PART 4 – HERE IS YOUR KING (27/2/20)
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”
Any child bears the ‘family likeness’ in some measure; we can even become uncomfortable as we see our more annoying traits being repeated in our progeny. Likewise, Jesus, the Son of God, reveals what God is like; He reveals the perfect God perfectly; Jesus said
“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).
Pilate, on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, spoke more truth than he realised when He declared to the crowds,
“Here is your king,” (John 19:14)
Jesus reveals what God, our King - is like. Jesus is God in a body; the ‘incarnation’ (God in the flesh) is the word for this. Paul writes,
‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.’ (Col. 2:9)
All humans are 'made in God's image (Gen. 1:27), which means that we, more than anything else in creation, show what God is like! However, Jesus was God in the flesh; He shows us what God is like perfectly because He is not merely made in God's image, He is the image of God - He is fully God. A famous piece of early Christian writing called The Athanasian Creed includes these words:
‘So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and yet they are not three Gods, but one God…’
Here are some things that Jesus reveals about the Father to us:
The Father keeps His promises (Matt. 1:22-23).
He heals the sick (Matt. 4:23-25; 8:1-4).
He is pure, hating sin and loving righteousness (Matt. 5:6; 5:8; 5:27-28).
He is relational and loves good relationships (Matt. 5:43-48).
He hates religious hypocrisy (Matt. 6:1-4).
He provides for His children (Matt. 6:28-34).
He is powerful (Matt. 8:23-27).
He receives all who will follow (Matt. 9:9-13).
The Father is compassionate (Matt. 9:36, 15:32).
He is gentle and gives rest (Matt. 11:28-30).
He is jealous that all nations come to the joy of knowing Him (21:12-13).
The Father’s greatest pleasure in our loving Him and others (22:37-40).
He is a judge (Matt. 25:31-33).
The Father’s love is most gloriously seen in the cross (26:28, 27:37).
Jesus reveals God to us like nothing else because He is God.
The Father is best seen in the cross. Here, Jesus reveals the Father’s hatred of sin and love for sinners. We have all broken God’s standards, but Jesus, on the cross, took the punishment that we deserved. This is why Paul and John wrote,
‘God (the Father) demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8)
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16)
If we want to know what our king is like, devotion to the study of Jesus is vital. Let’s pray,
“I thank you Father, for giving your only Son. I thank you, Jesus, that when I see you I see the Father. Holy Spirit, please keep widening, deepening, lengthening my vision of the Father. Amen”
During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – WHO IS THE KING? (FOR THE WEEK OF 24/2/20)
Have you ever been lost and how did get ‘un-lost’?
Introduction - please read in your group
Maps are extremely useful but we must have the correct map and learn how to use it. A Christian receives a new map; the bible now directs their lives. For a map to be useful, it has to be scaled down, which means that much detail is removed. The Lord’s Prayer is a scaled-down ‘map’ to prayer and who God is; each phrase is a signpost to a wider path - we are to take each phrase and expand on it as the Spirit leads us. This opening phrase of the Lord’s Prayer teaches us that when we pray, it is helpful to begin by recalling who our King is. Focussing on Him will stir our hearts in worship, remind us of His love toward us, and His power to do the things that we ask for in prayer. Prayer should always begin with an ‘up’ focus - as we declare to our own souls ‘this is your King’.
Please read Matthew 6:9-13.
What have you been inspired by this week through the devotions?
How does knowing the King as Father change one's approach to life?
How does one become a child of God? (John 1:12-13)
‘Heavenly Father’ is a phrase that speaks of God’s power over all things; How does such a vision help us in prayer and worship?
God is revealed, principally, in the bible. Most clearly, we get a vision of the Father in Christ His Son (which is also in His word). What have you read in the bible recently that inspired your vision of God?
Pray - In groups of 3-4
In groups of 3-4 (Try to get into the same groups each week if possible)
Is there anything that you want prayer for out of this week’s study?
Is there anything that you want prayer for more generally?
How connected to God do you feel at the moment and how could you go deeper this week? (let's follow up on this when we next meet together).