Sermons

Summary: Part 13 in Sermon on Mount series, looks at the attributes of the Father

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`HOW’S YOUR PRAYER LIFE? AFTER ALL WHEN JESUS SAID, WHEN YOU PRAY. NOW HE SEEMED PRETTY DEFINITE AT THIS POINT, HE DIDN’T SAY, IF YOU PRAY,

INSTEAD HE SAID WHEN YOU PRAY. HE SEEMED PRETTY CONVINCED THAT CHRISTIANS WOULD PRAY. AND HE SAID THAT WHEN WE PRAYED

THAT WE SHOULD NOT PRAY LIKE THE HYPOCRITES OR THE HEATHEN.

NOW THE WORD HYPOCRITE IS ACTUALLY THE GREEK WORD FOR ACTOR, AND IT LITERALLY MEANS ONE WHO WEARS A MASK. AND SO CHRIST IS SAYING DON’T PRAY LIKE SOMEONE WHO IS PLAYING A PART. YOU EVER SEE SOMEONE WHO HAS A VERY DEFINITE PRAYER VOICE, NEAT HUH? CHRIST SAID THAT THEY STOOD ON THE CORNER AND PRAYED. NOW CHRIST IS NOT DENOUNCING PUBLIC PRAYER, HE SAYS NOT JUST THAT THEY STOOD ON THE STREET CORNER AND IN THE SYNAGOGUE AND PRAYED BUT HE TELLS US THAT THEY DID IT FOR A VERY SPECIAL PURPOSE. THAT THEY MIGHT BE SEEN BY MEN.

AND SO AS WELL AS NOT PRAYING LIKE THE HYPOCRITE, CHRIST ALSO CAUTIONS US NOT TO PRAY LIKE THE PAGAN USING MANY WORDS. THE KJV, AND NKJV USE THE PHRASE, VAIN REPETITION. I WONDER IF THAT COULD MEAN PRAYING WITHOUT PAYING ATTENTION. YOU’VE PRAYED THE PRAYERS SO LONG THAT YOU CAN SAY THEM WITHOUT REALLY THINKING ABOUT

THEM. IT’S JUST LIKE A REPETITION OF WORDS, ONE WORD AFTER ANOTHER. AND SO CHRIST SAYS DON’T BE LIKE THEM EITHER.

AND SO HE’S LAID OUT HOW WE SHOULDN’T PRAY AND NOW HE LAYS DOWN HOW WE SHOULD PRAY, BEGINNING WITH MATTHEW 6:9 (NIV) "THIS, THEN, IS HOW YOU SHOULD PRAY:AND CHRIST GOES ON TO LAY DOWN THE MOST FAMOUS PRAYER IN THE HISTORY OF MAN. MOST OF US COULD REEL IT OFF BY ROTE. INDEED IN MANY CHURCHES THEY PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER EVERY SUNDAY.

A FUNNY STORY, TONY CAMPOLLA IS THE HEAD OF THE SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT AT EASTERN COLLEGE IN PHILADELPHIA, HE TELLS HOW AS A

YOUNG ASSISTANT PASTOR HE GAVE THE PASTORAL PRAYER ONE SUNDAY MORNING AFTER HE’D BEEN OUT LATE SATURDAY NIGHT AND SO HE SAID HE WAS PRETTY WELL IN AUTO PILOT. AND SO HE GOT TO THE LAST PHRASE WE HE SAYS IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD WHO TAUGHT US TO PRAY, OUR FATHER. . . AND WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAYS IS IN THE NAME OF THE LORD WHO TAUGHT US TO PRAY, NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP. LET’S LOOK AT THE LORD’S PRAYER.

OUR FATHER. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT CALLING "GOD" FATHER IS A TOTAL SUMMATION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. THE VALUE OF THAT STATEMENT IS THAT IT SETTLES ALL OF OUR LIFES RELATIONSHIPS.

1) IT SETTLES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNSEEN WORLD. MISSIONARIES TELL US OF THE BURDEN LIFTED FROM THE SHOULDERS OF PRIMITIVE PEOPLE WHEN THEY LEARN THIS CONCEPT. THE RELIEF THEY EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY DISCOVER THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD. HOW REFRESHING IT IS ONLY HAVE TO LOOK UP TO ONE GOD. IN MANY OF THESE CULTURES THERE ARE HORDES OF GODS, AND EACH ONE HAS TO BE SATISFIED. THERE’S THE GOD OF SUN,

RAIN, HILLS, VALLEYS, ROCKS AND TREES. THE WORLD OF THE HEATHEN IS CROWDED WITH GODS, EACH ONE HOSTILE, JEALOUS, AND GRUDGING. AND THEN WHEN THESE PEOPLE DISCOVER THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, WITH

THE NAME AND NATURE OF FATHER. IMAGINE THE RELIEF.

AND I REALIZE THAT NOT EVERYONE HAS FOND MEMORIES OF THEIR FATHERS AS A KIND AND LOVING PROTECTOR, BUT TO THE MAJORITY OF THE WORLD, FATHER CARRIES WITH IT POSITIVE CONNOTATIONS.

2) IT SETTLES OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE SEEN WORLD. THAT IS IN THE WORLD OF SPACE AND TIME WHERE WE LIVE. IT IS EASY TO VIEW THIS AS A HOSTILE WORLD AND A HOSTILE LIFE SPAN THAT WE HAVE. WITH SUFFERING

AND DEATH, AND UNEXPLAINED MISERY. BUT IF WE CAN BE SURE THAT BEHIND THIS WORLD IS NOT AN UGLY JEALOUS MOCKING GOD, BUT A GOD

CALLED FATHER, THEN EVEN THOUGH THERE WILL REMAIN MYSTERIES WE WILL REALIZE THAT BEHIND IT ALL IS A THING CALLED LOVE.

YOU SAY "BUT PREACHER WHAT ABOUT STUFF LIKE PAIN, WHAT DOES A LOVING FATHER GOD HAVE TO DO WITH PAIN?" GOOD QUESTION, PAIN IS PART OF GOD’S MASTER PLAN. IT REALLY IS, YOU SEE THINGS LIKE PAIN HAVE

THEIR PLACE IN THIS WORLD AS WELL. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE YOU’LL READ AN ARTICLE OR SEE SOMETHING ON THE TELLY ABOUT SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN WITHOUT PAIN SENSORS. THE STORY OFTEN GOES ON TO TELL ABOUT THE DAMAGE THAT THEY INCUR TO THEMSELVES WHEN THEY BREAK A LIMB OR TOUCH A HOT SURFACE AND DON’T REALIZE IT. YOU BREAK YOUR LEG

YOU DON’T WALK ON IT BECAUSE IT HURTS. BUT WHEN IT DOESN’T HURT AND YOU CONTINUE TO WALK YOU DO A PILE OF DAMAGE.

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