God is not an earthly father, He is a perfect God.
As we open up God’ s Word to Luke Chapter 11, Luke Chapter 11:1-4 is what we’re looking at over the next several weeks. Luke Chapter 11 and we believe that the Bible is certainly God Word. It is inspired by God. It is perfect. It is holy and so each week we want to get into the Word of God so that the Word gets into us and then flows out of us as we are His servants and His missionaries. So we invite you again to turn to Luke Chapter 11 as we get in to God’s Word this morning.
We’re on a series Lord, teach us to pray. Lord, teach us to pray. When I was in high school, just a freshman or sophomore year, I discovered something. Well, first, I was always a guy that always sat in the back of the class. Do we have any students who like to sit or any adults who were back at the class sitters? Don’t be shy. The truth is that some people think that you don’t want to pay attention. Well, I was just smarter than everybody, so I didn’t have to pay attention. I’m just kidding. That’s a joke. I was always a back of the class sitter, but I realized something. I began sophomore/junior year somewhere in there and I would get really bad headaches after sitting in class and I begin to kind of contemplate why that was. There was a lot of different reasons. I said, “well, I’m just bored and they’re boring me into a headache.” But that wasn’t it. The problem I had was a focus problem and it wasn’t like me, ADD adult focusing. I mean I could kind of focus. My focus problem was everything on the whiteboard was blurry. I couldn’t see it. I could, but I was squinting. I couldn’t see everything was out of focus, and so the result of that was going to the eye doctor, failing the eye test and getting glasses. Anybody wear glasses? A lot of people wear glasses. Yep, Yep. Now I wear contacts. But see, the point of those glasses was to make everything focus. It was to bring the blurry back in to focus up.
I’m going to tell this joke. Jennifer told me not to, but I’m going to anyway because it’s about focus. It’s about being blurry and being able to correct it. There was this lady and her daughter who was sitting at a red light and they were behind the Ford Focus. The mother looked over at the daughter and she said, “honey, if that person gets out of her car, will she be blurry?” The daughter looked at her the same way you’re looking at me and Jennifer is looking at me. And the mom goes, “because she’ll be out of focus.” I hear laughs. So yeah, the whiteboard for me in school was out of focus and so I needed the proper lens to bring it back in to focus.
Well, that’s what Jesus is doing. He’s helping to refocus the disciples prayer life. You know the disciples would have been taught how to pray. They would have been taught prayers. They would have known how to recite the Psalms as a way of praying. But we saw last week they asked the question, “Lord, teach us to pray.” And so Jesus responded and we saw He emphasized this prayer last week. But today He teaches them and shows them how to pray, and He brings their prayer life into a proper focus. And today we it’s really broken down into two parts. This morning it’s a focus on the Father. Whenever you pray, you are to be focused on the Father.
Let’s read what Luke writes in verse two of Chapter 11. “Whenever you pray, (Jesus says literally, whenever you are praying. There is an expectation that as followers of Jesus we are going to spend time talking to God. There’s an expectation that we’re going to pray. So we now have this pattern of prayer that we can follow.). Whenever you pray, say, “Father, Your Name be honored as Holy. Your Kingdom come.”
Now, many of us have learned the Lord’s Prayer using Matthew’s version where it says “our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.” Luke’s version is a little shorter. I’m reading from the Christian Standard Bible. Luke’s version is a more Christianized version, probably. But both are saying the same thing. Don’t miss that. There is no contradiction. Both Luke and Matthew are saying the same thing, Father, Your Name be honored as Holy Your Kingdom.
When we pray, we need to have the right focus and it starts with a focus on our Father. Now I was thinking this would have been a great message for Father’s Day next week, so I’m a week ahead. You can watch it next week too for Father’s Day. Jesus is telling the disciples that you are invited to call God your Father. It’s amazing when you read the Old Testament, the word Father is only used about 14 or 15 times to talk about God. In the Old Testament it was Creator, it was Lord, it was Jehovah, it was Yahweh and many others. 15 times God is referred to as Father in the Old Testament, never in a prayer. But when you turn the page from Malachi to Matthew, God is now referred to as Father over 160 times in the New Testament. That should just be so amazing to us that this God, who yes, is the Creator of the universe, He is all knowing all powerful. He is sovereign over all creation, He is, El-Shaddai. He is, everything. And yet we can call Him Daddy. We can call Him Father. We can approach Him with that relationship that He is our Dad.
There are only two people on this planet who can call me Dad and it’s Larson and TJ. And what that means is we have a unique relationship with each other. We have this unique intimacy as father and child and as their father, I am always accessible to them. You know, I locked myself away to do sermon preparation. Where I can lock myself in a meeting, those two children can always interrupt anything I’m ever doing. They have unlimited access to me as their dad and so when Jesus says “call God, Father, He’s describing this unique relationship that God has with His children. He’s describing this unlimited access that we can go to our Father at any time. Listen, God is never too busy to hear your prayers. God is never too busy to say, “I don’t want to talk to you today.” No! God’s desire is to talk to us. God’s desire is to communicate with His children. God desire, as a Father, is to care for us, as a Father cares for His children. God’s desire is to be there for you. Like a good Father, God knows what’s best for your life.
If you’re a dad you know this. You tell your children to do something, they don’t always listen. There’s an age, young teenagers or younger, where they don’t think us parents know what we’re talking about and they don’t want to listen. But yet I always have my kid’s best interest at heart. God always has our best interest at heart because He knows what’s best for us. How? ‘Cause He created us. You may not agree with the direction God’s taking your life, but that’s the direction He’s called you too. He desires for you to follow Him as Father.
But here here’s a problem. I want you to listen very closely. There is a misconception in many Christian circles today that everybody is a child of God in the whole world. I want you to listen very closely ’cause that’s not true. We are only children of God through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are all created in the image of God, make no mistake. We are all created by God, make no mistake. But the Bible is very clear in Ephesians 2:3, that we are by nature, children of wrath. We are children, not of God, but of children of wrath. Our natural birth means we are born sinful, and if you don’t believe we’re born sinful, just spend some time with some young kids. Because they know how to sin and they’ve never been taught how to sin. In the example I always use is they know how to tell a lie. You catch a young child in the cookie jar, they’re going to have their hand in the jar and tell you they’re not getting a cookie. They’ll say something like “I’m just counting how many’s there.” They can’t even account. You know they’re naturally sinful. We are all born sinful. We’re born as children of wrath. It is only through a relationship through Jesus Christ that we have a restored relationship and can call God Father.
Galatians 3:26 says “For by faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus.” John 1:12 “but all who did receive Him, who received the Lord Jesus Christ, that is what gave them a right to be children of God, to those who believe in the Name of Jesus.” Jesus says this that I am the way. I am the truth and I am the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Being able to call God Father starts by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not something that we can do because of our natural birth.
We have to be reborn. In John 3, there’s this conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, and Nicodemus says, “how can I get to heaven?” And Jesus looks at Nicodemus says “you gotta be born again.” And Nicodemus says, “well, how do I do that? I can’t. I can’t get in my mother’s womb and be born again.” And then Jesus goes through this conversation and He says these most famous words “for God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” To be reborn into the family of God, to be adopted into God’s family, we have to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We have to make that decision to turn from our sinful ways. To repent and to follow Him, knowing it is God’s grace. God’s given us a gift. And you may say, why would God do that? Why would God do? Do you ever think about this? God sacrificed His Son so I could be His son. God sacrificed His Son so you could be his daughter. Why? Because He loves you. His love is greater than any earthly father.
I know there are probably people here or people listening, you may not have had a good experience with your earthly father. You may have a hard time seeing God as Father because your earthly father disappointed you in some way. Maybe your earthly father was not always there for you. Maybe he disappeared on you at some point. You just don’t have a good relationship with your earthly father, and so it’s hard to recognize God as Father. It’s hard for you to understand this concept, but I want you to hear me and I want you to hear me clearly. God is not an earthly father. He is a perfect God. The God we worship, the God we call Father will not disappoint you, and He’ll never disappear from your life when you follow Him. Don’t miss that. He will never disappoint you and He will never disappear when you decide to follow Jesus. That is who we are praying to.
J.I. Packer was asked one time, “what does it mean to be a Christian?” And he responded, “a Christian is one who has God as Father.” Let me ask you, is God your Father today? Have you made the decision to follow Jesus? When we get to the end of our service in a few minutes, we will give you an opportunity to say yes to Jesus and let God be your Father.
If you look at the prayer, it continues. Because once we address God as Father, Jesus goes on to say, pray that His Name would be honored. Hallowed be Thy Name. God may Your Name be honored. My mom always told me growing up, she goes “Trent, the most important thing you have is your name and nobody can take it away from you. The way you live your life represents that name. It represents your parents.” And I would always get this lecture in times when I was acting a fool. OK, when I was out in public and one of my parent’s friends saw me doing something I shouldn’t have been doing. Do you believe people tell your parents? Do you believe that? I’d get home now and my mom was so sweet. She wouldn’t really ever call me out on what I did. She would just say “Trent, your name is the most important thing you have.” Jennifer had her as a school teacher and she said it every day in class almost. Your name is the most important thing you have. It represents your family. Listen, the way you live your life represents if you’re a child of God. Your name, I am a child of God, represents your family.
Do you live in such a way that honors God? That is, the prayer. The prayer is that God may my life, honor you. May my church bring honor and glory to Your Name. May the way I speak bring honor and glory to Your Name. I’m just as guilty as anybody, especially when there’s sports on TV. The words that come out of my mouth aren’t always glorifying to God, Amen? And I know a lot of people, and I’ve been through this in my life. We get around that crowd, you know what I’m talking about? We get around that certain group and our language will change. We will talk like them and then we come to church and we talk like them. When we pray, God may Your Name be honored, it’s may my speech honor You and everything that I say. May my deeds honor You in everything that I do. God, as I’m focused on You, made my life bring You honor and glory to Your Name.
But there is also a sense of adoration. When we’re praying, we’re adoring God because, yes, His Name is worthy of honor. He sent His Son to die for you. We should praise Him for that in our prayers. God has given you life. He’s giving you breath. He’s giving us a beautiful place to worship. We should honor God because of His blessings. So we pray to bring honor and glory to God’s Name.
We also pray for the Kingdom to come. As Matthew says, Kingdom come, Thy will be done. Have you ever struggled praying that prayer? Father, may Your will be done. I have. There have been times in my prayer life I didn’t want to utter those words. Because I knew in my heart God’s will for my life was not what I wanted to do. But yet Jesus teaches us as we open our time, talking to God, focusing on Father, our prayer before we ever get to me, before we ever get to praying for others, it has to be God Your will be done. Pray that the Kingdom of heaven would come to earth. That means we have to surrender our life, doesn’t it? I think that’s the hardest thing for us to pray. I think when Jesus did it, it was hard for Him. Remember, He’s in the garden. Jesus says Father let this cup pass from Me. And when I imagine this in my mind, I think He paused a little bit because He knew what was coming. But then He uttered those words, “not My will, but Your will be done.” It’s the hardest prayer we can pray. But it’s the most important thing we can pray.
When you have a sick loved one, or maybe you’re sick yourself, cancer is a deadly disease. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, we pray for them to be healed. We pray for them to be healed. But we know that doesn’t always happen. We know that sometimes it’s God’s will to take our loved ones home. Are we able to say “God’s will be done?”
Maybe you’re being called to the mission field. Maybe God called you to Africa. Maybe God called you to another place in the United States and you know it. But you don’t want to go. Are you willing to pray “God, let me honor Your Name by following your will to the place you have called me to go.” It is the hardest thing to pray, but it is one of the most powerful things to pray, for the Kingdom of God to come.
Both of these petitions, Lord may Your Name, be honored, and may Your Kingdom come, they also have a futuristic bent. One day Jesus is going to come. One day the Kingdom of God will come to Earth. In a sense, it already has come through Jesus, but it’s not fully known yet. One day Jesus is going to break through the skies and He’s going to come and guess what? On that day every knee should bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord and He will be honored. That’s another part of the prayer and we are praying for Jesus to return. We are praying for His rule and reign to be here on Earth. I’ll just tell you. Do you know where His rule and reign needs to start while we wait? Here. Does He rule and reign in your life?
You see, we call Him Father. But He’s also our King and we have to submit to the leadership and the Lordship of King Jesus. Father, Your Name be honored as Holy Your Kingdom come. May each one of us today make the decision to submit to praying with a focus on the father. May we focus on God’s Name and honoring it with our own lives. May we pray for God’s Name to be honored as we witness and evangelize to the nations. And may we pray that the Kingdom of God would come, and that the will of God would be done in each and every part of this world.
Maybe today you’ve never prayed that. Maybe you’ve been following Jesus for a while and you’ve never been able to utter those words, Lord, Your will be done. Today, recommit to praying with a focus on the Father.
But maybe you’re here and you cannot call God your Father. And I know that’s hard to say, but if you’re not following Jesus, he’s not your Father. If you need to confess your sins, today’s the day to respond. You are here because God called you here to hear the Gospel. God called you here with a desire to transform your heart. You just have to respond in faith. You have to step out on faith and come and give your life to Jesus. If you want to be able to look up and pray and talk to God and say, Father, then you need to give your life to Jesus. Surrender it all to the One who paid it all for you and for me. Would you do that today? Would you respond and allow Jesus to forgive you of your sins? Would you respond and let your eternity be secured in heaven? Would you respond in the way the Lord has you to respond today?
Let’s pray together.
Father, thank You for Your Word. And thank You for teaching us how to pray. Father, oftentimes when we pray, we’re focused on me, me and me, my wants, and my desires. But Jesus makes it clear that when we pray, we are to focus on the Father, on His Name and on His will. And Father, it’s so hard for us to do that. It’s hard for us to submit, but God help us and humble us help us to surrender our life to You. Help us to pray those hard words. God Your will be done each and every day. Father, put in our heart a desire to pray and to talk to You each day. We ask all this in Jesus’ Name, Amen and Amen.