************ Catechism Sermon on Lord's Day 52b ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on January 27, 2019

Lord's Day 52b
1 Chronicles 29:10-13
"Kingdom, Power, Glory"

"For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." This ending to the Lord's Prayer reminds us that our prayers are supposed to be God-centered and God-focused. Unfortunately, prayer today has often degenerated into something self-centered and self-indulgent. I blame the teaching of the "prosperity gospel" which has turned prayer into a "name it and claim it" shopping trip.

The sound doctrine of the Catechism teaches us that prayer does not end with a petition but with worship. Says the Catechism,
... your holy name,
and not we ourselves,
should receive all the praise, forever.
Not only the Lord's Prayer but all of our prayers should include praise to God.

I An Addition to the Lord's Prayer?
A The Catechism tells us that in teaching us how to pray Jesus ends His model prayer with a doxology (cf Q & A 118): "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." Technically, the Catechism is incorrect in saying this because the doxology is not part of the original Greek text of the Lord's Prayer.

B So why is the doxology part of the Lord's Prayer then? The doxology is part of the first century "Didache" ("The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles"). We also know that in the early church the Lord's Prayer was never prayed without some closing words of praise to God. In doing this the church was following the tradition of the Jews who often concluded prayer with a sentence of praise. This is, doubtless, what Jesus intended with the Lord's Prayer otherwise it would end with "temptation" and "the evil one" -- which is simply unthinkable.

C There is no question that the doxology, though not taught by Jesus as part of the Lord's Prayer, does show us how Jesus wants us to pray. And, it is completely Biblical in content as it is but a shorter version of what King David prays in today's Scripture reading:
(1Chr 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.
Similar statements are also to be found in the book of Daniel (cf Dan 2:20; 4:34; 6:26; 7:14) and in the book of Revelation (cf Rev 4:11; 5:12-13; 7:12).

For this reason, the sound doctrine of the Catechism accepts the doxology as a fitting and Biblical conclusion to the Lord's Prayer.

II Drawn Back to God and His Glory
A In praying as Jesus teaches us to pray, we make a staggering number of requests. In the first petition we ask God to help us know, bless, worship, and praise Him; we ask that His name be always honored and praised and not blasphemed because of us. In the second petition we ask God to rule over us, to keep His church strong, and to destroy the devil's work. In the third petition we ask God to help us reject our will and obey His will. In the fourth petition we ask God to take care of all our physical needs. In the fifth petition we ask God to forgive us our sins and to grant us the grace to forgive others. In the sixth petition we ask God to grant us victory when faced with temptation and the evil one. In all of this asking our attention is mostly focused on ourselves. According to the Catechism, our cry is: help us, help us, rule us, help us, help us, take care of our physical needs, forgive us, uphold us, make us strong.

"For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." By ending our prayer with these words our attention is again being drawn to "Our Father in heaven." In the doxology we are turned back to the One Who can and will do something about our requests. We are being taught to look beyond our needs to the heavenly Father to Whom we pray. We are being reminded that our life, and our prayer life, ought to be God-centered and not me-centered.

How often do we end our prayers with a doxology? Maybe not the words of this doxology, but with a real, heartfelt doxology? Often our prayers end with a hurried "for Jesus' sake" or "in Jesus' name." Nothing wrong with that but where is the praise? Before anything else we need to realize prayer is worship.

Remember how the Lord's Prayer starts? We pray to "Our Father in heaven." The doxology teaches us and reminds us that "Father" is not just a term of endearment and trust and love; rather, the Father we pray to has kingdom, power, and glory. The God we go to in prayer is altogether glorious. To borrow from three of the song titles this morning: "He is Jehovah," "He Is Exalted," and His is "Majesty."

B First of all, God has kingdom. The kingdom. Which means the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom. There is no other kingdom that counts. Nor is there any other king who counts. God both possesses and presides over His vast kingdom. He is the sovereign king Who exercises supreme authority and unrestricted dominion over an immense empire. His is authority. His is the right to rule. He commands the affairs of men and nations and even the intricate workings of the entire universe. From His throne above God "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Eph 1:11). His sovereignty is universal. His rule is unlimited.

Second, God also has power. The power. Which means that God does not merely possess power, but all power. He has all power in heaven and earth. The power of God is His might or omnipotence. God's power is active, invincible, irresistible, and unstoppable. God's power is exclusive in that no one else has this power. The power of God is His ability to do whatsoever He pleases. All that God's supreme will chooses to do, He has the power to do. Nothing can hinder the free exercise of His sovereign good pleasure.

Third, God also has glory. The glory. Glory is the shining radiance of the splendor, majesty, and beauty of God. God alone is glorious and to God alone belongs all glory. Our prayers end with a declaration that all glory belongs to God.

Notice the addition of the word "forever." God's kingdom is forever. God's power is without end. God's glory is never ending.

Let me also emphasize the word "yours." "Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." It all belongs to God and not to any other.
(Isa 42:8) I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
The folly of idolatry is that prayer is offered to a god who does not have kingdom, power, and glory. The idolater looks to a god who can do nothing. But the Christian prays to and depends upon the God Who has kingdom and power and glory forever.

C So what? God has the kingdom, the power, the glory. He has all three forever. So what? What does this mean for our prayer life? Notice what the sound doctrine of the Catechism says about this:
We have made all these requests of you
because, as our all-powerful king,
you not only want to,
but are able to give us all that is good.
Our Father has kingdom, power, and glory; so He is more than able to answer all our petitions. But, He is also our loving Father in and through Christ; so He desires to give us what we need.

Our God is able to hear and answer our prayers. Why? "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."

III The Importance of Praise
A The doxology is not a petition; it is praise; it is worship. When we say, "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever" we are stating a fact and we are uttering praise for that fact. We are NOT saying, "May Yours be the kingdom, power, and glory forever." That would be a petition -- and an unnecessary one because He already has all this. We are NOT saying, "May I recognize Your kingdom, power, and glory." That too would be a petition. In the doxology we are recognizing and praising the truth about God -- that His is kingdom, power, and glory forever.

I want you to notice that the Lord's Prayer ends the same way it begins. It begins with, "hallowed be your name." It ends with, "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." The Lord's Prayer begins and ends with praise and worship. This framework reminds us, congregation, that praise is so very important. Praise is what we are made for. God created us to live for the praise and glory of His name. He wants and demands our praise. In the doxology we do what God made us and saved us and redeemed us to do: we give God honor and glory and praise!

You don't have to understand everything about God in order to come to the goal of living. People don't have to become theologians or pastors in order to praise. The unintelligent, the weak, the old, the infirm, the unborn, the crippled, the disabled -- all are more than able to praise God.

We must bring our praises to God in the place God has put us. Bring Him praise at work and at play. Bring Him praise at the baby's crib and on the basketball court. Bring Him praise on the wedding day and during the funeral service. Bring Him praise at sunrise and at sunset. Bring Him praise on the dairy, in the truck, in the shop, in the field, and in the orchard. Bring Him praise in the home and in the school and in the church.

To God we are to bring glory and praise today and tomorrow, next week and next year, and forever.

Did you know that praise is the language of the Kingdom of Heaven just as English is the language of the U.S.A.? This means that those who are citizens of the Kingdom speak the language of praise. Not just the words of their lips but their whole life is to be praise to God.

"For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." We must understand that real living is praising God. Our greatest hour is not payday or graduation or our wedding day but when we start praising God.

B Contrast petition to praise. Petitions are earthly and temporary; in heaven there are no petitions for all of our needs have been met and are satisfied. But our praise, our doxologies, they are eternal. Long after we have forgotten our petitions, our requests, and our needs, we will still be singing the doxology, the language of praise. Listen to the praise in heaven as John heard it from the lips of the redeemed:
(Rev 4:11) "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
(Cf Rev 7:12)

In our Bible reading David is not making a petition. Instead, he is giving praise. Realize David is an old man at this point, having ruled for forty years, and is now ready to go to heaven, leaving the kingdom of Israel in the hands of Solomon. David's dying wish, out of gratitude to God, is to build a temple to replace the tabernacle. But God refuses that request. Instead of David building God a house, God is going to build David a house, a dynasty, which will rule over God's people; included in this dynasty, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Overwhelmed by God's mercy, David does everything he can to make preparations for the Temple. David gathers together materials and stirs up the people to give. And then he prays. But he doesn't pray, "Look at us, Lord. Look at how generous we are. Look at how much we love You and Your house." No, David's prayer is a doxology, a word of praise and worship to God in which he ascribes everything to God.

There is so much David could be praying for. There are enemies out there. There is always the threat of drought and locusts and hunger. The Temple has not yet been built. During the forty years of his rule, David has had endless problems with his children. So, yes, there are lots of things to pray for. Instead, David piles up praise to God.

C "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." Most often this praise finds its way to God through song. Much of the strength, joy, and health of the church is in her singing, because in our songs of praise we come closest to our reason for existence. All of us are better Christians when we sing than when we argue. According to an ancient German proverb, evil people have no songs. Without doubt, the greatest moments in our lives are those in which we spontaneously sing and praise God. Real living is praising God.

In music and song we come the closest to bringing God the honor and glory due His name; so how it grieves God when some of His children refuse to sing. In music and song we come the closest to bringing God the honor and glory due His name; so how careful we must be that professionals and performers do not elbow congregational singing aside; and how careful we must be that no "special music" by soloists or groups is phony, insincere, not from the heart and mere entertainment.

In music the church comes closest to living out her reason for existence. Yet, I can never forget what a Seminary Professor told me in class: "Music is the church's war department." Many churches have more arguments about hymn books, choirs, organs, organists, soloists, praise and worship, than about anything else. How shameful that the best part of our praise suffers such abuse. Satan attacks the church's musical efforts because he realizes our songs are our strength. How thankful I am that we don't have this problem. How thankful I am that we are united when it comes to the worship and glory and praise of God. How thankful I am that to God we pray and sing, "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."
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