5. God's Glory in Clay Jars


Audio (41:25)

Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié, ‘La Conversion de Saül ’ (1767), oil on canvas. Saul was the last person you would expect to display God’s glory, but God chose him.
Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié, 'La Conversion de Saül ' (1767), oil on canvas. Saul was the last person you would expect to display God's glory, but God chose him.

Glory was part of the intimate relationship between Jesus and his disciples. His glory drew them, and enabled them to know and believe in him.

"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." (John 17:24)

What we explore in this lesson is how that glory resides in us believers and changes the world.

Jesus and His Disciples Bring Glory to the Father

As we observed in Lesson 3, Jesus' glory was displayed in his miracles. Jesus' inner circle saw Jesus' glory in his Transfiguration -- and came to see glory in both his crucifixion and his resurrection/ascension.

Jesus instructs his disciples that by his life and death he is bringing glory to the Father, and they are to do likewise.

"When [Judas] was gone, Jesus said, 'Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.'" (John 13:31-32)

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." (John 14:13)

The High Priestly Prayer in John 17: "After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 'Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.'" (John 17:1)

 "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." (John 17:4-5)

I offer the above verses to make this point: That Jesus glorified the Father in his death. As the Gospel of John concludes, we see that the disciples' own deaths will bring glory to God as well.

"Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God." (John 21:19)

We've considered being transformed by beholding Christ's glory, now we'll consider altering our world by displaying Christ's glory in our lives. Christ's followers have been given both his glory and his authority as tools for the Kingdom in our fallen world. First, we'll consider the glory he has given us.

Glory in God's People

In his high priestly prayer, Jesus says something curious.

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:22)

Just what is this derived glory? It must refer, at least in part, to the Holy Spirit whom Jesus bestows on his disciples (John 20:22). The Spirit, the holy presence of God, now lives within us in the same way as God dwelt in the Tabernacle and Temple. As we considered in Lesson 4, his glory is changing us. That glory is in Christ, whom we behold (2 Corinthians 3:18), but also within us in the Person of the Holy Spirit (John 14:17).

In Lesson 2 we saw that each of Jesus' works and miracles are signs of the Glorious Kingdom breaking into our world.

"The first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him." (John 2:11)

"If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you." (Luke 11:20)

Jesus' inherent glory broke through as he performed miracles and showed compassion for the hurting and oppressed. The glory Jesus gives us is designed to reveal God's glory through our lives.

Let Your Light Shine (Matthew 5:14-16)

But there is another theme regarding glory in the disciple -- reputation glory, where our lives enhance God's reputation. We see this in John's Gospel.

"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (John 15:8)[91]

To the Father: "All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them." (John 17:10)

Reputation glory flows to Jesus as we, his disciples, live lives in the Spirit and thus display the character of Jesus in our lives.

Following his parable about his disciples being the salt of the earth, Jesus tells two short parables about light.

"14  You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16, ESV)

"Give glory" (ESV, NRSV), "glorify" (KJV), "praise" (NIV) is doxazō, "to influence one's opinion about another so as to enhance the latter's reputation, praise, honor, extol."[92] This is "reputation glory" that we discussed in Lesson 1. So our derived glory adds to God's reputation glory.

"This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine...."

There are many passages in the Old and New Testaments that talk about the contrast between light and darkness. Light often represents the glory of God's presence in us. Here are just a few:

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light...." (Ephesians 5:8)

"You shine like stars ... in a crooked and depraved generation." (Philippians 2:15)

"You are all sons of the light." (1 Thessalonians 5:4)

"The righteous will shine like the sun...." (Matthew 13:43)

You can trace the contrast between light and darkness in Appendix 2. The Bible Theme of Light vs. Darkness.

Glory Christ-like Behavior

In a dark world where people live selfish, brutish lives, good deeds stand out. The indeed bring glory to Christ when people "see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Good deeds done in love prompt wonder and point to God.

"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

"In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor." (Acts 9:36)

The church honors a widow who "is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds." (1 Timothy 5:10)

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." (1 Peter 2:12)

 "Husbands ... may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives." (1 Peter 3:1)

Q1. (Matthew 5:14-16) In what sense are we the "light of the world"? What does it mean to let your light shine? What kinds of character and actions in a believer's life bring glory to the Father? Why were we created to do good works? (Ephesians 2:10)
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1710-q1-light-of-the-world/

The Glory of God in Suffering (2 Corinthians 4:5-12)

In the same way that Jesus displayed God's glory breaking into the world through his works and miracles -- especially on the cross -- so we show the glory of Christ when we respond with grace when persecuted.

"If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." (1 Peter 4:14)

Paul explains to the church at Corinth the truth that God's glory is seen best when we are stressed and persecuted. Let's spend some time to understand what Paul is teaching here. Paul begins this section:

"5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

This isn't about us, says Paul. We point to Christ. Our lives illustrate God's creative word: "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3, 14).

In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we see that the gospel itself brings the glory of Christ to those who have eyes to see it.

"4  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5  For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6  For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

Perhaps we've heard the good news of Jesus so often that to us the story is nothing new. But for those who hear it -- really hear it! -- for the first time, it brings them into an encounter with the glory of Christ. Many of us live in post-Christian cultures, where many of our hearers have never attended church and know nothing of Jesus.

Many times, I will have given a Sunday morning message without much feeling that something special is going on. This is what pastors do. But someone will come up to me with face aglow, touched by the Spirit, changed by God. I'll ask what in the message spoke to them, and often it will be nothing that I actually said, but what they heard from God as I was speaking. In the exercise of our spiritual gifts, the glory of God can break loose.

"Whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies -- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:11, ESV)

Glory in Jars of Clay (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Many times I've felt unworthy of representing Christ to others, since the task is daunting: to convey by example and word the precious and awesome "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). But we are weak, human vessels, subject to imperfection and breakage. How can imperfect people bring glory to Christ?

 Paul explains,

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Again -- this is not about us! "Jars of clay" (NIV, ESV) or "earthen vessels" (KJV, RSV) are pottery containers. Paul uses as his example the common pottery containers found in every household in his day. They didn't have pots and pans, but pottery.

In the last couple of months I've been sculpting with moist, malleable clay. Clay is dirt, a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth, technically defined as "sediment with particles smaller than silt." Just dirt. But when molded by a skilled craftsman, it can be formed and then can be fired for durability.

Verse 7 contains five key words that I'd like to highlight.

The first word is ostrakinos, "made of earth/clay."[93] You probably have a few kiln-fired flower pots at your house. The least expensive ones are made of red clay (terra cotta), formed and fired. The best have a colorful glaze on the surface that conveys beauty. But when you look at the bottom of a glazed pot you can see that it is still just clay -- nothing exotic. Archaeological digs have found many, many thousands of pieces of broken pottery. Pottery vessels are useful for a while, but have a limited working life. Then they fail, crack, break, and ultimately dissolve back to clay again.

The second word is skeuos, "vessel, jar, dish, a container of any kind," then figuratively, "a human being exercising a function, instrument, vessel."[94] Again: The focus shouldn't be about us. We're just the container. The focus should be on the contents: "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6), the "all-surpassing power" of God at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

The third word is thēsauros, (from which we get our word "thesaurus"), "that which is stored up, treasure."[95] The outside is just a clay container. But inside is a great treasure, the Spirit of glory and power, the Holy Spirit of God.

A fourth word describes the contents, hyperbolē, "all-surpassing" (NIV), "extraordinary" (NRSV), "excellency" (KJV). It means, "a state of exceeding to an extraordinary degree a point on a scale of extent, excess, extraordinary quality/character."[96]

A fifth word names the contents, dynamis, "power." In you and me is unlimited power. No, it is not about us. This is about Christ, his love, and his power!

Have you ever felt weak, powerless in yourself. I'm sure that Paul did, too. But the One who indwelt Paul -- and now, you -- is not weak and powerless. You are a limited vessel. He is the unlimited contents of that vessel poured out to quench the spiritual thirst of lost humankind. It's not about you! It's about him!

If the world can even get a glimpse of the boundless treasure inside of you, they'll be blown away. It's not about you, the vessel, but the treasure inside.

"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Glory Seen via the Pressures of Life (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Now Paul talks about some of the pressures of the Christian life and ministry. He has alluded to them previously in his second letter to the Corinthians (1:8-9) and will speak more about them later in his letter (11:22-28). He says,

"8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

In this sentence, Paul lays out four pairs of words -- first, the difficulty the "clay" faces, then second, the hope the "treasure" affords.

Hard pressed[97] But not crushed[98]
Perplexed[99] But not in despair[100]
Persecuted[101] But not abandoned[102]
Struck down[103] But not destroyed[104]

You've experienced pressure, confusion, perhaps even mild persecution. But Paul was literally "struck down" on several occasions (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). In the natural order, we'd be wiped out by all this conflict and pressure, threat and blows. But we are not to be incapacitated.

Death in Us, Life in You (4:10-12)

Notice the result: Life in those around us!

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. "11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you." (2 Corinthians 4:10-12)

When we are exposed to struggle, stress, and pain, our inner self is exposed. People can see us for what we are. If we are sniveling cowards, that will become obvious. If we exhibit God's grace under pressure, people will see that as well. When we suffer, people can see Jesus' work within us and will be attracted to the authenticity they see. That's why Paul talks about his weaknesses and sufferings so much.

Paul knows that his sufferings revealed Christ's reality to others, so Paul is willing to be transparent and real. Christ's life "may be revealed in our mortal body," if we are surrendered to him. We experience problems, but others are blessed by seeing God's grace in action in our lives.

No matter what they say, people don't expect perfection in us. They expect us to have quirks like anyone else. But when they see the amazing Christ within -- his character, his power, his faith -- they are blown away.

Trouble has a way of cracking the earthenware pot, but that just allows others to see the glory of the treasure that lies within (2 Corinthians 4:7). Pressure and persecution are endured for the Kingdom (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5), and Paul promises that they  guarantee we will share in his glory when Christ returns (Romans 8:17).

Q2. (2 Corinthians 4:5-12) Why does a believer's suffering make his or her witness more credible to the world? Why do you think Paul contrasts "jars of clay" with "all-surpassing power"? What is the "treasure" that is contained within us? How does this differ from the New Age truism of "believe in yourself"?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1711-q2-seeing-the-treasure-within/

The Glory Go-between

There's another aspect of glory in our ministry to others.

Remember in Lesson 1, where Moses routinely spent time in the tent of meeting in God's presence for such a time and intensity that his face would glow (Exodus 33:7-11). The text implies that Moses acted as a kind of seer or prophet for his people, in the way that Samuel did for Israel, and as the high priest did by consulting the Urim and Thumim. Moses, Samuel, and the high priests are a kind of go-between, a mediator, carrying messages back and forth between the Lord and the people.

Today the spiritual gift of prophecy can work in something of the same way, encouraging and sometimes rebuking God's people. Can it be abused? Of course, just as can any other spiritual gift. But the existence of a counterfeit doesn't mean that there isn't the genuine article.

As a ten-year-old boy I can remember my Presbyterian pastor, who would give an invitation to receive Christ at the close of the service each Sunday at our small, tourist-area church. One Sunday, when no one responded to the invitation immediately, he said to us: "This morning God told me that six will come forward. We'll just wait for you." He waited -- and the six came. There I was, a young boy seeing a man of God who prays and listens to God. I trusted the pastor because I knew he heard from God.

There is a glory in hearing from God and sharing that with others. With or without a physical glow, people are hungry for a word from God, or even a loving touch.

As we live our lives as followers of Jesus, the glory of Jesus leaks out of us through kind deeds, through miracles of healing, through a heart of love and compassion. As the Greek-speaking Jews said as they sought an audience with the Christ: "We would see Jesus" (John 12:21).

Kingdom and Glory

We've considered God's glory in his people, his saints. Now I want us to explore the other piece of this -- God's kingdom in his people.

The Glorious Kingdom (Daniel 7)

When I studied Daniel some years ago, I was struck by two passages, related to the great Son of Man passage in Daniel 7:13-14.

"And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:14)

I love Geoff Bullock's song "This Kingdom" that proclaims this glorious Kingdom.

"And this Kingdom will know no end,
And its glory shall know no bounds.
For the majesty and power
Of this Kingdom's King has come.
And this Kingdom's reign,
And this Kingdom's rule,
And this Kingdom's power and authority
Jesus, God's righteousness revealed."[105] 

The Saints Receive the Kingdom (Daniel 7:18, 21-22)

The everlasting Kingdom is given to the Son of Man, but is then bestowed -- presumably by him -- upon his people, the "saints," the "holy ones."

"But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever -- yes, for ever and ever.... As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom." (Daniel 7:18, 21-22)

Moving to the Gospels, we read that Jesus delegated to his disciples his role as the Spokesman of the Kingdom:

"When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.... So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere."(Luke 9:1-2, 6)

The signs of the Kingdom were in their ministry as was the authority of the Glorious Kingdom and its characteristic fruit.

The Twelve had direct authority conveyed to them as they went out on their mission. Later, in the Upper Room, Jesus commissions them with his own commission:

"'As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'" (John 20:21-23)

It's a pretty awesome commissioning, and the granting of amazing authority -- if you take it seriously!

Kingdom Authority of the Saints

Clearly, authority existed in New Testament days. Jack W. Hayford wrote in his famous chorus, "Majesty":

"Majesty, kingdom authority,
Flow from his throne, unto his own;
His anthem raise."[106]

If you aren't one of the original Twelve, do you have Kingdom Authority? Does it exist in our day? If so, what is the source of this authority? Paul wrote to the Ephesian church about Christ's "positional authority" over every other power:

"[God] seated [Christ] at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet...." (Ephesians 1:20-22a)

A few verses later, Paul declares

"God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6)

You and I have "positional authority" when we are "in Christ Jesus." This authority "flows from his throne, unto his own...." My friend, no longer question whether you have Kingdom Authority. Your authority derives from Jesus with whom you are seated in heavenly realms.

Q3. (Ephesians 1:20-22; 2:6) Jesus' apostles were given spiritual authority from Jesus to carry out their ministries. What is the basis of your spiritual authority? Why do you think we believers neglect to exercise our God-given Kingdom authority?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1712-q3-spiritual-authority/

Faith, Authority, God's Will, and Gifting

Here's are the elements to exercise Kingdom authority.

1. We have faith. That is, we believe that God can and will act supernaturally in our world. In the West we live in a society so dependent upon a scientific model that excludes any spiritual intervention, that it is difficult for us to exercise faith. But as that grows and explodes our restrictive models, we can see the power of God.

2. We must understand the authority we possess in Christ. Does that mean that God will back up everything we do in his name? To answer that, look at Jesus as he walked in the flesh:

"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19)

Jesus had all authority, but he only exercised it in tandem with what he saw his Father doing. He could discern what the Father was doing because he spent hours in prayer and communion with his Father as his pattern of life.[107] He tells his disciples to do as he does: "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).

3. Third, after authority, the important issue is God's specific will for this occasion. What does the Father want to do now? We're not talking about his general will, but what specific action should I take? What method do you want to use in this particular situation?

4. The fourth issue is gifting. Last week an earnest man from Florida telephoned me. He asked, "How can I have miracles and healings happen through me?" I believe that signs and wonders are for today. But he has a valid question. Faith, of course, is one of the answers (Matthew 17:20). The other crucial piece is gifting. Paul taught the Corinthian church:

"Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? (1 Corinthians 12:29-30a)

The answer to these rhetorical questions is No.[108] Not all work miracles. Not all heal -- at least not regularly. It all depends on how God has gifted us for ministry.

As we grow in faith, understanding of our authority, develop a listening ear for his voice, and understand what kind of ministry God calls us to, we can increasingly make a difference in the Kingdom of God.

Ruling and Reigning with Christ

Whether or not God uses you in a healing ministry, he wants your ministry gifts to be involved in his Kingdom work. I want to suggest that we "rule and reign with Christ," both in this life and in the next.

What does it mean to rule? Simply, it means to exercise the authority we have to accomplish the purposes of the Kingdom. So when you are exercising your ministry to push back the forces of darkness (as a teacher or an exorcist), or to help Christ's body function well (as a pastor/shepherd or a person with the gift of leadership or administration), you are ruling and reigning in Christ's stead.

Ruling and reigning in this life is another way of speaking of spiritual warfare, by which we resist and push back the forces of Satan. Where we replace good and peace and wholeness, for evil and brokenness.

Of course, there is a future reign that Scripture also speaks of, one that happens after Christ returns (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 1:6; 20:4d; Matthew 19:28). We'll look at that in Lesson 6.

Your Kingdom come ... as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10)

Let's look at the present reign of Christ's people from another passage of Scripture. Jesus' model prayer, the Lord's prayer, teaches us to pray:

"Your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth
    as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

To properly interpret this verse, we must observe that Jesus has couched several lines of the prayer in Hebrew parallelism, an element of Hebrew poetry that we often observe in the Psalms and Prophets. At the simplest level of parallelism, one line is followed by another that is similar but leads the thought forward.

  First line Second line
vs. 10 your kingdom come your will be done
vs. 12 Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors
vs. 13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

Verses 10 and 12 are called "synoptic parallelism," where both lines say the same thing. Verse 13 is called "antithetic parallelism," where the negative is stated and then the positive (or vice versa).

Some people interpret verse 10 ("May your kingdom come") eschatalogically, that is: Return quickly in your Second Coming to usher in your Kingdom and fix the mess we've made of the world. And Christ will indeed do this at the End of the Age!

But consider another possibility. If we are seeing Hebrew synoptic parallelism in verse 10, this means that "your kingdom come" and "your will be done" are two ways of saying something similar about the present reality in heaven:

May your kingdom come here on earth, as it presently exists in heaven.
May your will be done here on earth, as it presently is done in heaven.

I think Jesus is talking about what science fiction might call "parallel universes." Paul talks about this "parallel universe" called "glory" being the source of our supply today.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, ESV)

Christ's Kingdom certainly exists now in heaven. We are praying that Christ's current reign in heaven will be worked out here on earth in our situation. That Christ's Kingdom will come to our here and now, intervene in our world, and become visible. That excites me!

Through prayer and then obedience to what Christ is telling us, we see his Kingdom rule exercised in our own sphere of influence.

There is a future fulfillment -- yes. But there is also a present-day fulfillment. Here, in our world we see the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy:

"But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom
 and will possess it forever -- yes, for ever and ever...." (Daniel 7:18)

Q4. (Matthew 6:10) In what sense are we to rule and reign in Christ's Kingdom administration now, in this life? What would your world be like if a majority of believers took this seriously? What do you think ruling and reigning with Christ will consist of after he returns?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1713-q4-rule-and-reign/

Lessons for Disciples

Some of the learnings of this chapter may be new to you, but I invite you to meditate on them and test them by Scripture. Here's what we've considered.

  1. Jesus intended that his disciples bring glory (reputation glory) to the Father by their lives and ministries (Matthew 5:14-16), and by bearing much fruit (John 15:8).
  2. The "treasure in jars of clay" image explains that it isn't about us. That in our weaknesses, the treasure within is most visible.
  3. People can see Christ in maturing believers especially in times when we are suffering or are under stress, because that is when Christ's remarkable work is seen as both authentic and amazing to observers.
  4. Through us and our faith and communication with God, we can relay to the hungry God's message as "glory go-betweens."
  5. The kingdom given to the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14 is given to the "saints of the Most High," who shall receive the kingdom, that is, reign with Christ to maintain and extend his kingdom work
  6. God's people can exercise Kingdom Authority since we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, far above other powers and spiritual beings in our world.
  7. We rule and reign with Christ now -- as well as at the End of the Age -- through listening and obeying what the Spirit says to us.
  8. The Lord's Prayer uses Hebrew parallelism to relate doing God's will on earth to his Kingdom coming on earth (Matthew 6:10).

A Doxology

Catholics and the Orthodox pray the "Our Father" from Matthew 6:9-13 as it appears in modern translations. The Protestant version of the Lord's Prayer, however, concludes with a doxology. Our English word "doxology" comes from two Greek words, doxa -- "praise, glory" and logos -- "word." This doxology means a "word of praise or glory." It is sometimes it is called an ascription, since these qualities are "ascribed" to God.

 "For Thine is Kingdom,
and the Power,
And the Glory,
Forever and ever. Amen!"

Our best guess is that the doxology was added -- perhaps on the basis of 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 -- to adapt the Lord's Prayer for liturgical use in the early church. Although the doxology was probably not part of the original text, Jewish practice was to conclude prayers with a doxology, so it is unlikely that it was offered in New Testament times without some form of doxology.[109] 

The Glorious Kingdom: A Disciple's Guide to Kingdom Glory and Authority, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Available in PDF and Kindle formats

One of my favorite parts of the Lord's Prayer is the doxology. I love to speak out loud as words of declaration and praise, "For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory," for all these are his in abundance. Praise is a fitting way to conclude our prayer. May His Kingdom and his power and his glory be seen in our lives.

Prayer

Father, it's hard for me to visualize a Kingdom that I can't see physically. Help me to see your Kingdom through Jesus' words and through the authority I learn to exercise in his name. Let your glory fill this earth beginning with me, with all of us, God's holy people. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:22)

"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (John 15:8)

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16, ESV)

"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." (1 Peter 2:12)

"If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." (1 Peter 4:14)

"In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of dark-ness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

"God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6)

"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19)

"Your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth
    as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, ESV)

End Notes

[91] We see something similar in Matthew: "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory (doxazō) to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

[92] Doxazō, BDAG 258, 1.  The verb doxazō derives from the root doxa, the Greek term for glory.

[93] Ostrakinos, BDAG 430.

[94] Skeuos, BDAG 928, 2 and 3.

[95] Thēsauros, BDAG 456, 2bγ. From this Greek word se get our English word "thesaurus."

[96] Hyperbolē, BDAG 1032. English "hyperbole" is a transliteration of this word.

[97] "Hard pressed" (NIV), "afflicted" (NRSV), "troubled" (KJV), not just in one area at a time but "on every side." There are multiple pressures. The verb is thlibō, which has the basic idea of "to press, compress, make narrow." Here it is used figuratively, "to cause to be troubled, oppress, afflict" (BDAG 457, 3).

[98] "But not crushed" (NIV, NRSV), "not distressed" (KJV) is the negative particle plus stenochōreō. The verb means basically, "to confine or restrict to a narrow space, crowd, cramp, confine, restrict." Figuratively, it means, "to be in a circumstance that seems to offer no way out, be distressed" (BDAG 492, 2).

[99] "Perplexed" is aporeō. It has the basic meaning, especially found in ancient Greek papyrus documents, of "to be without resources." From this evolved the meaning, "to be in a confused state of mind, be at a loss, be in doubt, be uncertain" (BDAG 119).

[100] "Not in despair" (NIV, KJV), "not driven to despair" (NRSV). The verb is exaporeō, a compound word from the root of aporeō, the first word in the pair. The preposition ex- compounded to this verb adds the idea of "entirely, utterly" (Ex, Thayer 192, VI, 6) to the original verb exaporeō, "to be utterly at a loss, be utterly destitute of measures or resources, to renounce all hope, be in despair" (Thayer 222; "to be at a loss psychologically, be in great difficulty, doubt, embarrassment," (BDAG 345).

[101] "Persecuted" is diōkō. Literally, it means, "to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away." But most of the time in the New Testament, it means, "to harass someone," especially because of beliefs, "trouble, molest, persecute."[101] In ancient Greek papyrus documents it sometimes means, "to accuse" (BDAG 254, 2; Thayer 153, 2).

[102] "Abandoned" (NIV), "forsaken" (NRSV, KJV) is enkataleipō, "to separate connection with someone or something, forsake, abandon, desert."[102] We have God's promise: "I will never leave you or forsake (enkataleipō) you" (Hebrews 13:5, NRSV, quoting Deuteronomy 31:6) (BDAG 273, 2).

[103] "Struck down" (NIV, NRSV), "cast down" (KJV) is kataballō, "to strike with sufficient force so as to knock down, throw down, strike down" (BDAG 514, 2).

[104] "Not destroyed" is apollymi, "destroyed," here in the passive voice, "perish, be ruined" (BDAG 115, 1bα).

[105] Geoff Bullock, "This Kingdom," © 1992, Universal Music / Word Music LLC.

[106] Jack Hayford, ©1981, New Spring.

[107] Mark 6:46; Luke 3:21; 4:42; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1.

[108] In each question, Greek grammar of these questions indicate that a negative answer is expected.  "Not all work miracles, do they?"

[109] Some of the earliest manuscript families lack the doxology -- specifically Alexandrian (Aleph and B), Western (D and most of the Old Latin), and the pre-Caesarean (f1) types. Those that include it are K L W Delta Theta, Pi, and f13et al. A few manuscripts (such as the Didache have a different doxology altogether. Some of the earliest Church Fathers (Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian, for example) didn't include the doxology in their commentaries on the Lord's Prayer. So W.L. Liefeld, "Lord's Prayer," ISBE 3:162. See Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (United Bible Societies, 1971), pp. 16-17. At some point the use of the doxology had dropped out in Roman Catholic liturgy. John Calvin (1509-1564) comments, "It is surprising that this clause ... has been left out by the Latins...." (A Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, q.v.). John A. Broadas (Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Judson Press, 1886), p. 139) notes that the doxology wasn't introduced into the English Book of Common Prayer until the time of Charles II.


Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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