Worship Service for June 14, 2020 — Hallowed Be Your Name
8“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”
10Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. 11Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops. 12Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the islands. 13The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.
Psalm: Psalm 78 on page 95 in Christian Worship
O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
I will utter things from of old,
what we have heard and what our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from our children;
we will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord.
The Lord decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
so the next generation would know them,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
7“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
11I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
As we go through the Lord’s prayer, we are going to see that there are some very unusual things About this very well-known prayer. One of the things that is always struck me as being a bit unusual about this prayer, is the way we pronounce one of the words in this petition. That is the word hallowed. Can you think of any other circumstance where you pronounce that word in that particular way? You do use that word. For example, when you’re talking about a military Cemetery, you might speak of being on hallowed ground. What do you mean by that? You mean that the people who lie buried there have given their all. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for you. It means that there is something special about that piece of ground. If you’re like me, it makes you extremely angry to see people desecrate that piece of hallowed ground. When speaking about God’s name in this petition, we mean the same sort of thing. Let’s take a look at this petition.
Hallowed Be Your Name
I. The name hallows us
II. So we want to hallow it
This section of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one that very really clearly states who Jesus is. Let’s look at the verses that precede our text. 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Paul is Relating the story of how the eternal word of God took on human flesh and blood for one very specific purpose. He did not make the full use of his godly power when he took on human flesh and blood so that he might serve us.
As he lived in our flesh and blood, he worked out our Salvation by keeping the law that we were incapable of keeping. He made his obedience to God’s law our obedience to God’s law. He made us holy by his life, in other words. He then went on to make us holy through his death. It was at the cross where all of our guilt that should have condemned us to hell was heaped upon him. In experiencing death on the cross, he also experienced the horrors of hell. In so doing, he gave to us the status of holy people. Our sins are completely taken away, and Jesus holiness is now our holiness.
This is why the Apostle Paul says what he does in our text for today. 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. He means that Jesus name, as Martin Luther put it in his explanation of this petition, is holy in and of itself. It is holy because it is the name that makes us holy. When we pray in this petition, hallowed be your name, we are making a confession. Really, first and foremost, that is what we are doing. We are acknowledging that our savior’s name stands head and shoulders above every name that has ever been or will ever be. this is what peter meant when he said in Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” The name of Jesus is the hallowed ground on which we stand boldly before our God and call him our Father in heaven as we learned last week when we looked at the address of the Lord’s Prayer.
When we look at it this way, we see that we begin our prayer with a doxology. We begin our prayer by acknowledging who God is, first of all. We are acknowledging that he is our creator, our Redeemer, and our sanctifier. Those are all the things that are tied up in calling God our father. We are then acknowledging that that name is a holy name. We are praising God for being holy in and of himself and we are praising God that he has given us that holiness and made us his dear children. All of that is tied up with the doxology aspect of this first petition.
Because Jesus’ name is holy for this reason, that means that we want to keep it holy. This is how the first petition reads in Luther’s Small Catechism. Hallowed be your name. What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy by itself, but we pray in this petition that we too may keep it holy. We are asking God to work in us the desire and the ability to show the world what that name means to us. We know how holy that name is. We know what that name means to us. And we want everyone to know the same thing that we do every time they hear that name. Paul said the same thing in our text when he wrote about the attitude we have toward the name of Jesus: “10At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Just the same sort of thing that I spoke about in the introduction to the sermon. A military Cemetery is hallowed ground. When we are conducting ourselves in a military Cemetery, we want to show everyone exactly how special that place is to us. How do we do that? We speak in hushed tones. We give special attention to the graves of those who were killed in action. We put crosses and flags on the tombstones during special days like Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day. We also avoid doing things that make it looked like the place means nothing to us. We avoid running through it, laughing out loud, or saying derogatory things about the soldiers who are buried there. Whenever we see people do something like that, we rightfully bristle.
This is what Martin Luther says constitutes hallowing the holy name of God in our lives: How is God’s name kept holy? God’s name is kept holy when his Word is taught in its truth and purity, and we as children of God lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But whoever teaches and lives contrary to God’s Word dishonors God’s name among us. Keep us from doing this, dear Father in heaven! The first part of that explanation is especially meaningful to me As a called servant of God’s Word. But this also has to do with the way that we handle God’s name in our day-to-day lives. We don’t want people to think of God’s name as simply something that you say when you’re frustrated about something. we are asking god that he Give us the desire an ability to use God’s name in a way that is not disrespectful or flippant. We want God to give us the ability to speak of the wonders of that name and its ability to make us holy before him. This is what we want people to think about every time they hear the name of God from us. To that extent, we are praying for forgiveness every time we use God’s name in a way that brings dishonor upon that holy and precious name.
Hallowing God’s name doesn’t just begin and end with the way we use that name in our speech. It also is involved in the way we live our lives. I believe that it was Saint Francis of Assisi who is credited with the quote, “Preach God’s word at all times. When necessary, use words.” That, of course, doesn’t mean that speaking the word of God or preaching the word of God is somehow inferior to the Christian life. But what it does mean is that we should always be conscious of showing God in our lives.
This is another great way in which we show how holy and precious the name of God is. When we live lives that are contrary to God’s will, it might give the impression that God’s name means nothing to us.
All of this can be awesome and a little bit rattling. When we think of all the things that we have said that have made light of God’s name, like when we simply use it to spice up our conversation, we realize how much help we need in this. When we think of all those times when people look at us and say, “So that’s what it means to be a Christian?!” we are conscious of how much we need God’s help to fulfill this petition.
There is a reason why this is the first petition in the Lord’s prayer. It is there because we are praising him right off the bat. It is also there because this is our constant business as believers in the holy name of God. As we will see in the next couple of petitions, God fulfilling this petition in our lives becomes front and center to everything else that we do as believers in this world. Jesus knew that full well and he wanted his disciples to keep that uppermost in their minds at all times. It is an awesome thing to pray as we begin the Lord’s prayer. May we always pray it with respect, seriousness, and reverence. His name deserves nothing less. Amen.