Summary: We have an intimate connection to God when we pray "Our Father."
Living the Lord’s Prayer, Part, Mathew 6:6-13
“Our Father in Heaven”
There’s a wonderful story about a Chicago bank that once asked for a letter of recommendation on a young Bostonian being considered for employment. The Boston investment house could not say enough about the young man. His father they wrote, was a Cabot; his mother was a Lowell. Further back was a happy blend of Saltonstalls, Peabodys, and others of Boston’s finest families. His recommendation was given without hesitation.
Several days later, the Chicago bank sent a note saying the information supplied was altogether inadequate. It read: “We are not contemplating using the young man for breeding purposes. Just for work.”
We too are part of a family but it is one of even more great namesake than the finest families in all of the finest cities in the world. We are the children of God and He is our Heavenly Father.
As we examine the first portion of the Lord’s Prayer, our focus will be to learn to understand God as Heavenly Father. We will focus on two things: the intimacy of God our Father and the holiness of the incomprehensible God of the universe.
(1) Our Father who art in Heaven: I have invested much personal energy in recent years exploring the biblical motif of God as Heavenly Father.
Indeed, the realization of the depth of the Father’s love for me and for you individually, has so arrested this sinner’s heart that it has become the foundation for my teaching and preaching and for living the Christian life.
Everything in the Christian life flows from the reality that God has adopted you and I through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The foundation of our faith is the fact that we are children of God. Faith begins with God loving us.
“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." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.” (Romans 8:15-16 NIV)
Who are God’s children? Who are the “we” that the Apostle Paul is referring to?
In answering that question I wish to address a great injustice, a great perversion of biblical doctrine, a great tragedy which I believe has arisen primarily from the grace mishandling of the word of truth by many would be teachers in our day.
We, usually and largely unknowingly, are eating the fruit of the growing decay of truth in our society, purity in biblical preaching, and common sense in Christian thought, family life and social structure.
Often it seems that in every direction I look I see the glaring evidence that society has abandoned even the notion that absolute truth exists and that the Christian Church, rather than lovingly confronting the dismantling of truth, has embraced it, right along with the rest of the brokenness that the post modern mind offers.
Consider the insanity that is accepted, even seemingly promoted, in the mainstream culture. Consider how that affects us as our minds are bombarded with myths, lies, and half-truths. Without the shield of the truth of the word of God, our minds in this post-modern culture are like the face of the moon, which bears the evidence of the countless foreign bodies which have struck its surface for lack of an atmosphere to shield it.
What I wish to address specifically within the context of this discussion is the rising tide of universalism. What is universalism? It is basically the belief that all truth claims are equal. Truth is relative. What is true for you may not be true for you and conversely that which you find true can be rejected by me completely without necessarily detracting from the truth value of my or your position.
It is the highest state of lunacy. Wearied by the constant pursuit of truth, our postmodern culture has simple redefined truth to the category of personal preference. In so doing, they have destroyed truth in the modern mind.
With regard to faith, it has asserted that the core essence of all religion is faith, therefore the differences between a particular set of religions is inconsequential. Since all affirm faith in some way, the argument goes, then faith is the highest form of religious truth and the details are disregarded.
In 1899 a German theologian named Adolf Von Harnack wrote a book which was based on a series of theological lectures entitled “What is Christianity.” This was the age which gave rise to so called “higher critical” and liberal humanistic Christian theology. In reality, this was the age when the modern church was infected by the virus of disbelief and it became tolerable for subtly professing agnostics to be granted the right to preach in Christian churches.