“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9)
Today we continue our in-depth study of the most important form of worship found in scripture. This is the privilege we have of going to our Father God to speak with Him, to revere Him, to recognize His sovereign right to rule our lives, and then to humbly entreat Him for all our desires that conform to His will.
Jesus was very specific in His instructions about how to approach God. The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 is a model prayer that was used to correct the corrupt form of worship in prayer that was the common practice of the religious leaders of the time. Every piece of this prayer is vitally important, but surely the most important of all, the only reason why we can approach God, is because of relationship. Jesus began the first instruction with the address of prayer: “Our Father which art in heaven.” The term “Father” denotes relationship for surely none of us would call anyone “Father” when no such relationship exists.
And yet, the prevailing opinion about God is that He is everyone’s Father. Most assume that every person has a relationship with God so there is no trouble to call upon Him and ask for the most pressing need at the time. The problem is that this is merely assumption and it comes mostly from those who have never read the Bible. Scripture is clear that no such relationship exists for all people indiscriminately.
For example, when speaking to the wicked religious leaders in John 8, Jesus said very bluntly that Satan was their father. If God were their Father, they would have received the testimony of Christ rather than rejecting Him (John 8:44-47). This means there is demarcation between two types of people. Some are spiritually related to Satan while others are spiritually related to God. The distinction is determined by true faith in Christ. Those who may call on God as Father are only those who have become sons of God by faith.
The distinction is proved very clearly by the prayer itself. Following “Our Father” are “hallowed be Thy name,” and “Thy kingdom come,” and further, “Thy will be done.” Those who have not trusted Christ do not reverence His name, they do not desire the advancement of God’s kingdom which includes the salvation of souls, and they cannot pray for God’s will because they have ignored the command to repent of sin and place faith in Christ. To approach God ignoring the relationship is not commendable; it is very close to, if not, blasphemy.
Is God your Father? This is determined by faith in the blood of Christ that was shed for your sins. This is the way you become a child of God and is the criterion for the relationship. Without it, you have no right to speak to the Father.
Pastor V. Mark Smith