Sermon for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity Sept. 17, 2023
Text: Luke 11:2 The First Petition to the Lord’s Prayer 23:2404
Theme: Lord, Teach Us to Pray…to Lift Up Your Name in Purity.
What is the first thing that you should ask in your prayers? Since Jesus was teaching us how to pray, this First Petition answers that. What could be more proper and striking than that we first hallow and glorify God? It is the first thing His children desire. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt.6:23). All other requests come in subordination to it. Is that the way your prayers begin? In the Lord’s Prayer it is.
In one sense the Lord’s Prayer is similar to the beginning of the Ten Commandments. The First Commandment says put God first in life, above all things. Likewise, at the start of our prayer in the First Petition we relate to the only true God and say, “Hallowed be Thy name.” Putting Him and His name first in life is His children’s primary desire. So we ask, LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY…So That We Hallow Your Name and Lift It Up in Purity.
I. What does it mean to hallow God’s name?
To hallow originally meant to make something holy. But that can’t be the meaning here because God’s name cannot be made any holier than it already is. He is God. His name is already perfectly holy, and it will always be perfectly holy for God never changes. From eternity to eternity, He is the changeless God. There was never a time that He wasn’t holy and there will never be a time that He isn’t holy. His name is always holy and cannot be made any holier than it already is. So then, for what are we asking when we make the request: Hallowed be Thy name”?
Martin Luther put it very simply and to the point when he said, “God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it be holy among us also.” That implies that we do not always regard it as holy as we should. Think of it this way.
The sun is always hot, bright, and burning in itself. That doesn’t change. Every hour, every minute, every second of the day it is that way. But it is not always that way to us. We change and our position in relation to the sun changes so that sometimes it seems hotter, like this past August, sometimes colder, like it will in January, sometimes brighter, as at noonday, sometimes less bright, as at sunset or when clouds cover it, and sometimes we don’t see it at all and are left in night and darkness. Yet, the sun is always there, burning brightly and hot. It does not change. Our position does.
So it is with God and His name. There is no spot, wrinkle, or stain in Him that must be cleansed. He is not like men. He is perfectly holy in and of Himself. As the Book of Revelation says, “These are the words of Him who is holy and true” (3:7). Nothing can be added to His name that it doesn’t already have on its own.
That’s important for us to realize. With this petition we are not praying for something in God, but we are praying for something in ourselves and others. There is no deficiency in God and His name, but there is in us and our use of it. We are asking that He overcome that deficiency in us lest it lead to our eternal destruction.
Before we pursue that any further, we should ask, “What’s in a name?” We can be rather flippant at times in the way we give children names. Many names are really inexpressive of the person. It was very different in Biblical times.
For example, the prophet Samuel’s name means “asked of God.” His mother Hannah prayed that God would graciously let her bear a child. God Himself changed the name of Abram, which meant “exalted father,” to the name Abraham, meaning “father of many nations.” He also changed the name of Simon to Peter, which means “rock.” He did that because of characteristics He brought about in their lives of faith. And He was most particular in the choice of a name for the One who bears the name of wondrous love, the name all other names above. “You shall give Him the name Jesus,” God said. “For He shall save His people from their sins.”
The general intent and purpose of a name is that it distinguishes a particular person from others. And we cannot use the name of anybody we know without calling to our minds his general appearance, temperament, personality – all we know about him.
When the Bible speaks of God’s name it means God Himself, everything that is told us of God and that connects with God. So it is that “Hallowed be Thy name” is equivalent to “Holy be You, O God, in all that You are and in all that You do.” But we just said that God is already holy and can’t be made any holier. Surely, our prayer does not affect His holiness one particle bit.
True! That’s why we pray in this petition that His name would be holy among us. To hallow God’s name means That We Lift Up His Name in Purity in our lives and before others – that we give Him the glory that is due His saving name. So, how do we that?
II. How is God’s name hallowed by us?
We just said that a name is more than only a grouping of letters. Its purpose is to distinguish the person from others. It calls to mind everything we know about him. And everything we know about God is here, in God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures. Here He reveals Himself, His works, His ways, and especially the only means by which He saved us from our sins through the sacrifice of His Son. Everything we know about God is here. Therefore, when we pray “Hallowed be Thy name,” we are asking that His Word is kept holy by us. That is done when we speak it truthfully and our teaching and life are Christian and godly. We treat His name as holy.
It aligns with the Second Commandment: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord, Your God and take it in vain.” That commandment tells us not to curse, swear falsely, or lead people astray from the truth of God, but rather to praise and proclaim His name. That’s how we hallow it. Those who misuse the name of God by deceiving and lying about God’s Word desecrate His name. But His name is hallowed when one calls upon Him, prays, praises, magnifies Him, preaches about the Lord, that He is merciful and helps us in peril and otherwise, and saves us only through faith in His Son. So. this First Petition is explained by the Second Commandment. In short, when one teaches and lives Christianly.
This is the first need we have that ought to move us to pray, for in the world there are many false teachers who impose upon and deceive people. They misuse this name. They preach the Word of God falsely and say that what they preach is right.
So it is that when you pray this petition, you pray against all who preach, teach, and believe falsely. You pray against the tyrants of the world and our own country who violate the Word of God and persecute those who believe it. You pray against those who lie, deceive, revile, and curse the Word. God’s name is never sufficiently praised and preached. So, we pray: “Let your Name, your Holy Word, become holy among us so that we and the whole world may not curse and swear by Your name but rather believe in your Son, pray, and call upon You for everything. Grant that we teach and live Christianly, so that You are not put to shame by us in our teaching or life. Help us Lift Up Your Name in Purity.”
As long as we live, we need to pray and strive for God to hallow His name in us for we are sinners. There is not one of us who has not been found to be a blasphemer in some way in our lives.
Who of us has kept God’s name pure and revered it every second of our lives? This petition is not only a prayer but a lesson that discloses the wretchedness and guilt of our lives on earth. It teaches us to really know ourselves and to be humble, for when we pray that God’s name be hallowed among us, it follows that Jesus taught us this because it is not kept holy by us. If it were, we would have no need to pray this. That ought to horrify us if we do love the name of God and our Savior, for if it is true that we have not yet hallowed the name of God but have dishonored it, that is worthy of eternal death, if God should judge. Where can we flee? Our own prayer convicts us and testifies against our sin. Who will help us?
Who? The God whose name is holy in itself. Here comes His doctrine of comfort, revealed in God’s Word. Christ Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin. Thank God, His blood cleanses us from all sin – every one, including this. That is His holy promise.
So then, this petition also teaches you not to despair, but in faith to seek God’s grace and help in Christ. “Come to Me,” He says. “Be certain that as you do and as you pray this petition, I will hear and help you to hallow my name and Lift It Up in Purity in the world.” God grant us that assurance in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity September 17, 2023
Welcome in our Savior’s name. We are glad to have you worshipping with us today. May God’s Word and Promise strengthen your trust in His care for you and increase your resolve to walk in His ways with singleness of heart and purpose, devoted to Him.
The Christian’s heart has a single purpose, to lift high the Savior in all things. Doubt, worry, or the chasing after earthly goals can divide the heart and lead it astray. If God provides for the needs of His lesser creatures, will He not provide the needs of those for whom He sent His Son to bring back to life in Him? So it is that Christians walk in life, keeping in step with the Spirit, trusting that God will provide. In such unshakeable trust, we hallow His name.
Today in our sermon text we continue in our study on the Lord’s Prayer with the First Petition: Hallowed be Thy Name. May God bless us with a greater understanding of that which is behind this request in our prayer.
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Walk in Singleness of Heart, in Trust, and in Support of All
Opening Thoughts on the Service
The Entrance Hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty” #483
Order of Worship: Service: Setting Two with Holy Communion: pages 172-180
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
(The Lessons for the Day are taken from the Historic Pericope Series of the Christian Church.)
The Responses following each lesson are on page 178.
1 Kings 17:7-16 God sends the Prophet Elijah to the widow at Zarephath during a time of famine in Israel. Zarephath was on the Mediterranean Sea coast, outside of Israel, near Tyre and Sidon, and among the heathen. The Lord provided food for them in a miraculous way, not allowing the flour and oil to run out.
Galatians 5:25-6:10 Follow Christ’s pattern of love by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit who created and made new life within us possible. Let the love of Christ fill you so that you have singleness of heart as you seek to restore sinners gently, help to carry burdens, and strive to do good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith.
The Gospel Acclamation for God’s Word page 179
Matthew 6:24-34 The Christian makes no compromises with the world. He cannot serve God and the things of this world. Faith in Christ calls for singleness of heart and mind that flows from deep confidence in His care. If He provided us with the greater need of forgiveness and life, He will see to all other needs. We have no reason to worry.
The Sermon Hymn: “Holy God, We Praise Your Name” #953
The Sermon: Lord, Teach Us to Pray…
…So That We Lift Up Your Name in Purity.
Our Response to the Word
The Confession of Faith: The Nicene Creed page 180
The Lord Blesses Us
The Order of Holy Communion pages 182-187
(We invite our communicant members to the Lord’s Table, believing that in the bread and the wine, they receive the Savior’s true body and blood for forgiveness of sins. Since Holy Communion implies a oneness of faith, our practice is that of close communion. We therefore ask visitors to speak with the Pastor before communing.)
The Distribution Hymns: “In This Holy, Blest Communion” #669
“Jesus! Name of Wondrous Love” #496
Thanksgiving & Blessing Beginning the middle of page 187
Closing Hymn: “From All that Dwell Below the Skies” #605
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The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “‘O, dear Father, may Thy name be holy!’ But what does that mean? Is it not already holy? It is holy in its nature, but not in our use. God’s name has been given to us. By what means? We have been baptized in His name, we have the Word which makes us God’s children, we have His sacraments, which unite us with Him. He has implanted His name, Word, and sacrament among us. Therefore, it is of the highest necessity that we pray to our Father. I will gladly endure poverty and sickness if only the heavenly Father has His glory, and I will gladly suffer want if this were to be the result, namely, that the name of God, which is altogether holy in heaven, would also be precious and holy among us.” — Martin Luther on Ten Sermons on the Catechism, 1528
The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity – Historic Series
Old Testament Lesson: 1 Kings 17:7-16 Elijah & the Widow of Zarephath
7 After some time the stream dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Get up! Go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there. I have commanded a woman there, a widow, to provide for you.”
10 So he got up and went to Zarephath. He came to the city gate, and there he saw a widow gathering sticks. He called to her and said, “Please give me a little water in a jar, so that I can have something to drink.”
11 When she went to get it, he called to her, “Please bring me a piece of bread.”
12 She said, “As surely as the Lord your God lives, I have no food except a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a pitcher. See, I am gathering a couple of sticks so that I can go and prepare it for myself and my son, so that we can eat it and then die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do just as you said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from the flour and bring it out to me. Then go and make another for you and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says. The jar of flour will not run out and the pitcher of oil will not become empty until the day the Lord sends rain to water the surface of the ground.”
15 So she went and did exactly as Elijah said. He and she, as well as her household, were able to eat for many days. 16 The jar of flour did not run out, and the pitcher of oil did not go empty, as the Lord had said through Elijah.
Epistle Lesson: Galatians 5:25-6:10 – Bear One Another’s Burdens.
25 If we live by the spirit, let us also walk in step with it. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another and envying one another. 6 Brothers, if a person is caught in some trespass, you who are spiritual should restore such a person in a spirit of humility, carefully watching yourself so that you are not also tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way fulfill[g] the law of Christ. 3 For if someone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Let each person test his own work, and then he will take pride in regard to himself and not his neighbor. 5 For each man will bear his own burden.
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with his teacher.
7 Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. To be sure, whatever a man sows, he will also reap. 8 Indeed, the one who sows for his own sinful flesh will reap destruction from the sinful flesh. But the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. 9 Let us not become weary of doing good, because at the appointed time we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the household of faith.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 6:24-34 – Do Not Worry.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.
25 “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow, reap, or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
27 “Which of you can add a single moment to his lifespan by worrying? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Consider how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin, 29 but I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not clothe you even more, you of little faith?
31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the unbelievers chase after all these things. Certainly, your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ® (EHV®) © 2019
The First Petition
Hallowed be Thy name.
What does this mean?
God’s name is indeed holy in itself. But we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.
How is this done?
When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it. To this end help us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives otherwise than God’s Word teaches profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, Heavenly Father.
(English text as published in The Concordia Triglotta, 1921)
These words are a little obscure and not good German (or English). In our mother tongue, we would say: “Heavenly Father, help that only Thy name may be holy.”
Now, what do we mean by praying that God’s name may be hallowed? Is it not always holy? The answer is, “Yes. In itself it is always holy.” But not always in our use of it.
How God’s Name Is Hallowed Among Us? The plainest way is by our teaching and our life when they are godly and Christian. Since in this prayer we call God our Father, it is our duty always to conduct ourselves as godly children, that we may not disgrace but honor and praise Him.
How Is God’s Name Profaned Among Us? In the first place, it is profaned in preaching, teaching, and speaking in God’s name that which is false and misleading, thus adorning a falsehood to make it pass for the truth. So it is profaned in the vilest manner. Again, the holy name is profaned when it is used as a cover for swearing, cursing, conjuring, etc. Further, it is profaned by openly wicked lives and deeds, when those who are called Christians and people of God are adulterers, drunkards, swollen misers, given to jealousy and slandering.
Note the great need of such a prayer. Since we see that the world is filled with sects and false teachers, and they all use the holy name as a cover and pretense for their devilish doctrines, we ought constantly to cry unto God against all who preach and believe falsely and against those who persecute and oppose the Gospel and the pure doctrine.
Likewise, we need to pray for ourselves, who, while we have God’s Word, are ungrateful for it and do not live according to it as we should. When you pray this petition from your heart, you may be certain that it is pleasing to God, for nothing is more acceptable to Him than that His honor and praise be exalted above all else and that His Word be taught in its purity and be valued and cherished.
(Excerpts from The First Petition in Luther’s Large Catechism)
Calendar & Announcements for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue), Springfield, MO 65810
Church phone: 417.887.0886 www.zionluthchurch.com
Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online -Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
15th Sunday after Trinity
Midweek Bible Class.
Divine Worship Service
online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
16th Sunday after Trinity
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
God has provided for all our needs, the lesser needs of the body, and most importantly, the eternal needs of the soul. And He has promised to continue upholding us. Because of that the Christian heart has the single purpose of lifting up the Savior in all things. In what we say and do we either give God the glory or we steal it from Him. So it is that Christians walk in life, trusting God for all things, and seeking to reflect their love for Him in their dealings with others.
The Epistle Lesson: Galatians 5:25-6:10 (the answers are found on the back side)
- In what practical way would we fulfill the law of Christ (v. 2)?
- When Paul says “a man reaps what he sows,” what, more specifically, does he mean (v. 8)?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter; Barbara Long; Barbara Breidel; John, Elisha & Isaac Covey; Lucille Huston; Kathy Workentine, Glenn Schulz’s sister, diagnosed with a reoccurrence of cancer; Lois Wiese, now at home.
Fall Clean-Up In preparation for hosting the Lutheran Women’s Mission Society fall rally at Zion on Oct.14, we hope to do a little clean-up around church, outside and in, on Saturday, Oct.7. If you can spare a few hours that morning or in the week following, it would be greatly appreciated. We’ll have a list drawn of a few things that could use our attention.
Lord, Teach Us to Pray: “Hallowed be…” Today we continue in our series of sermons on The Lord’s Prayer with the First Petition: “Hallowed be Thy Name.” After beginning our prayer in heaven, where our Father dwells, we come down to earth and pray that our observance of His name and His Word in our lives will always lift Him up in our eyes and in the eyes of all who are around us on earth. Next week we consider the Second Petition and its meaning in our lives: “Thy Kingdom come.” During this coming week you might pull out your catechism and refresh your understanding of it.
Upcoming Services and Events
Monday-Tuesday, September 25-26 – Fall Pastors’ Study Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA
Saturday morning, October 7 – Fall Clean-up at Church
Saturday, October 14 – LWMS Fall Rally at Zion LC, Springfield
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship :26; Bible Class 20; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offerings: $3,763.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
16th Sunday after Trinity: Job 5:17-26; Ephesians 3:13-21; Luke 7:11-17 (Historic Pericope Series) 2nd Petition
Answer to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- By carrying each other’s burdens, we will fulfill the law of Christ.
- Paul means that certain actions naturally lead to corresponding results. “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
This week I am praying for……