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“Our Father in Heaven”
Matthew 6:9 (Missionary Kim)
6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…
The 3 languages I spoke in my greeting reflect my missionary journey for the last 27 years.
- I lived in the Philippines,
- then in the US,
- then in Panama.
I was invited to serve a home ministry as the International Mission Director at Paul Mission International.
When I left Korea, I didn’t meet any single foreign resident on the street. Today, I see a BIG change. There’s been a rise in the number of foreign residents in Korea. In line with this, Paul Mission Intl, has been developing a ministry for the foreign residents: Thai, Vietnamese, English, African. We have different ministries – and there are 16 people involved with this. Pastor Heo and his wife are two of them.
I’m excited to be here this morning, but I feel sorry to be late in coming to you. However, you have been well spoken of around the city and so I wanted to see you very much.
This morning, I’m privileged to be with you. But since English is not my first language, I must struggle, but I’ll try my best to making myself understood.
“Our Father in Heaven”
This is based on what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Let me share 3 points.
#1 “Our Father”
The first phrase draws my attention. “Our father” – in both the traditional version, and the modern English version.
Every time I call, “My father” I feel confidence and inspiration about who I am and in my identity.
When we call “Our father in heaven”, I’m not a Korean, not an international mission director. I just stand in the presence of God as his child of God. This is Eph – this is enough.
Nothing else – but being a child of God – is a decoration of our outer parts. Being a child of God is “REAL” – it’s TRUE.
What is the MOST truthful thing in the world?
- The son before the father is the most truthful.
- Or creature before the Creator is the most truthful.
- That which is added is not “truth” but just decoration.
When is your most truthful time?
- When we face one another with no make-up on our faces. I’m a fake with make-up on my face.
The life relationship between father and son – and when Jesus was born – in Heb 1:1-3, “the Son was the radiance of his glory and the EXACT representation of his being.” The son expresses its father – the creature radiates the Creator.
So, let me bring you into his presence today as “children of God.” This is real.
What is the first question that God made in the Garden of Eden to the human race?
“Where are you?”
What had happened?
Adam took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – and they realized after having eaten that they were naked. So, they were embarrassed to be naked before the Lord. They wove thick leaves into clothes and made coverings for themselves and HID among the big trees.
This reflects human behavior to try to add something in order to cover up their nakedness before God – through double and triple coverings. This is human nature. They were afraid of being naked before God because of their sins and shame.
We often try to meet our own neighbors with make-up and not naked faces. This is my point. This is a tragedy.
People try to cover their shame, they try to cover nakedness with success, money, education, something big.
- If you add money to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a rich man!”
- If you add knowledge to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a doctor!”
- If you add businesses to your nakedness, “Hello, Mr. President / CEO.”
This is who we are right now. There is no “being” – we try to show what we’re “made of.” But that’s NOT REAL.
What’s real is being a child of the Father. Nothing else matters.
When my son was in graduate school, he met a girl who became his wife and my daughter-in-law. Her name is Sarah.
When they were dating, my son visited her parents’ house to introduce himself.
Her parents were Cambodian missionaries, and her grandparents were living in California. Her grandfather was in the nursing home due to a stroke. So, my son went to the nursing home to introduce himself, and he was bed-ridden and being cared for by nurses all day.
Sarah said, “Grandpa, I brought my BF to have him greet you.”
Grandpa had been sleeping, or thinking, anyway his eyes were closed. He heard the girl’s voice and turned and asked, “What do you do?”
My son, pridefully, “I’m getting my PhD, sir.”
Grandpa, “Huh. It’s all useless.” Then closed his eyes again. There was no more conversation after that.
These only words uttered from his mouth, “It’s all useless.”
My son told me this over dinner, and I told my son, “that’s exactly the summary of his life.” In fact, he was 82 years old, had immigrated to the US in the 1960s. At that time, it was not usual for Koreans to study in the US nor even receive a PhD. But he became a doctor and a prestigious professor, even at high ranking schools and the Police Academy. He wrote columns in the newspaper, he became famous, everyone knew him.
Now, when he became ill, he felt there was no meaning in life, that everything was useless.
What good is a doctorate, or fame, when he is bed-ridden and at the mercy of the nurses all day?
This reminds us of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, experienced ALL pleasures in life, and lived everything he could, and at the end, expressed, “Everything is vanity – utterly meaningless. What does man gain from all his labors at which he toils under the sun?”
So, what do we have in “being” except BEING his child.
- “I am His child.”
- “We are His children.”
This is real, this is true, this is ultimate. Everything else will be gone.
#2 “Our father in heaven”
Take a note of the plural form of “our father”. With this confirmation and understanding, what comes to mind as we call God, “our father” – not “my father”?
We are all the family of ONE father.
- My question is: How are we related?
- Look at the next person. Can you say, “You are my brother / sister”?
That’s the meaning of the truth.
That’s what it means by “congregation” = “our brothers and sisters.”
So, we are born into ONE family as brothers and sisters. And with this statement, I was reminded of the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. This church was multi-ethnic – Jews, Asians, Greek, Romans.
Paul emphasized two words: “remember” (chp 2)
- “Remember who you WERE”
- “Remember who you ARE”
- You WERE – a Gentile by birth. You cannot erase or change your birth. You have no choice in your nationality.
- You WERE “uncircumsized” by religious standards.
- You WERE separated from Christ – excluded from citizenship in Israel – and foreigners to the promise and covenant of God to the Jews.
- You WERE once so far away, and HAVE BEEN transferred into this family.
- You ARE NOW ONE in Christ Jesus because he washed all your / our sins away.
Christ is our peace. Christ himself, our peace.
We have heard about the reconciliation of peace between North and South Korea on Friday – and the whole world rejoiced.
However, WE BRING unique news that JESUS CHRIST is our peace.
- He is the ONE who has made two ONE.
- He has broken the walls and hostility.
There has been war with Japan, discrimination of Jews in Germany, a wall between the US and Mexico. However, in THIS situation, we bring Christ – because he is PEACE.
You are no longer foreigners or aliens, you are members of God’s household.
Another verse: Galatians 3:10~ “You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Wherever this happens, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew, Greek, American, Korean, African, it doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised.
Each race has its own religious tradition, and we respect that, but in Christ Jesus, we are ONE.
It doesn’t matter if you are civilized or not, educated or not, slave or free. What you have and what you don’t have – either you’re employee or employer – doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are ONE in Christ Jesus.
In line with this, I found wonderful verses from the Mosaic Command. Exodus 22 – following several chapters, there is the mention of 3 groups of people:
- Strangers (sojourners / pilgrims)
These three groups were considered socially marginalized and underprivileged. God has a heart for them more than anyone else.
In the Mosaic Law, “Don’t mistreat the strangers, the aliens – because you were strangers in Egypt. Don’t take advantage of widows and orphans. If you do, they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry, and I will arouse my anger against you. If you oppose strangers, foreigners, widows, orphans, I will kill you with my sword. Then your wife will be a widow, and your children will be fatherless.”
We must be warned in this way – against discrimination against the minor, or the weak.
Paul, then, after mentioning “no Greek, nor Jew” – after that, I found a wonderful verse in Galatians” Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience.”
We must LOVE one another.
What is the SECOND question to man after the Garden of Eden?
“Cain, where is your brother.”
He replied: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The Bible omitted the answer of God in this conversation. “Yes, you are.”
We ARE responsible for taking care of one another. Community in Latin is “come” and “munis” (gifts) – “My presence itself is a gift to someone else. I’m here because of you; because of you, I’m here.”
That’s the third point I want to share with you.
So, how can this be consistent?
#3 “In Heaven”
How can we make harmony with this knowledge and the first phrase of the Lord’s prayer: “in heaven”?
This is not a matter of space or location – rather it is a matter of His character, quality, personality, and our respect for Him.
- A being in heaven is very different from a being on the ground.
- There are many boundaries, and biases and prejudices on the ground.
- But the higher you go in the sky, the less our boundaries become.
So, we must live where our father lives – in heaven – as Christians, as believers.
Have you ever heard of the “overview effect”? This term was coined by astronauts. When they go HIGH up in space, they see things very differently. Their visibility is very different from ours. They are “in heaven.”
If we go (metaphorically) into heaven with our father, then we can SEE as he sees – that we are ONE, a global community.
I think this has a profound meaning. I’m so moved with this message with you this morning.
Key point: Everyone is ONE in the sight of God.
Lastly: you know how important and essential for survival water is. Weeks ago I went to South Africa. In Cape Town, this place is very developed – like a European country. However, on arriving there, there was no water even in public service areas – like the airport. There was only hand sanitizer.
My host’s house was large, a two-story building, looks good. But when I went to the toilet, it said, “Only flush for #2, not for #1.”
It “looks” good, but actually is difficult to live in.
“Water” symbolizes Jesus Christ. Without Christ, nothing can live (spiritually). Without water, how long can you survive? Not long. This was all due to drought.
“The River From the Temple
1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. ”
7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.
12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
This was to be healing for all nations.
There must be fertile land – and God wants his people to divide the land and reside there.
21 “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. **23 In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.**
Wow! great~ How fun for the Israelites to inhabit this land.
But this was not the end. God said specifically that foreigners were also to get their own land. Considering the exclusivity of the Israelites, this is extraordinary. They were to allow the foreigners to settle down as native Israelites.
The healing, the land, the leaves, the fruit, is not ONLY for Israel. This is for ALL nations. This is the heart of God. This is God’s vision.
But we are human. “I’m Korean.” I’m one-sided and biased. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, I mistreat, oppress, take advantage of those who are socially disadvantaged. But through God’s eyes and with his strength, we can love everyone.
- We are children of God.
- We are the family of ONE father.
- We live in heaven with him.
- We see as he sees.