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The Lord’s Prayer, Part 4 – Matthew 6:12, 14, 15

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. . . .For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.
I’ve grown up in the church, and so I’ve heard a lot of prayers offered over the course of my life.And one thing I’ve noticed is that most people at some point ask for God’s forgiveness in their prayer.But I really don’t ever remember hearing anyone pray for it as our Lord tells us to do here (unless they are explicitly reciting the Lord’s Prayer): there is no “as we forgive our debtors” part of the prayer.The fact is that many times I’ve asked for God’s forgiveness at the same time are harboring bitterness in my heart toward someone else, or perhaps even scheming for revenge.And yet the second part of this petition is not just put there to fill up space, as verses 14 and 15 make very clear.If we do not forgive others, we cannot expect our heave…

Matthew 6:11 – The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3

Give us this day our daily bread.
Can you pray this and mean it?“Give me this day my daily bread.”It’s true that even in the US, people go hungry.But the fact of the matter is that for most of us, we struggle much more with eating too many calories than with eating too few.According to the CDC, more than one-third of Americans are obese.[1]It’s also why, according to one article, dieting has become a “national pastime.”[2]In this article, Kay Uzoma writes, “approximately 45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion on weight-loss products in their pursuit of a trimmer, fitter body.”We’re not worried about having daily bread.We’re worried about having too much daily bread!
Another challenge to this part of the Lord’s Prayer is the fact that, unlike people in first century Judea, we are not paid day-to-day but rather week-to-week, or more likely, month-to-month.Thinking about today’s bread is simply not on our minds as long as we have a job.Add to this the fact that there are…

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2

[This message was delivered on Easter Sunday, 2015]

Matthew 6:9-10.Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come.Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Every Lord’s Day is a remembrance of our Lord’s death and resurrection.He rose on the first day of the week, and it was this consideration that led the early church to set aside this day as the day to gather and to worship the crucified and resurrected and living and returning Christ.But on this day, we give it special consideration, for it was at this time of the year that our Lord was crucified and raised from the dead.And it is fitting that we do so, because apart from the resurrection of our Lord, our religion is meaningless.The apostle Paul put it this way, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:14).The reason is that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith if futile and you are still in your sins” (v. 17).In fact, “If in Christ we have hop…