Faithlife Sermons

2/19/2023 - Forgiven

Teach Us To Pray  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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(Opening Prayer)

Matthew 6:9b–13 (ESV)
9b ...“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

(Sermon Introduction)

Today we continue our “Teach Us To Pray” Series, focusing on the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6.
We want to take an expository look at the most famous prayer ever recorded.
To begin today I have entitled the sermon, “Forgiven.

(Lord’s Prayer Context)

Matthew records what is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” here in Matthew 6.
Truthfully, this prayer should be called, “The Disciple’s Prayer” as it really flows from the disciples lips to the Lord.
We call it “The Lord’s Prayer” because the Lord Jesus gave it to them.
It is also important to note that this style of prayer was actually quite common in Jewish circles of the day.
What is unique however is the interpretation and teaching that Jesus shares with it.
Matthew 6 is not the only place we see this prayer recorded.
It is also recorded in Luke 11.
We understand that these times were most likely not the only times that Jesus taught these things to the people and to His disciples.

(Gospel of Matthew Context)

We know that the focus of Matthew’s gospel is the teachings of Jesus.
His focus was not on the chronological nature of Jesus’ ministry.
But having started with what we refer to as “The Beatitudes,” in Matthew 5, Jesus takes the people on a journey of discovering what a true disciple looks like.
At one point, Jesus’ Disciples asked Jesus, “Teach Us To Pray,” to which Jesus responds with a phrase: “Pray like this.”
Jesus then begins to recite what has become the most famous prayer ever spoken.
We have already preached concerning:
...When You Pray…Pray like this:” (Mt. 6:5-8)
...Our Father in heaven...” (Mt. 6:9b)
...Hallowed Be Your Name...” (Mt. 6:9c)
Your Kingdom come...” (Mt. 6:10a)
Your Will Be Done” (Mt. 6:10b)
On Earth As It Is In Heaven” (Mt. 6:10c)
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” (Mt. 6:11)
Today we are focusing on:
and forgive us our debts,” (Mt. 6:12)

(Sermon Tension)

This statement fosters some questions:
What does “forgive us our debts” mean?
How can God forgive us?
Who is “us” referring to?
Why is this important?
What does it have to do with prayer?
The Christian life is lived through forgiveness.
This is what justification by faith is all about.
We could have no life or hope with God at all, had God’s Son not borne the penalty of our sins so that we might go free.
But Christians fall short still, and forgiveness is needed each day; so Jesus in part two of his model prayer included a request for it between the prayers for material provision and spiritual protection.
This reflects nothing in his own praying, for he knew he was sinless (John 8:46); it is here for us.
So then, the question remains: How should Christians see their sins?
Scripture speaks of sin as deviation, lawbreaking, rebellion, shortcomings, filth, evil, missing the mark, and all these things having to do with God.
Truly anything that dishonors or profanes God or the name of God.
That covers a lot!
It is important to note here that the Lord’s prayer is the Disciples prayer.
This prayer is for followers, not the crowd.
The crowd isn’t truly praying any of this.
Context is important.
Disciples are those who have decided to follow Jesus, submitting to His rule and reign.
Matthew 6:12 (ESV)
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
However, the aim of the Disciple’s prayer is that of unpaid debts.
ὀφείλημα / Opheilema
ὀφείλημα, (a) a debt; (b) in Aramaic the same word indicates a debt and a sin; hence a sin (probably as that for which we owe reparation to God or to another person).
(A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament)
It could be understood that we owe God total, tireless loyalty—zealous love for God and men, all day and every day, on the pattern of Jesus’ own—and our sin is basically failure to pay.
A problem arises here.
If Christ’s death atoned for all sins, past, present, and future (as it did), and if God’s verdict justifying the believer (“I accept you as righteous for Jesus’ sake”) is valid, why should the Christian mention his daily sins to God at all?
The answer lies in distinguishing between God as Judge and as Father, and between being a justified sinner and an adopted son.
So that means that this prayer for the forgiving of our debts isn’t us asking for forgiveness of sin to enter into a relationship with God the Father but to maintain a healthy relationship with our Father.
J. I. Packer “Sinning Sons” (Praying the Lord’s Prayer, #10.)
The Lord’s Prayer is the family prayer, in which God’s adopted children address their Father, and though their daily failures do not overthrow their justification, things will not be right between them and their Father till they have said, “Please forgive me” and have asked him to overlook the ways they have let him down.
Unless Christians come to God each time as returning prodigals, their prayer will be as unreal as was that of the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable.

1. Our Father Invites Us Into Communication

Matthew 6:12a (ESV)
12 and forgive us our debts,...
In Psalm 32 David writes a “Maskil” psalm.
A “Maskil” is didactic in nature.
In other words, it is an instruction or teaching psalm.
David writes this psalm to teach us about receiving God’s forgiveness.
Psalm 32:1-2 (ESV)
A Maskil of David.
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Do we understand what a blessing it is to be forgiven?
Charles H. Spurgeon “Psalm XXXII” (The Treasury of David, pg. 81, #1.)
"Blessed.” Like the sermon on the mount, this Psalm begins with beatitudes.
This is the second Psalm of benediction.
The first Psalm describes the result of holy blessedness, the thirty-second details the cause of it.
The first pictures the tree in full growth, this depicts it in its first planting and watering.
He who in the first Psalm is a reader of God’s book, is here a suppliant at God’s throne accepted and heard.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.”
He is now blessed, and ever shall be.
Psalm 32:3-4 (ESV)
A Maskil of David.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
He who is pardoned, has in every case been taught to deal honestly with himself, his sin, and his God.
Forgiveness is no sham, and the peace which it brings is not caused by playing tricks with conscience.
Self-deception and hypocrisy bring no blessedness, they may drug the soul into hell with pleasant dreams, but into the heaven of true peace they cannot conduct their victim.
Charles H. Spurgeon “Psalm XXXII” (The Treasury of David, pg. 82, #4.)
God’s hand is very helpful when it uplifts, but it is awful when it presses down.
Better a world on the shoulder, like Atlas, than God’s hand on the heart, like David.
Unconfessed sin, like a fierce poison, dries up the health of the soul.

2. Our Father Invites Us Into Confession

Psalm 32:5 (ESV)
A Maskil of David.
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Will we recognize our sin before God?
Are we recognizing our tendency to wander into sin?
Here emerges a lesson: Christians must be willing to examine themselves and let others examine them for the detecting of day-to-day shortcomings.
The Puritans valued preachers who would “rip up” the conscience; more preaching of this kind is needed today.
The discipline of self-examination, though distasteful to our pride, is necessary because our Father in heaven will not turn a blind eye to his children’s failings, as human parents so often do.
What he knows about our sins we need to know too, so that we may repent and ask pardon for whatever has given offense.
J. I. Packer “Debts” (Praying the Lord’s Prayer, #10.)
The Anglican Prayer Book rightly confesses sins of omission (“we have left undone those things which we ought to have done”) before sins of commission: the omission perspective is basic.
When Christians examine themselves, it is for omissions that they should first look, and they will always find that their saddest sins take the form of good left undone.
When the dying Archbishop Ussher prayed, “Lord, forgive most of all my sins of omission,” he showed a true sense of spiritual reality.
James 4:17 (ESV)
17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Will we reconcile with God today?
From one standpoint, Christians’ shortcomings offend most of all just because they have most reason (the love of God in Christ) and most resources (the indwelling Holy Spirit) for avoiding sinful ways.
Those who think that because in Christ their sins are covered they need not bother to honor God with their lives are desperately confused (Romans 6).
Just as it upsets a husband more to learn that his wife is sleeping around than that the woman next door is doing it, so God is most deeply outraged when his own people are unfaithful (Hosea 1–3). “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)—and nothing less will do.
Christians should call the “burden” (guilt) of their sins “intolerable.”
The justification for this strong language is knowledge of the intolerable grief brought to God by the sins of his own family.
How sensitive are we to this?
And how concerned that, as sons and daughters of God, our lives should be anti-sin?
The true Christian will not only seek to find and face his sins through self-examination, but he will labor “by the Spirit” to “put to death the deeds of the body” (i.e., the habits of the old sinful self) all his days (Romans 8:13).
1 John 1:1-10 (ESV)
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Charles H. Spurgeon “Psalm XXXII” (The Treasury of David, pg. 83, #5)
God’s pardons are deep and thorough.
The knife of mercy cuts at the roots of the ill weed of sin.
Another pause is needed, for the matter is not such as may be hurried over.

3. Our Father Invites Us Into Closeness

Psalm 32:6-7 (ESV)
A Maskil of David.
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
Charles H. Spurgeon “Psalm XXXII” (The Treasury of David, pg. 84, #7)
To lay our hand upon the with the clasp of a personal “my” is delight at its full.
Observe that the same man who in the fourth verse was oppressed by the presence of God, here finds a shelter in Him.
See what honest confession and full forgiveness will do!
The gospel of substitution makes Him to be our refuge who otherwise would have been our judge.
Will we receive His forgiveness?
It is true that forgiveness is by faith in Christ alone, apart from works, but repentance is faith’s fruit, and there is no more reality in a profession of faith than there is reality of repentance that goes with it.
Psalm 32:8-9 (ESV)
A Maskil of David.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
King David wisely encourages those in sin to humbly repent and turn to the One who forgives.
Do not respond to the Lord with a stubborn heart!
It is our pride that leads us to respond with stubbornness and resistance to the call of the Lord to enter into communication, confession, and closeness.
This portion of the Lord’s Prayer is for the Disciples to enter into forgiveness.
Disciples are encouraged to examine themselves and quickly come to the One who can give them what they need.
Psalm 32:10-11 (ESV)
A Maskil of David.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
When we come to the Lord we find forgiveness and by virtue we find rest in Him.
Forgiveness is an invitation to communicate with Him, Confess our sin, and come close.
God desires that you be close.


(Invite Worship Team)
The Dust of the Rabbi
Disciples, known as students, were expected to be so close to their Rabbi that “the Rabbi’s dust would be upon them.”
Jesus wants us to follow closely.
One of the ways we follow closely is by walking in the forgiveness that God gives.
Hebrews 4:9–16 (ESV)
9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,
10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

(Closing Tension)

Our Father Invites Us Into Communication.
Our Father Invites Us Into Confession.
Our Father Invites Us Into Closeness.
Forgive Us…“God examine us and cleanse us.”
Our Debts…“God release us and redeem us.”

(Response Card)

1. What did you hear? (Blank Lines)
2. How will you live it out? (Blank Lines)
3. Who will you share it with? (Blank Lines)
4. Who are you discipling? (Blank Lines)
5. What are you praying for? (Blank Lines)
6. How has God answers your prayers? (Blank Lines)


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