[This sermon is one of a series entitled “Sermon on the Mount, Concentrating on the Beatitudes,” which is being preached on Sunday mornings by Pastor Tim Senter.]
Commanding God to sanctify Himself such that even His name is holy is one thing. Telling God to sanctify His name such that it personally and specifically impacts you, your family, your life and all you have is another.
When we looked at verse nine, we found not just a call to prayer, but specific demands we make upon God. We did not find a simple introduction to prayer that says, ‘Honor God to begin with in order to make your prayer reverent.’ We did not find an opening that was a request at all. What we did find was prayer that, if we are to be honest, we are seldom capable of, even with the Lord’s perfect salvation. Some might think that statement to be weird or challenging, but I commend you to think about it. Being in a position to challenge God is a singularly unique situation. It not only involves our being saved by the blood of the lamb, but that we are wholly given to God and have sought forgiveness for any sins we are aware of to that point. It is not just a simple matter of accepting the Lord as your Savior. That is the beginning point. We have to face the fact that if we do not continually seek His forgiveness for the sins we knowingly and willingly commit, we are taking His gift for granted. We then become Cain. We are so immature as to think that whatever we do can be godly, as long as we are trying to please God. That is not the case. God has specific requirements and we have to abide in them in order to commune with Him. That is why He sent His Son, so that we can meet His requirements perfectly through the Christ.
What we often fail to understand is that we cannot live sinfully in Christ. We cannot walk with God in sin, even with the Savior mediating. Many a Christian makes the mistake of thinking that since they accepted Christ and all their sins are forgiven, they no longer need to seek Christ’s cleansing ever again. This is not the case. This attitude is displayed in the Jew who relies upon the fact that, ‘we are the chosen people.’ They believe they can never be excluded from Heaven, because, after all, ‘we are the chosen people.’ Truly, once saved always saved. That is not the issue. Consider the full impact of David’s recognition in Psalm 51:16-17:
“15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
God receives all the credit in this passage. David asks God to open his lips to praise God, because he cannot do it on his own. David recognizes that God does not want a sacrifice without a heart focused upon God. No offering, no sacrifice, no bulls, no sheep offered on the altar of sacrifice will satisfy God. It is only the broken and contrite heart of man that pleases God and places man in position to commune with and worship God. After that heart is evident and active, then sacrifice can come and be effective. We experience this broken heart when we realize we need Christ – that is the beginning. Then comes acceptance of the sacrifice (Christ on the cross). From that point on, just as David knew, we must continually submit our tainted hearts to God and see our sin for what it is – worthy of judgment and unworthy in worship. Just as many know that Jesus was once sacrificed for all, David too had submitted hundreds of sacrifices before this point to the Lord. However, David knows that only the heart of man, changed and given wholly to God, will place one in a position to truly commune with God. David knew that the sacrifice meant nothing without a heart that recognized the need. This does not make Christ’s sacrifice for naught. On the contrary, without it we could never take the next step. The next step though is important on our part – to submit our sin-oriented life continually, and seek accountability for sin in Christ. We must get to this point to be able to pray to God and demand things of Him in the fashion we are seeing in the “Lord’s Prayer.” Continue reading