[This sermon is one of a series entitled “Sermon on the Mount, Concentrating on the Beatitudes,” which is being preached on Sunday mornings by Pastor Tim Senter.]
Commanding God to sanctify Himself such that even His name is holy is one thing. Telling God to sanctify His name such that it personally and specifically impacts you, your family, your life and all you have is another.
When we looked at verse nine, we found not just a call to prayer, but specific demands we make upon God. We did not find a simple introduction to prayer that says, ‘Honor God to begin with in order to make your prayer reverent.’ We did not find an opening that was a request at all. What we did find was prayer that, if we are to be honest, we are seldom capable of, even with the Lord’s perfect salvation. Some might think that statement to be weird or challenging, but I commend you to think about it. Being in a position to challenge God is a singularly unique situation. It not only involves our being saved by the blood of the lamb, but that we are wholly given to God and have sought forgiveness for any sins we are aware of to that point. It is not just a simple matter of accepting the Lord as your Savior. That is the beginning point. We have to face the fact that if we do not continually seek His forgiveness for the sins we knowingly and willingly commit, we are taking His gift for granted. We then become Cain. We are so immature as to think that whatever we do can be godly, as long as we are trying to please God. That is not the case. God has specific requirements and we have to abide in them in order to commune with Him. That is why He sent His Son, so that we can meet His requirements perfectly through the Christ.
What we often fail to understand is that we cannot live sinfully in Christ. We cannot walk with God in sin, even with the Savior mediating. Many a Christian makes the mistake of thinking that since they accepted Christ and all their sins are forgiven, they no longer need to seek Christ’s cleansing ever again. This is not the case. This attitude is displayed in the Jew who relies upon the fact that, ‘we are the chosen people.’ They believe they can never be excluded from Heaven, because, after all, ‘we are the chosen people.’ Truly, once saved always saved. That is not the issue. Consider the full impact of David’s recognition in Psalm 51:16-17:
“15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
God receives all the credit in this passage. David asks God to open his lips to praise God, because he cannot do it on his own. David recognizes that God does not want a sacrifice without a heart focused upon God. No offering, no sacrifice, no bulls, no sheep offered on the altar of sacrifice will satisfy God. It is only the broken and contrite heart of man that pleases God and places man in position to commune with and worship God. After that heart is evident and active, then sacrifice can come and be effective. We experience this broken heart when we realize we need Christ – that is the beginning. Then comes acceptance of the sacrifice (Christ on the cross). From that point on, just as David knew, we must continually submit our tainted hearts to God and see our sin for what it is – worthy of judgment and unworthy in worship. Just as many know that Jesus was once sacrificed for all, David too had submitted hundreds of sacrifices before this point to the Lord. However, David knows that only the heart of man, changed and given wholly to God, will place one in a position to truly commune with God. David knew that the sacrifice meant nothing without a heart that recognized the need. This does not make Christ’s sacrifice for naught. On the contrary, without it we could never take the next step. The next step though is important on our part – to submit our sin-oriented life continually, and seek accountability for sin in Christ. We must get to this point to be able to pray to God and demand things of Him in the fashion we are seeing in the “Lord’s Prayer.”
Today we take the next step in the prayer – adding to the heavenly existence of God and the call to make His name holy, there is a call to have His kingdom represented here on the earth. In verse 10 of Matthew chapter six, we find a new focus in the prayer. This is added to the previous, but it is also unique in its demand to be co-existent with God. Please read Matthew chapter six and verses nine and ten.
How often have you found that you have ‘bitten off more than you can chew?’ I have seen some baseball players that I think fall into this category. They shove a whole wad of chew or sunflower seeds in their cheek and gnaw on it for nine innings. I wonder if they ever realized, they cannot chew all of it at once. I have also seen people take a big bite of steak and not be able to chew it all. These are rather literal examples. How about the person that takes on a project far too big for them to accomplish?
We look at the snowfall in the eastern United States this year and it reminds me of when we were in Maryland in 1995. We had over 32 inches of snowfall in a very brief period then. Our housing area had planned for some snow removal and had contracted with someone locally to do the work. With this huge snowfall, we knew that this individual was not able to handle it. He ended up having to call in front end loaders which cost twice what he was contracted to be paid. Without prior negotiation with the governing board of our planned unit development, he had bitten off more than he could chew. He was in danger of not being paid for his services. A simple phone call to the president would have sufficed.
Some contractors get into trouble when they have plans for big business, but they have not worked their way up to big planning. Wisdom is the better part of valor in the individual who knows their limitations. Individuals with residential building experience are not automatically adept at building commercial structures. Both have their unique aspects, and experience with one does not necessarily confirm ability with the other. Many residential building general contractors bite off more than they can chew when they expand to large commercial jobs.
In much the same vein we go before God asking things, requesting things, even thinking that we can demand things because we think we are all right. We can even be all right, but demand things according to His word here and get in over our heads. We frequently do not realize that, “honest, bold and reverent prayer is still a danger to the wicked heart of man.” If we are not careful, we may just get what we pray for, and both believers and unbelievers need to pay heed to that. We are often lackadaisical concerning our spiritual condition, yet “we still think we can walk before God and pray to Him without a truly changed heart.”
All of these life experiences and examples should also give us perspective with our Lord. We can easily get overly exuberant in our prayer when we go to God with confidence. Make no mistake; we can go to God in prayer with confidence. The problem is that we tend to step from the realm of confidence to that of over confidence very quickly. Our verse today gives us pause, or should, to keep us in check for what we are praying. We should not, when we know we have confessed all to our Savior, when we have borne all before Him in honest prayer, get too confident but remain reverent in prayer with the Father. Our lesson today keeps us humble.
I. His Kingdom Come (Verse 10a)
Your kingdom come. That is the demand in this section of scripture. The word translated “come” is the demand in this phrase. It indicates the end of a process, or that something has become better or worse (as in a process of healing). Our Savior says we should pray for the end of this wicked time and seek God to usher in the time of His perfect glory. We find this word used in Mark 5:26 where the woman with an issue of blood had suffered 12 years “and was nothing bettered but rather grew worse.” The word “grew” is used to develop a process, and in the imperative sense (as it is here), it is a call to bring that process to an end. This prayer demands the new heavens and the new earth be created now. This part of the prayer demands fulfillment of Revelation 21.
Understand, Christian, that this means a call for all those things in the process of completing the new heavens and the new Earth to come about. This is a call for the Rapture. This is calling for the process to expose the antichrist, the false prophet and for the persecution of believers to begin. This is a call for the Tribulation to start, for great world wars to begin, and for tremendous destruction of all that is the earth and universe. This prayer says that we should bring about the entire kingdom of God upon this Earth. It is a call for the Judgment Seat of Christ; this is a call for the Great White Throne judgment and the Millennium to be finished. This is a call for the end of our time and the beginning of our eternity, the end of our world and the beginning of the new world. This is a demand levied upon God that He would bring about the New Jerusalem.
Are you ready, right this moment, for the Rapture, Christian? Are you ready, right this moment, to meet God? Is your heart, your soul, your spiritual life with God ready for that moment? Can you go before Him with any confidence in the Day of Judgment (1 Jn 2:28–sermon on this text here)? Will you suffer if you meet God right now, knowing the sin in your heart? The question, Christian, is not necessarily whether you have been saved, but rather, what you have done with this glorious gift of salvation.
What will you tell God when He asks you about your life of witness? What will your answer be when He asks how much time you spent in front of the television? What will you answer the Savior when He asks how often you set about to deliberately testify of Him to others? What will you be able to say if God specifically asks you why you repeatedly committed a certain sin, knowing full well that those very sins caused Him to hang on the cross at Calvary? When you go before the Judgment Seat of Christ, your entire testimony will be reviewed. You will be judged, “that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10). In your salvation, what have you done for Christ whether good or bad? The good things will be rewarded as they are the treasures we deposit in heaven. The bad (here actually ‘evil’) that we do results in nothing but judgment. We are accountable to God after salvation, just as we were before. There is no super or ultra spiritualism to being saved that provides us some unfettered liberty. Claiming Christ in sin is still an offense to God.
Have you caused others to fall away from Christ because of your inability to truly trust Him and His provision for you? Have you forsaken your Savior on several occasions to get the things you desire, knowing full well He would be displeased with your choices? The scripture says that you will receive what is due you for the things you have done in the body, the deeds you have completed in the body whether they be good or bad. We have hit the bad, what about the good?
What “good,” Christian, have you done that you can receive the “well done” at the judgment seat? Have you witnessed to many? Have you led many to Christ? Have you faithfully served Christ in the church? Have you faithfully sought change in your heart for Christ? Have you truly desired to change for Christ? What good have you really done for the Lord? Those things will be judged, they will be weighed, they will be measured. Will those deeds be found wanting?
Do you think you can sit here right now and demand that you be ushered into the presence of God? Are you that ready to see Him? Unbelievers think it is haughty or arrogant for a believer to say he knows he will be in Heaven. It is not. We have scripture to support the fact that we can know we are saved (1 Jn 5:13–sermon on this text here). Alternatively, it is haughty to boast of our confidence that our prayers are heard, and pray this prayer demanding God’s kingdom come if we know full well we are not prepared for the appearance of God’s kingdom. Many reading this today, many in the pews of churches across the nation and around the world are not ready for that conviction. Praise God you have a Savior who was sent and submitted to be your atonement for these sins. Seek His face; bare your soul to Him. Find solace in His salvation.
Not only do we pray for His Kingdom to be ushered in, but we are encouraged by the Savior to call for God’s will to be done. What is God’s will with respect to this message and the Sermon on the Mount?
II. His Will be Done (Verse 10b)
The word we see translated “done” is our imperative. It is the word used in Greek that indicates the beginning of life – “created,” “exist” or “become.” We would find this word used in the Septuagint in Genesis, where the word “bara’ or “create” is normally in Hebrew. This is the equivalent of that creation word. Since it is an aorist imperative this indicates action being demanded to be done, to be completed. This verse could be represented as saying, “Complete your will, O God” – though that is not entirely accurate. The tense of the word being aorist indicates a desire for God’s will have been completed, not just to come to fruition, but that it would already have been done. “Your will be done,” then is a most accurate rendering. Ladies and gentlemen, are you truly ready for God’s will to be done?
The word for “will” (thelēma) is equally important. We must understand that when we demand God’s will to be done; we are calling for His perfect will. Since God cannot be divided between Himself and still remain standing (Matt 12:25), God is equally just as He is forgiving. God willed that all should come to repentance and know His Son as Savior. This is a purposed will or a planned will; but not necessarily the perfect will of God that may be completed. Where God wills that all who have transgressed the law will be judged, we find His perfect will that will be done (Rom 3:20). Further, every single person has broken the law (Eccl 7:20; Rom 3:23). God’s perfect judgment must be satisfied (Gen 18:25c). Both of these wills, the purpose (a Savior provided) and the desire (a perfect Kingdom will come to be), are called for in this prayer. God’s perfect will is that His kingdom will come to be on Earth as it is in Heaven. The Kingdom will be perfect, sinless and occupied by sinless beings. These Kingdom occupants love Him and seek Him in faith, believing in the Messiah. God’s desire is that all men and women might do this. However, man sins wantonly and aggressively denies God (Gen 6:5; Ps 53:1-3; Jer 17:9). People who choose to sin and continually deny God will not be forced into Heaven, for they do not want it. God will not force anyone to believe Him. He wants you to choose Him.
In calling for God’s will to be done, and calling for this in conjunction with the coming of His kingdom, we are calling for both His perfect judgment on all sin and a perfect existence in His presence. God’s will is that all His children would come to Him. Praise God we learn in 1 Timothy 2:3-4 that God’s purpose in the Messiah is that all men would be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth – that there is one God and one mediator between God and man – Jesus Christ. The truth is, God provided His Son to fulfill this very truth. The purpose of Jesus’ atonement was to provide for all to be saved (Heb 10:9-10). Equally, we know that many will reject Him and His Son (2 Tim 2:13; Titus 1:16). God’s will was to provide a sacrifice for all. Man’s will is at enmity with God (Rom 8:7; Jas 4:4). To call for God’s will is first an acknowledgment that salvation is provided for man. Second, it is equally a call for God’s perfect judgment for sin (Rev 20:11). This is certainly a two fold request, in that God’s will has for the believer a wonderful ending, but for the unbeliever is divine judgment and eternal torment.
Do you still believe you want to pray for this perfect will to be completed, to come into existence? Do you think you are currently worthy of even approaching this throne and demanding this perfect will be brought down upon you? The Christian should be praying this prayer. The unbeliever should be fearful of this prayer.
How, then, is this to come about? In what way is God’s will supposed to be manifested? How does man see this take place?
III. His Earth and His Heaven (Verse 10c)
This phrase, translated, “in earth as it is in heaven,” is actually a separate phrase. Properly punctuated the verse reads,
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The last part of this verse is our focus, and, as a distinct phrase, we will translate it literally. We find in our literal translation, “like (as) in heaven also on earth.” What is Heaven like that Earth is not? What is Earth like that Heaven is not? What is God’s kingdom in Heaven, as opposed to that of Earth? What is God’s will that must be done in order to make His kingdom exist in both? We have already answered many of these questions, and this is where our learning has taken us – from a sin filled, corrupt Earth to a perfectly sinless Heaven. There is a difference, though. In this case, sinless perfection on Earth is demanded. We are also to see the spiritual world more active, vibrant and visible on Earth.
The whole world struggles under the weight of sin (Rom 8:22). The relief is in God’s redemption for all His creation. The only redemption for all this pain and suffering that man will ever realize is in the Son of God. The whole of creation groans and travails in pain together until now – that the Messiah has come. In Romans 8 Paul continues to write concerning the release of our distress because of the hope in a Savior – that no one or nothing can separate us from Him (38). We have a surety then that this world will come to be sinless and perfect just as Heaven is where God currently dwells. Equally, we will have to be sinless and perfect in the sight of God for our place to be secured in Heaven or on an Earth as pure as Heaven. We have this great promise and looking forward to that is a great blessing to all who believe in the Savior (Rom 8:23-24). We hope in a Savior and His salvation that we cannot see, but that we know must exist because God’s promise is sure – that He wills that all would come to know Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:3-4).
Regardless, Christian, you know the Savior. Continue in this hope. We are promised that continuing in this hope we see His salvation in us. We know how wicked we are as sinners. We know how much we do not deserve to be in the presence of God. We are lower than the angels for even angelic beings who are perfect in Heaven are worthy of being in His presence. We know these things, yet we rest in a blessed hope of God and His Son’s salvation that reconciles the flesh and removes our death penalty for sin (Col 1:21). Jeremiah 17:7 tells us that the man is blessed who hopes in the Lord. This same blessing is in the poor in spirit and those who mourn. We continue to look for a blessed hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). This hope we find in those who hunger and thirst after righteousness and who are pure in heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted. We know that our blessed God and Father of the Lord has, in His abundant mercy, provided us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus (1 Pet 1:3). We find our mirror image of the Beatitude’s mercy in the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior for our redemption. He who beat death, Hell and the sting of sin’s fear has given us these great hopes. We look at them and pray with all our hearts,
“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven!”
Call loudly, Christian. Let the world hear you are calling for the Kingdom of God, perfect and sinless, to come down upon this wicked world. Have them consider their true position before the all-powerful, perfectly sinless and majestic God of the Universe. This is the “Lord’s Prayer.” The Son of God could pray this prayer with clarity, with a clean conscience and in perfect harmony with the Father. Can you? The world cannot. Pray this prayer aloud calling loudly for God’s kingdom to come to the World. Let God’s word convict all those who hear. This is why people claim a “freedom from religion” in our country’s Constitution. They do not want to be convicted. They know what is coming and they are afraid. You are praying for perfect sinlessness, and they are afraid. Pray Christian! Get your heart right with God and pray!