Monday, 03 March 2014 10:45

Thine Is The Kingdom

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Today we have the privilege to study the last phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. Do you know the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer? The six petitions are concluded as stated in Matthew 6:13 with the phrase: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” This phrase is such a gospel climax or gospel apex or pinnacle or culmination point in the closing of this prayer. We really ought to pay more attention to it than we often do. Our theme is: “What a superb ending to the Lord’s Prayer.” Before we even begin to look closer at this superb ending, it is right to mention that there is debate about this phrase being legitimately part of the Lord’s Prayer. One reason is you don’t find it given in the Luke 11 passage. A second reason for the honest debate about it being part of the Lord’s Prayer is the fact that only a few of the Greek manuscripts on Matthew include the doxology while quite a number of valid Greek manuscripts don’t have it as part of the text. This explains why some other credible English translations of the Bible also do not include it, not even in the Matthew text. Regardless of that textual debate, however, it can be said that the doxology can be safely included as part of the Lord’s Prayer. Not only because there are some reliable Greek manuscripts which included it but also because this doxology fits in line with all the rest of Scripture. We can say even the very content of the Lord’s Prayer up to this point implies also what is contained in this wonderful doxology. Reading some of the other doxologies found in the Bible clearly it is so characteristic of God’s Word in calling us to faith and prayer to Him that He gives also, along with that, great reasons and solid hope in prayer. So we don’t need to question the authority and authenticity of this beautiful ending to the Lord’s Prayer as given in Matthew. Indeed, with the Christian church of the past and our Reformed fathers, it is most wise to depend on and draw from this doxology. Will you think with me further then on how, after making six tremendous petitions or requests to God, Jesus says to His disciples they should end their prayer saying: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” For God’s people throughout the ages this doxology has been a matter of truth, trust, and testimony. Ask yourself now: ‘Does the doxology to the Lord’s Prayer, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever” function in my life as a matter of truth, trust, and testimony? How good to begin this new week with this perspective concerning God Triune and the whole of the Christian life. To end the prayer as Jesus teaches is to say very great things about the God to Whom we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. To say His is the kingdom means to affirm that ultimately one will rule over all, and in fact has, and is, ruling over all throughout the ages. Who is He? None other than God Triune as revealed in Jesus Christ! His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. This is the absolute gospel truth that should so encourage us also in prayer. God is King of kings and Lord of lords throughout all the history of mankind. Many kingdoms of men, indeed all, come and go but God’s kingdom as planned and established is reigning supreme over all. It always has and always will. Jesus in His earthly ministry often spoke of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. Already in the Lord’s Prayer the second petition and request to God is, “Your kingdom come”. That is: “Let it be revealed in all its fullness and completeness and perfection, with all God’s mighty promises and works fulfilled, especially also as revealed in Jesus Christ the Saviour.” We read in Isaiah 9:7 and following concerning the kingdom of God as revealed in the promised Messiah: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” We know the angel Gabriel said to Mary with her giving birth to the promised Seed, the Messiah, in Luke 1:32ff: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” This is a matter, the Christian knows, fulfilled supremely in and with Jesus and His coming and work as crucified and risen Saviour of sinners. Not only is His the kingdom but His is the power too! Imagine a kingdom but no power! But God’s kingdom reigns supreme because also to God belongs almighty power. “All authority [you can also translate all power], says Jesus, as resurrected Saviour in Matthew 28, “is given unto me in heaven and on earth.” Listen here also to what we read in I Chronicles 29:10ff to what King David said there about God, our covenant God. “Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel, our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: For all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” You see here how God’s supreme rule and omnipotent power are such an encouragement to prayer and trust in Him? Don’t we hear the apostle Paul say in Ephesians 1:19ff along the same lines concerning Jesus as resurrected and ascended Saviour? The inspired apostle tells there of “what is the exceeding greatness of his [God’s] power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought [worked] in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named…” Doesn’t this all make so very clear that truly God is all-powerful? And God Triune in and through Christ Jesus will use His almighty power especially in a saving way for His church, His people, at all times? And you see this is what the ending of the Lord’s Prayer brings out and confirms to us. We may conclude our prayers saying in truth, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, fo ever”. So Jesus’ says to His disciples and to us. Jesus adds yet “and the glory”. The whole Bible teaches us how all glory, praise, and honor belongs to Jehovah God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So Paul declares jubilantly in the doxology at the end of Romans 11, in the very last verse: “For of him, and though him, and to him are all things: to whom be glory for ever. “ The Bible also tells how God’s glory shines through to us especially and climactically in the person and work of Jesus as Saviour of sinners. So in John 1:14 we read: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Hebrews 1:3 speaks too of Jesus as “being the “brightness of his [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Glory refers to honor and joyful adoration, and devotion and praise being due to God as God of creation, God of providence, and especially also God of salvation in and through Jesus Christ. Just in regards to the content of this doxology, you see with me how it speaks so highly and glowingly and encouragingly and comfortingly about the God to Whom we pray. What tops it all is that His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, not just for a season or for a generation or for one age, but “forever”! This is so, in other words, to all eternity, world without end. We may end our prayers saying in truth: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” That is to say, it will never not be so, and it will be seen by all to be so one day, and it will be so forevermore! This is the truth that is confessed by Christians concerning the God they worship and pray to. Do you believe this truth about God as revealed in Jesus Christ and made known to us in the Bible: “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever”? When you confess this as true, shouldn’t that give so much confidence for us in the Christian faith and life? What reasons to pray the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and all our prayers with so much expectation and comfort and joy, thinking of the ending Jesus gives. Yet God’s people can sometimes struggle with doubts about God’s kingdom, power, and glory. This happens when not living by faith but by sight. It can so often seem like and look like that the kingdom and power and glory belongs to this world and to Satan and his hosts. Yet we are not to live by sight but by faith, and to strengthen God’s people in the faith, Jesus says “in your prayers remember this doxology as ever true and sure”. And pray your petitions accordingly saying in great hope and trust at the end of your prayers: “All this we ask in Jesus’ Name, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” Our calling is to trust the LORD for the infinitely Great and Gracious and Glorious Triune God He truly is, and so to keep trusting Him with all those petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus, with this ending, teaches us so to pray and live, not only knowing the truth about Him but relying on Him wholly as such. Is that what you are doing? God’s true people are those who don’t only know as fact about God in Christ Jesus that His is the kingdom, power, and glory forever. They put faith in Him and rely on Him as only Saviour and Lord. The six petitions are made with this ending immediately following “for [we pray all this because] thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.” The ending is not just a statement of truth, in other words, but also a statement of trust when it is well. True Christianity is not only about the facts of the gospel but you trusting them as given in God’s Word and revealed in Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Saviour of sinners. Is the superb ending of the Lord’s Prayer a matter of truth and trust for you? Isn’t that what describes being a true Christian? Are you looking to God Triune and relying on Him, trusting Him as the One to Whom belongs the kingdom and the power and the glory forever? When that is the case, by God’ grace, then also you won’t be living for other kingdoms. At least, you know that is not the right way, and you repent of the folly of doing so still all too often. If you know the ending of the prayer is true and you live in trust of it, relying so on God, then you won’t be or remain unbelieving, or uncommitted in God’s ways. Those who live truly trusting to God belongs the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever will aim to be citizens of God’s kingdom, recipients of His saving and protecting powers, and participants in His glory. Yes, for God’s true people how encouraging this doxology becomes every time again battling still with so much sin and evil within us and around us. This superb ending to the Lord’s Prayer gives hope and confidence in the Christian life. Why? Because even when we may all too often yet falter and fail we have a Saviour God, a covenant faithful Triune God, who is ever faithful and reliable whenever we return to Him in true faith and repentance. Indeed, for all who trust and follow the Lord, take note, His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. So don’t be discouraged, even if you find no good whatsoever in yourself and have so much sin and shortcomings to confess, and you need so much His saving and sanctifying, and refreshing, renewing power. To all who repent of sin and ever trust and follow the Lord, the ending of the Lord’s Prayer is such a climactic statement, telling, Jesus is the Saviour Who won’t disappoint you. He is able and willing to do exceedingly above all that we could ask or think. For His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever! Jesus, with this ending, is inviting and encouraging all our trust in Him. Do you see this with me? When we honestly confess the truth about God and trust in the God of truth as revealed in the Bible and in the Saviour, Jesus Christ, doesn’t that mean confessing also the truth about ourselves as guilty and depraved sinners by nature? Truly coming to Christ in genuine repentance and faith only happens when also realizing except God save you, you never can or will be saved. The gospel truth which all genuine Christians learn and trust is that Jesus alone, as crucified and risen Saviour of sinners, is our hope of salvation and the only sure escape from sin, Satan, death, and hell. As Peter declared in Acts 4:12: “There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” And now think of it. What a great Saviour we are talking about in light of our text! I mean, His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, all three together, and that forever! Think about it. What more could you want? What more do we need? Imagine if only one of the three realities was true or just two even. If to God belonged only the kingdom and the glory but not the power, for example, then our Saviour God and salvation hope would be miserably incomplete and totally insufficient for the eternal salvation of sinners like you and me. But listen to this unchanging splendid good news, verified also in all of history, giving so much reason ever to trust and follow Him, the God of the Bible as revealed in Christ Jesus: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” Oh, do you see how this closing doxology of the Lord’s Prayer is meant as something tremendous to rely upon in faith, as something most precious and encouraging for sure? In other words, the superb ending to the Lord’s Prayer is given by Christ surely to function as a further pleading ground and basis for calling out to God, time and again. And it is given for praying in spirit and truth: ‘Our Father who art in heaven...we come now with all the six petitions you taught us to pray, saying with each and all of them individually and altogether now, all this we ask in hope, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever”.” Isn’t this the Christian mindset of God’s true people in line with the blessed ending of the Lord’s Prayer? Here notice in line with this all what the Christian of the Heidelberg Catechism answers to the question: “How do we conclude the Lord’s Prayer?” “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.” That means, says the Christian, “all [these petitions of the Lord’s Prayer] we ask of Thee, because Thou being our King and almighty, art willing and able to give us all good, and all this we pray for that thereby not we, but Thy holy Name, may be glorified forever.” The Westminster Larger Catechism also beautifully explains the doxology as God meant it to function in the life of His people in Question & Answer 196. “What does the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us? The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer (which is, For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen), teaches us to enforce our petitions with arguments, which are to be taken, not from any worthiness in ourselves, or in any other creature, but from God; and with our prayers to join praises, ascribing to God alone eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency; in regard whereof, as he is able and willing to help us, so we by faith are emboldened to plead with him that he would, and quietly to rely upon him, that he will fulfill our requests….” You see from these Reformation Catechisms’ Bible-based instruction, when it is well, with us there is not just an acceptance of the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer but a reliance on that doxology and a hopeful, joyful, trusting, pleading on the basis of it. Can you identify with this? For the genuine disciple of Jesus, the true Christian, this ending is not only a matter of truth but also trust, and not only truth and trust but also testimony. In other words, praying this ending as Jesus meant it includes having this as your aim in life and what you testify and desire to reflect in life. That is, not my kingdom is important but God’s kingdom! Not my power but His power! Not my glory but His glory! Is this what you would have reflected in your life? “Thine, [O God Triune] is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” Do you pray: “Let my life, Lord, be always a signpost about this to others and in all I pursue.” Is this your testimony, by God’s grace, and what you desire always to be your testimony, for as long as you live? When this is our testimony it will surely come out in our life, in all the things we do and pursue and the priorities we have, and in the things we don’t do and stay away from and count secondary. Do you too want this doxology of the Lord’s Prayer to be more real in your life, as a matter of truth, trust, and testimony in your life? God calls our whole life to be lived in doxology to Him, and the ending of the Lord’s Prayer is a climactic statement telling our lives can be that, looking to the Lord and ever depending on Him. There is not a need for body and soul and in life or death, for now or eternity, that the Triune God is unwilling or unable to meet for all who look to Him. Indeed, all God’s people may know the comforting gospel truth that the work God has begun in seeking and saving sinners completely and eternally, will by His grace be fully done, for His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever! This ending to the Lord’s Prayer pledges and proclaims to ‘pray-ers’ of the Lord’s Prayer so much gospel promise with endless guarantee in and through Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Saviour. Will this message now help to make the ending of the Lord’s Prayer as really a matter of truth, trust, and testimony to you? In conclusion, also in doxological climax, isn’t it good to think about and to say, surely, this doxology is given by the Lord to lead His people in admiration and adoration of God. For Who is so great and loving and glorious a God as He, God Triune as revealed in and through Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners? Shouldn’t this superb ending to the Lord’s Prayer lead you and me in the way of dedication and motivation and inspiration and exhilaration in God’s ways and in His service each and every day? Yes, with all we think, say, and do, wherever we are, and whoever we are with? It is not in vain to seek and serve the Lord with the whole of our being. While how vain and empty it surely is to serve idol gods of man’s making, and the ways of this world and of our sinful flesh. Will you be someone who will not submit to the one true God, to whom belongs the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever? Will you mouth the words of the Lord’s Prayer, including the doxology, but not mean a word of it? Oh, to live apart from this God, the God of the Bible, and without faith and devotion to Him is ultimately to live in desperation of a vain hope and in final and eternal devastation and destruction duly deserved for sin and evil. But to trust and obey the Lord, and to keep on with Him, by God’s grace, is never in vain. For again, remember, always His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever! How important and urgent to be right with God today, reconciled to Him by grace through faith in Christ and His saving work on sinners’ behalf. Not to be saved by Him means to find out too late that to God belong the kingdom and the power, and the glory forever, only to have this reality be to your everlasting condemnation instead of your everlasting salvation. God forbid it be so in your case. Will you take seriously this doxology now today, even if you never have done so before? One day also all the redeemed in heaven will be testifying to the eternal validity and victory of this doxology. We read thus in Revelation 7:10 & 12 about the countless multitude of the redeemed, from out of all nations, worshiping before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands and exclaiming in endless joy with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation to our God, who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb….Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might be unto God for ever and ever….” Oh, shall we all be participants in that great crowd of blood-bought, redeemed, and renewed sinners, how important here and now to be found in Christ Jesus, calling upon Him in prayer as your only Saviour and Lord for now and forever. Surely how necessary and how blessed ever to pray now then in the way of the Lord’s Prayer, receiving and reflecting by God’s grace this superb ending of that prayer as a matter of truth, trust, and testimony: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” Do you say too: ‘What a superb ending to the Lord’s Prayer this truly is”? Amen. Hans Overduin, Radio Pastor
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