory. You look at the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul in Philippians is writing while he's in jail. He must have a miserable experience of jail time, I meant that's not a pleasant way to live. Imagine what he's going through. Do you know that the theme of the book of Philippians is joy? 16 times, some form of the word ‘joy' is used in the book and he's saying, I consider it all joy. It is this joy, joy, joy, joy. How can that be? Because he is following truth so consistently, glory added to glory added to glory. It's what I call deposits of glory.
Chapter five - Deposits and Withdrawals of Glory. Deposits of glory but this is what I do right here. I look over here and I see a counterfeit glory. Any of you attracted the counterfeit glories? What counterfeit glories are things not Jesus, but other things, people and not necessarily bad things or bad people that we say, if I had that, then I could be truly satisfied or if I don't have that, I don't think I can be truly satisfied. That means it's a counterfeit glory. What do we do? We run off course here and I call this, by means of false reasoning. We reason wrongly and say “Oh, if I could just get this” or put it this way: if I could have glory and that new job; if I can have glory and that wife; if I can have glory and have children; if I can have that glory and could have that new car, whatever it may be, that reputation… or if I just had glory and… what happens is when we pursue glory and something else, it's actually a withdrawal of glory. We lose the glory we were designed to carry. That's why… by the way, you'll… you'll hear this through the weekend as I'm speaking. But I hold a fairly high bar as to what a true Christian really is.
There's a true trust-love relationship…there's fruit in that life but even using that high bar, I'm convinced there are many Christians, I know many activists are true Christians who are not living a very fulfilled life, you know why? Because they're still believing it's glory plus and it's not. It's simply glory - deposits and withdrawals of glory. Got it? (24:37.4)
Now we turn to the last, the very final chapter of the story of glory. The last chapter is Full of Glory. So here's what happens: initial glory, glory added to glory to glory until we come to the end. And once we have had Christ return, and either we are alive as he comes or we are already deceased. When he comes, once that happens, what we call this is: full of glory. Full of glory.
In the theology world, many of you're familiar with the term, when we become a Christian we are justified. As we begin, here's where we're justified. As we begin to grow, glory added to glory, guess what happens? We are… another word? Sanctified. Then once Christ has come, we are what? Glorified. Glorified. Full of glory.
Now Paul gives us a little hint in the book of Romans, chapter 8 verse 18. He gives us a great insight into how to experience life at its best. Here's what he says, he says the suffering of this present world during this time, the suffering of this present world is not worthy to be compared to the what? Glory yet to be revealed, once Christ comes back. And what he's saying is this: if during this time here, we keep our eyes set because of truth on the glory yet to be revealed, then the suffering in this world can be taken, it can be accepted, it can be okay. But if you don't have the sight on the full glory and you go through suffering during this time, it's overwhelming. It leaves people without capability of function. Worries, all kind of issues, depressions because they just… the hope is not in the right place for glory.
I uh…Carol my wife, bore four children. Now when we had our children, there was a kind of a common thought, at least among many Christians that it was far healthier for the child being born… for the mother not to have any anaesthetic of any sort, not to have… you know just do it natural. Well, Carol, because she wanted the best for our first child, she said “I'm going to go through this thing natural.” And she did. And it was a very, very, very long labour. All labour is hard I know, but when it goes long, long, long, long and it's hard. It is bad labour. I watched her go through pain, oh my goodness, I was crying. I was watching her thinking, this is just too… this is too bad. Of course I don't mind her taking something…but no, no, no, no… now so we have the baby. Now I got to be thinking, after what I saw in her experience, we're a one child family after this, you know? This isn't going to happen again. Surely she won't choose to go through that again? A little over a year to a year and a half, so she says, “Hey, let's have a second one.” And she did it without anything a second time and then she did it a third and she did it a fourth. Oh my goodness, how did she do that? I'll tell you how. She had her sights set on the glory of a baby yet to come.
You take away that baby and what's good for that baby and what the future for that baby is, she said I can't handle that pain, it's too much but set your sight on the glory yet to be revealed. That's the answer. Well, having said that to Judy, Judy said, “You know what? I'm interested. I want to know more.” I call my assistant in and I said that, “Jackie, I would like you to start meeting with Judy, would you? And I want you to introduce her in detail to all the things important to understand and follow Christ.” And she did. And she did not take her life. As I understood, she became a believer. (29:24.8)
Let me tell you, it is the answer to life for all of us. It's found in this thing called glory. So let me summarize it this way, we give glory to God because of the glory of God, once embracing the glory from God. I'll say it one more time. We give glory to God because of the glory of God once embracing the glory from God.
There're two more pieces to the puzzle, we're going to look at it tomorrow night. The next two pieces, listen to John 1:14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory. Glory as the only begotten from the Father, full of what? Anybody know? Grace and truth.
Those are going to be the next two words we're going to look at. Glory, grace and truth. I'm absolutely convinced, absolutely convinced that the more you and I focus on that glory, out with the word you're going to put in your spiritual vocabulary, that you're going to carry with it every day, tomorrow night. I'm going to hit the next two words - grace and truth. And as I do that, I'm going to end with a little prayer that I'm going to leave with you, and that I pray every single day of my life, and many times most days, it's going to incorporate these words: glory, grace and truth but I'm going to give it to you now, even though we only cover the first and I want you to start praying this little prayer, just this week while we're together.
Here's how I pray and I say, Father I am resolved today. I am resolved to seek after authentic glory, by means of grace and according to truth. We'll say it again. Lord, today my resolve, to seek after authentic glory by means of grace and according to truth. You follow those three words. You pray those three words, invite God to work those three words into your life and I bet you anything. You're going to find satisfaction as never before.
Let's pray together. Father in heaven, we thank you for the privilege to begin this evening just by thinking of glory. Thank you that you are a glorious God. Thank you that we have the privilege of being able to give you glory because we know you. Right now we want to focus on that third type of glory. We want to say thank you for giving us the initial deposit and then the glory added glory that you put in so many of our lives as experience as we follow truth. And Lord we want to ask you that you enable us to focus on the glory yet to be revealed even this day, tomorrow and the next, every day of our lives as we see the problems, the pain, the hardship. As we see the false glories that are out there, counterfeit glories, God I pray, give us incredible abilities to be able to see them for what they really are and to go after you and you alone. Even now we pray, God it is our resolve, it is our resolve to seek after authentic glory by means of grace and reporting the truth. That is our prayer and request and we make it in the great and strong name of Christ, our Saviour. Amen.
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