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Our Father Who Art in Heaven
Matthew 6:9


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Midweek Vespers—January 7, 2009

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

There are seven Midweek Vespers services until we begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  Since the Lord’s Prayer is traditionally divided into seven parts or petitions, this evening we are beginning a series of meditations for on this most familiar and beloved Christian prayer.

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’  He said to them, ‘When you pray, say, “Our FATHER who art in heaven . . .”’” 

All humans are children of God by virtue of the fact that he created us.  As Malachi asks, “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?”  Moses asks, “Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?”  And Isaiah answers, “O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” 

But, because of our sin, we are all by nature spiritually separated, estranged from our heavenly Father. By our sinful rebellion, we have all forfeited our birthright, our status as children of God.  Like disobedient children, we have ALL sinfully rebelled against our heavenly Father.  So we deserve from him not fatherly love and blessing, but to be banished eternally from his family.

But, in Ephesians, Paul says that we are “adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.”  God is your heavenly Father not only because he is your Creator but also because his Son, Jesus Christ, himself paid for your sinful rebellion, earning for you the privilege of being God’s child once again, earning for you re-admission into the family of God. 

As John says, “To those who believed on his name, he gave the right to become children of God. . .  How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”  Paul puts it this way in Galatians, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” 

That is why we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven.”  Through faith in Jesus you have the right to call upon God as your heavenly Father.

Paul says in Galatians, “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father.’”  The word “Abba” is Aramaic for “Daddy.”  A term of intimacy and love.  God is your heavenly Father not just in an abstract, philosophical sense.  He is “Abba,” your dear “Daddy,” who loves you and cares for you and will always hear and answer your prayers.

As Martin Luther explains in the Small Catechism, “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that he is our true Father and that we are his true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask him as dear children ask their dear father.”

Amen.

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