Faithlife Sermons

Thy Will Be Done

Notes & Transcripts

God’s Will  

“Thy Will Be Done”

Third Petition: “Lord’s Prayer” Exodus 19: 1-6; 1 Corinthians 12: 27-31a; John 1: 43-51

INTRODUCTION:  What is God’s will?  Our Old Testament lesson seems to offer some insight into this question.  First, did you notice the name of the Book our lesson is found in?   Exodus = a departure or going out or away from a place that involves large numbers of people.  It seems God was calling the Jews out of Egypt, but where was He calling them to?  When you leave from one place, you must arrive at another.  So where did they go?  Well they went to Palestine, a country very much like Egypt.  It was a land full of false gods and idols, and like Egypt, sin was plentiful.  So why did he call them out if He was only going to place them in another similar place?  The answer is found towards them end of our reading:  “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'”  Wow!  Did you get that?  God intended to make them, all of them Priests or Ambassadors!  So what we learn here is that it isn’t so much where God was leading them to, but rather WHAT He was leading them to.  And the WHAT is a deeper relationship with Him.  The Jews were to be his Ambassadors.  People He had called to relate to Him through love, faith and obedience.

But the Jews participation in the divine blessings was conditioned on their faithfulness.  Out of all the nations, God chose only one to relate to Him by faith, and if they would remain faithful, they would become obedient.  They were called to be a light or an example to the other nations.  Why?   In 1Pe 2:9 God further defines who these "chosen people" and "people belonging to God" are.  It is people who relate to Him by faith and who desire to follow His will.[1]   Or in other words, people who are obediently faithful to Him.

Our Epistle reading this morning, stresses Christ’s desire for all believers “to be as one body”.  To think as one, to act as one, and to desire the same things, because that is what a body is, “unified”!  This isn’t the only place where we are given an outline of God’s will for his saints and His Church.  John 17 reveals God’s desire that “we may be as one.”  IF this is his desire, then why does it seem that His church is so divided?  I believe that it is a clash of two wills, God’s and ours individually and as a church.

Over the years, Christians have become frustrated over an apparent lack of unity in this great “Universal” body, the Church.  So much so, that they have dropped out of society all together.  They have formed little societies, almost like “Christian social clubs”.  This is not a new concept however.  The monastery of the Middle Ages, the Quaker villages of the 1500’s, and the hippie communes of the 20th century are all attempts to become a “unified” society.  Today, it would not take very long to find many “Christian” congregations that operate like an exclusive social club.  I believe that these groups are guilty of following their own will.  The thinking is, that if you can separate yourself from this sinful world, you can follow God’s will more completely.  By removing oneself from society, and its temptations, you can respond better to His will; and by committing yourself to holy living, separated from the many temptation in life, the thinking is that you can please Him by living a righteous life.  Did you notice how many times I said you and yourself?  Does that kind of talk center on God’s will or the individual’s will?  And what kind of life is it that does not become involved in life?

ILLUSTRATION: Are You In Line Or Just Waiting

The Christian does not experience unity with Christ by removing himself from the world.  We are called to be an active force in the world; a force which brings unity, but before we can demonstrate unity we must experience it.  This can only be done by uniting in: One Will (God’s); One Faith/Hope (in the work of Jesus Christ); and One Joy (for all in the Body of Christ) and then demonstrating that unity to the unbelievers.


I.                   ONE WILL 

“Thy Will Be Done!”  This petition, the third found in the Lord’s Prayer, presents the double edge of Law and Gospel.  It humbles and it lifts up the spirit of the believer.  It reminds us that we are sinners yet it restores our strength as it also reminds us that we have been made righteous by the will of God.

When we pray and declare, “Thy will be done”, we act as our own accuser and judge.  Our own words accuse us of being disobedient to God’s will, and our own words declare this to be true.  What a bunch of hypocrites we would be if we left this place of worship believing that we can accomplish God’s will!  Does this humble you?  It should!

Now this may be hard for some of us to take, but essentially Jesus is saying that when ever you pray, it must be in the context that you are completely helpless to please God.  Your sins always go before you and take away any question as to your ability or desire to please God.  YOU ARE SIN!!  You are not able to sort out what God’s will is and what your will is; that is why God asks us to completely surrender our will to him so that we will not be confused.

ILLUS: It Was God’s Will!
Reader’s Digest told about an overweight businessman who decided it was time to shed some excess pounds. He took his new diet seriously, even changing his driving route to avoid his favorite bakery. One morning, however, he showed up at work with a gigantic coffee cake. Everyone in the office scolded him, but his smile remained nonetheless. “This is a special coffee cake,” he explained. “I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning and there in the window was a host of goodies. I felt it was no accident, so I prayed, ‘Lord, if its your will for me to have one of those delicious coffee cakes, let there be a parking spot open right in front.’ And sure enough, the eighth time around the block, there it was!” [2]

Where’s the Good News?  Well it’s this, God wishes to set you free from your guilt; the judgment that you passed upon yourself!  “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. So you see, God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. [3]

You see, God has declared you righteous by His will, and His righteousness consists of this:  that after you and I have known and judged ourselves, we are not left hopeless, but instead we turn to that same will of God which offers mercy when we seek protection from our own disobedience and sin.  God looks for the heart that “humbly confesses its disobedience and sin”[4]  This is where God works according to His will by providing forgiveness and justification through our small faith that says, ‘I will trust and believe God, before my conscience, and instead of my good works.  I will claim His promise of mercy and grace, which was provided by Jesus Christ.  This is my only means of peace (Romans 1 and Galatians 3)![5]


II.                ONE FAITH/HOPE 1 Corinthians 12: 27-31a

Here we are given a vision of just how the Church should function as a "body".  Although there are many different members (parts) in our church, each of us should harmonize with the other as we make up the "whole" body because we have been unified by the same spirit.

Without Christ each of us would go our own way without a common bond other than the sinfulness of our own wills, which is no bond at all! But now, the fact that we call Jesus Lord, proves that we are led by the same spirit. Now we must act as one heart and mind; with one goal:  pleasing God by knowing and accomplishing His will; by reflecting His desire is to reach the lost with the love of Christ and serve one another through love.

ONE SPIRIT- We are to have one Spirit.  Think of the human body; what an amazing creation, but until God breathes in the breath of life into it, it is nothing but food for the worms. It is the same for the church.  Without God’s Spirit leading us we are DEAD!

By His Spirit, He creates a vibrant, exciting, living church.  Unless the breath is in the body, it dies. And unless the Spirit is in the Church it is dead.   A Holy Spirit-controlled church is vibrantly alive because each member of the body is walking as the Spirit leads.  The Church is God’s; therefore he sets it up according to his will, not ours. You and I are what we are because it pleases God. So with this thought as our truth, it only makes sense that we should strive to do our best with the gifts God has given us.

    III. ONE JOY (Gospel Call To witness)
45Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."   46"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.

Here we have a contrast in faith and hope.  Philip had faith in God’s Word that predicted that a Messiah would come and take away the sin of the world.  He claimed God’s promise as recorded in His Word through Moses and the Prophets.  When he announced this hope to Nathaniel, instead of the expected response of joy, he received a negative comment: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  But notice Philip’s response; it was still one of joy and filled with child like hope; “Come and see!”

Come and see that the Lord is Good!  Philip witnessed to Nathaniel.

CONCLUSION: One heart relating and reflecting one love.

One Hope: A. Our earthly goal should be the world redeemed in Christ. B. This hope unites us in a purpose. We serve, we give, we witness, we love, we reach out.  C. Everyone may have a different method of accomplishing purpose, but if we are all trying for the same things, we are together.  D. In a world of despair, that neither knows nor cares what God’s will is we know! 

We know that God’s will is that no one should die without salvation; NO ONE!  We know that God’s will does not choose some for salvation and some for damnation!  No God’s will is that everyone should have life abundant with faith hope and love!  We have hope—that is great!  Now let’s take it out to those who are hopeless!


[1] See Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17

[2] Lee Griess, Taking The Risk Out Of Dying, CSS Publishing Company, 1997

[3]Romans 5:6-8 Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Bible NIV. Copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 SoftKey Multimedia Inc. All Rights Reserved

[4] Martin Luther- An Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer

[5] Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11 are basic tenants to the Reformation and to Lutheran teachings.

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