The Lord’s Prayer: Thy Will Be Done…

The Lord’s Prayer: Thy Will Be Done…

Apr 26, 2017

A series by Assistant Pastor Phil Lawton at the

Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh, NJ.

Check out Phil’s blog at

If you want to live in the Kingdom of Heaven you have to submit to the King of the Kingdom.

Last month this series was about the Kingdom of God. It was about how that kingdom is drastically different than any other kingdom. It is a place of justice, peace and mercy. The Kingdom of Heaven is the utopia that so many nation states try and fail to create. For some this may seem like a unicorn — a magical beast that everyone wants, but does not exist. The truth is that the Kingdom of God does exist. It is a place greater than anything we know, but living there is not easy. To live in the Kingdom of Heaven requires giving up every selfish desire. It means that you must submit to the King of that Kingdom.

Free will is an interesting concept. If you go through the annals of philosophy you will find differing opinions on this. People like Jean Paul Sartre thought that humanity could do nothing but express free will. He thought that it is the meaning that we put into things that determines how we act. Since we are the ones that put meaning in things we are responsible. Take the statement: “Without money for food I will die. Therefore I have to work.” Sartre says that you don’t actually have to work. You could choose to die, but since you put more worth in living that is why you work. It is your free will that determines that you work, not any cosmological determinism. (For more on this see Sartre’s Being and Nothingness.)

Most philosophers, however, hold to some form of determinism. This is the idea that there are things outside your control. The ideas vary greatly, but in short they all agree that there are some things that we cannot control and therefore some of our actions are a result of outside forces.

Enough with the philosophy lesson, on to history! (Have I bored you yet?)

A History of Bad Choices

If we look at the stories in the Old Testament we will see a theme: people make wrong choices. This goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. They lived in a garden full of everything they could want. All they had to do was not eat from one specific tree. So what do they do? They eat from it. (Seriously guys, you had one job.) Joking aside, this is crucial to understanding how human nature relates to the Kingdom of God.

Adam and Eve are the perfect example of humanity’s greatest (perhaps only) sin. They did not trust God. They did not trust that God knew what He was doing. They didn’t know why they couldn’t eat from the tree. (Honestly we still don’t really know.) All they knew was that God told them not to. We can look back on this now and see what they did wrong, but we all do this. How many times do you question God’s plan for your life? Do you really trust that God will work things out? Or do you take things into your own hands? Do you say, “Listen, I know you are God, but I know how this should play out.”?

Adam and Eve were not the only ones. When God created Adam and Eve they were told that they should fill the earth. This goes for their descendants too. When the earth starts to get populated we find that all the people of the earth have populated one place. In fact they decide to build a tower for the express purpose of NOT filling the earth. Yet again humanity has decided that it knows better than God. And God has to intervene.

This is just Genesis. There are countless places in the book of Exodus where the Israelites — the people chosen by God —- think they know better than God. The best example of this is when they built the golden calf. Not only did they build an idol, but they called it YHWH! That is the name of God. They replaced the God that brought them out of Egypt. Why? Because they didn’t like the way YHWH was doing things. They thought they knew better.

The book of Judges is full of bad choices. One phrase occurs over and over in the first several chapters: “The people did evil in the sight of God.” This later changes to: “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” The second is clarified by the fact that they had no king. But as we talked about last time, having an earthly king does not really solve this problem.

Now and Not Yet

I could go on, but I think you get the point. The story of human history is a story of people thinking they know what is right and failing at taking care of each other. We see this every night on the news. The world we live in is a mess. Just this morning I read that the US launched missiles into Syria because of a chemical weapons attack. We are not living in the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of Heaven is a place without death. It is a place where the hungry are fed. A place where the naked are clothed. In it the homeless have a home and the orphan a family. The Kingdom of God is a glorious place. But it is not here. And it is here.

There is a phrase used by New Testament theologians: “The Now and the Not Yet.” Basically what this means is that Jesus has brought the Kingdom of God — but it is not fully realized. What this means is that we can see glimpses of this Kingdom right now, but that we will not see its full glory until Jesus comes again.

Lest you think this is made up, Jesus himself told us that the Kingdom of God is among us. What Jesus meant is that wherever He went, there the Kingdom was. After all, Jesus is the King of the Kingdom. When Jesus healed lepers, there was the Kingdom. When Jesus brought sight to a blind man, there was the Kingdom. When Jesus died on a tree for our sins, there was the Kingdom. When Jesus rose from the dead — Hallelujah! — there was the Kingdom.

Jesus did one more thing. Right before he ascended to Heaven He told his disciples to do all that He had done. He told them that they should make disciples, just like He did. He told them that they should spread the gospel, just like He did. In essence He told them to spread the Kingdom. This is the job of the church. We are to spread the Kingdom. We are to continue what Jesus started until that day when He comes and completes it.

You Must Give Up Your Will

Now comes the convicting part. To live in this Kingdom you must — not should, not maybe, not it’s a good idea — you must submit to the King. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Thy will be done.” Jesus was showing us that the only way to live in the Kingdom of God is to live out the will of God. Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. We are to submit to the will of Jesus.

This sounds easy, but it really is not. The will of God is that ALL should come to him. This means everyone. This means that coworker who takes credit for everything you do. This means that guy at school whom you want to punch every time he opens his mouth. This means the drunks, the drug addicts, and homosexuals. This means your estranged uncle who always says the wrong things at Thanksgiving.

For all to come to God, we must be Jesus to people. This will mean that you can’t do what you want to. And let’s be honest — that isn’t working is it? Every time you do what you think is right it falls apart, doesn’t it? The state of our world shows this. If we have it all figured out, why is there so much conflict?

We all need Jesus. He is the King. He deserves our unswerving loyalty. When Jesus tells you to go minister in Alaska with the cold and the bears, and the horrible death, you go. No questions asked. When Jesus tells you that you need to stop working so much and spend more time with your family, you do it. You don’t ask how you will pay bills. You trust that if the King has told you to do something He will take care of everything else.

Look, I’m not saying that you can’t ask God questions. I think sometimes we shut people down too quickly. But what I am saying is that every time you get in an argument with God you will loose. I know. I have lost more arguments than I care to mention. God is big enough for your questions — but God is also big enough to take care of your worries. If you want to live in the Kingdom of Heaven you have to submit to the King of the Kingdom.

May you come to realize that you aren’t as smart as you think you are. May you learn that God’s way is the best way. May you start to share the Kingdom with others. May you submit to the King. And may the King give you peace.


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