Four steps to Glory…

Suffer Glory

Sunday 04/16/23

Message: Four steps to Glory…

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Four steps to Glory…

Before Palm Sunday we were in Romans 8 and had left off with, “(16)  The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,  (17)  and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

We recognized that the suffering we were called to endure is to die to the demands of our lower interests. 

Galatians 5 affirms that our flesh exercises strong desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh which hinders our progress in conforming to Jesus

So a death to our lower life has to be accomplished and maintained – THAT is suffering.

Peter puts it this way, Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, equip yourselves also with the same resolve, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”

There will be a day when our earthly affiliations will be gone and all people will be of equal value. When that happens we will look back on our family relations and friendships and societal demands and expectations in comparison to our God and Father and we wonder how they wielded such a powerful influence over us. 

Both want to conform you to their wills and ways. 

Romans 12 tells us to not allow the world to press us into its mold. 

Paul knew this well and said this in response, 

Php. 3:8-11,

“(8) More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ  (9)  and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ–the righteousness from God based on faith.  (10)  My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  (11)  assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.”

To know Jesus intimately in the power of His resurrection is to know Him in the power of a new and changed life! In a life where we have been conformed to the image of Jesus in us! Only it’s not from pressure like the world, but by the gentle influences of the Holy Spirit Whom we have received from God. 

Backing up a few verses let’s continue our trek into Romans 8… 

Romans 8:14-39, HCSB

“(14) All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.  (15)  For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by Whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”  

(16)  The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,  (17)  and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

We’ve covered this MANY times, but for the sake of  being thorough and for those who may be listening for the first time, it is important to establish this doctrine of suffering preceding and leading to glory before we go further.

Consider what Paul just said, “…if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”

This passage alone makes the case for suffering preceding glory… and our glory according to scripture is to bear the image of Jesus as Colossians tells us

Col. 1:27, HCSB

“God wanted to make known to those among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

You need to be aware in your reading and studying of the New Testament that ANY passage which speaks of suffering, of our great hope or of the glory to be revealed in us are all aiming at one goal, one final reality and that is Christ being formed in us!

So let’s look at a few more passages just to make our case firm.

Romans 5:1-4, HCSB 

“(1) Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (2)  Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  (3)  And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,  (4)  endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.”

So we begin in hope and end in hope. It is an ever escalating spiral towards the full and complete image of Christ in us – just as 2Cor. Chapters 3 & 4 say…

2Cor. 3:18, HCSB 

“We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord Who is the Spirit.”

2Cor. 4:5-18, HCSB 

“(5) For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus.  

(6)  For God, Who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”–He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.  

(7)  Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.  

(8)  We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair;  (9)  we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.  

(10)  We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  

(11)  For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh.  

(12)  So death works in us, but life in you.  

(13)  And since we have the same spirit of faith in accordance with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak,  (14)  knowing that the One Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and present us with you.  

(15)  For all this is because of you, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to overflow to God’s glory.  

(16)  Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewedday by day.  

(17)  For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.  

(18)  So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Hebrews 2:5-18, HCSB

“(5) For He has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about.  (6)  But one has somewhere testified: What is man, that You remember him, or the son of man, that You care for him? 

(7)  You made Him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honor (8)  and subjected everything under his feet. 

For in subjecting everything to Him, He left nothing not subject to Him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to Him.  (9)  But we do see Jesus–made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone–crowned with glory and honor BECAUSE of the suffering of death.  (10)  For it was fitting, in bringing many sons to glory, that He, for Whom and through Whom all things exist, should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  

(11)  For the One Who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers,  (12)  saying: I will proclaim Your name to My brothers; I will sing hymns to You in the congregation. 

(13)  Again, I will trust in Him. And again, Here I am with the children God gave Me. 

(14)  Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil–  (15)  and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.  

(16)  For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring.  (17)  Therefore He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  (18)  For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.”

1Peter 5:6-11, HCSB 

“(6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time,  (7)  casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you.  

(8)  Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.  

(9)  Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferingsare being experienced by your brothers in the world.  

(10)  Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.  (11)  To Him be the dominion forever. Amen.”

Rev. 21:9-11, HCSB

“(9) Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  (10)  He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,  (11)  ARRAYED WITH GOD’S GLORY. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal.”

Why will we be clothed in God’s glory? Because we endured and overcame.

It is even stated from the negative in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 8…

“(16)  The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,  (17)  and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

(18)  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.  

(19)  For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed.  (20)  For the creation was subjected to futility–not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it–in the hope  (21)  that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children.  

(22)  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.  (23)  And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits–we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  

(24)  Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  (25)  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.  

(26)  In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.  (27)  And He Who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  

(28)  We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.  

(29)  For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.  

(30)  And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.  

(31)  What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  (32)  He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?  (33)  Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One Who justifies.  (34)  who is the one who condemns? 

Christ Jesus is the One Who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.  

(35)  Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  (36)  As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 

(37)  No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.  

(38)  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  (39)  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

If you remember, much earlier in this chapter we were told that those who walk according to the flesh do so because they have SET their minds on the things of the flesh. The result of that kind of life is an inability to please God and death.

The clear admonition being to set our minds on the things of the Spirit and live. 

Well Colossians 3 says something very similar and directly connects our knowledge epignosis of God with being changed into His image.

Col. 3:1-10, HCSB

“(1) So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.  (2)  Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.  (3)  For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.”

This is a very curious wording. The word hidden clearly invites us to seek for something. That something is LIFE… the result of Knowing epignosis Him and that LIFE is hidden with Christ In God. 

Like 2Cor. 4:6 says, 

“For it is the God Who commanded light to shine out of darkness, Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

So taken together God Has shone and Will shine that knowledge of His Glory found in Jesus to us, but only as an echoed response to our seeking and pursuing the relational, experiential knowing of Him.

The Father has bid us come, but we Must come.

“(4)  When the Messiah, Who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”  

Our glorification is Bound to Him. We cannot and will not be glorified apart from intimate union with the Lord of our salvation and that intimacy come from knowing Him and that knowing of Him comes from the Father shining that knowledge in our hearts and that command to shine given from the Father comes as a result of our seeking and pursuing what we have come to deeply value more than anything else in this life – knowing Jesus!

Jesus said it this way,

“The Holy Spirit will take of what is Mine and reveal it to you. Everything I have is from the Father, THAT Is Why I SAID, He will take of what is Mine and reveal it to you!”

Now…as for our being revealed with Him in glory. Have you ever heard the expression that some people are… “So heavenly minded that they are no earthly good?” Well, this is one place where that may very well apply.

You see, those who are SO preoccupied with HEAVEN, often read into passages something far more mundane than what it was really saying and that happens with this last verse.

Our appearing with Jesus IN Glory is NOT talking about appearing with Him in heaven. It is talking about with Him in the same state of glory as He possess. We will share in His glory.

I love that both Gill and Guzik see this and so I will share their insights into this verse with you.

Gill says, 

“the dead bodies of the saints will then be raised and united to their souls, which Jesus will bring with Him, when He appears; and living saints shall be changed, and be caught up together with the raised ones, into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so they all shall be with Him together, WHEREVER He is, whether in the air, or on earth, or in heaven, and while He is in either; and shall be for ever with Him, enjoy communion with Him, be made like unto Him, and behold His glory: yea, they shall “appear in glory” too; with a glory on their bodies, which will be raised in glory like unto the glorious body of Christ; and on their souls, being in perfect holiness, having on the wedding garment, or robe of Christ’s righteousness, being clothed upon with their house from heaven, and appearing in the shining robes of immortality, incorruption, and glory; having the glory of God upon them in soul and body, and such a glory revealed in them, as the sufferings of this present life, and all the enjoyments of it, are not to be compared with. All which furnish out strong arguments and reasons, enforcing the above exhortations to seek for, and set the affections on things in heaven, and not on earth.” 

And Guzik says, 

“The promise of the return of Jesus is not only that we will see His glory, but so that we also will appear with Him in glory. This is the revealing of the sons of God mentioned in Rom. 8:19

In another place, Paul wrote for me to live is Christ (Phil. 1:21). Here he shows that this idea was not just for special apostles, but for all believers – Christ Who is our life. Sometimes we say, “Music is his life” or “Sports are his life” or “He lives for his work.” Of the Christian it should be said, JesusChrist is his life.”

On that day, all will see the saints of God for what they really are, not as they merely appear to this world. “Paul, the prisoner, an eccentric Jew to the Romans and a worse-than-Gentile traitor to the Jews, will be seen as Paul the apostle, the servant of the King. The Colossians, insignificant ex-pagans from a third-rate country town, will be seen in a glory which, if it were now to appear, one might be tempted to worship.” (N.T. Wright)”

Which reminds me of another quote from  C. S. Lewis who wrote in his book entitled, The Weight of Glory,   

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. . . . There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

Colossians 3…

“(4)  When the Messiah, Who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”  (5)  Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.  (6)  Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient,  (7)  and you once walked in these things when you were living in them.  (8)  But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.  (9)  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices  (10)  and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.” 


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!