Psalm 16:5

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

God's Warth is Coming... Are You Ready?

You had better listen to the words of Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter, but he that does the will of my father in heaven.” If ye by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. If you live after the flesh, you’ll die! The cross does not give us a minor shift or two with regard to a few of our ethical and religious values. The cross radically disrupts the very center and citadel of your life from self to Christ. And if the cross has not done that, YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN! My Friend face it, young rogue, you’re not a Christian until the cross has radically disrupted the very center and citadel of your life! And brought you from a life of commitment to serve self…What are the focal points of the reign of your self? If you’ve gone to the cross in union with Christ, it’s been shattered!"
- Al Martin

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hallowed Be Thy Name

The Lord's Day. What a wonderful thing it is! A day - a whole day, not a partial day - to be set apart from the others and in which the work and distractions of this world may be removed and our focus directed to the worshiping our Lord and Maker. It is a day when we can turn away our foot from our general employment and labors, remembering that there is a day coming when we shall cease from our labors as God did from His - and remembering the resurrection of Christ which makes possible that rest. It is a day, not for doing our own pleasure, but the pleasure of the Lord that we may be reminded of the purpose of our being upon this earth. It is a day to set aside our ways, our thoughts, our words, and to focus our energies on delighting in God.

What a blessing it is then that the Lord gives us such a day. We merely curse ourselves when we try to treat it as any other day. It removes from us the spiritual blessing of the lifting of the cares of this world and physical rest in Christ which may now be experienced. It removes the blessing of being close to God for a whole day as we worship with His people and fellowship with them and as we have more time to spend in private and family worship than other days.

So what does the above have to do with the title of this post? A lot. There are four simple words in the second phrase of the model prayer which Christ taught to his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. Four words that speak volumes about the Person of God, His transcendence, His holiness, His infinite worth. And God is glorified in it. Our worship of God - our ascribing worth to Him - is captured by Christ in four simple words.

Across America today, millions of people went to church services filled with words supposedly in praise to God. Our big bands drummed out the syllables, our preachers scratched the ears of their congregations with soft and swelling sermons about God. Yet the question must be asked - does God receive more honor and glory through those four words than through all the swelling words of the American "church"? Do all the emotional, music driven "worship services" with all their 7/11 praise songs (seven words sung eleven times) bring less glory to God than these four words?

Christ answers to the affirmative if the heart of God is not in the words spoken by the American church. We think that by our loud music and our many swelling prayers that God is glorified. We think that if we jump and shout and dance and get emotionally worked up that God must hear us and be pleased with what He sees. We think that when we work ourselves into an emotional frenzy singing the same phrase 10 times that God is glorified.   

But Christ offers a different picture: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." Christ rebukes the "much speaking" of the "heathen" and offers a short and simple prayer. There are no swelling words of vanity in it - yet as Ryle says,  "Perhaps no part of Scripture is so full, and so simple at the same time, as this. It is the first prayer we learn to offer up, when we are little children. Here is its simplicity. -- It contains the germ of everything which the most advanced saint can desire. Here is its fulness." (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1,  pg. 50)

In the aforementioned phrase, we a petition to God respecting His Name. We understand that by name, we infer all the attributes by which God defines Himself. He calls Himself by the name of Jealous, the Self-Existent One - "I am that I am," the Holy One, the Everlasting God, the Prince of Peace, the Eternal Father. Our petition as that all that God is be set aside as holy and be glorified in the earth. This glory for the Name of God is the end to which all are made. Again I quote Ryle: The glory of God is teh first thing that God's children should desire. It is the object of our Lord's own prayers: 'Father, glorify thy name.' (John xii. 28). It is the purpose for which the world was created. It is the end for which all saints are called and converted. It is the chief thing we should seek, that 'God in all things may be glorified.' (1 Peter iv. 11.)" (Ibid. pg. 51)

Let us then remember that it is not the quantity but the quality - the heart - of our words that makes the difference. It does us no good to speak many words when the genuine worship of God is not in our hearts. God would rather hear the poor child on the street who in all genuineness prays, "Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name," then to hear a church of 10,000 saying "This is my Bible: I am what it says I am; I have what it says I have; I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the Word of God. I'll boldly confess. My mind is alert; my heart is receptive; I will never be the same. I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living Seed of the Word of God. I'll never be the same - never, never, never! I'll never be the same, in Jesus' Name."

Oh Father, unto Thy Name be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus through all ages, world without end. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment