Reflecting the Glory of Christ

Living in the Light  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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2 Corinthians 3:17–18 (ESV)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
To understand what Paul is saying here we need to back up just a bit.
Throughout chapter three Paul is contrasting the old covenant (found in the OT law) with the new covenant we have in Jesus.
In the chapter, Paul contrasts the OT Law which is:
rules and performance-based
dependent on my effort
only serves to point out how inadequate / sinful I am / condemnation
How many of you this describes your Christian experience?
Feeling inadequate? Can’t be good enough? If I could just read the Bible more, pray more, give more, then I will be able to experience God more.
Feels like God is demanding things of you that are so restrictive?
You’re not seeing any benefits to this Christian life?
Sadly, I think i may have described many people’s experience with Christianity. A Christian experience that is based more on the religious rules than the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV)
[God} who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Paul contrasts this with the New Covenant in Christ which, by the Holy Spirit:
based on God’s grace
enabled by the Holy Spirit’s work in my life
displays God’s glory in my life and through my life
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Religion is based on rules but the Spirit brings freedom. (17)

- How?
Spirit-filled brings a realization that I don’t follow Christ by following rules to be good that restrict who I really am. Instead, I allow the Spirit to make me good and following Christ becomes an outworking of who I really am - how God made me and how I will be most fulfilled.
I now rely on HIS power. We think releasing control will bring anxiety, when in fact, releasing control to the One who has always had control brings a child-like freedom.
ILLUST - What did you really need to worry about as a child? (Some more than others). For the most part, we were free as children as we expected the grown-ups in our lives to care for us.
What if you didn’t need to worry about whether or not you are going to be the best mom or dad for your children, rather you relied on the Holy Spirit to continue to conform you to the image of Christ?
What if you didn’t need to figure out every next step with your wife, your husband, or whatever might happen at work?
Remember where the Israelites were when Moses visited the mountain.

God’s presence is available to all people. (18a)

One way Paul talks about how the New Covenant is greater than the Old is through referencing the story of Moses meeting with God and experiencing God’s presence.
Exodus 34:29–35 (ESV)
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35 the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
What was that like to see Moses’s face glowing?
Can you imagine if we had someone come here to preach and their face was glowing?
ILLUST - glow in the dark - reflects the light but fades
How much time do you spend simply before the face of God?
If you were Moses, how much would you glow?
The people were afraid and Moses put a veil over his face - 1. to not scare them, 2. So they wouldn’t see the gradual fade of a reflection of God’s glory that wouldn’t last.
Only Moses. Only on the mountain.
But now Paul points out that through the Spirit,
“We all”
With unveiled face can behold the glory of God.
Instead of running to be in God’s presence and leave again to have it fade, believers have the incredible privilege to experience the presence of God ALL THE TIME.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the presence of God with us.
It is no longer at the Temple - curtain is torn - it is now with the people of God
ILLUST - headlamp - always with me - cause to glow - different levels based on power used.
How badly do you want the presence of God?
Exodus 33:16–18 (ESV)
16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
How does it happen?
2 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV)
16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
Sometimes I think, “How amazing to see the mountain of God and see Moses with a glowing face.” Paul says that in reality, Moses would be jealous of us - the presence of God ALL THE TIME?!

You become what you behold. (18b)

(Thanks to David Platt)
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your god.”
— Martin Luther
“Behold” can also be translated as “reflect.”
If you’re life were a mirror, what would it reflect?
It would reflect whatever it is aimed at.
You don’t become like Jesus by beholding 17hrs of Netflix, staring at your phone, etc.
You reflect / become like Jesus by looking at Jesus.
As we behold God’s glory we become glorious.
are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV)
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
As the Holy Spirit works in us we ARE BEING transformed (metamorphosis) into the image of Jesus (we’ll look and act more like him) and this happens progressively - one degree of glory to another.
As we reflect God’s glory more and more the more we become glorious ourselves.
It’s all about God’s glory.
The world tells you to find your own glory - be your own light.
If you attempt to shine your own glory you will eventually burn out - or you may pop a bulb. Because when things get tough, they break the light. No more light.
ILLUST - When light bulb breaks - no more light.
Because you were made in the image of God, you are made to reflect God’s image - That’s how you’re made. This is sanctification
Christ is the light. We reflect His glory, and when we do, we are transformed to look like him — but only if we are aimed at Him.
Stop trying to reflect another image the world is giving you - aim at Jesus.
Aim your job at him
Aim your marriage at him
Aim your parenting at him
Aim the way you handle your finances at him
Aim your spare time at him
Aim your best time at him
Aim at Jesus and you’ll reflect glory - try to shine yourself and you’ll burn out.
In the Old Covenant people gathered near the Temple in order to come to one place to see the glory of God, but in the New Covenant, Jesus is sending us out to reflect God’s glory all over the world.

Ministry is a mirror reflecting God’s glory. (4:1)

2 Corinthians 4:1 (ESV)
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.
This is ministry. Being aimed at God reflecting the light of God’s glory to others as we walk with them toward a Jesus-first life.
You see, it’s not a “work harder to be more like Jesus” — It’s an “aim yourself toward him and let the Holy Spirit help you reflect him more clearly”
This is why Paul says:
2 Corinthians 4:7–9 (ESV)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
It’s not us - It’s not you - you are not good enough - that’s the point. When you give your not good enough to Christ - he makes you glorious as you reflect what he is doing through you.
8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
ILLUST -(broken mirror) sometimes even as we reflect Christ we fail to do so perfectly. The sin in our lives or the sin - being afflicted as Paul says - may bring persecution, confusion, pain. But, even in our brokenness, if we turn and behold Christ, we will find that not only will we still reflect his glory, but he may use the cracks of our lives to reflect his glory in new places.
If you will take you places of brokenness, aim them to Christ, he will use it to reflect his glory and cause you to reflect his image.
It is time to remove the veil and behold the glory of Christ.
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