Friday, October 26, 2012

"Adoration; Hallowed Be Thy Name"

Timothy Keller said the following in his sermon, "Adoration; Hallowed Be Thy Name":

(In the Lord's Prayer, praise...) is not just first mechanically, it's first organically.  It's not simply a matter of God has given us a mechanical set of steps that we're just told, "First praise, and then move on to petition, then move on to confession."  No, it's first because praise is supposed to frame the others, praise is the context for the others, praise is to dominate and saturate the others, praise is to dominate not just all of prayer, but it's to dominate all of your life.  Why?  Because petition means how you look at the world and confession is how you look at yourself.  And Jesus is saying all the problems you have in relating to the world or relating to yourself are really problems of adoration.  If you don't hallow God, if you hallow anything more than God, the problems will show up in petition and they'll show up in confession, but the problems are really prior.  Let me show you.
When you do petition, you're saying, "I've got needs."  When you're doing confession, you're saying, "I've got problems."  But problems that come up in both of those areas are first of all problems of adoration.
Let me show you.  For example, as a Pastor over the years, I've continually come up with a problem that people have thrown in front of me and for a long time, I was always baffled and everybody seems to be baffled.  There's people who say, "You know, I know that what I've done was wrong, and I have repented, I've asked forgiveness to God, I've asked forgiveness to people, and I know that maybe God has forgiven me and I know that others have forgiven me, but I can't forgive myself.  I can't."  Well, that used to stump me for a long time.  Then I began to understand, I think, the Lord's Prayer.  What do you do with your secrets?  Your secret time?  What is it that you hallow the most?  What is it that you adore the most?  Is it success?  Is it sex appeal?  Is it comfort?  Is it approval of people?  Is it a love life?  Is it your family?  What is it that you most hallow?  That will completely control your view of yourself.  And confession will be completely driven by that.  You'll only feel like you've failed, if you've failed one of these things.  And you'll feel like you don't need to confess if you have not failed one of those things.  In other words, what you hallow, what you adore, completely affects, AND if you hallow anything more than God, it will distort your view of yourself and it will distort confession, so it is nothing but filled with guilt and frustration.  So when somebody says, "I can't forgive myself", what you mean is, "I hallow something more than God and it won't forgive me, I've violated it, and it is more important than God.  I know God forgives me, but IT won't forgive me!"
Example:  Many years ago, I remember counseling a man who had actually been unfaithful to his wife.  And boy, he admitted it, he showed some repentance, his wife forgave him and received him back, the people around him forgave him.  We sat down, I was his Pastor, we sat down and we talked about it and we went through the Scripture and he saw that yes, this is possible that God can forgive, look how God forgave and continued to use other people who did the same thing.  But he said, "You know, though, Pastor, I can't forgive myself."  And as we dug, here's what was really wrong.  He came from an incredibly prudish family who saw sexual sin as worse than any other kind of sin.  Now, that is not at all what the Bible teaches.  The Bible says sexual sin is sin, so is paying unfair wages, and so is gossip, and so is pride.  The Bible does not make these distinctions between sins.  But he came from an incredibly prudish family and the fact that he, even though his parents were dead, he had disappointed his parents.  And he says, "I could not forgive myself."  His problem in the area of self image, you say, "Well this guy just has a bad self image", yeah, "This guy hates himself", yes, "He needs to repent", no, his problem is prior.  He needs to demote his parents from the place that they are, he needs to get them out of the holy place of his life, he needs to get them off the throne.  See, the grace of God really wasn't what drove him, what he was deriving his self image from was that he lived up to his parental expectations and when he failed his parental expectations, "I can't forgive myself!".  Sounds very humble, it's a failure of adoration.  Everything comes from adoration.  If he'd "Hallowed Be Thy Name", he'd have no problem with saying, "Forgive us our debts".

You have to do adoration before you get to confession, but you also have to do adoration before you get to petition.  There are people who say, "Give us this day our daily bread."  Now, what is bread?  Bread is what you've gotta have.  It doesn't say, "Give us this day our daily dessert."  It doesn't say, "Apple Crisp".  It says, "Bread".  It doesn't say, "Cappuccino", it says, "Bread".  All right?
What do you get down on your knees and say "God, I've got to have that" and you make your petitions known.  Over the years, I've talked to people who say, "I've prayed, and I've prayed, and I've prayed, and I get no peace.  I don't think God's going to hear me, I get no peace.  I pray, and I don't get any kind of calmness."  Well, here's why:  what if you go to God and say, "I've got to get that promotion or my life is over".  It's bread!  It's "I've got to have it!  If I don't get that promotion, my life is over."  Well, no wonder you're not getting any kind of peace.  You know why?  If you have hallowed your career, whatever you hallow is the thing that runs your life.  Whatever you hallow, if you even think about losing it, you just go all to pieces.  (It is) the reason you're getting no peace in petition, the reason you're getting no peace, the reason you cannot get over your worry, the reason you can't get over your anxiety no matter how much you pray, (Philippians 4: 6-7).  People say, "I have all this anxiety and I let my requests known but it doesn't get any better.  I'm just eaten up with worry, what's the matter?"  It's a failure of adoration.  You've got to demote your job, you gotta get it out of the hallowed place.

Praise, adoration of God, is the thing that will heal your view of the world and your view of yourself.  It must dominate, it must saturate.  You must be great at it.  Adoration is looking at God and saying, "Everything is coming back into focus!" "


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