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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Your Kingdom and Will

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse for the Day - Matthew 6:10
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Daily Scripture ReadingMatthew 13

Puritan Catechism
Question #7: What are the decrees of God?
Answer: The decrees of God are his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his own will, whereby for his own glory he has foreordained whatever comes to pass (Eph. 1:11-12).

Devotional Thoughts
As Jesus continues to give us the basic elements of prayer, He now adds to the address the first request. He has taught us to address our prayers to God our Father with the realization of Who He is. He is God, Holy and awesome. And He wants to commune with us!

Jesus' first request of the Father is that His kingdom come! What does He mean by that statement? Jesus is asking, as we should, for the kingdom of God (the work of God) to come to completion! He is asking for the Day of the Lord! The day that the redemptive plan of God is complete. The Day that every enemy is subdued. At that Day, He will have called the righteous to blessing and condemned the wicked to judgment. For His kingdom to come is for His redemptive program to come to completion.

This verse could be translated, "Let Your kingdom come now!" It is a cry for the instantaneous climax of all History! Jesus wants the kingdom now! We must express that desire, too. It is much like the prayer offered by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:22, "O, Lord, Come!" Interestingly, His coming will mean blessing and reward for the righteous and a curse and the second death in hell for the unrighteous. It will be a Day of life and death, of blessing and cursing, of heaven and hell! And yet our heart cry must be, "O Lord Come!"

The original language for the phrase translated "O, Lord, Come" or "Even so, come" is the word maranatha. It was a one word prayer in the Church of Acts! In 1 Cor. 16:22, the word maranatha directly follows the word anathema. Remember from Galatians, anathema means accursed! In that verse Paul writes "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!" In Greek he wrote "anathema, maranatha!" It almost sounds like a play on words doesn't it? When He comes some will rejoice; others will be thrown into everlasting torment!

When we seek His kingdom, we are not seeking to influence government or society, we are seeking to bring people face to face with Jesus in the hopes that today will be the Day of fulfillment of God's eternal plan. In another place Jesus says to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the field because the fields were white unto harvest.(Matthew 9:37) You have probably heard that preached as souls ready to be saved. NO! In the context Jesus is saying that the souls in the harvest are about to be collected and thrown into the fire!! There is not much time before judgment, so preach the gospel as often as we can! Who knows when time might be up?

On one hand we are to pray expecting the fulfillment of God's plan NOW! On the other hand we are to work as never before to spread the gospel message so that everyone that we are able to give the truth to might hear the truth about God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus continues to teach us how to pray. Stop and think about that for a moment. Jesus Himself is teaching us how to pray! For all the books in Christian bookstores about prayer (as good as some of them are), if we really want to know how to pray we must go to the source! We must go to the One who can tell us exactly how to please God by communing with Him! Jesus is teaching us about God. About His Name, His Holiness, His Kingdom, and now about His will!

We are told to pray that His will would be done on earth just as it is in heaven! I want to start by looking at His will, then we will look at the difference between earth and heaven as it pertains to His will.

What is God's will? How can we find it? Will God show us His will or do we have to discover it on our own? If we really want to know what His will is then we must search the Scripture. It will tell us all about His will!

This list is not comprehensive, but it will give us a place to start in talking about God's will for our lives.

It is God's will :

1. That the elect be saved - Romans 6:23; 8:29-30
2. That we be sanctified and holy - 1 Thess. 4:3, 1 Peter 1:13-21
3. That we be obedient doers of the Word, not just hearers - James 1:22
4. That we love one another - 1 John 3:11
5. That we deny self - Luke 9:23
6. That we worship Him - Rev. 19:10
7. That we keep His commands - 1 John 5:3
8. That we love Him - Matt. 22:37-38
9. That we love others - Matt. 22:39
10. That we walk daily with Him - Galatians 5:16

Indeed, if we are walking in the Spirit, encouraging others, loving God and our neighbors, and we aren't violating Scripture, we can do whatever we want. Remember, when we delight in Him He gives us the desires (not the object or thing we desire, but the very desire itself) of our hearts!!

Now let us look at the difference between heaven and earth when it comes to His will. Of course God is sovereign, so His will is ultimately accomplished every day. But what affects that will (from our perspective, not His) in our day to day life? We fight our flesh, our sin nature, our temptations and lust. We combat our self-will and our pride. It's WAR! There is quite a bit here that can interefere with our desires and our obedience to the Word of God. And remember, as Redeemed individuals though we are no longer dead and bound in sin, we can freely choose to sin.

To pray for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven is to truly seek after and desire total surrender to Him and His Word in our daily lives! We are told to pray in a way that reveals the desire we have to put off this flesh and finally leave this corruptible for the incorruptible. To lay sin aside once for all! Wouldn't that be nice? It will only be possible when God has glorified this sinful body and made us just like Jesus. Then we will be completely and forever free from sin!

It is to be our hope, our aim, to see His will done in our lives as easily here as it will be one day there in heaven. That is what it means to pray that His will be done, right here on earth in my life today, just like it is done in heaven. Nothing can stand in God's way! Nothing can stop or overpower Him. He is Lord! But are we faithful and obedient slaves??

"Your kingdom come." O Lord Come! MARANATHA!

“Your will be done.” Amen.


Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from A Discourse on Delight in Prayer by Stephen Charnock.

2. Whence this delight springs.

A. From the Spirit of God. Not a spark of fire upon our own hearth is able to kindle this spiritual delight; it is the Holy Ghost that breathes such a heavenly heat into our affections. The Spirit is the fire that kindles the soul, the spring that moves the watch, the wind that drives the ship. The swiftest ship with spread sails will be but sluggish in its motion, unless the wind fills its sails; without this Spirit we are but in a weak and sickly condition, our breath but short, a heavy and troublesome asthma is upon us. "When I cried unto thee, thou didst strengthen me with strength in my soul." Psalm 138:3. As prayer is the work of the Spirit in the heart, so does delight in prayer owe itself to the same author. God will make them joyful in his house of prayer, Isa. 56:7.

B. From grace. The Spirit kindles, but gives us the oil of grace to make the lamp burn clear. There must not only be wind to drive, but sails to catch it; a prayer without grace is a prayer without wings. There must be grace to begin it. A dead man cannot rejoice in his land, money, or food; be cannot act, and therefore cannot be cheerful in action. Cheerfulness supposes life; dead men cannot perform a duty, "The dead praise not the Lord," (Psalm 115:17), nor dead souls a cheerful duty. There must not only be grace infused, but grace actuated. No man in a sleep or swoon can rejoice. There must not only be a living principle, but a lively operation. If the sap lurk only in the root, the branches can bring forth no fruit: our best prayers without the sap of grace diffusing itself, will be but as withered branches. Grace actuated puts heat into performances, without which they are but benumbed and frozen, (Reynolds). Just as a rusty key will not unlock a door, rusty grace will not enlarge the heart. There must be grace to maintain it. There is not only need of fire to kindle the lamp, but of oil to preserve the flame. Natural men may have their affections kindled in a way of common working, but they will presently faint and die, as the flame of cotton will dim and vanish, if there be no oil to nourish it. There is a temporary joy in hearing the word; and if in one duty, why not in another? Why not in prayer? Like a fire of thorns that makes a great blaze but a short stay, Mat. 13:20.

C. From a good conscience. "A good heart is a continual feast," Prov. 15:15 He that hath a good conscience must needs be cheerful in his religious and civil duties. Guilt will come trembling, and with a sad countenance, into the presence of God's majesty. A guilty child cannot with cheerfulness come into a displeased father's presence. A soul smoked with hell, cannot with delight approach to he heaven. Guilty souls, in regard of the injury they have done to God, will be afraid to come; and in regard of the soot of sin wherewith they are defiled, and the blackness they have contracted, they will be ashamed to come. They know that by their sins they should provoke his anger, not allure his love. A soul under conscience of sin cannot up to God, Psalm 40:12. Nor will God with favor look down upon it, Psalm 59:8. It must be a pure heart that must see him with pleasure, Matt. 5:8. And pure hands must be lifted up to him, 1 Tim. 2:8. Jonah was asleep after his sin, and was outdone in readiness to pray even by idolaters. The mariners jog him, but could not get him, that we read of, to call upon that God whom he had offended, Jonah chap. 1. Where there is corruption, the sparks of sin will kindle that tinder, and weaken a spiritual delight. A perfect heart and a willing mind are put together, 1 Chron. 29:9. There cannot be willingness without sincerity, nor sincerity without willingness.

D. From a holy and frequent familiarity with God. Where there is a great familiarity there is a great delight; delight in one another's company, and delight in one another's converse; strangeness contracts, and familiarity enlarges the soul. There is more swiftness in going to a God with whom we are acquainted, than to a God to whom we are strangers. This encourages the soul to go to God; I go to a God whose face I have seen, whose goodness I have tasted, with whom I have often met in prayer. Frequent familiarity makes us more understanding of the excellency of another; an excellency understood will be beloved, and being beloved, will be delighted in.

E. From hopes of receiving. There is a delight which arises from hopes of enjoying. "Rejoicing in hope," Rom. 12:12. There cannot be a pleasant motion where there is a paralysis of doubts. How full of delight must that soul be that can plead a promise, and carry God's hand and seal to heaven, and show him his own bond; when it can be pleaded not only as a favor to engage his mercy, but in some sense a debt to engage his truth and righteousness! Christ in his prayer, which was his swan-like song, (John 17) pleads the terms of the covenant between his Father and himself; "I have glorified thee on earth, glorify me with that glory I had with thee before the world was." This is the case of a delightful approach, when we carry a covenant of grace with us for ourselves, and a promise of security and perpetuity for the church. Upon this account we have more cause of a pleasant motion to God than the ancient believers had. Fear motivated them under the law; love motivates us under the gospel. He cannot but delight in prayer that hath arguments Of God's own framing to plead with God, who cannot deny his own arguments and reasonings. Little comfort can be sucked from a perhaps. But when we come to seek covenant-mercies, God's faithfulness to his covenant puts the mercy past a perhaps. We come to a God sitting upon a throne of grace, upon Mount Sion, not on Mount Sinai; to a God that desires our presence, more than we desire his assistance.

F. From a sense of former mercies. If manna be rained down, it does not only take off our thoughts from Egyptian garlic, but quickens our desires for a second shower. A sense of God's majesty will make us lose our showy self-satisfaction; and a sense of God's love will make us lose our dumpishness. We may as well come again with a merry heart, when God accepts our prayers, as go away and eat our bread with joy when God accepts our works, Eccles. 9:7. The doves will readily fly to the windows where they have formerly found shelter; and the beggar to the door where he hath often received alms. "Because he hath inclined his ear to hear me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live," Psalm 116:2. I have found refuge with God before; I have found my wants supplied, my soul raised, my temptations checked, my doubts answered, and my prayers accepted, therefore I will repeat my appeals with cheerfulness.

I might also add other causes; as a love to God, a heavenliness of spirit, a consideration of Christ's intercession, a deep humiliation. The more unpleasant sin is to our relish, the more delightful will God be, and the more cheerful our souls in addresses to him. The more unpleasant sin is to us, the more spiritual our souls are; and the more spiritual our souls, the more spiritual our affections; the more stony, the more lumpish and unable to move; the more contrite, the more supple. Another cause is a spiritual taste: a report of a thing may give some pleasure, but a taste greater.

3. Reasons. Without cheerful seeking we cannot have a gracious answer.

A. God will not give an answer to those prayers that dishonor him. A flat and dumpish attitude is not for his honor. The heathens themselves thought their gods should not be put off with a sacrifice dragged to the altar. We do not read of lead, that lumpish earthly metal, employed about the tabernacle or temple, but the purer and most glittering sorts of metals. God will have the most excellent service, because he is the most excellent being. He will have the most delightful service, because he bestows the most delightful and excellent gifts. All sacrifices were to be offered up with fire, which is the quickest and most active element. It is a dishonor to so great, so glorious a majesty, to put him off with such low and dead-hearted services. Those petitions cannot expect an answer, which are offered in a manner injurious to the person we address them to. It is not for the credit of our great Master to have his servants dejected in his work: As though His service were an uncomfortable thing; as though God were a wilderness, and the world a paradise.

B. Dull and lumpish prayer does not reach him, and therefore cannot expect an answer. Such desires are as arrows that sink down at our feet; there is no force to carry them to heaven: The heart is an unbent bow that hath no strength. When God will hear, he makes first a prepared heart, Psalm 10:17. He first strings the instrument, and then receives the sound. An enlarged heart only runs, Psalm 119:32. A contracted heart moves slowly, and often faints in the journey.

C. Lumpishness speaks an unwillingness that God should hear us. It speaks a kind of a fear that God should grant our petitions. He that puts up a petition to a prince coldly and dully, gives him good reason to think that he does not care for an answer. That husbandman hath no great mind to harvest, that is lazy in tilling his ground and sowing his seed. How can we think God should delight to read over our petitions, when we take so little delight in presenting them? God gives not mercy to an unwilling person. The first thing God does, is to make his people willing. Dull spirits seek God as if they did not care for finding him: such tempers either account not God real, or their petitions unnecessary.

D. Without delight we are not fit to receive a mercy. Delight in a mercy wanted, makes room for desire; and large desires make room for mercy. If no delight in begging, there will be no delight in enjoying. If there be no cheerfulness to quicken our prayers when we need a blessing, there will be little joy to quicken our praise when we receive a blessing. A weak, sickly stomach, is not fit to be seated at a plentiful table. Where there is a dull asking supply, there is none, or a very dull sense of wants. Now, God will not send His mercies but to a soul that will welcome them. The deeper the sense of our wants, the higher the estimation of our supplies. A cheerful soul is fit to receive the least, and fit to receive the greatest mercy. He will more prize a little mercy, than a dull petitioner shall prize a greater, because he hath a sense of his wants. If Zaccheus had not a great joy at the news of Christ's coming by his door, he would not have so readily entertained and welcomed him.


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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