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Last Sunday's Sermon - The Lord's Prayer & more

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The Gospel
Luke 11:1-13


Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say:


Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

And do not bring us to the time of trial."


And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' And he answers from within, `Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.


"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

The Sermon


The Lord's Prayer and more.

There is probably no prayer in our world better known than the Lord's Prayer. It is in both the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The prayer we are most familiar with comes from Matthew. Many people assume that Jesus originated this prayer and it is true in a way. You will find segments of the prayer in the books of the Old Testament. Parts of the Lord's Prayer are found in Numbers, Isiah, and Psalms.

Jesus can be credited with composing this prayer using all of these sources. This gospel passage also tells us that Jesus had a thorough understanding of scripture. When I was a child this was one of the first prayers I was taught. I am certain I didn't understand it but I did have the words down. Words like hallowed and trespasses would have been way beyond me.

While I was researching the Lord's Prayer and its history one thing surprised me. The part that says “deliver us from evil” should be more accurately read, “deliver us from the evil one.” The concept of Satan was prevalent in this time of Jesus. The part at the very end of the Lord's Prayer in the Matthew version reads, “for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever” and is believed to have been added several centuries later.

The last part of the gospel reading is where some Christians get the idea of the prosperity gospel. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened.” So the thinking is that if I am a good Christian and I really want a new house then all I have to do is ask and God will arrange it for me. I suppose if I am a good Christian and I would like to be smarter or better looking, God would arrange that for me too.

I don't believe that is what Jesus was saying at all. He was talking about the 'heavenly Father giving the Holy Spirit to those who ask him'. A better car, a newer house, or more money will not fill that hole in our lives we keep wanting to fill with such things. Jesus knew how to fill the hole. It can only be filled by the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life and he Holy Spirit will make you spiritually prosperous.

Amen

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