Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Matthew 6:9-10 God’s Glory-Our Priority

Because God is the only One worthy of our praise and worship, we should make praising and worshipping Him our highest priority. Our lives should reflect the love and reverence we have for our great Savior. When the world sees us, they should see the difference that God makes in our lives. As Matthew records here in chapter 6, this distinction that the world notices should come because of our attitude toward God and His lordship over us.

Observe first of all that Jesus says we should pray to God “Hallowed be Your name”. Now, the word “hallowed” means “to consider holy”. We don’t use the word holy very often in our culture today unless of course it’s used as profanity. The idea behind calling something holy is to consider it special or set apart. Obviously, God is certainly special and set apart. As Ravi Zacharias once said, God is the only being in existence who is the cause for His own existence. He is righteous, perfect in everything He does, just, loving, and gracious. To hallow God’s name is to consider God’s character as being holy or special. How, do we hallow God’s name or demonstrate that we consider Him to be holy and set apart? I submit to you that we demonstrate this when we “walk worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). If we truly consider God to be holy and we claim that He is our Lord our lives should reflect that.

I read a story about a man who had slowed while he was driving after seeing a yellow light up ahead and then stopped once the light had turned red. He could have made it through the yellow but was a cautious driver and decided to not chance it. However, the woman behind him didn’t appreciate it. She blew her horn, made a few obscene gestures and called him a few names which would’ve made a sailor blush. A police officer who was walking along the sidewalk came to her window and asked her to step outside of the car. Her arrested her, took her to the police station and booked her. A few minutes later, he came and said “It looks like we made a mistake. You see, I saw the way you were acting and saw the ‘Follow me to Sunday School’ and ‘Jesus Loves You’ bumper stickers on your car and I figured you must have stolen the car”. Quite obviously, this woman was not hallowing the name of God when she was “acting the fool” because the man stopped in front of her. Our wish should be to see God’s named hallowed throughout the entire world. However, we can hardly expect sinners to show God respect when Christians don’t live in a way that hallows God’s name.

Jesus also says that we should pray “Your kingdom come”. The word translated “kingdom” (basileia-932) doesn’t mean the physical boundaries on a map that would identify the land where the king ruled but it rather has the idea of the authority the king has. You might translate the phrase as “Your reign come”. The desire of the Christian should be to see the authority of God recognized over all the earth. We should pray for men and women everywhere to repent and submit themselves to the authority of God thereby expanding His kingdom. We should look forward with great anticipation to the Millennium described in the book of Revelation where we are told that Christ will rule on this earth for 1,000 years after He returns prior to the creation of a new heaven and new earth. However, while we look forward to that, we should seek to be ambassadors for His kingdom, calling people to faith in the Lord Jesus and living in such a way that people can see God’s reign in our lives.

Finally, we see Jesus tell us that we should pray for God’s will to be done on earth. We recognize that His will is carried out in heaven and that all the angels praise and serve Him constantly. Not so here on earth , obviously. People thumb their noses at the word of God which reveals His will. They mock it, ignore it, and question its authority and reliability. When we pray for God’s will to be done we are essentially saying we want to see God’s laws obeyed as revealed in holy scripture. Certainly, as we will see later in the Sermon on the Mount, the majority of people are not going to go to heaven. Jesus says that narrow is the road to eternal life and only a few find it. Regardless of that, I would say that if people do not do His will it is at least sometimes due to the fact that they don’t know it. There are people who don’t know who Jesus is or anything about the Bible. Friends, it is our job to tell people what the will of God is by sharing what the word of God says. Missionaries go to the farthest ends of the globe, some risking their lives, to tell people about Jesus and the Bible. We are also commissioned to go and tell and it is our responsibility and privilege to do so. We should also see to it that His will is done in our churches by standing up for what the bible says. You would think “That’s unnecessary, Joe. I mean, we’re talking about the church. They should already be standing on the word of God.” Sadly, such is not the case sometimes. I know of a Southern Baptist Church, Broadway Baptist in Texas, that welcomes and affirms openly homosexual members. I know of another SBC church that has invited the author of The Shack to preach the gospel in their church on a Sunday morning knowing full well that the man denies the penal substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. In other words, God didn’t punish Christ for our sins. God is too loving to punish sin. We should pray for God’s will to be done and stand against such nonsense in our church.

God’s glory should be our highest priority. We demonstrate our concern for God’s glory by living lives consistent with scripture and by living in such a way that people see the lordship of God in our lives. By doing so, we make our lives a living witness calling all men and women to the Gospel.


Anonymous said...

I thank the Lord for you and your stance on the present state of church affairs. You and men like you are like Noah and the other prophets who had the strength and resolve to standing the face of opposition and tell it like it is.

You go Joe.


Joe Blackmon said...

I am encouraged, Poe. Stand strond in the faith, yo.