The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 6)

In this final study we shall *meditate upon, ‘“For Your’s is the kingdom and the **power and the ***glory forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).”’

Do we have possessions and power? And to what extent do we exercise authority? What is under our control? Do we have a kingdom? How about God? Does He have a kingdom? Well, it’s clear from the above extract taken from the Lord’s prayer, God does have a kingdom.

On the face of it, we seem to be talking about two kingdoms. Ours and God’s. But, if we are Christians, and we dwell in God’s kingdom, we are His subjects, and we are bound to His rule and authority over all aspects of our lives. We do not have our own kingdom. We may have possessions, and we may have authority over other people, but those possessions and authority are God-given (John 19:10, 11). Because He is our King, we are answerable to Him for the way in which we conduct our affairs (2 Corinthians 5:10).

In this respect King David was a good example, apart from his lust for Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah (2 Samuel 11). David acknowledged God had made him king of Israel. Everything he did was done under the supreme authority of the LORD. David endeavoured to rule his earthly kingdom in obedience to God.

In his prayer to the LORD (1 Chronicles 29:10-22) at the time of Solomon’s anointing, David acknowledged that ‘riches and honour ‘ came from God (v 12). He recognised that God was his Sovereign King, and he and Solomon, along with the people, were subjects of God’s Kingdom. All were to obey God’s commandments, testimonies and statutes (1 Chronicles 29:19, 20).

The unbeliever and the agnostic will see things differently. They may see what they believe to be many kingdoms and governments throughout the world.

Atheists believe their is no god or gods, and if there are no gods, they cannot rule kingdoms.

Some time ago when I was out delivering tracts I met an atheist on the doorstep to his house. Once he understood why I was there, he became hostile. He told me he was an atheist, and he had all he needed. Everything he owned: his home and all his possessions were obtained by his own efforts. Supremely confident in himself, he asked why would he need a god? Furthermore, all churchgoers he had come across were hypocrites! What was done in churches was mumble-jumble – complete nonsense.

This man clearly believed his home was his castle, and he was the supreme ruler of his kingdom. He believed he was totally self-sufficient, and come-what-may, he would manage as he had done in the past.

I had no opportunity for presenting the gospel to him.

You can imagine the prayer I said for him and his family.

I know the Lord is gracious (Exodus 34:6) and compassionate (Psalm 86:15), and perhaps He will respond favourably to my prayer.

Like all men, that man has only the time allotted to him (Hebrews 9:27) for a wise response (Proverbs 3:13) to the gospel. He should seek the Lord while He may be found (Jeremiah 29:13; Luke 11:10), confess his sins and repent. Then he will know the blessedness of the Lord (Romans 4:5-8) and become a citizen of God’s Kingdom. For him, God’s Kingdom will have come to him.

A Christian knows that God is his Sovereign King. He can truly pray, “For Your’s is the kingdom and the **power and the ***glory forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).”

* Meditation

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/08/meditation/

** The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/ 

*** The Glory of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/01/07/the-glory-of-god/

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The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 5)

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13).”’ These are the fifth and sixth petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

So often when we pray we start by asking God to help us in some way. We have many difficulties to overcome, and we can’t do without His help. He is our *all-knowing and all-powerful God. He is aware of our desires before we ask Him (Psalm 139:1-6), and if our prayers are in accordance with His will (Psalm 145:18-20) He will satisfy our requests (Psalm 90:14).

It would be infinitely better to commence our prayers with praise and thanks to God for His past provision and protection (Hebrews 13:15). We would then be heartened, because of being reminded of His help in the past. He never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5), despite moments when we may have wondered where He was. They were times when the going was tough and sky was dark, but afterwards the sun shone and we saw the Lord’s footprints in the sand. [See poem below]

Such adversities and tribulations are for the strengthening of our faith (Psalm 66:10). When Jesus brings us through testing times we are full of joy (James 1:2), and we praise Him for His faithfulness (1 Corinthians 1:9; Revelation 1:5). On reflection, we may recollect moments when we reproached ourselves for doubting, and we were sorrowful for our unfaithfulness. We asked God to forgive us.

How are we to understand the fifth petition: ‘And do not lead us into temptation? God would never deliberately place temptations before us. They are the work of the devil (1 John 3:8). In that respect, Jesus was tempted by the devil when He was in the wilderness. Not once did He succumb to his ploys. How did He deal with the devil? By rebuking and confronting him with Old Testament Scriptures. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Inevitably, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) will place temptations before us (Ephesians 2:2), but in this present age we have both the Old and New Testaments, and, if we are believers, we have the Holy Spirit who indwells us (Romans 5:5; 2 Timothy 1:14). Therefore when we are tempted we can wield the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) and protect ourselves with the full armour of God (v 11). We have power not to sin.

As we walk in the Spirit our desire is to be true and faithful to Jesus who is faithful to us (Revelation 1:5). When we focus on Him we experience joy in our heart. Any satisfaction we may have had from passing temptations fade by comparison (Hebrews 11:24-26) to the joy found in Jesus. We know that if we succumb to the devil we mar our relationship with our Lord. Then we are uncomfortable and unhappy, and we want to confess our sins and endeavour to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25).

Temptation and sin are the work of the ‘evil one’. We are to avoid him, and give him no place in our lives (James 4:7).

The sixth petition, ‘“but deliver us from the evil one,”’ has two sides to it: First and foremost, for God to keep us apart from the devil, and secondly, if we fall foul of him, for the Lord to retrieve us from his clutches. The last thing our Good Shepherd wants is for us to stray into the hands of the evil one. He who laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11) will protect and comfort us (Psalm 23:4).

In the next article we shall conclude our studies on the Lord’s Prayer by meditating upon Christ’s words, ‘“For Your’s is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).”’

* The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/ 

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.

As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,

One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,

I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,

especially at the very lowest and saddest times,

there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,

You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,

there was only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you.”

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The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 4)

Continuing with our study of the Lord’s Prayer, we’ll be considering, ‘“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12, 13).”’

Because we are so familiar with the Lord’s Prayer we don’t give it the thought it deserves. If you are like me, you will have said it by rote and without much thought. We did’t make it our own heartfelt prayer.

Our prayer was laid bare before the *omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God – the God who knows our wants before we ask Him – the God who supplies all out needs (Matthew 6:28-32).

Every breath we breathe comes to us because of His mercy (Deuteronomy 4:31; Psalm 116:5). He looks favourably on both the good and the bad, and He blesses all with His common grace (Matthew 5:45). He is an impartial God who favours no man according to his earthly status, wealth, knowledge or wisdom (Matthew 22:16). He is the Judge who judges people ‘according to their deeds’ (Romans 2:6). Without Him there would be no life (John 1:1), no light (Genesis 1:3; John 1:5; 1 John 1:5) and no salvation (Acts 4:12). He is all in all (Colossians 3:11).

Those who know Him and are known by Him (Galatians 4:9) pray as they get on with their daily tasks (Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:8). They seek His help and assurance with their comings and goings, their aspirations and desires. They give Him praise and thanks. For them, and for those who do not believe the gospel, each day is another clean sheet upon which God’s writing appears, either in the book of life (Philippians 4:3) or the book of death (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 20:12). Let there be no doubt, God uses our **prayers, since they have been foreordained.

In our third request, ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ we are asking for much more than bread. Bread has been a staple diet since the time man first harvested grain and transformed it into flour. With the controlled use of fire he has been able to bake bread. However, by implication, in our prayer we are asking God for our total daily needs: food, drink, clothing and somewhere safe to live with a roof over our heads, unlike Jesus who had ‘nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20).’

Jesus draws us to another source of refreshment and sustenance with the words He spoke to the devil in the wilderness, ‘“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).”’ The Word of God is life, and He gives us life (John 10:10; 14:6) when we feed on Him (John 6:53- 58).

Our fourth request, ‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’ might seem a little strange, since those who believe and trust Jesus have already been forgiven their ‘debts’, which in this context equates to ‘sins’. All our sinning, is against God (Psalm 51:4). When we sin against our neighbour we sin against God. He tells us to love our neighbour (Matthew 19:19). When we disobey His commands we sin.

As we have not yet been perfected we frequently sin, but God has given us a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). If we fail, we can come to Him and ask for forgiveness, and know that we are forgiven (1 John 1:9).

The real emphasis is upon our forgiveness of those who sin against us. Peter questioned Jesus about that very thing:

‘Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21, 22).”’

If we don’t forgive others, how can we expect to be forgiven? Jesus went on to explain that if we don’t forgive others we will be held accountable to His Father (Matthew 18:23-35). That’s a stern warning (v 38) and a frightening prospect for those who are disobedient.

In our next study (Chapter 5) we shall be considering, ‘“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”’

* The Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/

** Prayer

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/02/01/prayer/

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The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 3)

In this study we shall consider ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

What exactly is *heaven? and what is God’s will?

We have a pretty good understanding as to what the earth is, i.e., its physical and material constituents. In this age of the Internet, ‘Google Earth’ sets out in great detail the geographic nature of God’s special planet, and there are countless atlases that chart other features, such as climatic variations, world economies, mineral deposits, ocean currents, national boundaries etc..

How do we understand what is meant by ‘God’s will’?

If we are to engage in activities and have associations with fellow human beings, while at the same time endeavouring to act in accordance with God’s will, it is essential we know what His will is. Importantly, knowing His will, we must submit to Him under it. When we obey Him we are acting in accordance with His will.

God is **Sovereign; therefore His will of decree for the future will ‘be done’. We can have no influence in changing it, but we can try to determine what that will is from what He has said about it in His Word and through His Son. If we know what His will is for the present and for the future we can pray and act accordingly. He reigns as the Supreme Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and He uses our ***prayers within the context of His sovereignty. For as long as this earth remains (2 Peter 3:7, 10), and beyond into eternity in the New Jerusalem and the New Earth (Revelation 21:1, 2), God’s sovereign will will be done.

So as we pray, “Your will be done,” what are we actually praying?

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed for His Father’s will to be done (Luke 22:42), knowing full-well He was going to the cross to suffer an excruciating death (Matthew 26:2) and to be forsaken by His Father (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). His prayer was totally selfless. He knew He was going to die for His elect to save them from hell. He willingly gave His life for the forgiveness of their sins. In faith, and trusting His Father, as He hang on the cross, He ‘gave up His spirit (John 19:30),’ and after three days His Father raised Him from the dead (Act 2:24; Galatians 1:1).

Christ’s prayer of obedience was the sort of prayer God hears – such a prayer is said in accordance with His will.

The portion of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” affirms God’s will is done in heaven. In that glorious kingdom where God dwells with His Son there is no discord, no disobedience – only total accord and harmony. There, God’s will is done.

That was not always the case. From Job 4:18 we learn that God charged a number of His angels ‘with error’, because they rebelled against Him, and allied themselves with the devil (Matthew 25:41). God cast them to the earth along with the devil (Revelation 12:7, 9). Other sinful angels He ‘delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4, 11).’

There are many aspects to prayer, but a major feature is worship. When the one praying adores God, loves Him and expresses his thanks and praise for all He has done and does, God is truly pleased. When His saints walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25), God is truly pleased. When these things are being done, God’s will on earth is being done.

Links

The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 1)

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/05/18/the-lords-prayer-chapter-1/

The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 2)

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/05/22/the-lords-prayer-chapter-2/

* Heaven

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/03/27/heaven/

** Free Will and the Sovereignty of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/20/free-will-and-the-sovereignty-of-god/

*** Prayer

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/02/01/prayer/

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The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 2)

Continuing from *Chapter 1, let us consider ‘hallowed be Your name’ and ‘Your kingdom come.’

To ‘hallow’ something or somebody is to make it or them ‘holy’. The most Holy Place for the Old Testament Israelites was the inner sanctuary of the Temple (1 Kings 6:16) where the High Priest would go once a year to atone for the sins of the people and for his own sins (Leviticus 16:6, 11). He would sprinkle the blood of a bull (Leviticus 16:14) and the blood of a goat (Leviticus 16:15) on the mercy seat. Aaron, the first High Priest who officiated at the tabernacle, was obliged to go through a number of sacrificial rituals on the Day of Atonement for placating the wrath of God upon the people and himself (Leviticus 16). These sacrifices of dead animals and the sprinkling of their blood were inadequate for the permanent forgiveness of their sins (Hebrews10:4).

Later, in New Testament times (Ephesians 3:1-7; 1 Peter1:20), it was revealed there was only one acceptable sacrifice that could be offered to God for the forgiveness of sins, and that was the shed blood of the Saviour (1 Peter 1:18, 19) that flowed from His body when He died on the cross for the elect (Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20). The perfection of holiness found in Jesus, His righteousness, is imputed (Romans 4:11) to those for whom He died and rose from the dead (Mark 16:6).

God is holy (Joshua 24:19); He is perfectly pure (Proverbs 30:5), immaculate in moral character, and without blemish. He has always been holy (Isaiah 6:3), and will remain so for evermore. He sanctifies His saints (Hebrews 2:11) by setting them apart in His holiness (1 Corinthians 6:11). To a certain extent they are conformed to His image. God confers holiness upon them for His purposes.

So how can we understand ‘hallowed be Your name’? Holiness is the central characteristic of God. He is holy (Joshua 24:19; Psalm 99:9). There is no person like Him. He is separate from, and vastly different to His creatures whom He has made to worship HIm. He is to be revered by them; therefore when they come into His presence for prayer, their disposition should be one of humility, gratitude, praise, thanksgiving and awe (Psalm 100).

Because of what Jesus has done for believers, they have unhampered access to the Father through His Son (Hebrews 10:19) who intercedes for them (1 John 2:1). They are empowered and sanctified by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16).

In consideration of ‘Your kingdom come’, Jesus has already come to usher in His kingdom and **God’s kingdom, which are the same.

When holy Jesus comes again to the earth in glory and power (Mark 13:26, 27) He will place us who believe into His new kingdom. We shall have a share in His glory (Ephesians 1:18), as we shall be like Him and we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

From the moment of our salvation, we were spiritually transported into God’s holy kingdom (Mark 9:47), where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 3:1).

In our next study (Chapter 3) we shall consider ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

* The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 1)

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/05/18/the-lords-prayer-chapter-1/

** God’s Unified Kingdom

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/12/12/gods-unified-kingdom/

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The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 1)

In my previous article on the subject of *prayer I mentioned what has come to be known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. I suggested it could be used as a paradigm for other prayers, since it has elements often found in prayers, such as reverence and respect for God and the desire for His will to be done.

Another subject I have touched on is **’meditation’, and quite often when we pray, we meditate upon God. So today I would like to embark on a series of articles devoted to meditating on the ‘Lord’s Prayer’.

Here is the prayer as set out in Matthew 6:9-13. [Note – there’s an almost identical version of the prayer in Luke 11:2-4.]

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Starting from the beginning of the prayer, ‘Our Father in heaven,’ what is the significance of ‘Father’ and ‘heaven’?

Well, both of them are extraordinary! Let’s first consider our relationship with the ‘Father’. How can God possibly be ‘Our’ Father (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6)? The biblical answer is that He has made us [those who believe] His sons in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 5:20). Christ is the begotten Son of God (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:5), and when we are ‘in Christ’ we become adopted sons of God (Ephesians 1:5). Christ is our Brother (Matthew 12:48-50). His royal blood was shed to bring us into that relationship (Luke 22:20).

We have no heavenly mother, but we do have the Father as our Father. He made us (Psalm 139:14); He conceived us (Psalm 139:13), and His Spirit gave birth to us (John 3:5-7). We have life in Him (John 14:6). He tells us He is our Father, and He looks after us as no other father could possibly do. He provides us with all our needs, and we look to Him for our sustenance here on earth, and for the promised inheritance to come in the new heaven (John 14:2, 3; 1 Peter 1:4).

The prayer commences with ‘Our Father in heaven’. To state the obvious, our Father God lives in heaven (Deuteronomy 26:15), but where is heaven, and what’s it like? Well, I’ve already written about it. [Click the link ***below.]

Jesus is there with the Father, sitting at His right hand (Matthew 26:64), where He intercedes for us. How much of this is figurative I do not know, especially as we Christians are already citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our present citizenship is spiritual (John 4:24), and we are aliens on earth as we live in a physical kingdom. The future heavenly kingdom will have an entirely different structure and environment to that we experience here on earth.

It is reasonable to believe that the organic, physical and material structures of God’s original Paradise, the Garden of Eden, were identical to those of the Earth today. However, some biblical scholars believe the climate was dramatically changed because of the universal flood (Genesis 8:1—14). The world is wearing out and it is finite (Romans 8:21). It will end ( 2 Peter 3:7). By contrast the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1) will never wear out or end (Revelation 22:5), nor will our new bodies and souls (John 3:36; 6:47).

For these things we praise our remarkable Father and His Son, who together dwell in Heaven and the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (Romans 8:11).

In my next article I’ll be focussing on ‘hallowed be Your name’ and ‘Your kingdom come.’

* Prayer

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/02/01/prayer/

** Meditation

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/08/meditation/

*** Heaven

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/03/27/heaven/

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Jesus and the ‘I AM’ Proclamations

Exodus 3:14 ‘And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent Me to you.’”

No one could have had a better insight as to who Jesus is than John the Apostle. John was one of three very close disciples. The other two were Peter and James. All three of them were present at His *transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). In his gospel, John testified: ‘we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).’

When Jesus died, John was there at the foot of the cross (John 19:26), and later, after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to John and six other disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14).

At the suggestion of Peter, the disciples had gone fishing, but they caught nothing. In the morning light they saw Jesus standing on the shore nearby. At first, they did not recognise Him. He told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, whereupon they caught so many fish they were unable to draw them in. Immediately, John, ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:20),’ knew it was Jesus, and he told Peter. Peter couldn’t wait to get to Him; so he jumped into the sea and waded ashore (v 7).

The point I wish to make is that John had a very close relationship with Jesus. He knew Him well. For him there wasn’t a shadow of doubt that Jesus was who He claimed to be – the Son of God, the Son of the great ‘I AM’. Being the second Person of the Godhead, He was Immanuel – “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Knowing this, John was compelled to write his gospel for the world to know that Jesus, God [Theos] Himself (John 1:1) had come. He was both the Messiah and Saviour (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14). John was a witness to what he had seen, touched (1 John 1:1) and heard – namely the Lord Jesus. He wanted people to believe his testimony (John 20:31) so that they may have life in Jesus (v 31). John vouched his testimony was true (John 21:24).

In addition to recording seven **miracles [signs] that Jesus did, John also tells of seven ‘I AM’ proclamations He made about Himself and His relationship with His ‘sheep’.

Jesus’ Seven ‘I AM’ Proclamations

1) 6:35 ‘“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”’

2) 8:12 ‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”’

3) 10:9 ‘“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and I will go in and out and find pasture.”’

4) 10:11 ‘“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for his sheep.”’

5) 11:25, 26 ‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”’

6) 14:6 ‘Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”’

7) John 15:5 ‘“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’’

What is your response?

Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).’

* The Transfiguration

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/01/23/the-transfiguration/

** Seven Miracles/Signs performed by Jesus

2:1-11 Changing water into wine at Cana.

4:46-54 Healing the official’s son at Capernaum.

5:1-15 Healing the paralytic at Bethesda.

6:5-14 Feeding the 5,000.

6:16-24 Jesus walking on water.

9:1-7 Healing the blind man.

11:1-45 Raising Lazarus from death.

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