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Your Will Be Done

Your Will Be Done

Matthew 6:9-13

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Application

  • What was your main takeaway from the sermon?
  • Did the Holy Spirit lead you into any situations this week where you had an opportunity to put your takeaway(s) into practice?
  • What impact did those opportunities have on you spiritually?

Discussion Questions:

  • Why do you suppose we are so reluctant to submit to God’s leadership?
  • What are some of the things (other than God) that we place on the throne of our lives? (please give specific examples of things that you personally deal with).
  • If you submitted to God’s leadership at a higher level, what do you imagine that would look like? What would change?
  • Followers of Christ are citizens of the heavenly kingdom. In the words of one author, “the church’s vocation is to make the invisible kingdom visible.” How can this prayer help you live more distinctly as a citizen of heaven?
  • In this prayer we are told to ask that God’s will would be done. What role does the Bible have in knowing God’s will? How can you become more familiar with God’s will?
  • Cory made the point that we often only obey the things we agree with. How does this prayer help us to deal with those times when God’s will is contrary to our will?
  • Jesus himself prayed, “Not my will but yours be done.” How does that help us to both appreciate the difficulty of this part of the Lord’s prayer and give us hope that we too can pray for the will of God to be done?

Transcript

4/21/2024 Your Will Be Done

*This is a transcript from the sermon audio. This document has not been edited for spelling, grammar, or exactness.

Alright. If you’re able to track down a Bible, get with me, please. To Matthew, chapter six. And in the Bibles that we have here, that’s on page 831. 831, called the Lord’s prayer. I’m going to read it and then we’ll pray and get to work. This is Matthew, chapter six. Starting in verse nine, it reads like this.

This then is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Let’s pray. Lord, we’re asking right now that you would teach us how to pray. We’re asking that you would incline our hearts to communicate with you in a way that is pleasing to you. So we commit this time to you right now and we ask that you would help us in your name. Amen.

As a church, we’ve been going through the Lord’s prayer and we’re taking it phrase by phrase. We’re looking at these different features of the instruction that the Lord gave on how to pray. When you pray, this then is how you should pray. And we’ve looked at different things, but today we’re coming to verse ten and we’re looking at the request, and you’ll see them here, the request to see the kingdom of God come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We come now to a particular request that’s being made. We’ve noticed in the opening verse that there were certain things that are built into the prayer. We want people to know God as father. We want people to know him as holy, as hallowed. But now we come to the particular request of the kingdom of God, and the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven. So let’s take these one at a time. Your kingdom come, your will be done.

YOUR KINGDOM COME

So what is meant by a kingdom? When we ask God that his kingdom would come, what is it that we’re talking about? We’re talking about the fact that God is king. And we’re asking that God’s rulership then would be experienced and embraced and enjoyed. That people would recognize that God is the maker of all things and that he is the ruler of this world that he has made. And we’re asking that people would come gladly and submit to his leadership and to his reign. Now, the thing that we notice then, as we begin to work our way through. What the Bible says about this kingdom and about this king is that our submission to him is unnatural. We don’t do this easily, which is one of the reasons why we have to pray about it. When it comes to the Lord’s leadership, we are resistant to it. I’m going to show it to you by taking you both to the Old Testament and showing you the origination of it. And then I’ll also lead you into the New Testament and to our resistance to the king of kings.

But in one Samuel chapter eight, this is where the monarchy began. This is the people of God and they have a leader, but he’s a priest, he’s not a king. And they say to him, this is one Samuel chapter eight, verses five to seven. They say to him, you’re old, which by the way, starting out that way, you know it’s not going to go well. But they’re saying, you’re old and your sons do not follow your ways. Now appoint a king to lead us such as all the other nations have. So they say to this individual, we would like to have a political military leader just like everybody else. Now, because Samuel is the priest, he’s the leader. He’s upset by that. We see it in verse six when they said, give us a king to lead us. This displeased Samuel, so he prayed to the Lord and here’s how God responds to him. Verse seven, the Lord told him, listen to all that. The people are saying to you, it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. Before the monarchy even begins. We see this resistance of humanity to the leadership of God. God says, they’re not rejecting just a human leader. He says they’re rejecting me. They don’t even know what they’re asking for, but they’re reluctant to allow me. God is saying, they’re reluctant to allow me to be their leader. So then God says, samuel, you can move forward in this project, but I want you to warn them. And he tells them, this is what it’s going to be like. This is, verses eleven to 20 is long. I’m going to read it with you, but then we’re not going to double click on all the details. I just want you to feel the warning that God gives. So that way we understand why is it that we’re resistant to God and what is it that we replace him with and what does that feel like?

So this is Samuel speaking to the people, warning them. And he says this, this is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights. He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. He will take your kids and conscript them into his army. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariot. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a 10th of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials in attendance, your male and female servants, and the best of your cattle and donkeys. He will take for his own use. He will take a 10th of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king that you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day. He says, you’re asking for something, but do you even understand what it is you’re going to get when you have a human leader with that much authority over you? This is what it’s going to feel like. He says, that king will abuse you, he will take advantage of you, he will oppress you. You will come to recognize eventually the foolishness of this request, and you will cry out for relief. But in that day, the Lord will not answer you. And I think built into this warning is an invitation. Do you want to renegotiate here? Are you sure you want to move forward on this? Are you sure that’s the idea you want to pursue? But the people are so resistant to God that this is what happens. Look at verses 19 and 20, when the people refused to listen to Samuel. The people refused to listen to Samuel. No, they said, we want a king over us. Then we will be like the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles. Here’s one of the things that we notice. Humanity is resistant to the rulership of God. And in fact, we foolishly imagine that there are other things that we could place on the throne of our lives and get better results, that we could place other people or other things on the throne of our lives. And we think that would be for our advantage, that would be to our good. And God is saying, that’s not how it’s gonna work. You think that’ll bring you happiness? You think that’ll bring you everything that you dream of, but it won’t work. He says eventually you’re gonna come to see that clearly and you’re gonna ask for relief, but you’ve gotten what you’ve asked for already. You were asking for a human leader, and you are rejecting the God of glory. And he says, that’s to your own detriment. See, we have this resistance to God’s rulership, which is why we have to pray for it. We have to pray that his kingdom would come and that we would embrace it gladly. So even in the Old Testament, we see this concept coming true. There’s a resistance to the kingship of God.

We see this also when we come to the New Testament. If you read the gospel accounts, there are four different stories of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. In all four of them, you find this concept, because the authors make it plain the arrival of Jesus is the arrival of the kingdom, which is why you find phrases like this in all four of the accounts. You find people saying things like, the kingdom of God is at hand, or the kingdom of God is near. And in fact, Jesus is the king. And as he goes through his life and his ministry, he’s actually arrested and executed for being the king. Doctor Don Carson, he puts it like this. This is one of the most incredible ironies of the gospels. And what we find is that Jesus is arrested, and then what they would do is they would do this public execution. They would hang people on a cross, and it was meant to be a deterrent against crime. And so you’d be walking by and you could see these individuals who were hanging there and on the crucifix, they’d put the charge for which they are guilty on there. So when the other guys that were getting executed that day, they would have these placards on there, and they’d probably say something like, this guy’s a thief. And so you’d be walking by and you’d notice it, and you go, okay, I’m not going to steal anything, because if I steal something, I might get what this guy is getting today. It would be a deterrent. Do you know what was on the crucifix of the Lord king of the Jews? The crime for which he was accused and executed was, da Carson says, ironic. This is the truest thing you could say of him. He is the king, and he was executed on account of his kingship. The people rejected him. They didn’t understand what his kingship was all about. They didn’t understand what it looked like to come under his gracious rulership. He didn’t. His leadership didn’t fit their paradigm.

And this is true, by the way, the Bible gives us an allowance here that tells us this is a confusing concept. The kingship of the Lord is confusing. So what I do is I read the one year Bible. That’s my personal interaction with scriptures. And this week I’ve been in the Book of Luke, where the one year Bible has me. It’s a the style of Bible where you open it up to April 21 and you read these different things. Well, leading up to this week, I’ve been in Luke chapters 17 and 18 and 19, and what I found there is teaching on the kingdom. And it’s not just me, and it’s not just you, but a lot of people are confused by this, including Jesus’s own followers. So what he says in Luke chapter 17, the people imagined that the. That the kingdom was going to look different. And so what he says in Luke chapter 17, he says, the coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed. And he’s saying, it’s not as obvious as other kingdoms. It’s not just this plain thing. So when I drove from my house in Roscoe to here this morning, I drove by a sign that says, welcome to Machesney park. There’s a geographical boundary marker, and I’m able to say, I’m now in Machesney park. And if I go, well, who’s in charge here? I can go on the website, Machesney Park dot Gov, and I can see the governor, and I can see all the leaders in town, and I can do that. It’s observable. When it comes to the kingdom, Jesus says it’s not observable like that. There’s not a boundary marker where you go, I’m now entering the kingdom. There’s not this physical location where you go, I was out, but now I’m in. And it’s not as easy to discern what’s going on. He says, the kingdom is actually in your midst. He says, it’s something that’s going on around you. You might not even perceive it. In other words, as St. Augustine puts it, it’s invisible. It’s this reality. It’s a spiritual thing that Jesus is doing here. And Jesus is saying, this kingdom is in your midst. I kept reading this week, and I got into Luke chapter 19. There’s a story that the Lord gives, because, again, there’s confusion. What is the kingdom? And people had no idea what was going on there, so they had some wrong estimations, and he taught into it. So in Luke chapter 19. The people of God. The people were thinking that the kingdom would arrive all at once. There would be a king. It would be obvious. He’d be coronated. He’d be installed, and then all of a sudden, the kingdom would be right before our very eyes. So Jesus says, no, that’s not how it works. And he tells a story and he says, it’s like this. It’s like a person who goes away and is appointed king. But the problem is the people who he’s going to lead don’t want him to be king. And in fact, they say things like this. His subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, we don’t want this man to be our king. He goes away. He’s installed as king, and then he returns. And what we find when he returns is that he’s calling to account. He’s given different assignments to people, and he’s saying, what have you done in my absence? How have you put this to work on my behalf? And he calls people into account. And those who rejected him, he punishes. And what Jesus is teaching us, he gives us three lessons here, and I want these to inform your prayers.

He tells us, be careful about your estimation of timing, because the people consistently thought it was going to happen on their timeline, that it was going to be something that they could predict and that they could embrace. And jesus teaches us that’s not how it works. And in a lot of the stories that he gives, the king departs and tarries. He takes his time, and we don’t know when he’s going to return. So you better be ready, because it could happen and it’ll be surprising. He says, it’s like a thief coming at night. He’s gone, but he’s coming again. So be careful about your estimation of timing.

Be careful about your allegiance. He points out in his stories and his parables that it is possible to reject this king, to think that there is a better system or a better leader or a better ruler for you than him. He says, be careful about your allegiance. And even as Christians, we can reject Jesus as leader of our lives. We can. We can push him aside and say, yes, I believe in you for my salvation, but I want to call the shots here. Thank you very much.

So we need to be careful about our allegiance, and then we need to be careful about what we’re doing while we’re waiting for him. We should be going about the king’s work, doing the things that would be pleasing to him, recognizing he’s going to return and he’s going to call into account.

So what are we talking about then, as we think about this idea? Lord, let your kingdom come. We want our prayers to be informed by what the Lord taught us about his kingdom. We want to be praying that God would become enthroned on the throne of our lives. Ji Packer puts it like this. God’s kingdom is not a place, but rather a relationship. It exists wherever people enthroned Jesus as Lord of their lives. We want the reality of God to dominate the hearts of people everywhere. So three prayers for us, then, that would get us in this direction. Number one, one of the things that we could pray then, is let my heart. So we’re talking to God and we’re saying, let me be gladly subject to your leadership. Let me embrace your rule and your reign. Let me come to see your gracious rulership as a benefit to myself, prevent my heart, God, from imagining that there’s something else that could be better, that there’s something else that could get me further along in the stuff that I really prefer. Let me find joy in your leadership. That’s the first prayer, Lord, let your kingdom come. And what I’m saying is, Lord, let me embrace your leadership.

But secondly, we should be praying also for other people, that others would come to see the beauty and the graciousness of his rule and reign. We want other people to see who God is and what he’s like and to gladly submit themselves to him as well. Abraham Kuyper puts it like this. He says, there’s not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry mine. It’s all his. He’s creator and maker. One of the things that we can be praying is that people would come to gladly embrace that, that they would entrust themselves to him and enthrone him as lord of their lives. So we should pray for others.

Third, we should pray that we would be good citizens of his kingdom, that we should be living our lives in such a way that his rulership becomes obvious for us, that we are submitting to him. And other people are noticing that, and they are going, you operate differently. Why is it that you think differently, you talk differently, you have different priorities and different commitments. And we are able to point to our king of kings. So we should be praying that we are good citizens of the kingdom. We should be laboring for the king, knowing that he’s entrusted us with the things that we have and the time that we have. So we want to use those things wisely for his glory. One of the reformers put it like this. The job of the church is to make the invisible kingdom visible. So we should be living our lives in such a way that people come to see the beauty of this king and what it looks like to live under his gracious rule. So when we pray, Lord, let your kingdom come. We’re praying in that direction.

YOUR WILL BE DONE

Secondly, we pray that his will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Lord, we pray for your will to come true. Now, you might ask, what is his will? His will would be his desire, the things that he cares about, the things that he’s passionate about. And one of the ways that we can know the will of God is through what he has revealed to us. He’s actually made it pretty plain. He gave us his word. He documented it. He said, this is what I care about. These are the things. Here are my commands. Here are my precepts, here are my teachings. Here’s my commentary on human history. He gives us all this different information for us so that we might know what it is he’s like, what it is he cares about, and what it is he’s passionate that we would be doing. So we want to know his will, and he has given us an instrument to help his word. So we go to the Bible and we listen to the things that he’s saying. And, you know, honestly, I did student ministry for a long, long time and pastoral ministry for a while now. And one of the big questions that people have for me is, what is God’s will for my life? What is it that God wants me to do? And a lot of times this has to do with, like, making big decisions or their job or, you know, big things like that. But what we need to understand is God has given us an awful lot of information about his will and his word. And if you want to know what that is, you be attentive to this thing, to his scripture. John Piper, he said this one time, I thought it was very clever and helpful. He said, do you want to hear God speak? Because a lot of us are like man. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God would just give me a phone call or shoot me a text and just say, hey, Cor, here’s what I want you to do. I’d love for you to do these three things. Get the message, and be like, roger, ten four. I’m on it. Right. I hear you loud and clear. So we want to hear him speak, because we feel like that’d be really helpful. John Piper, once said this. He said, if you want to hear God speak, read your bible out loud. You want to hear God speak here. He’s given us his word and he’s made it plain and he’s revealed himself to us. So if you want to hear that voice, you could read this and you could just read it out loud, and you’d be hearing the voice of God through his word. So what is his will? He’s given it to us in his word. And if we want his will to be done, then we should become familiar with it. We should spend time in the scripture, learning about the things of God and learning what he’s like and learning about the commands and the promises and the precepts. And then we should expect that if we want it to be done, it’s going to demand some stuff from us. It’s going to demand that we would apply what it is that we’re hearing from him. We should do what it says, which the Bible repeatedly emphasizes. We don’t just want information, we actually want to be transformed by it. We want to do what this thing says. Mike Bullmore, one of the preaching professors that I sat under, he talked about the Bible and he said, it’s not an informative speech. You guys remember that in english class or speech class, you’re supposed to give an informative speech, relay all this information. That’s your job. That’s an informative speech. He says, the Bible is not that. It’s a persuasive speech. God doesn’t just share information for us to gain more knowledge. He shares his voice because he wants to get something done. So when we pray, God, may your will be done, we should actually expect that as we come to learn things about God, that there’s application to be done, that we need to make some changes, that we need to listen to him and be willing to obey with faith. Now, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that as we listen to God’s voice in scripture, this is kind of the spirit of the age, and I’ve observed it now for a while, so I’m able to say it confidently. What I have come to believe is that a lot of us will obey God’s word only so long as it agrees with what we already think. So we come to the word and we go, what’s your will? He says it and we go, uh uh. I’m not doing that. I don’t want to do these things because they don’t fit with what I already prefer to do. We need to recognize that if we’re going to pray, God, may your will be done, he’s going to show us things, and we have to come to a place where we’re willing to say, he probably knows better than me. I might disagree with him, but I don’t have all the information. I don’t know everything that he knows. He’s God, after all. So I should be willing to say, God, may your will be done. And if there are things that don’t fit with my preferences or my categories, I’m going to go with you. I’m going to trust your instincts here and not my own. Tim Keller puts it like this. He says, if you’re God never disagrees with you, he says, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself. There are a lot of people who are christians who don’t actually want to deal with the real God. They want to deal with their imagination of what that God should be like. In their own estimation. If your God never disagrees with you, you might just be worshipping an idealized version of yourself. Expect that when you pray, God, may your will be done. And he shows us stuff. There are going to be lots of moments where you go, well, that isn’t what I expected. That isn’t even what I want. But this is your will, and so I’m going to listen and obey. This is one of the things that happens when we pray in this way. Let me give you an example of this. I want you to see it in real time. So this happened to me a few weeks ago. We were doing small group, and it was going great, and I was really happy with it, and it finished up, and then we get done. Everyone goes home, and it’s wonderful. And my wife and I are sitting on the couch, and she gives me some constructive feedback. Some of you understand what I’m talking about here. She gives some constructive feedback. So she’s telling me about some stuff that I said. She’s like, you maybe should have said it a little different. Or she gives some feedback. So I have this defense attorney on retainer. He’s really, really good at his job. He’s internal defense attorney. That’s always telling me why I’m right. So he comes to my aid, I bring him out, and he goes, yeah, cor, you are absolutely right. You’re justified. All your thoughts, everything perfect, okay? And so that happens, and I don’t think much about it. I’m just like, you know what? I’m right. Thanks, Ash, for your feedback. Whatever. I go to bed, it’s all fine. I wake up in the morning and I go to my one year Bible and I’m reading it. That’s going fine as well. And then I get to the very end of it on that date. And it’s a proverb, a couple different proverbs. And it’s actually, I think I have it here in my notes. I don’t know if we’ll have it up on the screen, but it’s proverbs, chapter twelve. So I’m in my time with God and he says this to me, the way of a fool seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. God is calling me a fool now. And it goes on. The next one says, fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook constructive criticism. It says insult there, but that’s the essence of what it’s saying there. So God is saying Cor, you’re a fool, right? You have all these different things that are going on inside of you, but the truth is I want you to become a wise person. God’s will is not that you would be foolish, but that you would become wise. Okay, now, what do you do when God calls you a fool? Well, you have some options here. You can say, okay, God, I’m going to embrace your will and I’m going to be honest and I’m going to repent of that foolish behavior and I’m going to change and I’m going to do things according to your gracious rule. Or I can say, you know what, God? I don’t care and can press on in my own arrogance and ignorance. But the truth is, when we pray, God, may your will be done. I’m here to tell you, don’t be surprised. He’s going to show you things you don’t want to see. He’s going to ask you to do stuff that’s actually quite difficult for you. And I would encourage you to decide in advance, what are you going to do when that moment comes, the moment of decision, will you go with God’s will or will you go with your own? Make the decision in advance that God is smarter than you and knows better than you and his rulership is actually gracious and good. So make the decision in advance to go with him. So as we pray, then, Lord, may your will be done.

Let’s, let’s make some application here. Let’s pray in this way. Number one, pray for more understanding of God’s will. Pray that God would show you things in his word and then recognize that’s not going to come simply by wishful thinking. It’s going to come through the work of encountering the word repeatedly. Pray that you would gain understanding of God’s will, but then recognize he’s given you a document that you should invest yourself in so that you could become familiar with the voice of God. Pray for understanding. Read and seek to understand and humbly adjust according to what the spirit is showing you. And it’s a process. By the way, I mentioned my personal devotions. It is a process a lot of times, understanding God’s will in his word is this repeated encounter with God. One of the years I went through my one year Bible and I underlined stuff and I wrote notes in the margin. And then the next year I came back through and I was reading what God had said with new understanding of the will of God. And I looked at my notes and I said, ah, that one’s wrong, and I’d have to cross it out and make revisions. God wants you to grow in your understanding of him, but it’s going to be a process and it’s going to take work and it’s going to take humility. Secondly, pray, but be willing to recognize that God is going to require things of you. If you want his will to be done. He’s going to enlist you in the doing of that will. You’re going to have to pray, God, may your will be done. And then he’s going to show you, this is what it looks like for my will to be done, you’re going to have to choose to do it. So recognize that there’s going to be some requirements on you. There are going to be some adjustments on what you think and what you feel and what you do and what you say. And it’s going to take, again, humility to follow through on the things that God is calling you to do and then finally recognize that this is all possible because of the good news of the gospel.

What I’m describing today, I understand. It’s hard. I understand at a personal level that it’s very difficult to pray that God’s kingdom would come and his will would be done and be willing to embrace that process of God’s redemptive work in our lives. But he shows us in the gospel itself that it is possible. One of the most incredible prayers that was ever offered was the prayer of the Lord in the garden. In Luke chapter 22. He prayed like this. Luke 22 42, Father, this is right before he’s about to be arrested and then executed. He says, Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but yours be done. This is a famous prayer. I’m confident you’re familiar with it. But the Lord was praying, knowing how difficult our redemption would be. God. If there’s a way, Father, if there’s a way for the cup of your wrath to pass by me without me having to drink it. If there’s a way for this to come true without the difficulty of the crucifix. If there’s a way, Lord, I’d prefer that. But not my will. Yours be done. And he prays in this way. And then notice it doesn’t get easier. An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly. And his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. One of the most difficult things that ever happened in human history. One of the most agonizing things that ever occurred. Jesus is praying and he says, not my will, but yours. And he goes to the cross and he dies in our place. So that way we could be redeemed. And if he was willing to do that for us, then there is no demand that God could make on us. That is unreasonable. If Jesus was willing to die in our place, if he was willing to drink that cup of the Lord’s wrath on our behalf, if he was willing to do that, then we should pray just like him. Lord, let your will be done. Not my will, but yours be done. And so we pray. May your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Let’s pray right now. Lord, we ask that you would help each of us to be willing to submit to you. We pray for a humility that recognizes your gracious rule and your goodwill. And so we pray that you would help us to embrace that. Lord. And we acknowledge our resistance to it. Lord, we acknowledge that from the very beginning it has been difficult for people to surrender to you. So, lord, may we as your bride, your people, your church, may we lead the way in this. Help us to pray that your kingdom would come and your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.