Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Our Father Who Art in Heaven

We are doing a 'series within a series' currently at Immanuel. We are taking some extra time during our journey through the Sermon on the Mount to specifically focus on the Model Prayer given to us in Matthew 6:9-13. I will attempt to blog each week about our time in this section. This week we are looking at v.9

Our Father in heaven
hallowed be Your name.
Four things we see in the section of the Model Prayer:

1. Exclusivity - Our Father.

God is God of all, but He is not the Father of all. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is preaching to His disciples (Mt. 5:1-2). Later in Matthew Jesus says " no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Matthew 11:27).

So, it is impossible for one to know the Father apart from knowing Christ as Savior and Lord. If you are reading this and are not a follower of Jesus, God is not to be considered your Father as He is to Believers.

In fact, let me put it more bluntly: God is your Judge. For those who refuse to repent of their sin and trust the perfect and all sufficient sacrifice of Christ, the bible says:
God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; He has prepared his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.(Psalm 7:13)
For those who are not followers of Jesus, they will meet God as a righteous and Holy Judge who will destroy their soul continually day and night for all eternity in Hell.

If you are not a follower of Jesus, won't you trust His sacrifice on the cross for sinners? Won't you repent of your sin and place your faith in our only suitable, all sufficient Savior?

2. Intimacy - Our Father

Jesus refers to God as Father over 40x in the gospel of Matthew

Think on this glorious thought: What ought we to call God? Master? King? Ruler? Sovereign?

All of those titles are certainly appropriate and should be used at various times no doubt. However, Jesus says to come to God and call Him ‘Father’. He is our Father because He has created us and He has redeemed us through the work of Christ.

Believers have the privilege, honor, and duty of going to their heavenly Father in prayer.

I don’t think the term needs to be stretched to lose the reverence. There is ‘authority’ wrapped up in that word Father isn’t there? But, it is a valid interpretation to understand Father as One who loves us, is kind and affectionate towards us, and who delights over His children…

It reminds us that although God is transcendent and high above us, He can be known through the person and work of God the Son. It is through Christ that we come to know God as Father.

There is something distinctly Trinitarian about Christian prayer. We can pray to God the Son and God the Spirit. However, when we come to God the Father we do so because we have been redeemed by God the Son and that has been applied to our hearts by God the Spirit. We serve a Triune God.  One Being eternally existing in three distinct Persons. 

3. Other Worldliness - Our Father in Heaven.

Lest we forget that God is not just some benevolent grandfather doting over us, Jesus reminds us that our Father is in heaven.

It reminds us that in a sense to pray is to enter another world. Our minds and our hearts ought to be lifted out of just where we are now in time and space and set on the things above and the glory of God…

Our hearts and minds ought to be drawn to the fact that God is our Father but He is our Father who is the infinitely sovereign God of the universe. There ought to accompany prayer a holy reverence, awe, and fear of God.

That yes, we approach Him as Father, but He is our Father who meticulously orders every nanosecond of history for His own eternal glory. Who is the Supreme ruler and holy King of all things seen and unseen. Who alone is God and there is no other. Who will not give His glory to another….


You may go to God confidently, but don’t do so casually. He is our Father, in heaven. This doesn’t mean He is not omnipresent. But it is to remind us of His transcendent glory and inimitable majesty.

4. Consecration - Hallowed be Thy Name

Hallowed. There is a word you don’t use often. Here we have the idea of consecration.

May God’s Name be set apart in our minds and hearts as holy. May I think of and speak of God in a way that actually reflects who He is.

Notice, this is a petition. It’s not a statement. It’s not: Your name is hallowed. It’s “let your name be hallowed.” It implies that there are still areas of our lives and minds and hearts where God’s name is not hallowed as it should be. 

  • For God to be honored in our thoughts, words, and actions,
  • For His Word to be prized and cherished
  • For God to be set apart in our hearts as having the highest honor and supremely holy…what would these things look like in our lives?

Reverence. When we say ‘hallowed be your name’, it’s not just that we want God to have a good reputation. God cannot be any less glorious than He is. When we say ‘hallowed be your name’ we are saying in the words of Craig Blomberg:
“All that God stands for should be treated as holy and honored because of his utter perfection and goodness.”
So, we aren’t actually asking anything to be changed about God in this petition. Rather, we are asking for God to change us. And specifically to change us to evermore enjoy God and glorify Him forever. May I think of and speak of God in a way that actually reflects who He is.

John Calvin puts it this way: “We ought to lose sight of ourselves, and seek the glory of God…It is of unspeakable advantage to us that God reigns, and that He receives the honor which is due to Him: but no man has sufficiently earnest desire to promote the glory of God, unless (so to speak) he forgets himself, and raises his mind to seek God’s exalted greatness.”

I wonder if you would be willing to say that you are actively seeking God’s exalted greatness? Are you seeking to give God the glory due His name with your life? With your plans? With your desires? With your thoughts? With your hopes? With your words? With your actions?

Is this petition a regular one in your prayers? That God would be glorified in you and through you?

Consider Psalm 23:1-3
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
This gives us some perspective doesn’t it? Salvation actually isn’t ultimately about you. Your holiness isn’t ultimately about you. Prayer even isn’t ultimately about you. In fact, nothing is ultimately about you at all is it? We could boil down this fact that the chief end of all things is the glory of God!

Jesus teaches us to pray in such a way that we have the chief end of God’s glory on our minds and hearts. So, we may desire Aunt Sally’s surgery to go well, and for a job interview to go well, or for a promotion to happen, or that we’d make a good grade on a test. But we put all of these things in subservience to the glory of God. What we want chiefly is that God’s name would be hallowed

Oh God, would you lead me in paths of righteousness for the sake of your great and glorious name!?

Let me bring you glory in thought and deed. May your name be consecrated in my life so that my life might be consecrated before a lost and dying world.

I do wonder how many of us would put ourselves in this camp?

It is very easy to focus on ourselves. It is very easy to think God is the means to some other end. Like, the purpose of knowing God is just that we’d get salvation or heaven or some temporal blessing here on earth.

But God is not the means to some other end. God is the end. God is the goal, the prize, the destination. In the words of Augustine:
 “Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee…”

My goal is that you will grow to prize the privilege of prayer. I hope that your prayers will ever increase in their Kingdom focus. Check back as we continue to walk through the Model Prayer together...

The audio for this sermon can be accessed HERE

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