Your Will Be Done

imagesThe phrase, “your will,” is parallel in meaning to the phrase, “your will.” Hence, “the kingdom of God” is the same as “the will of God.” The will of God is the kingdom of God. When the kingdom of God shall come, the will of God shall be done. Thus, Jesus teaches us to pray for the kingdom of God, which is the will of God, on earth, as it is in heaven.

Jesus said that the will of God is done in heaven. What is done in heaven? Total obedience to God’s will. What is now happening on earth? Total disobedience of God’s will. This means that God’s will is not done on earth today.

In Acts 16:16-34, Luke tells about a slave girl who was a fortune-teller. She brought much money to her owners. She followed Paul and Silas and Luke, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God. “She kept doing it for many days.” But Paul turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.”

“And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. . .

“The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.”

God’s will is not yet done, because there is still the present evil order on earth. Satan still controls this world system. People still oppose God and His people. After all the miracles before their eyes, people still prefer the love of money and the love of religion.

But when the kingdom of God shall come, when the will of God shall be done, people will obey God and honor God. God’s kingdom has not yet come, because there is still sickness, death, poverty, and pain. But when the kingdom of God shall come, there will be no more sickness, no more death, no more poverty, and no more pain. This will of God is not yet done on this earth today.

It does not mean that the will of Satan now rules the earth. Remember Job? Satan rules this earth only by the permission of God. But the will of God, in the sense of the rule of God over all the earth, as it is in heaven, is not yet. That’s why Jesus teaches us to pray for it. Only when God’s kingdom shall come shall God’s will be done.

Are you praying for the kingdom of God to come? Are you praying for the will of God to be done?

Brethren, prayer is first of all, seeking after the glory of God. Prayer is desiring the kingdom of God to come and the will of God to be done, on earth, as it is in heaven!

Prayer is Desiring the Kingdom of God

imagesSecond, prayer is desiring the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The verbs, “come” and “be done,” are third person. We can translate it, “Let your kingdom come, your will be done.” Jesus tells us to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. It means that God’s kingdom is eschatological—in the end time. It is not yet. The kingdom of God is the rule of God at the end of history. The kingdom of God is the rule of Christ on this earth. The kingdom of God is the Davidic, millennial rule of Christ.

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is at hand. He said that the kingdom of God is upon you. Then Jesus healed the sick. He gave sight to the blind. He cast out demons. He made the lame walk again (Matt. 4:17, 23-24). With the miracles, Jesus gave us a taste of the kingdom, but not the fullness of the kingdom. The fullness of the kingdom shall come when Jesus comes again.

The kingdom of God is here “now.” But the physical kingdom, the kingdom of Christ on the throne of David, is “not yet.” King Jesus has not yet come to rule the earth. Thus, Jesus teaches us to pray for the kingdom to come “now,” though it is “not yet.”

Prayer is desiring the future kingdom to come in the present.

What Prayer Is

imagesJesus said, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’” (Matt. 6:9). Many Christians have repeated the same prayer, “Our Father,” over and over again. But this is wrong. Jesus did not give this prayer to be repeated again and again. He already said that we should not repeat the same words in prayer. Rather, Jesus taught this prayer as a model of prayer. Jesus gave this prayer as an example of the right way to pray.

Jesus said, ““Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven.” Jesus teaches us to pray to God as “our Father.” To call God your Father is to be related to Him as His child. Thus, Jesus is teaching us the basis of prayer. The basis of prayer is one’s relationship with God. Prayer is relating with God your Father.

Are you related to God as your Father through Jesus Christ? This prayer is only for people who are related to God as their father. There are three things we learn in this model of prayer. First, prayer is seeking the glory of God. “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” The Greek word for, “hallowed” is hagiazo, which means, “Treat as holy, hold in reverence.” (Gingrich) But in the Greek, the verb, “hallowed,” is third person. Thus, it can be translated, “Let your name be treated as holy,” or “Let your name be held in reverence.”

What is the name of God? The name of God is the character and person of God. In the Bible, the name of God is the person of God (Mal 1:6; Isa 29:23; Ezek 36:23; John 12:28; 17:6).

Who will treat God’s name as holy? Who will hold God’s name in reverence? First, it is God who will treat His name as holy and set apart. Jesus’ prayer is similar to the Qaddish prayer in the synagogue. In the Qaddish prayer, the Jews ask for God to hallow His name. In the Jewish mind, for God to make His name holy is to fulfill His promises to Israel, with the establishment of His kingdom in Israel. It seems that God has not fulfilled His promises to Israel. To make God’s name holy is to bring His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth. (Hagner)

Who else will treat God’s name as holy? Second, it is you and I. We should pray that God’s name will be treated as holy.

But how do we treat God’s name today? We say, “Oh, my God!” but that is not treating His name holy. We say, “Sus, Ginoo ko!” but that is not treating His name holy. Brethren, we should not use the name of God or Christ like that. We should learn to unlearn how we have use God’s name. Whatever way you have used God’s name, un-use it today!

Are you disappointed when people treat God’s name in vain? If you are disappointed, then you desire to treat God’s name holy. Jesus desire is to treat God’s name as holy and special.

Prayer is seeking the glory of God.

Prayer is Not Informing God About Your Needs

Third, prayer is not reporting to God about your needs. Jesus said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8). Before you ask God, God already knows your need. If God already knows what you need, then prayer is not informing God about your needs. Prayer is not about telling God your needs. Rather, prayer is relating with God who knows your needs.

Adam Clarke: “Prayer is not designed to inform God, but to give man a sight of his misery; to humble his heart, to excite his desire, to inflame his faith, to animate his hope, to raise his soul from earth to heaven, and to put him in mind that THERE is his Father, his country, and inheritance.”

“Pastor, if God knows my need, then why pray?” We need to pray, because in praying, we express trust in God. We need to pray, for God wants to hear us praying to Him. God is a relational God; He wants you to relate with Him. We need to pray because we are related to God. If you have trusted Christ as Savior, then God is your Father. God is your Father in heaven who wants to hear you talk to Him.

That is why we pray.

Kingdom Living 10: The Right Way to Pray

'Wouldn't it be easier to just SMS God, rather than pray'We are now in Part 10 of our series on Kingdom Living. In Matthew 6-7, Jesus lays down principles on how to practice kingdom righteousness—how to live according to the rule of God. In Matt. 6:7-15, Jesus teaches about praying and forgiving. Kingdom living is praying and forgiving.

This passage deals with three themes—(1) What Prayer is Not; (2) What Prayer Is; and (3) the Importance of Forgiveness.

We shall now study deeper into the text.

What Prayer is Not

There are three things that prayer is not. First, prayer is not repeating meaningless words. Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do” (Matt. 6:7). Literally in the Greek, it reads, “But praying, do not use meaningless words again and again as the Gentiles.” The words, “heap up empty phrases,” is just one word, battalogeo, which means, “to speak much or extensively, with a possible added implication of meaningless words – ‘to use many words, to speak for a long time’” (Louw-Nida); “use many (meaningless) words, babble, use vain repetitions (MT 6.7) (Friberg). The NKJV translates it, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.” The NASB reads: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do.” The idea here is meaningless repetition and lengthiness.

Why do the Gentiles or pagans pray like this? Jesus said in v. 7, “for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

That is the second thing about what prayer is not.

Second, prayer is not repeating many words to be heard by God. They pray with many words believing that God will hear them. They believe that if they pray with many words over a long time, maybe God will listen to them. They believe that if they repeat the same words, God will hear them.

Have you prayed like that? I’ve prayed like that since I was a child. I was taught to pray the same words in the same prayer. I was taught to pray the same words over and over again. But our Lord Jesus commanded, “Do not pray like that. Do not pray like the Gentiles do. Do not be like them.”

Sometimes, we pray to earn God’s blessing. But we pray not to be heard by God, or to earn God’s blessing. We pray to show our dependence in God who knows our needs.

Some of you grew up in a religion that taught you this kind of prayer. But I encourage you to follow Jesus from now on. Are you willing to follow Jesus together with me? Let’s obey our Lord Jesus in all things, even though it goes against our religion.

“Pastor, does this mean that I can pray a short prayer and God will still hear me?” Yes!

Thousands of letters are addressed to God each year and sent to Jerusalem. One asked the “God of Israel” for help in getting a job as a bulldozer driver.
Another: “Please help me to be happy, to find a nice job and a good wife–soon.”
Another asked for forgiveness for stealing money from a store when he was a boy. (“Sermon Illustrations: Prayer.” Cited October 18, 2014. Online: http://hotsermons.com/sermon-illustrations/sermon-illustrations-prayer.html)

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Christians’ prayers are measured by weight, and not by length.”

The Fasting of the Followers of Christ

'He's conscientious about most of his religious duties, but he's slow to fast.'Jesus said, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face” (Matt. 6:17). In the Greek, it is emphatic—“but you.” The hypocrites fast like that. “But you,” you members of the Kingdom of God, you followers of Christ—be different. When the hypocrites fast, they look gloomy and dirty, to show everyone that they are fasting. But you, when you fast, don’t look gloomy and dirty.

How do you not look gloomy and dirty when you fast? Jesus said, “Anoint your head and wash your face.” The verb, “anoint” (Gk. aleipho), refers to “external physical application of oil or perfumed ointment.” (Friberg)

One day, Jesus told Simon, a Pharisee, a story (Lk. 7:36-46).

  • A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
  • When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
  • Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
  • Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
  • You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.
  • You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.”

Palestinian Jews used oil to clean their head and skin. (Keener) They used oil as cosmetic. Today, we use Efficascent oil.

Jesus said, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face. What does that mean? Cleanliness. Good grooming. When the hypocrites fast, they look dirty. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, comb your hair, wash your face, put Ponds cream on it, spray Calvin Klein cologne on your body. Look good, look great, and look clean. When the hypocrites fast, they look gloomy. But you, look happy! In other words, take care never to look like you’re fasting. NEVER give a hint to others that you are fasting.

Why should they clean themselves when fasting? “That your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:18). The reason is that only the Father should see them fasting, and not other people. Your fasting should be so secret that only your Father in heaven should know that you are fasting. True righteousness is to be secret—to be seen only by God.

How many of you watch, “Showtime.” In many churches today, it is a “Showtime” ministry. Many churches like to show off their ministry. They like to show off their good music, their nice building, and their acts of goodness to all the world. They receive their reward. Show-off ministries receive their reward from men, but not from God.

How do you judge a successful church or a successful ministry? Many people judge a successful church by attendance. “It’s the fastest growing church in Cebu—5,000 every Sunday.” Many people judge a successful ministry by baptism. “They baptized 100 people last year.” Many judge a successful church by the financial gifts. “They give a million pesos yearly; they built a big building.” Many judge a successful church by the worship music. “They have the most spiritual worship there.”

But if we think like that, we should think again. Jesus does not think like that. God does not reward us like that. God judges the success of a church by searching its peoples’ hearts. God judges you by evaluating its motives. God judges you by seeing their good works in secret. (Blomberg)

Jesus said, this kind of fasting, this kind of righteousness, receives the reward of the Father. Your Father, who sees all the secret things, shall reward you!

The Facebook Fasting of Hypocrites

'Hey! - Are you eating again ALREADY?'Jesus does not attack fasting. He attacks the hypocritical way of fasting—the Facebook way. What is the “Facebook” fasting of the hypocrites? Jesus said, “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matt. 6:16). The hypocrites love to look “gloomy” when fasting. The word, “gloomy” (Gk. skuthropos), means, “sad.” (Gingrich) Jesus said, Don’t be like the hypocrites when they fast. They want to look gloomy and grim, sad, and sorrowful.

Not only that, they “disfigure their faces” (v. 16). The word, “disfigure” (Gk. aphanizo), means, to “render invisible or unrecognizable.” (Gingrich) The NASB is more accurate: “for they neglect their appearance.” How do they neglect their appearance? Most likely, they follow the OT way of fasting. In the OT, people who fast would put ashes on their faces. In doing so, they become unrecognizable. These hypocrites want to appear dirty, untidy, and unkempt.

For what purpose do they do that? Jesus said, “That their fasting may be seen by others.” That is the Facebook Fasting, fasting to be seen by others. There’s a little bit of irony in Matthew’s words. They hide their faces, in order to be seen. (Hagner)

What do they receive in return? “They have received their reward” (Matt. 6:16). The verb, “receive” (Gk. aphecho), is interesting. It is a business term. It means, “to receive a sum in full and give a receipt for it.” (Gingrich) Just like when you pay food at Jollibee. You give P100.00 to the Jollibee girl. She says, “I receive P100.00.” Then she issues you a receipt for it. That’s aphecho, to receive in full.

It’s in the present tense—“they receive their reward.” The hypocrites receive their reward. They receive it in full and no more. They receive their reward here on earth, but no more in heaven. They receive their reward from people, but not from God.

Do you want to receive the praises of people today? I don’t want to receive the praises of people on earth. I want to receive the praises of God in heaven!

Sometimes, we do holy things on the outside, but out of unholy motives on the inside. We do good things externally, but we have a bad motive internally. But in the Kingdom of God, we must be careful that we do good things in secret, without showing off to get the glory.

That’s the second point of Jesus.