How Will You Respond to the Riches of God's Glory?

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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1. We can see the riches of God's glory... [1] in His love (vs. 1-5). [2] in His knowledge (vs. 3-4; 11-14). [3] in His mission (7-15). 2. How should we respond to the riches of God's glory? [1] By believing in Jesus Christ (vs. 14-15). [2] By staying close to our Savior (vs. 16).

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How Will You Respond to the Riches of God's Glory?

The Gospel of John

John 11:1-16

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - April 5, 2017

(Revised November 24, 2019)


*Please open your Bibles to John 11 as we continue to study one of the Lord's great miracles. It's Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Our main focus tonight is the Lord's supreme goal for this miracle, and that is the glory of God.

*In vs. 3-4, the sisters sent to Jesus, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.'' And when Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.''

*God's Word speaks of His glory around 300 times, about half in the Old Testament and half in the New. The first time we see God's glory is in Exodus, the second book if the Bible, and the last time we see His glory is in Revelation 21:23, where the new city of Jerusalem was described. There the Bible tells us that "the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light."

*God's Word speaks of His glory almost from cover to cover. One of our favorite examples was at the birth of Christ. Just after Jesus was born, Luke 2:8-14 says:

8. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

10. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

11. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.''

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!''

*"The glory of the Lord shone around them," but what is God's glory? The Old Testament word picture for "glory" is a weight -- something heavy. And God's glory is heavy indeed. It's something we should never take lightly. That's especially true since God's glory is the standard of perfection by which He measures us. We know this is true because Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned and fall short of the GLORY OF GOD."

*But what is the glory of God? John Piper tells us that "glory is a very hard thing to define. It is like the word "beauty." We all can use it and communicate with it but to try to reduce it to words is very frustrating. It is easier to point to examples."

*A beautiful sunset seen from the tallest building in Monroe, that's a taste of nature's glory. A hole-in-one, pitching a no-hitter, a grand-slam home run, LSU winning the National Football Championship, and the Saints winning the Super Bowl, these are all examples of athletic glory.

*And John Piper said that God's glory "is the beauty and excellence of His manifold perfections. It refers to His infinite and overflowing fullness of all that is good. God's glory is the perfect harmony of all His attributes in one infinitely beautiful and personal being." (1)

*Church, we also need to get a sense of the mind-boggling, overpowering awesomeness of the glory of God. In Exodus 24, Moses went up on Mount Sinai to meet with God for 40 days and 40 nights. And in vs. 16-17, God's Word says:

16. Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

17. The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a raging, consuming, devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.

*Thinking about these verses and the overwhelming power of God's glory, Robert Crilley said: "Speaking with the Almighty is one thing. Actually seeing His face is quite another. -- Like trying to drink from Niagara Falls, the unveiled glory of God would simply overwhelm us." (2)

*Think of Peter, James and John trembling on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured before them and His face shined like the sun. Speaking of Jesus, in John 1:14, the Apostle would later write: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Think of the Apostle Paul, struck to the ground and blinded by the glory of the Risen Savior. Paul would later testify, "Since I could not see for the GLORY of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus." (Acts 22:11)

*We also need to know that God's glory is tremendously important to Him. He has great passion for His glory. God's main motivation as He acts in the universe is His own glory. He is driven to protect and proclaim His glory. For example, in Isaiah 48:9-12, the LORD spoke to His people and said:

9. "For My name's sake I will defer My anger, and for My praise I will restrain it from you, so that I do not cut you off.

10. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

11. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.

12. Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last."


*God's main motive as He acts in the universe is His own glory, and that is totally proper because He deserves all the glory. That's why in vs. 4 Jesus said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.'' Romans 9:23 also tells us that God wanted to "make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory." Tonight in vs. 1-16, we will explore the riches of God's glory and how we should respond.



*One of the most wonderful things about God is that He loves us! God doesn't love us because we deserve it. He loves us because in 1 John 4:8 and 16 He is love! "God is love," and there is no doubt that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. We can see His love in vs. 1-5:

1. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

2. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

3. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.''

4. When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.''

5. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

*God's Word goes out of the way to confirm the love that Jesus had for these people. They were very close friends. Verse 2 mentions one of what must have been many times Jesus visited in their home. In vs. 3, the sisters sent a message to Jesus saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.'' The original word for "love" in this verse is "phileo." That's talking about the affectionate, personal love of a friend. And here is an amazing thing: The God of the whole universe wants to be our friend! In John 15:13, we will even hear Jesus say, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

*Next here in vs. 5 God's Word plainly says, "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus." This original word for "love" is "agapao," and it's talking about "agape" love, the highest kind of love, the kind of love that God has for us. These two words for "love" are found over 250 times in the New Testament!

*God has shown His agape love to us in countless ways, but the best place we can ever see the love of God is on the cross of Jesus Christ. Think about all that Jesus suffered on the cross for us.

*During an Upward halftime devotion, I asked the kids if they had ever stepped on a nail. Of course some of them had, and I'm sure some of you have too. The last time I ever stepped on a nail was way back in the mid-90's. We were doing some repair work on the little youth building at Emmanuel. I went back there after church one night to make sure everything was turned off. It was dark, and somebody had left a 2x4 on the ground with a big nail sticking up. That nail went through my shoe and into my foot. When I picked my foot up, the board came with it, so I had to pull it off.

*That nail really hurt, but later it led me to think, "If that little nail I stepped on hurt so much, how much more must Jesus have suffered when He died on the cross? -- Infinitely more! But much worse than the physical suffering was the spiritual and emotional suffering Jesus went through when He took all of the guilt and shame for our sins.

*I told those kids and parents how Jesus suffered and died for us. Then I read them some words about the Lord that were written 700 years before Jesus was born. Isaiah 53:5-6 says, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

*Jesus Christ gave His life so that we could live forever! This is the love that God has for us.


*We get a glimpse of the Lord's unlimited knowledge in vs. 3-4,

3. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.''

4. When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.''

*Jesus knew. He knew all about His sick friend Lazarus before the messenger arrived with the news. Jesus also knew that Lazarus was going to die, and that He was going to bring His friend back to life. God's Word confirms this truth for us down in vs. 11-14, where Jesus said:

11. . . "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.''

12. Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.''

13. However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

14. Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead."

*The disciples misunderstood, and there are many things that we don't understand. But Jesus knows. Jesus has supreme knowledge, because He is the eternal Son of God.

*Remember that there is a paradox between the Lord's humanity and divinity. When Christ humbled Himself to be born as a little baby, He had to learn the same kind of things we learned. Jesus had to be potty trained. He had to learn how to walk and talk and read. He was fully man. But at the same time, Jesus was fully God, as He always has been and always will be.

*Yes, Jesus became a man, but He never stopped being God! So when it came to the things of God, the Lord always had unlimited understanding! Jesus never had to learn the things of God, because He always knew them to the fullest.

*That's why even as a 12-year-old boy, Jesus astounded the Old Testament scholars in the Temple at Jerusalem. Luke 2:41-47 tells this part of the story:

41. His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

42. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

43. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;

44. but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

45. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

46. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

47. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

*Jesus knew the Scripture so well, because He was there in Heaven, with God the Father and the Holy Spirit when the Scriptures were first given to man. The Lord knows! He even knew the end from the beginning. That's why in Isaiah 46:9-10 the Lord said, "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.'"


*During the Lord's three years here on earth, He was on the most important mission the world will ever see. And in vs. 7-10, we can see Christ's passion for His mission:

7. Then after this He (Jesus) said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again.''

8. The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?''

9. Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

10. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.''

*While Jesus was on earth, His mind was ever on His mission. This is another important lesson from the 12-year-old Lord's visit to the Temple. Remember that Joseph and Mary had been frantically searching for Jesus for three days. Luke 2:48-49 tells what happened when they found Him.

48. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.''

49. And He said to them, "Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?''

*This was the Lord's passion for His mission, but what was the purpose? God's Word tells us here in vs. 11-15:

11. These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.''

12. Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.''

13. However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

14. Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead.

15. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.''

*Jesus went back to Judea to bring Lazarus back to physical life. But the Lord's ultimate purpose was to die on the cross for our sins and rise again from the dead so that we could live forever in Heaven with Him. That's why Jesus was on the most important mission the world will ever see. And we can see the riches of God's glory in the Lord's love, His knowledge, and His mission.



*Again in vs. 14-15, Jesus plainly told His disciples, "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE. Nevertheless let us go to him.''

*Notice that Jesus was actually happy that He wasn't in Bethany when Lazarus died, and why was the Lord happy? -- Because it is so crucial for us to believe in Him. That's why Jesus waited to go, and that's why Jesus eventually went, so that people would believe in Him. John's Gospel especially stresses the importance of us believing in Jesus. The original word is found 135 times in the Gospels, and 100 of those times are in the Gospel of John!

*We must BELIEVE in the Lord. Jesus wants us to believe in Him because it is the only way for us to be saved. We must believe what Jesus says about our sins and about Himself. We must believe that God the Father sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, into the world to die on the cross for our sins. We must believe that Jesus also rose again from the dead. We must believe enough receive Him as our Lord and Savior.

*How should we respond to the riches of God's glory? We must believe in Jesus Christ.


*This is God's message for us from Thomas in vs. 16. There he "said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with Him.'''

*Several commentators I highly respect are critical of Thomas in this verse. That's understandable, because after all, he is known as "Doubting Thomas." We see that part of the story over in John 20. It happened after Jesus rose again from the dead. The Lord appeared to the other ten Apostles, but Thomas was not there when Jesus came. Thomas didn't believe at first, but before the story was over, Thomas worshiped Jesus, and declared Him to be "My Lord and my God!''

*In fairness to Thomas, he was one of the original 12 Apostles, and none of them fully understood God's plan at first. But here in vs. 16, Thomas was fully committed to follow the Lord all the way to death. And again, he said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him.''

*For a whole year, Jesus had been telling these men that He was going to die on the cross and rise again, but they just didn't get it. Matthew 16 is one of the places where God's Word explains these things to us. There Matthew began with Peter's great declaration of faith in Jesus, and the Lord's promise of eternal victory for His church. Please listen to Matthew 16:13-20:

13. When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?''

14. So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.''

15. He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?''

16. And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.''

17. Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

18. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

19. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.''

*Then in vs. 21-23, God's Word took an unexpected turn:

21. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!''

23. But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.''

*None of the disciples got it at first. Mark 9:31-32 tells us that Jesus "taught His disciples and said to them, 'The Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.' But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him."

*None of the disciples understood Jesus' plan. But here, much closer to the cross, Thomas said, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him.'' And I believe Thomas was thinking about something else Jesus said on the day He strongly rebuked Peter. Starting in Matthew 16:24:

24. Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

25. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

26. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

27. For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

28. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.''


*For 2,000 years now, Thomas has already been receiving the eternal rewards the Lord has for all who follow Him. May God help us to stay close to our Savior wherever He leads us to go. When you are grieving, when you are confused, when you are afraid, when you are blessed, when you are burdened, whatever comes your way, stay close to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

*One day, we will be richly rewarded. And just like Lazarus came forth from the grave, we will see great things come forth in our lives and in our church, all for the glory of God. Glory to God in the highest!

(1) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "God Created Us for His Glory" by John Piper - Isaiah 43:1-7 - July 27, 1980

(2) sermon "Veiled Glimpses of God's Glory" by Robert S. Crilley - Exodus 33:12-23

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