July 2017  
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Last Sunday's Sermon
Pastor: Harry M. Krolus

                                                         THY WILL BE DONE
                                                             MATTHEW 6:10

There once was an old Scottish woman who went from home to home across the countryside selling thread, buttons, and shoestrings. When she came to an unmarked crossroad, she would toss a stick into the air and go in the direction the stick pointed when it landed.
One day, however, she was seen tossing the stick up several times. "Why do you toss the stick more than once?" someone asked. "Because," replied the woman, "it keeps pointing to the left, and I want to take the road on the right." She then repeatedly kept throwing the stick into the air until it pointed the way she wanted to go! That stick was going to yield to that woman’s will no mater how many times she needed to throw it up in the air.
As we now look at the third petition, thy will be done, it seems to me that the first thing we need to do is to determine what God’s will is. I mean, it’s easy to simply say that something is God’s will. Some say that since God is a God of love, that it is his will for us to be happy. And since, they conclude that it is God’s will for us to be happy, then we are free to live our lives in any manner in which we choose if it makes us happy. The logic may seem sound, but it is built upon a faulty premise.
I have heard some say, and perhaps you have too, that it was God’s will that they say this or that; that it was God’s will for them to do this or that. And that they came to this determination though thought and prayer. Here too I raise my eyebrows because I question how exactly God’s will was revealed to them and I wonder whose will is actually being followed in the name of God’s will.
God’s will is revealed to us in Scripture. The age of immediate revelation is behind us. We read in Hebrews 1:1-2, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” We also read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This is why sharing the Word is so important. It is through the Word that the Spirit works as Romans 10:14-15 clearly points out, as we stated last week.“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” we read. And what is the Good News? It is the Word of God and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Being fully convinced of this, Luther always came out swinging against the Enthusiasts, those who espoused a doctrine of immediate revelation. He writes in the Smalcald Articles, which are a part of our Lutheran Confessions, “God will not deal with us except through his external Word and Sacrament. Whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from such Word and sacrament is of the devil.” On the basis of Scripture, we must agree.
So, in order for us to know definitively what God’s will is we look not to what we think it is or what we hope it is. We do not repeatedly throw a stick up into the air until it points in the direction we want to go. We go to the Word.
The first thing that needs to be stated is that it is God’s will that all people be saved. We read in John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” And Paul states in Romans 10:13, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The sad fact, however, about God’s will for us is that because of our God given gift of free will, his will can be resisted and rejected.
It is for this reason that it is also God’s will that we, his disciples, be involved in mission. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” We spoke about this last week when looking at the second petition. We spoke of the Great Commission and how God has gifted each of us, individually, for the purpose of working together in sharing the Gospel.
As we delve further into the Word, we discover that much of God’s will for us revolves around our purpose and our life in Christ. We discover that our way of life is to be an extension of our faith.
Scripture tells us that it is God’s will for us to promote harmony and to live in peace; that we are to honor our parents and those in authority; that we are to behave decently and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel. It tells us that we are to help those who are downtrodden and support those who are weak in faith.
As Jesus came into the world to fulfill the law and not abolish it, it is also God’s will that we keep the law. The law makes us conscious of our sin, and for this we are thankful as it leads us to repentance. It also then guides us as we seek to know and do the will of our Father in heaven.
Here we are also reminded that it is our Lord’s will that we love the Lord our God above all things and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. You see, love, self giving, self sacrificial love, is the fulfillment of the law, as is stated in Romans 13:10. In love, then, it is also God’s will that we encourage one another, admonish one another, care for one another, and pray for one another.
Although some regard it as an option, it is also God’s will that we gather together for worship. Hebrews 10:25 makes this abundantly clear. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” God established a day dedicated to him because we need such a day. In a world that world that would divorce us from God, time spent in worship helps keep us grounded as we find encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ; and as we receive spiritual nourishment through the Word and Lord’s Supper, the means through which the Spirit works to create and strengthen saving faith.
God’s will encompass many things. We do well to prayerfully reflect on such things often as we seek to live our lives as children of God and disciples of Jesus. As we pray the Lord’s Prayer and pray the third petition, “Thy will be done,” It may be helpful to keep in mind that our Lord’s will revolves around five basic elements; bringing people to faith, keeping strong in the faith, growing in faith, supporting others in faith, and reflecting our faith.
Gods will is done, certainly without our prayers, but we pray in this petition that it would be done among us also.