Today we will, once again, be examining the Lord ’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. As most of you know this has become the summer of prayer for us at Cornerstone Church. Today marks our forth week studying how Jesus teaches His disciples to pray. It is interesting; when you focus on one thing for an extended period of time you tend to see it everywhere.
For example, at our Wednesday Bible study group that meets during lunch in Anamosa we have just begun studying the book of Acts and last Wednesday we examined the first Church meeting after the ascension of Jesus. So before we get into our main text, I want us to listen to Acts 1:12-14.
- Acts 1:12-14 – “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. “
With that said, lets quickly review what we have learned so far about prayer through Jesus teaching on how to pray.
- Prayer is strictly between us and God
- Prayer is not to be vain and repetitious, it should come from our heart.
- Prayer is to be an act of intimacy between us and our Father
- Prayer should preeminently be about God's glory,
- Our prayers should mirror God’s desire to exult His Son as King over a ransomed people. Meaning that we should pray for the lost to repent and believe in Jesus.
In doing this, I feel that I should mention that it is never my goal to cover a lot of ground and race through the Bible as quickly as I can. It is my goal to mine the riches of God's Word, and sometimes that requires looking at only four words, which is what we are going to do today. I want these four words to sink deeply into your hearts. I want these four words to ring in your ears, not just for the next 30 minutes but the next 30 years. Therefore, let us read out text, pray that God’s will would be done in this moment, and then examine our text.
- Matthew 6:9-13 - “Pray then like this: "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 this day 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 evil. “
The first thing I want us to understand is that these four words are the most dangerous words in the entire Bible. These words have the ability, the capacity, to utterly wreck your life. In fact, I want to start this sermon with a word of warning, if you pray these four words from your heart, “Your will be done”, you should expect the months and years to come to a glorious tragedy in the eyes of of the world.
Why are these words the most dangerous words in the Bible? Because they fly in the face of our nature and our world. Last week we talked the first part of verse 10, “Your Kingdom come.” The reality is that until the Kingdom of God comes into our life through faith in Jesus our King, we are servants of another ruler.
- Ephesians 2:1-3 – “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- “
When the Kingdom of God comes into our life, and we accept Jesus as our King, we stop following Satan, and start following Christ. As we said last week, as Psalm 2 says, we kiss the Son. We kneel before him by faith and give our allegiance and trust and our life to Jesus the Messiah.
However, let us be fair to ourselves and fair to the scriptures. When we pledge our allegiance to Jesus as our King, we become his eternal people, it is a guarantee. We are told that God will never leave us nor forsake us. However, on this side of the cross and before the return of Jesus we live in a Kingdom realm of what is called “Already, but not yet.” I have mentioned this phrase before at Cornerstone, but I want us to become familiar with it. “Already, but not yet” means that we live in two worlds, an overlap of worlds if you will. Yes, Jesus is King. Jesus has been ushered in, inaugurated, anointed as King, but his Kingdom has not been fully consummated, or brought fully about. We still live in what Paul calls “this present evil age.” Living in the realm of “already, but not yet” recognizes the overlap of these two ages. Jesus is King, yet Satan still rules the World.
This reality of “already but not yet” is true both in the world, which has both followers of Christ and followers of Satan, and in our own personal lives. Even though we are followers of Christ, and true faith is an enduring faith, we still struggle with sin. No matter how long you have walked with the Lord, you will always be a sinner as long as your alive, or until Jesus Christ returns.
- 1 John 1:8 – “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
- Romans 7:18-25 – “ For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
As I mentioned, praying these four words, “your will be done” can wreck your life. For the will of God is not health and wealth. Let me give you a couple examples of God's will. First let us look at the disciple Peter.
- John 21:18-19 - “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go." 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him,"Follow me."
The second example is Paul. In this text we see Jesus sending Ananias to Paul to lay his hands on him right after Paul was converted to Christianity.
- Acts 9:15-16 - “But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
Last example, the greatest example, Jesus. The Son of God. Prior to coming to Earth he was perfectly satisfied in the presence of His Father; basking in His glory and being glorified in return. Yet he obeyed His Father and came to earth, and the night before his arrest we see the Jesus himself implementing his own teaching on praying “your will be done.”
- Mark 14:32-36 - “And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
The list could go on and on. It is near impossible to find a Hollywood “happy ending” in the Bible. The saints were hated in this world. This is what is so abhorrent about the prosperity Gospel that is preached by people like Joel Osteen. It is just not in the Bible. The will of God is that His people would face trials and tribulations. This is why Jesus tells people that you have to count the cost before you follow him, because when you submit to the will of Christ you are guaranteed persecution.
Yes, praying this prayer is very dangerous, and this is why very few people actually pray it. Instead they pray for their own will to be approved by God. We lay out our wish list before him and say make it happen. Give me a new job, a new house, a new husband, a new family. We covet things in this world and we, like spoiled little brats, say “Daddy, If you love me you will get it for me.” Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 9:23-25.
- Luke 9:23-25 - “And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?“
Many of you may be saying, “But doesn't God want us to be happy?” Oh yes he does. God desires you to be happy far more than you realize, and this is the beauty of having God wreck your life. The prayer “your will be done” is actually a prayer for joy. Listen to what Peter says about suffering and joy in 1 Peter 4:12-12
- 1 Peter 4:12-14 - “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. “
- 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 - “but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing “
- Hebrews 12:2 - “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.“
So let us today chose whom we will serve. Let us pray that God would convict our hearts to be living sacrifices holy and acceptable to him. Let us pray that God cause us to pick up our cross and follow Him. Let us pray that we will commit our lives to do his will above all things, all for His Glory and all for our joy.