The Sermon on the Mount, Part 13

Welcome to Timeless Truth with Pastor Jim Thomas. This season, Pastor Jim is leading us in a study of The Sermon on the Mount.

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew, chapters 5-7.

We need to talk about prayer because it is our lifeline to God.  Prayer is the means by which we communicate and commune with God. And it is communing with God that nurtures the health of our spiritual life.

“God fixes our prayers on the way up. If He does not answer the prayer we made, He will answer the prayer we should have made.  This is all anyone needs to know.”
J. I. Packer

The entire Lord’s Prayer is stated in the plural! OUR Father, Give US this day OUR daily bread, forgive US OUR debts as WE forgive OUR debtors, do not lead US into temptation but deliver US from evil. It’s all in the plural! What that should mean to us? When we pray as Christians, we are never alone!

Our Father…

“What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father.”
J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Who art in heaven…

Transcendent, far above us, supernatural, mysterious, beyond the sciences, beyond our senses, finitum non capax infinitum

Hallowed be Thy name… To call something “hallowed” means to treat as holy, to consecrate, to sanctify.

Thy kingdom come…

The kingdom of heaven doesn’t have a zip code, it doesn’t belong to one nation or one political party and that’s because God transcends human categories. To pray ‘Thy kingdom come’ is to align our lives with God’s honor, will, and purposes.

Thy will be done…

We resolve to submit our lives to God’s will, to His agenda vs attempting to fit God into our agenda. This means we desire to see things the way God sees things, to want what God wants, and in every aspect of our lives, to find out what God is doing and with eagerness, run to join Him in it.

In the second section of the Lord’s Prayer there is something for us to pray about concerning our Present, our Past and our Future: 

For our present: v11 Give us this day our daily bread… 

This means we see God as the source of everything we need for daily living. This prayer engenders dependence and trust for supply.

For our past: v12 Forgive us our trespasses…as we forgive those who trespass against us…

There are two things being said here and both are essential if we desire to have a clean conscience from our misdeeds in the past: 

First, we must acknowledge our debts, our trespasses, our sins before God. No excuses, we must come clean and plainly confess our sins. The good news of the Christian faith is that the worst of your past, the darkest, most embarrassing, all the shameful things you have done, they can all be forgiven right now because God, in Christ, has already paid the price for your sin!

Second, notice what follows immediately after the Lord’s Prayer in v14-15. Jesus said we cannot expect God to forgive us if we refuse to forgive others. He felt so strongly about it, He said it twice! We tend to minimize our sins and magnify the sins of others but once we understand how great a forgiveness we have received, we simply cannot refuse the same to others. And so, I ask you, who has wronged you and is there anyone you have not forgiven?

For our future Jesus says pray: v13 Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil For Thine is the kingdom, the power, & the glory, forever(and ever). Amen!

As we watch or read the news, filled with negativity and despair, as we watch the struggle for power in every election cycle, as we see and hear the countless stories of the self-destructive behavior of one celebrity after another, Jesus calls us to fall to our knees and pray: lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”
Karl Barth

“Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.”
William Barclay

“Prayer is beyond any questions the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when, upon his knees, he comes face to face with God.”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

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