Welcome to our worship today at Christ Lutheran and welcome if you listening on the radio! It’s great to have you with us!
Jesus’ time of teaching that we call the Sermon on the Mount took place on the north end of the Sea of Galilee. This site on a beautiful mountainside overlooking the sea is identified by many as the place where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.
It’s easy to imagine a large group crowding around Jesus to hear his every word—as he teaches them how to pray.
Today we come to the completion of our series on the Lord’s Prayer. We conclude the prayer by saying---
“For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”
That phrase is a doxology--- which is a churchy term for a word of praise to God. But those words are not found in Jesus’ prayer in Luke’s Gospel and aren’t in the earliest Greek manuscripts of Matthew’s Gospel. So how did it come to be a regular part of how we pray?
Well, when the Hebrew people prayed, they often added words of praise or doxology to conclude their prayers. Doxologies are found all through the Bible. It’s possible that these words were used by Jesus and his disciples as a way to close this prayer that Jesus taught. Without the doxology, the prayer does end kind of abruptly. And we do know that from the very early centuries of the Christian church, the Lord’s Prayer ended with this phrase of praise.
It sounds like a quote from David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles---
1 Chronicles 29:10 “David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, ‘Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.”
This prayer was offered when the aged and ailing King David called the people together to talk to them about the temple that was to be built for the Lord by David’s son Solomon.
1 Chronicles 29:11” Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”
David presented his own personal fortune to be used for the temple and called on the others to contribute as well. It’s kind of amazing to hear the king admit that the real head of the kingdom is not himself, but the Lord. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom!
And David admitted also that the fortune he has is not his own---
1 Chronicles 29:12 “Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”
This is a great prayer of praise from a man who was looking back over his life and saw God’s hand in everything good he has known!
1 Chronicles 29:13 “Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory……It also sounds like an echo of John’s vision in Revelation 5
Revelation 5:13 “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’”
This doxology at the end of the Lord’s prayer is a beautiful and fitting way to draw together all that we pray for when we pray the words that Jesus taught us.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen. To say those words is an act of worship.
Worship is vitally important, not because God needs our worship—but because if we don’t worship the Lord, we develop some distorted views of life about who is really to thank for it all.
We need to remember ---
It’s Not ---- MINE is the kingdom and the power and the glory. It is THINE is the kingdom and the power and the glory!
Mine or Thine? We have a lot of trouble with that. The reason is that little word with the big consequences—SIN. Sin distorts our view of everything, ourselves, our world, all of reality.
Is life mine or is it thine? Does truth come from me or from God? Why should God’s way be better than mine?
How you answer those questions depends on what you believe. Is there a God? If not, those questions don’t matter. But if there is a God, and he designed and created the universe and you and me, then his plan for life matters greatly---more than anything else. And to understand his plan for me, I have to understand the basics of what God’s plan is all about. And we look to the Bible to find that.
Consider just a few of God’s basics for life ---
1 --- There is value to all life---because God created it---life at all its stages from conception to final earthly breath. It all has value and therefore, it all has meaning.
2 --- Even though there is value to every person, we don’t always realize that, because of that disease called SIN.
3 -- -Because of sin and because of our infinite value to God, he came into human life to be our savior and Jesus died to reunite us with our heavenly Father. We need Christ as our savior. We can’t do it alone.
4 --- So being saved from the ultimate power of sin, we can live in thanks to the Lord and begin to recognize that life is a gift to us. It’s not our own, and it is best when lived according to the path that the Lord teaches us.
The more the truth of God’s basics for life start to sink into our hearts and minds, the more we begin to realize that ---
It is not mine but ---THINE is the kingdom and the power and the glory!
Now, that doesn’t negate the value of what human beings can accomplish. Think of the progress in medicine or providing clean water and air. Think of creating great beauty in art and music. Think of the progress in agriculture and transportation.
But, just because we can do something, doesn’t always mean we should do that thing. Progress --- defined as new ideas or discoveries or inventions --- is not all good and it’s not all bad.
New creations of art and music can be truly beautiful or they can be vulgar. A medical discovery can cure one problem and create another.
Progress is neutral and must constantly be evaluated against what we know to be true --- God’s word for us in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t address in specifics all the questions we will face. But the basics for life, as God intends it, are there for us to apply.
The key is to lay aside the near-sighted view that life is ours to do with as we please, and instead to see the truth of “Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory”, and from there all true and good progress will come.
That’s why this closing phrase of the Lord’s Prayer is so important.
Our Lord God, creator of the universe is not like the fashion designers who have their name embroidered on your clothing. God is not like the ski manufacturers who put their name across your skis. God is not like the car makers whose trademarks are all over your car.
Now, sometimes God acts in an obvious way—like appearing to Saul in a blinding light on the road to Damascus. But most of the time the Lord works through that still small voice, that gentle whisper in which he spoke to Elijah.
God isn’t on Twitter announcing that the kingdom, power and glory are his. And so we need the Lord’s Prayer to constantly remind us whose kingdom it is.
We need to say this prayer that Jesus taught us and then look around us with new eyes to see what is already there.
Where do we see evidence of God’s kingdom that Jesus came to initiate? Certainly we know from current world conflicts that no earthly kingdom is forever. No earthly power lasts. When Jesus was questioned about whether he was the messiah who was to bring in God’s kingdom, he didn’t give a resume of military might or grand palaces. Instead he said in Luke 7:22 ---
Luke 7:22 “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”
We see God’s kingdom growing in the Shepherd’s Hand Clinic, the North Valley Food Bank, outreach efforts for the people of Browning, Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief efforts around the globe---any time people put the needs of others before their own. Because whether the people involved know that Christ is their savior—or even if they don’t know it yet, they are still doing the work of God’s kingdom. But no human institution is equal to God’s kingdom because all are flawed by the faults of humans.
And so if you want to see the kingdom of God, look all around you, inside and outside the Church. You will catch brief glimpses and longer sightings of the kingdom that Jesus came to inaugurate, but it is still in progress. It is not mine, yours or any humans. It is God’s. And we pray that we may be a part of that kingdom!
Where do we see evidence of the power of God? You need first to look at the Bible and see over and over again the awesome power of God---especially in God’s power overcoming death and bringing Jesus back to life.
You need to look at the power that has created the amazing world all around you. Mighty mountains and rivers. The earth’s rotation to cause night and day, winter and spring. The power to set billions of stars in the heavens.
But closer to home and on a more personal scale, we see the power of God in Christ’s self-giving love that makes it possible for broken marriages to be healed and damaged friendships restored --- For each of us to experience the forgiveness of the Lord for us and then, to offer that forgiveness to those who have hurt us.
And how can you miss the power of God to create new life in witnessing the birth of a child. A power beyond human comprehension!
Where do we see evidence of God’s glory? And what do we mean by glory? In the Old Testament, God’s glory was seen in a visual form in an awe-inspiring expanse of bright light as when the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
In Jesus, the glory of God was hidden as he entered human form. At the Transfiguration, that glory was momentarily revealed. Yet the disciples could speak of beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus.
When we consider the sacrifice that Christ made in entering human life and dying for us — we behold the glory of God.
When we see the glow of renewed life and addictions overcome — we behold the glory of God.
When we are awed at a child’s ability to learn and grow — we behold the glory of God.
When we see God’s masterpiece of a sunset on snow-capped peaks, we behold his glory.
I Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”
And we conclude the Lord’s Prayer and all our prayers by saying Amen! Amen” means “Yes, yes, it shall be so.”
When we say “Amen”, we say, “Yes, that’s the truth!”
As I thought about how to conclude not only this sermon, but our whole series on the Lord’s Prayer, I wondered how that was possible. But we have two opportunities that go beyond any words I could share with you.
In a few moments Curt Lund will be singing the Lord’s Prayer for us and we thank him for blessing us with that gift.
And Cheril Pilgrim has put together an audio/visual presentation for us that is also a beautiful experience of this prayer. Thanks Cheril.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever.