Our Lord calls us to be light in the world. So often we think that we need greater strategies to impact our particular circles. This is certainly something to pray about and to potentially discuss with one another. However, our Lord calls us to look beyond this immediate age. Where are we called to look? How do we know that our Lord is with us as we look to heaven’s glory?
The Lord has given some pretty strong commands as he expounds the intention of the law. We might want to turn away, tune out the sermon, and take our own path. Our Lord continues to give some assurances that he really has come to save sinners. How do we know that our God can and will love a struggling people?
It is easy for fallen man to be judgmental. If we are honest we would much rather fix someone else’s problem than our own because overall we are doing pretty well right? This is not what Christ says, and Christ speaks in a parabolic way showing the absurdity of such a judgmental spirit. So, what is the problem of being judgmental and what is the solution?
The Lord has called us to honor Him and to live a life exclusively for our God. Christ makes this life a challenge when Christ is very explicit that the law is something that cuts to the heart rather than just being an outward superficial conforming. It is impossible for us to conform to the Lord from our heart, and so how do we conform to the Lord? How do we come before the Lord in light of such impossible exhortations?
James does not conclude his letter like other apostles who conclude their letters with greetings, benedictions, or passing greetings along to churches from fellow saints. James tells us not to take oaths, anoint with oil, and exhorting us to bring back the wandering one. Is it really true that we are not to take an oath? Are we to anoint all the sick with oil? How do we bring someone back who has wandered from the truth? These are the questions that we seek to answer in our last sermon on James.
We can be very frustrated at times because it seems like the Lord is not hearing our prayers. We might be asking for something that we desire, but the Lord might not be giving us what we want. Why would the Lord withhold good things from his children? How can we find contentment in times of want? How can we have an attitude before the Lord that is pleasing and honorable to Him?
This is one of the requests of the Lord’s prayer that we can rattle off without really considering the implications of it. What does it mean that we really want the Lord’s will? This is basically saying that we no longer desire to live by our will, but by the will of our father in heaven. So, how do we live by the will of the Lord seeking to honor the Lord?
When we talk about the Kingdom of God we normally associate the Kingdom of God as being something that is present here and now. So, if the Kingdom is present here and now then why would we ask the Lord for the Kingdom to come? The Lord will establish His kingdom despite any forces that may stand against it. So, what does it mean that we ask for the Lord’s kingdom to come?
Christ commands us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.” This is not something that initially seems comforting to us earth dwelling Christians. If God is in heaven while we are here on earth how can His heavenly dwelling be a benefit to us? However, Christ is teaching us to pray this prayer so this is something good. So, what we are we missing? What is the bigger picture that we so often fail to see as struggling humans? How is our praying to our Father in Heaven far more comforting than we could imagine?
Our catechism moves from the law of God that we obey out of gratitude to teaching us about prayer. It does seem a bit strange that as Calvinists we would pray and that our confessional documents would have strong language regarding the necessity of prayer. Why pray if everything is determined? What can prayer do for us in our Christian life? Do we pray to change the will of God or do we pray for another reason?