Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the heathen (pagans) do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Jesus says here that there is a Pagan way and Christian way.
Pagan seems to be irreligious. Actually, he is talking about people that ARE religious.
He is saying that the real difference is not the religious from the irreligious, but those religious and the Christians.
Jesus presents 2 different bases on going to God. A right way and a wrong way.
Let me ask you a question to really kick start this thing:
When you pray, why should God listen to you?
Pagans/Religious folks think one thing and authentic Christians think a different thing.
When you approach anyone, you have preconceived ideas about how they relate to you. You approach your boss differently than your best friend. You approach your professor differently than your boyfriend.
Intuitively, your approach affects the way you ask and the way you interact.
At bus stop, you can ask: Where is the bus to Post Rd? Within our American culture there is appropriate asking realm. Time, directions, maybe loose change. However, you can not ask for their backpack or purse. There is no basis for this deep level of ‘ask’. You have no relationship equity to make that deep of a request.
Jesus is showing us that fundamentally there are 2 basic ways to approach God.
- In a Business relationship, the basis is performance. You perform for me and I perform for you.
- In a family relationship, the basis is a commitment. A permanent, committed relationship.
In a Business Relationship – I have something for you
In a Family Relationship – I am something to you
There are 2 ways to live in someone’s house:
- A boarder
- A Family member
When you are a boarder, you can have a good relationship with your landlord as long as you pay the rent and they keep maintaining the house. As long as you respect the rules with each other.
The exchange with each other is a MECHANICAL one of goods and services. A business relationship.
A business relationship is a conditional one. A family relationship is unconditional. Business relationships are based on what you have and performance.
Living with your parents is completely different. Family has to do with who I am.
In business, it is if you perform, then you will be accepted. A family dynamic should be: Since I am excepted, then I will perform.
Jesus was addressing two types of people IN THE CHURCH.
Jesus says that you can approach God on a business basis or a family relationship.
You will heap up empty phrases or babble if they are coming from a business relationship.
Empty means anxious.
Meat and Potatoes today. Let’s make it simple. We want to approach God as, “Our Father.”
He wants to have a family relationship with us! He wants to be approached as Father.
So how do you know if you are a pagan or a Christian when you pray?
What is the atmosphere of your prayer time? Do you constantly frame your prayers with boarder or family lingo?
Another great way:
What happens when your prayers aren’t answered?
If you are pagan, when they are not answered, you will either be cold or anxious.
COLD: ”I have been paying the rent and I deserve from you.”
ANXIOUS: “I haven’t been paying the rent and so I do not deserve to have my prayers answered.”
“God is not coming through and I have been doing my part.”
OR “I guess I have not been doing my part.”
In either case, you are proving that you are a boarder and not a child.
A Pagan relationship with God is a business one. You have duties. He has duties.
A Christian comes into the relationship saying ‘You lived the life I want to live. You accept and adopt me not based on my performance, but for your love.’
We are not talking about eloquence or articulation, both could be these.
Pagan: Babbling, cold, impersonal, no fullness, not personal, guilty
Christian: Warm, personal, confident, humble
Jesus doesn’t start the prayer with “Our King…” though he is.
He doesn’t start the prayer with “Our Creator…” though he is.
He doesn’t start the prayer with “Our friend…” though he is….
Friendship is wedged between business and family.
The powerful institution of family created by God is proven in the brokenness of families today.
There is something about families that even in those difficulties something sticks closer.
She is still my sister, he is still my son, she is still my mother, …
Jesus is saying in these verses that our identity as God’s kids is the essence of being a Christian.
John 1:10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
Authority to become children. You have been adopted!
Adopted, given the rights as a child of God. If you don’t understand that concept, you don’t understand Christianity at all.
Adoption is not from the efforts of the child. It is an act of the father! Adoption is not an act of behavior.
When you adopt an unruly child the behavior may change over time, but it doesn’t happen immediately. What does happen immediately is a STATUS change.
It is a legal change. What does that mean? The father legally adopts the child. You are here whether you misbehave or not.
The FATHER says, “I promise to regard you with all the commitment and praise as I would my own biological child. “
John 17: 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Even as the father loves Jesus… EVEN AS… God would love us as much as he loves himself. By legal action, you cross over from being a non person to being a child of God. God is committed to you as adopted sons and daughter.
Do you understand that?
“that’s too easy…” That means you are a boarder and not a child.
If you say, “that is too simple, I have to work for it…” that means you are a boarder.
Christians accept this position by faith.
Many move from being irreligious to being a Christian.
BUT many in here today are moving from being religious to being a Christian.
In other words, you had a system to get to God or finally earn his attention and pay the rent for an answered prayer.
MOVE TO BEING A CHILD OF GOD. You are accepted.
He died the death I should have died. He lived the life I always wanted to live. I trust in the son of God, Jesus Christ. Upon his death and life, I base everything. That is what a Christian is.
If you understand that, then
Start your prayer with the doctrine of adoption. That is the fire that fuels access into the presence of God.
He is committed to you. Every time you deal with God, saturate yourself with the thought that you are God’s kid. He loves you and wants to talk to you! Rejoice in it!
Think about it, every time you have received the power of his Holy Spirit it wasn’t because you marched into church and said, “This week I nailed it! I deserve a dose of God…bring it on!”
NO! it was when you humbly said, WOW you love and accept me even though I don’t deserve it.”
Many in here today might be longing to be with the love of God. You have a drought that needs to be filled. OR you long for the power of God to make something in your life live again.
Instead of trying to figure out how to make your business relationship with God balance, REST in the adoption of God!
1 John 3:1See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
How Great is the love of the Father…. Great- from what country does the love of God come? A Christian is someone who finds the love of God off the scale amazing. There is a spirit of wonder!
A Christian is someone who says ‘it’s a miracle that I am a Christian’.
Praise and worship is unnatural for a boarder. A boarder can go in with a list of things that are needed and as soon as the list is done, you are done. Boarders are unable to worship, because there is nothing to worship. The reason why is because you have felt you deserve what you are getting.
Christians understand it is a free gift (thankful).
Boarders say ‘I’m moral, I work hard, I deserve this miracle..’
When a Christian receives a miracle, they say, “incredible, why would he do such a thing!?”
When you ask a boarder if they are a Christian, they will say, “sure! Of course!”
When you ask a Christian if they are a Christian there is no ‘of courseness’ about it. They will say, “it is incredible, but it is true! It is a miracle but it is true!” Behold it is true.
When you have worked hard all week and you get a paycheck at the end of the week, you don’t say, “behold, it is a miracle! My paycheck!”. You say, “of course, I worked for it.” If you are not continually in an attitude of praise, then you are a boarder.
Another way to see the difference between a boarder and a child is through repentance.
Boarders repent of their sins, but not their righteousness.
Christians do. That is the difference. Christians know even their best deeds are not enough. Boarders believe ‘their best’ is pay towards their relationship!
There is wonder about the LOVE of God. The adoption of all us
We find healing in our hearts when we lean to God as Father.
Don’t be like a pagan because you think you will be heard because of your babbling and repetitive talk.
Instead, pray: OUR FATHER…