GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus – Sermon on Mount (Part 24)

The High and True Standard of God and His Kingdom is now developed by Jesus.  Rather than listening to the phony teachers of the Law, the guardians of the Law who twisted Truth for their selfish interests, Jesus now lays out what standards are in harmony with a correct understanding of the Old Testament.  The greatest sequel to this instruction is that Jesus in all he was and was to do came not to set aside or annual the Law but to fulfill it. In this following section of six antitheses, Jesus places his own authority over the misinterpretations of the religious norm of His Day…’It is said, but I say…’ (Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38 and 43).  Separating the counterfeit from the Real.

The gauntlet is down, and the standard is set now threefold:
  First, righteousness must be greater than the religious leaders (5:20); Secondly, a life of perfection which is like God the Father (5:48), and now, third, righteous acts not to be seen by men (6:1).
Jesus now instructs His followers in how we should pray.  Not as babbling empty words to impress others but privately and behind closed doors.  Now to the substance of HOW to PRAY.  Matthew 6:9.  “This then is how you should pray.”  First, to our Heavenly Father, who is family and near as our Eternal Father.  Second, as residing in heaven.  Third, and is Holy. Now the finish: prayers for God’s will, for our needs, for proper relationships, and for spiritual integrity.
Matthew 6:9-14 9“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven11Give us today our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
1.  God’s Kingdom, in Heaven and on Earth.  Here we have the divine time lapse.  Right now, God’s Kingdom is happening, perfectly, in heaven, but our prayer is that God’s purposes and kingdom will come and expand among us.  That is the future.  While true in part with the Christian who believes in and follows Jesus – one heart and one life at a time – the finishing off of God’s kingdom on earth until the time of Jesus’ return.  This will be God’s plan seen nationally and internationally.  So our prayer is continual.  From the individual lives transformed among us, looking also to the second coming of Jesus, with power and authority.  And God’s kingdom purposes on earth have two sequels: the necessity of obedience and the place of us in His Kingdom.  Your Kingdom come.

2.  God’s Will For Us – With us – and By Us.  Your will be done.  Now the focal point is earth, logically extending from God’s purposes in heaven.  How do we pray for God’s will?  How do we know it?  In the last few decades, seminars and books have been devoted to Finding God’s Will.  That was not necessary in the first century and following from these lessons on prayer.  God’s will was and is obedience.  Obedience to the revealed and known will and instruction from Jesus.  If we do what is God’s standard here, we are in and we are doing God’s will.  Period.  No equivocation. No doubt.  No seminar.  
And God’s will – for you and for me – is this:  We are thankful for God’s provisions in our life (give us our daily bread), forgiveness of others in the name of Jesus, and successful spiritual living recognizing the spiritual warfare around us.  If we have food and covering (1 Tim 6:8), if we keep short accounts with forgiving others rather than cultivating bitterness, anger and malice, and if we practice resisting sin and temptation, then pure religion is this:  James 1:27 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world – then we are confidently in God’s will, doing his kingdom work, while waiting for Jesus’s return. 
1 Timothy 4:910 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
The Lord’s prayer finishes on a high note next week with instructions in maintaining spiritual integrity with ours and in our own hearts.  Stay well.  And God’s blessing to you this week.

— John Moore

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