I've been asked to preach again this coming Sunday. The service is based on the Lord's Prayer. I'd appreciate comment:
Prelude: (Low volume, 4 minutes prior to service—Open Up the Heavens, Meredith Andrews)
Welcome and any announcements (With brief explanation that the entire service is modeled on the Lord’s Prayer.)
Invocation and Prayer
Father God, we thank you and praise you that you not only created us, but that you provide for us and protect us and love us as our true Father, as no father here on earth ever has or could. We lift up our praises before your throne in heaven for the very nature of your name, which is sacred and holy. Lord of heaven and earth! Hallelujah!
Song of Praise: Be Unto You Name, Robin Mark
Lord , let your kingdom come, let your plan and your will be fulfilled as you have planned from the beginning, in the fullness of time and according to your will in your perfect timing, never one instant too early or too late. Lord, let it be that all is done here on earth as it is already done in heaven.
Celebration Church –
Children’s time—Daily Bread
Lord, we thank you for your amazing provisions and your daily gifts of abundance, both physical and spiritual. We know it all comes from you, Lord. We bless you and thank you that Jesus is the bread of life, that all of your words and His words written out in the Bible daily feed us and nourish our souls and that we live and move and have our very being in them. We thank you that your mercies are new each morning. We worship you by giving back to you in joy from what you have given us.
Worship with Tithes and Offerings
Lord, we confess in our hearts any sins within us. We ask that you would forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Oh Lord, if there is any unforgiveness in us, by the power of your Holy Spirit, grant that we would remember how much love it took for Jesus to go to that cross to take away all our sins. (Selah)
Mighty and everlasting God, let the power of that love consume us and soften our cold, hard hearts that we would be willing to not only give our lives for you, but to forgive and wash feet--even the feet of one who would betray us for a handful of coins.
Lord, in your mercy, lead us on the path of righteousness far from all the temptations of this world and protect us and keep us safe from evil and the enemy of our souls.
Song of Praise: Hail to the King, Shannon Wexelberg
Message: The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever.
As we come to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, we again praise Him. But what do those words mean?
The word “kingdom” simply means the dominion of the king. “Dominion” can mean a place, as in the territory of the king. Since God created the universe and everything in it, the entire universe is His kingdom. How big is that?
Well, the Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light years across and there are billions and billions of galaxies in the universe. NASA says no one knows if the universe is infinite or not, but we know there is stuff beyond what even the most powerful instruments in the world can see or measure.
That sounds pretty infinite to me.
And of course, heaven is also God’s kingdom. That’s either in another universe or another dimension or another plane of being.
Whatever the case, the borders of God’s kingdom are beyond our comprehension.
As it pertains to God, “the kingdom” also means the spiritual realm over which is God is sovereign. There are two kingdoms in this world: The kingdom or darkness, and the kingdom of light.
If we are of God, we are citizens of the kingdom of light, over which God is rightful King. We are His subjects and His children.
So, Lord, we acknowledge that you are King over the infinite realms you have created and our hearts, our minds, and our souls are yours and yours alone. You are our King, sovereign Lord, and no other! We bow our hearts to you in worship and praise, awesome LORD.
The LORD God created the universe and everything in it (except man) simply by speaking it into being.
The power of His word brings forth light and beauty and everything. His power is beyond our ability to imagine or comprehend. As His kingdom is infinite, so also is the power that created the infinite.
And, the root of that power is His love. There is no power in all the universe greater than the love of God.
And out of that great love, God created Adam out of the dust of the earth, forming him with his own hands. And then, he breathed His own breath into Adam to give him life. People are God’s greatest creation, formed in love to love and to be loved.
Again and again, His power is shown in His Word.
It was God’s mighty power that freed the children of Israel; that parted the Red Sea; that sent manna from heaven; that won many battles; that caused the walls of Jericho to fall; that allowed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to walk through the flames unharmed; that shut the mouths of the lions for Daniel; that caused Jesus to be born of a virgin; and that raised him from the dead.
God’s power is matchless, unequaled, amazing, and again, beyond our ability to comprehend or imagine. Nothing is impossible for God.
Hallelujah! Lord, we are saved by the power of your great and infinite love! We worship you for your incredible power and we are humbled by it. Lord, let it be that we rely on your power in our lives, neve deceiving ourselves that we have any power that did not originate with and was granted to us by you.
Ahh, the GLORY!
Verse after verse mentions God’s glory—but what exactly is it?
Kinship Christian Radio announcer Beth Crosby recently began one of her programs by saying: “God created everything with His voice. He spoke and the universe came into existence. That is grandeur, power, and glory. David tells us that God’s glory fills the heavens. The word “glory” itself means “majesty.” It describes Gods stateliness, His impressiveness in scale and proportion, His greatness. Creation doesn’t exist simply to provide us a home or a place for us to enjoy. The universe exists to show forth Gods immeasurable, unquantifiable, indescribable, and awesome characteristics. The celestial realm’s great expanse magnifies God’s enormity and reminds us that God is worthy of worship.
When I sat down to write this part of the message, and told my family I intended to write about God’s glory, and they said, “You do that a lot.”
True. I have no defense for that accusation.
And, as I pondered why that was so, I came to the conclusion that I keep doing it over and over again because I feel I never quite get it right. It’s like the words on the page always fall way, way short of the glory due God.
It’s no wonder.
Because God’s kingdom and His power are infinite, so is His glory. How could I describe the infinite glory of an infinite God? As Beth said, God’s awesome characteristics are immeasurable, unquantifiable, and indescribable.
The Bible tells us that God’s glory is so great that, when it takes on visible properties, it is downright frightening.
In 2 Chronicles 7, after Solomon had consecrated the temple he had built for the LORD, the glory of the God filled it and the priests could not enter it. When all the people of Israel saw the glory of the LORD filling the temple, they fell down on their faces and worshiped and praised the LORD.
The shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks by night had a similar reaction when the angel announced the birth of Jesus:
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. (Luke 2:9)
Indeed, fear and trembling, praise and worship are the only responses left to us when we are in the presence of the glory of God.
While I will never be able to adequately describe the incredible glory of God, the Bible does describe what it was like when God’s glory withdrew from the Earth:
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. (Luke 23:44, 45a ESV)
In that moment when Jesus was dying and the love of God and His glory retreated from all the earth, complete darkness fell over us.
There was a great earthquake, the temple of the curtain was torn in two, and the very rocks split. It seemed as if the whole earth would crumble to pieces without the presence of the glory of God.
And, I am convinced it would have, had He not withdrawn from us temporarily that His glory would be all the greater when he arose from the dead, clothed in majesty, with a way opened before us to be freed and forgiven, reunited and restored to Him.
The truth is, God’s glory is all around us every day. We do not live in darkness. All of this is a miracle, created by His voice. From the infinitely small perfection of the very molecules that make up everything around us to the infinite vastness of the universe, His infinite love is visible and tangible in the gifts He has placed before us.
But the greatest of all those gifts was His incredible plan to take on finite flesh and emerge victorious in the battle of the finite versus the infinite.
When we brought death into this world with our sin, we introduced the finite into what had been created and designed to be infinite. That’s why when Jesus rose from what had been the finality of death and brought everlasting life to all who believe, He was victorious in restoring the infinite. And this was not by any virtue of our own, but by the very nature of His infinite love for us and to the praise of His infinite glory, forever and ever.
LORD, we are humbled in the presence of your glory! We praise you and worship you and ask that your Holy Spirit would shine out of us causing all we do and say to be to the building up of your kingdom, the power to save many souls, and to the praise of your glory, forever and ever!
And all God’s people said,
AMEN! (Music “All the People Said Amen by Matt Maher)