Monthly Archives: May 2011

Sermon on the Mount – Your Kingdom Come

Sermon on the Mount

“Your Kingdom Come. Your Will Be Done”

May 29, 2011

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

In Jesus’ day there was a mistaken understanding about Messiah’s mission. The Jews of Jesus’ day believed that the Messiah would come to overthrow the Roman Empire and that He would establish His earthly Kingdom by force. But the true mission of Christ was to establish a spiritual kingdom and not an earthly Kingdom. He came that men might establish His Kingdom in their hearts and not their politics.

When we look at the Kingdom we see that the Kingdomof Godis here and now and it is yet to come. John the Baptist proclaimed “Repent for theKingdom ofGod is at hand” (Matt 3:2) as an introduction of Jesus to the world. When Jesus began His ministry in Matthew 4:17, He proclaimed this truth as well “Repent for theKingdom ofGod is at hand.” Christ came to establish His kingdom among His people in the present but He is also preparing a place for us that is beyond this present reality.

The term “Kingdom” signifies the ‘being,’ ‘nature,’ and ‘state’ of the king. And secondly, the term signifies that “the dignity of the king is expressed in the territory ruled by Him.” In essence, the Kingdomof Godis expressed through God’s authority, rule and Lordship being manifested not only in us but through us as well. As His people, we are an expression of His authority, rule and Lordship in our lives.

The term “God’s will” signifies the revelation of His purposes and His plans in our lives. In prayer, we surrender our will and our purposes to His will and His purposes so that we might gain His understanding and guidance.

When we pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done” we are praying for His authority, rule and Lordship to be established in every area of our lives: We are praying for His kingdom and His will to be established in:

  • In me– Thekingdom ofGod and the will of God must first be established in me. When we pray we are asking that God will be revealed to me and then be worked out through me so that theKingdom ofGod becomes an active part of our lives. His authority, rule and Lordship must be manifested in me.
  • In my actions – When the Kingdom of God and the Will of God are worked out in me then my actions will begin to reflect Kingdom mindedness. My actions as a believer will be like an ambassador or representative of God’s Kingdom. We see this expressed in Paul’s writings of 1 Corinthians 5:20 “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through is.” As ambassadors, we are his representatives. Therefore, His authority, rule and Lordship must be revealed in all I do.
  • In my circumstances – There is a revelation here that we are praying that God would not only reveal Himself in us and in our actions but that His kingdom and will would also be revealed in our circumstances. In essence, we are praying for God’s Kingdom and His will to come to the circumstances of our lives. His authority, rule and Lordship must be revealed in every situation of my life.
  • In my sphere of influence – We pray also that God’s will and His Kingdom be expressed through our sphere of influence so that people see Christ in us. His authority, rule and Lordship must impact all of those that I encounter in life.

In this regard, Dallas Willard said this about the Kingdomof God. We are thinking of the places we spend our lives: of homes, playgrounds, city streets, workplaces, schools, and so forth. These are the places we have in mind, and they are where we are asking for the kingdom, God’s rule, to come and be in effect. We know our weaknesses, our limitations, our habits, and we know how tiny our power of conscious choice is. We are therefore asking that, by means beyond our knowledge and the scope of our will, we will be assisted to act within the flow of God’s actions.

The fact is; God’s kingdom is not a place, but rather a relationship. It exists wherever people enthrone Jesus as lord of their lives. (J. I Packer in Growing Disciples)

It is important to notice that it is His will and His Kingdom that must be established and not our own. This calls for us to surrender our will and understanding of issues to Him and to recognize that He is in total control and that He knows what is best for us in every circumstance.

How do we apply this? We pray for God’s will, His authority, His will and His Lordship to be revealed in every area of our lives. We do not compartmentalize our lives but we allow His entrance into every part of who we are and what we do. Our Christianity is not something that we put on and take off but we wear it daily.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sermon on the Mount – Hallowed Be Your Name

Sermon on the Mount – Hallowed Be Your Name

What’s in a name?

 

Text: Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

 

While the phrase “Our Father in Heaven” speaks of our access to the Father. The phrase “Hallowed be your name” speaks to the focus of our worship. The question is who or what do we worship? The fact is we will all worship something or someone. Bob Dylan’s song “You Gotta Serve Somebody, fits appropriately here:

You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You might be a rock ‘n’ roll addict prancing on the stage,
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage,
You may be a business man or some high degree thief,
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

In the phrase “hallowed be your name” there are two key words: “hallowed” and “Name.”

Name – hink of who that person is. We think of their attributes as a person. For example, when I mention the following names what do you think of:

  1. Kennedy family
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Arnold Schwarzeneggar
  4. Harold Camping

 

A person’s name represents:

  1. Identity – who a person is.
  2. Relationship – how are they connected to one another? Are they a relative, a friend or an acquaintance
  3. Authority – what power do they hold?

 

The word hallowed speaks to us about worship as it is a term that means to consecrate or set apart. We worship God and God alone. In essence when we pray “Hallowed be your name” we are asking God to help us see Him as pure and holy and then to show to others His purity and holiness in the world around us. In other words we are declaring that God is Holy and worthy of worship. It is for this reason that we do not come to God just to have our prayers answered but to identify with Him and to allow Him to be manifested in our lives.

Four ways to hallow His Name:

  1. To believe in Him – In Numbers 20:12 we have these words. And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” God is accusing Moses of not trusting God when he struck the rock to bring forth water. As a result, he faced the consequence of not seeing the promise land. When we treat God as holy we trust Him at His word.
  2. By not fearing what men fear but by fearing God“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (Isaiah 8:12-13) Fear of man will be paralyze us and force us to worry about what others think to the detriment of accomplishing anything for God. Secondly, we must be worried about what the world is worried about because we know who holds our future in the palm of his hand. Colossians 3:23-24 –
    Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
  3. We keep His commandments – “So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the LORD. And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you… (Leviticus 22:31-32). John 14:15 “If you love me keep my commandments.” I John 2:4 – Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him.” And then in 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
  4. We glorify God –
    Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” And Aaron held his peace.
    (Leviticus 10:3). We are not just Christians on Sunday morning but where ever we go we must bring Christ into the situation. We bring Him onto our jobs, the school we attend, the people we meet and so on.

 

Therefore, when we pray Hallowed be your name we are recognizing that God can be believed in. He is to be feared. We are to keep His commandments and we are to glorify His name in all we do. When we understand this we realize that true prayer is coming to the Father to submit to His will.

When we worship we become like the god you worship, even if you don’t realize that you are worshipping. So, when we pray “hallowed be your name” we are asking for God to be revealed in our lives and that we will become a bit more like the Father.

Have you fully dedicated your life to worshipping Him? If not you can do that right now.


2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sermon on the Mount – The Lord’s Prayer

Peninsula Community Church

Sermon on the Mount – The Lord’s Prayer

May 15, 2011

 

Mat 6:9-15 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

In the Sermon on the Mount while Christ pointed out the error of the Pharisees He also used the opportunity to teach truth to those which were sitting at His feet. In verses 5-8, Jesus details what prayer is not suppose to be.

  1. It is not about our public presence and the desire to get the approval of men.
  2. It is not about the phraseology or the number of words used.

Jesus counters this by teaching them the simplicity of prayer and in essence the power of prayer.

What is prayer? It is having a conversation with God. It is communication. It is best learned by doing. It does not have to be complicated but it must be honest and must be directed to God.

Keys to effective Prayer

  1. “Our Father in Heaven”Relationship = access. – Through this we understand that our access to God is based on the relationship we have in God (not with God). He is our father and we are his children.
  2. “Hallowed be your name” Recognition of who God is and what is identified through His name. We recognize who God is and we desire to draw near Him.
  3. “Your kingdom come, your will be done…” We understand that the Kingdom is now and it is yet to come and I can know God’s will for me as it relates to that kingdom.
  4. “Give us this day our daily bread” – Day-to-day dependence. We recognize God as our sustenance and the sustainer of life.
  5. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” – By this we live a life of forgiveness.
  6. “And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil” – Testimony of obedient Faith.

In the phrase “Our Father” we understand that how we address someone shows our relationship with that person. When we speak with someone we use names to identify who that person is and to distinguish them from everyone else. This is why the Lord’s Prayer begins with the phrase “our father in heaven…” We call people by their name such as Bill, Father, uncle, friend, etc.

At Chris’s graduation on several occasions the speakers stated that the relationship between the professors and the graduates had now changed. Instead of calling each other Mr. Pitera or Mr. Odom they could now relate as Bob and Chris.

The phrase “Our Father in Heaven speaks to us about our access to the Father. Access to the Father can be thwarted when the image of father is distorted:

The problem with this phrase is that can be interpreted as God being distant and disconnected and not being very concerned about us. But in reality the opposite is seen here in this passage. God is not far away but He is very near and is deeply concerned about our every need.

This idea of father can be distorted by the memory of our earthly father. If our father was mean and demanding; we can impose that kind of thinking upon our heavenly father. If we believe our earthly father is uncaring and unapproachably then we can begin to consider God the father as distant and unapproachable. If we believe our father to be condemning and judgmental then we can also believe that our father in heaven is condemning and judgmental. The opposite can be true as well. If our father gave us anything we wanted and never said no we can envision God the Father as a genie or Santa Clause and whatever we ask for he will give it to us even if it is not for our good. Therefore, we must be sure that our view of God is correct and is not distorted.

This is like our children who come to us only when they want something. Our son Joshua had not called us in some time. When he did I asked why he had not called and his response was that he had not needed anything. We laugh at this but we often treat God the same way. We only go to him when we need something rather than taking time to fellowship and communicate on a regular basis.

The fact is that God the father is not only God the creator but He is also God the redeemer. Think about this for a moment. The God of all creation desires to have a personal relationship with you as His created child. His desire is to see you redeemed and set free from the power of the world’s domination over you. He desires to give you access into His presence.

This is best illustrated by the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) who asked his dad for his inheritance. The son left and began to spend all that he had until he was left with nothing. He ended up in the lowest place possible when he began to feed the pigs and began to eat their food because he could not afford to buy his own food. One day he realized that even the slaves in his father’s house had it better off than he did so he decided he would go home and ask to be his dad’s slave.

But when he arrived home his reception was more than he ever dreamed. The son hoped to have access as a slave and not a son. But the father welcomed Him as a son and not a slave. You see the father had been waiting for him. The father threw him a party because his son had returned home. His was restored to his position as son and he was reestablished in his relationship to his father by the symbolic act of the father giving him the family ring and placing a robe on his shoulder. This is critical because what the son had done was a slap in the father’s face but rather than rejecting the son, the father received him as a son.

This is a picture of God’s desire for us. When we turn our backs on the Father, when we come to our senses he welcomes us, restores us and reestablishes His relationship with us. He could have rejected the son but he chose to receive as His son.

So too as we enter into prayer we enter into His presence as an accepted son or daughter of the creator of all the universe. We therefore must come boldly before the throne. Listen to what the writer of Hebrews has to say about this:

Hebrews 4:14 -16 – Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

The reality is that God is the father and He desires for us to come into His presence regardless of what we might have done. We all have days when we come to the place of prayer where we feel we have messed things up so badly but Jesus says I want you to have confident faith when you come. We must recognize that we are not just coming to a king but our daddy.

In essence, Jesus begins this prayer in this way – There is a relationship that you have been given. Because He created you, the father cares about and your needs, just on those terms alone. But your greatest need is to know what it means to be born into His family, and to know the Father Redeemer through His son Jesus Christ. When you have that intimate relationship, then you can come before the throne of grace however fumbling or failing you feel, whatever plight you face and know there is access into His presence.

When we sin, sin causes a break in fellowship. The break is not on God’s part but on ours as we refuse to enter His presence out of fear, guilt, shame and a mindset that He will refuse us access.

So here is the bottom line God the father gives you access to Him no matter what you have done. When you realize the error of your way and you return to Him, He will receive you not as a slave but as a son.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Called Her Blessed: God’s Grace at Work

Peninsula Community Church

May 8, 2011

Mother’s Day

Call Her Blessed: God’s Grace at Work

 

Text – Proverbs 31:10, 30-31. –An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

In Proverbs 31:1 we see that Proverbs 31 was written by King Lemuel who was actual King Solomon. He had been taught my his mother was thought to be Bathsheba. We will discuss more about this in a moment.

While this chapter of Proverbs contains many qualities and characteristics of a successful woman my desire is to focus on a just three of these qualities. The defining qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman can be summed in these three ideas:

  • Strength or security (Prov. 31:25) – the Proverbs 31 woman is secure in who she is and what she has been called to do. This means that she is no coward. She does not compare herself with others. She does not walk in shame and regret because of past failures but holds her head high because of God’s work in her. One of the tools used by the enemy of our souls is to cause us to walk in condemnation, shame and regret. But in Romans 8:1 Paul reminds us that “there is now no condemnation to those who walk after the spirit and not after the flesh.” This is critical because one who walks after the spirit will allow God to assist them to walk in forgiveness and wholeness. Isaiah 40:31 highlights this when Isaiah proclaimed that those who “wait on the Lord shall renew their strength and that they would mount up with wings as eagles.
  • Dignity – her adornment is the inner beauty of who she is in Christ. The woman’s greatest beauty is found not in her outward appearance but in who she is as a person. The fact is one can have all of the outward beauty possible and still not find their satisfaction in Christ.
  • It is important to note that because of her strength and dignity she is able to face the uncertain future with confidence because she above all else serves God.
  • These first two qualities are held in contrast to the qualities of Proverbs 31:31 where Solomon states that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. What Solomon is referring to is the inner beauty that comes from loving God and serving him. Today in America 13 billion dollars is spent on for plastic surgery and 7 billion dollars on cosmetics and beauty enhancers; that is an average of $100 per month per woman. And, yet so many are never happy with themselves. The key is to have an inner beauty that comes out of a relationship with God.
  • The third quality here is that she will have a balanced fear of the Lord as opposed to charm which can be a sham and beauty that is empty. This is not the first time that Solomon emphasized the necessity of fearing God. He also concluded the Book of Ecclesiastes with these words: “The end of the matter, all has been heard, Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” The fear represented here must be not understood as cowering in fear but a healthy respect for God and a right understanding of who He is. In essence, the one who fears the Lord recognizes that all that they are comes from God and that they have been created for a purpose and that they must seek to fulfill that purpose in Christ.

 

What can we take away from this passage?

In reading this passage the potential for becoming discouraged is rather high but rather than being an unreachable goal Proverbs 31 outlines the grace and power of God to overcome any failure. For me there are three important aspects to this passage that must be considered:

First, this passage outlines a template for godly women to aspire to but it is not a legalistic set of rules that if one fails in anyone of these they would be considered a failure as a wife, a mother or for that matter a woman. This is a goal to reach. All of us are on a journey where we will have both successes and failures. We may not have arrived but we are growing each day and becoming more like Christ. While God is perfecting us, we have yet to be made perfect.

Secondly, this passage is a reminder that it is God that enables us to become the person He wants us to be. Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 2:12-13. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. I recognize that there are some that feel they have failed in their role as mother and wife but there is more than enough grace in Christ to cover every failure and sin.

Thirdly, we see the power of God’s grace in this passage. Most commentators believe that the woman that had taught King Lemuel was none other than Bathsheba. The term Lemuel was another name that Solomon went by. Think for a moment of the work that God has done in Bathsheba’s life. She had sinned by having an affair with David who conspired to have her husband killed. Then their son died as a baby. Think for a moment what emotions she must have expressed during this time: anger, regret, feelings of failure, despair and insecurity. She should have been a failure but God had done something within her that changed her forever. And thus she could encourage her son to find a wife whose heart was after God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sermon on the Mount – Secret Acts Bring Open Reward

Peninsula Community Church

Sermon on the Mount – Secret Acts Bring Open Reward

May 1, 2011

 

Matthew 6:1-8 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

 

Jesus begins this passage with the word “Beware.” In the KJV the word used here is “take heed.” The actual word here means to “hold the mind on a matter,” take pains, take heed. Jesus is saying here to set your mind on what true and honorable righteousness is.

 

In verse 1 Jesus warns those of His day about practicing their righteousness before others for the purpose of being seen or recognized. The result of this action is that Jesus will not reward them for they have already received their reward by virtue of the fact that others give them praise.

 

As we read these passages, Matthew 6:1-18, we see a common theme. “Do not do your righteous acts before men as what you do in secret will be rewarded in the open.”

 

In the next few verses Jesus addresses three areas of religious activity that can lead to hypocritical motivations and of seeking another’s praise.

  1. Giving of alms – Matthew 6:1-4
  2. Prayer – Matthew 6:5-15
  3. Fasting – Matthew 6:16-18

 

Jesus relates how the hypocrites carry out their spiritual duties and functions and He instructs the believer on how to achieve honor and reward from God.

  1. What is the hypocrite’s attitude? Hypocrisy carries the idea of wearing a mask. It is a pretender or an actor. While the word was usually used to define an actor it was later used to define one who deceives himself or others and sometimes they deceive both at the same time. In Jesus’ time, the term hypocrisy had become associated with an outward piety that masked an inward corruption.
    1. Jesus addresses the motivation of why the hypocrites do what they do. Their motivation is to receive another’s praise.
    2. The motivation of their actions is a result of the inward mindsets and heart issues that are contrary to God’s will and His purpose.
      1. Inward emptiness – Though outwardly they appear to have everything together inwardly they are empty and dead.
      2. Pride & arrogance
      3. Lack of spiritual depth. They have to pretend to be something they are not.
      4. I have seen this worked out in several ways: One of those ways is when people want positions of power they do things so others will see them and witness their amazing ability.
  2. The Believers attitude on the other hand:
    1. The passionate follower of Christ does things for praise of God as He is the audience of one.
    2. The passionate follower of Christ does not care who gets the credit. Jesus made repeatedly and unmistakable distinctions between our face to the world and our person before God (Dallas Willard in Divine Conspiracy).
    3. In essence, passionate followers of Christ have been so transformed by their daily walk with God that good deeds naturally flow from their character. They automatically because of what they are pervasively and internally.
    4. What is being professed is that God desires us to have an audience of one which extends to all that we do and not just to deeds of devotion or charity. The Apostle Paul charges us to do all of our work whatever the situation with enthusiasm as for the Lord and not for men knowing that he is the one who rewards you and whom you serve.” And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:17). How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)
  3. The reward for each:
    1. Hypocrites:
      1. Gets an immediate reward.
      2. Gets praise from men – The hypocrites want to be praised of men and that is exactly what they get – men’s praise but the praise of men can be shallow and short-lived.
    2. Believers:
      1. Their rewards come later.
      2. God rewards each according to his works
  4. Two things should be noted in this passage:
    1. The teaching here is not a call to hide our good deeds but rather it addresses the intent and the motivation for our good deeds. There is nothing inherently wrong with one’s deeds being known. The issue is that we are not seen doing good deeds but we are doing good deeds to be seen. When we do things for promised recognition as a motive instead of doing what should be done for its own sake we are preempting God’s role and will in our life.
    2. Our intent is determined by what we want and expect from our action. When we do good deeds to be seen of human beings we are looking for something that comes from human beings. God responds to our expectations accordingly. When we want human approval and esteem and do what we do for the sake of it, God courteously stands aside because, by our wish, it does not concern him. On the other hand if we live unto to God alone he responds to our expectations.
  5. The ongoing theme of this passage is that what is done in secret will be rewarded in the open.

 

 

 


 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized