“... for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”PHI 3:13
Class One: Glory
The glory of the Lord should shine in us—from the inside out!
Sabina Wurmbrand “God’s Beauty Parlor”
Now I told you that being gathered there under the bed, we read the Bible. We had among us a young Christian lady. She knew by heart whole chapters from the Old Testament, but she also knew chapters 6 & 7 from the book of Acts. And so we were under the bed and we read Acts chapter 6 about how Stephen, how he stands before his enemies and his enemies looked at Stephen and they saw that his face was beautiful, so beautiful like the face of an angel ... It is written there that Stephen was full with the Holy Spirit and with the wisdom from God. And when you are full with the wisdom of God and with the Holy Spirit, no wonder that his face was beautiful like the face of an angel.
And while we finished this chapter and we started to speak about Stephen, we had among us, we were Christians altogether, but we had among us a lady, one of the richest ladies of Romania. She was not a Christian. She was in prison because her husband had been the political leader of the country. So she listened with us about all these things; about Stephen. Then she said, “I wonder about you the Christians, you seem to be intelligent women, but how could you believe that Stephen, standing before his enemies knowing that he would be put to death. How could you believe it that his face could be so beautiful? In what beauty parlor could he have been in order to have a face like the face of an angel in such a crisis, in such critical moments when he was before death?”
A Christian lady answered, “I am sorry for you. You do not know Jesus, the Son of God. But whenever Jesus comes in a heart, he never comes alone; He always comes with all His richness. He comes with His angels. He comes with the glory of heaven and so when you open you heart and Jesus comes in your heart to be your Lord and Savior, He brings His beauty. And so Stephen could be so beautiful like an angel.”
And while we spoke at once the door opened, the Communist guard came directly to the place where we were gathered under the bed took us out all, gave a hard beating to everyone; and bleeding he threw us back in the prison cell. But we the Christians, we knew what price we had to pay to read the Bible and to pray. But we were afraid for this lady who was not a Christian, how will she react and what would she say.
And while we were thinking about these things, the first one who came to speak with me was this rich, rich lady who now was poor and hungry, her face smeared with blood and tears. She said, “Now I know the very fact that the Communists are persecuting the Christians, the very fact that they have beaten us only because we would speak about Jesus, this very fact for me is the best proof, that your God is God indeed. And your Jesus will also be my Jesus, my Savior. And she did not know that now her face smeared with blood and with tears, shone and was beautiful like the face of an angel.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ, the glory of God indwells us through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This glory transforms a very vanilla life into something very radiant—and even supernatural. This marvelous glory should be nourished and cherished by you and me; and unveiled in the sight of others so that they might behold the character of God living within us. The glory of God is to shine in us—from the inside out!
1. Glory Defined
The Hebrew word for “glory” is kabod, meaning “honor, splendor, abundance.” The Greek word for “glory” is doxa, meaning “honor, praise, and worship.” Glory is the visible manifestation of God’s character; and to glorify God is to enhance the character and reputation of God through our thoughts, words, and actions.
2. Building the Tabernacle—Willing Hearts and Working Hands
In the Book of Exodus, God gave Moses instruction on how to build the tabernacle—a place where Israel would worship the Lord, and the glory of the Lord would dwell among His people (EXO 25:1-9).
• The Lord commanded the people to give an offering of their gold, silver, jewels, fine cloth, wood, oils, and incense for the building of the tabernacle and its furniture (EXO 35:4-9).
• The wealth they gave came from the spoils of their slavery in Egypt (EXO 12:35-36).
• Even though this was a command from God, it was not forced upon the people. They were only to give if they had a “willing heart.” The people had the choice of whether or not they wanted to participate in building the house where the glory of the Lord would dwell (EXO 25:2; EXO 35:5).
• The children of Israel responded so well to this command from God that Moses had to ask them to stop giving! They gave “sufficient, and more than enough for all the work” (EXO 36:7), and so were “restrained from bringing any more” (EXO 36:6).
• Upon completion, the tabernacle became the dwelling place of the glory of the Lord. His glory was seen as a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. The glory of the Lord led the children of Israel through the wilderness and was a witness to the surrounding nations (EXO 40:34-38).
Conclusion: The children of Israel considered their earthly riches as nothing compared to their desire to accommodate the glory of the Lord! Thus, they obeyed the will of the Lord.
3. The Tabernacle: A Picture of Christ
• The Brazen Altar: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God
• The Laver of Cleansing: daily cleansing
• The Bread of the Presence: Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life
• The Golden Lampstand: Jesus Christ, the Light of the World
• The Altar of Incense: Jesus Christ, a sweet smelling aroma to God
• The Holy of Holies: Jesus Christ, the manifest glory of God
4. Rebuilding the Temple: Unwilling Hearts and Lazy Hands
In the Book of Haggai, Israel has been brought back from captivity into the land of Israel to rebuild the temple after its destruction by the Babylonians. The book of Haggai fits chronologically between Ezra chapters 4 and 5.
• The children of Israel have returned to their land after being in captivity for seventy years. God has brought them back for the specific purpose of rebuilding the temple.
• Because of opposition, the children of Israel deny that it is the time to rebuild the temple (HAG 1:1-2; EZR 4:1-5:17).
• Instead, they put their time, effort, and wealth into building their own houses. Their desires are focused on self—rather than God, on the physical—rather than the spiritual (HAG 1:3-4).
• Because the people have chosen to be spiritually lean, God disciplines them with physical and economic leanness. We reap what we sow (HAG 1:5-11; GAL 6:7-8).
Conclusion: The Jews of Haggai’s day considered their earthly riches as first priority over spiritual things. Thus, they disregarded the will of the Lord.
The pattern we see in Israel is often seen in the life of a believer. When a person first comes to Christ, they are excited about their new-found faith and eager to serve Him with a willing heart. They have a great desire to know God’s presence in their life, and to behold His glory. After some time, the newness wears off, the passion cools, and they find themselves—once again—putting the cares and pleasures of the world above spiritual priorities.
The same is true with churches that begin with a hunger to preach Christ and then turn, after time, into a social club or a business—leaving the powerful Word of God outside the door. This seems to be the condition of much of the Church in America today.
5. The Glory of the Lord Today
• The Old Testament background helps us understand the indwelling ministry of God in the Church Age. The glory of the Lord no longer dwells in the Old Testament tabernacle but in the souls of all those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior (2CO 4:6; COL 1:27).
• 1CO 3:16-17, “you are [the] temple of God.” This is a plural “you.” referring to the Body of Christ—the Church. Collectively, believers are the “temple of God.”
• 1CO 6:18-20, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you.” This is a singular “you.” Each individual believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
• Each believer is also indwelt by God the Father and God the Son (JOH 17:21).
• Let’s consider the magnificence of being indwelt by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Theophanies: In the Bible, there are at least eight theophanies, or appearances of God. The theophanies in Scripture give us a small glimpse into the awesomeness of God and His glory:
• Consider the abundance of His ministry to us (JOH 7:37-39).
• This is the Spirit that indwells you and me!
Conclusion: Our inner man is to be a pillar of glory that unveils God to those around us!
We began with the story of Sabina Wurmbrand in a Romanian prison, where the glory of God dwelt in the hearts and on the faces of persecuted Christians. When Sabina shared this story with Christians in America, she closed her message by telling her audience that, in prison, they had rewritten the words to a popular children’s song. It was rewritten to go like this:
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for their faces tell me so.
Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Their faces tell me so!”
And then she closed her message with these words:
May God bless every one of you. May God fill your hearts with His glory in order that your faces and your life should witness to all those around you that Jesus, the Son of God, loves you and loves all those who trust Him as Savior and Lord.
Ladies, this is my prayer for you and for me. Amen
We are here to display to a dying and dark world the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ. Let that glory shine—from the inside out!