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Author:Rev. Mendel Retief
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott
 Kelmscott, Western Australia
 frckelmscott.org
 
Title:Praying for the hallowing of God's Name
Text:LD 47 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Prayer
 
Added:2014-11-10
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Old BoP (2004)

Ps. 145: 1, 5

Ps. 146: 1, 3

Ps. 99: 1 – 3

Hymn 47: 1 – 3, 9

Ps. 111: 1, 5

 

Scripture reading:       Lev. 10: 1 – 3; Rev. 4: 8 – 11; 5: 11 – 14; 15: 1 – 16: 7

Text:                         LD 47

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mendel Retief, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Hallowed be Thy Name

(Old Book of Praise, 2004)

Ps. 145: 1, 5

Ps. 146: 1, 3

Ps. 99: 1 – 3

Hymn 47: 1 – 3, 9

Ps. 111: 1, 5

 

Scripture reading:       Lev. 10: 1 – 3; Rev. 4: 8 – 11; 5: 11 – 14; 15: 1 – 16: 7

Text:                          LD 47

 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

The word “hallow” comes from the word holy.   “Hallowed be Your Name”, means: holy be Your Name.   It means: let Your Name be regarded and honoured as holy.

 

“Your Name” – when Scripture speaks about God’s Name, it speaks about His self-revelation.  

God’s Name is everything that He revealed to us about Himself.

 

With the petition, “Hallowed be Your Name”, we ask our Father in heaven that we may know Him as He is, as He revealed Himself to us, and that we may rightly respond to His self-revelation with reverence and awe, with praise and thanksgiving, seeking His glory alone.

 

We pray: Our Father in heaven, give us eyes to see and a heart to understand that we may see Your glory and worship You, for You are holy.

 

The more we know God the more we hallow His Name.   The more we know Him, as He revealed Himself to us in Holy Scripture, the more we are filled with awe.   The very knowledge of who God is causes us to bow down in worship with praise and thanksgiving.   When we behold His glory, we worship.

 

Therefore the Catechism explains this petition by saying:

 

“Hallowed be Thy Name.   That is: Grant us first of all that we may rightly know Thee…”

 

In order to rightly honour Him as the Holy One, we need, first of all, to rightly know Him.  

It is the very knowledge of who He is and what He does, that causes us to revere and praise Him.

 

So, first of all, we ask with this petition for the true knowledge of God.   We ask that He may instruct us in the holiness of His Name as He has revealed Himself to us in Scripture, and that He may open the eyes of our mind to see His glory.  

 

In the second place, with this petition, “Hallowed be Your Name”, we pray that the true knowledge of God may change us.   Father, let the knowledge of Your holy Name cause me to sanctify You in my heart, so that I may glorify and thank and praise You for all that You are and for all that You do, for in all Your being and in all Your words and actions You are holy.  

We pray: Father, give us hearts to rightly respond to Your holy Name.

 

And in the third place we pray that we may hallow God’s Name not only now and then, but with our whole life, that all our thoughts and words and actions in all of life may be directed to His glory.   Yes, that we may hallow His Name in all we do.

 

I proclaim God’s Word to you with the theme:

We pray for the hallowing of God’s Name

 

We will note…

  1. That it is the sole purpose of our whole life to glorify God
  2. That we pray for the true knowledge of God’s holy Name
  3. That we pray for sanctified hearts that will rightly respond to God’s self-revelation

In the first place we note that…

It is the sole purpose of our whole life to glorify God

 

Dear congregation, it is not by accident that the Lord’s Prayer starts with this petition.   The hallowing of God’s name is indeed the most basic, and the most important and the sum total of all our worship.   In Fact, all the other petitions in the Lord’s Prayer flow from this one petition.

 

Now that we know God, this has become our first and greatest desire; or rather the sum total of all our desire.   It has become the sole purpose of our whole life: to glorify His holy Name.  

 

Right at the start of our prayer we confess this to our Father in heaven: You are worthy, Father, of all honour and glory and thanksgiving, and it is all our desire to seek Your glory, to honour and to praise You for the perfection of Your holiness which can be seen in all Your attributes, and in all You say and do.  

We confess this as the very purpose of our existence: to know You, and to glorify You.   And we pray that You will help us in this.

 

Brothers and sisters, this afternoon we read several passages from the book Revelation.   The apostle John sees in a vision God’s throne in heaven, and all creatures are gathered before His throne to worship Him, saying: holy, holy, holy.  

 

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” (Rev. 4: 11)

 

And:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!”

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

 

And all fell down before God’s throne to worship Him.

 

That is how it should be, and that is how it will be for all eternity, when Christ has crushed all His enemies under His feet.

 

Dear congregation, now that the Lord redeemed and sanctified us by the blood of Christ, and raised us up with Christ to live unto Him, this has become all our desire: to thank and glorify God with our whole life.

 

That is what the apostle Paul, for example, teaches us in the book of Romans when he speaks of God’s greatness, and says:

 

            “...of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever…”

 

All things were created by Him and unto Him and exist for His sake to glorify Him forever.

And then, in the very next sentence, the apostle continues, saying:

 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 11: 36 – 12: 1)

In other words, all things exist to glorify God, and now that He in His mercy redeemed and restored us, we are indeed saved and restored with this purpose: to glorify God, and to present ourselves as a holy sacrifice to Him.  

That is the purpose of our existence, and for this purpose we have been saved: to thank and glorify God with a new life of obedience.   In this way our whole life becomes a holy and living sacrifice to Him.   We do not worship God only on Sundays, or when we close our eyes to pray, but with our whole life in all we do – at least, that has become our desire.

This petition, “Hallowed be Your Name”, includes every aspect of our life, so that the apostle Paul is able to say:

            “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Cor. 10: 31

And again:

“…whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through Him.” – Col. 3: 17

Christ saved us in order that we may thank and glorify God in all we do.

You see then, brothers and sisters, that this first petition in the Lord’s Prayer is indeed all inclusive.   It is the most important, and it regulates all our desire, yes, it is the very purpose of our existence and the very aim of our whole life: to hallow God’s Name!

But, how has this come to be?   How can we say that this is our only desire?  

Is it not hypocrisy to state that our first and greatest desire in life, yes, our only desire, is to glorify God’s Name?

Are all our desires not in the first place to seek the glory of our own name?  

Are all our desires not by nature to seek our own kingdom and that our own will be done?

And do we really ask for our daily bread in order to glorify God’s Name?  

Yes, do we not by nature ask all things for the purpose of satisfying our own desires?

 

Dear congregation, this is indeed true of our old nature; but God has graciously delivered us from such a sinful life.   He gives us a new heart.   And now He teaches us how to pray.  

Although we will never reach the perfection of a sinless heart in this life, the Lord has indeed given us a new heart with new desires. 

It is the Lord Himself who now takes us by the hand and leads us on the way of true life in covenant communion with Him.  

Like small children He teaches us the words that we did not know.  

He Himself puts His words in our mouth so that we may know what to pray for. 

He does even more:  He renews us in such a way that more and more we find our delight in praying these words.

 

Yes, being redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, this petition has indeed become all our desire, so that we may say with David:

 

“I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.   Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.” – Psalm 145

 

“Praise the LORD!   Praise the LORD, o my soul!   While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” – Psalm 146

 

 

Now, when we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we have to understand that all the other petitions flow from this one petition.   

When we pray: “Your kingdom come”, we pray for the coming of God’s kingdom in order that His Name may be hallowed.  

When we pray: “Your will be done”, we pray for God’s will to be done in order that His Name may be hallowed.

And also when we turn to the last three petitions, our prayer remains one.

We pray for our daily bread in order that we may serve and glorify God.

We pray for the forgiveness of our sins in order that we may live before His face to His glory.

We pray God to keep us from temptation in order that we may not blaspheme His holy Name, but may overcome sin to the glory of His Name.  

And so all our petitions are ultimately directed to this end: Hallowed be Your Name!

 

So then, brothers and sisters, this is the first petition, and it is the one petition from which all other petitions flow, for this has become the sole purpose of our life.

 

In the second place we note that with this petition…

We pray for the true knowledge of God’s holy Name

 

We read this afternoon in Leviticus 10 about Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, who burned incense to the LORD, but used profane fire which the LORD had not commanded them.   And then we read something that frightens us.   The LORD reacted to their worship by consuming them!

 

“…fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.  And Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.’…” (Lev. 10: 2 – 3)

 

The Lord wants to be regarded as holy by those who come near to Him.

Now, what have Nadab and Abihu done wrong?

The text says:

 

“…Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.” – Lev. 10: 1

 

The burning of incense on the golden altar that stood before the veil symbolised our prayers which rise up to God’s throne and is pleasant to Him.   As the priest burned the incense, the smoke of the incense rose up over the veil and filled the Most Holy Place with a pleasant aroma, so our prayers, offered through Christ, ascends to God’s throne and is pleasant to Him.   And He hears our prayers.

 

We read for example in Revelation:

 

“…another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar.   He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.   And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.   Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth.   And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.” – Rev. 8: 3 – 5

 

 So then, what did Nadab and Abihu do?   They worshipped the LORD, but in their own way.   They worshipped the LORD in a way that He had not commanded them.   They brought profane fire before the LORD.   The Hebrew text may also be translated: they brought strange fire before the LORD.  

They worshipped Him in a way that He did not command them.

And thereby they did not acknowledge His holiness!

 

Dear congregation, when we draw near to God to worship Him, we may not worship Him our own way.   We have to revere His holiness and listen to His command.

We may not invent our own worship, for there is only one true God and only one way to worship Him; that is: as He has revealed to us in Holy Scripture.

Any other worship is profane fire.

 

Therefore we need to know God as He has revealed Himself to us, and worship Him in the way He has prescribed, for He is holy.

 

We must know that He is holy, and revere His holiness.

By considering the Lord’s holiness we sanctify Him in our hearts.

To sanctify the Lord in our hearts is an expression used by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3: 15.   There, in that verse, the context also helps us to understand the expression.   He is saying that we should not fear men, but sanctify the Lord in our heart.   Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread, as it is written:

 

“The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread” – Isaiah 8: 13.

Do not fear men; hallow the Lord in your heart, let He be your fear and your dread.

Christ said the same when He said:

“…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.   But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” – Mt. 10: 28.

It is in the same context of persecution that the apostle Peter says: Hallow Him in your hearts.   Do not fear men; fear God.

We sanctify the Lord in our hearts when our thoughts of Him are regulated by His awesome self-revelation.   We hallow Him in our hearts when we rely upon His power, trust in His faithfulness, submit ourselves to His wisdom, and imitate His holiness.

And we hallow His Name before others when our behaviour incites also others to glorify and honour Him.

So then, we pray: Father, teach us the fear of Your name, that we may honour and revere You.   Instruct us in Your holiness and greatness and goodness so that Your Name may be hallowed – in our own hearts and lives, and also before men.

As the LORD has taught us in that remarkable event with Nadab and Abihu:

“By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.”

 

Dear congregation, if we have to hallow the Name of the Lord in accordance to His self-revelation, the question is:  What then did He reveal to us about Himself?  

Well, God’s holiness is not only one of His attributes, it is rather the sum total of all His attributes.   His holiness is His perfection in all His divine attributes.

Therefore we see His holiness not only in some of His deeds, or in some of His words, but in every aspect of His self-revelation.   We see His holiness in all His works and in all His dealings with us – in His tender mercies, but also in His frightful judgements.  

 

Think of the passage we read this afternoon about the seven last plagues.   Did you notice how the name of God was hallowed by these plagues?   Listen to this response:

 

“Great and marvellous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!   Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!   Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?   For You alone are holy.   All the nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgements have been manifested” – Rev. 15: 3, 4

The saints hallow God’s Name, praising Him for His righteous judgements – the righteous judgements of God by which they were delivered from their enemies.  

 

And when God pours out His wrath on the earth, we hear the saints singing:

 

“You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things…” – Rev. 16: 5.

 

Yes, God reveals His holiness in His Fatherly kindness and mercy and compassion; He reveals His holiness also in the outpouring of His wrath on all unrighteousness, and in His just judgements.   In all His dealings He reveals His holiness.

He revealed His holiness in hardening the heart of Pharaoh, multiplying the plagues on Egypt.   He revealed His holiness when He led Israel through the Red Sea; He revealed His holiness when He drowned Pharaoh in the midst of the sea.

His holiness is revealed in the promise of grace; His holiness is revealed in cursing a sinful world.   His holiness is revealed in the peace of Jerusalem when she hears and obeys His covenant Word; His holiness is revealed also in the destruction of Jerusalem when she has broken the covenant.  

His holiness is revealed in His infinite love and mercy towards us; His holiness is also revealed when He chastens us.  

Yes, in all His words and deeds our Father in heaven reveals Himself as the Holy One.

 

Brothers and sisters, when a church starts flirting with the world, and playing with the grace of God, God will hallow His own Name through judgments. 

On the other hand, when the enemies of the church seem to triumph in breaking down the walls of the church, God will hallow His Name and consume our enemies.

In every situation He will ensure that His Name be hallowed, that His Name be feared and glorified.   And it is our petition that He will do so.

 

Congregation, God has revealed His holiness most clearly in His own Son whom He sent.     We see His holiness there on Calvary.    We see His infinite love in giving His own Son to die for our sins.   There on the cross we see also God’s righteousness revealed, that He could not leave our sins unpunished.

Yes, in all His dealings as our Father in heaven He has revealed His holiness, and made a Name for Himself.

In the previous Lord’s Day, LD 46, we saw that we are to call on Him as our Father – our Father in heaven.   We approach Him in full assurance, fully assured of His love towards us in Christ His Son, for in Christ and through Christ He adopted us as His beloved children.   And it is in this Father-son relationship, this covenant relationship, that He has revealed Himself throughout history in His dealings with His church in this world.

The more we, His children, see the perfection of His holiness in all His doings, the more we sing with David, saying:

            “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8: 9)

And, by a true knowledge of Him, the Holy One, we join the refrain in heaven:

            “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty…” (Rev. 4: 8)

Let us fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him, for that is the only fitting response when we behold His glory.

We note that in the third point, that…

We pray for sanctified hearts to rightly respond to God’s holy Name

 

When God’s face shines upon us, we are to be glad and rejoice.  When He frowns, we are to tremble.   When His dealings with us are beyond our understanding, and His ways beyond finding out, then we are to submit ourselves to His wisdom and to honour His sovereign rule.  

Or, to say it in one word: we are to hallow His name in accordance with His self-revelation.

 

When God reveals His divine majesty, we are to respond with reverence and awe. 

When He reveals His goodness and mercy, we are to thank and praise Him.  

When He reveals His faithfulness, we are to trust Him.  

In whatever way the Lord reveals Himself to us, we are to respond accordingly.  

 

Think for example of Job when He said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there.   The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1: 21)

Or, when he said to his wife:

            “…Shall we accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversary?” (2: 10).

In that terrible hardship he did not sin against God with his lips, or charged God with wrong.  In that situation he hallowed God’s Name by patient perseverance and trust.

Dear congregation, we hallow the Name of the Lord when in times of trouble and trial we patiently wait on the LORD.   Not like Israel in the desert!    God revealed all His wonders to them, yet they responded only by complaining!  

Do you see how the hallowing of God’s name should be something very real and concrete in our daily life?   It is not only a petition on our lips, but a principle that governs our whole life.

And it is a prayer that God may help us in this.

 

Note how the glory of God is attached to our doings.   Because God has become our Father, the holiness of His Name is attached to us.   His Name is hallowed and glorified when His children obey His word; and His Name is blasphemed when we disobey.

Therefore, when we pray “Hallowed be Your Name”, we are also praying: keep us from bringing dishonour on Your Name.   Make us obedient to Your Word, and keep us from worldliness, that Your holy Name may not be blasphemed because of our conduct.

As our Lord Jesus commanded us:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5: 16).

Dear congregation, we live in a time where this petition, to hallow God’s Name, is more and more pushed to the side.   Even the church service where God’s people is gathered before His holy throne has become in many churches a place where man has to be entertained, where the needs and desires of man stands central, and where ultimately man is pleased and glorified.

We read of churches who decide to implement a variety of church services of different style and character so that they may be relevant to all the different kinds of people in the city.   They have a variety of church services of different taste and different kinds for all the different kinds of people, so that all may be happy and receive the gospel according to their own preference and taste.  

It happens more and more that man, and his desires, stands central.   To “hallow God’s Name” – that has become a strange idea!

How do you attract the world with a holy God?!

 

If you believe in a God who is only love, who will punish no one, then there is a special church service for you to suite your taste!

If you prefer to serve the Lord with rap-music, or with rock music, then there is a special service devoted to your preference! 

If you want to serve the Lord in absolute silence in order to meditate, then there is a special silent service just for you!

If you want to be cool, then there is a special tacky and jeans service just for you!

Everyone may make his pick and choose to serve the Lord his own way.

If you want to be a hippy-Christian, then you were born in the right time.

 

Yes, the fear of the Lord is disappearing among many who still call themselves Christian.

 

That gives us all the more reason to be on our guard, lest we also come under the influence of the god-dishonouring world in which we live, and of such a false Christianity.

If someone does not fear God, he does not know God.  

 

Dear congregation, our Father in heaven revealed Himself to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.   In Christ we see His face and live.   Through Christ we see His glory, and worship.

 

Let us then respond – not each one in his own way – but draw near to God with one petition which has now become the sum total of all our desire:

 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.”

 

Amen.

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mendel Retief, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Mendel Retief

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