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  • This morning we continue our Series on the Lord’s Prayer

    The big idea behind this series is that:
    Sincere use, over time, of Jesus’ model prayer builds intimacy with God.
    The Lord’s Pray leads to intimacy with God by helping us to:
    · Embrace God as our Heavenly Father.
    · Align with and desiring God’s will be done on earth.
    · Trust God for what we need today.
    · Express gratitude for God’s grace of forgiving our sins by forgiving those who sin against us.
    · Ask and receive God’s protection from evil.
    · Confess God’s authority and power to deliver on these requests to the praise of His glory and for our wellbeing.
    This morning message focuses on embracing God as our Heavenly Father.
    In our sin, we cannot grasp God as Father. We see his holiness in contrast to our sin and intuitively we know we are not worthy to come into his presence. We may call on his name in hopes of relief or provision, but we cannot ask with confidence because we our sin casts doubt on God’s goodness and willingness to come to our aid. We may reverence him, we may fear him, but our sin keeps us from experiencing God as our loving heavenly Father.
    To overcome this dreadful condition, Our Father sent his son Jesus to reveal the Father to us and to call us to repent of our sins and embrace life as a child of our Father in Heaven with all its privileges and responsibilities.
    The key point of the message is this:
    Becoming like our Heavenly Father produces intimacy in prayer.
    With this in mind,
    Let us pray together the prayer our Lord taught us to pray.
    [Prayer Slides]

    Our Father

    When Jesus told us to pray “Our Father who art in heaven,” he was not telling us to think about God as being like our earthly father. Rather, he was inviting us to pray to the God Jesus uniquely knows as Father.
    Matthew 11:27 NIV
    “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
    God the Father is not our earthly father with supernatural abilities tacked on. Jesus wants our mental image of our Father in Heaven to be Jesus himself. Let’s listen to this conversation between Jesus and his disciple Philip.
    John 14:8–9 NIV
    Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
    Jesus is saying to see me is to see your Father in heaven or to know me is to know your Father in heaven. Since Jesus is our perfect and faithful image of the Father, we should pay careful attention to everything that Jesus says about the Father. When teaching us to pray, Jesus says, “This, then, is how you should pray, “Our Father . . . “ Jesus could of said pray, O God or O Lord, or O Almighty One or O Most Holy God, or even O Father, but instead he tells us, start your prayer like this, “our Father”.

    Three meanings of “Our”

    1. Universal – humankind
    He [our Father] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45, NIV)
    2. Family of God
    You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16, NIV)
    3. Personal
    So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31–33, NIV)
    That we can pray to “Our Father” is extraordinarily Good News! However, even Christians romanticize Our Father to reduce him to a kind being who gives us, or who should give us everything we want and ask and who does not or should not require anything from us. Jesus, who is the image of the Father, in the Gospel of Matthew gives a more balanced view of our Father.
    Jesus teaches us that our Father forgives our sins; but he will not forgive our sins if we do not forgive others.
    Matthew 6:14–15 NIV
    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
    Our Father does not want anyone to perish.
    Matthew 18:14 NIV
    In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
    Yet only those “little ones” who do the will of the Father will enter his kingdom.
    Matthew 7:21 NIV
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    Our Father in Heavens stands ready to give us everything that is good for us.
    Matthew 7:11 NIV
    If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
    In return, our Father requires allegiance above every other relationship.
    Matthew 23:9 NIV
    And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.

    Our Father is in Heaven

    Heaven is the dwelling place of God. It is the site of his throne. As the catechism reminds us, God’s power and majesty is far greater than any majesty that we can conceive of on earth. That our Father is in heaven assures of his sovereign power and control over all things.
    Psalm 14:2 NIV
    The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
    Isaiah 66:1 NIV
    This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
    Our Father in heaven is the one who says,
    Jeremiah 32:27 NIV
    “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
    We can only pray to Our Father in Heaven because

    We are His Children

    The Father sent his Son, Jesus, from heaven to earth to deliver his children from their sins.
    John 1:11–13 NIV
    He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
    Our Father in Heaven is active in drawing us to believe in the name of Jesus. Jesus said,
    John 6:44 NIV
    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
    Jesus teaches us we are born again when the Father gives us His Spirit to live in us.
    John 14:16–17 NIV
    And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
    When the Father send the Holy Spirit to live in us, we do not become divine beings, but we do become adopted children of God, with all the rights and privileges of being part of the family of God. This means we share both in the sufferings and the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Romans 8:15–17 NIV
    The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
    When we grasp who our Father in Heaven is and what He has done for us in Jesus and how He extends his goodness to us in every moment of our lives, we cannot restraint ourselves from praying . . .

    Hallowed Be Your Name!

    The word translated “hallowed” means to dedicate to service and loyalty to God, to make holy – to cause to have the quality of holiness, and to honor as holy – to feel reverence.[2]
    Biblical scholar Michael Brown suggests there is a double meaning Jesus’ instruction to pray that God’s name be hallowed. It can mean that the profaning of the name of God and the desecration of His holiness has reached a point on earth has gone so far that it is beyond human capacity to correct it. If the hallowing of God’s name and character is to happen at all, God himself must intervene. Therefore, we pray, “Our Father, make your name to be holy in all the earth.” It can also mean that we who are praying have a responsibility to make God’s name holy on earth.[3]Therefore we pray, “Our Father, make us holy as you are holy.”
    Jesus said,
    Matthew 5:48 NIV
    Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    Jesus is telling us here that because we are children of God, Our Father expects to see a family resemblance in us. In fact, that is God’s plan and purpose for our life. That is what he wants for us above all else. Our Father in Heaven wants us to be like him.
    · Our Father wants us to be merciful, as He is merciful.
    · Our Father wants to forgive as He forgives.
    · Our Father wants us to be faithful to him and to others as he is faithful to us.
    · Our Father wants us to be love him and others as he loves us.
    · Because Jesus is the perfect image of our Father, our Father who is unseen has a plan to make us like himself by making us like Jesus, the Son of God, seen in human flesh.
    The Apostle Paul describes our Father’s plan to make us holy, as he is holy like this.
    Romans 8:28–30 NIV
    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
    When God justifies us, He grants to us a legal holiness—declaring that we have fully met God’s law through the life and death of Jesus Christ our Lord. Then through the life of Jesus in us he makes us holy—to be glorified means to have a nature and character worthy of glory—a holy nature and character. A nature and character that is the image of Jesus, who is the image of our Father in heaven.
    When we hallow God’s name, we pray for God to make his name holy in our lives, in our family, in our church, in our city, in our nation, and in the world . . . and we submit ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit who lives in us to make us look like Jesus so that our lives make our Father’s name holy wherever we go.
    I want to close by sharing some ways that we can apply this part of the Lord’s prayer to deepen our intimacy with God.

    Our Father in Heaven hallowed be your name: deepening our intimacy with God in prayer

    Reflect on what the Father has done for you:
    · Sending his Son to die for your sins.
    · Drawing you to believe in Jesus.
    · Filling you with the Holy Spirit so that you know you are His child.
    · Working in you every day to make you glorious—more and more like Jesus, more and more the image of your Father.
    Tell your Father what you feel and think about all He has done for you.
    Consider the areas of your life or the world that seem out of control. Recall your Father’s words,
    This is what the Lordsays: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. (Isaiah 66:1, NIV)
    Talk to him about His rule and reign in the matters that concern you. How might your Sovereign Father be at work in these things—ask Him to show you his glory in these matters.
    Where do you need God’s active intervention in your life? Tell him what you need. Let God’s own words shape your prayer.
    I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27, NIV)
    Ask God to shape and mold your personality, character, and behavior so that you make His name, his nature, his character, his acts holy in this earth.
    How might this passage shape our prayer?
    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, NIV)
    Close your time praying the Lord’s Prayer
    Be attentive to what moves your heart in your prayer.
    [1]This section is adapted from: Smith, J. (2015). The lord’s prayer: confessing the new covenant. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books. https://ref.ly/logosres/9781630878986?art=r10.a2&off=7582 [2]Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc. [3]Adapted from: Brown, M. J. (2004). The Lord’s Prayer through North African Eyes: A Window into Early Christianity (p. 13). London; New York: T&T Clark.
      • Matthew 11:27NIV2011

      • John 14:8–9NIV2011

      • Matthew 6:14–15NIV2011

      • Matthew 18:14NIV2011

      • Matthew 7:21NIV2011

      • Matthew 7:11NIV2011

      • Matthew 23:9NIV2011

      • Psalm 14:2NIV2011

      • Isaiah 66:1NIV2011

      • Jeremiah 32:27NIV2011

      • John 1:11–13NIV2011

      • John 6:44NIV2011

      • John 14:16–17NIV2011

      • Romans 8:15–17NIV2011

      • Matthew 5:48NIV2011

      • Romans 8:28–30NIV2011

      • Isaiah 66:1NIV2011

      • Jeremiah 32:27NIV2011

      • Galatians 5:22–23NIV2011

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