Top A Study, Sermon On The Mount #3
A Study Of The Sermon On The Mount #3
By, James L. Thornton
2. Jesus Speaks Of Rewards
4. Closet Prayer
5. The Lord's Prayer
Matthew 6:1. “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
5. “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are:”
16. “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance:”
We have come to the 6th chapter of Matthew in our study of The Sermon On The Mount. We could call the entire 6th chapter of Matthew, “Living the righteous life.”
It is a picture of a Christian living his life in this world in the presence of God. The first 18 verses concern our worship of God and our motives. In these 18 verses Jesus mentions 3 acts of worship. Almsgiving, 1-4, Prayer, 5-15, and Fasting, 16-18.
He tells us how to perform these acts of worship and how not to perform them. He is teaching us the correct motive behind each act of worship.
First of all we should not worship to call attention to ourselves or to impress other people. Our worship must be directed to God, from our heart. Worship is simply meaningless unless it is performed solely for God’s sake, and for the sake of the kingdom of God.
You will notice the paradox, or seemingly contradictory statements of this section. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus tells us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” But now in Matthew 6:1, 5, and 16, Jesus tells us, “Take heed that ye do not your “righteousness” before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
Someone may say, “Well, what am I to do?” “If I am to do all these things in secret—if I am not to be seen of men practicing religion—if I am to pray in my closet having locked the door—if I am to anoint my face and wash myself, thus giving appearance that I am not fasting—how can men know that I am doing these things. How can they possibly see this light which is shinning in me? Isn’t that like putting your candle under a bushel?
First of all there are no contradictory statements in The Sermon On The Mount. It is a matter of interpretation.
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works.” The Christian is to live in such a way that men looking at him, and seeing the quality of his life. And this ‘righteous’ life which he lives will cause men to glorify God. On the other hand—man by nature desires the praise of men—sometime even more than the praise of God. In desiring the praise of man, what he is really concerned about is his good opinion of himself.
When we really begin to analyze ourselves we see the motives of our conduct (the reason behind), we shall then agree that we do things to please ourselves, or as a show to impress others, and not to please God.
We should realize that our supreme object in life should be to please God, and to please Him always in everything. We are always in the presence of God; we are always in His sight. He knows your heart. People can be fooled, but not God. He knows the thoughts and intent of all.
2. Jesus Speaks Of Rewards:
In these scriptures, Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus speaks of rewards. Jesus tells us that if we do not have the right motive in giving of alms, “Ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” (v.1). Then again if we do the right thing, “Thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (v.4, 6. 18). The same thing is true in our fasting and prayer—there is a reward from God if it is done pleasing unto Him. Rewards come at various times and in various ways.
Moses forsook Egypt, esteeming the reproach of Christ, greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: For he had respect unto the recommence of the reward. (Hebrew 11:26) “For, he steadily kept in view the reward.” We might say that Moses was ‘far sighted.’
“Abraham was seeking a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker was God.” ‘Having seen them afar off.’ Having seen the end from the beginning.
Some may say ‘We should not live for God for the Reward, but for the love He had for us. But the Bible also teaches that we should keep our eye on the ultimate goal, Heaven is the ultimate reward.
Another thing that Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:1-18, there is no reward from God for those who seek it from men. Matthew 6:1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Jesus is telling us that there is a right way and a wrong way of almsgiving. Almsgiving is, a helping hand in time of need, giving money, time, anything which is going to help people. This is not our regular tithes. This offering is to help people who are in need.
Almsgiving was stressed in Pharisaic Religion. Charities brought extra merit of righteousness because they were not specifically required by Law. Collections for the poor were frequent and there was plenty chance to ‘show off’ in their alms, Jesus said in effect, the wrong way to do this is to announce it, or let everyone know.
Matthew 6:2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee …..” The wrong way to do these things is to proclaim them, and draw attention to themselves. Matthew 6:2 “…Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
When people praise them and say “How wonderful” – “He is such a good man” They get their reward, they get their praise, and they get their names in the paper. Poor man--that is all he will get, praise from men, but nothing from God.
Matthew 6:3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
If it be possible keep it from yourself, do not keep a record, and do not keep spiritual ledgers. Do these things as you are moved by God and led by the Holy Ghost and then forget all about them.
You must not keep an account because God does that. He sees everything and keeps a record of it all. If you do it in secret God will reward you openly. Nothing we have done will be forgotten; our smallest act will be remembered.
Matthew 25:34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38. When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39. Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (This is the reward we should seek)
4. Closet Prayer:
Matthew 6:5 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
In this verse Jesus continues to stress the way the Scribes and Pharisees were performing their acts of worship. Here Jesus is telling us first of all how not to pray. He had observed their prayers, and the length of them, and the conspicuous places they chose to offer them. Jesus continues His theme that they did it for show, to receive the applause of men. That is there entire reward for their prayer.
How not to pray.
Conspicously: “In the corners of the streets,”
Loudly: “Standing in the synagogues.”
For a show: “To be seen of men.”
Making long prayers: “They think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
Saying the same thing over and over: “Use not vain (empty, non verbal) repetitions.”
Matthew 6:6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Now in these verses Jesus is not attacking all night prayer meetings. But Jesus is concerned with the proper attitude, or motive in prayer. Don’t pray to attract the attention of others, neither be ‘time conscious.’ I have known people who kept a record of how much, and how long, they prayed, and then testify to the fact.
There are many prayers recorded in the Bible—some short—some long. We will look at one of the shortest prayers in the Bible, The prayer of Habakkuk, one verse long. Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple was 43 verses long 1 Kings 8:23-66. One of my favorite Old Testament Prayers was Jacob praying at Jabock Genesis 32:9-12, 130 words; it most closely meets Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
Jesus in the first 18 verses of Matthew 6, places the emphasis on not being hypocrital, or pretentious in our almsgiving, our prayers, and our fasting.
Matthew 6:6. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray…….”
We want to think about “When thou hast shut thy door.” There some things which must be ‘shut out’ when we pray. ‘Shut thy door.’ You shut out and forget other people, whether we are praying in public or praying in secret. This is one door which must be shut.
God does not hear a prayer which is prayed to impress other people. I wonder if Brother …… is hearing my prayer, ‘shut that door.’ I want them to know I prayed all night last night, ‘shut that door.’
Another door which must be shut is yours. When I enter my closet full of self and thinking about myself, and priding myself on my prayer, ‘shut that door.’ I might as well be standing at the street corner. My door must exclude myself as well as other people. My heart has to be open entirely and only to God.
There will be many things which will try to crowd into your prayer closet. Jesus warns us about the “cares of this life.” He told Martha that she was, “Careful and troubled about many things.” All of this will try and crowd into your prayer closet. “Shut thy Door.”
When you are alone or on a busy street it is possible to shut the doors and be alone with God. The Psalmist had learned: Psalms 91:1. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
It is one thing to be touched by the shadow. It is another to “Abide under the Shadow.” Every person has or will be touched by God at sometime or another…. To be touched is God’s work. To “Abide” requires the consent of your will. Enter into that “Secret Place” and shut some doors.
Psalms 19:14. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
God comes and listens and sends the answer, “When thou hast shut thy door,”
Miracles happen behind shut doors.
Elisha speaks to the widow: 2 Kings 4:4. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.” Behind the closed door she poured oil until all the pots and pans in the neighborhood were full.
Let me tell you the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. (2 Kings 4:8-23) A little chamber was built upon the wall with a bed, table, stool, candlestick and a door where Elisha could sit, or kneel, or lay his head. There Prayer arose. A boy was born to the woman and he brought joy to her home. One day the boy was stricken while he was in the field. He died a short time later on his Mother’s knees.
2 Kings 4:21. And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
“It shall be well” She made a hurried trip to where the Man of God was.
2 Kings 4:32. And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
33. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. (Behind a closed Door)
34. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
35. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.” (All this happened behind closed doors)
Pray in Faith:
Matthew 6:6. “……pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
8. “…..for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Paul speaks in:
Ephesians 3:20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Limited only by our faith in Him)
Finally we must have confidence. He is more ready to give than we are to receive. We come with the simple confidence of a child. Remember God is our Father.
The Prayer of Habakkuk: Jewish Scribes say He was of the Tribe of Levi. Nothing else is known about Him. The Chaldeans had over-thrown Judah and taken them into the land from which God had called their father Abraham (for 70 years).
It was most probably during these years that Habakkuk lived. Led into captivity by the cruelest race of people, that history speaks of. Times were hard to say the least. (God’s Judgment)
They would be refined as silver under these afflictions and then God would return Judah to her land. For after all, in the loins of one of these exiles was the seed which would bring forth the Savior of the World.
Habakkuk had never seen the blessings of God. He had never seen God work a miracle. (But faith stands the strain). But in those difficult times Habakkuk felt the burden to prophesy.
Habakkuk 2:20. "But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him."
Following is Habakkuk fantastic prayer.
Habakkuk 3:2. "O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy."
Our fathers have told us of thy mighty works of old. Blow on the dying embers and rekindle the flame. Make it known and “Revive Thy Works.” The next verse tells us that God came.
Habakkuk had faith that sings in times of great stress:
Habakkuk 3:17. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18. Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”
Let the worst come, my faith sings. Thought the barns be empty—the fields be barren and the pastures be desolate—let the worst come—let utter ruin and starvation come—yet faith will be found singing behind closed doors.
No matter what happens let your faith sing behind closed doors. Jesus told His disciples “Your joy no man taketh from you.”
2 Corinthians 1:8. “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves,”
There on the floor of the Philippian jail, Paul lay, flogged, and fettered, and sleepless, in great pain, at midnight he was singing praises to God. God heard him behind those closed doors sent an earthquake and opened those closed doors.
Matthew 6:32. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
We could read this section of the Lord’s teaching on prayer in such a way as to really miss Jesus’ entire point and teaching, and certainly without coming under condemnation. The tendency always when reading this is just to regard it as an exposure of the Pharisees. We point the finger toward the obvious hypocrite; never could we see ourselves in theses verses. Jesus, we say, is talking about someone who is calling attention to themselves.
Prayer can be a battleground. Daniel prayed for 21 days, and Satan withstood the answer for 21 days, and Michael, an Arch-Angel, broke through the resistance to bring an answer to his prayer (Daniel 10:13).
Prayer can be a wrestling match.
“Are you still wrestling with the devil? A young man asks of an old man.
“No” replied the old man. “He’s got old and weaker, and I’m old—Now I wrestle with God.”
“With God?” Replied the young man. “Do you hope to win?”
“No, My son I hope to lose.”
I hope you are wrestling with God. And I hope you lose.
5. The Lord’s Prayer:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
By James L Thornton
The Lord’s Prayer is the most often quoted portion of the Bible. The Lord gave this Prayer as a guide, or pattern, for all prayers and it contains all the elements for our daily prayers. The following list is some of the things we will cover in this study.
A. An Introduction To The Lord’s Prayer
B. A Pattern For Prayer
C. Who Has The Right To Come
D. Hallowed Be Thy Name
E. Thy Kingdom Come
F. Thy Will Be Done
G. The First Petition Bread
H. The Second Petition Fogiveness
I. The Third Petition Deliverance From Evil
J. Conclusion, A Doxology
Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11. Give us this day our daily bread.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)
A. INTRODUCTION TO THE LORD’S PRAYER:
Not a day has passed without someone repeating these words since that far time when Jesus taught them to his disciples. They are the first we learned as little children. And they are the last to be forgotten by men who have lost all else of religion.
Every Christian Church recites them. The Lord’s Prayer joins people who differ on a hundred points of Doctrine. Only eternity will reveal the far-reaching influence this Prayer has had upon the people of the entire world.
This Prayer has been translated and written in almost every known tongue and dialect on earth. The English speaking world shall be eternally grateful for the beauty and simplicity of the King James Version. You would hardly recognize some of the other translations.
Many times down through the ages the Lord’s Prayer has been set to music, in various melodies, and sung. I love to hear the modern melody, but I’m not sure the Lord intended for it to be sung. When it is sung we focus on the singer, his voice range, the melody, the tremendous highs and lows, of which only a few can reach. It reaches a climax with a crescendo at the end which almost raises us off our seat.
I also have repeated it to myself hundreds of times, and I find the meaning more impressed upon me each time.
Matthew 6:9. “After this manner therefore pray ye:”
Prayer is beyond question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest when, upon his knees, he comes face to face with God.
Nobody walks with God very long without a consistent prayer life.
Prayer is the very heart beat of Christianity.
Almsgiving is excellent, It is a noble activity.
Everyone should feel led to help his fellow-man in this world.
Then again fasting is a very high and noble activity; the man of the world knows nothing about this, or about self-discipline. Fasting is a discipline which brings about great spiritual values. Yet alms-giving and fasting fade into insignificance when in comparison to prayer.
Prayer is the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition.
Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer.
It is much easier to give alms,
To miss a meal or two,
To refrain from certain things,
Than to engage in prayer.
A man can speak to others much easier than he can speak to God. Shame should come upon us because we have so little to say to God.
So when we have left the realm of activities, and outward dealings with other people, and close the door on our prayer closet, and are alone with God, this is when we are aware of where we stand in a spiritual sense.
What to say...
How do we start our prayers?
Have you ever longed to know more about how to pray?
The Disciples felt this inadequacy.
Luke 11:1. And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. (KJV)
There is no question but that this is our greatest need.
We all need instructions on,
1. How to pray,
2. And what to pray for.
That’s the reason we will spend some time on the Lord’s Prayer, because it has the answer to these two problems.
B. THE LORD’S PRAYER IS A PATTERN FOR PRAYER:
Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: (KJV)
The amazing thing is that it covers everything in principal. There is a sense in which you can never add to the Lord’s Prayer, nothing is left out. That does not mean that when we pray we are to repeat the Lord’s Prayer and stop there.
Our Lord himself was our pattern in everything, including prayer. He arose a great while before day and prayed for hours. Many times He spent whole nights in prayer.
Luke 6:12. And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. (KJV)
What made our Lord spend the whole night in prayer? The next day He was to make some of the greatest decisions of His entire ministry. These decisions were not only to affect Him, but the whole world, and the world to come. He Chose His Twelve Disciples.
He felt this so important that the night before He never closed His eyes in sleep. The burden was so heavy He could not sleep. So He climbed the mountain alone, and in the stillness of the night, one by one, He called the names of the many who followed Him.
He Spread Their Names Out Before God All Night Long.
Andrew, James, John,
Peter, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Philip, Thomas, Thaddeus,
James, the Son of Alpheus,
Simon, the Canaanite,
What about us when we take the steps we are called upon to take? Some times things which are irrevocable and unchangeable. Sometimes we make those decisions under no better guidance than our own impulses and passions. Sometimes we make our choice of people, and things which will decide our destiny.
It’s worth praying about. People make the most fatal choices with a light heart. Sometimes wholly without God. Before those great deciding days of our lives we should have a prayer meeting.
James 1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (KJV)
The Lord’s Prayer really does contain all the principals of prayer. Like headings in a sermon or lesson. It does not contain all we need to say but gives us the outline to follow. The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer for Christians of all time, and ages to come.
Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: (KJV)
Now there are only two kinds, or types, of prayer. The Lord’s Prayer contains both.
1. Prayers of adoration, or praise.
2. Prayers of petition, or request, or intercession.
We will take up the prayer of adoration, or praise first. The first four sentences and the last sentence address the sovereignty of God and His role in our life.
Only three sentences deal with petitions for our benefit, and these in the middle of the prayer.
These Three Petitions,
Contain all we really need.
So the bulk, or major portion of the Lord’s Prayer is adoration, or praise.
First let us consider our approach to God.
Hebrews 4:16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV)
What does Paul mean when he says, “let us come boldly?” That does not mean to rush in and out of his presence, but come with calm assurance.
We enter into the spirit of prayer with meditation, adoration, and praise. The important thing to get from this is, no matter what our condition or circumstance may be, no matter what our desires or need, we must never start with ourselves.
We Must Never Start With Our Petition,
Some terrible problem confronting us,
Never fail first to adore Him, praise Him.
It’s the Bible way. His honor, His glory first.
The Psalmist David gave us the proper way to approach God.
Psalm 100:4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. (KJV)
Begin your prayers with thanksgiving and worship.
Acts 16:25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: (KJV)
Acts 4:24. “... They lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:”
Take time to shut some doors of our mind.
Matthew 6:6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, ...(KJV)
Job in his wretchedness had been talking a great deal, in fact 37 chapters he and his friends had talked. Job felt that God was dealing unkindly with him, and he had expressed his feelings freely.
In chapter 38 God talks to Job at close quarters. In fact God talked for the next 4 chapters. He begins to reveal and manifest Himself to Job. It took days and days for God to break through the dialogue.
What did Job do? There was only one thing for him to do.
Job 40:3. Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
4. Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
5. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. (KJV)
So, it might be a good way to start our prayer by saying nothing!
C. WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO COME?
Eastern Monarchs were almost un-approachable. No one could approach him unless they were bidden to come.
Esther 4:11a. All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: ... (KJV)
Guards were posted with orders to execute any who came without being given this sign of welcome.
Esther 4:11b. But I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. (KJV)
The next chapter tells the story of Esther putting on her finest and standing in the inner court, not knowing what would be the outcome.
The story is told of a small boy breaking away from his nurse one day, and rushed into the inner court of one of these awesome Monarchs. Not pausing at the door to the throne room, but ran past the guards and down the long aisle to the throne. He climbed the steps which lead to the throne, and up into the lap of the Monarch, into his arms. It was the King’s son. “That’s my boy.”
Matthew 6:9. ...: Our Father ... (KJV)
All God’s children have the right to come. It is only the people of whom the Beatitudes are true who can say with any confidence, “Our Father.”
They who are poor in spirit,
They that mourn,
They that are meek,
They which hunger and thirst after righteousness,
They who are merciful,
They who are pure in heart,
They who are peacemakers,
“For they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9b.) (KJV)
You may say, “Don’t you believe in the universal Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man?” And, “don’t you believe what Paul said,” “We are His offspring?” (Acts 17:29)
O yes I believe in God as creator and giver of life to everybody in the world. But that is not the meaning of God as Father as the Lord is using it here in The Lord’s Prayer, nor as Paul uses it elsewhere of the believers.
It was our Lord who said to certain religious Jews that they were “of their father the devil,” and not children of Abraham, not children of God.
Paul called one man who withstood them, “thou child of the devil.” (Acts 13:10)
Listen To The Apostle John.
1 John 3:10. In this the children of God are manifest (made known), and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (KJV)
So not everyone has the right to say, “Our father.”
John 1:11. He came unto his own, and His own received him not.
12. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (KJV)
1 John 3:1. Behold, what manner of love the father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (KJV)
John 17:9. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (KJV)
The Bible draws a sharp distinction between those who belong to God and those who do not. It is an absolute distinction; it is only those who are in the Lord Jesus Christ who are truly the children of God.
We become the children of God by adoption.
We are born,
”The children of wrath,”
”The children of the devil,”
”The children of this world.”
We have to be taken out of that realm, and translated into another realm, to become the children of God.
Romans 8:15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (KJV)
“Abba Father,” Infants learned this term,
Slaves were forbidden to use this word when addressing their master.
The Holy Spirit enables the child of God to call God, Father. So only those who are filled with his spirit have the right to say, “Our Father.”
Our Lord adds immediately, “Which art in Heaven, ...”
These two phrases must always be taken together, because for many people their idea of fatherhood is debased. Imagine a little boy whose father is a drunkard and a wife beater... A cruel beast. The boy knows nothing in life but constant thrashings and kicking.
He sees his father spend all his time and money on himself and his lust, while he does without. That is his idea of fatherhood. The poor boy has a wrong idea of fatherhood.
If you tell him that God is his Father, and leave it at that, it is not a very kind or helpful idea. His idea of Fatherhood must be changed. Tell him the story of the Prodigal Son.
A Scottish lad upon hearing this story for the first time exclaimed.
“A, but that was a grand old man!”
One of the Apostle Paul’s favorite phrases seemed to be,
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Colossians 1:3, Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3 & 11:31;)
This is also the way Jesus Himself addressed God,
In the garden,
And on the cross.
D. “HALLOWED BE THY NAME.”
Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. (KJV)
The Word ‘Hallowed’ Means, To ‘sanctify,’ Or ‘to revere,’ Or ‘to make and keep holy.’
Present Perfect Tense. Thy Name was holy,
Thy Name is holy, Thy Name shall always be holy.
God had revealed himself to the Children of Israel under various names, some so revered that the Jews would not pronounce it. He had used a term concerning Himself, “El,” or “Elohim,” which means His strength and power.
When He used that particular name, He was giving the people a sense of His might,
His dominion, And His power. ”El-shaddi,” the “Almighty.”
He revealed Himself in that great and wonderful name, “Jehovah.”
Exodus 3:14, which means ‘the self-existent one’, ‘I am that I am’, ‘eternally self-existent.’
He Also Revealed Himself By The Following Names.
“Jehovah-jireh,” the Lord will provide.
“Jehovah-rapha,” the Lord that healeth.
“Jehovah-nissi,” the Lord our banner.
“Jehovah-shalom,” the Lord our peace.
“Jehovah- ra-ah,” the Lord our Shepherd.
“Jehovah-shammah,” the Lord is present.
“Jehovah-tsidkenu,” the Lord our righteousness.
Thy name stands for all that, “Hallowed be thy Name.”
In these various names God was revealing Himself and something about his nature. Our Lord wants us to pray that the whole world may come to know, and honor, God in this way. “Hallowed Be Thy Name.”
It is the expression of a deep burning desire for the honor and glory of God.
Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on the earth:” (John 17:4)
“I have manifested thy name...” (John 17:6)
Jesus was always concerned about the glory of his Father.
Let us never lose a due sense of the greatness and majesty of God. We must realize that we are praying to the ever blessed, eternal, and absolute, Almighty God. There is a sense in which we should take our shoes off of our feet when we pray.
Psalm 34:3. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. (KJV)
“HALLOWED BE THY NAME.”
It is the supreme thing we should seek, “That God in all things may be glorified...” (1 Peter 4:11) It is the purpose for which the world was created.
FIRST, GOD’S GLORY, THEN OUR PERSONAL WANTS.
E. Matthew 6:10a. “THY KINGDOM COME.”
John the Baptist brought the first news of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 3:2. And saying, repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)
John introduced it, Jesus initiated it.
In the beginning of this sermon, Jesus tells us to hunger and thirst for the Kingdom of God. Later in this same chapter Jesus says,
Matthew 6:33. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)
Paul Gives Us The Best Description Of the Kingom In,
Romans 14:17. For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
In this prayer Jesus is telling us to pray for the Kingdom of God, first in our own lives, and also in the lives of all that are in the world.
We are reminded at once of the fact that His Name is not hallowed by all men. Why do not all men bow before that great name? Why is not every man on this earth concerned about worshipping God, and adoring Him, and spreading forth His name?
THE ANSWER IS BECAUSE OF SIN.
Because there is another kingdom, The kingdom of Satan, The kingdom of darkness. This kingdom of evil is in opposition to the Kingdom of Heaven. “The “Gods of this world,” the kingdom of evil, is opposed to God and his glory and honor.
Running right through the Old Testament there are promises, and prophecies, concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God. It also asserts that this Kingdom of God shall be the greatest of all Kingdoms and shall fill the whole earth. (Daniel 2:34-44) Jesus is the stone which was described in this dream in Daniel. His power is invincible.
Daniel 7:14. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
18. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (KJV)
The Angel to Mary,
Luke 1:32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his Father David:
33. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. (KJV)
Paul Speaking Of The End Of The World,
1 Corinthians 15:24. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25. For He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under His feet. (KJV)
Therefore Jesus exhorts us to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come.”
It should be our desire that this Kingdom should be extended in our hearts. His Kingdom exists, or extends, to the point that we surrender our lives to Him, and are led by Him, and worship Him in our hearts. Pray that there be no internal factions or rebellious spirits against His Kingdom in our hearts. He is “Lord” of everything in our lives, or He is not ‘Lord’ at all.
“Thy Kingdom Come.” We are anxious to see His Kingdom extended in the lives of other men and women. We are praying for our Missionaries in Foreign Nations. Pray for Harvestime. For the first time in history two billion people can hear it without interference. These things come in answer to prayer.
“Thy Kingdom Come,” is an all inclusive Missionary prayer. It goes even further, we are, “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, ...” (KJV) 2 Peter 3:12a.
Let Us Read The End Of The Book.
Revelation 22:20. He which testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly. amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (KJV)
“Thy Kingdom Come.”
This is one of the most important phrases in the Lord’s Prayer. Let us include it in our daily prayers. Our Lord in the Gospels asked us to pray for the harvest.
Luke 10:2. Therefore said he unto them, the harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (KJV)
F. Matthew 6:10b. THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
Gethsemane is the one thing we generally associate with this phrase...“Thy will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)
We think of something harsh and forbidding, something hard and painful. We think of something which brings our lives into the shadow of the cross. Something to shrink from, the will of God. Like giving ourselves over to some dark fate which we cannot avert; Like, “I don’t know the outcome, But I have given it over to the will of God;” Like, giving ourselves over to some rigid rule.
Is this what Jesus intended for us to think when He asked us to pray, “Thy Will Be Done”? No! No! A thousand times no.. The will of God is not something to dread, not something to fear.
It is the will of God to take away your dread, and your fears.
It is God’s will for you to have the best this earthly life has to offer.
It is God’s will for you to be free from pain, or sorrow, or disappointments.
It Is God’s Will To Give You Eternal Life.
John 10:10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (KJV)
That’s His Will, To Give You A Good Life, Abundant Life.
“Thy Will Be Done In Earth, As It Is In Heaven.”
O, To Submit Ourselves To The Will Of God.
It is the greatest of Christian virtues.
Only a few will truly submit.
We have won our greatest victory when we have learned to prefer God’s Will to our own; When we can honestly seek first His Kingdom, and His Righteousness. The man who sincerely desires God’s will to be done, never talks about unanswered prayer. All his prayers are richly and graciously answered.
Pray, “Thy Will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Let us talk about the last part of this phrase first. In Heaven the Will of God is always being done perfectly. The Bible gives us glimpse enough of Heaven to know that everyone, and everything, is waiting upon God, and anxious to do His bidding in Heaven. The supreme desire of all Heaven is to do the Will of God, with praise, and honor, and glory.
Jesus came into this world to perpetrate this attitude here on earth.
John 5:30b. ... I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (KJV)
This phrase is included in almost every prayer of our Lord which is recorded. Jesus is our example in Prayer. “Not My Will, But Thine, Be Done.”
Psalm 40:8a. (Psalmist David) “I delight to do thy will, O My God: ...” (KJV)
“Do”—is an action verb. This is not a passive statement, it denotes action.
“To Do”... Action, motion, labor, reaching forth, pressing. The will of God is something we have to “do.” So we see that the Will of God is not something that we just let happen, but something we become involved in.
Jesus was not merely commending, or praising the spirit of resignation, or inaction.
It is not merely giving ourselves over to a fate we cannot prevent.
God is not the author of many of the things which we sometimes call the Will of God. God is not responsible for the sickness and sorrow that darkens our lives. These are not God’s Will.
2 Peter 3:9b. The Lord is ..., not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (KJV)
If anyone is not saved, or goes to hell, it will not be God’s Will.
John 6:38. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the Will of Him that sent me. (KJV)
He was “doing” God’s will when he went to Pilate’s judgment hall.
He was “doing” God’s will when He carried the cross to Golgotha.
“To Do Thy Will, O My God.” (Psalms 40:8a.)
God’s will for us is not something that is done in spite of us, or happens anyway, if we do nothing. God’s will is only done as we help him do it. We are given a place in the accomplishment of this Will of God. It is something in which we play a part.
The Will Of God Is,
A voice we have to hear, and obey.
A purpose we have to see, and carry out.
A plan we have to approve, and work upon.
A line we have to grasp, and link up our live with.
A path we follow.
A duty we perform.
A life we have to live.
This phrase Of The Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”, Should be an integral part of our daily prayers. This is indispensable in our walk with God.
There is a “Permissive Will,” and a “Perfect Will,” of God.
God will “permit” a person to go their own way, and ignore His laws, and His plan for their lives, this is freedom of choice which God gives to every man. God will allow a person to remain in sin, and live only unto himself, but the end of this path is eternal damnation. This is the “Permissive Will” of God.
The “Perfect Will” Of God Is, to listen to the voice of God, and be obedient to that call, Leaving behind the life of sin, And seeking to make ourselves available to His service.
Romans 12:1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, Will of God. (KJV)
We should pray that we might be able to discern God’s will for our lives. There are perplexing decisions and hard choices in our lives, but if we are close enough to touch him, His Spirit will guide us. We will find a direction, and a voice will say, “This is the way, walk in it.”
It demands a spirit of battle and service, it is a struggle to say, “Thy Will Be Done.”
The struggle takes place within us. Our biggest foe is ourselves, the flesh. This, (the flesh) is the giant in our lives.
As we have already stated we have won our greatest victory when we have learned to prefer God’s Will to our own. To embrace the Will of God goes far beyond lip service.
Mark 8:34b. .., Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (KJV)
“Deny himself,” “Take up his cross,” “Follow me.”
Do we really understand the true meaning of this? Denying self denotes giving up something. Taking up a cross is a symbol of suffering. But, you say, Jesus spoke of freedom, He spoke of easy crosses, and light burdens. Yes, I say, in Him is peace, but in the world there is conflict, trial, and hard places.
I’m saying to you that doing the Will of God is the most difficult task a man or woman ever undertook.
First of all a person must come to grips with self. A most difficult task. Our thoughts, Our desires, Our passions, Our likes, Our dislikes, etc. They all must be subdued and bound over to Him, “As it is in Heaven.”
Romans 1:1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, (KJV)
The word “servant” has been softened by our King James Bible, it actually means a slave, abject servile. “Doulas” (gr.), it means “one who is born as a slave.” “One who is bound to his master until death.” “One who serves his master to the disregard of his own interests.” “One whose own will is swallowed up in the will of his master.”
Paul’s will, at one time was swallowed up in the will of Satan. His new master has an exclusive right to command, And constrain his every wish, every thought, and act. He is no longer at liberty to please himself, or seek the favor of men. Paul is proud of the fact that he was a slave belonging to the Lord.
Certain men were designated, “Slaves of the emperor,” A position of honor. Paul puts this ahead of Apostleship. “Called to be an Apostle,” (Romans 1:1) To Paul it was a matter of soberest concern how faithfully he fulfilled his assigned duties. “Not My Will, But Thine, Be Done.”
Paul’s Lord sent him to live on the frontier where the Gospel brought forth the strongest resistance from the world.
From Troas Across The Aegean Sea,
To Philippi, To Thessalonica,
To Corinth, To Athens,
To Ephesus, To Jerusalem,
Who can number the followers of Christ, who from that day to this, have found in his letters a true word from the Lord? Who can count the saints who have been encouraged by Paul’s appeal and example? Paul’s Work As An Apostle Is Not Yet Completed. One man who truly prayed, “Thy Will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.”
G. THE FIRST PETITION
Matthew 6:11. Give us this day our daily bread. (KJV)
This verse begins the second portion of the Lord’s Prayer.
Three sentences contain petitions for our own welfare. It makes me wonder if our prayers are not over balanced with petitions. All our great needs are summed up in these three petitions.
Matthew 6:11. Give us this day our daily bread.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
Our Whole Life Is Found There, In Three Petitions.
The body is remembered, our physical needs,
The soul is remembered, our spiritual needs,
The spirit is remembered, our mental needs,
That is the whole of man.
The tragedy of our world is that almost all activities that are going on in the world are concerned with nothing but the body (physical wants) of man.
There is another realm which is so often neglected. Above all, we have the spiritual realm, which links man with God.
Pray for bread,
We may be quite surprised that our Lord did not deal with our spiritual needs first.
But immediately after those exalted adorations about God, And his glory,
And his kingdom,
“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)
“Give us day by day our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3)
The Greek word which is translated ‘Daily’ by our King James Version is only used in the Lord’s Prayer, both in Matthew and Luke. There is only one other instance, in all of the known writings, and that was 500 years later.
Learned scholars have pondered and debated its meaning for 2,000 years. Quite possibly Jesus coined this word for this prayer.
I give you some of the results of those ponderings.
1. “Bread for our being.”
2. “Bread for our subsistence.”
3. “Bread we need.”
4. “Bread necessary for life.”
5. “Bread for the day.”
6. “Bread for the morrow, or the future.”
7. “Bread for the coming time.”
8. “Bread for tomorrow.”
I like #3, and #5 best.
The prayer implies that we should live in simplicity. The petition is for bread, not for luxuries. It is a plea for day by day provisions, Not a lifetime security.
Let us think of the people who were there on the Mount that day and heard this prayer for the first time. It was the people among whom He lived and worked.
A few of them were rich, but some of them were so poor as to be almost destitute.
Some were beggars. Most, in any case, were people of meager means. As long as they could earn their wages they managed well enough, but there was nothing to spare. They had no margin or anything saved. The day’s wage had to buy the day’s food.
If an unexpected guest arrived there would be nothing in the cupboard to feed them. The host would have to go to a neighbor and try to borrow something (Luke 11:5-8) In fact that story is given immediately following the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Luke.
With people so arranged, Or with people who are poor, One of the worst troubles,
One of the things which affect their whole thoughts, And make it hard for them to heed spiritual teaching, is the uncertainty of daily bread.
This frequent worry about the day’s supply of bread. Jesus found this to be true in his work, so He fed the multitudes which came to Him.
Jesus told them not to worry, not to be anxious, about food, drink, and clothing (Matthew 6:31). But it is hard not to worry, Hard not to be anxious, unless we have something in hand to sustain us.
So Jesus encouraged them to pray for it, to ask that God would remove the anxiety by letting them have enough for the day.
Proverbs 30:8. ..: Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food
Convenient (my allowance) for me:
9. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. (KJV)
“LEST I BE FULL,” Luke 6:25a. “Woe unto you that are full!” (KJV)
“NOT HUNGRY, GOD.” Who can say, “I don’t need anything, God?”
Ezekiel 16:49. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, Fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. (KJV)
There is a danger when we no longer have to pray, “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” How Do We Say It When We Have All That We Want? When the cupboard is full, the closet is over flowing, the barns are too small.
But the cupboard was not always like that. I can remember some lean days and the gravy was thin. I can remember the great depression. Some of you can to.
My Dad was a farm laborer, with not much income. But praise God, it was during those days my Mother got the Holy Ghost. Mother and Daddy were baptized during the early days of my life (1934). Times were hard.
Mother never had very much of this world’s goods, But she had something of far greater value. Faith in the living God.
From out of my childhood days I can remember this one quotation spoken from the Bible by my Mother, 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you.” (KJV)
I saw her do that very thing. Mother did cast all her care upon him. How else would she have fed 6 hungry mouths? In ways past finding out, in ways beyond man’s understanding, God does supply the needs of those who trust in him.
Matthew 6:11. Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.
For many of us the pot was not always so full nor the broth so thick. But God saw us through. We live in a land of opportunity, a land of plenty. But we must remember that God holds the key to the storehouse.
I read where a woman and her son were fed from a handful of meal in a barrel for almost 2 years.
(1 Kings 17:16) Another time God sent the ravens to feed one of his Prophets. (1 Kings 17:6)
God fed the Nation of Israel for 40 years with manna from Heaven. He controls the weather patterns which govern the amount of rain which falls on the crops we feed from.
We really don’t know what the future holds. Here is a working man, He has a job at the moment, but is afraid of being laid off or turned out tomorrow. A man who has worked for years, but there are rumors of a change of ownership, and many dismissals. His heart is sick with fear about tomorrow’s bread.
There are mergers and buyouts and takeovers. Talk of forced economies through decline of trade, a reduced staff. Whose next?
We are living in a day when a sickness or accident can wipe out your savings and put you in debt almost overnight. We Need To Remember This Prayer, “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.”
H. THE SECOND PETITION FORGIVENESS:
Matthew 6:12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (KJV)
It’s the one and only clause which Jesus enforces by an additional warning after He closes the Prayer.
1. Something owed, an obligation.
1. A violation of moral or social ethics.
2. An unlawful act committed on the person, or rights, of another.
3. To cross a line.
4. To enter without permission.
Luke 11:4a. And forgive us our sins; (KJV)
Only God Can Forgive Sins.
As these verses imply we daily need a canceling of debts, a forgiveness of our sins. Who can deny the fact that we need forgiveness?
Psalm 32:1. (a Psalm of David, Maschil) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (KJV)
Now I feel that most of us are aware of, and have experienced, the redeeming grace of Calvary. But remember God did not give us the Gift of Grace (forgiveness) in one lump sum. But God continues to give Grace as it is asked for.
Some seem to think that the New Birth Experience took care of all their sins, past, present, and future. This is true in a sense... The New Birth cleanseth us from all sin, and makes us eligible for forgiveness of future sins.
1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (KJV)
Jesus was not teaching a group of sinners or unbelievers to pray when He said, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” These are His Disciples, His Followers, His Own, who had asked him to teach them how to pray.
He knew we, as being human, And not yet having reached perfection, would need to ask for forgiveness. Yet there are those who never admit to having sinned since they were saved.
1 John 1:8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (KJV)
Now John is not, mind you, giving us a license to sin, because He continues in the next verse.
1 John 2:1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2. And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (KJV)
John is speaking of the act of atonement. Jesus paid the price at Calvary. The price was so great that it went on deposit in my account, and on your account, to pay my debt, and your debt.
Matthew 6:12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (KJV)
In Luke’s Account of the Lord’s Prayer we have these words,
Luke 11:4. And forgive us our sins; (KJV)
Though we know we have been forgiven, we need forgiveness still for particular sins and failures. In these verses we have three words which reflect the short-comings, or failures of us all, Debts, Sins, Trespasses.
Debts is a good word because life is an obligation to be met. We have obligations to God, to our fellow man, and to ourselves. Failure to meet our obligations makes us a debtor.
A few verses previously Jesus had asked his followers to, ”Be Ye Therefore Perfect,”
It is not enough to be 50% kind, Or 75% pure, nor to be holy part of the time.
Forgive us of our unfulfilled duties,
Forgive us of our unpaid bills of goodness.
To break the obligation is to be in debt,
And we cannot pay the debt.
For if on any given day we were not 100% compassionate, or true, we have no
“works of super-er-o-gation” by which to repay our indebtedness.
“Works of super-o-gation” In the Roman Catholic church it is good deeds done by saints in excess of the requirements of divine law, voluntary good deeds performed by men over and above God’s commandments. Is like putting good deeds in the bank, or using them to repay some shortcoming for the day before. Only God Can Cancel Moral Debt. For we cannot repay them. “And Forgive Us Our Debts,..”
Any offense done to another.
Any transgression of the law, or rule of duty.
Any wrongful act.
To transgress, or sin.
To step over the limits of the law.
God’s Word has placed certain bounds upon us and we are to live inside these boundaries. There are still some “Thou Shalt Nots,” and Some “Thou Shalts,” in our dealings with God. To pass over these boundaries makes us a transgressor, or trespasser. The same is true concerning other people. There are certain boundaries which we must not pass over. We must not intentionally tread on other people.
In the two places where the Lord’s Prayer is recorded, the word sin is synonymous with debts and trespass. The sacred writer did not minimize the seriousness of the offense.
Sin is a trespass upon God’s Eternal Word. This places one in moral indebtedness.
The only way this debt can be resolved is to draw on the resources of Heaven. You have the right to pray, “Forgive Us Our Debts.” But this is not the end of the sentence, Jesus went on to say, “As we forgive our debtors.” then immediately followed this with,
Matthew 6:14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (KJV)
It seems to me that God’s forgiveness hinges totally upon our willingness to forgive our fellowman of their trespasses against us.
There is not one of us that have not been trespassed upon.
You have been offended,
You have been slighted,
You have been hurt,
You feel the pain.
Satan would like to seize upon our emotions at that particular time. He would like to bring bitterness, resentment, and above all make our hearts implacable. Satan wants us to harden our hearts against one another, and become unforgiving.
Matthew 18:21. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?
22. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. (KJV)
Many times we are unwilling to forgive one time, Even though God has forgiven us many times.
Matthew 5:23. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (KJV)
If we feel we have been wounded,
And that our anger is just,
And that we will not forgive.
Then think of this, the time will come when we will face Jesus Christ; there will be all our sins, our insincerity’s, our trespasses, and debts, unforgiven. So we see how important it is to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
I. THE THIRD PETITION DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL:
Matthew 6:13a. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: (KJV)
This petition means that deliverance is possible. There are some who would argue that we need the temptations to test us because it makes us strong. They say that “a tree which is sheltered from the wind will never put down firm roots.” And “unless a ship goes through a storm one will never know it’s real worth.” “Trials only make me strong,” so the song goes.
Now I don’t know about you but I would feel more secure if I knew I would never have another temptation, or trial, or test.
Jesus Says To Pray,
“And lead us not into temptation,…”
That is the final request in this Prayer, and here is what it means. We are asking that we should never be led into a situation where we are subject to be tempted by Satan. We can be easily tempted, where we are liable to fall.
Jesus said to his Disciples,
Luke 22:40b. Pray that ye enter not into temptation. (KJV)
Jesus knew that after a person was forgiven of past sins that he would need to be on guard against future sins. Jesus knew from whence would come our greatest tests so he says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:”
David Says, “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalms 23:3) (KJV)
There will be situations which will be dangerous to you, so watch and be on guard lest you fall into temptations. We sure never want to invite temptations. We should never be sure of ourselves.
Satan will see to it that we do not go very far along the road before we are faced with suggestions of evil which make an appeal to something in our nature. It may come from the world around us, or the persuasions of some friend.
The temptation comes subtly, Suddenly, with appeal for each person, And every vocation, And every age of our life. Temptation is very real for every mortal soul,
Rich or poor, young or old, male or female. We will never out grow this part of the Lord’s Prayer. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:”
Jesus, himself, knew what it was to be tempted.
Hebrew 4:15b. “But was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (KJV)
There is a difference between trial and temptation. Trials are brought upon us by the world because of our contrasting way of life.
The temptations of Jesus is recorded in three places in the New Testament,
(Matthew 4; Mark 1; Luke 4.) These temptations were brought to him by Satan.
Trials Were Brought On Him By Outside Conflicts Such As,
1. Judas’s betrayal.
2. Humiliation of the trial.
3. Cruel treatment of the soldiers.
4. Pain of the cross.
Matthew 5:10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (KJV)
1 Peter 4:12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (KJV)
19. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of god commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful creator. (KJV)
It is not a shame to go through a trial, but glory. Temptations, on the other hand, are brought on by inner conflicts.
Temptation is something which appeals to the base desires of an individual.
Base desires = lower principals,
Which are, greed, temper, Lying, stealing, indecency,
Cruelty, treachery, vulgarity, Sedition, pride, strife,
Lasciviousness, immorality, Envying, drunkenness,
Lust of the flesh, Lust of the eyes, etc.
Temptation would try to arouse something in us to cause us to act in some base way.
James 1:14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (KJV)
“And Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil:” We pray, deliver us from, sickness, Fear, poverty, unpopularity, ... But more importantly, deliver us from evil: Evil Is Very Real, We Need Deliverance.
The worst thing that can come is wickedness, and that which can arouse, or appeal, to the lust of the flesh. “And Lead Us Not Into Temptation,”
We must be sensitive to the leading of the Lord. No man is safe from the contamination of evil without that armor of the sensitive spirit. Remember, God is there in every temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (KJV)
Some people have so suppressed the voice of God in the inward part of their soul that they never hear it. These people are never really tempted. There is no fight left in them. They have become enslaved. They are the bondsmen of vice and dishonesty, where sin has become their second nature, And their conscious has been wounded so often that it no longer seems to function.
Jeremiah Asks The Question,
Jeremiah 13:23. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil. (KJV)
Jeremiah is saying that Israel had sinned so long that it had become ingrained in them until it would be impossible for them to change. Like the dark skin which the Ethiopian was born with, and the spotted coat of the leopard, sin was now part of Israel’s nature. Sin can become such a part of a person’s life that they become a part of that environment and feel right at home in it.
But has Jeremiah told the whole story when he questions whether a person can change when he has sinned so long?
In the first place, all of God’s dealings with man are designed to lead him into a better relationship with God. God’s appeal is to choose the highest in a world where we are free to do either good or evil. God has made it possible for that person who has sinned for years and years to change his life, and become the person he was created to be, with the help of God.
If there were no freedom, there would be no temptation. God Help Us, “And Deliver Us From Evil:”
The way of deliverance is the release from the grip of the base desire which uses the strength of our own nature to lead us astray. We need deliverance from ourselves.
This is where prayer helps us. Prayer is fixing our minds upon God, And lifting our thoughts to heavenly things. “But Deliver Us From Evil:”
When a man prays this prayer he brings Christ into his life, and at his touch we will be strengthened against the evil. It is only when we let Him possess the whole of our life that he delivers us from evil.
Paul says that each of us should do our part.
1 Thessalonians 5:22. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
2 Timothy 2:22. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, ...” (KJV)
J. CONCLUSION, A DOXOLOGY:
Matthew 6:13b. ..: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)
Jesus tells his Disciples that they should conclude their prayer with words of highest praise. It is a precious ending to a precious prayer. We should never omit it from our prayer. In this Doxology (an expression of praise to God, as a part of Christian worship) we are yielding to Him the kingdoms of our heart, and lifting Him to his rightful place in our lives. “And The Power, And The Glory, For Ever.”
At His conception the Angel told Mary, “... And of His Kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:33b)
“Amen” = (Yes, Yes, Yes.)
The word “Amen” is a most remarkable word.
It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech.
The word is directly related—in fact, almost identical—to the Hebrew word for “Believe” (Amam), or “Faithful.” Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly”, an expression of absolute trust and confidence. (Strongs)
This is the third illustration given by our Lord of the way we should conduct ourselves in our worship. In these illustrations Jesus is referring to personal righteousness.
We find His theme in Matthew 6:1. “Take heed that ye do not your alms (alms, prayer, fasting) before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
I feel this subject of fasting is a matter of personal discipline in one’s spiritual life. In most religious circles the whole subject of fasting seems to have dropped right out of their lives. They count this an ancient practice, not one for today’s Christian., Many never think about it, even less practice it. Let us look at Jesus’ words.
Matthew 6:16. “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
As we consider the days and times through which we are passing—we need to look for a revival and reawakening towards fasting. The question of fasting has become more and more important.
It must be important because Jesus includes it here. I feel that we must consider everything that He said in The Sermon On The Mount. There are some questions we will try to answer.
1. What is really the place of fasting in the Church? Is it expected of us?
2. Where does it come in according to the teaching of the Bible?
3. What does the Bible say about fasting?
We will answer the last question first. It was something that is taught in the Old Testament. Under the Law of Moses the Children of Israel were commanded to fast on certain days and for certain causes. They fasted because of certain National emergencies. The people themselves appointed certain additional fasts, sometimes because of certain judgments of God. But only one fast was directly commanded by God—the annual fast before the Feast of Atonement.
We read of several personal fasts by people in the Old Testament because of personal calamities. These fasts were to get the attention of God, or to obtain His help or direction. The people of Nineveh proclaimed a fast after the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:6-10).
In Jesus’ day the Pharisees fasted twice in the week. (Luke 18:12) They went far beyond the commandment and wanted everyone to know.
Did Jesus teach Fasting?
Matthew 9:14. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
15. And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
Clearly it was something that was regarded by our Lord as right and good for Christian people. Hear him say “When Thou fastest, anoint thine head and wash thy face…….” Jesus Himself fasted for forty days and forty nights. Jesus indicated that we can have victory over certain things only through fasting and prayer Mark 9:29.
Fasting was certainly practiced by the early Church. On any important occasion or when faced with any vital decision, the Early Church always gave themselves to fasting and prayer.
The New Testament definitely teaches the rightness and value of fasting. In the History of the Church the saints of God in all ages and in all places have not only believed in fasting, they have practiced it.
Let us now answer the first question.
1. What is really the place of fasting in the Christian life? Is it expected of us?
To really understand fasting we, of necessity, must understand the relationship between the Body and the Spirit. Man is composed of Body, Mind, and Spirit. (3 parts – Body—Will – Soul) All three are very closely related and interact very closely upon one another.
There must be a certain ‘Balance’ between these three parts, Body, Mind and Soul.
We may look at it another way. Man is a soul and has a body to dwell in, and intelligence to reason and understand. Each of these has its own needs, desires and appetites.
The needs or necessities of each must be met or they will perish. The necessities of the body are few, oxygen, water, food and shelter. Its desires are greater but limited. Its appetites are almost insatiable and extremely greedy. The Body’s ambition is to dominate our life.
Our Minds or Intellect is usually only limited by ourselves. The Brain is lazy. Our Mind sometimes can create an appetite for things which are unhealthy for both body and soul.
In 2 Peter 3:1, Peter writes about ‘Stirring up’ your pure mind.
2 Corinthians 10:5. “….and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
That brings us back to the statement that I made about a certain balance between the body, mind and soul. The soul of man is dependant upon the mind and body to fill its needs.
Fasting, helps to bring our whole being into focus upon God, especially when we have a particular need, or some spiritual value. Fasting helps you become more sensitive to the Spirit of God.
We hope you enjoyed this portion of The Sermon On The Mount And will read the other section of it on he home page.
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By, James L. Thornton