The Kingdom and the Power – October 16, 2011

I Chronicles 29:10-13, The Lord’s Prayer

October 16, 2011

Did you ever look at something that you see every day, and all of a sudden you see details and beauty you never realized before? Or maybe you see details you knew were there but you hadn’t thought of for some time? Hasn’t this series on the Lord’s Prayer been like that?

I remember the day I got my first pair of glasses. I walked out of the optometrist’s office and looked around, and everything was sharp! I never realized what I wasn’t seeing! I said to my Mom, “Hey, I can see every leaf on every tree!” And she said, “Yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to see!” Maybe in this series I’ve helped you to see a few more leaves!

Today we come to the conclusion of this amazing prayer of Jesus. “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.” I’ve really been looking forward to this part, because this is a powerful ending! It’s sometimes referred to as “the doxology” of the prayer. A “doxology” is a hymn or statement of praise to God. We sing a very well known doxology almost every week, when we bring our offerings forward.

This is a great part of this prayer, but of course not everybody prays this part. Our Catholic brothers and sisters don’t include it when they pray what they call the “Our Father.” I’ll never forget going to a Catholic service for the first time! I was in college at West Chester, and several friends on my hall decided we’d try each other’s churches. So we were in my one friend’s Catholic church, and as we prayed the Lord’s prayer, (kneeling, I believe) we were about to get to this last part, and my Catholic friend swung his hand at my chest to stop me! It was like your mother used to do in the car when she had to put the brakes on fast! Of course, everybody stopped at that part. Although we did say that doxology later in the service.

The reason some people stop there is that this ending is not found in all the ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew. It is found in some, but not in others. And because of that, some scholars believe it was added later, but not too much later – perhaps by one of the scribes of Matthew. That happens in the course of putting together a version of the Bible. Some stories are in one manuscript – one original copy of one of the books – but not another. A big example of that is the story of the woman caught in adultery in John’s Gospel. It’s in some manuscripts, but not others. So there’s always some question what to do with those passages.

Well, regardless of how it was recorded, I think this final part is completely consistent with Jesus’ teaching, and it fits in with everything he was teaching that day. So I think it’s a fitting ending to this amazing prayer! As we look at it, I hope you’ll see that, too! The other thing I hope you’ll is that, once again, Jesus was using familiar thoughts and ideas that the people would have known – from their scriptures.

In this case, I wonder if he had in mind this passage we read this morning from I Chronicles. This comes from a time at the end of the life of King David. And David was preparing the way for his son Solomon to build the great temple to the Lord. And as he did so, he “blessed the Lord in the presence of the people.” And he prayed using these words. “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty…” Sound familiar? It’s amazing how so much of the Lord’s Prayer is steeped in the Jewish traditions. But that makes sense, because the whole of the life and ministry of Jesus had Judaism as it’s backdrop. I never thought of it before, but this prayer could fit just as easily into the Jewish tradition as it does in ours!

I want you to see a couple of important things here. First, this prayer begins with the kingdom. That’s something the Jewish people would do, too. And it’s something they still do today. As I’ve said before, many of their prayers begin, “Blessed art thou, our Lord, our God, King of the Universe.” The Lord’s Prayer is not so far from that! “…hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come…” Well, just as this prayer starts with the kingdom, we find now that that it also ends with the kingdom! “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.”

As you think about that, I want you to notice something that’s very important about those two kingdom references. They’re different! The first one, “Thy Kingdom come…” is a request. We’re asking something of God. “Lord, may your kingdom come in our world and in our lives.” The second reference, “For Thine is the Kingdom…” is an acknowledgement of fact! We’re saying something about God! We’re saying that he is the king of the universe!

So, here’s what I want you to think about that. God is king! We acknowledge that in this part of the prayer. Now the question becomes, “is God your king?” Acknowledging that he is “king of the universe,” as our Jewish friends often say, is one thing. But it is certainly possible to do that without making him our king, isn’t it? We can acknowledge him to be the king without submitting to his kingship! I want you to think about that. And I want you to ask yourselves today, “Have we made God our king?”

Before you answer that too quickly, I want you to realize that’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s hard to give God the sovereignty over our lives! It’s hard to make him the one “in charge,” is it? And it’s certainly harder to do if we forget the next part of this. “For thine is the kingdom and the power…” As I said a couple of weeks ago, it’s not easy for us to submit to God’s kingship if we don’t believe he has the power. We’d better check in on that one! We need to be sure we believe in his power if we’re going to make him our king!

If you’re like me, God’s power is something you need to be reminded of from time to time. The people of Israel certainly needed that! Originally, I was going to have us read Isaiah 40 this morning, until I found this passage in I Chronicles. Isaiah 40 is one of my favorite chapters! And in that chapter, the prophet was reminding the people that God is creator of all things, and he has the power in their lives. “Have you not known?” he asks. “Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth!” They had to be reminded of that! Their vision of God was shrinking! We need to be reminded, too! Because when we rely on God’s power, we too will “mount up with wings like Eagles.” Like Isaiah said. We too will “run and not be weary. We will walk and not faint!” And by the way, notice that this last part of the prayer leads from the requests just made! God can “deliver us from evil, for – another conjunction! It means because! He can deliver us because his is the kingdom and power and glory! We can rely on that power!

So, the Lord’s Prayer begins and ends with the Kingdom. Well, there’s one last thing I want to say about it. Not only does the prayer begin and end with the kingdom. It also begins and ends with worship! It begins with “Our Father in heaven, hallowed – holy – is your name.” And it ends with “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever!”

Someone asked me the other day “What is worship, and how do we do it?” Well, the easiest answer to that is that worship is giving God praise and blessing. It is acknowledging his greatness and telling him we love him. And please understand, it’s good for us to do that both together and individually. We come here on Sunday morning for what we call “Corporate Worship.” But we also need to think about worship in our own personal times. Those are two important parts of the worship life of God’s people.

I suspect, thought, that we have a better handle on the corporate worship part. We worship God more when we’re here together. At least here we’re prompted. Here, I hope, we’re inspired. Here it’s much easy to be reminded of and to acknowledge God’s power. And here we’re reminded that loving and praising God is important.

By ourselves, we tend to forget that, don’t we? Yet here, in this famous prayer of Jesus, we have that element of worship. And remember that in his teaching about prayer, Jesus said “go into your private place, and pray like this.” So this famous prayer was intended, at least partially, to be a guide for our personal prayer life. And since this prayer teaches worship, I hope we will realize that we can use it in that way! I’d like to suggest that you get into the practice of praying this prayer on your own. And at the very least, concentrate on the worship part of it! See how that personal worship of God contributes to your spiritual life!

So as we close this series on the Lord’s prayer. Let me ask you the three questions raised by this final part. Is God your king? Do you know he has the power? Do you worship him and give him the glory? Think about that as we now close with prayer, and I will lead us into this prayer of Jesus. As we pray it together, think about each part and what you’re saying. It is truly amazing!

Prayer

Eternal God, we thank you for this wonderful prayer, for the comfort and the guidance it gives us. Help us to know your power, to acknowledge your kingship in our lives, and to give you the glory and praise! Accept our worship now as we close with this prayer, spoken together in faith. “Our Father…”

I Chronicles 29:10-13, The Lord’s Prayer

October 16, 2011

 

Did you ever look at something that you see every day, and all of a sudden you see details and beauty you never realized before? Or maybe you see details you knew were there but you hadn’t thought of for some time? Hasn’t this series on the Lord’s Prayer been like that?

I remember the day I got my first pair of glasses. I walked out of the optometrist’s office and looked around, and everything was sharp! I never realized what I wasn’t seeing! I said to my Mom, “Hey, I can see every leaf on every tree!” And she said, “Yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to see!” Maybe in this series I’ve helped you to see a few more leaves!

Today we come to the conclusion of this amazing prayer of Jesus. “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.” I’ve really been looking forward to this part, because this is a powerful ending! It’s sometimes referred to as “the doxology” of the prayer. A “doxology” is a hymn or statement of praise to God. We sing a very well known doxology almost every week, when we bring our offerings forward.

This is a great part of this prayer, but of course not everybody prays this part. Our Catholic brothers and sisters don’t include it when they pray what they call the “Our Father.” I’ll never forget going to a Catholic service for the first time! I was in college at West Chester, and several friends on my hall decided we’d try each other’s churches. So we were in my one friend’s Catholic church, and as we prayed the Lord’s prayer, (kneeling, I believe) we were about to get to this last part, and my Catholic friend swung his hand at my chest to stop me! It was like your mother used to do in the car when she had to put the brakes on fast! Of course, everybody stopped at that part. Although we did say that doxology later in the service.

The reason some people stop there is that this ending is not found in all the ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew. It is found in some, but not in others. And because of that, some scholars believe it was added later, but not too much later – perhaps by one of the scribes of Matthew. That happens in the course of putting together a version of the Bible. Some stories are in one manuscript – one original copy of one of the books – but not another. A big example of that is the story of the woman caught in adultery in John’s Gospel. It’s in some manuscripts, but not others. So there’s always some question what to do with those passages.

Well, regardless of how it was recorded, I think this final part is completely consistent with Jesus’ teaching, and it fits in with everything he was teaching that day. So I think it’s a fitting ending to this amazing prayer! As we look at it, I hope you’ll see that, too! The other thing I hope you’ll is that, once again, Jesus was using familiar thoughts and ideas that the people would have known – from their scriptures.

In this case, I wonder if he had in mind this passage we read this morning from I Chronicles. This comes from a time at the end of the life of King David. And David was preparing the way for his son Solomon to build the great temple to the Lord. And as he did so, he “blessed the Lord in the presence of the people.” And he prayed using these words. “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty…” Sound familiar? It’s amazing how so much of the Lord’s Prayer is steeped in the Jewish traditions. But that makes sense, because the whole of the life and ministry of Jesus had Judaism as it’s backdrop. I never thought of it before, but this prayer could fit just as easily into the Jewish tradition as it does in ours!

I want you to see a couple of important things here. First, this prayer begins with the kingdom. That’s something the Jewish people would do, too. And it’s something they still do today. As I’ve said before, many of their prayers begin, “Blessed art thou, our Lord, our God, King of the Universe.” The Lord’s Prayer is not so far from that! “…hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come…” Well, just as this prayer starts with the kingdom, we find now that that it also ends with the kingdom! “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.”

As you think about that, I want you to notice something that’s very important about those two kingdom references. They’re different! The first one, “Thy Kingdom come…” is a request. We’re asking something of God. “Lord, may your kingdom come in our world and in our lives.” The second reference, “For Thine is the Kingdom…” is an acknowledgement of fact! We’re saying something about God! We’re saying that he is the king of the universe!

So, here’s what I want you to think about that. God is king! We acknowledge that in this part of the prayer. Now the question becomes, “is God your king?” Acknowledging that he is “king of the universe,” as our Jewish friends often say, is one thing. But it is certainly possible to do that without making him our king, isn’t it? We can acknowledge him to be the king without submitting to his kingship! I want you to think about that. And I want you to ask yourselves today, “Have we made God our king?”

Before you answer that too quickly, I want you to realize that’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s hard to give God the sovereignty over our lives! It’s hard to make him the one “in charge,” is it? And it’s certainly harder to do if we forget the next part of this. “For thine is the kingdom and the power…” As I said a couple of weeks ago, it’s not easy for us to submit to God’s kingship if we don’t believe he has the power. We’d better check in on that one! We need to be sure we believe in his power if we’re going to make him our king!

If you’re like me, God’s power is something you need to be reminded of from time to time. The people of Israel certainly needed that! Originally, I was going to have us read Isaiah 40 this morning, until I found this passage in I Chronicles. Isaiah 40 is one of my favorite chapters! And in that chapter, the prophet was reminding the people that God is creator of all things, and he has the power in their lives. “Have you not known?” he asks. “Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth!” They had to be reminded of that! Their vision of God was shrinking! We need to be reminded, too! Because when we rely on God’s power, we too will “mount up with wings like Eagles.” Like Isaiah said. We too will “run and not be weary. We will walk and not faint!” And by the way, notice that this last part of the prayer leads from the requests just made! God can “deliver us from evil, for – another conjunction! It means because! He can deliver us because his is the kingdom and power and glory! We can rely on that power!

So, the Lord’s Prayer begins and ends with the Kingdom. Well, there’s one last thing I want to say about it. Not only does the prayer begin and end with the kingdom. It also begins and ends with worship! It begins with “Our Father in heaven, hallowed – holy – is your name.” And it ends with “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever!”

Someone asked me the other day “What is worship, and how do we do it?” Well, the easiest answer to that is that worship is giving God praise and blessing. It is acknowledging his greatness and telling him we love him. And please understand, it’s good for us to do that both together and individually. We come here on Sunday morning for what we call “Corporate Worship.” But we also need to think about worship in our own personal times. Those are two important parts of the worship life of God’s people.

I suspect, thought, that we have a better handle on the corporate worship part. We worship God more when we’re here together. At least here we’re prompted. Here, I hope, we’re inspired. Here it’s much easy to be reminded of and to acknowledge God’s power. And here we’re reminded that loving and praising God is important.

By ourselves, we tend to forget that, don’t we? Yet here, in this famous prayer of Jesus, we have that element of worship. And remember that in his teaching about prayer, Jesus said “go into your private place, and pray like this.” So this famous prayer was intended, at least partially, to be a guide for our personal prayer life. And since this prayer teaches worship, I hope we will realize that we can use it in that way! I’d like to suggest that you get into the practice of praying this prayer on your own. And at the very least, concentrate on the worship part of it! See how that personal worship of God contributes to your spiritual life!

So as we close this series on the Lord’s prayer. Let me ask you the three questions raised by this final part. Is God your king? Do you know he has the power? Do you worship him and give him the glory? Think about that as we now close with prayer, and I will lead us into this prayer of Jesus. As we pray it together, think about each part and what you’re saying. It is truly amazing!

Prayer

Eternal God, we thank you for this wonderful prayer, for the comfort and the guidance it gives us. Help us to know your power, to acknowledge your kingship in our lives, and to give you the glory and praise! Accept our worship now as we close with this prayer, spoken together in faith. “Our Father…”

Posted in Sermons