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Keeping the Father’s Name Holy

• Greg Boyd

Continuing the “When You Pray” series, Greg opens this teaching on the Lord’s Prayer by discussing the analogical nature of the way that the New Testament authors wrote.

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Greg opens this teaching on the Lord’s Prayer by discussing the analogical nature of the way that the New Testament authors wrote. For instance, the reference to God who lives in heaven is a metaphor that depicts God who is above us, but this does not mean that God lives in a specific place in heaven. Also, the use of Father is a metaphor that depicts God as a provider who can be relied upon. At the same time, the Bible also uses feminine metaphors to refer to God.

Jesus tells us that we are to keep the name of God “hallowed,” which means that we are to keep God’s character and reputation holy, distinct and set apart. This is related to the command to not take the name of God in vain in Exodus 20:7. This is not merely about how we use the name of God with our words by making his name common or profane. Even more, it is about keeping God’s name distinct. God’s people do this by standing out, by being set apart, as seen in Ezekiel 36:23. We hallow God’s name by standing out as a contrast to people in our culture, as a people who live in a unique way. When we live like others, we actually bear God’s name in vain.

As seen in Acts 1:8, the Holy Spirit empowers the people of God to be witnesses, to live in such a way that we are not bearing his name in vain. This distinction is not about being weird or being distinct just for the sake of being different. It’s about displaying God’s unique holy character and showing others the nature of this character.

God’s character, which is his name, is love. We see this stated in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” The name that we are to bear is love in all that we do. To the degree that we do this, we are hallowing his name. To the degree that we fail to do this, we are bearing his name in vain.

Paul wrote, “… you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3). We are the way that the world sees God, the way that the kingdom is come “on earth as it is in heaven.” We are called to stand out by displaying the character of God’s love that was demonstrated on the cross.

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Topics: Prayer, Worship

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount, When You Pray

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The MuseCast: February 1

Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 6:9-10

    Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

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