Let's face it, you and I are spiritual knuckleheads. When it comes to praying and having genuine communion with the living God of the universe who spoke it into existence on our own, we really wouldn't know what to do.
We really wouldn't know what to say. Jesus' teaching on prayer and His whole approach to spiritual life in Matthew 6 frees us from many false concepts about prayer. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and today as Pastor Don Green continues to teach God's people God's Word on the truth pulpit, he takes us further into a series titled, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, and delves into verses 11 through 15 to teach us more about bringing our needs to God. Well, Don, today's passage teaches us something about the nature of life, doesn't it?
Well, it sure does, Bill. We see Jesus teaching us to pray both for our physical and our spiritual needs. That tells us that we are dependent on God. We need Him to help us in the physical realm of our lives and also in the spiritual realm of our lives to lead us out of temptation and to forgive us of our sins. And so prayer, as Jesus is going to show us in today's passage, adopts a posture of humble reliance on our Heavenly Father. Stay with us, my friend, as we learn from these words of Jesus today on The Truth Pulpit. Thanks, Don. And friend, let's join our teacher now from The Truth Pulpit.
If you suddenly found yourself in an audience with the president or with a king, most of you would start to stammer or your jaw would lock shut. Well, how much so with the God of the universe? Jesus understands that. He knows that we need help. He knows that we are spiritually dull and that we are weak and that we are faltering and that we are consumed with the things of this world. And so in His wonderful grace, in His wonderful, unspeakably glorious desire that we would enjoy a close intimacy with our Heavenly Father, with our Maker, with our Savior and Redeemer, He gives us positive instruction so that we can build a lifelong, meaningful prayer life that will stand the test of time, trials, and fluctuating desire.
There's no question about it. That is exactly what this prayer does for us. It is inexhaustible, and the reason that it is inexhaustible, the reason that you can plant your roots in this prayer and say, this will be the foundation for the way that I pray for the rest of my life, is because this prayer is rooted in fundamental terms in the character of God. This prayer is rooted in the goodness of God our Father. He says, I will reward you when you seek me. I desire to have you pray to me.
I know what you need. When I see you praying in secret, I'm going to reward you. That, beloved, really motivates you to seek out whatever your prayer closet is and to pursue it, far more so, infinitely more so, than saying, you know, I'm going to pray for 45 minutes today. When you put those two thoughts side by side, you see how detestable that man-centered approach about, I'm going to punch my clock in prayer today, you see how detestable that is, that you're going to just punch a clock and that's going to somehow mean something in and of itself?
That's ridiculous. When you approach prayer from an entirely different direction, when you say, this Father in Heaven knows me, this Father in Heaven sent his Son to redeem my soul from my sins, he loves me, he wants to reward me, he desires that fellowship, he is so good, he is wise and he's faithful and he's omnipotent and omniscient and he's sovereign over all, what kind of glory is this that has been opened up to me that I might be able to enjoy fellowship with such a one as that, me the creature, me the sinner? That, beloved, changes everything about prayer.
If you got nothing else out from this series of seven or eight messages, that is the thing that I would most have you take away from everything that we've taught on this. We trust God's goodness as Father, we bow before his greatness as the King of the universe, we're convinced that he wants to bless us as we seek him, that revolutionizes everything in your heart and says, that I want to pray now. Because you're drawn to the extended majesty of God rather than trying to achieve some artificial man-made standard about what prayer should be like.
It changes everything. And bless God for it. When you start with the character of God in prayer, and that is your fundamental starting point, you have established an infinitely better, more godly framework than all of your long prayer lists and all of your clock watching could ever do.
And it's clearly Jesus' teaching. And so, beloved, what I want you to see is, is that what we've talked about in the Lord's prayer over these past several weeks is that these are the matters, these are the issues that you should train your conscience to respond to when it comes to prayer. Now in what's commonly called the Lord's prayer in verses 9 through 15 of Matthew 6, what Jesus is doing is he's giving us a fundamental outline of the topics that you should cover when you pray. He knows that we're distracted, as I said earlier, and so he builds, as it were, a track that the trained life of our prayers can run on. He intends you to take this outline, take these general principles, and then flesh them out in your own words, flesh them out in the midst of your own life circumstances on a consistent basis. This is inherent to the whole concept of what it means to walk with God.
This is foundational, this is very basic, and yet in its simplicity, its depth cannot be thoroughly explored. Let's take a look at the text. Matthew 6 verse 9, reading down through verse 15. Jesus, after he had just condemned the way the Pharisees and the Gentiles pray, tells you as his disciple, he says, pray then in this way. Our Father who is 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 do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Amen. For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Let me just make a little simple point there in verse 13 about that doxology, yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
I want to address that up front just briefly. For a lot of you, you'll see that text in brackets in your English Bible. What that's indicating is simply that that phrase was probably not part of what Jesus originally taught about in this section on prayer. It doesn't appear in the oldest and the best Greek manuscripts that we have that support our English translations, and so most scholars believed that it was something that was added at a later date by a copyist who felt like he wanted to round out the nature of the prayer.
That doesn't mean that it's bad, it doesn't mean that it's not true, and that's why our translators have kept it in there, but just to recognize that that's why those brackets are there in your Bible, Jesus probably didn't include that part when he first taught his disciples here on the Sermon on the Mount. Now, with that set aside, let's look at the text as we have it here in these first five verses, verses 9 through 13. This prayer breaks down into two basic sections, and last time what we saw was that Jesus taught us, both in the nature of the grammar that he used and in the priority that he gives to this prayer in sequence, that your first fundamental duty in prayer, when you pray, your first fundamental duty is to seek the glory of God quite apart from anything about your desires or circumstances.
He tells you to seek God's glory in his name, in his kingdom, and in his will. We looked at all of that last time, and I'm not going to review it any more than to just mention it here, your priority in prayer, your first priority is the glory of God. When you think about everything that we just talked about, in terms of the majesty of being able to approach this great God in prayer, his great goodness, his good greatness, if you want to put it that way, then it's obvious that he should be the center of attention.
He should be the starting point. That's only right that we would do prayer that way. But now as we move into this second section of the Lord's Prayer, beginning in verse 11, give us this day our daily bread, we're seeing another dimension of the unfathomable goodness and greatness of God from an entirely different perspective.
Here in this second section of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us to bring the physical needs of our life before God, the forgiveness of our sins before God, and the spiritual protection as we look forward to the future with God. Now it's really hard for us to step outside of ourselves to think about this, but we need to think outside of ourselves for just a moment to appreciate the majesty of this. God in his transcendent glory, God in his matchless worth, his intrinsic worth as the creator of all things, dwelling in heaven with the power to speak a universe into existence by his mere spoken word, from that position of unassailable sovereignty, God says, I care about what's happening in your daily life. That's amazing. That's amazing. Now you care about what happens in your daily life, we all tend to be a little self-centered in our focus, but to step back and say this transcendent God is concerned about the niggling details of my transient life?
Wow! I mean, come on, what kind of God is this? What kind of great condescension is it that after he sent Christ into the world to die for our sins that he would continue on and be involved in every detail of our life, so much so that he says even every hair on your head is numbered. How inexhaustible is his concern, how inexhaustible is his love for those that he's brought into relationship with himself? You should look at this second section of this prayer and say, God, God, why?
And answer that question by understanding that it has nothing to do with you. The fact that God would invite that kind of prayer from his disciples is all a testimony about how good he is and how pervasive is the extent of his absolute sovereignty over all things. It should make you love him all the more.
It should make you just melt on your knees before him and say, God, I have trouble caring about my next door neighbor that I see from day to day. And yet you in far surpassing glory care about these little details? Thank you, Father, for that kind of unsearchable goodness. We see it first of all in verse 11.
I'm going to give you three points. Three hooks to hang your prayers for your own needs about and the needs of those around you. Jesus says, teaches us to pray, give us our daily bread, forgive our debts.
Using the plural, your prayer life should expand beyond your own circumstances. But here in verse 11, Jesus tells you to bring your physical needs to God on a daily basis. Look at what it says in verse 11. Look at the verse with me where it says, give us this day our daily bread.
In contrast to the unsearchable glory of God that has occupied the first half of this prayer, all of a sudden it's right down to the details of right where you live. Jesus here uses the common word for literal bread. I agree with the many commentators who say that they think that Jesus is using this bread as a shorthand term to refer to all of the daily necessities of life. I mean think about it, it has to be that way. To be overly literal here would be to say Jesus taught us to pray for bread but not water.
That's obviously not his intent. This is a phrase referring to the daily necessities of life. God in all of your majesty, I still have to live out my life here before you on earth where I have these day to day needs. And so you bring them before him. The word daily in terms of give us this day our daily bread, it's a rare word that appears only here and in Luke 11 verse 3 in the New Testament.
It seems to be a word from the best work that the experts can do on it that looks forward to the immediate future. Whether it's the day just ahead as you're praying in the morning or the next day as you pray in the evening, it's looking to life as you walk day by day. And the significance of this in terms of our daily priorities, our daily necessities, is probably lost on us a little bit compared to those who heard Jesus speak these words live in the first century. In Jesus' day, many, many people were paid each day for their work on a daily basis. One day's pay basically bought one day's food. And so existence in Jesus' day for the vast majority of the people was very much hand to mouth.
One hand is working and the other one is bringing the food to the mouth. There wasn't a whole lot to draw upon from day to day as you look to the future. And so Jesus here, looking out on the common disciples that were there in front of him, was teaching them to pray in a way that expressed, get this, that expressed trusting dependence on the God who was the source of everything in their lives. Now, in your life and in mine and in our prosperous society here in the West, where we stockpile food and other necessities, and so many of us have food for the next few weeks in our house, kind of hard for this to necessarily take the weight and the power that it had on Jesus' original audience. But what I want you to see is, and I want you to follow me really carefully here, because this really goes to the heart of everything in this second half of the prayer, is that you as a Christian have to come back to that spirit of dependence on God on a day to day basis.
If you are enjoying prosperity, don't let that cloud you from the fact that every breath that you take is a gift from God. Every good and perfect gift, James says, comes down from the Father of lights. Everything that you have is a result of his giving to you. Everything that you will need must come from his hand or you will not know it.
You will not see it. And so, beloved, what you have to do if you really want to be serious about walking with God and honoring him in your prayer life, is you have to come back and cultivate that sense of daily dependence on God, cultivate that mindset, and a prayer life in which you understand that everything that you need must come from him or you will not have it. And that principle of dependence, beloved, extends beyond what you eat to every need in your daily life. Your family, your finances, your ministry, your work, your health, every aspect of daily life, that which naturally assumes and consumes our attention, is something that's intended to be brought under the sovereign hand of God and say, God, I depend upon you for this. And so when a daily need presses on you, you're conscious of what lies ahead, that becomes your opportunity to pray and say, Father, give me what I need in this situation.
I trust you for it. Some people have tried to interpret this passage over the course of church history. Some have wanted to try to elevate, as they would define elevation, elevate this term bread into a spiritual sense, where they're saying, what Jesus was talking about here is not daily bread.
I mean, why do we get messed up? Why are we focused on material needs like this? Jesus is really talking about our spiritual needs. And these friends would point to a passage like John 6, where Jesus said, I am the bread that comes down out of heaven, and say that that's how we should understand Matthew 6 here, that he's talking about our spiritual needs.
Well, I don't agree with that. John chapter 6 has many indications to show that Jesus was referring to bread in a metaphorical sense. He said, I'm the bread that comes down out of heaven. Now, as soon as he says that, you understand that he's not talking about literal bread. You understand he's using an illustration or an analogy, and none of those indicators are present here in Matthew 6, where Jesus says, pray for your daily bread. People in an agrarian society who wondered from day to day where their next meal was going to come from would understand this in the plain, ordinary sense of the words.
And so, John 6 is not the interpretive grid that we should use here in Matthew 6. Furthermore, I would say, on this point, if you look at chapter 6, verse 25, notice how Jesus goes on just shortly after the Lord's Prayer, and he starts talking about your daily needs, your daily physical needs. Verse 25, he says, for this reason I say to you, don't be worried about your life as to what you will eat or what you will drink, nor for your body as to what you will put on.
Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. So just after he prays this, he goes into an extended discourse about how we are to deal in our daily lives with our physical needs. And so here, in the Lord's Prayer, I believe it's best to look at our daily bread and say, Jesus is teaching me here that it is appropriate for me to bring my physical needs before him, bring the necessities of life before him, as part of expressing a dependent, trusting relationship on my Father who cares about every detail of my life. And what that does, beloved, when you understand the prayer that way, please understand what that does. That doesn't diminish God to involve him with such mundane details. That doesn't trivialize prayer.
Quite to the contrary, it is one way to fulfill what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10, 31, when he said, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. What this does, beloved, when Jesus tells you to pray for your daily bread, what that does is it elevates every aspect of your life to a spiritual dimension that has eternal significance. All of a sudden, your needs become the intersection point at which you relate to God. It becomes fundamental because you say, God, I recognize you as the source of all things. I am dependent upon you to meet every need that I have and I ask you to do so, Father, because I trust you so that your daily needs become the stage upon which the glory of God is displayed. And all of your life is vested with eternal significance when you view it from that perspective. So Jesus says, give us this day our daily bread. Just take him at the simple, ordinary nature of what he says here. Don't spiritualize away that which would vest every moment of your life with eternal significance. This is glorious. This is God condescending to your level to meet you right where you're at.
That's worthy of his praise. So what do you do with that kind of opportunity? What do you do with the Spirit? How should you approach this kind of prayer?
Here's how I would encourage you to think about expressing that trust to God. On my dresser at home, I keep a basket full of coins, just the loose change from the day and it tends to accumulate fairly quickly. I just toss it in there like many of you probably do. And periodically what I'll do is I'll just grab a handful of those coins and give them to my daughter, Marisa. She kind of knows what's going on when I look at that basket. And so I do that just to make her happy. I just want to give a little small slice of joy to her heart. And I said, Marisa, how much do you want? And she gave the perfect reply. She said, how much do you want to give me?
Now think about that. There's a genius in that that says, Father, I trust you. What Marisa was expressing there was that she was trusting me for whatever I wanted to give her out of my abundance, what she knew of my abundance.
I ended up giving her about four times as much as I had planned simply to reward her trust. Beloved, what I want you to see is that's how I would encourage you along those lines to approach your Heavenly Father when you pray about your daily needs. And in His wonderful grace, God gives us positive instruction so that we can build a lifelong, meaningful, and intimate prayer life that will stand the test of time, trials, and distractions. And Pastor Don Green will have more edifying teaching from Scripture next time as he continues our series titled, Lord Teach Us to Pray, on the Truth Pulpit.
But right now Don's back here in studio with a special invitation. Well, friend, if you are anywhere near the Cincinnati area and you don't have a good church home, I invite you to visit us at Truth Community Church. I'm in the pulpit almost every Sunday, and we have a loving congregation that would simply be thrilled to meet you and welcome you to our body. We are striving to manifest the principles that you heard taught today. Why not come and see us? Bill will help you find us on our website. Thanks, Don. And friend, I'm Bill Wright inviting you to join us again next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word in the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-28 04:48:13 / 2022-11-28 04:57:07 / 9