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What the Bible says about Glorifying God by Our Example
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 4:6-8

National Israel was to set a godly example, by which it would teach the nations the value of God's way of life. This was a basic role of ancient Israel, and indeed remains a key job of the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16). Members of today's true church bear the responsibility to be exemplars, as the apostle Peter asserts in I Peter 2. Peter, echoing Paul's comments in Philippians 3:20 that we have our citizenship in heaven, not in this world, reminds God's people that they are pilgrims in this world. As real as our alien status is, however, it does not abrogate our responsibility to walk morally before the peoples of this world.

Charles Whitaker (1944-2021)
Today's Christianity (Part One): Christianity Goes Global

Matthew 5:14-16

In the Parable of the Light recorded in Matthew 5:14-16 (found also in Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16-17; 11:33-36), Jesus Christ uses two figures of speech to express the responsibility of true Christians to influence the world: "a city . . . on a hill" and "a lamp . . . on a lampstand."

Many Judean cities were founded on the summits or sides of mountains, and travelers could see them from afar. Perhaps Jesus pointed to such a city, telling His disciples that they were like it. The city built on an important location can be seen by many eyes over a wide area, representing a disciple's far-ranging and widespread exposure to others.

Jesus' illustration of a shining lamp illuminating the home suggests a disciple's more intimate influence. By design, a Christian's actions cannot be hidden from the eyes of either our families or the world at large. This being the case, he must live a righteous, holy, humble, and pure life, letting his "light so shine before men [and thus] . . . glorify your Father in heaven."

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Light

Matthew 13:44

A common interpretation of the Parable of the Hidden Treasure holds that the treasure is the church, hidden by God in the world. That interpretation contains a significant difficulty, though: Jesus nowhere teaches that the church of God should be hidden. Rather, in the Sermon on the Mount, He tells His disciples that they “are the light of the world.” He says, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). He follows this with a second illustration, teaching that the purpose of a lamp is to give illumination, and that a hidden lamp is useless. His conclusion is, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Considering the spectacular founding of the church in Acts 2, it is hard to imagine that the extraordinary events of that day would not have spread like wildfire among untold numbers of people. In Acts 17:6, the people in Thessalonica, some 1,000 miles from Jerusalem, say that the apostles had “turned the world upside down.” News of God's power through His servants had spread far and wide; the church was not hidden. As Paul told Festus and Agrippa, “This thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).

Paul writes in Colossians 1:23 that the gospel had been “preached to every creature under heaven.” While he employs a measure of hyperbole, the fact remains that Jesus did not hide the church once He founded it. The church in Colossae suffered persecution because its members kept the Sabbath and holy days joyfully, which their ascetic neighbors looked down upon.

Wherever Christ's followers emulate Him, they will not be hidden. He told the disciples they would be hated by all for His name's sake (Matthew 10:22; 24:9), showing that the world would be aware of His followers. He also warned them, “The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2), speaking of a time when church members are the focus of attention. On a positive note, He also said that their love for each other would cause all people to know that they were His disciples (John 13:35). Finally, if the church is the agent of preaching the gospel in all the world (Matthew 24:14), then it will not be hidden at the end either.

Jesus did not intend the true church to be a large institution, wielding temporal power, so it is not always visible in profane history books. Certainly, the church is not visible to every last person. Yet, wherever God's true people live, they will make a visible witness of God's way of life to their neighbors because the Spirit of our Father generates that witness. But if the assembly of called-out ones is hidden rather than shining as light, it is because it looks too much like the world. Such a state would bring no joy to Jesus Christ.

David C. Grabbe
God's Kingdom in the Parables (Part Three)

Mark 7:15

Evil proceeds from within to without but so does good. Just as sin proceeds from within, so does righteousness. In Psalm 51:10, David pleads with God to create a clean heart within him because he understands that from a clean heart proceed clean thoughts and thus clean conduct that will glorify God. God promises exactly this in Ezekiel 36:25-26.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Five)

Luke 16:1-13

Our bodies belong to God, but He has bestowed their care on us as a stewardship responsibility to glorify God in our body as well as our spirit. In the parable, Jesus mentions "unrighteous mammon" (verses 9, 11), which He also terms "what is least" (verse 10) and "what is another man's" (verse 12). Each term is synonymous with the other two.

Jesus does not say to ignore these. He simply points out that they are secondary to the "true riches" (verse 11), "what is your own" (verse 12), and "[what] is much" (verse 10). Similarly, each of these is synonymous with the other two. He points to a direct connection between the two levels of responsibility by saying, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much" (verse 10). Care of our body falls within the parameters of unrighteous mammon, what is least and what is another man's.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part One)

John 17:4

He says He had glorified the Father. Since the Son has returned to the Father in heaven, and the church is formed and joined to the Son as one organism, the church now has the responsibility to glorify the Father. How? By becoming one with Him just as the Son was—by the power of God's Spirit given to us.

Christ glorified the Father by successfully completing the work the Father gave Him to do. He qualified to be our Savior, Redeemer, and High Priest, and along the way, He preached the gospel to others. Our responsibility is to yield to Him, allowing Him to form us into His image by growing, overcoming, producing fruit, and carrying out the works of the church as He assigns them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
All in All

Ephesians 6:4

The English word "nurture" (KJV) or "training" (NKJV) indicates caring for and providing supportive instruction. The underlying Greek word more specifically involves educational feeding or instruction, as if in school or for the purpose of learning a discipline. The word thus covers verbal instruction, chastening, and the use of drills needed to produce Christian character. It does not at all indicate that any of these approaches is even harsh, let alone cruel. However, it suggests that parents follow an organized and consistent plan.

The term "admonition" or "instruction" (NIV) means a warning, drawing specific attention to verbal instruction. In summary, Paul touches on three areas vital to child-training so that children keep the fifth commandment properly. "Of the Lord" touches on the standard or quality one is to strive for. "Nurture" indicates what is physically done to and with the child in terms of consistent, regimented training, including discipline. "Admonition" draws attention to what is said and how it is said to the child.

Taken together, then, Paul clearly teaches that child-training is something that can neither be left to chance nor sloughed off with a careless, resigned attitude, as if it were merely a necessary evil. The parents' vision must be long-range. From parents applying right principles consistently will come the gradual development of understanding and wisdom in the children. These are precursors that help produce the promised long life and prosperity in the Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3).

In I Thessalonians 2:7-8, Paul uses himself and his relationship with the Thessalonian congregation as an example:

But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

He says he treated them with the tender affection of a nursing mother, striving hard so that no one could honestly charge him with taking anything from them. They personally witnessed how gently and consistently he dealt with them as a father does his children by appealing and encouraging them to live their lives to glorify God in their conduct.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment

2 Timothy 2:1-5

Does that not picture someone who is striving to finish at the top, striving to win, to be the best that he possibly can? He does not desire to be just an "also ran," one of the pack, but to be somebody whom God looks upon as worth watching.

We have to put this in relation to what God wants us to be. Does He not want us to glorify Him by being as much like Him and Jesus Christ as possible? That is what real mastery is! Within the context, mastery is to be like Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Twenty-Two)


 




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