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Glory to God in the Highest

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

In the Westminster Shorter Catechism man’s chief end is so stated, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Being that all came into being by His creative power God desires glory from His creation. All creation gives glory to the Creator, the stars sing their praises, the trees clap their hands and the animals abide in His will. The Apostle Paul closes the eleventh chapter of his letter to the Roman Church with these words, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36) But not all of mankind give God to God the Creator. Weather we accept God’s existence or follow His Son in faith, or not, we will in the end give Him glory and bow before Him. Everyman either here on earth or at the last judgment will give God the glory. “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

In 1674 Thomas Ken wrote a hymn that the Christian Church uses as the doxology during their worship services. These words are actually the last words of a larger verse and in my father’s Church not a service began without these words. “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” On the night of Jesus’ birth the working class shepherds were tending their flocks of sheep when the heavens lit up with God’s Glory and sang praises of Glory to God in the Highest. “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God.” (Luke 2:13) These shepherds were privileged to witness this event and were terribly afraid by this event. Wouldn’t we? And yet some have the arrogance to think that we shall be able to stand before a Holy, Righteous, and Mighty God. I dare say not one shall as all will fall down in reverent fear and worship the almighty. The angels praise Him to this day and are all about us, ministering to us at His will while praising and giving glory to God in the highest. Someday we as the shepherds shall see them as well as we too shall give God the glory.

We shall, just as the Jews of Jerusalem praised Him at His triumphant entry into the holy city just prior to His crucifixion at Passover. They shouted peace in heaven and glory in the highest and there is no doubt that their words raised to the heights of His Kingdom and the angels joined in with man and praised the King of kings and Lord of lords. For the Son of God had come to the holy city to lay down His life that man might join Him at His throne in His Kingdom. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38)

The angels gave praise unto God that now through this Child who was given and now laid in the manger would be the instrument that would reconcile man unto God. This child who we celebrate this season came unto us as a gift from God’s love for mankind that we could once again be at one with our Creator. That He would pay the debt for our trespasses that we could not. That He would come and show us the way to live in the abundance of God’s grace. That He would teach us how to live a righteous life and prepare the way for us to follow Him to His Father’s glory. A Son of Love from a heavenly Father of Love that we might learn love and find our freedom. That man could depart this world and stand before His Creator swaddled in the clothes of His righteousness. “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:19-20)

We who were lost and dead in our sin with no escape or place of shelter. Living in a hopeless state that had no place to achieve, only an anxious guilt to prolong living in a dying world with dwindling resource, holding on to nothing and wishing for something that could give us passage from our emptiness of spirit. This is the plight of sheep without a shepherd lost in the abyss searching and grasping for every pleasure only to be left with greater hunger and crying for peace. This is life lost in the darkness of a world in rebellion striking a match and groping in the dimness of light. This Child laying in the manger of Bethlehem was the light of the world and the giver of salvation. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13)

This Child was God’s best, which God always gives to those who love Him. This Child was the One who would baptize with the Spirit and transform with His Word. This Child, Jesus, who could bring men from the lowest of pits to the highest of thrones carrying them through the evil of spiritual forces and setting them safe on the shore of the Promised Land. This Child who favored us with His love and leads us across the tempest tossed sea of life to the safe harbor of His Kingdom to live in peace filled with exceeding Joy in the bonds of His Love. This Child who is One with God and One with man that He has the authority to give us His Word. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.” (John 17:22) Through this given to us this Christmas we can be one with God the Father. Jesus has this authority because God gave His best, His only begotten Son, and in Him He is well pleased. “And behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17

Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 9:6 that this Child given unto us is the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) There is no other peace to be found but through Jesus. Peace is not the absence of war, the absence of noise, but a reconciled spirit with God. There can be no peace in the life lived separate from God the Creator. All was created by Him and man was created in His image and it is in His image that we find peace. This is what the Christian is striving for to become as the image of Jesus. Through Jesus there is peace between God and man. This is the peace that only Jesus can give. Apart from Jesus man cannot know God, cannot commune with God, and cannot be in the presence of God. Only Jesus is the way. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

These are things that cannot be bought in this world, trust, peace, and love. Yet, Love and Peace we can receive freely from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He loves you today, He loved you when you were a sinner, and He will always love you eternally as He has since before the beginning. He will also give us peace. Peace of spirit between ours and the Spirit of God. It is not the peace that the world offers and then takes away but the peace that Jesus gives and never takes away. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

This Christmas season is there a barrier between you and God? Is there an unsatisfying emptiness in your spirit that can find no satisfaction? Do the trials and tribulations of life take you down paths that you do not want to go? Is there no peace in your heart during the hustle and bustles of life or even in the calmness of times? In the Christmas season leave the fields of your labor and go to the manger of Bethlehem and feed upon the truth of God’s Word. There you will find a reconciliation between you and your God. It is there that your soul will find the amazing grace that is sufficient to carry you on to the destination of your eternal journey. It is there that the burdens of past sin can be lifted and washed away by the sacrificial blood of the Savior who was born so many years ago, suffered and died to pay your debt of sinful living, rose from the grave that you may have eternal life with Him in His Kingdom. It is there that the old man can become the new man and be one with Jesus that through Him you may be at one with God your Creator. It is there and through Him that you will have eternal peace of spirit. “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, December 10, 2015

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