Song – To God Be the Glory

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Song – To God Be the Glory

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr


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#44, Hymns For Worship


Tonight, we examine song.  I am not sure how much this song has been sung here, but I hope to introduce it and incorporate it into the list of songs we sing.  It is a song that has been popularized over the last 50 years with a medley that is familiar to many.

This song was written by Fanny J Crosby (1820-1915) around 1875, and put to music by William Doane whom she frequently collaborated with.  Fanny J Crosby was blind.  She lost her sight at age 6.  Shortly thereafter she started writing poetry.  She was a prolific song writer having written more than 900 hymns.  Some of these include: “All the Way My Savior Leads Me”, “I am Thine O Lord”, “Christ Arose”, “Pass Me Not O Blessed Savior”, “Blessed Assurance”,  “Rescue the Perishing”, “To the Work”, “Praise Him, Praise Him…”, etc.

As always, our focus is on the message of this song.  As the title states, it is a song that reminds us that God is due all glory and honor.

  1. Verse 1 – Great things He has done
    1. To God be the glory – in all things we ought to bring glory to Him.
      1. The idea of glory is to praise Him. To glorify means to magnify or esteem Him highly. This is clearly a song of praise.
      2. He is worthy of glory. Psalm 29:1-2, Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
      3. 2 Timothy 4:18 – Paul noted that the Lord can deliver us and preserve us for His heavenly kingdom. “To whom be glory forever and ever.”  Can we ever praise or glorify Him enough?
    2. Great things He has done – How can we possibly fathom the greatness of what He has done.
      1. Deuteronomy 10:21 – He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. Deuteronomy is the farewell address of Moses to Israel.  If any people had seen “great things” from the LORD, it was them.  Moses appeals to them to consider these and thereby remain faithful to Him (cf. Deuteronomy 4:32-36).
      2. Romans 11:33-36 speaks of the depth of the riches of both His wisdom and knowledge. All things come through Him, “to whom be glory forever.
    3. So loved He the world that He gave us His son
      1. John 3:16 – God so loved the world…
      2. Romans 5:6-8 – God demonstrates how great His love is by giving us Jesus.
      3. Among all the blessings He has given us, both material and spiritual, the greatest is the gift of His Son Jesus. That is HOW God demonstrated His love for us.
      4. God allowed Him to die for our sins.
    4. Who yielded His life an atonement for His
      1. Romans 5:9 – Much more than, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Christ died for us
      2. He yielded (He did His part) His life to atone us – the Old Testament is filled with references to atonement. The idea of atonement is to provide reconciliation.  The KJV uses the word once in the NT – Romans 5:11. NKJV does not use it in the NT.  Instead, this text says “the reconciliation.”  That is the idea – a price paid to reconcile us.  Romans 3:25 speaks of God sending Jesus forth “as a propitiation by His blood.”  That is the word of appeasement to God.
    5. And opened the life gate that all may go in – Salvation is available to all. John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, etc.
  2. 2 – Salvation available to everyone
    1. O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood
      1. His was a perfect sacrifice – it was a sacrifice that “once for all” was acceptable to God. A sacrifice that forever removes our sins.   Hebrews 7:26-27 notes that He offered Himself once for all.
      2. In contrast with the inadequacies of animal sacrifices under the LOM. Hebrews 10:1-4 reminds of this and then proceeds to describe the perfect sacrifice of Jesus – Hebrews 10:10-14 – by offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
      3. Also, this was about redemption – we are sold under sin and slaves thereto. Jesus paid the redeeming price to free us from that.  Blood is what God has always demanded for sins.  Ephesians 1:7 notes this.
    2. To every believer, the promise of God
      1. Again, this is made available to “every believer” – Galatians 3:27-28.
      2. The promise of God – if we obey, we will be saved. 1 John 2:25, James 1:12
    3. The vilest offender who truly believes, when buried with Jesus a pardon receives.
      1. Scripture has examples of the “vilest offenders” surrendering to Him. Perhaps the greatest named example in the New Testament is Paul himself – 1 Timothy 1:15-16.  Peter denied Jesus 3 times.
      2. In obeying the gospel there is a genuine need for faith. As we have noted, belief (faith) is at the foundation of obeying the gospel.  It has to be the reason for our obedience.
      3. In the act of baptism, our sins are washed away. Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, etc.
      4. NOTE: This is the adapted rendition sung among churches of Christ. The original said, “The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus forgiveness receives.” While such an expression can be reconciled with truth (baptism is an act of faith that ought to occur “immediately” upon conviction of sins, AND in that watery grave, we are that moment forgiven – cf. Acts 8:39 – the eunuch went on his way rejoicing), it would need clarification every time we sang this song. I like our current adaptation.
  3. Verse 3 – Glorious eternal hope
    1. Great things he has taught us, great things he has done
      1. Vs. 1 talked about many of the great things our God has done. This verse adds to that things He has taught us.
      2. Truly God’s word is filled with “great things”. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that it contains “all things that pertain to life and godliness”; Romans 1:16-17 – it is the “power of God unto salvation” and reveals the righteousness of God; Hebrews 4:12 tells us it is living and powerful and able to discern our thoughts and intents.
      3. Through His great word we know His will. It is the WORD OF GOD (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21).  Within its pages, He has taken the time to teach us – 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.
      4. As Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
    2. And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son
      1. In God’s word, as we learn of our salvation through Jesus, it ought to give us great hope.
      2. Luke 10:20 – rejoice because your names are written in heaven; Do we rejoice in our salvation? Do we rejoice with hope?
      3. Acts 16:34, the jailer and his family, having been baptized, rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
      4. Romans 5:11, And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
      5. Romans 12:11 notes that we are rejoicing in hope and patient in tribulations
    3. But purer and higher and greater will be, our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
      1. No matter what rejoicing we experience in this life, when we get to heaven, how much greater will it be.
      2. We eagerly anticipate the putting off of our earthly tent – 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:3.
      3. 1 John 3:1-3 speaks of our hope and how we purify ourselves therein.
  4. Chorus – “Praise the Lord”
    1. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord” – the expression “Hallelujah” is the Hebrew for “praise the Lord”. In all we do, it is for His praise.  Hebrews 13:15, Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 1 Peter 2:9, we are a royal priesthood – proclaiming the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
    2. Let the earth hear His voice – 2 thoughts:
      1. Nature praises Him – Psalm 19:1ff, Romans 1:19-20
      2. We ought to be willing to openly praise Him before others as well
    3. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice – again, “Hallelujah”.
      1. As Christians we ought to be rejoicing in Him as previously noted.
      2. Our songs are offered in praise to Him – Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16-17, Hebrews 2:12, For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
      3. When we are singing together are we rejoicing in song?
    4. O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son
      1. This phrase to me is an invitation – Acts 2:40 – Peter exhorted them to be saved. And remember the invitation of Jesus Himself – Matthew 11:28-30.
      2. But there is also another truth it is through Him that we have access – Ephesians 2:18, For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. John 14:6 – no one comes to God except through Him.
    5. And give Him the glory, great things He Has done –
      1. When we approach God – whether it be in the way we live our lives, what we say or in prayer – give Him the glory. In teaching us to prayer, Jesus noted we begin by hallowing His name (Matthew 6:9).
      2. NEVER devalue the goodness and greatness of what He has done for us.


And thus we are introduced to another great song of praise.  May we, as we consider these words, resolve that we will praise Him because of who He is and as we sing to Him.  Are you glorifying God in your life?