Preacher: Pastor Ray
Text: Matt 6:5-15
Summary: It’s easy to pray the Lord’s Prayer, but it is very difficult to pray it with the right heart.
First, I want to welcome Marshall and Jennifer who’s here with us. Let’s pray for God to keep growing and protecting the baby in Jennifer’s womb, and let’s ask specifically for all the back and hip pain to leave her body.
Father, we pray for this precious couple Marshall and Jennifer. Lord, You are the one who opened up the womb after many years of barrenness. Father, thank you for opening up her womb. We ask you Lord to continue to knit together this baby boy in her womb. Father, we cast out everything that’s causing this pain. We ask, O Lord, for health to come over her hip and her back. We pray for full mobility. We pray that everything would be reset. Everything would be made new. We ask for Your power and authority, for the name of Jesus to rule and reign in her body. Father, we are so thankful that we have this privilege to pray for your blessing upon this couple.
Thank you, Father God, for gathering us all here today. We want to begin by just praying for Marshall and Jennifer. Thank you, Lord. We finally get to see the answer to our prayers after many months of praying and, actually for them, for many years of waiting. Father, You’re the one who opened her womb. We know that every child is a gift from above and unless you open the womb, nothing happens. So Father, thank you for hearing our prayers and opening up this womb. Father, we ask, O Lord, that you would continue to knit together this baby boy in Jennifer’s womb until full delivery. Father. We pray for protection for health for Jennifer and the baby. We also pray for Jennifer’s hip and back. That in the name of Jesus, everything would be made straight again that whatever is causing the pain would leave her body. We command it to leave in Jesus’s name. Father, we ask O Lord for your hand of protection. Please continue to shepherd and guide this couple. Continue to Shepherd all of us today as You teach us today about prayer, specifically about the Lord’s prayer. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Please turn with me to Matthew 6. Thank you brother Matthew for leading the praise and prayer. I think based on what he prayed earlier and the songs, we are one in spirit. So thank you for that.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: “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. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Before Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray, He gives an example of how not to pray. His words are very significant because He is pointing out the hypocrites. He is pointing out the religious leaders.
As a fellow pastor I confess on behalf of many pastors that, as a group, we struggle with the very words that Jesus mentions here. We pray and we minister and we do church and we do missions because we want the world to recognize us. We want to be known. And the pastor might not actually achieve success, but he’s always looking over his shoulder at the next guy who is more successful. Whatever they’re doing, pastors want to try to imitate the successful pastor because whatever works there, they’re hoping that it’s going to work here.
And Jesus says, that’s not what the Father wants. He wants a change of heart that is so deep that when you pray the Lord’s Prayer, you actually mean it. I think we’ve all prayed the Lord’s prayer before. If you’ve been in church, many of us have memorized the Lord’s Prayer. But it’s quite another thing to really pray it like you mean it.
I can spend 15-20 minutes explaining to you what it means. And I think you can gain an intellectual grasp of the prayer. I mean, it’s not hard to understand what Jesus is saying here. It’s not hard to understand, but to pray it from your heart, now that will take a miracle.
He begins by saying, our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. First, we have to know who we’re speaking to. Jesus could have said many things about His Father in heaven, but He chose to highlight one characteristic, His holiness. He’s not our grandfather in heaven because when you think of a grandfather, there’s a certain picture. One day, Lord willing, I will be a grandfather and I will not treat my grandchild the way I treat my children because the Granddad’s job is just to spoil, right? Father and mother’s job is to discipline and to raise the children in the instruction of the Lord. It’s different tasks and responsibilities.
Our Father is not a grandfather who looks away from our sin and just says, come to Me, come to Me, it’s okay. In terms of what I hear in in America especially, and actually around the world is a false gospel. Our Father in heaven is hallowed, He is Holy but He is being reduced to a grandfather. It’s almost like He doesn’t see very well. And so you can just cavalierly enter His presence no matter what you’ve done and it’s okay. You’ll be forgiven.
There are times in the Bible where people have been in the presence of this Father God and when they are in the presence of this Father, like Isaiah the prophet, he is literally prostrate on the floor. He can’t even look because God is so holy and he says, I am unraveled. I am undone. This is what happens when you actually encounter this Holy Father.
You could tack on one adjective to Jesus. He is a holy Jesus. And of course, the Spirit is clear. He’s the Holy Spirit. If there is one characteristic that captures the essence of this Triune God, it is Holy.
And before you can pray that, I think you have to check yourself. Can an unholy person barge into God’s throne room and expect an audience? No. God expects that we overtime grow in our holiness and our fear of the Lord. This prayer is born out of the Sermon on the Mount and to unpack this, you have to read Matthew 5 6 and 7.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
This is our attitude when it comes to sin. We struggle with it and it is as painful as plucking out an eye or severing a limb. So that when we enter into a holy God’s presence, we’ve cleaned ourselves up as best as we can. I remember some of my early encounters with the Lord at age 19 when I was a sophomore.
I felt the presence of God so strongly that the only thing I could do was to fall on my knees and weep and I hope you have those opportunities and have those moments when all you can do is to weep over your sins. As a 19 year old, I was steeped in sin. I was soaked in my sin. I was committing blatant sins. Because I had just been saved, I was looking back on my life and even as a new Christian, every time the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin, I was just prostrate on the floor. I remember some services, after it was over I’m still in the same spot in a pool of tears while everyone’s cleaning up around me.
It’s the holiness of God and you just fall on your face. And in the beginning you get cleaned up of your blatant sins. But as you mature like Apostle Paul, he says I am the chief of sinners. I don’t think that means he’s getting drunk every every other day or is it committing adultery every other day. He is talking about a different sin that the Lord is purging from him. Before it was just blatant sins. Then over time there are the thoughts. There are the motives of the heart.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
This speaks of what we consume with our eyes. I have to tell the boys whenever there’s a commercial or when we’re out walking by a billboard to just look away. Just turn it off or look away because the eye is actually taking in darkness and when the darkness comes, the whole body is darkened. If you’re in that spiritual state, you cannot enter into God’s holiness without just being destroyed. God in his mercy, He doesn’t actually come to you because He’s waiting for you to repent.
So our Father in heaven hallowed be Your name, we have to know who the audience is. He is a holy God. We are dealing with a holy God and that’s why we struggle with our sin. We don’t just confess our sin and then do it again the next day. And then confess it and do it the next day then we repent. We have to have a change of mind. Then over time our behavior changes. We’re not tempted like that anymore.
9 Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done
I think this one has been lost out of all the verses. Also, maybe verse 11, but the first half of verse 10, this one has been lost in the Christian mindset. When it says Your kingdom come, what is Jesus teaching his disciples? What is He teaching them about prayer? If you go back to chapter 5 and read the Beatitudes, it’s interesting in verse 3. It says blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven and then verse 10 blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. So we know as a believer that if this list is talking about you and specifically you are poor in spirit and you are persecuted by this world, then You are a kingdom citizen. You have the kingdom with you right now.
If that’s the case, some may say, well, why do I have to pray Your kingdom come? I already have it. We have it. Yes, but we have such a small glimpse of it. Like we have Jesus. Do you have Jesus fully? Do you know Jesus fully? We know His kingdom is coming, but it’s like through a dimly-lit mirror. It is opaque. Through a pane of glass you see it, but it’s so unclear.
For the Christian we have this tension, I am a kingdom citizen. I have Jesus. The king has come. But we also say, come Lord Jesus. Come, Lord, Your kingdom come. I have it, but I want the fullness of it.
For me, this is the heart of the Christian, that we have Jesus. We have the kingdom but our longing is the fullness of the kingdom and that fullness of the kingdom comes when Jesus arrives and he brings his kingdom to earth. Did you know that when Jesus comes, this whole world will be burned up. It will be baptized in flames and He will bring his heaven down to earth and it will be a new heaven and new earth. It will be like Garden of Eden 2.0 and it will be a city, this time a new Jerusalem.
This happens with the coming of Jesus Christ. The Christian says, yes, I have the kingdom. I am a kingdom citizen. I have Jesus but Jesus, I want the fullness of Your kingdom to come! Some in theology will say, well, I have the kingdom. I don’t need to ask. And no wonder the church doesn’t even know they should be praying this prayer everyday, Your kingdom come. Then you have the other side such as the charismatic Christians and Southern Baptists who say, I will bring God’s kingdom on earth through my evangelism. I will rule and reign over media and the culture and education and the government and the military. I’m going to send missionaries to every corner of the world and through my activity, I will bring God’s kingdom to earth.
That is so false. That is an overestimation of our abilities and that’s an underestimation of this world and its wickedness.
Yes, we will save individuals here and there maybe for a season. We will see righteousness reign in little pockets of this earth. But we cannot bring God’s kingdom. Even if every Christian was mobilized and sent to the mission field, we would fail miserably. We would fall so far short of bringing God’s Kingdom on earth and that’s why the Christian says, Your kingdom come.
What kind of a heart is it that asks for God’s kingdom? It’s somebody who is poor in spirit. Somebody who is persecuted. Somebody who is mourning. Someone who is meek. Someone is hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Who is merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers. I want to focus on the first and the last — poor in spirit and persecuted.
Luke’s version of this is, blessed are you who are poor. It doesn’t say, poor in spirit. It just says blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
You have to look at both. This is not an omission. This is by design. You have to look at both Luke and Matthew. We have a tendency to spiritualize all the verses but we have to look at Luke’s version. He doesn’t say poor in spirit. He said blessed are those who are poor. He’s talking about materially speaking. There is a link. What is it? What kind of heart asks for God’s kingdom to come?
It is someone who recognizes their poverty, spiritual poverty and their physical poverty. Why have we missed this in America? It’s because we are so rich. We are so full. That’s why we don’t say, Your kingdom come. You might say it you don’t mean it.
We have to say this prayer with the right heart, which means you have to get to a place where your heart understands, I am poor. Don’t be deceived by the house and the car and all the nice things. I am poor. Somebody who says I can bring God’s kingdom on earth, is that person poor in spirit? No. Somebody who is poor in spirit knows, I am so limited. I can go on missions and I can be the leader of my field and I can I can preach the gospel. But I will fail so miserably at bringing God’s kingdom to this earth. Only one Person can bring God’s kingdom and that is King Jesus.
So the Christian, our posture is, I am so poor in spirit and in terms of wealth, and that’s why you asked for God’s kingdom. If you understand he state of the disciples whom Jesus is speaking to, they were spiritually poor and they knew it, and they were physically poor. And so when they pray the Father’s prayer, they prayed it with the right heart. Why is it so hard for us?
We don’t think we’re spiritually poor. And physically, none of us is poor. And this is tied to, give us this day our daily bread. Again, Jesus is speaking of physical bread as well as spiritual bread. Give us this day our daily bread. That’s a real prayer for somebody who is hungry. Somebody who is living off of the donations, who does not have a place to lay their head, who doesn’t really know where their next meal is coming from. When they pray the Lord’s Prayer, it is a different prayer than when we pray this prayer. When He says, give us this day our daily bread, He is telling the disciples who are hungry to ask for bread. I’m hungry unless you answer this. I don’t know if I’m going to go to bed hungry or not.
And of course, we can jump to the spiritual interpretation because that is the essence, of course, because man does not live on physical bread alone. Man lives on every Word that comes from the mouth of God. The same way that bread from heaven came down, manna came down, Jesus is the bread of life. And so we are asking for both, yes. Jesus, I need to feed on You today through Your Word. That’s true.
Give us this day our daily bread. Before we jump to the spiritual interpretation, let’s first take this verse literally. Like the disciples worried about bread, food, drink, clothing, the basic necessities of life. This is what the disciples, whom Jesus is speaking to, this is their concern. And that’s why Matthew 6 — Jesus says, do not worry. Did you know that worrying is a sin?
What do we worry about? Are you worrying about your next meal? Or, are you worrying about which meal should I eat? Are you are you concerned that it’s been a couple days since I’ve had any water. And you’re really concerned, you might die of thirst. Or, are you thinking about your favorite boba tea drink you’re going to buy? Are you thinking about having only have one pair of clothing? And your last t-shirt is starting to develop holes. I need to replace it, but I don’t have enough money. And you are worried? Or, are you wondering, why do I have so much clothing in my wardrobe? I need to trim this down.
It’s really hard to get at the heart of this Lord’s Prayer. From where we stand, it’s really hard. And so at the very least, you and I have to struggle with our money.
Before you were a Christian, you were on a certain path. Your had goals, plans and dreams. You were on the path to become an engineer, or work in healthcare. You were on a certain track, but along the way, Jesus met you. And did you ever ask the Lord, Jesus, do you want me to continue down this path, or do you want me to change?
And if You, Lord, allow me to make money and You give me this money, do You want me to let it go? Or do You want me to release it for Your kingdom. Letting it go because it’s a danger to me. Or, stewarding Your money and releasing it in order to advance His kingdom.
All of us have to struggle with this issue. You cannot get to the heart of this prayer unless you deal with your attitude toward money. That’s why in Matthew 6, Jesus talks about two potential gods — God or Money. You will be devoted to the one and you will despise the other.
And I have somebody in my family and I hope one day that this person is open to the gospel. And when they look at my life, they only see one thing. They see the absence of money. And I tell this person, no, God has supplied our every need. I hope at one point, every member of my family is open to the gospel. When I told this person I was going to be a pastor, this person cares for me the best way they could. But they only saw one thing. Being a pastor means no money. That is the last thing this person would want for me.
I have to say, when I when I look at this person’s life, this verse is so true, that the more you’re devoted to Money, the next thing that happens is you despise God more and more.
But if you devote yourself to God, you will despise money because you know what money does to people. That verse is so true true. So true.
We need to struggle with what we should do with our money. Does God even want us to have a lot of money? What good is our money? Because somebody who says — your kingdom come — is ready at any moment to let it go. You’re not thinking about retirement. You’re not thinking about saving money for your kids’ college funds. At any moment, Jesus can come and if He did, you’d be so happy. At least, we should be happy.
Would you be happy? I think if Jesus came suddenly many in the church would be angry. Jesus, I’m in the middle of my ministry. I’m bringing Your kingdom here. How come you came, Jesus? I’m not done. Why did you come so suddenly? I’m doing well. I can do this on my own. You don’t have to come.
Or, you’re in the middle of earning your money. And you haven’t used it and you want to use it. You had all these plans of what you’re going to do with this money. And Jesus comes suddenly and you’re so angry.
Somebody who is poor in spirit, somebody who have no money, somebody who is persecuted, this person has the right heart to pray the Lord’s Prayer.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
If you are a Christian who is worldly, the world will not bother you. If you’re a Christian who rarely speaks for Jesus and instead talks about anything other than Jesus — social work, ministry — chances are, you won’t be bothered. But if you talk about Jesus, as soon as that Name comes out of your mouth, the world will persecute you. And even the religious system, even Christians in many churches, they will persecute you.
Because the name of Jesus brings a strong response. Either you’re on the side of Jesus and Jesus is all they talk about. Or, you’re offended. It’s like yeah, I know Jesus. Yeah, we’re all on the same team. Jesus? Can we talk about Sunday attendance? Can we talk about evangelism strategies? Can we talk about what we’re going to do on the mission field this summer?
I’m telling you, if you talk about Jesus, even among other pastors, after a while, they don’t want to hear His Name. And so this verse is so true. That if you want to fit in and you just want to be respected by others, and you just want to be liked, you cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer with the right heart.
The heart of a Christian who prays the Lord’s Prayer is someone who know, I am so poor in spirit. Even physically, I don’t know where my next meal is coming from. Physically poor. Spiritually poor. Jesus, unless You come and meet me and the Word of God comes, I’ve wasted this day. And as you live this way, you’re talking about Jesus, I’m telling you, friends and family, one by one, they’re going to leave you.
Jesus warns over and over. If you stand up for Jesus and speak about Him, there will be division in your home. You will be hated by the world. You’ll be hated by many churches, sadly, because that’s what happens. Jesus is that kind of fork in the road. You have to decide. Are you with Him? Are you on His side? Or, are you against Him?
And if this is your heart, then you pray the Lord’s Prayer and it actually means something. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come. If you’re physically poor and you’re starving and you’re dying of thirst, and your clothing is is wearing thin, I bet you’d be praying this prayer every day. And it would be the greatest news that He answers your prayer and comes.
I pray that even as rich Christians who have decided what we’re going to do with our wealth, we’re at peace because we’ve struggled with our career and we’re confident the Lord wants us to continue and we’re going to have some money so that we can release it for His purposes.
Either you’re going to let go of your money because it’s a danger to you. Or He will give you money so that we can steward it. It’s one of the two. But even as a rich Christian disciple, we, too, will pray, your kingdom come. We’re not clutching onto anything here. Please sever all attachments to this world. Satan wants you to focus on this earth and this life. God’s job is to save you for eternity.
In this prayer, God is saying, I want you in my kingdom. Yes, you’re in the Kingdom now, but only partially. I want you fully in My kingdom. I am desperate to have you in My kingdom. I’ve sent My Son to die for you so that you know how much I want you to be in My kingdom. God is looking at our response. Do we also want to be in His kingdom? Do we say every day, your kingdom come? Because this life is not it.
I’ve lived half of my life and He’s already shown me that there’s nothing here for me. Yes, they’ll be assignments. They’ll be things to accomplish. They’ll be people to save along the way.
But I’m not holding my breath and saying, there’s something more to be gained here. I have such clarity on this issue. If Jesus comes tomorrow, I am so ready. My bags are packed. I am ready to go.
And every believer, we want to be that way. Your bags are packed. Everything in this world you hold lightly because as soon as He tells you, let’s move, you let it go. That is the heart of a believer.
The heart of a Christian is somebody who is poor in spirit. Somebody who is persecuted. Somebody who is willing to stand up for Jesus. And out of that poverty, out of the sense of loneliness that arises when you are pushed into a corner, when you are pushed to the fringe where you have very few people around you, out of that kind of condition and heart, you start praying this Lord’s Prayer. It actually means something. Your kingdom come.
Let us repent. Whatever is preventing you from praying, Your kingdom come with meaning and conviction, there’s something there that needs to be cut out of your life. There’s a worldly attachment that needs to be severed so that you can actually pray the Lord’s Prayer and mean it.
Ask yourself — can I really pray, your kingdom come, and mean it? Why am I so busy and consumed with my life here, that you never pray this prayer? And you may mouth the words, but you don’t mean it. Let’s ask the Lord to show it to us — in what ways am I bound to this earth? Ask Jesus to sever those ties.
Father, thank you for giving us this understanding of the Lord’s Prayer, which is what You taught as part of the the Sermon on the Mount that spans Matthew 5, 6 and 7. And everything is connected to this one prayer. Can we become a disciple who can pray this prayer and mean it? That we’re so free from this world that we can pray, Your kingdom come and we’re so eager for Your kingdom to come.
In Revelation, the Holy Spirit Himself says, come. Come, Lord Jesus. And the Spirit-filled Bride agrees with the Holy Spirit and she also says, come. And there’s one Greek word, maranatha, which means, come, Lord Jesus. When we’re saying Your kingdom come, we’re saying, Lord Jesus, we want You to come. We are dying. We’re spiritually poor. We may even be physically poor. We’re persecuted. We’re hungering and thirsting for physical food, for righteousness.
This is the Christian experience here on this side of eternity. We are so lacking in every way. You warned us in advance. This is the life of every believer. We must go through this.
For all Christians living in America, we are all rich. We want to ask You specifically what we should do with our money. Do You even want us to have so much money? Is it a harm to our soul? If so, give us the courage to let it go if we cannot handle money, Lord. I pray that You would increase our faith so that we can let go of money. If we have money and You want us to steward it, give us the courage to be radically generous so that Your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We want to be more and more devoted to You. And that means we will despise money more and more. We know what money does to people. We know that it serves as a counterfeit god. Too many people are deceived by the evil one and devote themselves to money.
Father, we repent of all worldliness and greed. We confess that what we pray about is not, give us today daily bread. We’re praying out of our greed. We pray for more and more. Lord, forgive us. We pray that You would search our hearts and uproot all traces of worldliness. May we repent. Give us a new heart, Lord. A new heart that can pray this prayer with conviction. We want to mean it when we pray the Lord’s Prayer.
Your kingdom come. Jesus, come. If you come today, we’d be so happy. We want to be ready for You to come at any moment. If you come today, our bags are already packed. We’re so ready to go. There’s nothing in this world for us. It’s all a trial, a test. You’re trying to refine us. Satan is trying to tempt us. We want to stand firm to the end. We wait for You. Come, Lord Jesus.
Give us this day our daily bread. This verse doesn’t apply to any of us in a physical sense. But spiritually speaking, the real bread we need is every Word that comes from the mouth of God. We ask for that Word today. Speak to us, Lord. Meet us now as we wrap up this service. In Jesus Name, Amen