Community Group Study Notes
- What does it mean to glorify God? What are some tangible and specific ways you can glorify God in your daily life?
- What is one area of your life that you recognize is all about you and not about God? What will you do about it?
- What is one action step you can take in response to what you heard in Sunday’s message?
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1)
If someone were to ask me, like, "What type of music do you sing, Pastor Jerry," I could answer that very simply, not southern gospel. The reason is not because of my taste or distaste for the style of music. It's not that. It's actually because of like, all those complex harmonies, and all that stuff. I would just ... It would be a train wreck if I started singing that. Of course, the true answer to that statement, "What kind of music do you sing," would be, not any very well. That would be the true answer for that statement.
Have you ever noticed how, in some ways, it's easier to answer with what something isn't, rather than what something is, like when you're trying to explain it? It happens all the time. For instance, if my wife asks me, "Hey, what would you like for dinner?" My answer, "Not anything with onions." It's pretty simple, like, everything else is available, but not anything with onions, and that... kind of, I've answered in the negative, but it's made it really clear. Or, moms and dads, when your five year old little girl comes to you and says "Mom, Dad, what does burdensome mean," and you're like, "Well, okay honey, here's what it means. It means not easy," and so you just answer in the negative, right? You tell them what it isn't, and it makes perfect sense.
This would happen to me all the time growing up in Georgia, because in Marietta, Georgia, where I lived, there was this landmark, and it was a Kentucky Fried Chicken. But the thing is, that it was a massive chicken. I'm going to show you a picture of it. That's it right there, so it was 50, 60, almost 60 feet tall. It was massive. Pilots would say that they would look ... like that was a landmark for them as they were flying. No kidding. We called it the big chicken, right? This is newer. This sign right here, this wasn't around when I was young. But what happens with this big chicken is, this eye actually just rolls around in some kind of creepy horror fashion, right? It just starts circling, you know? Then this beak chomps. It's frightening. At night, that is the most frightening thing you've ever seen. You're just like, it's a 60 foot chicken with a crazy eye who is like, "Rahh," you know, doing all that stuff.
But the thing is, is that this became a landmark for directions for everyone. Every direction ever given, pre GPS, right? I'm talking about growing up in the '80s, alright? I'm an '80s kid growing up in the '80s. These are all pre GPS directions. For those of you that are younger, there was a day when your family, your moms and dads had to stop at gas stations and ask people where things were. There was just stuff that we couldn't find on a map. How dangerous were we? We've got maps that are stuck out this size, like, "Hey, where is this at?" "I don't know," and you can't see out of your windshield. It's ridiculous, right? Now, you can ask Siri, or you can just ask your car to do it, or whatever. We had to stop and ask human beings, and in Marietta, Georgia, when you stopped and asked human beings in the pre GPS direction era where something was, it always surrounded something to do with the big chicken, but generally it would be a negative.
Here's what it would go like. Somebody would pull in and say, "Hey! Hey Buddy! Can you tell me where Sprayberry High School is?" They can go, "Yeah, sure. You know where the big chicken is?" They're like, "Yeah, I know where it is." They're like, "Not there." That's how that would go. "Hey man, can you tell me how to get to the White Water Water Park?" "Yeah, sure. You know where the big chicken is?" "Yep." It's not that way." People would be like, "Oh, okay." Then they'd just drive away. That's how we did directions. It was ridiculous. Sometimes it's easier to actually speak in the negative and say what something is not, rather than what it is, right?
I think today, the psalmist that we're looking at in Psalm 115, I'm pretty sure that the writer of the Psalm was from Marietta, Georgia. I kid when I say that. They weren't really. Some of you are going, "Really?" You're taking notes, like, the psalmist was from Marietta, GA. Not real. Here's why, because the psalmist actually begins this Psalm 115, by stating something that is not the case, as opposed to what is the case. Let me show it to you. In Psalm 115, beginning in verse number 1, it says, "Not to us, Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory. Not to us, not to us, but to Your name be the glory." Right away we see that the psalmist is desiring that neither he nor his people, Israel, are taking the glory from God. But this begs the question, doesn't it, what is glory, because that's what we're talking about here in this context. We have to ask the question, what are we talking about, when we talk about this? What actually is being said, when it says, "Not unto us Lord. Not unto us, but to Your name be the glory?"
Now, the idea of glory may be one of the hardest words conceptually to define in all of the scripture. It's used in a number of different ways, but what we don't have is, in the scripture itself, we really don't have a definition of the word glory. What we have is just descriptions of what glory is like. When you have something that is undefined in the text of scripture itself, it makes it a little difficult. Most of the time, the way that this particular word is used, when we talk about glory, it's basically describing all that God is, and all that God does. In other words, God is glorious, and everything God does is glorious, and so anything associated with the nature, character, and essence of God is what's talked about most of the time, when we talk about glory.
But there are other times, like how the psalmist is using this word, when what we're talking about is honor, worship, reverence, that type of thing, right? What we see right away in Psalm 115, at the very beginning, and I know that you're looking at your copy as well. I know that you are. I'm 100%. I know this, that you are looking at your copy of the Word that you brought with you, either that you carried in, it's like a book form like this one, or that you brought in, like on your phone or whatever device that you're using. I know that you're looking at Psalm 115. I know it, and I know you're doing it right now in a hurry because you're afraid that I'm going to look at you, and then it's going to be like, "You're judging me. I've got the whole Bible memorized, Jerry." Okay, I'll cut you some slack.
You need to see it, right. This is God's Word to us. But when we see it, what we see in the very beginning of Psalm 115, is that there is a seed of a conflict, and the conflict is this. It's that the writer of the Psalm is saying, "Not to us, Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory." It's almost as if you see that the Psalm writer understands that there is something, although the Psalm writer wants to give glory to God, there is something that is lurking either inside or around, that potentially could take away from his desire or his willingness to give God all of the glory. It's almost like there's the seed of a conflict right there, but the truth is, that's kind of human experience, isn't it? The way that we would define what it looks like to glorify God, I would just define in the negative, because that's kind of how this starts, right?
Maybe I could say it pretty simply for you like this, "To glorify God means life is not about us. To glorify God means life is not about us." See, just staying within the flow of what this text is teaching us, I think that's something that we can wrap our minds and our hands around. But here's the problem. Let's be honest. Can we just be ruthlessly honest for just a moment here? It's really hard to live that out, to really, honestly say that to glorify God means that life is not about us. It's really hard to live that out, because isn't it true that generally speaking, what we do is we kind of make everything about us? It's just like our default mechanism, isn't it, that we just kind of default into putting ourselves in the center of everything, and making virtually everything about us? That become troublesome for us, because we can't get out of our own way. If we can't get out of our own way in being able to ...
By the way, even in just relationships with other people, even in relationships just with other human beings, right, it could be difficult to where we can't even get out of our own way, but we put ourselves in the center of everything, and so it kind of corrupts and ruins even some of the relationships that we're in. If we can't even do that with flesh and blood people that we see, how can we do that with God? How are we even going to be able to do that? You see, to glorify God means that life is not about us, but we can't sometimes get out of our own way.
You know, you may be like me. I didn't see this, so I can't tell you necessarily. I didn't see it live, but I saw all kinds of stuff coming, kind of online, about people that were enraged about a particular event that happened this past week. It was at the MTV Video Music Awards. There's a reason I didn't watch it, right? I don't even think they make videos anymore. Back when MTV started, they actually made videos. I was like, "Hey, there's music and videos," and now I don't know what they do. But MTV Video Music Awards, and all of these stars were there doing their thing, right, performing or whatever. Well, Madonna apparently ... Pause just for a second. Madonna, for those of you that are younger, she's a lady who sang in the '80s and the '90s. She was like a pop singer back in the day. Some of you are going, "I don't know who Madonna is," you know? Madonna actually got up, and apparently was supposed to pay some form of tribute to the recently passed, legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who has a Buffalo connection, by the way. Apparently she was supposed to do that.
Well, I saw everybody just go crazy online about the fact that Madonna, for six minutes, talked about herself, and Aretha Franklin was a footnote. In six minutes, Madonna talked about her career, and all the things that she had done, and all that stuff with like a shout out to Aretha Franklin. It was almost as if ... I can tell you this, social media was not kind to Madonna, because they basically said, "You can't even get yourself out of the center when you're paying tribute to the Queen of Soul? You can't even? Can this not be about you?" That was kind of what everybody was saying.
Now, I'm not telling you that to drag Madonna. What I'm telling you is this, is that for her, or for any of us, it's very difficult to get ourselves out of the center. It's very difficult for us to live our lives in such a way that we actually think outside of ourselves, instead of just about ourselves. You see, here's what we are in our brokenness. In our state of kind of being apart from Jesus Christ, let me tell you what we are. We're glory stealers. We're thieves. It's what we do. We want to steal the glory from others. We want to steal the glory from God. It's what happens to us when we are walking apart from Jesus Christ. We become kind of stealers of glory.
In fact, when Paul was writing about the things that Jesus has done, and his death and his resurrection, the apostle Paul actually assumed that, that's the kind of person that we are, because we steal glory and we live for ourselves. Listen to what Paul said in 2 Corinthians, chapter 5. He says, "And Jesus died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them, and was raised again." You see, Paul's assumption here is that before we really came into a transformative relationship with Jesus, what we did is, we lived for ourselves. That's who we were. We were glory stealers. We're all about ourselves, putting ourselves at the center, and not giving glory to God. But he said, "Because of Jesus' death, and his resurrection, we should no longer live for ourselves, but live for the one who died and rose again for us.
You see, this is kind of the assumption, and I want to make sure you understand something when we talk about this concept of glory. God takes His glory very seriously. Very seriously. You say, "Well, I'm not sure exactly what you're saying when you say that." God takes His glory seriously, not because God is egomaniacal. "Everyone worship me, because I just need all of your affirmation." It's not that, because God is infinitely great, and infinitely good, so God is not egomaniacal when it comes to this. The reason that God desires for all of the world to glorify Him, and to worship Him is because he is infinitely good, and he's infinitely great, and the only way that your soul will ever find satisfaction is not going to be in glorifying yourself, but it is going to be in glorifying the One who is infinitely good, and who is infinitely great, because His life now will course through your life, and you'll understand the life that is truly life.
This isn't about ego at all. This is about God thinking about our best interest, and the best interest of the world. They are wrapped up in Him, because He's the maker of it all, and He's infinitely good, and He's infinitely great. God takes His glory very seriously. In fact, if you could interview ... you can't, because it was a long time ago, like 2,000 years ago, and they're dead. But if you could interview Herod Agrippa, he would tell you very quickly that God is serious about His glory. In fact, notice what we see recorded in Acts chapter 12. It says, "On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robe, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, 'This is the voice of a god, not of a man,' and immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down and he was eaten by worms and died." God was serious about His glory.
Herod knew better, by the way. He knew better. In fact, Herod probably forgot. He should have remembered. As he's leading the Jewish population, he should have remembered what some of the Jewish prophets, like Isaiah, had said, or that God had said through Isaiah. In fact, two places I'll show you. Isaiah 42, God says, "I am the Lord. That is my name. I will not yield My glory to another or My praise to idols." Then in a few chapters further in chapter 48, God says, "For my own namesake I delay My wrath. For the sake of My praise, I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely. See, I have refined you, though not as silver. I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake. For My own sake I do this. How I can let Myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another."
You see, God is serious about His glory, and Herod could give evidence of that, because when they shout, "This is the voice of a god, not a man," Herod, instead of deflecting that glory and praise, saying, "I'm not a god. Worship the only true God," he received it, and God dealt with him. But you could contrast that real quickly with Paul and Barnabas, because Paul and Barnabas, in their ministry, were faced with something just like Herod was. In fact, notice what it says in Acts chapter 14.
It says, "In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul, as Paul was speaking, and Paul looked directly at him, and saw that he had faith to be healed, and he called out to this man, 'Stand up on your feet,' and at that the man jumped up and began to walk. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, 'The gods have come down to us in human form.' Barnabas they called Zeus and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates, because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas. But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of this, they tore their clothes, and they rushed into the crowd, shouting, 'Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God who made the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and everything in them.'"
Do you see the difference there, that they said, "No, no, no, no. We're not going to steal the glory of God. We are going to give glory where glory is due, and honor God." You see, it's foolish for us not to make much of God. That's what the psalmist is saying, "Not to us Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be glory. Let us make much of Your name." Not our name, But Your name, be the one that is glorified." You see, the psalmist then begins to unpack, in verse after verse, why it's foolish for us to magnify our own names, and our own selves, and to put ourselves at the center, rather than putting God in His place of glory in our own hearts. It's foolish not to do it. Why is it foolish? I'll give you five quick reasons.
Here's the first reason, because God is loving and faithful. You see, this is what the psalmist reminds us of in verse number 1. Look at what it says again, "Not to us, Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness." You see, ladies and gentlemen, God, listen to this, sometimes we are worshiping things and stealing the glory from the one who is the source of what we have not made bigger than Him. For instance, love. Sometimes we have created idols in our own lives that are greater than our commitment and glorifying of God, and we've done that, because, you know what, we get googly eyed over somebody. Now they become kind of an idol to us. They become our God. "It's love, man. This is the best thing, and I ..." You know, it's almost like a form of worship.
Now, I'm not saying love's a bad thing. Love's a great thing, but do you know where love comes from? God! The Bible says God is love. The very nature and essence of God is that he is love. There is ... Listen to this. There is no definition of love outside of God. It doesn't exist. You see, God is the initiator of love. God is the giver of love. God is the source of love. God is the demonstration of sacrificial love, and God is the only one who's truly faithful. It's fair to talk about people who've been faithful, like Pastor Rich and Sue. They've been faithful. They've been faithful to serve our church, and all of those kinds of things.
There's other people that we know in life who've been faithful to us, who have been a faithful friend, they've been a faithful family member, whatever, right? We've got those things, and I think it's fair to talk about that, but listen carefully, none of those people can be perfectly faithful. That's impossible. They've been as faithful as they can be, but they haven't been perfectly faithful. But God is. "Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you." Always there. Always there. He is always faithful. You see, one of the reasons why it's foolish for us to make so much of ourselves, is because we are not the source of love, and we could never be perfectly faithful. Only God can. That's why He deserves the glory. That's why He deserves to be made much of.
There's a second reason. I told you I'd tell you this quick. It's because God is sovereign. That means, if you're going, "I don't really know what that means," it means that God is in control, that God is over everything, that nothing surprises God, right? In fact, that's what the writer of the Psalm says in verse number 2 and 3. Notice what it says, "Why do the nations say, 'Where is their God? Our God is in heaven. He does whatever pleases Him." That's a statement of sovereignty. "He does whatever pleases Him." You see, I don't know exactly what the cause for the writing of this Psalm was. Some have kind of thought that maybe it was during kind of the exile, when they came out of Babylonian captivity, and you had a number of the nations who were kind of yelling, and making idols, and saying to Israel, "Where's your God?"
Of course, we're going to see in just a moment, that there are idols that are referenced here. Think about it this way. Whatever the setting was for Israel, it was a time where they were being mocked, because they didn't have a visible God. They didn't have a visible God. All the nations around them, they had stuff, right? Cows, sun and stars, that they worshiped, and they made images of right? All of those bulls that they made images of. There were a number of things that they had made of silver, and gold, and wood, and all those kinds of things. The nations had all kinds of idols, and they would mock Israel, "Where is your God? Where is your God?"
Just as a pause right here, just a reminder to all of us. If you have to be faced with the choice of a visible or a Biblical God, always choose the Biblical God, because at the end of the day, listen to this, God is sovereign. He is over all things. That's why when they're yelling, "Where is your God," the answer of the psalmist is, "He is in heaven, and He does whatever pleases Him." If that means His people need to be in captivity for a season, so that they learn a lesson, so that it will ultimately bring Him more glory, and will teach the nations of the world who's God is really God, then so be it, because God is sovereign.
Let me give you a third reason, because God is living. This is another reason why it would be silly for us to put ourselves at the center, but instead that we ought to be making much of God, because God is living. Here's why, because any idol that we make, is not. Listen to what the psalmist says, beginning in verse number 4. He says, "But their idols are silver and gold made by human hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but they cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell. They have hands, but they cannot feel. They have feet, but they cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them."
You see, ladies and gentlemen, what we're reminded here is this, is that all of these idols that we give ourselves to from time to time in our life, they're dead. They can't see. they can't live. they can't touch. they can't feel. they can't speak. they can't move. They can't smell. All of those things, right? They're dead. But God, in fact, is not, and that's why this is an interesting contrast that's made here, because God speaks. God sees. God hears. God smells. God feels. God moves. God is, because God is living.
You see, this is what makes it so senseless for us when we give ourselves to things that are dead, money and possessions, and success, and all these things that actually maybe look tangible. You know, "Look at my cars. Look at my house. Look at my bank account. Look at all of these kinds of things," and we've given ourselves over to those things, but they're dead. They can't speak. They can't move. They can't feel. They can't do any of those things. Why would we give ourselves over to such dead things, when we have a living God who speaks, who sees, who smells, who moves, who touches? Why?
See, I want to remind you of something. There are times in our lives where sometimes we feel like our relationship with God, we feel dead inside. I'm not suggesting this happens every time, but you know why sometimes we feel dead inside, because we've given ourselves over to dead things. That's why, because dead things have begun to take over in our lives, and the reason we feel dead inside is because of the deadness of the things that we're allowing to be God other than the living God.
Let me give you another one, because God's our protector. This is another reason why we ought to make much of Him, because He's our protector. Listen to what he says, beginning in verse number 9, "All you Israelites, trust in the Lord. He is their help and shield. House of Aaron, trust in the Lord. He is their help and shield. You who fear Him, trust in the Lord. He is their help and shield." There's a threefold reminder here, talking, not only to Israel as a whole, but also to kind of the Levitical line, the line of Aaron, and then to those who really fear the Lord. He's basically saying to each of them, God's our protector. He's our help and shield. I know that all of these places around us, these idol worshiping factories that we have, you know, around us in Israel, I know that they're all screaming out, like, "Where's your God," and they're worshiping their idols that they can see, that they've made with their own hands. But I want you to understand something. God is your protector. He's your strength and your shield. He's going to fight your battles for you.
Hey, here's what you need to understand. When you find your trust in God, there are some that trust in horses, and some that trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God, because God fights our battles for us. Our Father is handling our business on our behalf. We have a responsibility to trust Him, and to serve Him, and to glorify Him, and as we do that, God is actually fighting our battles on our behalf. He's our protector, but you know what He also is? He's our provider. That's what it says right there at the very end of this passage of scripture. It says in verse number 12, these words, "The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless His people, Israel. He will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless those who fear the Lord, small and great alike. May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."
You know what the psalmist is reminding us of? That a reason to glorify God is because everything we have has come from His hand. If that's the life that we live, in the place that we live it, it's because that God made it, and He has given us life to be able to live in it. If it's the families that we have, and the children that are offspring, it's because God has graciously blessed us in that regard, and that everything that we have has come from His hand. God is our provider, and thus, should be glorified. Here's why. Listen carefully, because you and I, when we put ourselves at the center, we are really bad gods, because we can't provide for everyone in the world. Have you ever tried that? It's hard enough to provide for your own family. Provide for the world. You can't. I can't. We horrible gods. Why would we want to put ourselves at the center, to be glory stealers from a God who is making provision for everyone, everywhere, and, by the way, trying to teach His people, who have abundance, to share with those who are in need.
This is what God has called us to, and so, what the psalmist does, after kind of giving us these reasons for why we ought to glorify God instead of glorifying ourselves, he tries to finish the Psalm on the same note that he started the Psalm. He launched out by saying, "Not to us. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory." What he does in the last few verses is simply praise God. Here's what he says in verse 16, "The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to mankind. It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence. It is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise be Lord." He's just trying to fulfill his opening statement.
You see, folks, sometimes life comes down to really simple choices, and the way that this Psalm has framed those choices for us, it's really simple. Here it is. Listen carefully. Not us, or not God. There's your choice. Not us, or not God. To choose, not us, is to choose to glorify God. To choose, not God, is to choose to glorify ourselves. This is the choice that is laid out for us in this text. Not us, or not God. The Psalmist tells us how foolish of us it is to choose not God, because God is the one alone that should be glorified. You see, to glorify God means that life is not about us, and the sooner we get ourselves out of the center, the better it is in our relationship with God, and our relationship with other people.
There's a probably a number of you in our congregation here on this campus and on other campuses, who have, in times past, you've got kids that are old enough that you've sent them off to college. Some of you have done that. There's others of you who, maybe you're younger parents, and you've got kids, and you've seen some of your older friends who've shipped them off this past week, and you've thought about what that looks like for you, potentially one day maybe. Then there's others of us who, just this week, sent our kids away, right? We launched them out, some of them for the very first time. Edie and I are one of those couples. We have shipped both of our boys off. They are six hours away in the state of Ohio, and we dropped them off. But we learned a lot of lessons in the process, and hopefully you have as well.
One of the things that God was teaching me I began to talk about, and Edie said, "You know what? That's exactly what God is teaching me as well." It really is a good day for your marriage when God is kind of showing you both at the same time, some of the same things. That's a good day, because you can talk about them, and you can go, "You know what? That's true of us." Here's what we learned. We learned that this whole event of sending our sons to college ... I mean, my oldest guy, he hasn't lived with us for three years, you know? Just for the summers, but he's lived out of the house for three years. But then you send your last one out, and it feels a little different, right, and so, they're both gone.
But here's what Edie and I discovered, that this is not actually about us. It's actually about them. It's about what God wants to do with them, and in them, and how God is going to now begin to cast the die of His own life in their life, and what that's going to look like going forward. That this isn't actually about us. It affects us, but it's not about us. It's actually about them. God, in His grace, was able to kind of speak to us, and remind us of what our natural proclivity is, and that is to put ourselves at the center. That's my natural bent. That's your natural bent. It's what we do kind of in our brokenness. We put ourselves at the center, and of course, when you look on social media, and you see all of the pictures and stories of all the people that are being sent off to college, if you calculate, maybe 60 plus percent of those, you would get the impression that it's about the parents, rather than it being about the kids, right? What am I going to do? This is all about me? What am I ...
Well, people asked us, "Are you sad," you know, because some of you have had different ... Maybe it's not sending them off to college. Maybe it's a different thing in your life, and "Are you sad?" Well, it's emotional. I wouldn't call it singularly sad. It's emotional. It's a page turning in a chapter of life, right? But listen, God created all things to mature. This is what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to grow. We're supposed to mature. We're supposed to develop, so young mom's, who've got 12 years old, and you're like, "I just wish they could go back to being babies. They're growing up too fast," listen carefully. No you don't. No you don't, and I'll tell you why, because at that point, that's you putting yourself back at the center, and you saying to God, "You shouldn't mature them," as if you don't want for them, what God has allowed for you.
Next time, young mom, that you're think in those terms, see about saying, "I'm going to figure out what it looks like to take myself out of the center, and learn what it means to say, "This isn't actually about me. This is not actually about me. This is about God's purposes in them." It helps us when that's the case, and I consider it a grace by God to even speak to Edie and I along those lines. But this lesson that I learned, it was a lesson that I learned from Jesus, and Psalm 115. Now, what I haven't told you so far is that Jesus and Psalm 115 go together. You're like, "What?" Yes. I haven't told you that yet, but I'm telling you now, that Jesus and Psalm 115 go together, and let me explain why.
The Psalm 115 is a part of a compendium of psalms from Psalm 113 to Psalm 118, that are called the Hallel. Now, in Hebrew, that simply talks about praise or worship, so these are the praise psalms from Psalm 113 to Psalm 118, the Hallel. What ancient Jewish people used to do with the Hallel, is every time, after the conclusion of the Passover meal, they would sing together the songbook, the Hallel, and they would praise the Lord. Now why this has something to do with Jesus is because Jesus also observed the Passover, and you probably remember when he observed the Passover with his disciples for the very last time. If you happen to be reading the one gospel where it is mentioned without moving past it you would have picked something up in Mark's gospel, chapter 14, "After the dinner, when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives."
Now, some of you have read that before, and you've said to yourself, "I wonder what they were singing. Were they singing Great is Thy Faithfulness, or were they singing Shout to the Lord, or what were they singing? None of those were written at that time. They were singing ... Most scholars believe they were singing the Hallel. This is what the Jews did, and so from Psalm 113, Psalm 114, and can you hear on the lips of Jesus, when he is about to face what he is about to face in the next few hours, can you hear from the lips of Jesus, "Not to us, Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory?" From the lips of the Savior.
You see, Jesus was going to model for us what beautiful, perfect, humanity in submission to the glory of the Father actually looked like. Jesus was going to demonstrate that. In fact, when they finished the meal, and they sang the songs, John kind of tells us that Jesus continued to pray. It's that high priestly prayer that he was praying on behalf of his disciples, and on those who would believe one day. When we step into his prayer in John 17, listen to his words, "Father I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do." What was on his mind? The glory of the Father. Then when he finished that time in the upper room, and they made their way ultimately to the Garden of Gethsemane, at the Mount of Olives, when Jesus is there after having just sung, "Not to us, Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory," There in the Garden, you find him praying this prayer, "Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me. Yet, not my will, but Yours be done."
After praying, after singing, "Not unto us, Lord. Not unto us," now he prays, "Not my will but Yours be done." This is the beautiful reflection of humanity fully surrendered to the glory of who God is. To glorify God means that life is not all about us. It is about the glory of the One who made us. Now, in Jesus' case, we know that the glory is about him, because he is God the Son, fully God, and fully man at exactly the same time, but his perspective as a human being in his full humanity was to yield himself, and surrender himself to the glory of the Father, and the good for those of whom he would die. Of course, we see that when he's on the cross, right, because while he's on the cross, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit, and when he had said this, he breathed his last." "Into your hands, Father I commit my Spirit."
You see, what Jesus did is, he showed us what it looked like as human beings to glorify the Father, and to seek the good of those that He loved. His trust in the Father was complete, and his trust was vindicated, by the way, because as he committed his Spirit into the hands of the Father, he died, but he did not stay dead, because he was risen from the dead, he ultimately ascended back to the Father, is seated at the right hand of glory, and will return in majestic glory. His trust was vindicated, and so will yours. Yours will be as well. Mine will be as well.
When we choose ... Listen to this. When we choose, not us, that trust that we have in the Father will be vindicated, because God will come through. He always, always does. But we've got to choose, not us, or not God. Those are our options, and I can't think of a better way maybe to tangibly represent that than to share the Lord's supper together as we finish this series, so that we can, listen to this, tangibly be reminded with the bread and the wine, that this is not about us. This is about the glory of the Father, who so loved the world, that He sent His Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish, but would have everlasting life.
Here at this campus, and on all of our campuses, our ushers are gathering the elements to prepare for the Lord's Supper. As they do, they're going to gather those, and then they're going to come into the isles, and take their spots. They're going to serve those to you in just a moment. When they do, I'm going to ask you to take those elements and I want you to, you can maybe peel them back to be ready for that, but I want you to wait, because we're all going to receive those elements together. Once they're all ready on this campus and on all of our campuses, once you're ready, gentlemen, you can all get in place here, and at Lockport, and at Cheektowaga. You can all get in place, and as soon as you're in place, you can start the distribution of the elements.
What I want you to do is to take them, and to be reminded as you're holding onto them, that this isn't about us. What you're going to see on the screens, is you're going to see verse 1 of Psalm 115. I want you just to take a few moments and meditate on that verse, "Not to us, Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory." As the elements are being passed out, reflect on that verse, hold on to them, and once everybody has gotten the elements, I will come back and lead us all in taking those together.
Hopefully in our time together we have been making much of God and what He has done for us in the person of Jesus. Paul records these words. He says, "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'" If you'll peel back the cup as well. Scripture says, "In the same way, after supper, Jesus took the cup saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me, for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.'"
Now, as we've tangibly reminded ourselves that it's not about us, I want us to do what Jesus and the disciples did. After they finished the meal, they sung songs of praise, and I want us to sing a song of praise to the name that is above every name, because this is not about us. This is about God, and there is no other name under heaven by which human beings can be saved, except the name of Jesus. Just remain standing. I just want to remind you, maybe you came in here and this whole thing's new to you. Church, God, exploring faith, it's brand new to you.
The good news that you've heard today is this. It's that you've got a faithful living, loving, sovereign God who has shown His love to all of us who have sinned, who've come short of the glory of God, and that's me, and you, and everyone in the world. We've all fallen into sin, and as a result, the wages of sin, the Bible says is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord so that if we would put our trust in what God has done for the world, in what Jesus has done, because Jesus stood in our place, taking upon himself our sin to satisfy the justice of a holy God who must judge sin. But he did it in our stead, because he was the perfect sacrifice, and he did it willingly, so that if we put our faith in him, that now we can be forgiven by his grace through our faith. We can be forgiven and changed. All of our sin gone, and our lives now lived forevermore in him, to His glory, both now and forevermore.
If you've never come to a place where you've found your life in Jesus, that you found your hope and salvation in Jesus, then when we dismiss in just a moment, I surely hope that you'll come to a place that we've set aside just for you. We call it the Fireside Room. It's clearly marked in the atrium. Whether you're in this room or the east worship center, just come straight across there, and there's some pastors and some prayer partners in there who would love to take just a few moments of your time, to tell you about the most important thing that will ever happen in your life. That is choosing to trust Jesus, and having life made new.
Father, I pray for those who are in that place, that You would give them the courage to follow You, to walk with You, to listen to Your prodding in their hearts to receive Jesus, to surrender their lives, to step off of the throne room of their own hearts and allow Jesus to take his rightful place. For those of us who are Your own, who are people who've been transformed by You, I pray that what we would say in our hearts, and mean it with all of our hearts is, not to us, Lord. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory. May whenever we are faced with the choice of not us, or not God, we would always choose not us, because in You, God, we have everything. We find our true selves in You. Would You help us to walk in that truth for Your glory in Jesus name? Amen.