Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Matt: 6:5-15

Pastor Paul spoke on Matt: 6:5-15 this weekend, and I wanted to record some of the sermon notes and also include my own thoughts on this. This was a particularly applicable message to me this week, and really hit home in light of recent changes at my employer which I'll get to later into these notes. In this message, Pastor Paul related how the theme throughout this portion of Matt. 6 is forgiveness, and how forgiveness is the doorway to our adoption, and marks the authenticity of our adoption (being brought in and given access to the Father.)
The Lord's prayer portion of this text starts at vs.9 with

"This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

The question here is, do you hold God's name and word as holy? I think it's noteworthy that this is how the prayer opens, with a focus on reverence and respect for the name of God. The most important thing at the onset of the prayer is, reverence the name of God the Father.

your kingdom come,

Poses the question - is the kingdom of Christ ruling/reigning in your life?

your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This petition of the prayer is asking Christ to reign. We pray for a return of Christ's physical kingdom on earth, and that everything will become subject to His will, both in our lives and in the world.

Give us today our daily bread.

The teaching here is that God is our provider. Psalms 104:14 teaches us that He causes grass to grow and provides vegetation for the needs of man. All creation depends on Him. The teaching here is also one of daily reliance on God; not just for food, but for all things. Pastor Paul noted the example of George Mueller, the missionary who labored for the orphans of Bristol, England. Often the orphanage would have no food or resources for the children, but through Mueller's faithfulness in prayer and complete dependence on God, provisions were made to feed the orphans.

The question posed here also is one of contentment: are you content with perhaps limited food, or are you, like Israel, murmuring in the wilderness. In my own work situation, I've been seeing things change for the worse recently, with more and more roles and responsibilities shifting off-shore. And the temptation is to lose hope, but instead I need to trust in God to provide for our daily bread, and not to be anxious about anything. Daily I should seek God's provision and trust in Him to provide.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

We need to have a spirit of constant forgiveness. Sin is a debt, and we owe our Father an obedience that we can never provide of ourselves, so outside of Christ's work on our behalf, we will always be in a debt that we cannot repay. Our debt is a multiplied one: there is no shifting any of it, or blaming it away. If you are a debtor, seek forgiveness.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

We need the protection of our Father. We pray that God will grant us the strength to stand against our enemies, and our prayers should encompass our families, our children, and for those in leadership. We all face temptations and need to trust in Christ to stand strong against temptation.

vs. 14-15 speak about forgiving others of their sins. Children of God, as Pastor Paul pointed out, do not keep a laundry list of offenses. Everyone, through their sins, offends the Father, even those who are saved by Christ. We need to not become complacent in our saved state and neglect to seek forgiveness of our sins.

Forgiveness of others is not a meritorious act. It is a duty that we have because of God's forgiveness of us. If you forgive someone and they do not accept the forgiveness, pray for them. We are to forgive, and Christ forgave, freely.

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