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Catechism Class: God’s Will

11/02/2021

Catechism Class: Obeying the Will of God

Lord’s Day 49 Q124

Text:  Matthew 16:24-26

The catechist is still teaching us how to pray, using the Lord’s Prayer as a model for our prayers, and reminding us that when we pray these petitions there is far more underlying truth than we sometimes think.  We should mine that truth!  So we come to the third petition in the prayer: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Compare that with Proverbs 14:1 The psalmist has the correct attitude in Psalm 40:8   That’s what we pray for in this petition of the Lord’s Prayer, – Lord, teach us, not only to DO your will, but to take DELIGHT in doing it.

In Q124 our instructor asks. “What is the third petition?”  The answer is,  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That is: Grant that we and all men may deny our own will, and without any murmuring obey your will, for it alone is good.  Grant also that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.”   Let’s talk about obedience, – doing God’s will.

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1 I/We Must Seek God’s Will and Do It.

This prayer is as personal as it is corporate.  

  • It is a personal prayer.  It’s for ME – and it’s for YOU.   Now to do God’s will must mean that we do NOT do our own will, for to be sure God’s will and desire for me and my life, will very often be different, perhaps the direct opposite of my will, what I want to do and how I want to live.  That’s one of the basic principles of discipleship.  Matthew 16:24-26; 24   
  • It is a corporate prayer.  While it is right that we should pray for God to reveal his will to us, and for us to obey it, we want others to come not obedience to God also. We want his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.  In a way it expands on the second petition, that God’s kingdom would come.  We are praying for sinners to be saved, to come into the kingdom of God, and surrender their will to the Lord. Matthew 7:21  That’s often how we know a true Christian from a false professor, the fact that they have a desire to seek and do the will of God.  A person who claims to be saved, but who is living in open defiance of God, in moral or doctrinal matters, cannot be squinted with the will of God or delighting in it.
  • It is a willing prayer.  The catechist wants us to ask God to make us willing servants, never complaining or murmuring about it.  

We pray this prayer because obedience to God’s will is good for us.  The catechist writes, for it alone is good.   Now this begs the most obvious question…

2 How Do We Know What God’s Will Is?

It might surprise us that the catechist adds, Grant also that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling.

There are Christians who agonise over what might be God’s will for them. God’s will is revealed to us in his word.  That’s all we need, for in the Bible God has finally spoken to His people.  Let’s see just a few indisputable aspects of God’s will, revealed to us quite clearly in the Bible:-

  • It is God’s Will that we be HOLY (as He is Holy) Rom 12:1-2 
  • It is God’s Will that we should live clean and upright lives.  Tit 2:11-12.   
  • It is God’s Will that we work for our employers both honestly and diligently.Ephesians 6:5-9.   I think that’s what the catechist means when he writes, Grant also that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling.  It is God’s will that we fulfil our earthly callings, as a worker or an employer, as a husband or wife, as a parent, as a good citizen.
  • It is God’s will that you are sexually and morally continent.  1 Thessalonians 4:3-5  
  • It is God’s will that you meet with others to worship him.  Hebrews 10:25  

You see, it’s really easy to find out God’s will for your life, if you just read your Bible.

3. Our Example of Perfect Submission to God’s Will.

Finally, the catechist reminds us that this petition is, ‘Thy will be done on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!  In heaven, God’s will is done – perfectly.  Oh that earth could reflect that heavenly state of obedience!  We were created to obey God, to enjoy fellowship with him, but instead sin entered into the world, and obedience turned to rebellion.  On this earth, our compliance with what God wants will always be hampered by our innate sinfulness.  But in heaven, we have the true standard of submission to the perfect will of God.  

  • In Jesus.  He is our perfect exemplar.  He was obedient, even to the point of going to the cross to suffer and to die for sins that were not his own but ours.  In the Garden of Gethsemane we have an insight into the depth of that submission, when he prayed ‘not my will but thine’ in, Luke 22:42
  • In the angels.  The very angels in heaven are dedicated to doing God’s will.  Psalm 103:20-21   So the catechist points us to them, that we would take them as our standard.  He writes,  Grant also that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.

When we pray that God’s will would be done on this earth, as it is being done in heaven, we are reminding ourselves of those perfect, heavenly examples of perfect obedience.

© BobMcEvoy February 2021

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