GNB 2.25

January 29, 2023


“This then is how you ought to pray, [begin by saying] ‘Father, our Father, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come and Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6.9-10)


So how do we live the life we are called to live and honor in order to keep holy the name of our Father? In a recent article, I heard that a prominent pastor of one of this nation’s megachurches declared that we, the community of faith in Jesus Christ, should separate ourselves from the Old Testament teachings. That pastor said, “We are a New Testament Church and should focus on what the New Testament teaches.” I find this a very interesting viewpoint for a couple of reasons:

  1. Jesus does teach His disciples in His final commissioning, according to the gospel of Matthew, “Go, therefore, into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teach them all I have commanded you.” That sounds a bit like a New Testament focus, right? We are supposed to obey His teachings by putting them “on us” as we take up our cross [His yoke] and go where He sends us following Him all the days [and nights] of our lives.
  2. With one exception, as far as my study of the Word has informed me, there are no teachings of Jesus which do not originate or amplify the teachings of the Old Testament as it pertains to living a life of righteousness. Jesus confirms the Law of Moses, the teachings of the Prophets and the exhortations of God to the judges and kings of Israel. In the gospel of John we hear Jesus affirm that He did not come to do away with the Law but to fulfill it. That fulfillment equals His words to His cousin John the Baptizer when they met face to face in the Jordan River. In that moment when John sought to defer baptizing Jesus to Jesus baptizing Him, Jesus responded, “This must be done to fulfill all righteousness.” The very act of baptism for the sake of entering into a life that was new before God and humanity is indicative of a New Testament practice. Yet, the root of that practice was founded in what was commanded as a purification edict which everyone, Jew and Gentile, were aware of. That it was given a new application as to becoming a member of the community of faith in Jesus as the Christ was transformative.
  3. As I understand the teachings of Jesus, there was only “one” new command or covenant paradigm which Jesus gave to those who were His disciples. In this regard, we may well see the significant difference between the Old and New Testaments. That paradigm, John 13.34-35, teaches “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples. But, only if you love one another.” When Jesus responded to the disciples request of “Lord, teach us how to pray,” He was speaking directly to those disciples. It may have been the circle of twelve called to be His special needs students. It may have included those who were a part of the “120” who followed with them. By application, it becomes a teaching to all those who claim to be disciples of Jesus following His teachings. But, if we are true to what Jesus declared as John and Matthew remember specifically, “His teachings” included the effort to fulfill what God had commanded them in His “rules for righteousness.” He did not exclude them but include them. He then amplified them by making certain that the community of faith in Him understood their proper application. Their proper application was not to “put them” on someone else as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law did to those who were “the rest of the Jews or should be Jews.” No, their proper application was making sure they themselves were true to the “word” which Jesus commanded them by internalizing personally and corporately the covenant of righteousness. By their example of modelling the life of righteousness, the world would be more convinced of believing in God their Father, Yahweh Elohim, and desire to become a part of that community as well. If they wanted to be a part of a hypocritical or antithetical community, then they could have stayed where they always had been. If they wanted more, then they had to learn to “practice what they preached and what had been given to them for the sake of all righteousness.”
  4. Jesus taught the disciples to pray seeking the life of righteousness and honoring the call to keep the name of God their Father holy by committing themselves to the work of God’s will on earth in the world as it was happening in Heaven among the heavenly host. If God’s will which is authentic love is anything it is eternal and without change. It is the same yesterday, today and forever. The past is not changed to suit the present in the pursuit of the future. The past is put in its place, transformed into an eternal present truth and celebrated each day for the rest of our future lives. That is our future. None of us have truly forgotten our past even if we have experienced the forgiveness of it. The problem exists when we carry our past with us as if it were a trophy or a comfortable pair of shoes we cannot bear to leave behind. We grow so accustomed to its presence that it defines our present and inhibits our ability to receive the grace and mercy of God fully. However, when we become a part of the authenticated family of God by believing and affirming Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the Living God as well as our personal Lord and Savior, we begin to dwell in both our eternal life (as we are dying to self but living to Christ) and the Kingdom of God on earth in the midst of us (Immanuel). All of that does not happen after our physical death transporting us into “another dimension.” Jesus came to show us how to fulfill the mandates of God’s creation of our lives in the here and now, not the there and then or the where and when.

Putting our lives in the proper perspective as relating to God as the center of our focus and life purpose creates the means by which we can have the eternal life of Kingdom abundance, the fellowship of a loving community of faith living ouT the teachings of Jesus and the blessing of knowing we shall dwell forever in the House of the Lord. It comes by embracing our desire [which may require some sincere sacrifice of self-satisfaction] to know, accept and enact the will of God in His Kingdom on this earth. We truly cannot acquire the full benefit of being His disciples unless we take up the cross, follow His teachings and model them before all the world starting with “loving one another.” There is no ambiguity in the words of Jesus who said “I AM the only way, truth and life by which one can come into the presence of God the Father. You know the way I have come and am going so this should be of no surprise to you to hear Me say so.” Oh, they tried to defer. Philip said, “Show us the Father and that will be enough.” Thomas actually feigned a lack of knowledge saying “We don’t know that way because we don’t know where you are going.” Yikes, how many times did Jesus have to tell them before they understand and accepted what He had taught them and was teaching them? Well, I guess one more time but with the most transformative object lesson ever presented: “No greater love is there than this but that a man would lay down His life for another.” Paul would clarify this saying “not for the righteous as we all might die for a good man but for the sinner as while we were yet all sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, we saw the “sin” of the disciples on the night Jesus was betrayed as He put into motion “the will of God for His life that we might be saved.” They denied Him. They failed to keep watch. The acted in violence against the enemy. They became so comfortable in their world they forgot they were called to live in the Kingdom. They hid in the shadows. But, Jesus spoke forgiveness over them all. The depth of their sin highlighted the vastness of God’s grace. His will was done and would continue to be done “on earth as it is in Heaven.” It may look different on earth than in Heaven because we are no angels. But, His will for His people does not change just because we refuse to. May HIs witness and testimony of “loving one another” ring true for all of us as we seek to fulfill all righteousness not just with our baptism but with our immersion into His Word as “the way, the truth and the life.”


Father, our Father, hallowed be Your Name; Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done…ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” So as it was written, so let it be done…in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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