A minister, praying over a child apparently dying, said, “If it be Thy will, spare.” The poor mother’s soul, yearning for her beloved, exclaimed, “It must be His will: I cannot bear ifs!” The minister stopped. Contrary to expectation, the child recovered. But the mother, after she had dared to put her own life on the line with God by defying His will while the boy was just an innocent child, lived to see him hanged before he reached the age of twenty-two year old.
What a tragic mistake it is to put human will over and above Divine will. We run the risk of ruining our lives when we fail to realize that our wills are defective. The Bible says that when God created man/woman, he did so in His own image and likeness; that means, the created image of God carries with it awesome responsibility and glory. It includes the ability to make meaningful moral choices (Gen. 1:26–27; 2:16–17).
By grace, the freedom to use a created will as a moral agent is one of the key biblical distinctions between humans and the rest of the created order. The sovereignty of God is deepened in a radically personal way when creation is climaxed by persons who possess wills that can choose to either obey or disobey, to love or not to love. True sovereignty is neither arbitrary nor coercive; it allows other wills.
The perversion of the fallen will is revealed in the defiant attitude of all who build the blasphemous tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9). The story of redemption is founded on God’s offer to humanity to return to the fullness of relationship lost in Eden, despite its radical consequences. This ultimately would mean that individauls would have to choose to return to God.
How sad is it that while the world around us testifies that man needs to return to God: (the cultural climate testifies, the deterioration of the social structure, the corruption with law en-forcement and the courts, the decline of church membership and adherence to the doctines of Christ) We refuse to do so because "We want what we want".
The Textbook "The Great Doctrines of the Bible" says this about "The Will of God":
God knows that men are incapable of planning their own lives, Jer. 10:23; Isa. 53:6. Only He knows the future, Isa. 46:9, 10. Therefore He promises to direct the paths of believers whose trust in Him is sincere, exclusive and complete, Prov. 3:5, 6. Christians may “prove” His good will by presenting their bodies to the Lord, letting Him transform them until they are no longer conformed to the world, Rom. 12:1, 2.
I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.
All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
God wants us to know His will, Col. 1:9. He commands that we obey it, Eph. 5:17; 6:6. A number of clear and specific statements describe His will for everyone. These include our sanctification, 1 Thess. 4:3; prayer and thanksgiving, 1 Thess. 5:17, 18; good works, 1 Pet. 2:15; and suffering, 1 Pet. 4:19.
Practical rules for discovering the will of God call for the surrender of our own wills, Luke 22:42; placing the written Word above all personal impressions, Jer. 10:23; seeking the mind of the Lord through prayer, Psa. 143:8, and the use of the Bible, Psa. 40:7, 8. Providential circumstances sometimes become a factor, Prov. 4:14, 15; Acts 17:10.
We are instructed to stay where we are, 1 Cor. 7:20; and to be content, Phil. 4:11, until He leads us elsewhere. “He that doeth the will of God abideth forever,” 1 John 2:17.
Evans, W., & Coder, S. M. (1974). The great doctrines of the Bible (Enl. ed., pp. 321–322). Chicago: Moody Press.
The real issue before us this afternoon is that we must decide what we want. Jesus, in our text, has come on the scene at a very strategic point in history. It is a time when Messianic expectation was at an all time high. What do I mean by Messianic Expectation? Just that the people of Isreal were actively and earnestly praying and looking for the promise of God concerning their future deliverance.
It had been a long time since Saul, David, Solomon, and the United Kingdom. They had been under the rule of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Syria, Greece, and now Rome. They were looking for the Anointed One of God who would break the chains of the oppression of the Romans and set up His Kingdom on earth. And so the people are hyper-sensitive when Jesus arrives on the scene because although they may not have fully known what it was that they wanted, they knew for certain that their current situation wasn't it.
The Message of the Kingdom from Jesus peaked their interest in Him, because who else can talk about the Kingdom like He did except the King! As He began His Ministry in Galilee, He not only taught and preached, but He also healed every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, cepileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. They were forming an idea of what if was that they wanted.
The homeless wanted shelter, the poor wanted prosperity, the sick wanted healing, the broken wanted wholeness, the outcast wanted significance but God was saying "What about what I want?"
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 4:24–25). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
The text before us this afternoon has Him on a mountain, He, the King, is teaching KIngdom principles. In the section that beckons our attention this morning, the lesson is on giving and prayer. In both cases, the Lord says that they should be done quitely and privately: Otherwise, the acts proceed from another place and not from God. Jesus says that it comes from a place that wants to be seen, heard, and recognized. Notice the Lord's words in both instances: "They have their reward" (v.2, 5).
There is so much in this text today; but, for the time that is ours to share this afternoon, I want to lift up verse 6 out of the text. Here, Jesus says that when we pray we must pray that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The second petition prays God’s kingdom come (Matt. 6:10). Because the Kingdom was another name for the messianic age, a petition like this was common in Jesus’ time. The evidence the Kingdom had come would be the complete obedience of God’s people. This can be seen in the third petition that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Since God’s will is done completely and perfectly in heaven, this petition calls for total obedience on earth. The second and third petitions interpret each other.
Hahn, R. L. (2007). Matthew: a commentary for Bible students (p. 100). Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House.
Now, to some that is a problem. Because heaven is no where on their minds. All that they think about is right here and now! Someone has coined the phrase that "they are so earthly minded until they are no heavenly good". But this text insists that our intention in prayer ought to be grounded in the will of God.
The "WILL OF GOD" is an important NT term indicating God’s choice and determination, emanating from desire.
Paul used a Greek word in Ephesians 1:5, 9, and 11 that conveys the idea of desire, even heart’s desire. The word is usually translated as “will”—“the will of God.” But the English word “will” redirects the primary meaning. The Greek word (thelema) is primarily an emotional word and only secondarily is it volitional. “God’s will” is not so much “God’s intention” as it is “God’s heart’s desire.” God does have an intention, a purpose, a plan. It is called prothesis in Greek (see Eph 1:11), and it literally means “a laying out beforehand” (like a blueprint). This plan was created by God’s counsel (called boule in Greek, Eph 1:11). However, behind the plan and the counsel was not just a mastermind but a heart—a heart of love and of good pleasure. Therefore, Paul talked about “the good pleasure of God’s heart” (Eph 1:5). Paul also said, “He made known to us the mystery of his heart’s desire, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him” (v 9). Indeed, God operated all things according to the counsel of his heart’s desire or will (v 11).
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
And so what the Lord would have us to recieve into our hearts today is that He knows what is best for us. Sometimes peopel feel like if they can just have this or if they could just do that, if they could have what they want that they would be happy. And they do whatever they want to do or what they feel they have to do to possess that desire. They will leave the will of God in order to get to where they want to be.
Illustration: An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land. Finally he was rescued by his friends. Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, "Why didn't you use that compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!" The sailor responded, "I didn't dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept on pointing southeast." The old sailor was so certain he knew which was was north that he stubbornly tired to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. Unable to do so, he tossed it aside as worthless and failed to benefit from the guidance it offered.
Jesus began His discourse by sharing with his audience the way to be blessed. In short, He said that being blessed was acheived by staying in the will of God. As He prepares to bring the Sermon on the Mount to a close, He tells them, in essence, don't want what everybody else wants, don't be like the hypocrites or the Gentiles, who are only concerned about what they want. But instead of being like them be different.
As we attempt to make from earth to glory, many situations are sure to confront us. There are sure to be times when you want to have things our own way. It is the result of having free will. None of here today can say that we have always stayed in the will of God. Even right now, there are those here who are struggling with the temptation to take things into your own hands and the things you want to do. Yolanda Adams said in her song "In the Midst of it all": its not because I've been so faithful, its not because I've always obeyed. It's not be I've trusted you to be with me all of the way; but, it's because you love me so dearly, you were there to answer my call, you were there always to protect me; for you've kept me in the midst of it all.
Is there anybody here today that wants what God wants? Is your prayer "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done! There are things tugging at you and pulling at your right now trying to tear you away from the will of God. But, thanks be to God, that same one who taught us to pray the prayer is the same one who showed us how to walk it out. You all remember His experience in the garden of Gethsemane, when the cross loomed heavy on his heart and mind; He prayed (don't neglect to pray), Father, if it be so, let this cup pass from me; but, nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.
My dear brothers and sister, stay in His will: tell your neighbor- I won't give up or give in, I'm holding on til the end. I will be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in you. Lord, I'm staying in your will.
Because in your will there is assurance, blessings, confidence, deliverance, enrichment, favor and future, my glory, my hope and my help, my inclusion, my joy, my peace, my salvation and my song is in your will.