Our Father in Heaven (Matt. 6:9)
· Please open your Bibles to Matthew 6
· I was over at our local library last Saturday, and found a couple books I wanted to buy, but didn’t have any cash on me. So I had to go over to the ATM and get money. Did you know the first ATM didn’t appear in America until September 1969? Other Fun Facts: Today there are over 1 million ATMs around the world, with a new one added approximately every five minutes. ATM activity is busiest on Fridays. There is even an ATM at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. (Source: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-atm-opens-for-business)
· ATMs offer tremendous convenience. You can go there literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get money. But I want to talk with you about another, even greater gift we have as Christians, and that’s the gift of prayer. Prayer is the ability to talk to God any time, anywhere, about anything. We can sing praise to him, we can cast our cares before him. Better yet, prayer needs no electricity. It requires no internet connection. It is not limited to only certain geographic locations. Now, God is not just a divine ATM machine cosmic genie. But he is a gift giver, and he loves to hear the praises and petitions of his people.
· In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray, and the kinds of prayer God delights in hearing.
· Read 6:9-15
· Tonight, we’re going to look mainly at v. 9 and that our prayers should be reverent. Our approach to God in prayer is one of both intimacy and worship.
· Many titles he could have used – Mighty God, Sovereign Creator, Righteous King, but he chooses “Our Father”
· Jesus is the eternal Son of God, could refer to God as Father in a very unique way. When he called God “My Father,” it was a unique claim to deity. Jn. 5:18 “he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” Here he does not say “My Father,” but “Our Father.”
· Our ability to call God father is not by birthright. Possible because of our adoption.
· Ephesians 1:4–6 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
· The Holy Spirit testifies to this. Romans 8:15–17 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
· Ways God is like a father: protector, provider, life-giver, he teaches, he counsels, he disciplines. Fathers, when you do these things, you are being like God, that made you in his image. You are even teaching your children certain things about God.
· This may be a bit more difficult if you don’t have many fond memories of your dad, or any memories period. I was blessed with a dad who loved me and spent time with me – sledding in the dead of winter at the school down the street.
· >>Intimacy does not mean we are casual or flippant. Also one of awe and worship.
· This Father is, after all, is in heaven. And his name is hallowed. In biblical times, your name had to do with your reputation, your character. It was your identity, your honor.
· There are some brands that take great pride in their name and logo, and that tell you something about the product. Tiffany glass. Rolex watches. Makita tools. In a similar way, God’s name speaks of his reputation.
· Exodus 3:4–5 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
· Isaiah 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
· Revelation 15:3–4 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
· No defect, no impurities, no “inclusions.” He is completely set apart from his creation, morally unstained, and pure.
· Tozer: “God is the absolute quintessence of moral excellence, infinitely perfect in righteousness, purity, rectitude, and incomprehensible holiness. Holy is the way God is. To be holy does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is.
· It is a wonder he would listen to our prayers at all! And yet he delights in them, because of the intercessory work of his Son and the Holy Spirit.
· Our prayers should be reverent
· Application Questions:
· Do I meditate regularly on the miracle of my adoption, and the joy of being a loved child of God?
· Do I treat the name of God as holy, in my public conversations and my private prayers?
· Am I growing in my knowledge of God, his name, his activity, and his attributes?
· Prayer is a tremendous gift. You don’t have to pray. That’s the wrong way of looking at it. You get to pray!