Posts Tagged ‘Glory of God’


Consider the Importance of Clothes

Exodus 28:1-2 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy[1] garments for Aaron thy brother for glory[2] and for beauty[3].

God wanted to establish a relationship with His chosen people. That relationship was governed by God’s holiness and righteousness. God could not relate to His people without a representative, someone who would reflect God’s nature to His people.

God designed the office of Priest to enable this relationship. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was designated the priest, along with his sons.

Priests were nothing new to the Israelites. Melchizedek was a priest in Abraham’s day (Genesis 14:8). Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim were from his wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Even Moses father-in-law, Jethro, was the priest of Midian.

With the beginning of the Nation of Israel in view, God directed Moses to begin God’s priestly order, founded upon the Commandments which God delivered to Moses. With the earthly Priest Hood, God always had His Son, Jesus Christ in view. Everything about the priesthood, the Tabernacle, the offerings and sacrifices were a shadow of the Heavenly reality (Hebrews 8:5). It was important that the priests reflect God, and in view of the future, the nature of His Son. For Jesus Christ was the substance of all they did.

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

While the priests were seen as the “go between” for the Jews with God, this was never His intention. Always in His heart, He wanted an intimate relationship with all of His children. From the beginning God revealed His intention:

Exodus 19:5-6 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

God desired His people to realize they could be a kingdom of priests, each possessing that special relationship with God. The link between God and His priests has always been two-fold: believe in God, and obey His Word. The priests were to be living personifications of the reality of Jehovah God, and the power of His Word. As the priests reflected this power to the Jewish people, the words of Malachi would come to pass:

Malachi 2:7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

This is why Exodus 28:1-2 is significant. The garments of the priest are important only as far as the priests follow their intention-for the garments were designed to set the priest apart from that which was common.

What made the priesthood “weighty” to the people, was the perception that they were set apart unto God. The priests had restrictions upon land ownership, because the Lord was their inheritance. The priests were not to be entangled in the business affairs of the world. They were to depend upon the Lord for their sustenance and provisions. The people went to the priests to enquire of the Lord God, for the priests were set apart unto Him. This is what the garments represented, for they were sacred garments, and set the wearer apart from that which was common. The priestly garments were never used for washing the dishes, or cutting wood. The priests were always to respect the Holiness of Jehovah as they administered their office.

This is the reason for God’s scourging of the priesthood in Malachi. They had accepted “common” sacrifices, blind animals, unclean animals, and in so doing had profaned the name of Jehovah before the people. They had “polluted” God by despising the table of the Lord (Malachi 1:6-8). Instead of setting God apart before the people, the priesthood had brought God down to where man could regard Him as nothing special. Honoring Jehovah required nothing special. No real sacrifice was involved. God had become “comfortable” to the people. The priesthood had lost the touch of God by accepting that which was common. The priests had despised the name of God!

Their garments looked glorious and beautiful like normal, but there was no power behind them. God withdraws His power when our worship and service becomes man-centered. As 2nd Timothy 3:5 states, they have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. When you fail to follow the design of God, you reveal your heart, a heart that despises God’s authority over your life.

Our lives are to reflect a heart that has been set apart unto God. A heart that loves God completely. As we walk in love, we are clothed in glory and beauty. The priesthood was to present that reality to God’s children, just as contemporary ministers are to their flock.

Ministers, pastors, preachers and associates are to be set apart unto God. They must spend time before the throne. They must believe in His power. They must long for His Word. No part of their life must be kept from obedience to His Word. Disobedience, no matter how small, reflects a heart that despises the name of God.

Those who serve the Living God do so with an obligation to guard the deposit of God’s Word given to them.

2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Disobedience and/or neglect of God’s Word reveals an unbelieving heart. You are snorting, “What a weariness this is!” (Malachi 1:14). God’s name will be exalted throughout the nations, regardless of your obedience or belief.

The cry to everyone who seeks the Lord is found in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Remember, God desired a nation of priests. He wanted all of His chosen ones to enjoy Him. This became reality through Jesus Christ, whose eternal sacrifice on the cross tore open the veil which stood between sinful man and Holy God. Through faith in the work of Christ, His righteousness and justification are imputed to us, enabling us to have relations with Abba Father.

However, the visual image of Aaron’s priestly garments reveals several insights into our relationship with Holy God.

1. There is no relationship unless we agree to be set apart unto Him.

This is the wisdom of the Cross, whereby all those who humble themselves before the cross find salvation and righteousness in Christ. Our relationship with God begins at the cross of Christ. Jesus is the way!

Any attempt to come to God by bringing Him down to our level will be wasted. If our coming to God is man-centered and polluted by our pride, the way to God will be closed to us. The intimacy of Abba, Father will be impossible due to our flesh (Romans 8:8).

2. Our relationship with God is always on the basis of His Glory and Beauty.

We have no glory or beauty of our own. There is nothing intrinsic within us that makes us attractive and winsome to God. The priest stood before the people clothed in the special garments to reflect God’s glory and beauty, not his own. There were no TV personalities on display. God’s glory and beauty took center stage.

A. The Imagery of the Priestly Garments

1. The garments were to set apart the priests from that which was common to that which was sacred.

The Priests were the connection between man and God.

  • Ministers of God are always set apart for God’s use. They are not to be “common” in the true sense of the word. They are always living with the presence of God! God in us makes us sacred!
  • The garments were masculine and feminine in nature. Ministers reflect all of God upon all of God’s people

2.  They were to reflect the ‘weighty’ glory of God which Moses desired to see.

The word “glory” is derived from a Hebrew root that may mean “heavy,” “weighty,” or “numerous, severe” in a physical sense[4]

  • God bestows His glory on man- Psalm 8:5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
  • Glory is a weighty term-refers to wealth, possessions, honor, prestige.
  • Joseph told his brothers to tell Jacob of all his “glory”
  • The Glory of God brings substance, wealth, purpose, pre-eminence and “weight”.
  • The glory of God is never taken lightly; neither should the minister of God.

Exodus 16:7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD…

  • God told the complaining Israelites they would see His glory in the morning. When they awoke, they saw the manna falling from heaven, lying on the ground.
  • The manna is a picture of God’s bread of life-the Word of God. In the Word there is glory as we minister it!

Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

The Bible places emphasis on glory in the present and future tenses based upon the possibility of a relationship with the God of glory.

 The priests were to minister on the basis of glory because they enjoyed a “heavy” relationship with God, whereby His glory became their glory through the ministry of the Word!

John 1:14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.

Jesus is the Glory of God!

Jesus in your life opens the Glory of God upon your life!

3.  They were to reflect the beauty bestowed upon man and upon objects that elevate them to the presence of the divine.

Isaiah 55:5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

God has beautified you. His Glory is revealed in our beauty (that He bestows upon us in Christ)!

God bestows His beauty upon His people, upon their sanctuary, upon those things dedicated to Him!

The basic meaning of pāʾar in the Piel is “to beautify/glorify.” In the six instances of this, the subject of the verb is always God. The recipient is his child(ren), for example, Isaiah 55:5; Psalm 149:4, or his sanctuary (Ezra 7:27; Isaiah 60:7, 13). This thought is carried into the use of pāʾar in the Hithpael (Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 61:3). An additional meaning in this stem is “to boast” as seen in Judges 7:2; Isaiah 10:15. Exodus 8:5,[5]

God is our crown of glory and diadem of beauty!

Isaiah 28:5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,

We are to boast only in His beauty upon us.

Psalm 96:6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

The danger comes in thinking the beauty is ours.

Isaiah 20:5 And they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and expectation and Egypt their glory and boast (same word for beauty).

B.  Jesus Christ is our Beauty and Glory

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Jude 1:25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

1. We are to put on Christ!

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

He is our beauty!

      • He is the Rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star!
      • John 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
      • John 17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

His Word is our Glory

      • His Word set us apart!
      • John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

His Word in us brings Glory to God

      • John 15:7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

2. The Word of God makes us beautiful and crowns us with His Glory!

Isaiah 62:2-3 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Zechariah saw a vision of a priest named Joshua in Zechariah 3. Joshua was clothed in filthy rags, and Satan was at his side, accusing him before Holy God. Joshua was not wearing the garments of glory and beauty. He was not fit to serve according to Satan. And Satan was right, but next we see the grace of God. An angel commands those around Joshua to remove the filthy garments, and clothe him in the holy priestly garments of glory and beauty. His iniquity has been removed by the grace of God. In addition, he is given a holy diadem or turban to wear upon his head. The significance of this turban is revealed in chapter 14, verse 20, for on the turban is symbolic of the priest being “Holiness unto the Lord,” for in that day even the horses will be holiness unto the Lord. Exodus 28:36 records that a gold plate inscribed with “Holiness unto the Lord” was placed upon the turban which the priest wore.

So God’s Grace restores the standing of the priest through cleansing and the right clothing. But God’s grace does not end there. Zechariah has another vision in chapter 4, and now he sees the power and provision of God for the rebuilding of the Temple. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the priesthood, so that “not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts!” The Grace of God enables those who once were covered in filthiness to have an intimate relationship with their Creator God, and to be clothed in power from on high, such that they are to build the very dwelling place of God on the earth, His Temple! Verse seven presents a beautiful picture of the mountains (obstacles) becoming a plain such that Zerubbabel is able to hoist the final headstone of the Temple and cry out “Grace Grace!”

We live and breathe and build in the Grace of God! One day we will rejoice in heaven and cry Grace, Grace, for we will praise Christ “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6)

 

 

 

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[1] qōdeš: A masculine noun meaning a holy thing, holiness, and sacredness. The word indicates something consecrated and set aside for sacred use only; it was not to be put into common use, for if it was, it became profaned and common (ḥôl), not holy. Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[2] kābôd, ‏כָּבֹד‎ kābōd: A masculine singular noun meaning honor, glory, majesty, wealth. This term is commonly used of God (Ex. 33:18; Ps. 72:19; Isa. 3:8; Ezek. 1:28); humans (Gen. 45:13; Job 19:9; Ps. 8:5[6]; 21:5[6]); and objects (1 Sam. 2:8; Esth. 1:4; Isa. 10:18), particularly of the ark of the covenant (1 Sam. 4:21, 22).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[3] tiphʾārāh: A feminine noun meaning beauty, glory. Isaiah used the word to denote the so-called beauty of finery that would be snatched away by the Lord (Isa. 3:18). The word was used in a similar manner in Ezekiel to denote that which the people trusted in other than God, in addition to what would be stripped away (Ezek. 16:17; 23:26). The making of priestly garments and other apparel brought glory to Aaron and his sons, giving them dignity and honor (Ex. 28:2, 40). Wisdom was portrayed as giving a garland of grace and a crown of splendor in Proverbs (Prov. 4:9); Zion was told that it will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand (Isa. 62:3); and in the book of Jeremiah, the king and queen were told that the crowns would fall from their heads (Jer. 13:18). The word was used in Deuteronomy to describe how God would recognize His people (Deut. 26:19). In Lamentations, it was used in an opposite manner to describe the splendor of Israel that was thrown down from heaven to earth in the Lord’s anger (Lam. 2:1). Deborah used the word to describe the honor or glory of a warrior which would not be Barak’s because he handled the situation wrongly (Judg. 4:9).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[4] Carpenter Eugene E. and Comfort Philip W., Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 72.

[5] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “1726: ‏פָּאַר‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 713.

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VATICAN CITY, Oct 24 (Reuters) – – Pope Benedict called on Monday for sweeping reforms of the world economy and the creation of a ethical, global authority to regulate financial markets as demonstrations against corporate greed continued to spring up in major cities across the globe.

Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” is Benedict’s third encyclical since he became pope in 2005. He said the financial downturn had revealed behaviours like “selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday Oct 26th 2011 called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “true world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”

The Vatican called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” and a “true world political authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions and work for the common good.

Such an authority should start with the United Nations as its reference point but later become independent and be endowed with the power to see to it that developed countries were not allowed to wield “excessive power over the weaker countries”.

This startling announcement brought back to my mind teaching I heard in the late 60’s that the Pope was the Antichrist. Then I started thinking “ What if this idea gets traction, and the Pope succeeds in getting the world leaders together to put this plan into action. Then some of what is written in the Book of Revelations would make perfect sense.

Revelation 13:17 (ESV) so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

How easy would this be if we have only one world bank and money?

Then what happens in Revelations 18 would make sense as well:

Revelation 18:1-3 (ESV) After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

Many teach that the Antichrist will come from ‘Babylon’. Revelation 17 says he will carry Babylon, but then he will carry out its destruction.

I can see the world’s financial collapse leading to such a plan as the Pope is proposing. One of the great supporters of it will be the Antichrist. But after the plan is in place and he comes to power, he will turn on the religious power of Babylon, destroying it (Rev 17) and then turn on the political power of Babylon (Rev 18). This is because all power will belong to him!

So much for conjecture…

Regardless of who or what Babylon is, it plays a prominent role in the events of the Revelation of the end times.  This brings me to the deeper issue…

I.   What Does Babylon Represent in Scripture?

To understand Babylon, we need to go way back, to the time just after the Great Flood. As we examine Babylon’s place in history, we will find that it represents the Best that Man can do and be. Babylon is man exalting himself to God, and even above God.

Babylon represents man’s efforts to replace God with himself!

A. The First Sin of Babylon

The First Corporate Sin that Manifested itself after the Flood took place on the planes of Shinar, the sight of Babylon. Here a mighty ruler named Nimrod built a tower that reached to the heavens.

Genesis 10:8-10 (NIV) Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.

The Sin of Nimrod and his subjects was seeking to Minimize God’s place in their lives.

  • They were seeking to exalt themselves above God.
  • They were seeking to take God out of their lives. They were also seeking a guarantee that God could never destroy them by a flood again. They would simply go into their ‘tower’ of escape!

Genesis 11:4 (ESV) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Babylon represents Man’s efforts to MINIMIZE God. They wanted a God whom they could control. The attitudes revealed in their actions indicate how they sought to accomplish this.

What we glory in reveals the god(s) of our lives.

  1. Glory in Splendor – a beautiful city
  2. Glory in Status – the tower that reached to the heavens
  3. Glory in Success – make a name for ourselves

Man wanted to make a name for himself, through the work of his hands. He wanted recognition for what he could accomplish. So man built a tower on the plains of Shinar, at Babylon. The very first place in the post-flood world that man exalted himself above God was at Babylon. Indeed Babylon became a symbol for the greatness of man!

In his book, Structures or why things don’t fall down (Pelican 1978–1984), Professor J.E. Gordon considers the height of the Tower of Babel. He wrote, ‘brick and stone weigh about 120 lb per cubic foot (2,000 kg per cubic metre) and the crushing strength of these materials is generally rather better than 6,000 lbs per square inch or 40 megapascals. Elementary arithmetic shows that a tower with parallel walls could have been built to a height of 2.1 km (1.3 mi) before the bricks at the bottom were crushed. However by making the walls taper towards the top they … could well have been built to a height where the men of Shinar would run short of oxygen and had difficulty in breathing before the brick walls crushed beneath their own dead weight.”[1]

This desire to rob God of His glory is so entrenched in mankind, that no matter what God does to mankind in the tribulation, mankind will curse God and refuse to repent and give Him glory!

Revelation 16:8-9 (ESV) The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

Indeed, Psalms 2 reveals this intrinsic attitude toward God in the heart of man:

Psalms 2:1-4 (NIV) Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.

God had the last laugh:

Genesis 11:6 (ESV) And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Where Does Man Get this desire to rob glory from God?

SATAN

What man was saying was eerily similar to something Satan (Lucifer) had said centuries before:

Isaiah 14:13-14 (ESV) You said in your heart,

  • ‘I will ascend to heaven;
  • above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;
  • I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
  • I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
  • I will make myself like the Most High.’

We all know what happened to Lucifer: Luke 10:18 (ESV) And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.

B. The First Sin of the Promised Land

The first Sin that spoiled the Promised Land for the Jews was the pride of wearing a Babylonian Garment.

Joshua 7:21 (KJV) When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Achan just had to have that babylonian garment…

Joshua had warned the people

Joshua 6:17-19 (ESV) And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

Jericho, an evil city, full of evil inhabitants, so evil that Lindey Lohan could have been a priestess, was dedicated to God for destruction. It was so evil that everyone in it was to be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. The silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron was to be given to the treasury of God.

Achan cheered at Joshua’s decree. Yeah! Everything is wicked! We’ll destroy it all!

But there he was, checking out the spoil of one of his victims, and his eye was attracted to this snazzy Babylonian garment. The material was so soft, the design was so intricate. The beading and jewels adorning the garment took your breath away. This garment took a year to sew.  He had seen something almost as nice in the latest issue of Babylonia Today! If his friends would see him wearing such a garment, they would be so jealous! He could go anywhere in the Kingdom wearing such a garment. It was fit for a King!

Actually, that garment was fit for destruction. It represented Man’s Pride in his accomplishments, accomplishments made apart from God!

Achan was seduced and brought trouble upon Israel:  “then I coveted them and took them”.

The life of Achan ended in a heap of stones.

Joshua 7:25-26 (ESV) And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.

C. The First Sin of the Church

Acts 5:1-4 (NIV) Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Ananias, in lying to the church, embraced all the sins of Babylon. He wanted the splendor that the money could by him. He wanted to status of appearing to be such a giving saint. He wanted to appear successful in the eyes of the church and his friends. Satan filled his heart with the spirit of Babylon. Ananias tried to minimize God, and exalt himself. God had the last laugh once again.

D. What is the Danger of Babylon?

  • Nimrod built one tall building
  • Achan took one fancy robe
  • Ananias told one little lie

Yet their small act of sin represented a danger to what God wanted to accomplish.

  • Nimrod looked at the Tower of Babel reaching to the sky and said, wow, look what we did!
    • God saw the Tower and changed the course of Mankind!
  • Achan looked at the Shiny Robe and said, Wow wouldn’t I look like somebody in the Robe?
    • God saw the robe hidden in his tent and changed the course of Achan’s life! (In a dramatic fiery heap of stones!)
  • Ananias told a partial truth but still gave the church a lot of money
    • God saw his heart and startled the church

What is so dangerous about Babylon? What dangers was God wanting to protect His people from?

The Best Way to understand the danger of Babylon is to understand what the Babylonian Garment represented. This garment pictures Babylon far better than the silver or gold that Achan also took. That is why it was mentioned.

This Babylonian Garment represents Three Things that are a Danger to our love for God. They are seemingly innocent things, things that we all need and appreciate and even desire. But the Seduction of these three things will work their way into our lives until they minimize our need for God.

The Babylonian Garment Represents:

1. Splendor

We all appreciate beauty. We are drawn to it. Whether it is a car, a woman, even a horse, we love beautiful things. Advertisements shout this loud and clear. Television shows, even reality TV shows, shout this. Women (and men) spend billions of dollars to make themselves beautiful. Architects design buildings, even stadiums, to display the splendor and beauty of their imagination.

King Ahasuerus, reigned from India to Ethiopia, and in the third year of his reign, he gave a feast for all of his officials and servants and nobles and governors that lasted 180 days. All the days of the feast he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness.

We love to display our splendor and glory-whether in our clothes, our car, our home, our possessions.

America is a land of BLING! We even do it with teeth fillings, piercings and tattoos! We trick out our trucks, our cars, our motorcycles, we wear our jewelry and accessorize!

a) Even Satan was all about BLING!

According to Ezekiel 28:13, a probable reference to Lucifer, we learn that he is an amazing being to behold: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created”.

Splendor is seductive. It lured Lucifer into rebellion. It lured David into deep sin. It lured the wisest man on the earth into committing unspeakable acts against his God, whose very wisdom he possessed.

b) Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel 4:29-30 (NIV) … as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

God Had the Last Word. Immediately a voice came from heaven:

Daniel 4:31-32 (NIV) “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

c) Israel:

Hosea 2:11-13 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days –all her appointed feasts. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD.

God and Splendor

1. Inner beauty and splendor matters to God

    • 1Pet. 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.

2. God Looks on the Heart

    • 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

3. God Must be our Splendor

    • Psalms 96:9 (ESV) Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
    • Psalms 104:1 (ESV) Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
    • Psalms 111:3 (ESV) Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.

4. We are to make Known His Splendor to our Children

    • Psalms 145:12 (ESV) to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

5. In the End Times, Men will seek to hide from the splendor of God!

    • Isaiah 2:19 (ESV) And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.

6. The Splendor of Babylon will be no more

    • Isaiah 13:19 (ESV) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.

7. The Church will be presented to Christ in Splendor

    • Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

2. Status

Tradition has it that this robe was a priestly robe, used in worship to the Canaanite gods. This robe not only was beautiful, it represented power. It represented standing. It represented status.

Whoever wore this robe was always on the “A-List” party invitations. This robe granted its wearer access to the power people of Jericho and Canaan. The wearer was somebody. Nobody messed with whoever wore this robe. If they did, they found themselves being sacrificed to Baal!

Status is very important in our world.

  • Satan began it all by saying “I will be as the most high”. He wanted the status of God himself.
  • Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit because they wanted to be like gods.
  • Lot chose the well watered plains of Sodom and Gomorrah, and instead of hating the sin, he became enmeshed in it, even becoming a man of ‘status’ a judge at the gate.
  • Judas followed Jesus for the status he thought it would bring him. When it became apparent that Jesus was not going to become King, he set out to betray the Son of God!
  • Aaron and the Levites set out to worship God in the Tabernacle. But by the time of Christ, the High Priest had become a perverted, corrupt institution motivated by power and status.
  • Ministry today is often corrupted by a pursuit of ratings and donations and status. Pastors focus their efforts on the Four “B’s” – Building Size, Budget Size, Number of Baptisms, and Number of Bodies. Spiritual growth and Character growth are not emphasized, because they do not build the churches ‘status’ as far as the world is concerned.

Focus upon STATUS is PRIDE!

There is no room for Pride in God’s Kingdom: Mark 9:35 (ESV) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

3. Success

Nothing says success like Excess. Or a Rolex, Cadillac, or ___________.  You name it, we’ll wear it or drive it as long as it makes us look successful!

I can just see Achan trying on that shiny robe. Oooh he felt so good. He couldn’t wait to be seen wearing it. Everyone would be jealous of his apparent success!

Daniel 4:4 (ESV) I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace.

Look at America. We are swimming in debt, but we still consume and charge and buy our way into success. Just a few months ago the politicians were encouraging us to consume more to get this economy going.

We trade our souls for stuff. Stuff to show our success. Stuff to make us feel secure at night. Possessions, Money, those are things we can rely on. Our future is secure if we have money. We don’t have to worry about growing old, or caring for our loved ones, if we have money in the bank.

Man’s Success is Failure before God

Mark 8:34-36 (ESV) And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Revelation 3:17 (ESV) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

 This is God’s Plan for Success:

Joshua 1:8 (ESV) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

E.The Splendor of Babylon Will Vanish

  • Revelation 18:10 (KJV) Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
  • Revelation 18:14 (NLT) “The fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry. “All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.”

When Babylon Falls, there will be the greatest Hallelujah ever!

Revelation 19:1-3 (ESV) After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

F. The Solution for A Heart Infected with Babylon

Joshua 7:19 (ESV) Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

To counter the effects of the Babylonian Garment, Joshua told Achan to give glory to the Lord God!

When we do what we want, when we go our own way, when we place our confidence in splendor, status and success, we are robbing God of His Glory. God wants His people to give all praise and glory to Him. Everything in our live depends upon God!

We are Losing a Generation of Young People because we are wearing Babylonian Garments

The Millennial Generation or Generation Y consists of young adults born after 1980. The latest research from Barna indicates that this generation is growing up without a Biblical Foundation of Jesus Christ. Only 15% of Millennials profess faith in Jesus Christ. Yet their parents, the Baby Boomers, profess a 65% Christianity.

What happened?

The Garment of Babylon is what happened. We have put on our Sunday Faces and Clothes at Church, but throughout the week we wear our Babylonian Garment. We pursue our splendor, our status and our success.

We embrace the spirit of Babylon in our homes and work. We display a MINIMAL DEPENDENCE upon God in our homes, our work and our lives.

Jude 1:11 (ESV) Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.

We have danced with Cain, we have partied with Balaam and we have colluded with Korah. And so Babylon has infected the hearts of our families and children.

  • Cain wanted to seek the God in his own way. He thought his splendor was good enough.
  • Balaam was divided between pleasing God and having the status of the King’s Prophet. So he corrupted the message of God, and gained the status of the King, but lost his soul to the ways of Babylon.
  • Korah wanted to make his own success, apart from Noah and God. He had enough of Moses, and told him, everyone is holy enough. He wanted to go his own way and be successful apart from Moses and God.

We have two choices…

Allow Babylon to Steal our Love for God or

Give Glory to God in everything,  Seek His Glory through Everything and most importantly, allow our lives to display His Glory to those around us!

We Can Live Hallelujah Lives or Crying Lives!

  • The World cried at the downfall of Babylon. It had become their life!
  • Those Saints in Heaven Shouted Hallelujah!

Revelation 19:1 (ESV) After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

When we seek satisfaction in the Splendor, Status and Success of this world, we will end up miserable, dissatisfied, on medication for depression.

Or you will come to the Salvation that only Jesus Christ offers, accept the misery of sin, and fall into the Love and Hope that Jesus Christ alone offers.

When Jesus Christ becomes your Savior, then God can say to you:

Jim, you are the most wretched and hopeless man, and in yourself you will never be anything else. But I have looked upon you through your faith in My Son as though you never sinned at all. I chose to see you in my Son by your faith!

Glory! God alone is worthy of Glory! My Joy, my happiness, my accomplishments are all in Him!

What Does that Babylonian Garment offer me that could even compare? It is temporary, it is fading, it will be soon eaten or destroyed or lost!

We need to embrace Christ with our children. We need to quit putting emphasis on the Babylonian Lifestyle of self effort and success, and focus on the splendor, the standing and the success that come from putting on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Isaiah 43:7 says we are created for God’s Glory! Isaiah 48:9 says God will not give His glory to another.

So God did not create us so that He would become more glorious, for His beauty and perfection are complete. He is already Glory defined. God cannot become more God by making something that is not God.

No, God created us to display His Glory! This world is to KNOW God’s Glory by our lives! We are not to seek our own glory through splendor, status or success. No, in all our lives we are to display God’s glory to the world, not our own glory!

Babylon is man-centeredness. It can be in our churches, our worship, our work, our families, our lives.

God will give His glory to no one. We cannot make God more glorious by accumulating stuff and bringing it to Him. But we can bring our lives and all we have to HIM and ask Him to use it to bring glory to Him.

Never hold on to stuff if it starts to become more important than God or worshipping Him! We are to display God’s Glory to the world with all our lives, with all our being, with all our STUFF!



Some things really get us excited. Having a baby is always an exciting time. You want to tell the world. As they grow and reach major milestones, we love to share with our friends, even strangers you meet at the grocery store.

Some things we don’t like talking about. We feel uncomfortable. Our faith in Christ is sometimes difficult to talk about. We have it, but we don’t know how to express it. Sex is another one of those things we just don’t talk about very much. It makes most of us uncomfortable. In fact people that talk openly and honestly about sex make us uncomfortable. So I will make most of you uncomfortable at some point this morning.

The truth is, what I am about to share with you God has been working in my heart as I have been working on my marriage relationship with my wife, as I make those strides to enter the winter of my married life with as much excitement as I did when we were first together. Some of the things I will discuss God had already revealed to me before I read “Sacred Marriage” Others, He has really opened my eyes to.

My “talk” with you this morning comes from a firm conviction that God is Lord of every aspect of our life. And because God is Lord of every aspect, He wants to be involved in everything we do. Everything. So let’s ask Him to open our hearts and eyes to how marvelous He is, and how marvelous a creation we are. Let’s do this before we have the dreaded “TALK”.

I. Communion With the Shekinah Glory

The Ark of the Testimony was constructed with two cherubim of hammered gold, who faced each other and touched wings. In this joining of the two, Exodus 25:22 records, “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I (God) will meet with you”.

God’s presence “between the cherubim” became a very popular Old Testament image.

  • 1 Samuel 4:4 “The Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim”
  • Psalm 80:1 “Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel…you who sit enthroned between the cherubim”
  • Isaiah 37:16 “O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim”.
  • Hebrews 9:5 “Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory”

The Glory of God comes to us as the two beings are being joined. God dwells in the midst of this coming together.

Indeed, the basis of communion with God is always His glory. At the mercy seat we have fellowship with God. We are shadowed by the cherubim of glory. There is the Glory of God because the shed blood has made our forgiveness possible. Through the Blood God can show mercy without violating His glory. He can commune with man without violating himself.

When I commune with God at His mercy seat, it is not on the precious blood I gaze, but on His glory. The veil has been stripped away. Sinful man can behold the glory of God. The Strict Law of God has met the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. We are at one and at peace with this awesome Holy God.

Most of our holiest moments have been alone with God. We simply do not know how to enter into this intimacy with others. I can count on two hands times when I have gazed on the Glory of God in communion with others. This is very, very sad, because Jesus revealed a very important truth that the church has forgotten, and marriages have forgotten. We may know it, but we rarely experience it.

Jesus said true Christianity is meant to be shared in intimacy with God. In Matt 18:19-20 Christ offered this glimpse at the Glory of God:

Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Most of us quote this verse and believe it is a “formula” for getting God to do what we want. One of us will pray, another will say “Yes, I agree” and we expect God to do what we ask. But we miss the true meaning of this verse because we miss what Jesus was revealing:

1. You must be gathered “synagō” – Someone has led you together, it is passive, an outside force has brought you together.

2. You must be in “symphōneō”—in harmony, as an orchestra of many instruments come together to play the same note. This implies and requires an intimacy of heart and spirit.

There will be rare times where God brings people together because of a shared pain or trial, and through mutual love for each other and a mutual reaching to God, you pray together in complete trust and complete faith for what God is going to do.

Most of the time when we come together in pray, someone is wondering how long this will go on, someone will be thinking about food, someone will be thinking ‘God doesn’t care about this’ and so there is no moving together in symphony. This type of prayer is no formula; it is a work of the Holy Spirit. Just as the 120 disciples prayed for weeks before Pentecost, it took that long for them to finally come together in total agreement.

You may think these verses only apply to spiritual times. But God is Lord of every aspect of our life. God has designed marriage to have certain forces that draw us together in symphony, in harmony. Why can’t God be in those times? Why do we relegate Him to the church only? Do we think God closes His eyes when we have sex? I’ve got news for you… If God knows when you join yourself to a prostitute or to someone other than your spouse (as Paul warned the Corinthians), He certainly is there when you join yourself to your husband or wife!

Underneath our coming together is the belief in the Power of the Name of Jesus Christ. We are brought together through His Name!

The family that enjoys a deep abiding presence of Jesus Christ is precisely because the husband and wife have invited Jesus into the deeper parts of their marriage. They are not coming together to pool resources, save money, escape loneliness, or merely gain an outlet for sexual desires. They have joined their lives to deepen their faith in God. They see God in everything they do-even when it comes to their sexual relationship.

Even if you did not get married with this reason in mind, you can this day decide to maintain your marriage on that basis; Marriage can then become a favorable funnel to direct God’s presence into your daily life.

II. Sex from Different Perspectives

“Our bodies are not barriers to grace. If we could truly accept this, then we would know God even in the ambiguous delights of our sexuality.” (Evelyn & James Whitehead)

Now church is the last place you expect to hear about sex. Depending upon your age and your parents attitude, your idea of sex can range from dirty and disgusting, something you have to do, to its no big deal.

Understand that regardless of how you view sex, as a Christian, you need to have a Biblical understanding of sex and why God made us sexual beings.

A. Jewish View

To the Jews, sex was a gift from God whereby they fulfilled the Abrahamic Covenant to become as numerous as the stars. Sex was reserved between a man and his wife. Sex was important for the family to multiply and extend the name of God in this world.

Sex was not only about procreation. In the Misnah, Jewish wives were given three fundamental rights – food, clothing and the right of “onah” – sexual intercourse apart from the duty of procreation.

Jewish Rabbi Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman Girondi),wrote “Iggeret ha-Kodesh (אגרת הקודש – The Holy Epistle)” in the 13th century (some dispute it). He proclaimed sex as a mystical meeting with God.

“Through the act [of intercourse] they become partners with God in the act of creation. This is the mystery of what the sages said, ‘When a man unites with his wife in holiness, the Shekinah is between them in the mystery of man and woman.” The breadth of this statement is sobering when you consider this Shekinah glory is the same presence Moses experienced when God met with him face-to-face (Exodus 24:15-18).”

He went on to write:

“We the possessors of the Holy Torah believe that God, may He be praised, created all, as His wisdom decreed, and did not create anything ugly or shameful. For if sexual intercourse was repulsive, then the reproductive organs are also repulsive…If the reproductive organs are repulsive, how did the Creator fashion something blemished? If that were so, we should find that His deeds were not perfect.” (From “The Holy Epistle,” attributed to Nahmanides)

The Torah uses the term yada—“to know”—to indicate a sexual relationship. Sex is thus considered more than a mere biological act; it involves intimate knowledge shared by two human beings.

To most Jews, sex was a gift from God whereby they could have a sacred family and propagate the world for the Glory of Jehovah. Sex was good, and nothing to be ashamed of as long as it was done it properly between a husband and wife.

B. Christian View

Christians came along, and no longer was the emphasis on a family, but the emphasis was on your individual faith in God. Through some of Paul’s writings and later the teachings of the early church fathers and the Catholic Church, celibacy was equated with “holiness or Godliness”. Sex was viewed as a totally fleshly act that would draw your heart away from God. Avoiding sex was seen as fostering a deeper faith.

At our Bible College the unwritten law for the married students was not to have sex Saturday night because it would interfere with your “spiritual” preparation for Sunday.

We must ask ourselves: If God created us as sexual beings, then he meant us to enjoy sex within the context of His guidelines. And if marriage is designed to make us like God, then how can we reconcile the Holy with something so fleshly? We must realize that God’s eyes are not closed when a married couple enjoys each other sexually!

C. God’s View

God made our bodies, and with them, some amazing sensations. While the male sexual organ has multiple functions, the female clitoris has just one—sexual pleasure. By design, God created a bodily organ that has no other purpose than to provide women with sexual ecstasy. This was God’s idea. And God called every bit of his creation “very good” – Genesis 1:31.

Betsy Ricucci has approached this issue from a feminine perspective: “Within the context of covenant love and mutual service, intimacy should be exhilarating  according to what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 5:19.

III. Sex as a Spiritual Discipline

God views sex as a discipline that can draw us into His presence.

God has placed Himself in earthen vessels through His Son Jesus Christ. God wants to show us How to use our sexuality as a spiritual discipline-to integrate our flesh and faith.

It is my desire that we can move past the negative connotations and preconceptions of sex and examine how it is possible for this fleshly experience to sharpen our spiritual sensitivities. If sex is going to turn us toward God and our spouse, it is essential that we examine sex with the understanding that

God uses Marriage and every aspect of it to make us Holy, like Jesus Christ.

God’s Word teaches us three things about sex:

  • Sex is good by design but there are things more important than sex
  • Sex allows the experience of pleasure but pleasure can never become the idol of our existence
  • Sex seasons our lives but will never fully nourish our souls.

For Sexuality to become a spiritual discipline we must change our views in three areas:

  • Adopt a Sacred View of Sex in Marriage
  • Adopt a Sacred Emotional View of Sex in Marriage
  • Adopt a Sacred View of Your Spouse

A. A Sacred View of Sex in Marriage

1.   Sex is a Mirror of our Desire and Passion for God

2.   If sex is to be a communing experience with the Shekinah of God, then it must be confined to its righteous place-between a man and a woman united in a marriage covenant before God.

Anything else is a corruption of what God intended sex to be.

Now sex by itself can be abused in a marriage relationship. If God is to be in our sexual relationship, it must embrace the components of our relationship with God-servant hood and righteous desire. Within those bookends, sex can become a powerful force for our growth spiritually.

If we are to see the positive power of sex in our marriage relationship, we must move past the hurt, shame, guilt and angst that you may have because of things you have seen and heard about outside the marriage relationship. Homosexuality, premarital sex, fantasy-laden masturbation, hard-core pornography-none of that constitutes “sex” as I am defining here.

Redefine sex as it was when Adam “knew” Eve and began to populate the world. Think of sex only within these terms and then let’s ask God to reveal Himself to you within your marriage through the gift of sexual pleasure.

God does not turn His eyes from our bedrooms. Neither should we turn our eyes from God when we share intimate moments with our spouse.

To see sex as a way of spiritual discipline, of drawing our hearts and our marriages closer to Him, it is imperative that we adopt God’s view of sexuality. God made flesh, and when God made our flesh, he created some amazing sensations. While the male sexual organ has multiple functions, the female clitoris has only one function-sexual pleasure. By design, God created a bodily organ that has no other purpose than to provide women with sexual ecstasy. This wasn’t Satan’s idea, it was God’s. And God called every bit of his creation “very good” (Gen 1:31)

Advice to Wives:

In ‘Love that Lasts’, Betty Ricucci says “Believe it or not, we glorify God by cultivating a sexual desire for our husbands and by welcoming their sexual desire for us”.

Wives, you may desire your husband’s to be more Godly, and God has given you a power to open up to your husband that God is in your bedroom. What better time to talk to your husband about God than afterwards. Shock him sometime by saying, “Glory to God”. Shock him even further by saying thank you for making me feel close to my heavenly Father.

Advice to Husbands:

I’m not going to place the entire burden for glorifying God on the wives.

The real burden is upon the husbands; because we must learn to love our wives the way Christ loved the church. His love meant death, and our proper sexual love for our wife must include death to what we want, and becoming a servant to the needs of our wives. We are the ones who need the most educating; because we are the ones God said need to dwell with our wives according to knowledge, the things we learn.

3.   Sex is to be a Shared Spiritual Experience

To bring Christ into your marriage bed, you must be brought together in His Name and you must be agreed in your spirit as to seeing Jesus honored by your sexual union.

B.  A Sacred Emotional  View Of Sex In Marriage

We often come into our marriage with sexual baggage-emotions and lusts that are corrupted by television shows and movies we have seen pictures we have viewed, bad experiences in past relationships, and bad experiences with family members. God’s Word says it is possible to bring His Divine Nature into our marriage bed, and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust and evil desires.

2 Peter 1:4 (NKJV) by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

One FOUNDATIONAL promise we must bring into our marriage bed is:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) In everything give thanks (eucharisto – express gratitude): for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

God commands us to bring gratitude into every situation we face, and if He commanded it, there is the promise of His presence.

Gratitude Must Replace Guilt

In order for Sex to become a spiritual experience, we must incorporate gratitude into our sexual relationship.

1. Practice Thanking God For What Sex Involves.

  • i.e.; a wife could pray explicitly but in all holiness “God, thank you that it feels enticing when my husband caresses my breasts.”
  • Couples can even pray together, thanking God for the pleasure surrounding the act of marital consummation.
  • This simple act of thanksgiving can sanctify an act that all-too-many Christians divorce from their spiritual life with God.
  • God designed sex to feel good, so why not thank Him?

2. Remove The Roadblocks That Hinder You From Seeing Sex As God Designed It.

  • See that Sex in marriage is honorable before God
  • If your history contains sexual abuse, you may need counseling to help gain the proper perspective on sex.
  • Our past can make us feel that sex is evil or at best to be tolerated, when in fact God means it to be exhilarating, passionate and a means of drawing our hearts to each other as well as Him.
  • Scripture in Proverbs 5:19 says our sexual intimacy should be exhilarating and even intoxicating. “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
  • Gratitude to God is essential; otherwise the powerful feelings associated with sex will cause us to focus on ourselves.

3. Deal with the Idolatry Of Sex And Obsessive Guilt Over Sex

  • Cause us to focus on ourselves
  • Gratitude turns our focus to God.
  • We insult God when we do not accept the holiness of sex and pleasure.
  • If the pain of a fast can reveal God to you, why not the pleasure of something God designed for you?

Once we have reevaluated our Theology and our emotional attitudes, we also need to reconsider our expectations-the type of intimacy we are seeking.

C.  A Sacred View Of Your Spouse

I realize to some you will think this concept perverse. But please see it in light of God’s Holy Word.

1. Your Spouse Is Also Your Christian Brother Or Sister In Christ

  • You share an eternal bond that will outlive your bond as husband and wife.
  • Your marriage should transcend mere sexuality by emphasizing your fellowship with God.
  • You are not just sexual partners.
  • The instinctive longing you have for each other becomes a real expression of lives united with God.

2. Sex must not be seen as merely a Physical Experience.

Andy Stanley in his “Twisted Truth” series exposes the lie of Satan that sex is simply an ‘activity’ or an ‘experience’. God designed sex to be the gateway into deep intimacy between husband and wife, intimacy that can include Him as well. When we engage in sex as an activity before marriage and even during marriage, it will destroy your capacity for intimacy with each other.

3. Our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19)

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

  • Husband and wives are joining together with sanctified bodies
  • God is present in our bodies through His Holy Spirit.

4. Your Body Belongs to God.

If we can use the image of our bodies as a Temple of God to abstain from sin, then we can use the same image to be drawn into God’s presence as a husband and wife are drawn into each other.

5. God’s Temple==God’s Presence

  • Not sacrilege to enjoy God’s presence as you enjoy each other sexually!
  • God is present in the temple of your body.
  • His Shekinah Glory is there in your bedroom

Otto Piper: “We have come together in God, called by Him, creating a family, serving Him, and we are now expressing, physically, the spiritual truth that he has created-we are no longer two but one!

6. This Spiritual Component Of Sex Is Key To Deliverance From Sexual Perversions.

  • When sex is reduced to pleasure alone, no wife can possibly meet a husband’s expectation.
  • Pleasure will always be fleeting.
  • Pleasure focus will always want more and different to find satisfaction that is fleeting
  • A Wife cannot be reinventing herself to satisfy the pleasure focus of her husband.
  • Plastic surgery, implants will never be enough.
  • We must find the fulfillment that comes from spiritually meaningful sex, looking for God and spiritual fellowship beneath the pleasure.

7. Every Hunger That Entices Us In The Flesh Is An Exploitation That Can Be Better Met By God.

  • Godly sex is married sex
  • Illicit sex is spiritual junk food, sweet and tasty, but eventually bad for you.

8. Sex Must Be Seen As BOTH A Physical And Spiritual Experience Of Intimacy.

From Gary Thomas: “To embrace fully marital sexuality and all that God designed it for, couples must bring their Christianity into bed and break down the wall between their physical and spiritual intimacy. Sex is about physical touch, to be sure, but it’s about far more than physical touch. It’s about what’s going on inside us. Developing a fulfilling sex life means I concern myself more with bringing generosity and service to bed than with bringing a washboard abdomen. It means I see my wife as a holy temple of God, not just as a tantalizing human body. It even means that sex becomes a form of physical prayer—a picture of a heavenly intimacy that rivals the Shekinah glory of old.

Our God, who is spirit (John 4:24), can be found behind the very physical panting, sweating, and pleasurable entangling of limbs and body parts. He doesn’t turn away. He wants us to run into sex, but to do so with his presence, priorities, and virtues marking our pursuit. If we experience sex in this way, we’ll be transformed in the marriage bed every bit as much as we’re transformed on our knees in prayer.”

IV. Practical Advice to Deal with the Power of Sex

A. Our Sex Drive is a Physiological Drive

  • Not a true physical need like food
  • You can survive life without a single orgasm
  • Predictable, Physical and emotional
  • This physical drive which seems like a need is there by God’s design.
  • Without this physiological drive many couples would slowly drift apart into their independent worlds
  • We are by nature selfish being who hide from each other.
  • Maintaining a steady pursuit toward and empathy for another human being goes against our sinful egocentric bent.
  • Reminder of our need to keep falling toward our wife, and parallels our need to keep falling toward God.

B. Place Your Sex Drive under the Lordship of the Holy Spirit

  • Focus on the spouse we have, and not the spouse we want.

C. Value the Things That God Values

  • Inner adorning
  • Acceptance of the inevitability of change
  • Character of Time

D. Give What You Have

  • We have only one body designed by Creator God
  • Accept imperfections and give yourself wholeheartedly

E.  Accept That Our Bodies Need To Connect

  • God designed us with testosterone and hormones
  • We have physical urges because of our chemical makeup
  • Sometimes you bite your tongue because you need to connect with your spouse

F. Our Need for Sex Can Work to Groom our Character

  • Men learn tenderness and empathy
  • Wives may use physical intimacy to help capture their husbands interests emotionally

G. Our sex drive literally calls us out of ourselves and into another

H. Realize the Need for Passion

  • Nothing brings out passion in a marriage like sex
  • The most distinctive people in the Bible – David, Joseph, Daniel, Abraham, Elijah all had an outspoken passion for God.
  • Their passions connected them to God, helped them to see Him in their life.
  • Just as Passion is healthy when directed toward God, sexual fulfillment in a marriage is a healthy passion,
  • The more passionate we become in one area of our life, the more passionate we tend to be about many other things.
  • A man who is passionate about his wife will be passionate about his children, his work, and his love for God.
  • If a man is frustrated or defeated or facing other sexual problems, there will likely be a cloud over his work, his faith and even his fellowship with his children and friends. Often he will be selfish and self-absorbed
  • You don’t always have to think spiritual thoughts when enjoying sex.
    • At times it will have spiritual overtones
    • Other times it will be purely physical
    • Both are holy within marriage

V. Life is to be a Celebration

God is worthy of Infinite Celebration!

As Jesus Christ entered the City of David, his disciples lined the way and showered him with palm fronds. They were cheering, shouting:  “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9 (ESV)

Luke 19:39-40 (HCSB) Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!”

This phrase “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” is very important, so important as Jesus wept over the City of Jerusalem, and said that he often wanted to gather them to himself as a mother hen gathers her chicks, he said:

For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” Matthew 23:39 (ESV)

Jesus Christ Is In Heaven Looking Down At Your Marriage.

He sees the problems; he sees the rooms of your heart that you have hidden from your spouse. He knows your sexual hang ups. He is saying: just invite me into your marriage, into your bedroom. Don’t see sex as simply an experience of relief or pleasure or conquest or duty or means of control.

Rejoice in His ownership of your body and see Him dwelling in this temple of flesh. Shout out “Blessed is my husband who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is my wife who comes in the name of the Lord” Shout out Hosanna in the Highest!

Instead of lighting scented candles in your bedroom to set the mood, let me encourage you to get some stones and put them on the nightstand, in a frame on the wall. Let them remind you to see sex as a means of shouting out praises to Jesus Christ who lives within you and is present in your bedroom. If you don’t shout out praises, someday God will let you listen in as the Stones cry out to Him!

Let’s bring the Glory of God into our bedrooms!

PowerPoint Slides:

Sacred Marriage Series 5 – Sex and the Shekinah Glory