INTRO - I went on the internet and started looking at some of the headlines in the news. Here are just a few of the things I saw,
▸ A woman accused of starving her stepdaughters while keeping her biological children well-fed has pleaded guilty to abuse charges.
▸ A college student shot and wounded his roommate early Friday in their off-campus apartment, then killed himself.
▸ A baby sitter convicted of murdering three infants in her care nearly two decades ago was sentenced Friday.
▸ Armed men kidnaped a Briton from an oil rig in southern Nigeria.
▸ A suicide bomber struck an army recruitment center outside Baghdad, killing 15 people
▸ Cellphone videos appeared showing an Iraqi mob stoning and kicking to death a 17-year-old girl after she offended her minority community by eloping with a Muslim man.
▸ A gang of armed robbers forced a man to strip naked and then glued him to his exercise bike and sealed his lips with more glue while they ransacked his house
As we look around at all the “evil” and “violence” in the world. We may be tempted to pray as the Jesus taught us in Mt 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Or in other words “God can’t you get things under control down here!” By the way, is that what it means to pray “Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.?”
I. WHAT IS GOD’S WILL - Have you ever heard the saying “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” or “The last will and testament of so and so.” But what is a will? One’s will could be described with any of the following words. It could be ones wishes, desires, intentions, purpose...
A. God Created Us - Gn1:26-27 - Since God created us should He not also be our instructor on how we should live? And what are purpose for being here is? And what He desires of us?
B. God Has A Will We Should Obey - Through out the Bible we not only read about the will of God but we read that we should be in obedience to it.
1. Mk 3:35
2. 1 Pt 5:1-2
C. God’s Will Is For Us - Have you ever taken the time to ask “What is it that God wishes and desires of mankind, of me?”
1. First and foremost God reveals to us that He wants us to be “Saved.”
a. 1 Tm 2:4
b. 2 Pt 3:9
2. O.T. and N.T. alike cover God’s will for us
a. Dt 10:12
b. Mi 6:8
c. Mt 12:7
d. 1 Pt 2:13-15
D. God’s Will Works In Mysterious Ways - Pv16:4- Sometimes we just don’t understand God’s will. What we think He should do, he doesn’t and what we don’t think He should do, He does. When one looks at the story of Joseph in the Bible for the first time, one may wonder why, but Joseph sums it up in Gn 50:19-21 - You see, God sees both the heart of men and the bigger picture as is show in this illustration
"This rabbi," said Merlyn, "went on a journey with the prophet Elijah. They walked all day, and at nightfall they came to the humble cottage of a poor man, whose only treasure was a cow. The poor man ran out of his cottage, and his wife ran too, to welcome the strangers for the night and to offer them all the simple hospitality which they were able to give in hard circumstances.
Elijah and the rabbi were entertained with plenty of the cow's milk, sustained by homemade bread and butter, and they were put to sleep in the best bed while their kindly hosts lay down before the kitchen fire. But in the morning the poor man's cow was dead.
"They walked all the next day, and came that evening to the house of a very wealthy merchant, whose hospitality they craved. The merchant was cold and proud and rich, and all that he would do for the prophet and his companion was to lodge them in a cowshed and feed them on bread and water.
In the morning, however, Elijah thanked him very much for what he had done, and sent for a mason to repair one of his walls, which happened to be falling down, as a return for his kindness.
"The Rabbi Jachanan, unable to keep silence any longer, begged the holy man to explain the meaning of his dealings with human beings.
" 'In regards to the poor man who received us hospitably,' replied the prophet, 'it was decreed that his wife was to die that night, but in reward for his goodness God took the cow instead of the wife. I repaired the wall of the rich miser because a chest of gold was concealed near the place, and if the miser had repaired the wall himself he would have discovered the treasure. - (John Oliver - Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations)
II. COULD GOD ENFORCE IT - When we pray “Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven,” could we be meaning “God get everyone and everything else in control except me?” - We may have a will or desire to see God’s will or desire enforced here on earth as it is in heaven, but how would one or even God go about enforcing it? From my perspective, I only see two ways in which God could enforce it.
A. Eliminating Non Conformers - the first of the ways to bring about conformance to God’s will is to eliminate the non conformers, the one’s who do not do what God tells them to do. How many people in this world can claim to be entirely in conformance with God’s will. If you think you know someone, your fooling yourself.
a. Ec 7:20
b. Rm 3:23
If God were to wipe out all the non conformers. Who would be left? When we turn to the book of Genesis we find two occasions where God did just that.
1. The story of Noah - Gn 6:1-8,7:17-23
2. The story of Lot - Gn 19:12-26
B. Eliminating The Choice - I remember watching a show one where three boys got to make one wish each that would come true One of the boys wished that his parents would do what he told them. He got his wish. Kids are probably thinking yeah, great, way to go, but there was a problem. You see, while he got his wish for his parents to do what he told them, it was the only thing his parents would do. If he wasn’t there constantly telling them what to do, they wouldn’t do anything. In a sense, they had become puppets. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if we always did what we were told and never disobeyed? As I was working on this sermon I came across an article that addressed this issue in the magazine NGJ (No Greater Joy) I would like to share a part of that article with you.
The Bible tells us that the first man Adam was created “in God’s image”. The remarkable thing about the creatures in God’s image is that they are independent of any programming. They are not limited to living by instinct. They can think freely, separate from any predisposition of their creator. When God was creating a creature who could freely choose to love, he of necessity was creating a creature who could choose to withhold that love or direct it elsewhere.
“Why does God allow all the pain and suffering? Why not create a world where all is good and right, where no one ever dies, gets sick, or is sad?” He did. God did indeed create a utopia where there was no sickness or death. But the very first man, Adam, out of a desire to be independent, divorced his Creator and took all his posterity with him into a life of lonely estrangement.
“But, why not create a world where that couldn’t happen - where all is love and peace all the time, with no possibility of us messing it up?”
If all our thoughts were preprogrammed, there would be no thoughts except those of the programmer. If all choices were predetermined, there would be, in reality, no choice. Only in the absence of free will, which is equivalent to the absence of our humanity, would it be certain that no one would choose wrongly. “But God can do anything!”
If God would make free will (which is the essence of individual personality), he cannot make the will free and not free at the same time. A will that is indeed a will, is able to violate the will of its designer. The power to creatively think is the power to creatively choose, which means a person has the power to love or, on the opposite side of choice, the power to hate. It is inconceivable to imagine a human mind existing in a free and joyous state not having the ability to think independently.
To create a thing that can only do what it is programmed to do is not to create a person at all; it is to create a machine. Can a machine love you? Can there be any satisfaction from the loyalty rendered by a program? No one ever thanked an ice maker for giving them ice, but if your daughter brings a glass of ice water to you when you are working in the heat, there is love, thanksgiving - there is a life. There is meaning. No machine has ever been called a hero or had a medal pinned on it for bravery. That a person could love without choosing to do so is an oxymoron.
Yes, God could have created a world where sin was impossible, but it would have also been a world without expression of any kind, a world without success or glory or satisfaction.
In the popular children’s story, Pinocchio, the lonely old puppet maker Geppetto wanted a little boy. So he made a life-like puppet of wood and then, skillfully handling the strings, he danced with his creation. But, alas, his heart was not satisfied with the feigned fellowship he had manufactured, for he longed for a real boy who could reciprocate his love, one who could choose to dance and choose to please. When the magical fairy came along and imparted free will to the wooden boy, the little fellow did indeed choose to dance to the delight of his father. But in time, he also chose to disobey. He rebelled, indulged his appetite wantonly, and then ran away to live a life of self-gratification. The sinful life twisted the boy into manifesting attributes of a jackass, and eventually took him to the bottom of the ocean where he would die for his sins in the belly of a whale. His father loved him still, pursued him, delivered him, and persuaded him to have a change of heart, ultimately saving him from his self-made destruction.
Someone may have asked why the puppet maker would create a puppet that could descend to such low depths, resulting in pain and suffering for everyone. “Why not create a puppet that could do no evil?” The puppet maker had fifty such puppets hanging on pegs in his shop, their strings and limbs lying limp, waiting on the master to pull them in whatever direction he pleased, but they gave him no pleasure, and they experienced none.
III. SUBMITTING TO GOD’S WILL - Mt 16:24 So what’s the answer to God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven? How about this for an answer - submission? Putting God first instead of self.
A. A Prayer Of MY Will Be Done?- Sometimes we are really concerned with our will and claim it to be God’s
1. Years ago an old Scottish woman went to country homes to sell thread, buttons and shoestrings. When she came to an unmarked crossroad, she would toss a stick in the air and go whichever way the stick pointed. One day she was seen tossing the stick into the air several times. "Why do you toss the stick several times?" someone asked. She answered, "It has pointed every time to the road going to the right, and I want to go on the road to the left. It looks smoother!" She kept on throwing up the stick until it finally pointed toward the road she wanted to go. - (Walter B. Knight - Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations)
2. An overweight business associate of decided it was time to shed some excess pounds. He took his new diet seriously, even changing his driving route to avoid his favorite bakery. One morning, however, he arrived at work carrying a gigantic coffee cake. Everyone scolded him, but his smile remained cherubic. "This is a very special coffee cake," he explained. "I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning and there in the window were a host of goodies. I felt this was no accident, so I prayed, 'Lord, if you want me to have one of these delicious coffee cakes, let me have a parking place directly in front of the bakery.' And sure enough," he continued, "the eighth time around the block, there it was!" - (Illustrations Unlimited)
B. A Prayer Of THY Will Be Done - Since God gives us all a choice, and since God will not yet take that way and since God won’t yet eliminate us, the alternative is up to us. To pray thy will be done is to say I’m going to do your will, I’m going to do what you want not what I want
1. A young girl, who had struggled with the question of submission to God, said: "I could see easily enough that making God's way my way was very different from submitting just because I had to do it, or because I felt that it was my duty. I was on the way down to Miss Howland's to see about having my new dress made. I had some notion of how I wanted it to look, but when I showed her the materials she told me how it ought to be made and trimmed, and it wasn't the least bit as I had planned. I didn't altogether understand her, but I fell right in with her plan and was perfectly satisfied to have her go ahead with it. Now, it is just because I know Miss Howland so well, and we are in such perfect sympathy on questions of color, etc., that I am at rest in letting her work it out, though I don't know just how she is going to do it. She knows what suits me better than I know myself. And it seemed to me," dropping her voice a little, "that we ought to be just that way with God." If our hearts are in harmony, we will be able to say that His will is ours, even when we don't know what it is. He knows what is suited to us better than we can possibly know. - (Bible Illustrations)
2. At a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Bobby Richardson, former New York Yankee second baseman, offered a prayer that is a classic in brevity and poignancy: "Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen." - (Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations)
C. Letting God’s Will Be Done - If we are going to pray “Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” there are some things we need to do
1. First, I believe, we need to admit there is a twofold will for your life from God
a. The general things all Christians / people should be doing
b. The specific things He wants you to do
2. Second, we need to take the time to learn what it is that God wants of us. - Ep 5:17 "Understanding" suggests using our minds to discover and do the will of God. Too many Christians have the idea that discovering God's will is a mystical experience that rules out clear thinking. But this idea is wrong and dangerous. We discover the will of God as He transforms the mind Rm. 12:1-2; and this transformation is the result of the Word of God, prayer, meditation, and worship. If God gave you a mind, then He expects you to use it. This means that learning His will involves gathering facts, examining them, weighing them, and praying for His wisdom (Jm 1:5). God does not want us simply to know His will; He wants us to understand His will.
3. Third, we need to commit to doing HIS will. - In other words, just simply do it.
CONCL. - Ec12:13 - Christ came to show the way, He came and was submissive to God’s will, He showed us it could be done. While there are things God could do to force you into compliance with His will, He’s left that choice up to us, so are you ready to pray “Your will be done?”