PRAISE GOD, FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW; PRAISE HIM, ALL CREATURES HERE BELOW; PRAISE HIM ABOVE, YE HEAVENLY HOST; PRAISE HIM FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST. AMEN.
(The Doxology, CH-658)
WELCOME TO OUR SUNDAY MORNING WEB-WORSHIP.
OPENING HYMN(CH-360)–PRAISE MY SOUL THE KING OF HEAVEN; to His feet thy tribute bring; ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who like me His praise should sing? Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise the everlasting King.
Praise Him for His grace and favour to our fathers in distress; Praise Him, still the same for ever, slow to chide and swift to bless; Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Glorious in His faithfulness.
Father-like he tends and spares us; well our feeble frame he knows; in His hands he gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes; Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Widely as His mercy flows.
Frail as summer’s flower we flourish; blows the wind and it is gone; but, while mortals rise and perish, God endures unchanging on; Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise the high eternal One.
Angels, help us to adore Him; Ye behold Him face to face; sun and moon, bow down before Him; dwellers all in time and space. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise with us the God of grace.
LET US PRAY:
“GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO”: –
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to God’s people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly king,
almighty God and Father,
we worship You, we give You thanks,
we praise You for Your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
You take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
You are seated
at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For You alone are the Holy One,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High,
With the Holy Spirit,
In the glory of God the Father.
(According to the Book of Common Order)
THE OLD TESTAMENT READING: – PSALM 103: 1 – 8.
PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL; ALL MY INMOST BEING, PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME. PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL, AND FORGET NOT ALL HIS BENEFITS – WHO FORGIVES ALL YOUR SINS AND HEALS ALL YOUR DISEASES, WHO REDEEMS YOUR LIFE FROM THE PIT AND CROWNS YOU WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION, WHO SATISFIES YOUR DESIRES WITH GOOD THINGS SO THAT YOUR YOUTH IS RENEWED LIKE THE EAGLE’S. THE LORD WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUSTICE FOR ALL THE OPPRESSED. HE MADE KNOWN HIS WAYS TO MOSES, HIS DEEDS TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL: THE LORD IS COMPASSIONATE AND GRACIOUS, SLOW TO ANGER, ABOUNDING IN LOVE.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING: – JUDE 24 – 25.
TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING AND TO PRESENT YOU BEFORE HIS GLORIOUS PRESENCE WITHOUT FAULT AND WITH GREAT JOY – TO THE ONLY GOD OUR SAVIOUR BE GLORY, MAJESTY, POWER AND AUTHORITY, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, BEFORE ALL AGES, NOW AND FOREVERMORE! AMEN.
PRAISING GOD is the religious duty of all believers. Both our readings are so called doxologies. A DOXOLOGY is a short praise to God in various forms of Christian worship, often added to the end of psalms, hymns, and canticles. In Ancient Greek: DOXA means GLORY, and LOGIA means SAYING. GLORIA is the anglicized form of the Latin GLORIAE, meaning IMMORTAL HONOUR, FAME, or PRAISE. The tradition derives from the similar practice in the Jewish worship called KADDISH, which in Hebrew means MAGNIFICATION, PRAISE, or SANCTIFICATION OF THE NAME OF GOD, – Psalm 103 being the best example of it. In our Christian tradition a doxology is typically an expression of praise for God’s Revelation through Jesus Christ, at whose Birth a Choir of Angels were singing it for the first time, as “Glory to God in the highest…” (Gloria in excelsis Deo, – in Latin).
After this unusual “linguistically” introduction to this sermon, let us turn first to Psalm 103 to find the reasons for a Worship of Praise: – Praise the Lord, o my soul; all my inmost being praise His holy name. . . and forget not all His benefits. . . because:
- – GOD FORGIVES (v. 3). An old proverb says: – To err is human; to forgive is divine. Some things God does we could have invented. Not so with forgiveness. We may have thought of reparation for sin, or denial of sin, or of purchasing indulgence to sin, but never would have thought of forgiveness. No quality in or out of the Bible bears the stamp of divine any more than it does forgiveness. The nature and magnitude of forgiveness caused David’s own gratitude so that the rest of the Psalm became a stream of Praise.
- – GOD HEALS (v. 3). He heals all diseases. Once I heard a doctor saying that God does all the healing, and that he and all those of his healing profession are merely instruments in God’s hands. This is not only expressing a great truth but suggests also that we who ask God for any kind of healing also must permit Him to use whatever method and channels He chooses to effect that healing. In these terrifying times of Coronavirus Pandemic this is the proper attitude to receive God’s healing we have been praying for almost a year now.
- – GOD REDEEMS (v. 4). When God redeems, He is buying back what is already His. We are God’s creation, but because we are lost in sin, He buys us back through Jesus, in whom God had restored our lost righteousness, and made us worthy to turn back to Him and praise His holy Name for our salvation.
- – GOD CROWNS (v. 4). Once, a slave stood tall and with unbending dignity at a slave auction. Asked the reason for his dignified appearance, one who knew him explained, – he is the son of a king, and he refuses to forget it. So are we, crowned as heirs of the King of kings with God’s Love and Compassion, to remember the Crown of Thorns worn by The Son of God for all those who believe in Him to not perish but have eternal life.
- – GOD SATISFIES (v. 5). The God-shaped-vacuum in every person can never be filled until the longing of the hearts is satisfied in God. Much of life’s restlessness is the result of spiritual hunger and thirst. Having access to the table of the King of kings, the Lords table is spread with, not only good things, but with abundant good things.
- – GOD EXECUTES RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUDGEMENT (v. 6). Our Almighty God rules with holiness and complete justice. Two things are to be said about the dispensation of God’s righteousness and judgement. First, it is consistent with God’s perfect nature: holy, merciful, and unspoiled. Second, it shows no favouritism. To the rich and poor, to the prominent and obscure, to the deserving and undeserving, God is eternally the same.
- – GOD REVEALS HIS WAYS TO PEOPLE (v. 7-8). It is no secret that,- the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. But it is also no secret what God wants us to do. The frustrated cry of many these days is not that we do not know, but that there is a gap between what we know and what we are willing to do. God’s action calls for human reaction. His revelation calls for our response. Response through deeds, of which are so beautifully reminded and guided here in verse 8 by the praises of our lips to the loves of our hearts, giving the main reason of all doxologies to God. The SPIRIT of grateful praises will then improve the SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE of our earthly lives and of this present world. The radiant, obedient, and Christ-centred life is the sweetest doxology of the soul.
The little New Testament LETTER OF JUDE, – of only 25 verses – is generally considered to be the work of Judas, the Brother of Jesus. His tremendous contribution to message of the Bible comes in the doxology of the last two verses of his epistle. Jude offers in his PRAISE a unique spiritual dimension of our GOD, WHO IS ABLE.
- – GOD IS ABLE TO KEEP US FROM FALLING (V. 24). THE Greek word for FALLING it is used both of a sure-footed-horse which does not stumble and of a person who does not fall into error. In Psalm 121 the psalmist says that God will not let your foot slip. To walk with God is to walk in safety even on the most dangerous and most slippery path of life. When we bind ourselves to God, He keeps us safe even in the most life-threatening of situations.
- – GOD CAN MAKE US STAND BLAMELESS AND WITH JOY BEFORE HIS GLORIOUS PRESENCE (v. 24). The word BLAMELESS is characteristically a sacrificial word. In the Bible is commonly used of an animal which is without spot or blemish and can be offered as a sacrifice to God. When we submit ourselves to God, His GRACE makes our lives nothing less than a sacrifice fit to be offered to Him.
- – GOD CAN BRING US INTO HIS GLORIOUS PRESENCE (v. 25). Surely the natural way to think of entry into the glorious presence of God is in fear and in shame. But, by the work of Jesus Christ and in the grace of God, we know that we can go to God with JOY and with all fear banished. Usually we associate the word SAVIOUR with Jesus Christ; but here Jude attaches it to God. Christians have the joyous certainty that in this world we live in the LOVE OF GOD and that in the next world we go to that LOVE. The LOVE OF GOD is both the atmosphere and the goal of all our living. Even being under the threat of this present Pandemic, our God deserves all the Glory.
This is the reason why our Saviour Jesus Christ teaches us to say in the Doxology of the LORD’S PRAYER, – “ For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. AMEN.
LET US PRAY:
LIVING AND LOVING GOD, we praise You that we can put our hand into yours, knowing that You will lead, support and hold us throughout our lives, that You will supply all our needs and far more besides. We praise You for our experience of that truth across the years – the way You have always held firm to us despite our faults and faithlessness, never letting go of You. Forgive us for doubting You when times are hard, questioning Your ability to lead us safely through. Forgive us for reaching out only when we have need of You, expecting You to lift us up from trouble of our own making, and set us on our feet again. Help us to put our hand again in Yours, in simple trust, quiet confidence and eager expectation, knowing that whatever we face and wherever we may find ourselves, You will hold us firm. Bless all Your children in the world today as we struggle to cope and find a way out of Coronavirus pandemic. Help all those who are in the front line of hospital-work, research, the vaccination programme, care-work, teaching or maintaining order. Bless Her Majesty our Queen, Her Family, Government and Parliament; give wisdom to the leaders of the world. Be with Your Christian Church Universal in all its branches, our Church of Scotland in all its presbyteries and congregations, and with our own church here in Portree and Skye. We think of those known to us facing difficult times – battling with illness, wrestling with depression, anxious about the future, grieving loved ones – those for whom life is a burden, and who long to find hope to make some sense out of their confusion. Lord, in Your mercy, hear us, as we name some of them quietly in our hearts… Be with our loved-ones wherever they are and help us truly to reflect Your love, show Your compassion and respond to Your guidance. Touch our hearts through this time of worship and strengthen our faith. Renew and restore us through the love of Christ and the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit to glorify Your name – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, One, Eternal God. AMEN.
THE LORD’S PRAYER: – OUR FATHER, WHO ART INN HEAVEN …
CLOSING HYMN (CH-354): – GLORY BE TO GOD THE FATHER, glory be to God the Son, glory be to God the Spirit, – Great Jehovah, Three in One! Glory, glory, glory, glory while eternal ages run!
Glory be to Him who loved us, washed us from each spot and stain! Glory be to Him who bought us, made us kings with Him to reign! Glory, glory, glory, glory to the Lamb that once was slain!
Glory to the King of angels, glory to the Church’s King, Glory to the King of nations! Heaven and earth, Your praises bring; Glory, glory, glory, glory to the King of Glory bring!
“Glory, blessing, praise eternal!” Thus the choir of angels sings; “Honour, riches, power, dominion!” Thus its praise creation brings; Glory, glory, glory, glory, glory to the King of Kings!
NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN ALL WE ASK OR IMAGINE, ACCORDING TO HIS POWER THAT IS AT WORK WITHIN US, TO HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH AND IN CHRIST JESUS THROUGHOUT ALL GENERATIONS, FOR EVER AND EVER! AMEN. (Ephesians 3: 20 – 21)