Let God Be Magnified
by Dr. Tom Malone, Sr. (1915-2007)
(Faithful Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pontiac, Michigan)
"Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified." —Psalms 70:4
Four words in this verse seem to reach out and lay hold on my mind: "Let God be magnified."
It should be the purpose of every Bible-believing church to magnify Jesus Christ. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Eph. 3:21). I will go a little further and say that magnifying Christ ought to be the purpose of every born-again person who feels that, by the washing of the blood of Jesus and the work of the Spirit of God, he has been made a vital part of the body of Christ. The purpose and desire of every Christian institution should be "Let God be magnified."
I found five things in the Bible about magnifying God. I am taking them in the order in which they appear in the Bible.
I. God Is Magnified When His Faithful Servants Are Magnified
Never have I been more surprised than when I read this truth in the Bible.
I discourage people from coming to me and saying, "That was a good sermon," because of so many frightening things in the Bible about flattery.
A fellow who came to this church years ago, came to me and with his two big hands, clasped mine and said, "Preacher, I have heard the best preachers in America. But that is the best sermon I have ever heard!"
About the next Sunday he came back and said, "You did it again!" The third time he came to this poor preacher and said, "Home run in the ninth inning won the game! You did it again!"
I said to my wife, "I am going to watch that fellow. A guy who will flatter you that much—something else is coming." Sure enough! It wasn’t long before it came.
Yet there is a Bible truth that the Lord’s people need to hear and see.
God is saying a strange thing to Joshua in Joshua 3:7: "This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel." God is not saying, "I am going to exalt you above the Lord Jesus"—He knew Joshua was a man whom He sometimes had to rebuke—but, "This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel." Then God clearly says why: "…that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee."
An old-fashioned Missionary Baptist preacher quoted Romans 11:13 when he preached on "I Magnify Mine Office." In that great sermon he told how a preacher ought to magnify the office of a preacher and of leadership. "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office."
God is magnified not when perfect servants, but when faithful servants, upon whose lives the hand of God has been and through whose humble but faithful ministry hundreds and thousands of people have been saved, magnify this Word of God. The office is to be magnified.
God says, ‘I will magnify My servants so that they will know that as I was with Moses, so will I magnify My own faithful servants.’
In Acts 5:13 is this strange but wonderful verse: "And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them."
Here are these apostles, Peter especially. Everyone knows about Simon Peter, the one the Lord had to rebuke more than any other. But Peter, in chapter 5, is the prominent servant, prophet and preacher! Here you read of the first time God had to discipline people within the church. It is a strange thing. People are coming, and God is blessing in wonderful ways. The folks are giving so that the needs of the work of God can be met, the missionary journeys can start, and the Gospel can be sent to the ends of the earth.
Then here come two people, no doubt in many ways good people, Ananias and Sapphira. Sapphira means "beautiful." A man and his attractive wife came to this early church and made a LARGE offering to God, in a time when the needs were great. These two came and said, ‘We want to give a great contribution to the work of God. We have sold our farm and are giving all we have to the work of God.’ Perhaps they gave a larger gift than anyone else. Ananias had come to church before Sapphira.
Then we hear Simon Peter saying, ‘You have lied to the Holy Ghost.’ Suddenly Ananias was stricken to the earth, and he died. They picked him up and carried him out.
Soon his wife came. Simon Peter asked, ‘Did you sell the farm for so much? Did you give all that you received for the farm?’
She answered Peter, ‘Yea, for so much.’ (No Bible principle says, "Sell your farm and give it all to God." But they came boasting of something they had not done. They claimed a spirituality which they did not possess.)
Peter said to her, "How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?"
In a moment, down went Sapphira. They bound her up and buried her beside her husband.
What is this saying? That God knew what others did not know. Human beings did not know these two had feigned a spirituality which they did not possess. But God knew.
I often heard dear old Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., say so many things that I could not at the time understand: "You can’t put a 50-year-old head on a 25-year-old body." Some things all of us learn only as we travel the road of life and go by the little open graves and the surgical rooms, things we learn in the midnight hour with a broken heart. Some things we learn after God has placed our souls on the anvil of human suffering and hammered them until His sweet will is accomplished.
I used to hear Dr. Bob make this statement: "The greatest sin in all this world is the sin of over-piety." As a young preacher I thought, How can the sin of overpiety (that is, professing a spirituality you don’t have) be worse than the sin of murder or thievery or adultery or other sins?
I can now tell you why. Before Satan was ever cast out of Heaven, he lifted his voice and said, ‘I will be like the most high God. I will lift myself up among the congregation of the Lord. I will imitate God. I will pretend a spirituality that I do not have.’
Overpiety is the most wicked sin, the most dangerous sin, the most subtle sin, because it is the nearest to the real thing, yet a false thing.
In the midst of it all, God and the people magnified the servants of the Lord.
My dear friends, God is magnified when His faithful servants are honored, loved and prayed for.
A very good friend of mine in the ministry, Dr. John R. Rice, had been invited, by vote of a church, to hold a meeting. Dr. Rice had taken his stand on some issues, and some folks didn’t like it. (That will always be true when you stand for something.) A man in this church in Jacksonville, Florida, who had read some of his writings which condemned some things which he was doing, didn’t want Dr. Rice to come, and said so. "I will see that he never comes to this church."
The church and the pastor said, "We have voted for him to come, and he is going to come."
The opposer said, "Only over my dead body will he ever preach in this church."
Within ten minutes of the time the wheels of the airplane in which Dr. Rice was riding hit the ground, that man died, and his funeral was held during the week of that revival meeting!
The Bible teaches that God is magnified when faithful, scriptural, honorable ministry is magnified. "I magnify mine office."
II. God Is Magnified When His Word Is Exalted
Psalm 138:2 says, "…for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name"—magnified the Word of God.
That is the calling of every preacher, the divine principle, the crying need of the world, the answer to hungry hearts. That is the way to get people saved. David said, "…for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
No wonder God has honored His Word, for He teaches that through this Word is the only way people can be saved. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (I Pet. 1:23).
No wonder God says, ‘I have magnified My Word above all My name,’ because this is the instrument God uses to get people saved.
God has magnified it because this is the instrument of cleansing for the born-again child of God. John 15:3 says, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
I read in the Psalms where the psalmist said, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Ps. 119:9).
No marvel that God has honored His Word above everything else, not only because it converts and cleanses but because it comforts. This will give you a clean heart and a clean mind quicker than anything else. When you go to the Bible, God does something that none of us realize He is doing. What comfort it brings!
A dear couple had one sweet child. One day death unexpectedly came. That little one was taken Home to be with Jesus.
The wife noticed her husband doing something she had never seen him do before. When the day’s work was through and he came home, before he ate he went yonder, and for an hour or so he was behind a locked door in the bedroom. She knew he was reading his Bible. She knew, however, that there was something special, something unique about what was going on.
With her own heart broken, one day she took his Bible and began to go through it. She found that all the sweet, wonderful verses about loved ones departing to be with God, and all the sweet verses about Heaven, he had underscored and had noted in the margin of his Bible. It was tear-stained and finger-stained in John, chapter 14:
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."—Vss. 1–3.
She knew now what he was looking for—the comfort of Heaven, where their little boy was.
‘I will honor My Word above all My name. I will magnify it,’ God says. Why? Not only because it converts, cleanses and comforts, but because it always comes to pass. The good Word of God never fails.
When I think about the actions of mothers and dads and Christians like you and me, and when I think of such verses as, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge" (Ezek. 18:2); and "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6), I know that just as surely as there is a God upon His throne, the Word of God comes to pass in the lives of families about their sons and daughters.
God says, ‘I will magnify My Word above My name.’ Mark it down: it will all come to pass. Not one jot nor tittle shall ever fail.
III. God Is Magnified When the Name of Jesus Is Sincerely Used
I preach things sometimes that I don’t always understand. Just because I don’t understand something is no reason I shouldn’t preach it. If I just tell you that the Bible said it, I don’t have to understand it all.
I think you know, I never laugh at the Bible. I have never laughed at my wife, because I love her; but I have surely laughed with her. There have been times when I thought the clowns in the circus didn’t have anything on her when it came to being humorous.
I never laugh at people to make fun of them, but I surely laugh with people. I say that to show you, I never laugh at the Bible, but I have surely laughed with the Bible a few times.
I couldn’t help but be a little amused this week when I read chapter 19 of the book of Acts, as I was studying on "How Is God Magnified?" I followed it in the Bible, then came to this chapter.
I read about Paul. With the power of God on him, he would go up to a demon-possessed man and say to the demon in this man, "Now you get out of him!" and the demon would get out.
A fellow by the name of Sceva had seven boys. The Bible says they were vagabonds; that is, drifters. It also says they were exorcists; that is, wherever they could get the most money for what they did, that is where these seven sons of Sceva went.
They heard Paul demand of the demons in a man, "Get out of him!" They didn’t have Paul’s power, Paul’s calling, Paul’s character and Paul’s blessing; God wasn’t with them like He was with Paul—but they didn’t know that. So they found a demon-possessed man, and these seven sons said, "You demons, get out of him!" The devil in that man said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" (vs. 15).
Chapter 19 records how one demon-possessed man jumped on all seven of these guys, tore off their clothes, and put them to flight. Here they are, bleeding, scratched and naked, running, and a demon crying, ‘I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but I don’t know you, and I am not going to submit to you!’ Then we read these words, "…and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified" (vs. 17).
The blessed name of the Lord Jesus Christ can only be magnified when used in absolute sincerity. The work of the Father Divines, the Daddy Graces, the Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddys will all come to naught, because it is the Word of Jesus used in insincerity.
"Let God be magnified." He is magnified when His name is used in sincerity.
IV. God Is Magnified in Our Bodies, Whether by Life or Death
This itself would be enough for a full-length message. Though it is one of the most beautiful things to me in all the Bible, I will have to pass over it hurriedly. In Philippians 1:20 Paul says, "…so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."
Think for a moment. The Apostle Paul is in prison. No one here thinks Paul deserved to be in prison. He was chained to a soldier. He wants to write a letter to the church at Philippi. Here is this soldier chained to him and probably falling over asleep. Paul has to say, "Wake up. I can’t write with you pulling my arm that way. You will have to straighten up. Move this way." I imagine that old soldier thought, It is bad enough to be in prison, but to be chained to this guy!
Here Paul is in prison writing a letter to the church at Philippi: ‘My being in jail has six wonderful things about it.
‘First, it has fallen out to the furtherance of the Gospel. I have been able to preach to some people I would never have been able to preach to had I not gotten put in jail.
‘Second, I have a testimony in the palace, because I was taken back and forth before kings to be heard.
‘Third, because of my imprisonment, many of the brethren in Christ have waxed bold.
‘In the fourth place, while I am here, some preach Christ, even of contention.
‘In the fifth place, it has caused a lot of people to pray, and that is worthwhile.
‘In the sixth place, Christ shall be magnified. "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death" (Phil. 1:20). What care I if I die in a jail, just so Christ is magnified.’
Here the holy, all-absorbing purpose of a true believer’s life is set forth.
V. God Is Magnified When Jesus Is Honored
God is magnified when Jesus is honored as the personal Saviour of a lost soul. The angel had said to Mary:
"Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."—Luke 1:30,31,35.
Luke 1:46 and 47 says:
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
If you want to bring honor and glory to Jesus, the greatest way is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.
While thinking of many wonderful, wonderful conversions that have taken place in these years, I thought of a soldier boy. I was going down near Clinton, Michigan to pick up an evangelist and bring him to this church. I saw this boy in uniform thumbing a ride. I picked him up. He didn’t know I was a preacher. As he talked, he used the regular language of the world. When he started to light a cigarette I said, "Son, if you don’t mind, it gives me a headache, and I don’t like to be locked up in a car full of smoke. I’m not condemning you; I’d just rather you wouldn’t smoke."
He said, "That’s all right, sir."
Again he used a bit of bad language. I said, "Son, you are in the service of your country. Are you in the service of the King?"
He didn’t know what that meant, so he said, "What are you talking about?"
"What I am really saying is that I wonder if you have Jesus in your heart? Have you ever been saved?"
That big old soldier, handsome as could be, said to me, "You must be a preacher." (It hurts for this world to think that only a preacher would ask someone if he were a Christian.)
I said, "Yes, I am. My name is Tom Malone, and I am a preacher. I just wonder if you are saved."
He said, "No, I have never been a Christian because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I just thought I never could be a Christian because I don’t want to say that I am one and then not live up to it in front of my buddies."
I said, "I admire you for that. I’d hate to see a man say that he was going to be a Christian, then the first time the test came, deny his Lord. I wouldn’t want you to do that."
That got him. He didn’t know what to do with that.
In a little while he said, "You know, Preacher, us boys are away from home, away from our mothers and daddies. We go to all kinds of places, and we dance and we drink and we gamble. But we sure do get lonesome. My heart gets awful empty sometimes."
I said, "That is what I am talking about."
We got down here near Clinton, Michigan, and I thought the time was right. I pulled off the road and took my little New Testament. Big tears began to roll down his face. In a moment he said, "Preacher, that is what I need. I need Jesus in my life. I want to be saved. If you will tell me how to do it and what to say, I’ll do it."
I said, "You pray after me." I prayed, "Jesus, I am an awful sinner."
The soldier boy said, "Jesus, I am an awful sinner."
I said, "Jesus, no one can save me but You."
The soldier boy said, "Jesus, no one can save me but You."
I prayed, "Jesus, I trust You now as my personal Saviour."
The soldier boy said, "Jesus, I trust You now as my personal Saviour."
I forgot about him. There are so many wonderful things that happen that no human mind can retain them all. But a few months later, way out yonder in the Pacific, a soldier boy wrote me a letter: "I have been in battles, I have met many people, I have had thrilling experiences, and I have gone through tragedy. But the greatest moment of my life was when I sat with you in a car near Clinton, Michigan, and you led me to Christ. I have been true to Jesus in front of my buddies. Tell all the young people in the world, Jesus is all they need."
You magnify the Lord when you honor Jesus Christ.
"Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified."—Ps. 70:4.
"Let God be magnified."
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“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Evangelist Billy Sunday