Pray then, in this way Matt. 6:7-13 Pt. 4 The Lords Prayer
Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 6:7–6:13
Pray then, in this way;
7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
9“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
Last week we looked briefly at the sections or parsing of this prayer. We said that some of it is about God and His glory. And some of it is about praying for our own provision.
We also tried to make a weight comparison. When we pray about the Glory of God, we're praying down the war of the worlds. God, make your name magnificent by taking back this world. Make the domain of Satan the domain of Jesus Christ.
We said the entire Bible is the story of how this saga has unfolded. And I think we see ourselves as the generation that is knocking on the door of the final 7 year period in which this battle between God and Satan will rage on this earth. We believe we're very close.
Those are weighty matters. In fact, so weighty that this entire revelation from God from Genesis to the Revelation to John the apostle is about that main theme. God is taking back this world for His glory through all the history and means of all the stories described in this book. A 6,000 year saga.
Where we stand in that saga we have the privilege of 20-20 hindsight, looking at the sweep of history of how God has dealt with an elect group of people beginning with Adam after the fall through an unbroken lineage and different dispensations until we get to us, who have this book complete in our hands, 2,000 years after the grace purchased for us through the blood of Jesus on the cross.
There is nothing revealed that is more weighty, more important, more magnificent than the fiery retaking of this world from Satan and his mignon's at the end of the seven year tribulation period.
Christ is set up on the throne of David, on this earth and reigns over a world almost beyond description. The curse reversed! The reapers overtake the sowers, the earth produces goodness so bountifully. The lion lays down with the lamb. A little child plays with asps. 1,000 years of paradise, and then ultimately a new heaven and a new earth.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, like it is in heaven. Thy name be hallowed by every breathing living thing. On this earth. The curse of evil, reversed, on this earth.
Satan will be bound. Our feet will walk on the ashes of those who opposed and fought God with Satan. It's all in this book.
Weighty stuff. In fact, nothing weightier in the universe that we know of.
But, in the midst of the war of the worlds, God doesn't forget about . . me.
It's almost embarassing to be in the same prayer.
Take back this world in fiery cataclysmic events never before seen or imagined by men, and give Jim some bread.
Cause mountains to melt like wax, and forgive Jim his sins as he forgives those who also sinned against him.
Pummel the earth with asteroids and turn the water into blood, and deliver Jim from trouble.
But that's how God rolls. An old song comes to mind. Hank Snow's "How Big is God"
How big is God, how big and wide his vast domain
To try to tell these lips can only start
He's big enough to rule the mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart.
That's the introduction, and as often, I think I see layers of truth here. So let's begin by looking at these simple requests.
11‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Do christians go hungry? We live in an almost bizarre circumstance if you read history and study other times besides this one we've woken up in this morning.
There is a book of martyrs. Anyone have a copy of foxes book of martyrs? Just a partial list. But there is no book of names of christians who starved to death.
Listen to Paul, though, for a perspective perhaps more normal than your own. He speaks to the Corinthians who didn't think he was good enough for them. Here Paul shames them with a bit of satire to show the irony of their rejection.
1 Cor. 4:10 - 12 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 11To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;…
Do you think perhaps Paul's problem was that he didn't understand and pray the Lord's prayer? Or do you think perhaps it's us who don't 'get it'.
This same Paul said
2 Cor. 11:26 - 27 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
Our final view of this man is him sitting in the mamartine prison, shivering, asking would somebody please bring him his cloak, about to expire from this world. What went wrong? Why didn't the Lord take better care of Paul?
Then we read this:
2 Cor. 4:17 - 18 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen;
Here we go with this idea of weight again. An eternal weight of glory!
I'm going to be a bit of fluff in heaven. A lightweight. And some others, many I fear, who are lukewarm, aren't going at all.
Christians have gone to bed hungry in the past, and may go to bed hungry in the future. We are the anomaly, not the norm.
I'm not here to put any guilt trips on people, but did anyone stop to think, as you were stuffing yourselves with turkey from some turkey factory, about the christians in Syria and Iran and Iraq that are going to bed hungry.
When Jesus said to pray, give us this day our daily bread, He wasn't talking about manna. There's plenty in this book about how us fat overfed christians are supposed to be the relief for the ones who are struggling.
So, if we find ourselves on the overabundance side of this prayer, maybe we need to be the source of God answering this prayer for believers half a world away who are running for their very lives as we speak. i-am-n.com
Next is v12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
This is the same for all christians everywhere. An equal playing field for those under duress and those with plenty. We all need our sins cleansed regularly. Daily.
We'll re-visit this next week when we talk about Vss. 14, 15. So I'll not say much more now.
And finally, V13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
I do want to spend a wee bit of time on this. What does this mean. It sounds like we're petitioning God to not tempt us.
One of the rules of hermeneutics (interpretation of the scriptures) is called the Synthesis Principle. Simply stated "No one part of the Bible contradicts any other part of the Bible." That's the synthesis principle.
Is there some other statement in the Bible that helps with this seeming confusion? Yes! James is very clear about this;
James 1:12 - 14 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
OK, now I'll single out Vs. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
That's pretty clear. So we take that and go back to what Jesus said.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
So, what exactly are we praying for here? Let me show you one perfect example where someone didn't pray this prayer and suffered a near fatal result.
Let me set up the circumstances for you. The last supper. Jesus announces that He will be betrayed and that the sheep will be scattered like it says in prophecy.
Peter brags, No Way. Not me. Maybe all these other wimps will run, but I'll stick by you to the death.
Then the other disciples who are no doubt more than a little miffed by Peter, get into a fight about who's the greatest. Jesus teaches them about Lords and Slaves. You are slaves, not Lords over each other. Then He says this in Luke 22:31 - 34 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 34And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”
They go to the garden where Jesus seperates himself and pleads with His father for His very life. In Mark 14 we get a glimpse into this night. Mark 14:36 - 38 And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will." 37And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."…
38"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation
Vs. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Instead of boasting about how rough and tough he was spiritually, Peter should have been praying this prayer.
Notice too that Jesus doesn't pray it for him. He allows the tempter to have at him. Jesus prayed for ultimate faith and restoration, not deliverence for Peter.
We pray to be spared being sifted like wheat. We pray that God will deliver us from Satan's schemes. We intervene and ask God to NOT allow Satan to tempt us with trials.
Perhaps Peter could have avoided his failure that broke his heart and nearly finished him as a christian if he'd followed the Lord's prayer here. We sleep.
Listen to what Peter says. This is his commentary on this portion of the Lord's prayer. It's in 1Peter 5:6 - 8 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (that was his first mistake, no humility. He didn't properly assess his spiritual weakness and vulnerability) 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (his second mistake, PRAY!) 8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. (His third mistake, he slept while the devil walked right in.) Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.…
We are instructed to cast all our anxieties on the Lord. Is He interested? Yes! He careth for you.
I began by saying I think I see layers of truth here. These truths apply to us, but let's take a moment and think about another group of christians that will be reading this same prayer after we're in heaven.
Christians during the tribulation period. Think about what this prayer will mean to those folks. And to some extent, to the folks even now in lands that are under Moslem control.
In Matthew 10 Jesus says some obscure things. Mt. 10:21 - 23 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. 23“But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
This description doesn't just fit tribulation christians. Think of families in Syria and Iran and Iraq and other moslem places where one family member is a Nazarene and the rest are not. We're not going to lose our home over this one person. We don't want the "N" painted on our house. We don't believe this stuff. He does, and the finger points. A brother points to his brother. Him. He's the one, not us. Leave us alone. That's happening . . . NOW
Then in the tribulation period, When anti-christ declares all christians must die and the goons are going from house to house. One brother is a christian, the other is not. The one who is not will betray his brother to save his own life. Fathers will betray children to save their own lives.
In that time frame, you're going to die at home, so you flee for your life. From one city to the next. Trying to stay ahead of the christian killers.
If you were in that situation, which by the way, also matches the time frame of the first part of the prayer about God retaking this earth for His glory, think about how real this prayer will become to those folks.
11‘Give us this day our daily bread. You're running for your life. Where is bread going to come from to stay alive and keep running.
12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Paul said he blessed those who reviled him. How much more will it become real in the extreme, to forgive those who are pressing down on you trying to take away your life. To forgive family members who exposed you as the problem, apart from them. In persecution this kind of forgiveness is other-worldly.
You get caught and your persecutors imprison and beat you. You're on death row. The rot and filth of death is surrounding you. You have to forgive your captors. This is radical stuff. We pray it with our brains dis-engaged.
13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. How real this becomes if you're running from city to city trying to stay ahead of the guys in the black uniforms.
The provisional section of the Lord's prayer doesn't mean much to us because we live in a dream land. Cupboards are full. No one's mad at us. Evil isn't pressing in on us. We're in a stupor. Satan has us in a trance.
That leaves us one last sentence, doesn't it.
Some of you are saying, what last sentence. My Bible ends at 'deliver us from evil.' Some say, Mine too, except it says deliver us from the evil one.
OK, so I'm not the preacher who asks for shows of hands, (unless I'm being facetious.) But let's see a show of hands. How many of you are using King James, or New King James versions? New American Standard version? New International Version? Holman? English Standard Version? New Living Version? James Moffatt? J. B. Phillips? Any others I missed? I was able to check all of the ones mentioned at my house.
This gives me an opportunity to talk a little bit about something called "textual criticism".
This is a huge subject, but I won't go 10 minutes on it. Probably less. Also don't be confused and think I know very much about this. I don't. I'm no expert. But I can read.
We have over 5,800 ancient manuscripts of at least portions of the New Testament. Bruce Metzger, who has given his life to studying manuscripts in the original languages has said, we have an embarrasment of riches in old manuscripts.
By comparison, Homer's works, from the same time period, we have 6. Does that give you any idea of the providence and provenance of the book you hold in your hand? Massive ancient literature in the written languages to study.
You're just bursting with faith, aren't you! That said, realize 2 things. We believe and will go to the mat for the insistence that the Bible is both inspired by God, and inerrant in it's original autographs. Those are non-negotiables for me, and I hope for you.
We don't have any of the original autographs. None. The earliest papyrus copies date to early in the second century.
Next, out of over 5,800 copies of original manuscripts and copies of copies - no 2 agree. That's right, of the 5,800 + ancient manuscripts, there are over 400,000 discrepancies.
<sound of all the air coming out of the baloon> whoosh. There went all that faith, right.
OK, of the 400,000 discrepancies noted, 99.9% are articles like the, and, etc. and also words switched in place, things like Christ Jesus, instead of Jesus Christ.
That means there are a few hundred discrepancies that scholars label as significant discrepancies.
Most of them are little things where some scribe adds, whether on purpose or by accident, the way Luke recorded something Jesus said as opposed to how Mark recorded the same thing. Little harmonizings. Probably done by accident because you've got it memorized the way the other guy wrote it down.
That takes care of most of the so called significant discrepancies. Then you have some like we have here. Someone has added an entire sentence. Or like at the end of the book of Mark, there's several verses added to try to make an ending where Mark just stopped abruptly in mid air.
Here's the most important consideration for us though. We'll try to get some of the air back in that faith baloon.
Every one of them is known and documented by multiples of scholars. We know where they are. NONE of them leave any important christian doctrine hanging in the balance.
Let me repeat that. No important christian doctrine is left teetering dependent on some discrepancy. Zero.
So, where did 400,000 errors come from and who decides what's in and what's out on the so-called significanty discrepancies?
We don't think of it often today, but the printing press wasn't invented until the 15th century. That means this book was copied, by hand, one page at a time for 1400 years. Like painting the golden gate bridge. The effort never stops. There's always copies being made, by hand. And the evidence is 5,800 + portions of the New Testament available for study.
A quick note about our friends that reject anything except the so-called Authorized Version. King James 1611.
The translators worked with the textus receptus. That text was compiled by Erasmus in both greek and latin and printed on a press in 1519. Luther and Tyndale both used it for their translations. The Authorized or King James came out of Tyndale's translation mostly. Erasmus only had manuscripts from the 12th century and only from the Byzantine family to compare.
The translation is excellent, and who can argue that the reformation and western civilization grew out of it.
BUT today we have groups who argue that this 12th century text is somehow ordained by God and the entire idea of textual criticism is evil. God somehow providentially was causal in textus receptus and all else is to be rejected.
These are the guys who won't come to your church unless it's King James, or perhaps NKJ.
I think that's idiotic. I am fascinated that we have scholars who are comparing every possible fragment.
One story I heard that I thought was interesting was of a 13th century cleric who wanted to preserve his sermons. He didn't have any vellum, so he literally scraped the writing off of an ancient, 4rth century I think, manuscript and printed his sermons. Guess what. With modern digital photography and UV light, they can get all of the original 4rth century manuscript back.
This work has gone on since the 1830's. I have in my library a set of books, original edition 1841 and the ones I have 2nd printing 1867. They are a collection of comments by the early church fathers on the 4 gospels collected by St. Thomas Aquinas who lived in the mid 1200's.
When looking at this verse it's interesting that even in the 1200's textual criticism was already being noted. There is a comment by John Chrysostom who lived mid 4rth century that says Having made us anxious by the mention of our enemy in this that he has said, deliver us from evil, He again restores confidence by that which is added in some copies; For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory [end]
So as early as 398 John Chrysostom says, some of the manuscript copies have this sentence, albeit shorter than textus receptus.
The earliest and best of the manuscripts omit this ending of the Lord's Prayer. Where did it come from?
There's good evidence that this prayer was used liturgically in the churches. And since it ends rather abruptly in the original statement by Jesus, some well meaning church father or fathers put the ending, sometimes called David's Doxology, as it occurs very similarly in 1 chronicles 29:11 on the end.
It's a fabulous doxology. Theologically perfect, and worthy of our careful study and acceptance. But it doesn't occur in most manuscripts until after the 8th century. The evidence suggests it is indeed, a later addition.
And so all of our modern translations with the exception of the New King James use all of the scholarly scientific study of all of the available ancient manuscripts to give us the best possible translation into modern english of what the original autographs said.
I believe it is foolish to cling to textus receptus and reject scholarly study of 5800+ manuscripts that God providentially preserved for us to study.
The doxology is theologically perfect, and it's beautiful for using in a liturgical setting where we're praying this together, but I doubt Jesus said it that day on the mountain side. The best evidence is that He did not. It doesn't change a thing. But it's nice to know that there are people smarter than me studying all of this.
And so ends our 4 part mini-series on the Lord's Prayer. If you missed any of the studies, or want to re-visit them, they are available to the word, on our little web site. tonopahchurch.org.
More in The Lord's Prayer
November 23, 2014Pray then, in this way Matt. 6:7-13 Pt. 3 The Lords Prayer
November 16, 2014Pray then, in this way Matt. 6:7-13 Pt. 2
November 9, 2014How Not to pray; When Bad Words reach God