Archives: The Lord’s Prayer

Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer – Temptation

(Throwing books at the door). If you saw me throwing books, what would you say? ‘He is getting mentally challenged!’

But this was an act of a sane man of God – Martin Luther.

It is said that he threw books at the devil as he felt the urge to fall into temptation.

This may seem extreme, but someone who knows the Lord, who knows what a joy it is to walk holy before him (this is no joke), but also for someone who knows how real sin and temptations are:

This is what Jesus is teaching here:

Jesus says that we should pray for protection against temptations, he says “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” which basically means shield / protect us from the tempter.

I would like to point out a few reasons you need to pray this prayer:

  1. In dealing with temptation, you need more than just resolve

Yes, there is a part I need to play: to fight against the tempter: I am not passive, I actively take the fight to the enemy.

So there is a resolve and efforts that are my role in my struggle against tempter

James 4:7 points this out, “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you”

When the devil continues to nag you to give into sin, keep on putting him off – keep on saying no – and James says that the devil will give up – Of course this is for while.

There is that role that I must play.

However, in dealing with temptation I need more than just resolve, hence the call by Jesus to pray.

This is a spiritual battle. You may remember Paul saying in Ephesians 6:10, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities etc.”

It is not the obvious, it is the hidden one, it is the unseen, the spiritual forces at work in this world.

You need more than just human fight, you need a godly intervention in your life.

A spiritual intervention that doesn’t expose you to your lust and coveting and sinfulness.

A spiritual intervention that causes evil not to flourish against you – that restrains evil – that shuts doors to evil – that “shuts the mouths of the lions” as it were, lions on the verge of destroying you.

A supernatural intervention that shuts the devils as they try to cause you to stop believing in God – to stop you from serving Jesus – stop you from giving your life wholly to Jesus.”

A supernatural intervention that stops you from what I call “Job’s wife syndrome”. By that we mean, cursing God because life has thrown at you the most difficult of circumstances.

Hence Jesus says pray and say “Lead us not into temptation” for you and I need that spiritual intervention.

  1. In dealing with temptations, there is a real threat

We are not immune to the lures and attractions of evil – we are not immune to these matters:

The greatest of spirit-filled servants of God have fallen into the trap:

Job’s wife, though we know very little of her, but one would think that she was a fine woman, who when they gathered to praise God she would sing to the top of her voice.

When her husband offered sacrifices for her children’s sins – she agreed with a resounding amen.

Have you ever imagined the pain of that woman? I know we have looked at her husband.

Think for a moment – here was a man who, as far as she knew him, was as godly as they come: a man of great wealth, a man of great blessings, that man was her husband, a man with whom she had borne 10 children.

She had carried each of those children in her womb; put together she carried them in her womb for 90 months (7.5 years) – she had nurtured them from infants to adults, who would now invite each other to celebrate life.

Yet at this critical moment in her life, we read: Job 1:18-19 “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold a great wind came across the wilderness and struck down the four corners of the house, and behold it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

This woman holds her peace, no doubt shattered beyond any human pain, she hides her pain as she buries her children all at once.

But her problems are far from over, her only hope in life, her husband we are told in 2:7 “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.”

Then she cracks and says to Job, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”

Talk about being tempted to the extreme!

Now friends, maybe we have not been tried as she was, however temptations to curse God are real.

Temptations to live the True One God are real, as the words of the song say:

Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
Take my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

It is real threat for us when we are going through difficult times – hence cry out “Lead us not into temptations”.

Let me give you another example; from what I call, “The Isaiah dichotomy” or “A Christian dichotomy” :-

Isaiah 6:4: “And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said, Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Isaiah feels that he is “ruined” – he has seen God and yet he is so aware of his own uncleanness.

He doesn’t talk much about his experience with God, but he is so aware of how far he falls short.

The sin he has been denouncing on others, is the very sin that is brought to the fore by his comprehension of God’s holiness.

I wonder if you can see here, it’s not degree of sin that comes to the fore to Isaiah as he stands before God, but it is his own unworthiness.

Now this was Paul’s cry in Romans 7: 21-25

And this dichotomy is our Christian experience.

Sin still lurking behind us, as if to catch us – all the more we need to pray, “lead us not into temptation but deliver us.

One last example, Psalm 73 (Asaph) Vs.1 “My feet had almost slipped when I envied the arrogant.”

Asaph was tempted through what can be called “an ungodly observation”.

This was more than just been spured on to work harder to improve his life – he began to look at his life in relation to God – and how those who do not fear seem to have life easy.

Envy was his problem, failing to realize that God is at work in his children – fortunes and misfortunes are not without his hand.

The tempter tempts us through others, through observing life in an ungodly fashion.

It’s not, as Jesus would say “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.”

It’s the attitude that says these people cannot have what they have, in fact if I can’t have that – it means God has failed – God is not good.

These are real temptations for us: hence Jesus says pray:

Father lead us not into temptation

We can be like Asaph, we can be like Job’s wife, we can through the Christian dichotomy experience and that can kill us.

In all this, commit yourself to God, trust in his mercy and grace, trust in his sovereign hand.

For you can clearly see, you and I need a supernatural intervention – for these things happen to people just like us.

Perhaps that is where somehow the tempter is winning, and today you need to turn to God and say, “Lord free me and deliver me from these temptations”.

Perhaps on the verge, irrespective of where you are: let us cry to God to shield us from the evil one. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer – Forgiveness

“Seek for God’s forgiveness with an open heart towards others”

Vs.12 says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”.

Two principles could be drawn from this:

  1. Mankind is indebted to God

When Jesus teaches his disciples how they are to come before God / what should be contained in their prayers as they come to God, he teaches that we are to ask for God’s forgiveness…..’ forgive us our debts’.

Someone may ask, “What debts do we have? What do we owe God?”

Someone might say,”Hey, God is the one who owes me, I was taught that if I give God the money then God owes a 100 fold of what I gave him”.

What do you mean when you say, “I am the one who owes God?”.

Well it’s not what I am saying but it’s what Jesus says. To Jesus it’s a given that you need forgiveness for your sins…..though it may not be obvious initially when we are born….

We seem so innocent, but then give us a few more months, that inbuilt nature that wants its own way starts kicking in…..

You feed her something and she throws it back at you……

Funny, I observed this at our pre-school, the teachers promised the kids sweets after their finish eating their fruits……

A 2 year old, picked up her fruits and flung it at the teacher and cried in demand for the sweets…..sinful.

As David once said, “Sinful from the time my mother conceived me”. (Psalm 51:5)

Sooner or later we need to accept that we are stubborn, we want things our way…..we want to rule and take control of our lives.

To Jesus, this is nothing new, you are a sinner…..you have failed your Father in heaven…….plead for his mercy, plead for his forgiveness.

To be a sinner means that you miss the mark…..you miss the direction….

God’s direction for mankind is that we would live under God in full submission, but the issue is that we have failed as from the time Adam and Eve ate the forbidden tree…..up to today.

We are failing to fully submit to God’s will and purpose and commandments…..

In fact, we are dismally failing……

If a child was given an exam and a pass mark was 100%, ie a child needs to get 100 out of 100….

But then a child gets 99%….you would say – he failed but that was close….

If a child gets 39% that is when you would say, that is dismally, miserably failed…..

And the bible presents mankind as a dismal failure in regard to God’s commands….

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

Here Paul doesn’t give the quantitative nature of falling short….

But come with me to Romans 3:9ff…..

Here Paul drives the point home and cites an OT text (Psalm 14:1-3), and reiterates it – ‘None is righteous…..not even one’

In Romans, Paul is clear that both the Jews and the non-Jews are in trouble…..none whatsoever can stand before God and plead for a full pass mark…..

Look at these words that he uses which shows how serious we have and continue to fail before God….

Here they are:

Rom 3:Vs.12 – worthless (good for nothing)

Rom 3:Vs.13 “Their throat is an open grave” (what comes through their mouths is death only)

“The venom of asps is under their lips”, what comes from their lips is gevaarlik, danger only.

Rom 3:Vs.14 “their mouth is full of curses and bitterness”

Rom 3:Vs.15 “their feet are swift to shed blood”

Rom3:Vs.18 “there is no fear of God before their eyes”

Now this is a description, just in case anybody missed it – look again at Rom 3:vs.9b “For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.”

Now when Jesus says cry out, “Forgive us our sins”, Jesus understands how bad the situation is.

He understands how far we have fallen from where we supposed to be ……

A throat that is an open grave……

Not only does he know how bad we have fallen, Jesus also knows how terrible the consequences will be……

Jesus led his servant John to write about the consequences of sin in Revelation 20:11-15.

“Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

That is how serious sin is. Today an opportunity for one to be forgiven and hence have his name written in the Book of Life still exists…..

Hence Jesus says cry out to God……”Forgive us our debts”.

Have you? Are your sins forgiven? Is your name written in the Book of Life? If it’s not, I fear for you…..

Today Jesus pleads with us, cry out to God “forgive us our debts”, but, and there is a big BUT here, you must be willing to give to others what you are seeking from God.

  1. Mankind must seek from God that which others receive from them

As we have forgiven those who sin against us…..

Forgiving, means not holding others debts against them……you free them from whatever they may have done to you…..

Whether they ask you or not – it is imperative that you do forgive……

Other people may not even get a chance to ask you to forgive them…….but you must forgive…..

Your forgiveness is driven by God’s forgiveness of you……and not because he or she has asked for your forgiveness…..

In fact, Isaiah 58 is God’s pleading with Israel that if they are looking for God to come to their aid and rescue them from their enemies, they too must be found to be doing to others what they are seeking.

Conclusion:

Forgiveness: We cannot survive in the Kingdom with it…..we cannot be children of the kingdom unless we come to God as sincere as possible and plead for our sins……

But remember to treat others as you would want God to treat you.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer – The Kingdom of God (part 2)

The Kingdom of God (part 2)

There is a story of a man who was given an odd job to paint the porch at front of the house.

The man returned in no time and declared joyfully that he had finished, and proudly announced to his employer that it was easy and by the way it was not a Porsche but a Mercedes Benz…..

Reading about the Kingdom of God must challenge us to carefully examine our own walk with Jesus….

There is, in fact, a demand that is placed upon each of us to reexamine our own claim to the Kingdom of God…..

We noted last week, that the Kingdom of God is about Jesus and Jesus is about the Kingdom of God….

Such that Jesus could say about his presence, “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.”

And we also noted, that people are drawn to the kingdom in such a way that Jesus could say “They are forcing their way into it.”

In fact, it’s not just one type, but rather all types of people, even “tax collectors and prostitutes” who are making their way into it.

Praying that God’s kingdom comes means that we are pleading that many people of different backgrounds force their way into the Kingdom, into the grace of God in Jesus…..

Today we note further that:

The demand is placed upon each of us to examine ourselves because:

  1. The Kingdom of God is something that can temporarily keep both the godly and the ungodly together (Matthew 13:24).

Jesus often spoke in parables. Parables are stories that full of spiritual meaning: eg The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed.

This man was very careful to sow a good seed in his field, its good seed that will eventually produce a good crop……

There is something significant that must be mentioned here, a good seed is planted…..

As we know, the man who sowed represents God……God plants a good seed……

This seed is genuine Christians, so we must therefore emphasize that here.

The genuine following of Jesus Christ is an act of God……God causes us to be born again……God opens our eyes so we will appreciate what he has done and continues to do in Jesus Christ……

We are a product of God. We must say further, that because we are a product of God, we are producers of a good crop.

Perhaps that is a good plumb-line as to whether we are indeed of God.

Would you note also, that God’s work is not without the presence of the enemy?

While God sows, another (vs.25) came and sowed weeds amongst the wheat……

This another is obviously the devil……he too raises his own ‘seed’ and this seed is planted within the same garden…..

Obviously the implications of this are:

  • In the church of God, there is a good seed and it produces a good crop, but there is also a bad seed, a seed of the evil one……they are together in the church…..
  • Sometimes those entrusted with the vineyard can see the different seed and often are confused and they want to uproot these……
  • God says to leave that for the end…..
  • The weeds will be burned
  • Then the wheat will go into God’s barn……into God’s endless grace…..into God’s great love

Is it not right for us then to ask each of us to examine ourselves:-

What seed do we possess? What geminates? What character traits are we seeing happening in our lives?

Your kingdom come…….good seed continues to produce a good crop…..

  1. The kingdom of God may seem insignificant but will eventually be the greatest of all (Matthew 13:31)

I don’t know if you have ever found yourself resenting a lack of future insight? Maybe you sold a property in a particular area and now, years later, that area has become a sought after area? Perhaps something else seemed very insignificant at the time and now you see its real value?

Jesus says that the Kingdom of God / Jesus could be treated as such……

People could possibly view it as insignificant?

If you looked at the kingdom of God today, you would be tempted to think that God and this matter about the Kingdom of God is not successful.

God is failing – the kingdom looks very insignificant……looks like it is failing…..

Sundays are days for many to sleep in, or shopping malls are their church”.

Perhaps the question should be asked: why do we seem to judge these matters and even be tempted to think thus?

  1. We judge important matters using our human spectacles, e.g. when Jesus came, questions were asked, “Could anything good come out Nazareth?”

Others said, “Is this not the Carpenter’s son? Why should we believe in him?”

You see Nazareth was an insignificant little town.

People often judge important matters in life according to man’s wisdom and man’s standard.

Jesus says “Don’t judge the kingdom of God as such, because tomorrow you will regret your decision when you see the revelation of God’s future”.

The kingdom is not as weak as you suppose…..

We need to get to the mind of God – God often uses the weak to shame the strong

(1 Cor.1:27 -28):

‘But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.’

What seem to be weak, what seem insignificant, when we have a godly view of things we realize that everything is actually according to plan.

  1. We don’t have the full insight of the future

Jesus says that the Kingdom of God cannot be treated as such……

For we are not dealing with what the ignorant can easily comprehend.

Think about this: a seed of a mustard tree and the seed of a bean – if you saw them and you knew nothing about them but were looking for a big tree for your garden….which one will you take?

Mustard seed
Bean seed

Now we have the gift of insight and we can see what God wants from us…..

  1. The Kingdom of God is where forgiveness is found and given to others (Matthew 18:21-35)

A statement was once made by someone and he said thus:

“If you were to err, rather err on the side of grace”.

Perhaps this is where we all need to pause and think again about our own hearts towards those who have wronged us…..

You see, it is important that the person who sins ask for forgiveness. For us as believers, the driving force to our pursuit of forgiveness should be that:

What drives us to want to forgive others, is God’s forgiveness to us.

In response to God’s generous grace and mercy upon us, we extend the same to others.

I am not talking about reconciliation here, though necessary and desired, this is not the point.

Reconciliation may never be possible between people due to hurt and acts of the past, however forgiveness is the prerogative to us who have experienced the grace of God.

When we have fully understood what grace means….

In conclusion:

As we pray, ‘Your kingdom come’….

We are asking God to help us see where we are standing with regard to God – whether we are a seed of God or a seed of the devil.

We are asking for God to help see the bigger picture of the Kingdom of God…..to see that God often works differently from how things in this world operate.

We are asking that we may know God’s forgiveness and that we too may extend the same grace to others in such a way that we may be known as the river / sea of grace.

 

The Lord’s Prayer – The name of God

The name of God

To whom does the name of God matter? When we pray ‘hallowed be your name’ – what are we saying?

Anybody who blasphemes the name of God / Jesus must we kill and arrest? Is that what Jesus meant, is this what this text means?

There is only one way that God’s name can be honoured by mankind – its not every mankind……its certain people who……

It is foolish to expect that the people of the world would be concerned about God’s holiness or his name……for it means nothing to them…..

Therefore when we pray hallowed be your name, are we not actually praying that “God changes man from the inside out so they can see the beauty of God and his name”

We are praying for the spiritual, supernatural operation of the Spirit in one’s heart…..

Let’s delve and see what God may be calling us to be…..

Why?

  1. The name of God revealed

God reveals his name to Moses in Exodus 3

The context is that God wants Moses to go and free the Children of Israel out of Egypt…..

Moses knows the great task that is involved in this and he asks God – Vs.13 “Then Moses said to God, if I come to the people of Israel and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you and they ask me, what is his name? What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said to say to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “say to the people of Israel, The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

Moses asks a question – “Who should I say sent me?”

The verb used in revealing God “hayah” which means ‘to be” which then we get a translation “I am who I am”.

Or perhaps literally goes like this “I AM TO BE WHO I AM TO BE”…..

You get a sense that God says “my identity is mine to know”, my character is mine to decide”.

Nobody decides who I should or what I should be……..I am God……I call the shots…..

Nobody dictates what I am to be, therefore we should see him as the God who “is self-governing, self-existent”.

Further on he says to tell them, “The LORD – YHWH the one in charge…..same sense you get here….

Then thirdly he says “the God of your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”…

That same God that has worked and led and guided your fathers – is the same God that calls you to follow His lead….

That same God that was, is the one that calls……self-governing, self-existent and master of it…..

Now we need to understand this that the same God who is described here is the same God of the New Testament……

The entire history of the Jewish nation was leading to Jesus Christ…..

In Abraham, God revealed his plan of the Messiah – “Gen.12 says “go and YOU WILL BE A BLESSING TO ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH”.

God’s working in Abraham, in Isaac, in Jacob or the entire people of Israel culminates in Jesus Christ…..

History finds its fulfilment in Jesus Christ…..

The name of God for us is the name that is self-governing, self-existent and master of it…..

The God who has worked in the history of the Jewish people – which culminates in Jesus……

It is the God who has brought salvation in Jesus……

That is how you are to know God…..the God of our Salvation……

You can only honour this God when you understand who He is…..

Here it says he is self-governing, self-existent and master of it…..

I owe my life to him rather than the other way around…..

We, who have understood this God, we have no option except to want to honour his name….

In fact, it’s not so much that we like more than what God has caused to happen in in our hearts…..

2 Cor.5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: the old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.”

Unless man becomes a new creation – they will continue to use the name of Jesus as a swear word….

They will continue to live as they want…..and do things that are contrary to the name of God…..

NEW CREATION is key to the honour of God’s name…….

As you pray – remember you are saying, “Lord reveal your holiness to the world, but especially to me.”

Once we comprehend the holiness of God and the greatness of God…..our lives would want nothing but to honour the name of God…..

We watch what we say and do…..if you have no desire for this…..I would question your comprehension of God in Jesus Christ……

  1. The honour to the name

  1. Being a new creation….

Key is being a new creation.

Killing all who swear by the name of God doesn’t answer this prayer…..

But revealing the person of Jesus Christ to the lost world is what will change their attitude towards God, thus……

The man who is unsaved has no desire to honour the name of God – but the moment God saves him…..

I am referring to the miracle of the New Birth, that which is as a result of the supernatural operation of God.

This person for once in his life “sees God as his Father…..sees God’s love in Jesus Christ…..

Sees that God has planned throughout ages for his / her salvation……he begins to see Jesus Christ…..

He sees as the disciples once said, “where can we go Lord, you have the words of eternal life” John 6:68

……he sees God who has revealed himself in the history of the Jewish nation, fulfilled in Jesus Christ…..

He sees that Jesus is the way through which God brings about salvation….

Then that person starts saying – “Lord you are amazing. I am amazed at your plan of salvation.

Throughout history You have been planning for my salvation ……

That name of God speaks joy and gratitude……

Only then can he begin to live his life (concerned about the name of God).

Because I claim to be identified with this name – I therefore live my life carefully lest I contradict His character…..

It is not the name I will use anyhow.

When we pray “Hallowed be thy name”, we are actually asking to change people and cause them to have a deep hunger and adoration for God……

The call is to pray that God is known:

For when God is known, not only are lives changed in that there is now hope and life is meaningful……

But life also changes and we are transformed from the inside out…..

Conclusion:

This God who has revealed his name….

This God – the great I am……the great self-governing, self-existent and God over all…..

The God who has been at work throughout ages – preparing to bring his Son Jesus Christ who saves….

He who grants a man a new life…

The question is will we worship or will we curse the One who reigns throughout ages…..the One who planned and at the fullness of time brought forth his Son Jesus Christ…..

Maybe you can judge for yourself – does the name of God matter to you or not?

Once you are a new creation (the old pass away and the new has come), the name of God becomes a precious name to his own…..

Pray and remember men who are dead to God cannot even begin to bless the name of God…..

But only as they become new creations can they begin to honour God’s name….

Therefore we must share Jesus with them…

The Lord’s Prayer – The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

There is a dramatic time that can be observed at a funeral service where a coffin is present, often the congregation rises to its feet as the coffin is ushered in and there is utter silence…..

The same applies at a wedding ceremony, when the arrival of the bride & groom is preceded by a call for all to rise……it’s almost like a statement affirming that the bride & groom are the center of all that is to happen……

When Jesus came to the scene and began his public ministry, it was a dramatic time in the history of the Jews and the rest of the world……..

The announcement was not made by another, but by Jesus himself in Galilee, Mark 1:14-15 “after the arrest of John (the Baptist) Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God and saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.”

The Kingdom of God had arrived and there was a call to be prepared……As we think through Jesus’ words to his disciples when he taught them how to pray – we note that he called them to pray that his kingdom come.

How would it come – if it had already come? In one sense the kingdom has come and in another it is to come……

Let’s explore what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God / the kingdom of heaven….

What does it mean to say “Your kingdom come”?

In answering this question I would like to point to Jesus’ usage of the phrase “the Kingdom of God”

The Kingdom of God ushers in a new era that draws man to God (Luke 16:16):

Jesus clearly points out that there are two eras/ time-frames in the history of God’s people…..

The era of the law and the prophets which ended with John (vs.16), this was the era of the promises……that era had now found its fulfillment in Jesus…..

John separates the two.

And then the era of God’s kingdom as an era of the Messiah, an era of God’s visitation, the era of God’s great hope realized in Jesus Christ.

In fact, further on Luke records this fact more clearly Luke 17:20-21.

The Kingdom of God is in the midst of you….in other words his presence ushers in the Kingdom of God….

The Kingdom of God and Jesus are inseparable – The kingdom is about Jesus and Jesus is about the Kingdom of God……

The Kingdom of God therefore comes in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ……

Would you note as well that the Kingdom of God is not only amongst us…….the Kingdom of God draws man to it…… Luke 16:16

Luke says that people are being drawn to it…..the way he says it “Everyone forces his way into it.” Its like there is a magnet that pulls these people inside…….they are forcing their way into it……You get a sense that no hindrance stands / stops them from entering the Kingdom of God…..

That is the nature of the Kingdom of God; that is the nature of Jesus’ ministry……

We don’t have to force people or use underhanded ways to draw them to Him…..

There is a self witness from Jesus / from Jesus’ ministry ……the cross where Jesus died speaks louder……

Who dies for others? Who is willing to go all the way to save a people who are stubborn and/or stiff-necked?

Who are comfortable in their wicked ways? Yet Jesus draws them to himself…..

Would you also note that all types of people are drawn to the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 21:31b says “……Truly I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.”

It is far from the truth to say that Jesus came for those whom were good / whom were righteous……but Jesus draws all types…..

How low can you get in any society than being a prostitute…… the one who not only sells her body but sells her soul to devil as it were?

In the ancient society, tax collectors were traitors that served oppressors such as Rome…….

In South Africa those who were deemed to be traitors serving the oppressors were necklaced with tyres.

No society reacts well to traitors……

However Jesus says that even the worst of sinners are entering ahead of you…..

So when we pray, “Your kingdom come”, we are actually praying that people force their way into the Kingdom of God……

All types of people would be drawn to God…..that they would realize that God has visited in the person of Jesus……

Nothing would stop people from coming to Jesus…..that is what we are praying for, that they will be like a man who found a lost treasure recorded in Matthew 13.

Here is a man who finds something more important that anything in his life…..

Nothing stands on his way……nothing whatsoever…….not his fears…..not his wife and children if he had any…..

He sees something of greater value than what he had…..and Jesus says that is how the Kingdom of God is received…..

People force their way into it…..because they see the treasure that it is…..

It cannot be compared to anything…..

Situations, family…..friends must not and will not stop someone who has found something of such worth such as the Kingdom of God…..

In most of the Muslim world, those who come to faith in Christ are regarded as traitors and thus outsiders, so they are ill-treated, and often killed…..

But they still persist in their faith because they have found something that cannot be compared to anything……they are willing to lose their life, if that is what it will cost in order to worship the one who came from God, Jesus Christ……

As we pray, we are saying, Lord will you reveal your kingdom to the world in such a way that nothing stops them from entering?

That not even suffering, not even death…..nothing whatsoever…..

Reveal your plan to them……

Perhaps the question must be asked, “If you have not entered, what is standing in your way?”

Can you not see the beauty of the cross of Jesus Christ? He died to pay the penalty not for his sins (for he had none) but for the sins of the world…..your sins…..

God offered His only begotten Son, so that whosoever will believe will have eternal life……

The whole of human history finds its’ fulfillment in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ……

Shouldn’t you also force your way into it?

Beloved, continue to pray that people will force their way into the kingdom…….

As I conclude, I would like to point out that:-

The kingdom of God is open to those who will but respond positively to God’s invitation (Matthew 22:1-14)

You see, the call is wide but only those who will respond to God’s voice will see the Kingdom of God……will see God’s Son Jesus Christ…..

In this parable, an invitation goes out (in fact a number of invitations).

People have their lives to live…….proving that life is more important for them, they have no time for the invitation…..

Vs.5 “They paid no attention to the call, they went to their business, another to his field.”

Others fight like crazy against anything that says Jesus (like a radio station I know in South Africa), illustrating the point that people are too busy with life to consider God’s call…..

The king, who represents God, sent another invitation to all but who will come?

God’s kingdom will be full, but will not have those who entered by hook or by crook…..those who are not prepared for it……

Those who are not willing to come wearing white garments washed in the blood of the lamb……that is like that of the man who had no wedding clothes is about……

No person will enter unless he is wearing a white robe washed in the blood of the lamb…..

The kingdom is for those who will respond – respond appropriately, seeking for the cleansing and the washing through the blood of Jesus Christ……

Are you washed in the blood of the lamb……are your garments white as snow?

Have your sins been removed away from you as far as the east is from the west?

The call is on…..the Kingdom of God is opened….

God’s plan will not be frustrated by those who reject and those who fight against it…..

Many see and many allow nothing to stand in the way…..

Is that you?

The Lord’s Prayer – as Trusting Children

Our Father in heaven – As trusting children

There is something very interesting in how Jesus taught his disciples how to pray.

Though this was to be a pattern of their prayers, Jesus was very much concerned that they got to grips with this God that they pray to, what is he like? What does he expect from them?

If you like this is the summary about the God we pray to, His character, His will…..His desires for His own people.

Today we note that Jesus calls us to look to God or to pray to this God whom we must understand as our Father in heaven.

  1. Our Father

Though God is the Creator of us all, there is something special about the fact that Jesus calls us to call God “Our Father”.

Father means that there is a relationship.

Hence when we call God our Father that communicates that we have a relationship with Him.

Often we think that all people created by God have a right to call God their father……the Bible knows only those who have come to be adopted as God’s children can clearly call him our Father.

The point is this there is a difference between being part of God’s creation and being a ‘Child of God’.

The Bible does not refer to all of whom God created as God’s children, but only to those who have become his spiritual children through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Once this has happened – God’s immediate act upon us is to put onto our lips the cry “Abba Father” as Romans 8:15 puts it.

Abba is an Aramaic word meaning “father” – this is a term that a child would use in the home of his father.

It is a word spoken with reverence……such that some of our English words would not qualify for this word. Daddy, Papa (whatever the term kids use this day).

Abba means Dear Father, my father.

Romans 8:16 says that God’s Spirit tells us in our spirits that we are God’s children…..

The sense of knowing God to be your father……to have access…..to be my own Father is mind boggling……

Jesus says remember this as you pray – you are praying to your own Father.…..

If he is your Father – it means he has a very big interest in you…..

This Father is presented to us as this caring God who desires to GIVE good gifts to His children……

In Matthew 7:7-11 : Jesus does some comparisons – wicked fathers who know how to give good gifts to their children and then you have Our Father who is heaven who by far supersedes the earthly fathers……

He says “do you think that when you ask Him, he will fail to give good gifts to those who ask him?

The point is this that in heaven – there sits a Father – who listens to his children and who desires to answer their prayer requests…..whose desires is to offer good things to his children…..

Hence Jesus says vs.7 “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”

God has chosen to work through the requests of his children – the God for whom “the earth and all that is in it belongs to”

Choosen to work through the mortal, frail, wicked peoples’ prayers…..

Ask and you have a Father in heaven waiting for you to ask and to bless you with good gifts…..

Can you see what Jesus says here – he doesn’t say “do an electronic transfer into the TV evangelist’s bank account, and by so doing he will release your blessing”…..

He says ask and your Father in heaven is willing to give good gifts to his children who ask him…..

The same Father we come to when we pray is the same Father that Jesus constantly called upon:

In Matthew 11:25-30

Matthew records that Jesus began to pray and began :-

  • Thank you Father “
  • Lord of heaven and earth – the master of everything, in total control of all things…..
  • This Father overrules over the minds and hearts and desires of every man (vs.25b-26) see also Luke 12:32
  • This Father is the One who has given Jesus every authority in heaven and earth…..

Hence Jesus can call upon the weary 11:28-30.

The Father we pray to is willing and longs to bless his children who come to him

James 4:2 says “You want something, but you don’t get it…You do not have, because you do not ask God.”

God wants to bless – how many people take serious their time in prayer?

You see God is looking to bless – don’t give up, keep on praying because “your Father wants to bless you”.

  1. In heaven

  1. Heaven is God’s throne,

Psalm 33:13-14

Heaven is where God sits and rules the universe……

This means that Jesus wants to recall as we bow our heads and pray – to not forget to whom we are praying.

The One we turn to is who sits on the throne – and rules.

This means that in the world where we are often struck with fear for we think things have gone out of control……

We fear for our lives for the lives of our children…..the important thing for us is as we pray, remember that God is still on the throne……he is still in control…..

There is nothing that happens without Him allowing it – He is the supreme ruler.

In this land if any are aggrieved their last resort would be to go to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

If you fail there – all has failed…..that is the last authority you will get….

But there is God – he is the authority above all authorities.

He is the power above all powers.

He is the leader above and ruler above of rulers.

We sit and we pray……we not praying to some trivial god who is made of wood etc.

But we are praying to God who is over all, above, above all powers, above all wisdom……

  1. Heaven is where our intercession takes place

As we speak, at the right hand of God is seated God’s Son, interceding for Christians and pleading for their lives and souls. Colossians 3:1

Hebrews 7:25 “Consequently, Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

We are appealing to the mercy seat as it were……as we pray we are entering to the place the Son sits continually in the seat of authority interceding for us….

  1. Heaven is where all the dead in Christ are kept

1 Thess.4:14-16

One day the skies with sound with a trumpet and the dead in Christ will rise first and those left behind will follow and meet with the Lord in the air…..

The souls that had died and remained in the intermediate state – their ashes and bodies will be brought to life…..

Their bodies like that of Jesus Christ after his resurrection, which came and ate with the disciples…..

The same body that went through the walls….

This is the state of affairs in heaven……God has with him those who died in him, safe and sound…..

At the sound of the trumpet, he will usher them into the new kingdom/ new heaven and earth…..

Where no sea will be found, where the sun will not smite them by day nor the moon by night.

Where the sun and the moon will not be needed for “the glory of God gives its light and its lamp is the Lamb.” Revelation 21:23