Summary: The first of five messages exploring the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6. Today's message, For His Glory, takes a look at the first petition, "Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name."
For His Glory • Matthew 6:9 • May 15-16, 2010
Introduction: The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most WELL-KNOWN prayers of Christianity. Many believe this model prayer provides the appropriate FORMULA for WHAT we should prayer. However, Jesus models for us the appropriate ATTITUDE for HOW we should pray.
As we begin this series… The Lord’s Prayer contains six PETITIONS. Three speak specifically of GOD. Three speak directly of MAN. It is encouraging that in this model prayer Jesus’ thought embraces both our physical and spiritual needs.
Tonight we will begin with what we might term the invocation.
Q: What does Jesus model for us in Matthew 6:9?
I. THE PERSONAL ATTRIBUTE OF GOD… Our Father…
- Notice Jesus didn’t teach us to pray “My Father”
- We are not to pray in isolation or even in individualistic terms (I John 5:1)
- Jesus is revealing a general pattern of praying
- “our” throughout Lord’s prayer not “mine”
a. Rare phrase – Jews of this period preferred exalted titles for God (Sovereign Lord, King of the Universe. Jesus called Him Father… “Abba” – an Aramaic word children would use to address their father. Not quite “my daddy” but more familiar than “my father”. Canadian children refer to fathers as “Papa”
b. NT Theme – JN 3 – born of God… Rom 8 – adopted by God… By his ministry, death, & resurrection Jesus made it possible for us to come to God Almighty and say, Our Father… This phrase reveals the special relationship between God and His followers. 1 John 3:1
c. There is an abundant relationship between God the heavenly father, and those who have become his children by faith in obedience toward his Son, Jesus Christ.
II. THE PRIVILEGED ACCESSIBILITY TO GOD… in heaven
- The Jews of Jesus’ day for the most part thought of God as so exalted that personal relationships were hard to imagine. They didn’t think it was possible to have personal access to Yahweh… (Ex. Moses cleft of rock)
- OT reference to tetragrammatan – YAHWEH… so reverenced His Name that they would not even say it…
- This is not a contradiction of Him as Father. When Jesus was revealing this model prayer he was talking to men who were already convinced of the awesomeness of God, His sovereignty, His majesty…
- When these men first prayed, Our Father in heaven imagine the tremendous privilege of approaching the marvelous God of the universe in a personal way.
- EXAMPLE TRIP TO SE ASIA & JESUS in Hong Kong
- When believers pray, “Our Father in Heaven” they cannot be anything but hushed and humbled.
III. THE PREEMINENT AIM OF GOD. Hallowed be your name
- First petition of the Lord’s Prayer
- Preeminent = superior.. suprassing.. (Col. 1:15-18)
- In Jewish culture, a person’s name is closely associated to what He is.
- Name of GOD is not combo of letters G – O – D .
- In the OT when God reveals that he has this name or that name, he is using His name to reveal himself as he is… God the most High, Almighty, I am, and then many compounds of I Am… who is our help… etc.
- As we think of the character of God, we pray “Hallowed…
- To hallow means to sanctify, to make holy, or to consider holy. Same verb used in 1 Peter 3:15. We are to reverence, honor, consider holy, and acknowledge Christ as the holy Lord. Same is true of God.
- This is an intriguing petition. This is a prayer that God’s name be hallowed and a request that God will hallow his own name… yet it is a prayer that when answered, it means we has his children will hallow God’s name.
- As C.F. Jesus is saying that we are asking our heavenly Father to act in a way that we and an increasing number of others will reverence God, glorify Him, consider him holy, and acknowledge him.
- We live in a culture that uses God’s name in oaths or expressions of anger or in connection with a joke or in an abbreviation in a text message… as this prayer is answered not only will we put aside these habits, but we will regard God’s name is so holy that the thought of His Name births a spirit of reverence and holy fear in our lives.
- In a way, to pray Hallowed be your Name is to pray, Make me holy. Allow me through your Spirit to reverence you. Work in me and in others so that we will acknowledge your glorious holiness.
- Notice this petition is not framed in terms of what must happen for it to be fulfilled but in terms of the goal. The highest goal is not that we be made holy. The highest goal is rather that God’s name be hallowed.
- This removes man from the center of the picture and gives that place to God alone and in so doing should drive us to our knees.