MATTHEW 6:12-15

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours in the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

INTRODUCTION

Last week we learned that when we pray, ?Give us this day our daily bread,? we are telling the Father we will walk with Him one day at a time. Think of those who are stressed out with anxiety because they face the problems of tomorrow before tomorrow comes. Is it not true that most of the problems you worry about never happen? So Jesus prescribes a beautiful way for you to live. When you pray, ?Give us this day,? you are expressing the ultimate confidence in God. So far we have dealt with four petitions. The first petition you worship God: ?Hallowed be Your name.? In the second petition you seek to live by His kingdom principles: ?Your kingdom come? in my life on earth. Third, you ask for guidance: ?Your will be done.? Because you must have physical life to have spiritual life, the fourth petition is: ?Give us this day our daily bread.? Having prayed this prayer then you are ready to confront the sin in your life.

IV. IN PRAYER SEEK GOD’S FORGIVENESS FOR YOUR SINS V. 12

The fifth petition is: ?And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.? This petition is concerned with the sins that hinder your fellowship with the Father. When you pray, ?Forgive us our debts,? you are not begging for salvation as the non-Christian who feels the guilt of hell. When you pray, ?Forgive us our debts,? you are praying as a child of the Father who has not lived up to your Father’s expectation. You are saying, ?I am sorry? to your heavenly Father so your fellowship with Him is restored. ?Forgive us our debts? has nothing to do with your salvation or your relationship with the Father. Recall that I said last week that unless you are a true Christian you could not say this prayer. So you do not pray this prayer in order to be saved. Many mistakenly think this prayer is asking God to make them Christians. When you pray, ?Forgive us our debts,? you are already a Christian who calls God ?our Father.? You are already a child of the King; you are in the kingdom. Let me set the record straight here. When a Christian sins the sin does not ruin your relationship with your heavenly Father. Your sin ruins your fellowship with God, but the relationship is still there. If you do something against your earthly parent that does not mean you are not his or her child. The relationship is still intact. However, what you have done has affected your fellowship with your parent and so you cannot go to him/her for help. You are a member of your father’s family by birth. Disobeying your father does not break the father/child relationship, but the fellowship between father and child is broken. The relationship is intact but your father is disappointed. You become a child of the heavenly Father by the new birth through Jesus Christ. Just as your earthly father is crushed when you go wrong, so God’s heart is broken when His children disobey Him. No wonder you feel guilt when you sin against God. You have let your Father down. When you pray, ?Forgive us our debts, you are asking your Father to restore your fellowship with Him. Therefore, forgiveness is as indispensable to the life and health of the soul as food is for the body. Sin is likened to a debt because it deserves to be punished. But when God forgives your sin, He remits the penalty and drops the charge against you. The model prayer teaches us that God’s children do not always do His will. You pray, ?forgive us our debts,? for the little things you sneak around to do, as well as the great rebellion that breaks God’s heart. A debt is an obligation. If you borrow money you have an obligation to repay it. If you back into someone’s car you have the responsibility to repair the fender. If you sin against God you have an obligation to Him.

When you get so mad that you slap your child that is sin against God and against your child. God forgives your anger, but what about your child? You have an obligation to seek forgiveness from your child.

When you tell a lie it hurts your self-esteem, it hurts another and it offends God. When you tell a lie, the fine print means you are obligated to go apologize to someone. If you cheat on your spouse, you hurt yourself, you break one of the commandments and you have broken your obligation to your spouse. So you pray and ask God to forgive you of your debt against your wife. When you pray, ?Forgive us our debts,? God may use this prayer to reveal a hidden sin or a sin you were not aware of. That sin may have blocked your ability to talk to God. Sin denies God’s purity; it dirties us. Sin ignores God’s honor; it embarrasses us. Sin disobeys God’s command; it condemns us. Sin violates God’s law; it makes criminals of us. Sin corrupts God’s health; it sickens us. Sin steals God’s blessing; it robs us. Sin disrupts God’s peace; it makes us guilty. The addition of the words as we also have forgiven our debtors does not mean that our forgiveness of others earns us the right to be forgiven. It is rather that God forgives only the penitent and that one of the chief evidences of true penitence is a forgiving spirit. Once your eyes have been opened to see the enormity of your offense against God, the injuries, which others have done to you, appear by comparison extremely insignificant.

To forgive completely requires one of the most difficult of all adjustments, but Jesus describes it so simply. Just as you need forgiveness, so you must forgive others. Maybe you were abused and abandoned. Can you forgive the abuser? Maybe you were a victim of injustice and oppression. Can you forgive those who inflicted the pain? You thought it was love but the object of your love has found another person. Can you ever forgive that person? Jesus knows our hurts and wounds. Through the tears, God’s love begins to heal. That is why forgiveness is complicated but simple. And it is always the direction God wants your heart to turn, not revenge or hate. Forgiving others bears witness to the power of God over the worst that life can deal. Therefore, we must be quick to ask God for forgiveness and we must also forgive our debtors. The truth of the matter is that when you forgive others their debts, you are no longer their debtor; neither are you God’s debtor. You are free, but unforgiving spirit puts you in bondage.

V. IN PRAYER FIND GOD’S VICTORY IN TEMPTATION V. 13

Living the Christian life is not a Sunday school picnic. There are dangers in your walk with Christ. There is an enemy that wants to destroy you. There is a possibility that you may fall. God, however, wants you to be a winner. God wants you to be in the winning team. He wants to help you avoid the dangers and snares of life. When you ask God to ?Lead us not into temptation,? you are asking Him to guide your step along a moral pathway. This is the sixth petition. The previous petition, ?Forgive us our debts,? focuses on past sins, while this petition, ?Lead us not into temptation,? focuses on future sins. The previous petition focuses on actual sins; this petition focuses on potential sins?those that might happen, but in fact might not occur at all if God answers this prayer. God Himself does not lead us to temptation (James 1:13). God does not tempt anyone. It is our propensity to sin that causes us to fall into temptation. God tests us but does not tempt us. Life is a test. We are like a little boy living in a world of many signs that say: Wet Paint. Our nature wants to touch them all. Life is not only a test, but it is also a choice. Whenever you are tempted you have a choice to resist or give in. When you think about looking at pornography, you have a choice to feed your sinful nature or not to look. You can choose what you will think, what you will do. When you hear a juicy bit of gossip, you have a choice either to ignore it or enjoy and spread it so that it destroys the character of another person. When you face an illegal way of making money in your business, you are faced with a choice. You can say everyone is doing it so I must as well do it; or you can say I am a child of God so I cannot cut this deal. So when you pray, ?Lead us not into temptation,? you are recognizing that life is a test that leads to a choice. When you pray, ?Lead us not into temptation,? you give evidence of a changed attitude toward sin. When you pray, ?Lead us not into temptation,? you recognize what sin can do to you and you tell God you do not want to go back into its bondage.

When you pray, ?Lead us not into temptation,? you are like a night watchman who discovers a blazing inferno in the warehouse. He does not try to fight the fire himself, but runs to call the fire department to fight the fire. You also call for God’s help to face your own fires of temptation. When you pray, Lead us not into temptation,? you might want to add, ?Help me to run as fast as I can get away from temptation? (just like Joseph). When you pray this prayer you exercise the humility of self-distrust. You know that in yourself you can fall, so you ask God to lead you away from temptation so you won’t fall. Because you don’t trust your mouth, you take precaution in what you say (Rom. 3:13). Because you don’t trust your feet, you take precautions where you go (Rom. 3:15). Because you don’t trust your eyes, you take precautions what you see (Rom. 3:18). Because you don’t trust your mind you take precautions what you read (Rom. 3:11). Because you don’t trust your heart, you take precautions what you desire (Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:17-20).

When you have prayed the sixth petition, then you are ready to say the seventh: ?But deliver us from evil.? Behind these words that Jesus gives us to pray are the implications that the devil is too strong for us, that we are too weak to stand up to him, but that our heavenly Father will deliver us if we call upon Him (1 Cor. 10:12-13).

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter. So he put a note under his windshield wiper that read: ?I have circled the block ten times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.? When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note: ?I have circled this block ten years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.?

Jesus both taught and modeled a freedom in prayer that dared to ask almost anything, fully knowing that the Father will do what is best. Jesus wants you to place your trust in God during trying times and to pray for deliverance from Satan (the evil one) and his deceit. All of us struggle with temptation. Sometimes it is so subtle that we don’t even realize what is happening to us. When you pray, ?Deliver us from the evil one,? you are turning your protection over to God. You are not giving in to the threats of your opponent. You have refused to live in fear of the evil one. You ask God to shield your life.

VI. IN CONCLUDING YOUR PRAYER YOU GLORIFY GOD AND ACKNOWLEDGE HIS POWER V. 13B

When you wrap up your prayer in awe and worship, concentrating on the who instead of whats, wheres, whys, and whens God rewards you with the knowledge that you are in the presence of complete provision. Praise the Lord! The essence of this prayer is that the focus of prayer is always to be on God, always looking upward, outward, and forward.

Your prayer, ?Yours is the kingdom? is an expression of God’s ability to grant your request. Many people believe in God, and know He has worked in the past. However, they are not sure He can do anything now. They close their eyes to pray, but peek to see how He is doing, or to see if He is doing anything at all. They always want to help God, as though He is not able to answer by Himself. However, when you conclude your prayer with, ?Yours is the power,? you are telling God that you believe He is able to do it all by Himself. You end the Model Prayer as you began it?with praise and worship. Remember, when you worship God no matter where you are, He will come to receive your praise (Psalm 22:3).

Forever and ever is a wonderful way to end your worship. This affirms that God’s kingdom principle will not change, nor will they be cancelled for bad weather, as might a plane or flight reservation. The phrase, ?Yours is the glory forever,? reminds us that when our prayers are answered it is for God’s will, by God’s power, and for God’s glory. True Christian prayer therefore is always a preoccupation with God and His glory.

You cannot say ?our? if you live only for yourself. You cannot say, ?Father? if you don’t endeavor each day to act like His child. You cannot say, ?Who is in heaven? if you are laying up no treasure there. You cannot say, ?Hallowed be Your name? if you are not striving for holiness. You cannot say, ?Your kingdom come? if you are not doing all in your power to hasten that wonderful event. You cannot say, ?Your will be done? if you are disobedient to His Word. You cannot say, ?On earth as it is in heaven if you will not serve Him here and now. You cannot say, ?Give us this day our daily bread? if you are dishonest or seeking things by unlawful means. You cannot say, ?Forgive us our debts? if you harbor a grudge against anyone. You cannot say, ?Lead us not into temptation? if you deliberately place yourself in its path. You cannot say, ?Deliver us from evil? if you do not put on the whole armor of God. You cannot say, ?Yours is the kingdom? if you do not give the King the loyalty due from a faithful subject. You cannot attribute to Him, ?The power? if you fear what men may do. You cannot ascribe to Him, The Glory? if you are seeking honor only for yourself, and you cannot say, ?forever? if the horizon of your life is bounded completely by time. Finally when you crown your prayer with ?Amen? you are saying to God ‘so be it? or ?let it stand? or ?my prayer stands before God on the basis of who He is.? Verses 14 and 15 are self-explanatory. Grudges and unforgiving spirit are stumbling blocks to your prayer.

Source: Kennedy Adarkwa.

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