Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19980610.htm
LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part XL: The Credibility Of Christianity Viewed In The WAY Christ Told Men To Pray
Lesson: Christianity is credible as the true faith due to the preoccupation its PRAYER life is to have on the welfare of GOD and GOD'S interests above the meeting of MAN'S interests. In fact, meeting man's welfare is justly done only if it promote s the honor and glory of a holy Creator God!
- Where Scripture records God's words to men, prayer records the words of men to God, revealing what is in man's heart in the process.
- The way Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray reveals the credibility of the Christian faith as follows:
- The Credibility Of Christianity Viewed In The WAY Christ Told Men To Pray, Luke 11:1-4.
- Luke's Gospel was written to reveal the credibility of the Christian faith to Theophilus, Luke 1:3-4.
- As such, the way Christ taught His disciples to pray exposes that faith's credibility as follows, Lk. 11:1-4:
- Christ taught His disciples to pray with the initial concern that God's reputation for being separate from sin be upheld in the universe, Luke 11:1-2a.
- The first thing a believer is to promote in prayer is that the Name, standing for the reputation of the heavenly Father be upheld for its being "hallowed," Lk. 11:2a.
- This word "hallowed" is comes from hagiadzo, meaning to be separate from what is unceremonially or morally contaminated, Arndt & Gingrich, Greek-English Lexicon, p. 8-9.
- Thus, Christ's initial priority for those who pray to God is that they do so out of a heart that yearns for the separateness of God from sin to be upheld as His reputation in the universe.
- Christ taught His disciples to pray with the subsequent concern that God's kingdom come on the earth as it exists in heaven, Lk. 11:2b. Since the Gospel Jesus and His disciples taught promoted God's kingdom on earth that comes as men believe in Christ, this request was for the promotion of the conversion of men to faith in Jesus Christ, cf. Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 235.
- Christ taught His disciples to pray with the resulting submission to God's will on earth, Luke 11:2c. Thus, the believer is to apply to himself the concept that God's purposes and will in instituting His kingdom that opposes and purifies the world of sin be realized.
- Christ also taught His disciples to be concerned about cleansing from sin in their relationships to the Father and to other men, Luke 11:4a. Thus, the application of a desire for God's separateness from sin through faith in the Gospel , and submission to God's plan to get the world converted is followed through the lifestyle of the one anticipating the kingdom. That follow-through is the daily cleansing from failure to be sinless by God's forgiveness and mutual forgiveness with one anot her.
- Christ also taught His disciples to be concerned about being protected from situations where they would be tempted to sin, Luke 11:4b. (Note: A variety of excellent Greek mss. did not include the reference to a deliverance from the Evil One as that most likely reflects the tendency to harmonize the text with the Matthew account. Luke's Gospel almost surely ends the prayer with "lead us not into temptation.")
- Now, sandwiched between these other five focuses on man's need to conform to God in regards to righteousness is a personal request for daily food provisional needs, Luke 11:3.
- Accordingly, since only one request for personal needs exists in this prayer authored by Jesus, and that only to meet one's daily needs, it is obvious that the purpose of having this personal need met was to sustain one in his burden of hallowing God's name, promoting His kingdom's arrival, submitting to God's will and seeking personal cleansing before God and re lationships with others. In other words, the meeting of personal needs is conditional upon one personally getting preoccupied with God and His interests!
Application: When we believers pray for personal needs to be met, those prayers are seen as being in the will of God and thus answered ONLY to the DEGREE that doing so promotes the reputation of God as holy, the spread of that reputation to the ear th and application of it to one's heart and life. Thus, we must become and stay GOD- , not Man-centered in our priorities in this life, and have that overflow to our prayers so that we will pray in the will of God and see them answered, 1 Jn. 5:14-15.