We ended last week by saying that the Lord isn’t looking for impressive words; he is looking for humble hearts—hearts that trust him enough to work, even when our words are few.
Matthew 6:9-13 ESV 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.
He already knows what we need so we don't need to feeling compelled to try to impress God with a lot of words trying to appear reverent. Instead, by faith we will see a sovereign God who is ready and able to answer our prayers, and who directs all things for our good and his glory.
He begins, instead, by identifying the character of the God to whom he prays
Matthew 6:9 ESV Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
God is identified by many titles throughout Scripture. He is called “Lord,” “Most High,” “Almighty,” “King,” even “the judge of all the earth.” Yet in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus does not refer to God by any of these titles. Instead, he refers to him as “Father.”
Of course, there is a sense in which God is fatherly toward all his creation. But Scripture affirms that we only come to know God as our Father personally when through faith in Christ we are adopted into God’s family. Indeed, God is fatherly toward all his creation. God exercises a “providential care over the works of his hands. He is fatherly in relationship to everything he has made and everyone he has made. The fact that any human being anywhere exists and lives and breathes is a testimony to a paternal and benevolent relationship between the Creator and his creation. But as the confession of faith points out, God is properly Father only to those who know him through the Son.
Scripture attests to the unique fatherly relationship God has with his people on numerous occasions:
Deuteronomy 4:39 NKJV Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Paul made clear in Romans 8:14–17, only those who have the Spirit of God (called the “Spirit of adoption”) can call out to God as “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:12-17 NKJV Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
While all the names of God are important in many ways, the name “Abba Father” is one of the most significant names of God in understanding how He relates to people. The word Abba is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as “Daddy.” It was a common term that young children would use to address their fathers. It signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his “daddy.”
The benefits of being adopted children of God are many. Becoming a child of God is the highest privilege and honor that can be imagined. Because of it we have a new relationship with God and a new standing before Him. He deals with His children differently than He deals with the rest of the world. Being children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords calls us to a higher standard, a different way of life and a greater hope.
As we come to understand the true nature of God as revealed in the Bible we should be amazed that He not only allows us, but even encourages us, to call Him “Abba Father.” It is amazing that a holy and righteous God, who created and sustains all things, who is the only all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God, would allow sinful humans to call Him “Daddy.” As we come to understand who God really is and how sinful we are, the privilege of being able to call Him “Abba Father” will take on a whole new meaning for us and help us understand God’s amazing grace.
Scripture is thus unambiguous. We can only relate to God as Father because we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughters through the objective, atoning work of Jesus Christ. In other words, we can call God “Father” not because we are his children by virtue of being his creation, but because we are his children by virtue of adoption. Our Father has adopted us through his Son, in his Son, to his own glory. because we have been adopted as sons and daughters of God, those who are in Christ can truly pray to God as “our Father.”
Furthermore, the word Father also says something about God’s disposition toward us. Whereas we were once God's enemies, now, in Christ, God loves us no less than he loves his own Son.
Romans 5:6-11 (NIV) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Galatians 3:26-29 NIV So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
1 John 5:1 NIV Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
Jesus reminds us of the gospel and the gracious disposition God has toward us. The God who has delivered us from our sins is also the Father who loves us and welcomes us. The God who saved us by the work of Christ on the cross is the same God who invites us to become part of his family. The God who so graciously spoke to us in and through his Son now remarkably invites us to come speak to him. He is both transcendent (beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience) and immanent (permanently sustains the universe yet in Christ he is close to us.
Yes God is our Father and where is He?
This is the God who rules and reigns from on high. This is the God enthroned over all creation he enjoys the unending worship of the angelic host. This is our high and holy God. Our Father is in heaven; remember He is transcendent.
His transcendence is a reminder that God is distinct from his creation. Even though we have a precious relationship with God made possible by the work of Christ, we should not therefore think that God is simply a grandfatherly figure in the sky or worse, “the man upstairs.” Jesus shows us that even as we can come to God as his children and approach a loving Father, we must not forget that the Father to whom we come is none other than the almighty God of the universe.
The transcendence of God is emphasized time and again throughout the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 4:39 ESV know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
Deuteronomy 33:26 ESV "There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.
Psalms 97:9 ESV For you, O Lord , are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
In Ecclesiastes 5:2, Solomon connected our understanding of the transcendence of God as we pray.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 ESV Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
Our knowledge of God’s transcendence should shape our prayers by reminding us that prayer is a humble and reverent enterprise.
Then Jesus said “... hallowed be your name.
That is the first thing that Jesus said we should ask for in prayer is that our Father would hallow His name.
Jesus is not merely saying that God’s name is hallowed; rather, he is asking God to make his name hallowed. The verb hallow, however, simply means to “make holy” or “consider as holy. God repeatedly indicates that when he acts he does so for the sake of his name, that is for his own glory.
Psalms 25:11 ESV For your name's sake, O Lord , pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Isaiah 43:6-7 ESV I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
Isaiah 48:9-11 ESV "For my name's sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
Ezekiel 20:13-14 ESV But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned. "Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out.
Ezekiel 36:22 ESV "Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God : It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.
How then does God “hallow his name” in the world? We must ask God to “hallow his name” in our lives, in our prayer, in our in our witnessing, and in our work. Our ultimate concern is not that our lives be comfortable, but that God be glorified, and that our lives, even our prayers, put God’s glory on display. Faithfulness in the Christian life makes the glory of God go public.
The first line of Jesus’ prayer focuses our attention on God and not on ourselves. Jesus teaches us that God is our imminent Father. He is the transcendent one in heaven. He is the one who reveals and names himself. And our chief concern in prayer is not our own comfort but God’s glory.
Matthew 6:10 ESV Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Early on in this study I said that this Sermon Jesus’ purpose was to explain to the multitudes the nature of kingdom of heaven.
Remember the Beatitudes
Matthew 5:3, 10 ESV "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
God reveals his character and reputation (hallows His name) as his kingdom spread to every corner of the earth and as citizens of that kingdom do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.
I think that I mentioned a study that I did last year of a book “The Prayer That Turned The World Upside Down” by R. Albert Mohler Jr. He said that the Lord’s Prayer is for revolutionaries, for men and women who want to see the kingdoms of this world give way to the kingdom of our Lord. But, he says that this is a revolution that only God can bring...and he will.
But what is God’s kingdom, and what does it mean to pray for its arrival?
Let’s go to
Luke 17:20-21 ESV Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
The context of Jesus’ statement is a question put to Him by His Pharisee detractors who had asked when the kingdom of God would come (verse 20).
Jesus’ answer was that the kingdom of God was not coming in the manner the Pharisees were expecting. The kingdom would not be inaugurated with spectacle or splendor; there would be no great and magnificent leader who staked out a geographical claim and routed the Romans; rather, the kingdom would come silently and unseen,
Matthew 13:24-33 ESV He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' So the servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, "Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn."'" He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened."
"Matthew 13:44-50 ESV The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the weeds or tares are the sons of the enemy (the devil) who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
In other words, Jesus says, the kingdom had already begun, right under the Pharisees’ noses. Jesus was inaugurating the kingdom as He changed the hearts of men, one at a time.
in Scripture the kingdom of God must be understood as something that is already here on earth but not yet fully present. In other words, the kingdom of God has been inaugurated but not yet consummated.
This kingdom arrived with the coming of Christ, who urged his hearers to repent because the “kingdom of God is at hand.” Christians are now part of that kingdom. As Paul stated, “[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). Thus, even though we await the full expression of God’s kingdom that will come in glory and power at the return of Christ, we are at this time living under the reign of God as his people—we are citizens of that kingdom.
Jesus came preaching the inauguration of the kingdom. His disciples were allowed a glimpse of his kingdom in glory during the transfiguration
Matthew 17:2 ESV And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
Mark 9:2-3 ESV And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.
After his resurrection Jesus declared that he had been given “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).
The Great Commission is rooted in Christ's declaration that he is the king on the throne of all creation. In our current stage in redemptive history, therefore, God’s kingdom is made up of those who believe in Christ (God's People) gathered in local churches across the world (God’s place) under the law of Christ and partaking of the new covenant (God’s rule and blessing).
God’s kingdom is essentially his reign over his people for their good and his glory. God’s reign is not just his absolute sovereignty; is also a redemptive reign that transforms hearts and creates obedience.
THE COMING KINGDOM
According to Scripture, how does the kingdom of God come from heaven to earth?
It does not come through moral reform and social justice, which is a good thing but can lead to a very liberal view of lifestyle and sin. It does not come through political processes either which can also be good but taken to legalistic extremes.
The Bible teaches that God’s kingdom only comes as God’s people preach God’s Word, which, coupled with God’s Spirit, produces life and obedience. To use the language of Paul, God’s Word and Spirit change the hearts of sinners such that they are rescued out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of his dear Son
Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.