Gareth Flanary

Gareth Flanary

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

Matthew 6:7-34

INTRODUCTION

  • Today is February 3, 2019.  Where did January go?  Several circumstances have kept me from our Sunday worship assembly for a couple of weeks (weather cancelation and the Man Flu). 
  • I had invited Malik Champlain to preach on matters related to racial unity in light of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. 
    • Malik’s lesson supported The Gospel of Matthew’s overall purpose… to reshape a community in crisis by drawing out the implications of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. 
    • What is our identity and mission in the world?  Malik’s called us to “Be Present, Be Approachable, Be Graceful, Be Bold, and Be Self-Giving” (thanks George Perron).  I pray that his words provided a “Febreze” moment in the midst of toxic fumes that dominate our culture. 
  • Matthew’s story is structured with a collection of five discourses… the first is the famous “Sermon on the Mount” (5:1-7:29)… Here, Jesus shares a glimpse of what life looks like when God’s will is “done on earth as it is in heaven.”
    • For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” 5:20;
    • Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” 5:48 
    • You have heard… but I say to you…
    • “Strive first for his kingdom and his righteousness” 6
    • “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
    • “You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world…”
  1. WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL OBLIGATION OF MAN? 
    1. “Call upon me” (Ps. 50:15) “What God permits man, what he expects, wills, and requires of him, is a life of calling upon him.  This life of calling upon God will be a person’s Christian life:  his life in freedom, conversion, faith, gratitude and faithfulness.” (Karl Barth)
    1. Calling upon God…
      1. Our response of joy, gratitude and commitment to God’s grace
      1. Claims the benefits of Jesus Christ…
      1. Commits ourselves to following him…
    1. The Lord’s Prayer – what “calling upon God” involves”
  1. LORD’S PRAYER…
    1. Our Father Who Is In Heaven
      1. Invited to call upon God as “Father”
      1. God has entered into fellowship with us … and is totally involved in our world…God is present…  
      1. God cares like a parent, and rules like a king…we pray to our Father who is in heaven.
    1. May your name be holy; May your kingdom come; May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
      1. Petitions… asking God to act:   heavenly reality breaking into the earthy …
        1. Focus is on the gracious activity of God rather than on human works…
          1. He must sanctify his name…
          1. He must unveil his kingdom…
          1. He must accomplish his will on earth… 
        1. Purpose:  So that we can know and experience the fullness of his presence… So that his creation is restored…
      1. Confessions…signaling our allegiance to the cause of God…
        1. We are the instruments of God’s actions in this present evil age…
        1. Salt and light, good works, seek his kingdom and his will…
    1. Give us this day… our needs
      1. Reflects God’s commitment to our needs.   
        1. Bread – need food to sustain us… 
        1. Forgiveness – need forgiveness to remain in relationship with God…
        1. Deliverance – need deliverance to overcome the one who is intent on defeating us…
      1. Calling on God to remove these barriers to our commitment…
        1. Uncertainty — a hurting/helpless child’s appeal to his Father…
        1. Crippling guilt – too powerless to redeem ourselves
        1. Vulnerability – too weak to defeat the Evil One…

CONCLUSION

  • Center our personal prayers around Jesus’ model… depth that will satisfy
  • Center our public prayers around Jesus’ model … corporate solidarity and transcendence…

The Our Father contains all possible petitions; we cannot conceive of any prayer not already contained in it.  It is to prayer what Christ is to humanity.  It is impossible to say it once through, giving the fullest possible attention to each word, without a change, infinitesimal perhaps but real, taking place in the soul.  Simone Weil

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