[Some may maintain that what Linda Eure did on August 16 and 23, 1998, does not constitute "preaching." The facts are these: Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church had scheduled public worship for that hour; during the service, Miss Eure brought two messages; those messages entailed the exposition of Scripture and exhortation; and those were the only messages during those services of public worship. Excerpts from her messages are printed below. Those who wish to experience the full flavor of these messages may listen to them by clicking the date of the sermon; or may order the tapes from Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church (telephone 423-693-9331).-Ed.]
August 16, 1998
What I'm going to do this evening is to take one verse, II Corinthians 3:18, and refer a bit then to Mark 9, which seems to be a passage I cannot leave, to talk to you about the glory of God, using five "D's". The first D being that of Defining the glory of God; the second D, the Displaying of the glory of God; the third D, the Desperation that we need for the glory of God; then, the Dedication that it takes to know the glory of God; and finally, Declaring the glory of God. And I want to start with a verse that seems to be the Women's Ministry verse, II Corinthians 3:18-"But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of God, are being transformed into that same image, just as from the Lord the Spirit." And I want to take this verse for just a minute. "For we all": that includes people in the Congo. That includes people in Kenya. . . . That includes friends in Russia tonight. "For we all, beholding as in a mirror." As we look in a mirror, we see ourselves very clearly, don't we? And as we look into the mirror, are we really declaring the glory of God? "With unveiled faces." There's no veil over the face. We see Him clearly. When Moses said, "Show me the glory," we have it so much better than Moses. We see Him, we need Him, we know Him, He's here, He's real, He's vital, He's among us tonight! "Are being transformed." And for an English teacher like me, it means a lot to me to know that that is in the present passive participle. That means that we are being transformed. We are being transformed, as we behold His glory. Because it's in worshipping Him that we are changed. . . . "From glory to glory": that's the process of it all. "Just as from the Lord the Spirit."
The Definition of glory. . . . I want to declare to you tonight the glory of God in what I believe is the most simple definition that we can know. The summation of all of who God is. All of His attributes. A God who's loving. A God who died for us. And I think that the very epitome of the picture of the glory of God is what we see on the cross. When we see a Savior dying. And we see such glory displayed on the cross, we see a thief turning to Him and saying, "I want to be like that. I want to repudiate all my old stuff. I want to leave everything I've known before. And I want to be like that!" Because of glory-the splendor of the radiance of the manifestation of the glory of God!
. . . The summation of all of His qualities. The summation of all of His character. The one who, when He came on earth, said, "Get away from me, dignataries! But suffer the little children to come unto me!" The one who reached down and touched the ostracized leper, and healed so much more than her physical problems. The God of the universe, the God who put all the stars into space!! And I often think, if we could only see the stars one night a year, we'd gather all of our chairs together and we'd all worship! This is the great God we serve. . . .
And then I want to look at the Display of the glory of God. And I want to say very dogmatically that there has never been a time in the history of the world when there's not been an instrument to declare the glory of God. Creation-the heavens are declaring the glory of God! When Moses saw the burning bush, He saw God on fire! We see the tabernacle, and the glory of God within the tabernacle! You know, the tabernacle was just an old tent, until God moved in. And can you imagine as people saw that tabernacle, and the radiance that must have gone out from that tabernacle? And then God filled the temple, and the glory of God came. . . . And then we see the glory of God coming when Jesus came. . . .
It's interesting as John [Wood] preaches about the church on Sunday mornings, it ties in with what I feel my heart should express tonight. The church, the corporate body of believers, declaring the glory of God. You and me, the one, the vehicle through whom the radiance of the splendor of the glory of God can be declared. God's glory-God living in me-God's glory radiating out from me.
And then we know in . . . Revelation 21:23, And the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of the Lord has illumined it, and the lamp is the Lamb. So one day, there'll be no need for a sun or a moon, because the glory of God will burn radiantly.
. . . You know, [at] the consummation of the ages, . . . all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. . . .
I want to hang my hat right here, and I want to talk just a moment about our being the radiance of the splendor of the glory of God. Have you ever wrestled with what it means to be made into the image of God? To be like Him? . . . [Man] is made in the likeness of God, to declare His glory. We have been created by God to give a valid expression of who God is. God would not lie. God would not hate. God would not lust. God would not covet. God would not treat people unkindly. God would not be a respecter of persons. God would not do any of these things. Men and women, all of us who are created to display the splendor of the glory of God, are we telling lies about God? Is it the life, the truth, of Jesus Christ, being displayed in us? You know, the enemy has us all entrapped. The enemy says, I tell you how you can be like God. It's sort of like John's message this morning: "MONEY!" "SEX!" "POWER!" "All these things-they'll make you God-like!" And that is just a trap. The Son of Man was one who came and turned society and all that we think as human beings completely upside down. He was the one who came and washed feet. . . . The glory that is displayed by Him comes out of total submission and total brokenness and total dependency upon the Father. Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."
Why did Jesus Christ come? He came to make us the people He intended us to be. . . .
[When people couldn't meet my needs], I had to go to the God of the universe, and I said, Meet my needs! Meet my needs! Come, Lord, meet my needs! Come meet me where I am! And He pressed me into a oneness with Him, so that His glory could in little places give me a little compassion so that somehow I could display and help a broken world who wants to know of a loving God! And if you're in a hard place tonight, and it seems overwhelming, . . . Don't you know that nothing touches you unless it's been filtered through His fingers of love? And don't you know tonight that He's conforming you into His image? Don't you know that He's going to make you into His image, and He's going to make you one through whom the splendor of the radiance of the manifestation of the glory of God can be displayed? Call on Him!
If I were in Pakistan tonight, and I were to see a little fourteen year old Pakistanian woman give to her baby brother a canned smile, or a little toy to play with, or just a sweetness, because she knows Jesus Christ, I could know from this little fourteen year old girl the glory of God is being displayed! Because all over the world, the glory of God is being displayed! Because believers say, Jesus Christ lives in me. . . .
A third D is Desperation, and I've already alluded to it. But I want to allude to it just a bit more as we look at the world. . . . We're in a hard place, men and women, in our society and in our whole world. . . . We're in a world without a lot of absolute truths. . . . [With Modernism,] we've built in a sense the Tower of Babel. "PROGRESS!!" "HUMANISM!! 'Let's make a name for ourselves.'" . . . In Post-Modernism, in an age where there are no absolutes, we don't understand each other. We're babbling. . . . The whole world is screaming, Show us! Show us some truth! We need some answers. . . .
[Miss Eure then read from Mark 9 and the account there of the Transfiguration.] . . . You know why the church in America cannot do more than it's doing? It's because we haven't climbed the Rock of Ages! It's because we haven't been on the mountain and seen Jesus transformed! . . . Have you beheld Him? As they came down from the mountain, here was a desperate parent-"Help my child!" How many desperate parents do you know? But they [the disciples] could not do a thing. They could not, and they should not, because they had not. . . climbed the mountain and had not seen Jesus transfigured.
. . . I propose tonight, with all of my heart, for all of us in this room, we need to more climb the Rock of Ages. We need to climb that Rock and see Jesus only. . . .
You know why I think we don't do that? . . . I don't think we know how desperate we really are. . . .
Until we as a church in America come to a place where we say, I'm fallible; I'm broken; I'm bankrupt; I'm desperate, then the Crucified One can't live through us. . . . I believe that before the church in America is going to display the glory of God, we're going to have to come to a place of brokenness. Because we don't know how desperate we are. . . .
The next D is Dedication. . . . A soul that reflects the glory of God is a surrendered soul. . . . We should be one walking worship service. We should bring every thought, every feeling, every act, into His presence. We should behold Him. That is what it means to reflect His image.
Declaration-are we declaring the [glory] of God? What about how you treat the gas station attendants? What about how you treat your mother, your father, the waitress, the cashier in the grocery line? Are you declaring the glory of God? . . .
I ask you tonight, Does He [Christ] live in you? Are you beholding Him? And I'll get very practical. Are you getting up in the morning, are you spending time with Him? Are you spending time with Him throughout the day? Are you memorizing His word? Are you concentrating on Him so much that you can hear the sound of sandaled feet-that you can almost hear the rustle of His garment? Do you know Him like that? In order to reflect His glory, you've got to be like the moon is with the sun, on the brightest night that the Carolina moon ever has shown. You've got to be in total relationship with Him. And then the radiance of the splendor of the glory of the manifestation of the beauty of our fairest Lord Jesus can come and live through you.
I have this little prism. . . . As we relate to Him [the Son of God], . . . then we'll reflect the radiance of the splendor of the manifestation of the glory of God, reigning through us!!
We've been created by God to be a valid expression of who He is. Are you telling lies about God? Are you letting Him live His life through you? Are you spending time with Him? "LOVE" is spelled "T-I-M-E." Are you concentrating on Him, moment by moment? I believe that that's the life that He can use to change a broken world. . . .
So my charge to each of us tonight is to go out of this sanctuary on our knees, for America. Tomorrow's an important day for America.* And I challenge every one of you tonight to fall on your knees for our nation. And I challenge you to fall on your knees for Nairobi, for the Congo, for Debbie, for others who go out from this church, who are going all over the world, reflecting the glory of God.
. . . May we go out and reflect the glory of God. Thank you.
[*The next day, August 17, 1998, was the date when President Clinton testified before the federal grand jury.-Ed.]
August 23, 1998
. . . When Columbus discovered America in 1492, something sort of got kicked off-the age of Modernity, the modern times. There was no more Author. There was the Humanist Manifesto. . . .
The Post-Modern is all about truth that we create. . . . I want us to pick up tonight on the Grand Story. . . .
I think about being in New York City a few years ago, and seeing Charles Atlas in front of the General Electric building, with the world on his shoulder, all bent over, like he was groaning. And I walked across the street, and I looked behind the St. Patrick's Cathedral, behind the altar, and I saw a little boy Jesus standing there, the world in his hands. [Miss Eure then quoted from Isaiah 9:6.] . . . Like we heard this morning, this is a Grand Story! There's no particular place, there's no particular people, there's no particular ethnic group, there's no particular theology on stuff that there's so much question about like eschatology. There is the story of Jesus Christ-God come on earth. . . .
We're so much caught into my little story. The shattered church-one church saying this, one church saying that-all the confusion. And John 17 says "that they may be one."
I said last week that you and I are the radiance of the beauty of the manifestation of the splendor of the wonder of God in us! He lives in us! Through the Grand Story in all the ages there's always been an instrument to show the glory of God. . . . When God moves [into us], the Grand Story continues, and His splendor is proclaimed. . . .
You know, the enemy has the whole world on a self-improvement course. . . . As we beheld His glory, . . . we are being transformed from glory to glory. . . .
[Miss Eure then referred to Jacob wrestling with the Lord.] The Lord said: Jacob, Tell me, who are you? It sounded like Ken Starr talking to Clinton. Tell me who are you! Tell me about what's going on! . . . God would not let [Jacob] go. . . .
Has God been hounding you? Has the hound of heaven been after you? Have you had an encounter with God? He wants to make you part of a Grand Story. He wants to change you from a person that you don't want to be, to a person who will radiate the splendor of the majesty of the wonder of the glory of God! That is what He's about in your life and my life!
. . . I ask us, why do we worship anything less than God? . . .
I ask us all tonight, men and women, are we into a little personal peace and affluence? . . .
I would like to close tonight by reading this poem that I believe God gave me. . . . The title of the poem is, "Sir, We Would See Jesus." . . . "God is in charge, so why the confusion? If we think that He isn't, we live in illusion. He calls us to brokenness in a culture of pride, where the rules of relating require that we hide. When we bury our feelings, we bury them alive, and resolve that performance is the way to survive. Information more than wisdom in the goal that we desire, charisma more than character is the trait we admire. What's happened in our churches? What's happened in our land? Where celebrity and power become the demand. Where consumption and pleasure are the gods of the day. Where the smallest church gatherings are the times when we pray. Our Lord must be weeping, as He looks at our chains. Have we missed true abundance of a life where He reigns? Has a lie been our master? Have our homes paid a toll? Have we turned into slaves as we pushed for control? We act cold toward others, and partake of communion. Is the body of Christ in need of re-union? Each one has agendas, and it seems very odd to esteem man's opinions and ignore those of God. Saul feared the people and heeded their voice; Pilate pleased the people and made the wrong choice. Peter feared the people and denied the worthy Lamb. Do you fear the people, but not the great 'I AM'? God looks at the heart, God cares for the poor. The respecting of a person is a sin to abhor. Yet we cower to power, we fear what they'll do, so our nation's own government has become quite a zoo. On my face before God, on my feet before man, as we follow this truth we'll bring strength to our land. As we humble ourselves at the foot of the cross, as we will in our spirit to count ALL things but loss! For the sake of deep intimacy with the dear Lord of life, He'll replenish our souls, He brings peace to our strife. He walked on the water, raised folks from the dead; gave health to the leper; five thousand were fed. Gave sight to the blind, great calm to the sea; and He still transforms minds of bad sinners like me!! A thief on the cross, one on whom people spat, looked on Jesus that day and said, Make me like that! Through an humble request he was filled with God's glory; it was carved in love, and took part in the Story. The Story that puts the whole earth on its face. The Story of freedom-the Story of grace! The Story the world needs-the story of man. A Story that dates back before time began. God's story of redemption, God's story of joy. God's story of history, of His own baby boy. Who lay in a manger, Who conquered the liar; Who offers us life on a plane so much higher than this world has to offer with its glitter and deceit, with its work at improvement, but its utter defeat. With its push for the temporal, while its pockets get fatter. There's a people out there, and they really do matter. To the God of the universe, the Lamb that was slain; a grave could not keep Him-there He could not remain. He arose from the dead on that first Easter morn; death had been conquered, a victory born! We celebrate Jesus, we worship the King. Hosanna, all honor to Him we now bring. May we tell the Great Story to a world bound by fear. May we tell the Great Story to lands both far and near. He's alive! The tomb is empty! He's coming back. The victory's won! Lord, make me like You! I want to hear those words-Well done!"
Let's pray. O Father, capture us by Your glory. May we take glimpses of Your glory and never be able to turn away. May we behold You like we've never beheld You before. Catch us up in that Grand Story, while the tumultuous world rots and shoves and pushes and seems sometimes to be falling apart. Lord, let us see Your story. Let us see Jesus-"Sir, we would see Jesus." It's in His mighty name that we pray. Amen.