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The Lord's Prayer

April 9, 2017 Speaker: Timothy Ateek Series: Sermon on the Mount

Passage: Matthew 6:9–6:15



Well Howdy!

It's such a privilege to be here. I love Afshin and Meredith. I am half middle eastern, so I like to call myself "Half-shin." It's not as good, but at least half. I'm so grateful for what God has been doing through Afshin here at Providence, and I'm delighted to be here with you today.

Ladies, I want to start by telling you what happens when guys get out of the city and into the country around a fire. When guys get around a fire, they become one of three types of guys.
The first guy is the Sit-back-and-relax Guy. This is the guy who finds his seat by the fire and then doesn't move from it the rest of the night. He just kind of settles in. If the fire begins to dwindle, he begins to look around to see if someone's going to do something about it. And if nobody moves, he figures that's the end of the fire and calls it a night. That's the Sit-back-and-relax Guy.

The second type of guy that we can become is the Lighter Fluid Guy. And I don't know what it is, but when a group of guys gets around a fire, it can awaken this dormant pyro gene inside of us. And it doesn't matter what age group. It can be a group of middle schoolers, or a group of middle-aged men. The response is always the same. Spray, giggle. Spray, giggle.

The third type of guy you can become is the Good Fire Guy. It's the cultivator. The guy who will not settle for a mediocre fire. So he'll just disappear into the woods for 20 minutes, and emerge dragging a tree, with all types of kindling. Man, he'll spend the evening; he'll get down eye level with the fire, he'll blow into that thing. He'll situate it just right, because he wants the fire to be as enjoyable as possible.

The reason I tell you that is because I think that a fire is a really good picture of what a relationship with God is like. Sometimes the fire can be big, and sometimes it can be really small. There's times where you look and you have a hard time discerning if there's even anything there.

And when it comes to the fire of our faith, you're gonna become one of three types of people regarding the fire of your faith. You might be the Sit-back-and-relax Guy, the person who desires intimacy, who desires the warmth of an enjoyable relationship with Jesus. You just don't want to do the work that it takes to really cultivate a strong fire.

Or maybe you'll become the Lighter Fluid Guy. And you're kind of event-driven. So you go to church on Sunday and it kind of (fuels) the fire of your faith; it causes it to flare up, and then the rest of the week you just watch it dwindle.

Or maybe you go to a conference, or you read a book, and all it is is one (fueling) of the fire after another -- watching it flare up and then dwindle down.

Or you're gonna choose to be the Good Fire Guy, the Cultivator. And you're gonna put in the work it takes to cultivate a warm, enjoyable, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, as I'm talking, what I'm hoping is happening is that you're resonating with the Cultivator, the Good Fire Guy. Hopefully that's what you want; hopefully you're not sitting there, thinking, man the Sit-back-and-relax Guy, that sounds really good when it comes to the fire of my faith.

That's not how I was trying to position it. Hopefully you're sitting there saying, Man, I'd like to be the Cultivator. And so I want to show you this morning that one of the greatest pieces of kindling, that will stoke the fire of your faith, is something that you've had memorized for a long time. I'm gonna save you a lot of money at LifeWay. And if you work for LifeWay, I'm sorry, but I'm gonna take some of your profits right now. Because you're not gonna need to go and buy the next latest devotional, or some great Christian book out there. You already have what you need to gain some traction, some momentum, in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you're sitting here this morning saying, "I want traction; I want more with Jesus. I just haven't seemed to be able to get where I want to grow."

The good news is that the greatest piece of kindling, that can really stoke the fire of your faith, is something that you have probably had memorized for years. It's the Lord's Prayer:

Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name;
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation.
(And then, tradition has tacked on:)
For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.

You want to stoke the fire of your faith? Then join me this morning in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew chapter 6, and let's look at the Lord's Prayer together.

We're gonna start in verse 9. I think it's very important how Jesus prefaces the Lord's Prayer. He says this: "Pray, then, like this." And that wording is very important because Jesus doesn't say, "Pray this."

What that means is that when Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer, He's not as much teaching us WHAT to pray, as He is teaching us HOW to pray. See, I don't think it was Jesus' intention for us to just recite the Lord's Prayer every single day. What I think He's doing is giving us a model for intimacy. He is giving us kindling for the fire of our faith. So this is our model.

And He starts by saying, When you come before God, here's how you pray: You start out by saying, "Our Father." And we're gonna stop right there, because those two words have significant meaning. Because what those two words are doing are establishing the relationship. The way that we are connected to God, is a familial connection. He's our Father. And if He is our Father, what does that make us? It makes us His children.

Now this is extremely important. The only reason we are able to come before God and say "Our Father" is because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are an invitation into the family of God. This is my favorite thing that Jesus has accomplished for us, is that He has bought our way for us into the family of God.
The reason I even address this, is that I believe there's this common misconception that we are all in some way children of God, and that's just not true. Not everyone in the world is a child of God. Everybody in the world is a child of someone or some thing. But not everyone is a child of God. The reason I say that is because of what Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 2. He says this in verses 1-3:

"1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you formerly walked, according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,.3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, (and watch this) and were by nature children of wrath."

See, if you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then the Lord's Prayer, even though the Lord's Prayer is widely recited, the Lord's Prayer isn't applicable to your life yet. The Lord's Prayer is meant for the children of God. If you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, at least according to the Bible, you'd be considered a child of wrath.

The good news, though, is that this is why Jesus came. This is why Jesus Christ stepped out of Heaven and into earth: So that He could live the life that we couldn't, and die the death that we each deserved to die. He was then buried, and on the third day, He walked out of the tomb. And when He did, He made it possible for us who were children of wrath to become children of God.
That's why John 1:12 says this: "For as many as received Him, He gave them the right to become children of God."

Just imagine that once you were a child of wrath, and now John says this about us in 1 John 3: "See what kind of love He has given to us, that we called children of God." This is who you are now; this is your identity. The fact that you are a child of God is the one thing that will never change about you. That's the only thing that will never change about you. That is who you are. That's your identity. Before you are a husband or a wife, before you're a mom or a dad, who you are at your core is, you are a beloved child of God.

And that will stoke the fire of your faith, because, think about it: What Jesus did was He came and He became our sin, and He went through what's known as the Great Exchange, where He got our sin and we got His righteousness. So now when God looks at us, He no longer sees our sin; He sees His Son.

That's why the Bible talks about us being "hidden in Christ." Paul says, I've been crucified with Christ, and it's no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)
So think about this. All of the love, all of the affection, all of the pleasure, all of the delight that God the Father has in God the Son, He now has toward us, because we are in Christ.

You want to stoke the fire of your faith, then do this: When you wake up in the morning, before you even put your feet on the ground, before you even open up a devotional, or even the Bible, spend time, starting with "Our Father . . . That makes me Your child. Before I do anything for You today, Your love for me, Your delight and pleasure in me, is maxed out. Because all of Your affection that is directed towards Christ is now directed at me. And that's great news."

So Jesus says, You start out by remembering that I'm your Father, and you are My child. He says, Pray, "Our Father in Heaven." So He clarifies what kind of Father God is. He is our Father in Heaven. That means that He is a perfect Father. So if the idea of a father-child is relationship is hard for you to get on board with, just because your relationship with your earthly father wasn't a good one, here's what you need to know: Everything that your bad earthly father was, God is not. And if you had a really good earthly father, everything that your earthly father has been, God is infinitely more. He is a perfect Father.

Please don't miss what I'm about to say: You need to know that your VIEW of God will determine your RESPONSE to God. It will. That's the way all relationships work, right? So like, I work with college students. Just watch -- this isn't just with college guys, but with any guy. But when a guy is head over heels for a girl, he'll do anything for her. Right? He'll spend all his money, he'll watch "The Notebook." He'll go to his guy friends and go, "Man, that's a really good movie." They're like, "Snap out of it!"

He'll do anything for her. Why? Because his response is really driven by a big view. He has a big response because he first has a big view of her. But then just go sit and be a fly on the wall in a marriage counselor's office. And what are you gonna hear? You're gonna hear story after story which conveys one small view after the other, of the other person. So your view of someone will determine your response to that person.

The same is true with God. If you wanna have a big response to God, you want to have a passionate response, you want to have this deep desire to know His word, you want to enjoy connecting with God in prayer, if you want to enjoy telling other people about Him, you want to have a big response, you need to know, it's not just about discipline. It's not just about saying, "Okay, I'm going to work really hard to read my Bible every day this week." You can do that. But the key is to fix your view of God, and it will fix your response to God.

Your view of God determines your response to God. That's why Jesus tells us, "Our Father in Heaven" -- He's a perfect Father. It means He's perfect in wisdom. You will seek God for wisdom if you really believe that He literally has all of the wisdom in the world. You will ask God for help if you believe that He always knows the best thing to do in every single situation. You will ask God to intervene if you really believe that He has all the power in the world, and all He has to do is say the word, and the impossible happens.

He's a perfect Father. His love is perfect. His attendance is perfect. He's present in your life every moment of every day. His discipline is perfect. That means that He loves you too much to let you get away with stupid things. And He also loves you enough not to make your life burdensome. He's a perfect Father.

Is this the God that you're connecting with? Is this the one that you're praying to? Your perfect Father in Heaven? If this isn't the God that you're praying to, your praying to the wrong God. The God you're really trying to connect with is a God that you have invented in your mind that doesn't actually exist.

Our God is in the Heavens and He does all that He pleases. That means that one of the greatest things that gives Him pleasure is fathering us. So Jesus says, you want to fuel the fire of your faith? You start, "Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name." And that's not how we think the prayer should go, right? We're used to "Our Father in Heaven, give me . . . " And what Jesus is saying is, no, when begin to see God for who He is, when your view of Him begins to expand, it changes your priorities. And yes, you're going to ask God for things, but you're going to wait a little longer to do it because there's some other stuff you've gotta get to. For example, "Hallowed be Your name."

"Name" is an all-encompassing word referring to who God is. It's a reference to His character, His reputation, and His actions. The word "Hallowed," I don't know if you've used it this week. I have not. But "hallowed" means to be set apart or to be made holy. It takes on a little bit of a different meaning here, because God already is holy. God already IS set apart. When you say "Hallowed be Your name," basically you're saying, God, I've gotten a glimpse of who You are; I've already spent time realizing that You are my perfect Father in Heaven. Everything about You is perfect. So I've realized that You already are holy, you already are set apart. There is literally no one else like You.
And now that I'm clear that You are so different from anything else in this world, that there is no one like You, I'm clear on a few things. Number one, there is only one God, and I am not Him.

Number two, I am really small and You are really big. I'm really simple-minded, and You are very wise. And You don't exist for me; I exist for you. And so what I want, God, is for You to be glorified in me and through me. And I want Your glory to be on display throughout the rest of the world. Hallowed be Your name.

I loved what Louis Giglio said when he was teaching the Lord's Prayer. He said, "Where there is no hallowed, your relationship with God will feel hollow." And I think that's really true.
Jesus teaches us to pray, "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as is it in Heaven."

See, here's what happens when you first get your mind and heart around who God is, and all that is taken place just for you to be able to say "Our Father." When you begin to see God as your perfect Father, you begin to believe that His way is the best way. You begin to want His leadership in your life. That's why you begin to pray, "Your kingdom come," because you're inviting the rule and reign of God in your life.

Let me explain it this way: When I was in high school, I was in the select choir. That might lead you to believe that I can sing. I can't. It was all political. My brother had gotten in, and the choir director would have felt awkward if I didn't get in. The boys' choir, even though it's a Christian choir, they can't just take people who have good hearts. There's gotta be some talent. I would have been one of those people without the talent; I wouldn't have made the cut. But I was in the select choir.

There was this one time we went to competition. I want you to picture 90 people standing on risers kind of like these, and the conductor starts the song, and we begin to sing. And all 90 people get off tempo. And so 90 different people are singing the song at 90 different tempos, which means at any given point, 90 different people are saying or singing 90 different words.

And so you can imagine how beautiful we sounded -- it wasn't my fault, because I never sang; I just mouthed the words to all the songs. I was a tenor, but I was no help to the choir because I didn't sing. It wasn't my fault. But what erupted was just chaos. 90 different people, all singing something different at the exact same time. Why? Because everyone had failed to follow the conductor.
See, we live in a world where all of humanity has refused to follow God the Conductor. We have looked at God and said, I can be a better conductor. And what has the consequence been? It has been chaos! What you have is a world full of people singing their own songs at their own tempo, and the result has been mass chaos. All you have to do is turn on the news to see person after person insisting on being their own conductor and singing their own song at their own tempo.
When you say "Your kingdom come," you are saying, "God, You're a good Conductor. And I want to follow You. And I want You to lead. So would you rule and reign in my life?"

You want to know how that choir competition played out? There came this moment in the song where the choir conductor had had enough of the chaos. So he just made this one massive, assertive motion: Stop. Right in the middle of the song. He just motioned, Stop. And he started the song over, so that the song could be sung as it was meant to be sung, with everyone in sync with the conductor.

And the reason I tell you that is because when you pray "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," what' you're ultimately saying is, "God, Your way is the best way, and so I pray that Your leadership would spread throughout the earth." What you're praying for is that day that is coming, when God will motion, Stop. And He will put an end to all the chaos; He will drive out all of the darkness, and the song of creation will be sung as it was meant to be sung, with everyone in sync with the conductor.

That's what you're praying when you pray, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." You're saying, "God, I've gotten a glimpse of You. I've beheld Your greatness and Your goodness. And I want Your rule and reign to permeate the earth -- all of creation." You want to stoke the fire of your faith? Then every morning when you wake up, invite the Lordship of Christ into your life. Just say, "Jesus, Your way is the best way today. Today Your way of doing things will be right, my way of doing things will be wrong. Would You come and rule and reign in my life."

On the flip side, let me just say this: If you're struggling right now to submit your life to Christ's leadership in certain areas, if there are certain areas where you are kind of stiff-arming Jesus' rule. Let me tell you what's happened: You've bought into a lie that Jesus is a lousy conductor. Because you need to remember that you have an enemy who hates you. He's the Father of Lies. That means his main mode of operation is to lie to you. And the greatest lie he can get you to buy into is that God is a lousy conductor.

So if you don't wanna stay married; if you want to kind of cheat your way through work or school, if you want to cheat on your taxes, whatever it is -- what's happening in your life, is you have bought into a lie. You know, that's why Jesus doesn't say, "Pray, then like this: Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." No, He says to pray that AFTER you've already prayed, "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name." Because He knows that your view of God determines your response to God.

It only makes sense to say "come and rule and reign in my life" after you've been reminded of who God is, and that He is a great and good conductor.

Now comes the hinge in the Lord's Prayer. It's what we're used to. We're used to asking for things. See, the front half of the prayer is all about God's honor; about YOUR name, YOUR kingdom, YOUR will. And then on the back side, it's about our needs.

So, "Give us; Lead us; Forgive us."So Jesus says to pray, "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as is it in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread."

And that idea of daily bread is talking about our most basic needs. Jesus is saying, "When you go and pray before your Father, ask Him for your most basic needs." And so it kind of brings up the question, what do you believe are your greatest needs right now?

For most, it won't be food. For some it will be. But what do you believe are some of your greatest needs? It might be money. It might be a job. It might be a spouse. I don't know what it is for you. I don't know what is right now driving stress in your life, causing anxiety, keeping you up at night because it's something that you need. But I want to tell you, God cares about it. He cares about what you believe you need. If it's causing you stress, God wants you to ask Him for it. He wants you to seek Him for it.

You need to know that God has actually rigged your life to need Him. He's rigged your life to need Him. And that's a struggle for many of us, because many of us are control freaks. Okay, the young people in here might be budding control freaks, and some of us are in full bloom. You know who you are. You need to have every aspect of your life under control. And the problem with that is that God has actually rigged your life to need Him. Which means, you will never be able to have everything in your life under control. It just won't work that way.

Think about it. Why did God lead the nation of Israel to the edge of the Red Sea, which was a dead end, when Pharaoh was in hot pursuit? Why did God allow Daniel to be thrown into a lion's den, or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego thrown into a fiery furnace? Situations where they had no control? Why? So He could show up. It's one of the greatest ways that He brings us near to Him, by coming and showing up in our lives. Now we might ask him for things, and He might not give us exactly what we ask Him for. But His will for our lives is good, pleasing, and perfect. And He's a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His kids.

You know what stress and anxiety are? They are simple distress signals of the soul that something is malfunctioning. You have been wired to look upward, and stress and anxiety simply means that you're looking inward. What if God knows that there is more intimacy waiting in dependence, than there is waiting in control?

So Jesus is saying, "When you go before God, look upward, not inward. Ask Him for things. What do you need right now? "Give us this day our daily bread."

And then He says, "And forgive us our debts." Forgive us our debts. Now to set this up, let me say this: I've got two boys Noah and Andrew, and the reality is, my boys are going to do things that are highly offensive to me, their dad. They are. They already have. And there are going to be times in their lives when they do things that I have no pleasure in. And the reality is, my kids can do some pretty unfortunate things. They can make some pretty poor decisions.

But let me ask you this: Is there any point in their life where they will no longer be an Ateek? Is there anything that they could possibly do that would cause me to say, "I'm taking my last name from you. You now are a one-name person, kind of like Madonna or Usher." You're just 'Noah' or 'Andrew.' Ateek no longer applies to you." That day is never coming. There will never be a time when my kids are not my kids.

BUT is it possible for my sons, Noah and Andrew, to make decisions that disrupt our intimacy and fellowship? Absolutely. There are absolutely decisions they can make that will interrupt our intimacy with one another.

So when Jesus says, "And forgive us our debts," the question is, is He telling us to consistently ask God for forgiveness so we can have salvation? I don't think so. I think that there are two types of forgiveness. There is Forensic forgiveness and Family forgiveness.

Forensic forgiveness is a moment-in-time declaration by God the Judge that all of your sin has already been paid for on the cross by Jesus Christ. That's the only reason that Paul can say in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ" -- because of forensic forgiveness. It's a moment-in-time act of God the Judge declaring us righteous because of what Jesus has accomplished.

But then there's Family forgiveness. And that's what I think Jesus is addressing here. Why? Because He's taught us to pray, "Our Father," which means that this is a prayer for people in the family of God.

When my kids make bad choices, you know what their tendency is? It's to want to avoid their dad. And that's our natural tendency. When we sin, we want to move away from God. But when my kids move towards me, is it right for them to ask my forgiveness when they make a bad choice? Absolutely. And what happens in those moments, I get down and I put my arms around them, I reaffirm my love for them, and I let them know that they are completely forgiven. And what does it do? It draws us closer together.

That's why Jesus says, Pray, "Forgive us our debts." That's why it's so healthy to have a daily time where you just say, God, search my heart and know me. Is there anything offensive in me, anything I need to ask forgiveness for? When you screw up and you know it, don't run from God. Press in to Him. Because when you go before Him and you ask for forgiveness, it draws you closer together. It fuels intimacy in your relationship with him as He lavishes your life constantly with His grace.
He says, "Forgive us our debts," and then He says, "as we forgive our debtors." What Jesus is doing here is drawing this high correlation between our relationships with others and our relationship with God. They are inevitably linked together. Your relationships with others can absolutely affect your relationship with God.

And Jesus cares so much about this that He talks about it right here in verse 12: He says, "As we also have forgiven our debtors," He talks about it in verse 12, He goes a different way in verse 13, and then He comes back to it in verses 14 and 15. Look what He says: "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

What Jesus is saying is, your interactions with others will impact your interaction with Me. Now this is just my own personal opinion, but I believe that what Jesus is NOT saying here is, If you don't forgive people, then I will not forgive you and give you salvation. That's not what Jesus is saying here, in my opinion, because, again, He's talking to people who are already in the family. What I think He's saying is, your relationships with others can disrupt intimacy with me.
Think about it this way: If my son Noah refuses to sit at the dinner table because he is angry at his brother Andrew, doesn't that decision impact his relationship with me? Because by choosing to not sit at the table with Andrew, he is inevitably choosing to not sit at the table with me.

And it causes a disconnect in regard to intimacy. So when God says "If you don't forgive others their trespasses, I won't forgive your trespasses," I think He's saying "If you are gonna harbor anger, bitterness and resentment towards someone else, I just need you to know, I'm not gonna pretend like you and I are completely cool and tight right now, because you're walking in unrepentant sin. There is something that's standing between us."

You're not losing your salvation. It's not that you never had salvation. It's just that you and I can't be completely intimate right now when you want to continue doing what I've already asked you not to do.

So let me just say this: If you're holding on to anger, bitterness and resentment toward someone in your life, and you're buying into the lie that you can do that and still experience intimacy with God, you have bought into a mirage of life that doesn't exist. It just doesn't exist.

And if you refuse to forgive someone, what you're saying, and I just need you to get your mind around this, is you're saying, "God, I realize that my life was so offensive that You had to step out of Heaven and into earth in the person of Jesus Christ. You deserved to be worshiped as a king, but instead You had to voluntarily get up on a cross, endure the wrath of God, be buried, and rise from the dead, just so that I could be forgiven. But this person has done something that is unforgivable."
That equation is messed up. And so Jesus encourages us and says, If you want to experience intimacy, if you want to fuel the fire of your faith, then look at your relationships with others. Look at the horizontal relationships in your life, because the horizontal will impact the vertical.
And then Jesus finishes it up. We tend to believe that the way the Lord's Prayer ends is, "For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever, Amen."

That was actually tacked on by tradition. The way that it ends is, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."And that's interesting. Because what it sounds like Jesus is encouraging us to pray is, God, don't tempt me. But if that's what we're supposed to pray, that actually contradicts the Bible, because James tell us in James 1:13, that God does not tempt us. I don't think that's what Jesus is saying. What I think He's saying is, There are going to be times when God leads you into situations where there will be temptation. Why do I think that? Because He led his own son into the wilderness, where He was tempted.

I think what Jesus is encouraging us to pray is, God, as I go out into this world today, which is packed full of temptation, help me to not get too far in that I give in. Would You fight for me, because when I wake up this morning, I am stepping in to a battle where I have an enemy who hates me, and is thinking strategically about how to bring me down. So as I go out into a world of temptation, God, would You fight for me? Would you go to battle for me? Even though You have already gone to battle and won, would Your resurrection power be available to me today? Would you fill me with your Spirit? Help me to bear the fruit of self-control. You promised me in your word a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13) in times of temptation. Help me to see the way of escape and take it. Don't let me get so far in that I give in.

And you know what happens when you invite God into those moments, and you see Him go to battle for you and sustain you in the midst of temptation? It draws you closer to Him. And it fuels gratitude in your heart for how He has cared for you.

See, the Lord's Prayer is one of the greatest pieces of kindling that God has given us to fuel the fires of our faith. Do you want gain some momentum, do you want to experience some traction? Then start with "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as is it in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

You know what? I'll close by saying this. It's really comfortable to be the Sit-back-and-relax Guy. It's fun sometimes to be the Lighter Fluid Guy. But do you know where all the warmth and enjoyment and intimacy is with God? It's in being the Good Fire Guy; the cultivator. It's work. But the warmth and the enjoyment, the pleasure that comes, is worth it. Let's pray together.

I'll just say this. If you're sitting here this morning just realizing that you want to be a child of God, but you've never stepped into that relationship with Jesus Christ, just remember what Jesus Christ says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Jesus has come, and He went to the cross, so that you could experience the family of God. You could walk in here today a child of wrath, and leave a child of God. In this moment you could hear God saying to you, "You are my beloved son; You are my beloved daughter." If you'll simply respond in faith, invite Jesus Christ in, and give your life to Him. Ask him for forgiveness and invite Him to begin leading your life. If that's you, this is a great moment for you to step into the family of God. If you need to talk to someone, we'd love to talk to you afterward.

For the rest of us, Lord Jesus, we thank You for who You are and what You've done. You have come that we might belong to the family of God. And what a joy it is to be called son or daughter, and to know that all of the pleasure, all of the love, all of the delight that God the Father has for You, Jesus, is now towards us. We need You, we love You. Draw us closer this week. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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