Summary: This sermon examines the fifth petition of our Lord’s Pattern for Prayer, "and forgive us our debts...", seeking to explore our need for God’s daily pardon.
A PATTERN FOR PRAYER
WASH YOUR FEET!
"This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." (1 John 1:5-10, NLT)
"… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us." (Matthew 6:12, NLT)
A little fellow had been very naughty, so he was sent to his room to consider his actions. A short time later he emerged from his room and said to his parents “I’ve been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer.” Pleased with his attitude, his father sought to encourage him, “That’s wonderful. If you asked God to make you good, I know that He will help you!” “Oh! But I didn’t ask God to make me good” came the reply, “I just asked God to help you to put up with me!”
One of the hardest things in life for most of us is to admit that we are wrong, that we are to blame, that we have messed up or that we are the problem! That reminds me of that delightful ‘PEANUTS’ comic strip.
Lucy is throwing a tantrum. Her mother has cancelled her birthday party because she was disobedient. Linus, her brother, suggests to her that her strategy is all wrong, “The more you fuss, the worse off you’ll be,” he reasons with her “Why not admit it was all your own fault. Why not go to Mom and say to her that you admit you were bad and that she was right to cancel your party and that you are sorry and from now on you’ll try to be good… That’s much better than ranting and raving. All that does is to prove Mom’s point!” Lucy thinks about it, rehearses what Linus has suggested she should say and sets out to confess. She stops, thinks again and finally explodes “I’d rather die!”
It is never easy to humble ourselves and to admit the fault was completely ours. Repentance and returning is never easy! It takes a lot to say "I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you," (Luke 15:18, NLT)
Knowing this, our Lord in introducing us to A PATTERN FOR PRAYER now points us to the fifth petition of the prayer… "… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us."
Thus far in the Pattern for Prayer … OUR LORD
HAS FOCUSED OUR ATTENTION ON:
• GOD’S PERSON … “May Your name be kept holy”
• GOD’S PURPOSE … “May Your Kingdom come soon”
• GOD’S PROGRAM … “May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”
• GOD’S PROVISION … “Give us today the food we need”
OUR FOCUS IS NOW TURNED TO OUR NEED FOR …
• GOD’S PARDON … "… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us."
In considering the implications of this petition regarding our need of forgiveness, THREE FACETS come into view…
• THE PROBLEM
• THE PROVISION
• THE PREREQUISITE (next week)
Firstly, THE PROBLEM…SIN
It is vital that we recognize that what is commonly known as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ can neither be prayed by our Lord (specifically because of this petition for as the writer of Hebrews reminds us … “He was tempted in every way that we are, but He didn’t sin.” (Hebrews 4:15b, GW)); nor is the prayer for general use,this is a FAMILY PRAYER. We have addressed God as ‘OUR FATHER’ and only those who truly know Him as FATHER can meaningfully pray this prayer! This prayer is reserved for those who are in an intimate relationship with Almighty God, who have been
• Made right with God through Christ
• Who are being led by the Spirit
• Are able to call God ‘Abba Father’
This prayer is in no way a prayer for the sinner outside of Christ who has not accepted God’s Plan of Salvation! This prayer moves within the intimacy of God’s family.