Sermon

God's Word Faithfully Preached from the Pulpit

Hallowed by Your Name (Matthew 6:7-13; Heidelberg Catechism LD 47)

INTRODUCTION

  • Continuation of series on Heidelberg Catechism
  • On the previous Lord’s Day (LD 46), we studied the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father, who is in Heaven.” And it emphasized our approach and attitude when praying to God.
  • Now, we go to the petitions/requests that Christ models that we should be praying for.

The Text

Matthew 6:9 — “Hallowed by your name…”

  • What does it mean by “name of God”?
    • ὄνομά — Not just a word, but when used for a divine being, there is something real in the name, it refers to the very nature and essence of the personality it designates, expressing the person’s qualities and power.
  • Other translation: “Let your name be kept holy (Ἁγιασθήτω)” or “Let your name be treated with reverence” or “Sambahin nawa ang Pangalan mo”
    • And how can we worship God without knowing him? 
    • Hence, the HC reflects on it as, “Help us to really know you, to bless, worship, and praise you…”

[Transition]: And that will be our main sermon points (1) What We Need to Know about our Holy God and (2) Why We must Pray, “Hallowed by Your Name”

Point 1: What We Need to Know about our Holy God

Isaiah 6:1-5

  • Holiness of God is often understood as God’s separation from sin (i.e., purity, ethical holiness). Which is true.
  • But the holiness of God, even before sin entered into the world, refers primarily to his transcendence (his reality, his essential attribute).
    • V. 1 – “lord sitting upon a throne”
    • V. 1 – “high and lifted up”
    • V. 5 – “King, the LORD of hosts”
  • God’s holiness speaks of his being distinct from and above all creation.

How does God demonstrate his holiness? (many ways, but look at attributes)

  • We speak of God’s attributes as “incommunicable” and “communicable”
  • “Incommunicable” attributes belongs only to himself (i.e., his perfections)
    • Eternal
    • Infinite
    • Immutable, etc.
  • “Communicable” attributes are those which he shared to us his creatures
    • Knowledge
    • Goodness
    • Righteousness, etc.
  • But God being holy (transcendent) above creation, his incommunicable attributes shape the way we understand his communicable attributes.
    • Psalm 103:17 — “The steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children (or ‘ his truth endures to all generations’)
      • Example: Though we are to reflect the “unconditional love” of Christ, the reality is, we could never love one another the way God loves.
    • Unlike our knowledge, God’s knowledge is eternal
    • Unlike our power, God’s power is infinite
    • Unlike our wisdom or truth, God’s wisdom or truth is unchanging.

How are God’s attributes significant?

This is how we can know and describe God: by his attributes. HC mentions them: God’s “almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.” 

And to pray, “Hallowed be your name” means, “Lord, help me to really know you, bless you, worship you, and praise you—for who you really are. Based on how you revealed yourself.”

  • Many people would say, “Sumasamba naman ako sa Diyos eh.” But the God they worship is far from how God revealed himself.
    • Example: Emphasizing God’s “love” but forgetting about his “justice” (hyper-grace)
    • Example: Emphasizing God’s “justice” but forgetting his “grace” (legalism)
  • As cited by John Calvin, “No religion is genuine that is not in accordance with truth.” (Truth = Truth about God)
  • There is no true worship and true reverence without a true knowledge of God.

POINT SUMMARY: So, the first thing Christ encourages us to ask from God is that we really know him for who he truly is (i.e., attributes). Before answering “how” we can truly know him, let’s ask, “why must we pray for a true knowledge of him?” Why is it the priority in our requests to God?

Point 2: Why We must Pray, “Hallowed by Your Name”

READ Acts 17:24-27

Isaiah 43:7“… everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Although the text refers to the elect Gentiles, still the Scriptures are unanimous in the truth that we were made for knowing God and giving glory to him. (cf. Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 1).

  • John Calvin: “True wisdom consists in knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves.” Yet we cannot have a true understanding of ourselves, of our true design in life, and of our true destiny—until we come to a right understanding of God. 
    • Example: People saying, “I want to find who I am.” But we’ll never have an accurate view of ourselves and what we must do until we get a real view of God.
  • Tendency 1: People will always try to make up their own “gods” since everyone has a God-given “consciousness of the divine.” And people assume that they are godly and religious. But once we come face to face with God in his Word, all other worship turns to be false worship.
  • Tendency 2: People will assume that they are basically good. But once we come face to face with God in his Word, and see the perfect righteousness and holiness of God, what seemed righteousness in us becomes filthy rags.
  • Hence, between knowing God and knowing ourselves, it is the knowledge of God that should come first.

IMPLICATIONS

So we need to seek a true knowledge of God because that is what we were made for. And what does the knowledge of God reveals?

  1. Since he is the creator and we are creatures dependent on him, it is evident that we were made for worship.
  2. But another thing that a true knowledge of God reveals to us is that because of our sin, our knowledge and worship of God have been corrupted. “We exchanged the glory of God for other things” (Romans 1:23). Because of sin, we are far from fulfilling God’s design for us.

Hence, it is necessary that God rescue us from our false worship and give us true knowledge and worship of him.

  • READ John 4:23-26 — … but Christ did not come simply to teach us how to worship God. Siya mismo ang naging paraan upang tayo’y ganap na makapagsamba sa Diyos.
  • READ John 14:6-7 — *Christ is not just a “representative” of God. Rather, he is God in the flesh. And to know him, put our trust in him, and worship him is to worship and glorify God himself.

You want to really know God? You want to fulfill your purpose as a human being? Then know Christ and believe in him, for it is what God requires—”that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29). 

And to believe in him is:

  • To assent (pag-sang-ayon) to the truth revealed about Christ
  • To hunger for Christ as your greatest need
  • To receive him and his righteousness as your own
  • To trust and rest in his finished work
  • To surrender and follow Christ as your King and Shepherd.

Trust Christ and nothing else. Treasure Christ above all else. That is how God is honored. That is how God’s name is treated with reverence.

APPLICATION

Priority in our prayers is asking God for a true and saving knowledge of God.

What we ought to pray for is not merely our material needs, but for hearts that truly worship God. For hearts that truly embrace Christ as our Savior and Lord.

  • Example: Reflecting on my counseling with others, and even reflecting on my own walk as a Christian—the primary and ultimate answer to all our struggles with sin, all our anxieties in life, all troubles in the family… is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The moment we lose sight of the gospel of Christ, everything falls apart.

So…

  1. Pray for knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and his redemptive work in Christ (we can never know God apart from the Scriptures).
  2. Pray for hearts that are not cold towards God (Not just knowing Christ, but savoring and treasuring Christ)

 CONCLUSION

And what is our hope? 

If God is our Father in heaven, who is able and willing to give anything we ask for according to his will— then he will give us and increase in us a true and saving knowledge of Christ.

For it is his will that we grow in the faith. As promised: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”

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