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.
- It is not about our public presence and the desire to get the approval of men.
- 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
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “Give us this day our daily bread” – Day-to-day dependence. We recognize God as our sustenance and the sustainer of life.
- “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” – By this we live a life of forgiveness.
- “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.