The Lord's Prayer, Part 2

February 7, 2021

Matthew 6:11-13

Series:

Prayer

Bible References

Matthew 6:11-13

Sermon Notes

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2, 2.7.21
Introduction
Hook
One of the great joys I have in life is being a father. I love this role God has given me. I love my kids. I love them deeply. My favorite parts of the day are when I get to see them, hang out with them, goof around with them. I think one reason why I enjoy being with my children so much is it gives me a good excuse to act immature. I enjoy acting goofy, and my kids are goofy, so we get along really well. I just love my kids. They are my pride and joy here in this world.
As a father of small children, I get many requests from my children. My wife gets more than I, but when I am with the kids I get a lot. Lots of requests. Dad, can I have this? Can you get me this? Can you help me with that? Can you buy me this? Dad, dad, dad. If you are a parent, you know what I mean. Even if you’re not a parent, you can imagine it. Lots of requests.
Children are needy. They need help. The reason why my children ask me to do this or that for them is because they are needy. They can’t do it themselves. They want something but to get that thing they need help. So they ask me to get it for them or to help them get it. Something like that. Their requests flow from their dependence on me. Their petitions flow from their need.
As a parent, sometime I don’t always respond well to the constant requests I hear my children make. Sometimes I get short with them or irritable. In times like these, God will remind me regarding who I am to Him. The Bible teaches that what my kids are to me, I am to God. The Bible describes Christians as children of God. What I see in my kids—their needs and their making requests—is what God sees in me. My relationship with God is akin, is like my children’s relationship with me.
My children are needy so they make requests to me, their father. I can help them, assist them, and get them what they need and want. Our relationship with God is like this. Like children, we are tremendously needy. We might think that we are self-sufficient, but we are not. We cannot go very long without air in our lungs, food and water in our stomachs, or money in our bank accounts. We are terribly needy. We need help. God is the ultimate provider of our needs. He is good, generous, and kind.
To receive what we need from God, the Bible commands us to make requests to God the Father. Like a child making a request to his or her parent, so we make requests to God. We have needs. We believe that God is good and that He provides. So, therefore, we make requests to him.
There are millions of requests we might make to Him. Millions. Depending upon the situation, you might need something very specific. The Bible does not teach each and every request that you should make to God. That would be impossible. Rather, what the Bible teaches is general types of requests that the believer should make known to God. And what we have in the Lord’s prayer are these types of general requests that the believer must make to God.

Need
Just like with my kids, they can make requests but not every request they make honors me as their father. Sometimes my children can and do make requests that are sinful. We are like this. We, too, can and do make sinful requests to God. God has given us the Bible to teach us what are good requests we ought to make and what are bad requests that we ought not to make. The Lord’s prayer provides us with general requests that every Christian needs to make. God wants us to make requests but not all requests honor Him. In the second part of the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches us the type of requests that we need to ask God for.
Preview
Let us turn together to the Lord prayer in Matt 6:9. Last week we dealt with vv. 9 and 10. This week we will deal with vv. 11, 12, and 13. We will read the whole prayer. Starting in v. 9.
Pray then like this: “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.
I have four points for you this morning. The first point deal with developing a theology of petition. The next three points are all application. So the first point will be teaching. The next three will be preaching. First point theology; second, third, and fourth points are application.
A Theology of Asking
Introduction
If you take notes, write this down. This is the first point: “A Theology of Asking.” With this point we want to answer the question, “How should we approach when making our requests?” “In light of what Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s prayer, how should we approach God in making our requests?”
For this point, I want you to notice that each verse begins with a request from us to God. In v. 10, the request is, “Give us.” In v. 12, the request is “Forgive us.” And in v. 13, there are two requests, “Do not lead us” and “Deliver us.” So there are four requests. Jesus instructs his disciples to make four different requests.
Jesus here is touching on the S in the ACTS acronym for prayer. This acronym is very helpful for understanding prayer. What is prayer? Prayer is ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. The S, supplication, deals with requests, asking God for something. In this part of the Lord’s prayer, Jesus is teaching us about supplication. He is telling us to make requests for God.
Presumptuously?
Now how does Jesus instruct us to make these requests. So looking at v. 11, is Jesus teaches us to say v. 11 like a bossy command, like this, “Give it to me NOW, God!” That is, do we come to God in a presumptuous, bossy manner, making demands of Him? Do we come to him assuming that He owes us? The answer to this is obvious. Absolutely not. We never come to God presumptuously, thinking He owes us something.
Now it’s one thing for me to say that, but the truth of the sermon needs to flow from the text. So where in the text am I getting this idea that we cannot approach God presumptuously in making our requests to him?
To answer this question, we need to revisit who these requests are being made to. To put it in a question, “Who is it that Jesus is instructing us to ask?” The answer to that questions comes from v. 9. Jesus instructs us to make this request for provision to God the Father.
Notice how the location of the Father in v. 9. Where is He? The Father is in heaven. We talked about this last week. What’s that mean? It means that the Father is grand, lofty, and exalted. His position in heaven highlights that He is over us. He is in control. We bow to Him. He doesn’t bow to us. Therefore, the Father is to be revered, honored, exalted, and praised. Do not treat the Father as your own personal genie. That is not what prayer is. When you pray, when you make requests to God, you must honor his name, you must revere him, you must fear him. This type of attitude excludes the idea that the “Give us” that begins v. 11.
Sheepishly?
On the other hand, our requests to God also must not be made in a sheepish, shy type of way. Like this. This is what we don’t want to do: “Um, God, I just ask you, um, to, um, help me.” No. No. No. Dear friends, don’t approach God like that. Why shouldn’t we approach God like that based upon what we see in the Bible? Verse 9. Look at it. “Our Father.” Jesus doesn’t say, “Our Master.” Or, “Our King.” Jesus says, “Our Father.” We come to God the Father in prayer.
Now imagine with me for a second the worlds greatest earthly father. This earthly father is kind, compassionate, gentle, strong, protective, and tremendously loving. This father is never bothered by his children. He is always receptive to their needs and always wants to help them. What he wants his children to do most is to talk to him and ask him for what they need. What a great earthly father this.
Now our heavenly Father is like this but infinitely better. Infinitely better. This earthly father, though great, is a pour, sinful, incomplete reflection of who are heavenly Father is. Our heavenly Father is maximally good. No sin. No selfishness. The way He responds to his children is only by means of love, grace, and mercy.
This Father doesn’t want you to be sheepish and shy regarding your requests. Our heavenly Father wants to hear from you. Don’t be sheepish. Be bold with your requests. We don’t come to God the Father sheephishly. No. We come with confidence, boldness. We approach him as a Father, an infinitely loving, kind Father. We come to him believing that He wants to hear from us.
We Come in the Name of Jesus
Now how is it that this type of confidence is possible, given our sin and shame? How can that be the case? We come to God with confidence because of Jesus. We come to him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask these requests in light of Jesus, dear friend. This theology of asking begins and ends with Jesus. We do not command God to give us what we want. No. That’s presuming on God. Never do that. We also do not ask God in a way that is scared and shy. No. That demonstrates a lack of awareness regarding what Jesus has done for us. Rather, we approach God the Father with our requests with boldness, confidence considering the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ask God to Provide
Introduction
Wow. Wow. Wow. What a friend we have in Jesus. How can you not be a Christian? How can you not love the Lord Jesus with all your heart!? He is so wonderful. I love Jesus. He’s all I need. He’s all you need, dear friend.
Now we move to the first petition, mentioned in v. 11. Jesus says this,
Give us this day our daily bread
We covered “give us.” Now let’s tackle and unpack what Jesus means here by “our daily bread.”
Provision of Food
The idea here is simple. Jesus commands his disciples to ask that God would provide for their physical needs. The physical need that is specified here is “bread.” Life in the ancient world was much more difficult than it is today. We tend to think that our times our the worst times to live in. That simply is not true. We live in the best of times. Dear friends, there were no food banks back in the ancient world. If you go hungry today, there are food banks that will help you. The government will give you money to help you pay for food. These realities did not exist in the ancient world. Live was tremendously more dangerous then as it is now. Where and when you got your next meal was a legitimate question. I highly doubt any of us are concerned where our next meal with come from. People in the ancient world did not have the promise of a next meal. Their experience was considerably different than ours. Jesus knew of this danger. In that light, he commands his disciples to ask God the Father for food. God knows what we need. And Jesus instructs his disciples to ask their heavenly Father to provide for them.
Physical Provision
We ought not just limit Jesus instruction to food. We can broaden it out to include all physical needs. Jesus’ instruction is applicable to all of our physical needs—for food, drink, oxygen, rest, shelter, work. We cannot live without these basic needs met. Jesus commands that we pray for these things. It is not selfish to pray to God the Father for what you need.
Listen to this. Jesus commands you to pray to our heavenly Father for Him to meet your needs. God wants to provide for you. God, who is the source of all provision, wants you to pray to Him to ask for this provision. This is a command. God commands us to seek our His provision and kindness.
Application
Let me make this specifically applicable. The gateway for our physical needs to be met is income. If we have the proper amount of income, our physical needs can be met. Having a good job that provides for our needs is essential to live in this world. Many people struggle with jobs, though. People lose jobs. Get fired. Get laid off. This can and is a very difficult experience. If you are in a job that is not working, it’s not meeting your needs, or, if you lack a job, if you lack what you need, ask God to provide for you.
And even if you don’t have this type of pressing need. Let’s say you have a long-held, deep desire that has not been met. Let’s say if this long-term desire is met you would be doing a lot better in life. Circumstances aren’t everything, dear friend, but our lives can be improved through better circumstances. Pray that God would change your circumstances. God cares, dear friend.
God’s Generosity
Now this is not a promise that these needs, these deep desires will be met. That’s not spoken here. We want to avoid a prosperity gospel theology. But also we want to emphasize God’s generosity. God is generous. He so infinitely generous. He is a good, heavenly Father. James says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” Ask God to give you what you need. Ask him. Ask him with confidence. Take that need, take that long-term desire you have to God the Father. God wants to show you His abundant blessing. He is so rich in grace and mercy. He wants to bless you. Come to Him. Tell him what you need. Tell him your deep desires. Trust that He is good.
Ask God to Protect
Introduction
Now for our third point, brothers and sisters. For this point, I will skip v. 12 and instead go to v. 13. We will cover v. 12 in our last point. For this point, let’s look at v. 13 together. Jesus says this,
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
My point for this verse is this: “Ask God to Protect.” To understand this verse, we need to examine what Jesus means by the word “temptation,” and what exactly the type of “evil” that Jesus instructs us to be delivered from.
Trials
I take the world “temptation” in a general sense of “trial.” What I take Jesus to be saying is that his disciples should ask God the Father to be spared from trials here on earth. Now a trial could be a time in which the believer is tempted, but it could also be a time in which the believer experiences general difficulty, and not necessarily temptation towards sin. Jesus
Trials come and go in this life. They can be experiences in which your faith is grown in a tremendous way. Trials can result in God’s work in your life. In my life, my faith has grown the most in times of trial. God uses trials to prune our faith and to make our confession stronger.
This doesn’t mean, though, that you should ask for trials to come. Trails are very difficult. They can crush you. Yes, God will use you to work his grace in you, but God can also work his grace in you by sparing you from a trial. God works in both ways. What Jesus commands here is for the believer to pray for God to show his grace to the believer by means of sparing them from difficulty. Trials will come, yes. But we ought not to seek them out. That is foolish. Never seek a trial. Seek to be obedient, but avoid trials. If God brings you into a trial, then so be it. But don’t seek them out. And ask God to spare you from them. Ask Him to grow your faith independent of hardship and difficulty. He is sovereign. He will answer them as He sees fit. Nevertheless, Jesus commands us to ask to be spared from temptations and trials.
Evil One
Now, what does Jesus mean when he says, “Deliver us from evil?” What exactly type of evil is Jesus asking us to pray for deliverance from. This interpretive question was highlighted well in a little story I heard recently of a little girl who was learning the Lord’s prayer. The story goes like this,
I had been teaching my three-year old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord's Prayer for several evenings at bedtime. She would repeat after me the lines from the prayer. Finally, she decided to go solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us from E-mail.”
Yes, e-mail can be evil, but that is not what Jesus is specifying here. What I take him to be saying is that Jesus is instructing us to ask for deliverance from “the evil one.” Few translations take it this way, but I think this is the most faithful understanding of the passage. Jesus tells us to pray for protection, spiritual protection, from the “evil one.”
The devil is real, dear friends. Our prayers for ourselves, for our family, for our friends, and for our church, must incorporate the demonic reality of who the devil is. The Bible says the devil is a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour
Summary
In light of the trials of this world and in light of the demonic forces, we need to pray for protection—physical and spiritual temptation. We need to pray spiritual and physical deliverance and healing. Always pray that. Always pray for protection—both spiritual and physical—all the time and for everyone.
Ask God to Forgive
Introduction
Now for our last point. Here we are jumping back to v. 12. This is the last point. We’re ending with this point due to its relevance for us. End the sermon with the weightiest, most relevant point for us. Jesus says this in v. 12,
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Forgiving Others
The first theological dilemma we need to tackle relates to the relationship between the forgiveness we show others and the forgiveness God shows us. Let’s read the passage again.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Now read with me Matt 6:14–15.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The theological dilemma that arises with v. 12 and with vv. 14 and 15 concern the relationship between our forgiving others and God forgiving us. Now what is Jesus saying here? What is he teaching?
We do not want to understand these verses as teaching that our forgiveness of others is the cause of God’s forgiveness of us. We do not want to understand these verses this way. We do not earn our salvation, brothers and sisters. The Bible is clear on that. Further, we need to be clear that Jesus is not teaching that we can lose our salvation. No. So that is not what these verses mean.
What Jesus is doing in these verses is he is showing us, not that we earn our forgiveness by forgiving others, but that we demonstrate, show our forgiveness by forgiving others. So look at v. 12. Jesus says,
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
We ask God to forgive us of our sins, as we engage in extending forgiveness to others. The passage is teaching that we come to God for forgiveness with and attitude of forgiveness towards others. God forgives us, as we show God’s forgiveness to others.
And in vv. 14–15,
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
This passage is clearer. You will not be forgiven by God if you refuse to forgive others of their sins. If you do not show forgiveness to others it is a sign that you yourself are not forgiven. If you come to God asking for God to forgive you, and you are unwilling to forgive others of their sins, God will not hear your prayers. You will not be forgiven. The parable in Matt 18 that Pastor Jesse read highlights this very well. If you are unwilling to forgive others, God will not hear your prayers for forgiveness. Your forgiveness from God is contingent upon being willing to forgive others. It is not the cause of your forgiveness, but it is the evidence of it. To be forgiven, you must be willing to forgive. When we are willing forgive, we show that we have been forgiven. If we are unwilling to forgive, that demonstrates that we have not been recipients of forgiveness and thus evidence that God will not forgive us at the end of time.
Continual Forgiveness
So that’s the first theological dilemma. Here’s the second one. We might boil it down into a question.
If God has forgiven us of our sins when we became a Christian, why do we need to continue asking God to forgive us of our sins after we become a Christian?
This is a great question. If you’ve ever read this passage and had that thought, you are asking a great question. Let me try to address it.
The Christian life, the ongoing process of sanctification in the life of a believer, is no different than the beginning point of the Christian life. When we first become Christians, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we place our faith in Jesus Christ and ask God to forgive us of our sins. That’s how we become Christians. The Christian life, what the Christian is supposed to do every day after that, is identical to what the Christian does when he or she first becomes a Christian. Every day we are called to, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to place our faith in Jesus Christ and to ask God to forgive us of our sins. As we sin in this world, which we do often, we are supposed to come to God, again and again, to ask him for cleansing and repentance. How we live the Christian life is no different than how we become Christians. Christianity is all about learning the same lesson, over and over again.
Application
With verse 12, Jesus is touching on the C of ACTS. The C stands for confession. To ask God for forgiveness of our sins, we must confess our sins to him. Confession is key to the Christian life. As we sin, which we do often, we must constantly, repeatedly come to God to receive mercy and grace.
When is the last time you have sat down, considered your behavior, your sins, and confessed those to God? And I’m not talking about just a general, “God, forgive me of my sins?” I’m talking about a detailed list, telling God what he already knows. When is the last time you have done that? Have you ever done that?
My exhortation to you is to confess your sins to God. There are few activities in this world that are more therapeutic than confession of sin to God. There are few activities that bring joy, renewal, and cleansing like confession. God already knows your sins, dear friend. God knows our sins better than we know our sins. We’re not telling him anything new. Rather, in confession, we tell God what He already knows. Confession must be a regular, daily habit. Make confession something you do every day. And as you confess your sins to God, ask him to forgive you. Ask Him for his grace. And also ask Him to grant you the grace to want to forgive others when they harm you.