In 2 Corinthians 2:14, Paul digressed from the main purpose of his letter, taking opportunity to exult in the glory of the ministry. In last week’s text (3:1-6), he explained that he was not sufficient for a task of such magnitude, but that his sufficiency comes from God. In this week’s text, he further explains that his confidence in the ministry is inseparable from glorious nature of his message. He contrasts his “new covenant” message with the Law that God gave through Moses. He affirms that the Law was glorious but explains that our message is more glorious—so much so that the Law has been displaced by it, annulled.
Glory is the theme of this paragraph. It saturates each verse, appearing ten times (counting both noun and verb forms)! Therefore, the theme of glory will also saturate the hymns chosen for this service.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: Psalm 29:1-2
Hymn 90: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Note: We mark the beginning of the Christmas season with Charles Wesley’s famous hymn. We ascribe glory to Christ because his work made it possible for God and sinners to be reconciled. The sermon text stresses the fact that the Law brought condemnation and death, but our message is that Christ was “born that man no more may die.”
Worship through Giving
Hymn 72: Glory Be to God the Father
Hymn 92: Joy to the World!
Note: Isaac Watts wrote this famous hymn as a description of Christ’s reign in his future kingdom. We, however, have popularized it as a Christmas song. It anticipates Christ’s future eradication of the effects of sin and expresses our longing for the day when all nations will extol the “glories of his righteousness.” This is the climax of our glorious gospel message.
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:1-11
Note: This passage offers expanded commentary on the sermon text. The Law of Moses could not save; it only brought condemnation. But for those who hear and obey the call of the gospel, there is now “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Hymn 162: Thine Be the Glory
Note: Each Lord’s Day marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ which occurred on the first day of the week. Our risen Lord has conquered death and swept away our fear. Therefore we sing, “Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son.”
Message: The Greater Glory
2 Corinthians 3:7-11
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn Insert: Thy Strong Word
Note: This hymn tells the gospel story using the metaphor of “light.” Christ, the living Word, declares us righteous on the basis of his life and death. Now we share the light, the brilliance of his glory.
Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous;
Bright with thine own holiness,
Glorious now, we press toward glory
And so we respond to the message, “Give us lips to sing thy glory, tongues thy mercy to proclaim.”
Prayer Response: Mark Buhr
Benediction: John Miles