Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.” This week he covers Matthew 6:1-15 in Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” In this section, Jesus continues to fine-tune His disciples’ understanding of the Law as He talks about giving, prayer, and forgiveness. He also shares the famous “Lord’s Prayer” in this section of the “Sermon on the Mount.” Pastor Greg teaches in-depth on an alternate understanding of “The Lord’s Prayer” that that commonly held by many Christians.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:2
Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 6:1
Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:2-4
What I call MY stuff — isn’t my stuff! It all belongs to God. It’s ALL God’s money! It’s ALL God’s stuff. It’s God’s STUFF that He LOANS to us for a period of time, maybe 70-80-90 years, and He ALLOWS us to be stewards of HIS STUFF. He trusts us to to invest it, to manage it for Him.
Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. ~ Matthew 6:5-8
It is the attitude of the heart that’s behind the actions that really matters and not the actions alone.
So pray this way: [Notice He says “Pray this way” NOT “Pray these words.”] Our Father in heaven, may Your name be honored, may Your kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ~ Matthew 6:9-13
This is a MODEL for prayer, a TEMPLATE, an OUTLINE. NOT a magic spell.
Notice, Jesus puts a kind of caveat on this forgiveness request. He clarifies that we’re asking for forgiveness, in the same way that we have ALREADY forgiven others for their sins against us. The assumption included in what Jesus is teaching is that, BEFORE we ask for forgiveness, we have ALREADY walked the talk by forgiving others for their sins against us. Jesus says we should not be asking God to do something for us that we are unwilling to do for others!
Jesus essentially says if you haven’t forgiven those who have sinned against you, then don’t even bother coming to ask for forgiveness for your sins against God, because your sins against Him are way worse than anyone’s sins against you!
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself tempts no one. ~ James 1:13
Do we really have to ask God NOT to lead us into temptation? No. To get the true context, ideally in the Lord’s Prayer, this passage really should be translated “Continue to lead me AWAY FROM temptation” rather than “Lead me NOT INTO temptation.”
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. ~ 2 Timothy 2:22
For IF you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. BUT if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins. ~ Matthew 6:14-15
Is Jesus serious when he tells us we have to forgive all those who have sinned against us, all of those who have trespassed against us, all those who are indebted to us, IF we’re going to expect to be forgiven by Him, IF we’re going to be counted amongst His disciples? Yep! You better believe it! That is EXACTLY what He says and He is VERY serious about it!
1) It’s the attitude of the heart behind what you do that matters. Be virtuous for virtue’s sake.
2) If you are Jesus’ disciple don’t expect Him to treat you better than you are willing to treat others.
3)The Lord’s Prayer is a model, a template for our prayer life and not a one prayer fits all, magical incantation.