Lesson 97—January 10, 2016
The Lord’s Prayer (Part 2) Scripture: Matthew 6:9-15
Lesson Goal: To learn of and better understand the meaning of Jesus’ words concerning the prayer of Matthew 6:9-13.
Introduction: Over and over in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus emphasizes the purity of the true believer’s heart. He speaks of “the pure in heart” in direct contrast to the outward showmanship displayed by the scribes and Pharisees. He wants His followers to understand that no amount of outward display of seemingly religious piousness can ever take the place of a pure heart.
As followers of Jesus, one example or test of a pure heart is to simply ask ourselves: “Why do I do what I do?” This simple question becomes a self-examination and evaluation to help us understand the purity of our motives. Our motives are a great litmus test of the purity found in our hearts. Most of us remember, or understand, the little strip of paper known as an acid base indicator. The paper turns red in acid solutionsand blue in alkaline solutions. Our hearts’ motives are a great litmus test for the purity of our hearts. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
If I see a stranger who needs my help and I respond to help this person, but I only do it because I think someone may notice and write an article in the paper about my actions, what do my motives say about the purity of my heart?
If God places on my heart to personally help someone financially, but the following Sunday I announce to all my Life Focus class that I helped, what does this say about the purity of my heart and my motives for helping?
In last week’s lesson, we studied the importance of honoring God’s name. We are to honor His name as we pray: “hallowed by Your name.” We are also to honor His name by the way we live our lives. The motives of our hearts should be a testimony of our love and honor for His great name. Today, we look at the remaining words of the Lord’s Prayer, beginning with verse 10.
(V10) “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
To pray for God’s “kingdom come” is to pray for the advancement of His cause. It is to pray for the eternal purposes of God to be fulfilled. Our prayer is for God to rule and reign in the hearts of mankind. To pray “Your kingdom come” is to pray for Christ to come and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
(V11) “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Bread not only represents food but is symbolic of all our physical needs. John Stott offers: “To Martin Luther, everything necessary for the preservation of this life is bread.”
The emphasis of verse 11 is a reminder that as we pray we acknowledge our dependence on God for the daily needs of our lives.
Does our knowledge and understanding of God’s provision for our daily lives relinquish us from any responsibility in His plan of provision for our lives? Please explain your answer.
Again I remind each of us that in God’s provision He provides food for the birds, but He doesn’t throw it into the nest. How does this simple truth relate to us as followers of Jesus Christ?
(V12) “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
This does not refer to judicial forgiveness from the penalty of sin, which is obtained by faith in the Son of God. Rather, this refers to the forgiveness necessary if fellowship with our Father is to be maintained. If believers are unwilling to forgive those who wrong them, how can they expect to have fellowship with the Father who has forgiven them for their wrongdoings?
What is the most important fact we (true believers) must keep in mind if we are having trouble extending forgiveness to others? We must understand the wonderful forgiveness God extended to us through Christ Jesus. As we better understand our own forgiveness by God, we are able to then show forth forgiveness to others. Jesus warns of the selfishness of those who seek God’s forgiveness yet willingly refuse to extend forgiveness to others.
Pastor’s Word of Testimony
Through the years, as both a student and teacher of God’s Word, I have learned that one of the most difficult truths for followers of Jesus to understand and comprehend is the wonderful forgiveness of God. We may know the Scripture passages which deal with the subject of forgiveness; we may be able to sing songs or choruses that speak to the truth of God’s forgiveness; but to truly understand the Hallelujah fact that we, sinners, can receive the forgiveness of Almighty God doesn’t totally compute with most of us. If followers of Jesus could truly grasp the power and meaning of this great truth, we would have greater strength to forgive those who have sinned against us.
What does it mean to be forgiven by God?
Why is it easier for us to receive God’s forgiveness than to extend forgiveness to others?
(V13) “And do not lead us into temptation. But deliver us from the evil one.”
First we must speak to that which is often misunderstood about this verse. The truth of Scripture is that God does not lead us into temptation. He tempts no one (see James 1:13). God does not lead us to sin. Here, Jesus is instructing us that as we pray, we should pray that God will keep us from the pull of temptation.
As we ask in prayer that God would keep us from the pull of temptation, what becomes our part in overcoming this pull?
“But deliver us from the evil one”
Pray that God will guard against, rescue, and preserve us from the deceptive evil one, the master of deceit, who is seeking to destroy us.
What are some things in your life that you need to ask God to guard against or protect you from?
(V13) “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” The prayer closes with praise and worship to God.
“Amen”—so be it!
(VV14-15) With His insight and commentary, Jesus concludes this portion on prayer. We should forgive others based upon the fact that we have been forgiven. We have received the blessed judicial forgiveness of God (see Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 2:1-2). We cannot know the parental forgiveness of the Father, which enables and keeps fellowship with Him, apart from our forgiving others.
“Forgive”—Greek aphiēmi means to “hurl away.”
As followers of Christ, God’s wonderful blessing of forgiveness has been extended to us. But if we fail to extend forgiveness to others and harbor a bitter spirit of un-forgiveness, our actions are totally inconsistent with being a true follower of Jesus.
Please read Matthew 18:21-35.