Summary: In a series on the Lord’s Prayer, this sermon is the second part of an examination of the meaning of the first petition ’May Your Name be kept Holy’, answering the question ’How do we keep God’s Name Holy?’
"Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy." (Matthew 6:9, NLT)
A pastor was building a wooden trellis to support a climbing vine. As he pounded away, he noticed that a young boy that he recognised from the Sunday school was watching him. The youngster didn’t say a word, so the pastor kept on working, thinking the lad would leave after a while. But instead he didn’t and just silently kept watching the pastor pounding away with the hammer and nails. Finally the pastor thought he would engage the youngster in conversation so he asked, "Well, son, are you trying to pick up some pointers on gardening?" "No, Sir" replied the young lad, "I’m just waiting to hear if a preacher practices what he preaches when he hits his thumb with the hammer."
What you believe means nothing until you put it into action. Knowing is not enough, it must be used to be of any worth!
Last time we began looking at the first petition in our Lord’s Pattern for Prayer. You may recall that we saw that …
THE FIRST PETITION… ‘may Your Name be kept holy’
LET GOD’S NAME BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY FROM ALL OTHER NAMES, recognising that in the Bible the name is not just an identifier of who the person is. A name in Scripture speaks of who the person is; their character, who they actually are! Therefore let God be treated differently from all others beings. Furthermore it also means …
LET GOD’S NAME BE GIVEN SIGNIFICANCE ABOVE AND UNIQUE TO ALL OTHER NAMES. Let God, who He is, be preeminent, unsurpassed, paramount in my life. Isaiah captures this when He asks …
“To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him? … To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. … Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:18,25,28, NLT)
That begged the question …
HOW DO WE KEEP GOD’S NAME HOLY?
WHEN WE ACKNOWLEDGE WHO HE IS!
AWARE OF HIS EXISTANCE, living in a manner that recognises the existence of God and that He does have a plan and purpose for this world, and in particular that He does have a plan and purpose for my life!
AWARE OF HIS CHARACTER, recognising who God is and we saw that the only way that we can know who He is, is if He reveals Himself to us; which He has done in Scripture. First through the through the prophets of old and then supremely in Jesus Christ. He has also revealed that He wants to have a relationship with us and to be involved with us in fulfilling this plan that He has for us.
AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE, recognising that 24/7 365, God is with us and wants to be involved personally in fulfilling the Plan and purpose He has for us through that love relationship that He has brought about through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
AWARE OF HIS OWNERSHIP, recognising that the God who has and Plan for your life, Who wants to be involved and by virtue of who He is, is involved 24/7 has a claim of ownership on your life …“Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves. You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body. ” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, GW)
But just acknowledging it is not enough… We keep God’s Name Holy, as we will examine two further aspects …
WHEN WE APPROPRIATE WHO HE IS!
WHEN WE APPLY WHO HE IS!
WHEN WE APPROPRIATE WHO HE IS!
Not only does God reveal to us His holiness, not only does He show us He is a Holy God, not only does He want us to recognise His Holiness but He makes it clear that we who belong to Him must follow in His footsteps as it were. Early in His dealings with man, as He lays down His law for His people Israel, He said …
"I am the Lord your God. Keep yourselves holy for me because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44, NCV)
In effect what God is saying is that to be in the love relationship with Him we need also to be holy even as He is Holy; being Holy means that He can never have any part of that which is not holy.
And later in Leviticus, God says … "“Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy." (Leviticus 19:2, NLT) … note the reason why we are to be Holy… Because He is Holy! Therefore the very Holiness of God requires from us the need to be holy.