Summary: Examinatiion of the "Lord’s Prayer" in its context. Our prayers should be unselfish, our forgiveness unlimited, and ourattention undivided.
Talking To your Father Matt. 6:6-18
INTRO.: Jesus very frequently referred to God as "Fa ther." In this short passage, He uses the term 8 times to describe God. Further, He is not calling God His Father, but ours. As Father, He is the source of our life, our protector, and our provider. He also wants to be our friend and companion.
As a Christian, I want to talk to the Heavenly Father. I want to be aware of His Presence with me and His re ceptive ear all the time. As a father, He is available to me and I want to avail myself of His availability. ILLUS.: the milkman, Tevya, in Fiddler On the Roof talked to God constantly. It was as if they were familiar friends.
Talking to our Father - that’s what prayer is. It is a real privilege as well as a command. "Pray continually;" - I Thess. 5:17. "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer" I Tim. 2:8.
The passage before us was meant to teach followers of Jesus how to pray. Let’s draw some lessons from it.
I. Let your prayers be unselfish: Matt. 6:7-13
A. The Christian’s first concern should not be himself and his own needs. Seek first the Kingdom. V. 33
1. So, the first three petitions in the prayer involve God’s Name, God’s Kingdom, and God’s will.
2. We hear God’s Name blasphemed frequently. Do you ever think to pray gor it to be revered?
3. Pray for the time when God may have complete sway over the hearts of men.
4. After this, we may seek personal blessings.
B. Even the 3 petitions for self are unselfish.
1. "Today" & "daily bread" do not allow for amassing a fortune. Just basic human needs.
2. "Debts" - forgive sins of the past, not permission to sin.
3. Deliverance from future temptations. Help not to live for self.
4. God the Creator provides daily needs. The Son, forgiveness, & the Spirit, guidance. Thus, all of God is involved in all of our lives.
II. Let your forgiving be unlimited. 14, 15
A. We all need forgiveness. The N. T. has five words for sin. None is good.
1. Missing the mark.
2. Stepping across (the line.)
3. A slipping across. Crossing the "foul line."
5. A debt. Withholding what is due another.
6. We all need forgiveness in at least one category.
B. The story of the unforgiving servant. Matt. 18:23-35
1. When we say, "As we have forgiven" is a serious prayer. We could be praying condemnation on ourselves.
2. It literally means, "forgive us in the same propor tion as we forgive."
C. Col. 3:13 - "Forgive as the Lord forgave you." In order to forgive as Jesus forgave us:
1. We must understand we sin and there is a rea son why we must forgive.
2. We must learn to forget the sin as well as forgive.
3. We must learn to love unconditionally as God has loved us.
III. Let your attention be undivided: Matt. 6:16-18
A. The practice of fasting:
1. Not a common practice today, but still a valid Christian discipline that draws us closer to God.
2. Jews fasted often for show, to impress others.
3. Jesus says God is the only one who needs to know we fast.
4. Whether we choose to fast or not, Jesus is mak ing a point we all need to note:
B. His point is God expects our complete attention when we pray.
1. He sees what we do in secret and rewards ac cordingly. Matt. 6:1-6
2. He knows what’s in our hearts. There are no secrets from Him.
3. It is Christ we serve. What others think is not as important. Col. 3:23, 24.
CONC.: the main thing, I think, is God does want to hear from us. He wants us to come to Him in prayer and He listens and is moved to meet our needs.