Summary: This sermon emphasizes why we can come confidently to God and without fear.
Lessons on Faith from the Lord’s Model Prayer
Matthew 6:9, “Our Father in heaven…”
October 5, 2003
A. [Praying in Faith, Citation: Larry King, Powerful Prayers (Renaissance Books, 1998), p. 243]
Television interviewer and journalist Larry King describes three farmers who gather daily in a field during a horrible drought. The men are down on their knees, looking upward, and praying the skies will open and pour forth a much-needed rain. Unfortunately, the heavens are silent, and the petitioners become discouraged, but they continue to meet every morning to lift up their request to God.
One morning an uninvited stranger approaches and asks the men what they are doing. They respond, "We’re praying for rain."
The newcomer looks at each of them and shakes his head, "No, I don’t think so."
The first farmer says, "Of course we’re praying. We are down on our knees pleading for rain. Look around; see the drought. We haven’t had rain in more than a year!"
The outsider continues to nod his head and advises them their efforts will never work. The second farmer jumps in and says, "We need the rain; we aren’t asking only for ourselves, but for our families and livestock."
The man listens, nods, and says he still isn’t impressed. "You’re wasting your time," he says.
The third farmer can’t take any more, and in anger he says, "Okay, what would you do if you were in our shoes?"
The visitor asks, "You really want to know?"
The three landowners answer, "We really want to know! The future of our farmlands is at stake."
The guest announces, "I would have brought an umbrella!"
B. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV), Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
1. That’s the Bible’s definition of faith.
2. Faith is living like we’re sure of what we hope for.
3. Faith is speaking with certainty of what we cannot see with our fleshly eyes.
4. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV), We live by faith, not by sight.
5. We live by what we see with our spiritual eyes and not our physical eyes.
6. The guest could Biblically say that when the three farmers prayed for rain they should have brought their umbrella!
C. We all need to pray the prayer of the apostles in Luke 17:5 (NIV), The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
1. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV), And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
2. It is impossible to please God without faith. We must have faith to please God.
3. So what is faith? What does it look like in 2003? How do we live faith in 2003?
4. We all need to pray the prayer of the apostles, “Increase our faith!”
5. So as we embark upon this new series of sermons, let’s start out today by praying that prayer together…[Pray for God to increase our faith during the coming weeks.]
D. For this sermon series I want to follow the lead of Dr. Jack Hayford and see what we can learn about faith from the Lord’s Model Prayer recorded in Matthew 6.
1. Today I want to start with the phrase, “Our Father in heaven…”
2. Perhaps the KJV is more familiar… “Our Father which art in heaven…”
E. In this opening phrase, Christ shows us the basis of faith: confidence.
1. Jesus said that we could have confidence in prayer.
2. How can we have confidence in prayer and in our lives?
3. Because Jesus said that we come to “Our Father” in prayer.
4. We live our lives knowing that Almighty God is our Father.
5. Jesus said we should address God as “Our Father!”
6. Paul said in Romans 8:15 (NIV), For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
7. Paul said what Jesus said: we do not have to be afraid to come before God because when we come to Him we can address him as “Abba,” which is Greek for “Daddy.”
8. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
F. Unfortunately, our image of fatherhood has often been tarnished and many don’t fully understand what is meant by coming to our heavenly Father.
1. So today I want to take a look at Jesus’ parable that describes our heavenly Father.
2. Jesus often told parables, which are earthly stories with a heavenly meaning.
3. This parable is often referred to as the story of the Prodigal Son; it’s in Luke 15.