Here are the sermon notes from week 3 of our series called: Talking to God. Click here to listen to the podcast of this message.
Jesus showed us how to talk to God: LET’S READ THIS TOGETHER:
Matthew 6:9 … “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. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
The last two weeks, we covered verse 9. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Our Father in Heaven, may your name be kept holy! Today, let’s talk about that one line: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Those of you who were with us in the summer know that I had severe pain in my back and right arm in association with herniated discs in my lower neck. I had tremendous pain in the middle of the night. Couldn’t sleep. I lost about 30-50% of muscle in my right arm. We prayed, I went to a chiropractor and PT and took some ipubrofen. All of it. Over time, the pain went away in my back. My arm is getting stronger. I did a lot of research. Talked to doctors. Go an MRI. Talked to doctors and therapists. Here is one fact that I learned in all of this process:
You can have a problem before you have a symptom.
We spend most of our life trying to get rid of a symptom and we think if we have no symptoms that we are all good. The truth is that the problem begins to root itself in before you ever know it. My physical therapist told me that around 70% of people have herniated discs and don’t even know it because they don’t have any symptoms yet. The disc is bulging but not pressing on a nerve. Basically, your spine can be misaligned before you ever see a symptom. We need to strengthen the muscles and realign. When it comes to our spiritual life. The principle is the same thing! Our spirit needs realignment. Our thinking needs adjustment. This is the whole meaning of : “Your kingdom come, your Will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” This part of the prayer is called the “Lordship petition”
This Part of the conversation Realigns our Desires and Adjusts our Thoughts
This is the realignment of our heart. This is the re-centering of our mind. Augustine was a 4th century church father. He said “God is reigning now, but just as a light is absent to those refusing to open their eyes, so it is possible to refuse God’s rule.” This is the cause of all our human stress, anxiety, fear and anger. We naturally get out of alignment with God. We have placed other people or things in a place where only God deserves to be. We have given other things or people lordship over our life. Therefore, we need his kingdom to “come”. This is a VITAL part of talking to God. Before we get to any of the other parts of the conversation, we need to make sure that we are centered around His Kingdom and His Will. This is like a mini-communion service you are having in your house or prayer time. Communion is when we eat of the bread and drink the Lord’s supper and re-center our life and this is the gist of this part of the prayer. Just the other day I was speaking to a friend and she talked about how she goes through difficult times and in time realizes that she needs to trust in God for each step that she is taking. God gives her clarity, it makes sense, and she finds peace, but then she said, “it is so easy to forget and I get lost in cycle of life and doubt again.” YES, exactly! That is why we pray! That is why we daily re-center around the Kingdom. This part of Prayer is all about maintaining the right focus and vision of your life. This is why Jesus included this part of the prayer. IF we talk to God everyday AND include this section, “Thy Kingdom Come”, we have a daily realignment until we are aligned permanently with his Will. I don’t know when that happens, but we keep praying until…
We ask God to so fully rule us that we WANT to obey him with all our hearts and with joy.
One well known prayer says it like this: “Grant us grace to bear willingly all sorts of sickness, poverty, disgrace, suffering, and adversity and to recognize that in this (difficulty) your divine will is crucifying our will.” We don’t understand it, but we trust. Jesus prayed this exact prayer in garden of gethsemane. This is why we trust him. Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything that he hasn’t already done for us. Without trusting God, we try to take God’s place and seek revenge on those who have harmed us. However, We are protected from character assassination, slander, backbiting only if we lwarn to commit ourselves to God. Thy Will Be Done gives us peace. If not, we feel compelled to try to control people and control our environment and make things the way we believe they ought to be. Thomas Cranmer(burned at the stake) said, “May we obtain all you have promised May we love all you have commanded” Martin Luther, “May your future kingdom be the consummation of what you have begun in us.” The beginning of prayer is all about God. We are not to let our own needs and issues dominate prayer, rather, we are to give pride of place to praising and honoring him, to yearning to see his greatness and to see it acknowledged everywhere, and to aspiring to full love and obedience. God centeredness comes first because it heals the heart of its self-centerness, which curves us in on ourselves and distorts all our vision.
Sermon Notes for week 2 of Talking To God.
Today, I want to talk to you about, “Talking to God. Experiencing the Awe and Intimacy of Prayer.”
Do you know any name droppers? They use a person’s name in a conversation to position themselves. Using that name helps their ego.
Also, when you happen to meet someone that is powerful or popular and you want to relate to them, you can mention someone that you possibly know in common. Other people might be getting the ordinary “hello, good to meet you, shake hands, go on.” But, when you know someone that they possibly know an instant connection can form.
Names are interesting, aren’t they? They are powerful to unlock or bind.
A signature is binding when it is the legal name of someone. I couldn’t put “son” or “dad” on my check. But, when I put C. Robin Steele on the check, it becomes valuable.
Sometimes we don’t want people to know a name. We might be related to someone with a “bad name”. If we say their name, then we are negatively associated with someone and we don’t get a fair chance in the relationship.
Scripture actually talks about dropping a name in life:
Ephesians 2:18 For through him (Jesus) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
You have backstage passes. Actually, you have more than backstage passes. You can go get on the tour bus and go home with the star of the world. “Access” in that passage was the permission granted when an ancient king granted someone an audience.
When you (an insignificant, messed up human) go to have a conversation with the eternal, all powerful, perfect, creative force in the world what you need to do is start the conversation by dropping a name. JESUS.
Dropping the name Jesus gives us access, credibility and common ground in our conversation with God.
What name dropping does is create or try to create common ground. In order for there to be a substantial relationship there has to be common ground. It is extremely rare for friendships to begin where people are in completely different places in life. The majority of the time it is because you “click”. You relate. You are similar.
The ancient philosopher, Aristotle came to this same conclusion thousands of years ago. He reasoned that friendship requires that both parties share much in common as equals. And when it came to the gods, he said, “while it might be possible to honor and appease the gods, actual intimate friendship with a god was impossible.”
All ancient lands and cultures had temples, because human beings once knew innately that there was a gap, a yawning chasm, between us and the divine. God is great and we are small – God is perfect and we are flawed. Temples were places where an effort was made to bridge that gap. Sacrifices and offerings were made and rituals observed by professionals “mediators” (priests) who sought to bring the remote divinity near. No religion claimed that the gap could be officially closed.
But since God is infinitely greater than human beings, “the possibility of friendship ceases.”
Hebrews 4:14 …since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
How could we approach God with a complete confidence?
It is because God became like us, equally mortal and subject to suffering and death. He did it so we could be forgiven and justified by faith apart from our efforts and merits.
We has humans surrender our life to God and we are confess the name of Jesus Christ. We are saying that I will no longer get my validation from anything other than my family name: Jesus.
After you profess your surrender to God and confess of your sinfulness. You are then baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Because of Jesus, we can run to our Heavenly Father without fear. We have the most intimate and unbreakable relationship possible with the God of the universe.
That is how we begin talking to God…”Father, I come in the name of Jesus Christ.”
The name of Jesus Christ is my ticket. My access.
Ephesians 2 said that we have access through Jesus in The Holy Spirit. In this one text, we see: Son, Holy Spirit, and Father. Prayer involves the fullness of God.
Nothing quite explains it like Romans 8:22-28
Romans 8:22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering….
23…We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
This is a symphony. A conversation where your human voice, blends with the power of the Holy Spirit, some things heard, some understood, some unheard, some unintelligible by the human ear, all weaving together creating a sound, a message reaching the heavenlies. It makes a point. This world is heart broken and despondent. The whole thing is groaning and looking forward to a day of freedom and release of the pressure and inconsistency.
The groanings of Romans 8:26-28 does not apply to our direct, personal feelings of depression and despondency, but to our entire human situation of frustrated longings as we wait the future glory. We know that God is working out all things for our good according to his will.
The Holy Spirit give us an inward confidence, a legitimacy that the pressure you are feeling is valid and at the same time God is in control.
In other words, the Holy Spirit makes you feel good.
Martin Luther said this about the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer: Although…you could rightly and properly be a severe judge over us sinners…now through your mercy implant in our hearts a comforting trust in your fatherly love, and let us experience the sweet and pleasant savor of a childlike certainty that we many joyfully call you Father, knowing and loving you and calling on you in every trouble
Timothy Keller once said, “Prayer is the way to experience a powerful confidence that God is handling our lives well, that our bad things will turn out for good, our good things cannot be taken from us, and the best things are yet to come.”
Short Answer: Jesus did it.
Long Answer: At PromiseLand, we are very intentional about reaching all types of people in the congregation. Everyone from first timers to old timers listen in the audience. Every one of them have a ‘gate keeper’ in their brain that tells them, “Don’t listen to this. You have already heard it before.” Doctors have studied “Broca’s area” of the brain and have determined it is “the theater critic of the imagination, the part of the human mind that anticipates and ignores the predictable.” Basically, if your brain predicts that it has heard the information already, then it quits listening and begins thinking on other more interesting things. (read more about that here)
Our job as speakers is to break through the Broca area of the brain and let people know that they haven’t heard this before OR you have never heard it like this.
So this is what our team does in sermon prep:
This weekend’s message is titled, “Oil Change” and it pertains to the Holy Spirit in our lives. In my research, I came across this idea of oil representing the Holy Spirit. Of course we have all heard that, but this is a little deeper/different perspective. Let me know your thoughts.