Bible Lesson for the third Kuki Christian Convention 2012

Your Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Mt 6:9–13 (ESV)

By Charles Ray Cherry

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” [For Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen]

The theme of this year’s convention is taken from the section of Scripture that Christians have traditionally referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is found in two places in the Gospels: Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

In Matthew the passage appears as part of the Sermon on the Mount, a collection of teachings given by Jesus to His disciples. In Luke it appears in a shorter version, and is given by Jesus in response to a request by the disciples that Jesus teach them how to pray.

In both passages, Jesus is laying out for the disciples a pattern, or formula, for prayer. I don’t believe, and most New Testament scholars do not believe, that Jesus intended for us to exactly recite the words of the prayer, but to use this as a model for formulating our prayers.

It is not necessarily wrong to recite the words of the Lord’s Prayer, for they are Holy Scripture of course. But we need not be limited to saying those words, nor should we rely on repeating the words over and over as some sort of magical formula or chant that will somehow gain us favor with God.

In fact, Jesus strictly forbids us to pray using “repetitious words” and “meaningless phrases” when we pray, for that is how the pagans pray to their gods. We have a Father in Heaven who hears our prayers, and wants to commune with us directly. We do not pray to him as to some unfeeling statue or idol. We speak to him in words from our hearts, as a child would speak to his or her father.
So let us examine more closely this pattern of prayer set forth by our Lord, and perhaps we can remind ourselves again how best to commune with our Father in Heaven.

The Structure of the Prayer

There are four parts to the Model Prayer: the Address, the “You” Petitions, the “We” Petitions, and the Doxology.

1. The Address
• “Our Father who is in Heaven”

In my mind, these are the most glorious, profound, and most meaningful words in all of Scripture.
Meditate on the fact that through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we mere humans are able to enter into a Father/child relationship with none other than Almighty GOD, Creator of the Universe, the Supremely Powerful One, the Ultimate Cause and Source of Everything, the Sum Total of All That IS, the Great I AM, the Most High and Powerful GOD, the Most Glorious One, the Most Awesome GOD, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

If meditating on the truth of those words does not cause your head to spin and your heart to falter, then you do not yet understand their meaning!

All of you have children in your family – either your own, or those of your brothers and sisters, or extended family. And many of you are fathers. Now, which of you fathers, when your young children come running up to you with their arms wide open crying out, “Daddy! Daddy!” can resist reaching down, picking up that little babe in your arms, and hugging her to your chest?

And which of you mothers, when your young child stumbles and falls and scrapes his little knee, and then comes running to you with tears streaming down his face, can resist comforting him, and wiping away his tears?

When Jesus tells us to pray “Our Father,” the word he uses for “father” is not that of a stern and wise old man sitting on a high throne inaccessible to all but the wise and learned masters.

No! He uses a word that was very familiar to the disciples. The word he uses here is “Abba.”
“Abba” is the Aramaic word used by young children when addressing their fathers in the most intimate and affectionate way. It is the word like “Papa,” or “Daddy.”

So why would Jesus instruct us to come into the Awesome Presence of Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, Most Holy, with the common but affectionate word that a young child uses when speaking to his or her daddy? Because this is how He wants us to commune with Him. He wants us to have a daddy/child relationship. He wants us to love Him and trust Him completely, the same way a young baby trusts her daddy.

Palal’s son Solomon and little baby daughter Cherry trust him like that. When a stranger enters the house, little Cherry runs to her daddy and wraps her little arms around his leg and stands behind him. She somehow knows instinctively that her daddy will protect her from anything that might seek to harm her.

Now, Palal did not have to instruct little Cherry with that information. He did not have to sit her down and say to her, “Cherry Nem Nei Them, I will protect you. Whenever you are afraid, just come and stand behind me. I will keep you from harm. I will care for you, and feed you, and keep you warm with clothes, and keep a roof over your head. You don’t have to worry about those things. Just trust me.”
No, a Daddy does not have to tell those things to his little babies. Why? Because the little ones just know those things in their hearts when they are born and as they grow.

This is how Our Daddy in Heaven wants us to feel about Him, and how He wants us to trust Him.
Some religions of the world understand God to be a powerful but remote deity who is always angry and who always needs to be appeased with costly gifts, with great acts of self-sacrifice, with long-winded prayers, with severe fastings and long pilgrimages.
But this is not how Jesus showed us what God is like. Jesus said God loves us with an everlasting love, with the love of a Daddy for his children.

How would you feel if every time your children came to you, they spoke in a strange accent, using important sounding words which they repeated over and over? How strange it would be if little Solomon came to his daddy every morning and spoke like this:
“Oh, thou great and mighty Palal, I am so unworthy to even be in your presence today. Please, oh mighty Palal, I am so hungry this morning. Wouldst thou find it in thy bountiful grace to provide thy humble servant with a tiny morsel for breakfast this morning? Thy servant would be so grateful if thou wouldst find it in thy loving heart to givest thou me some small bit of pancakes and a tiny cup of tea. Your humble servant would be so eternally grateful. In the name of Palal I humbly petition thee, Amen.”

No, Solomon and Cherry do not even have to ask their father for breakfast, because they know and trust that their daddy will provide it for them.

Now I am not saying that we should be rude, or impertinent, or sacrilegious when addressing our Father in Heaven. He is Almighty God after all, and we must give Him all of the respect and honor which He deserves. But He has revealed to us that He wants us to address Him as our Abba. To not do so is to violate His will.

So again, the next time you get on your knees to pray to God, remember that you are addressing your Abba, your Papa, your Daddy in Heaven. And unlike many of our earthly fathers who are imperfect and flawed, our Abba is perfect in every way. He will never abandon you, or beat you for no reason. He will never fail to provide for you everything that you need for your life and salvation.

Many people have a hard time imagining God as a loving daddy. I understand this very well.
My own father abandoned our family when I was about four of five years old. The last time I ever set eyes on my earthly father I was only six years old. My mother never remarried, and I never had a man in my life that I could look up to as a father figure. And since I was the oldest son in our family, many of the responsibilities normally taken by the father were left to me.

So the memories I have of my earthly father, even to this day, are mostly just vague images of him being angry with me. But I also remember my mother’s father (my grandfather) casting scorn on me because I reminded him of my father, whom he despised. Even as I became a teenager, I can remember my mother being angry with me and saying things like “You remind me of your father!” which was not a good thing in her mind.

So I grew up to be a very angry, bitter, and depressed young man. I did not even know how much the loss of my father really affected me until much later in life, but I made many mistakes and caused many people untold amounts of grief and suffering because of the scars and the damage to my spirit caused by the lack of a good father in my life.

However, there was one saving grace that kept me during those growing up years; the salvation which I experienced as a young child.
When I was a little boy, and after my father left us, my mother would take my older sister, my younger brother, and myself to our grandparent’s home each weekend. My mom worked very hard during the week to provide for us, but we were still very poor. At my grandparent’s house, though, we could eat lots of good food and could play outside all day long without fear.

Every Sunday morning my Grandmother would wake us children up, make sure we all got dressed, and then we would all walk together down the road to the First Baptist Church of Russiaville, Indiana. There we would attend Sunday school classes and sometimes even stay for the adult worship service. It was in one of those Sunday school classes where I met God.

I was about six years old, and there were many children in the church that year. There were so many children that the class I was in had to meet in a large closet in the front of the church next to the stage and pulpit area – like the little rooms on either side of the stage here in the chapel.

The Sunday school teacher was a little old woman with bluish white hair – I don’t remember her name. (In those days in America, a lot of the older women put their hair up on top, and colored it so that it had a shiny whitish-blue tint. It sounds funny, but it was rather pretty.)

Anyway, every Sunday the teacher would give us a Bible lesson. I loved to hear the stories about the Bible characters like Daniel, David, Joshua, and Moses. I loved to answer the questions and show how much I knew about the Bible. It made me feel good to know the answers.

Then, every Sunday without fail, she would lead us in what the Baptists call “The Sinner’s Prayer.” She would say, “Now does anyone here need to ask Jesus into their heart?” And every week for several weeks I raised my hand and repeated after her the Sinner’s Prayer.
I would say something like, “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I have disobeyed You and have done many bad things. Please forgive me, and come into my heart. Please help me to be good. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.”

I know that I prayed that prayer with all of my heart, because I really did want Jesus to live in my heart and save me from my sins.
After many weeks of praying that prayer and repeating after her, the Sunday school teacher finally said, “I don’t think you need to keep praying that prayer. I think Jesus heard you and is now living in your heart.” I was very happy.

As I said earlier, this salvation was the one saving grace that kept me during my growing up years without a father in my life. I truly believe that God became my father at that time, and He has been watching over me and caring for me ever since. Even during the many years when I turned my back on Him, and rejected Him, and lived a terribly sinful life, My Father in Heaven always loved me and kept me from major harm. Of course He was not happy with my life, but He loved me and cared for me all the same.

One time as a young man of about eighteen I had returned to the Faith and was trying to follow God again. But then I began to doubt, and was afraid that everything I was doing and everything I believed was false. In my mind I would say that I was just pretending to be good and following God for selfish reasons. I was very troubled inside, and was ready to abandon God again and go my own way rather than be a hypocrite. It was a very trying time in my life.

About that time a traveling evangelist came to the home where I was staying, and he wanted to know if we had been filled with the Holy Spirit. We did not know what he was talking about, so he said he would go around and lay hands on us and pray for us to be filled with the Spirit.

I wasn’t sure what was happening at the time, but I went along with it anyway. When the man came to me I knelt down and he put his hands on my head to pray over me. Instantly, it was as if the world around me had somehow changed. I was still in the same room with the other people, but I could not hear anything they were saying. It was as if I was surrounded by a bright cloud that dimmed out everything around me. Then I heard a voice in my mind speaking to me that said, “My son! My son! Why do you doubt? Why are you afraid? Do you not know that I have been with you ever since you were six years old?” At that moment I remembered sitting in the Sunday school classroom in the closet at the First Baptist Church in Russiaville, Indiana, and I could picture in my mind the beautiful little old lady who so faithfully taught our class every week.

Suddenly, the cloud was gone and everything was back to normal. Then the man looked down at me and said, “I do not know why I said those words just now. They came into my mind, and I spoke them out. They must have been from the Lord.”

Ever since that time, and because of a couple of other times when the Lord spoke to me, I have never doubted His existence or His love for me. I have had many hard times, and periods in my life when I have not walked according to His Way, but I have never seriously doubted that God Is and that He loves me. He is my Father, and I am His child. My earthly father may have abandoned me, but my Father in Heaven will never leave me nor forsake me.

Maybe you have had a good relationship with your earthly father. If so, praise God! Thank your Heavenly Father for this great blessing, and go to your earthly father and thank him as well. Thank him for loving you, and caring for you, and giving you a good example to live by.

But perhaps you are like me, and your father abandoned you, or abused you, or failed to care for you, or was not a good and godly example. I understand. If this is the case, then be comforted, because you have a Father in Heaven who loves you, and cares for you, and wants to be the real father that you never had. He will speak to you in your heart, and will comfort you in your affliction, and wrap his loving arms around you and protect you from harm.

But perhaps you are a father, and you realize that you are the one who has abandoned your children, or abused them, or failed to care for them the way our Father in Heaven would have you to do. It is never too late to repent and become that good father! You should get on your knees and pray for forgiveness and strength and wisdom to be the good father that you can be.

Being a father is one of the greatest privileges God has given to us. But being a father also carries with it one of the greatest of responsibilities. This is the responsibility to model God’s love and care to your family, to your wife and children. They look to you to provide for them, to protect them, to care for them, and to love them. God has given you this responsibility and He places a very high value on Fatherhood.

You see, when your children look to you, they are really looking to God. You are the image of God for your children. When your children get older and they hear about the Fatherhood of God, will they think good, positive thoughts about Him, or will they think of him as an angry man who abandoned them, beat them, always said hard words to them, or never properly cared for their needs?
God loves your wife and your children infinitely more than you will ever be able to. He wants you to model that love to them, so that when they think about Him as God their Father, they will have good thoughts, and will not be troubled by bad dreams of a father who abandoned them or never properly loved them.

We know how seriously God loves children, and how angry He will be at those who cause harm to come to them, because of verses like this:
Matthew 18:5-6 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

If you have not been a good father, do not despair! The Holy Spirit gives us the ability and the strength to do God’s will. If you truly desire to do what is right in God’s eyes, then He will give you the power and ability to do it. It may not happen quickly, and it may even take many years to regain the love, trust, and affection of those whom you have abandoned or abused. But it will happen.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, as a disciple in God’s Kingdom, you must do this. Even if you now have no desire to reconcile with your family, or if you have no desire to repent and seek their forgiveness, you must pray for the desire. As we will see later on in the Lord’s Prayer, you cannot enter into Heaven with unforgiveness and bitterness clinging to your heart.

Do not wait, saying “Now is not the right time.” As the Scriptures say, “Do not harden your hearts. Today is the day of salvation.” None of us know when will be our time to die and face the judgment. Do not take the risk that you will leave here today with unconfessed sin in your heart! If you are a father and you need to make amends with your family, do it as soon as possible. Jesus could return at any moment, and then you will have to face his terrible judgment. If you enter into judgment not having even attempted to reconcile with your family, it truly would be better for you never to have been born.

On the other hand, if you are a wife or a child of a man who was not a good father, you also must also forgive. Paul commanded us in 2 Corinthians 13:11 to “aim for restoration” and to “live in peace” and again in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” This is truly God’s will. Jesus prayed that we would be one, even as He and the Father are one. Reconciliation and unity are God’s will. When we pray for “God’s will to be done on earth,” this is one of the first and most important ways we can partake of that Divine Will.

We will see later on in the Lord’s Prayer how critical it is for us to forgive one another. So let me end this section with this encouragement from 2 Corinthians 6:18,
“I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

Meditate on that truth and be encouraged that the Almighty Creator of the Universe wants to be your Abba, your Daddy, your Papa.

2. The “You” Petitions

• “hallowed be Your Name”
All three of these petitions are different ways of saying the same thing. Keeping God’s Name holy, praying for His Kingdom to be established, and for His will to be done on earth are each different ways to pray that God will be properly exalted on earth, in our lives, and in the Church.

The first petition, “Hallowed be Your Name” is a way of praying that God’s character and reputation would be kept holy – that is, distinct, separate, special, revered, respected, apart, and above everything that is common on this earth.

By praying this, we are essentially saying that we will do our part to reverence God, and to keep Him and His Name from becoming “common.” It is also another way of praying that we will keep the 2nd Commandment – “Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord Thy God in Vain.” In other words, we must always reverence and respect God, His Word, His People, and everything associated with Him.
This has very practical considerations. For instance, the Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, God’s Holy Nation, His own special People.

When we pray that God’s Name will be kept holy, His Name encompasses everything about Him. That includes His Church. We must keep His Church holy, even as we keep His Name holy. That means we must respect, reverence, and honor His Church. His Church is made up of all who call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Faith believing in the death, burial, and resurrection, and who have proclaimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior through the new birth of Salvation and the rite of Baptism.

We have many different groups of Christians represented here at the convention. Yet, we are all Christians. Some of us are Baptist, some are Methodist, some are Roman Catholic, and others. And yet we come together in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do things differently, and some things we believe differently. And yet, we all call Jesus our Lord. We are His Church. We are all Christians.
If we are going to keep God’s Name holy, we cannot speak evil of His Church, His Bride.

Sometimes in America different groups of Christians will not fellowship with one another because one groups thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong. Some Christians will not pray with other Christians because they think the other people are not really Christians, because they don’t believe the same way about baptism, or the Lord’s Supper, or the End Times, or whatever. When we act this way, we are not keeping God’s Name Holy.

Joining together in different groups is not necessarily a bad thing. Some people like to be very emotional when they worship God – dancing, and shouting, and making a lot of noise. Some people like to be very quiet when they worship God. Some people like to use the Liturgy of the Church. Some people like other ways. No one way is right to the exclusion of all others. It is OK to join with others who are like-minded, as long as we do not look down on the other groups and say that they are wrong because they are not like us.

If we were all able to travel back in time to the days of the Apostles, we would be very shocked at the way they did their church services. It was not very much like many of our services today. But what they taught is what we teach. What they believed is what we believe, and that is what makes us Christians in the same way that they were Christians.

So let us keep God’s Name Holy, and our prayer should be that the Lord would help us to “hallow His Name.” That means we should keep holy everything concerning God – His Name, His Word, His Church, His Church elders and deacons, His church members – His Bride and His Body.

If someone comes to you and starts talking bad about another congregation, or another congregational leader, or another member in your congregation or another congregation, do not even listen. Put your fingers in your ears and walk away, and pray “Lord, please keep Your Church Holy! Keep Your Name Holy!”

• “Your kingdom come”

The Kingdom of God is wherever and whenever God is ruling and reigning. There is the sense, of course, that God is the ultimate King over all creation – both in heaven and on earth and everywhere. God is King by right and ownership. He created everything, He owns everything, and He has the rights to everything and every person.

However, there is another sense of the Kingdom. And that is that many of the King’s subjects are living in a state of rebellion. Now since the King is Almighty God, He could end the rebellion at any time with simply a word. But He is a loving King, and He does not want any of His subjects to perish and to suffer eternal damnation.

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Ti 2:3–4)

However, as His Loyal subjects we are troubled in our hearts when we look around us and see so much evil and suffering. We are sad when we see God’s Holy Name blasphemed, and His beautiful creation trampled underfoot by godless pagans and witless fools who care nothing for God and His Word.

We get so tired in this hard world, with so much trouble and so many trials and tribulations. Our children go hungry, and get sick, and sometimes die too soon.

We feel bad when we do not act the way we know we should as citizens of God’s Righteous Kingdom. We long for the day when Jesus will return and make everything right. We long for justice, and peace, and prosperity for all. We dream of the day when there will be no more tears, sorrow, suffering, or pain. We long for the day when we will be reunited with our loved ones who have gone before. Our hearts ache for the Day of Righteousness to appear, and when evil will be no more.
And so we pray, “Your Kingdom Come.”

But we must realize that His Kingdom is already here, at least in partial form, and one of our duties as disciples of Jesus is to help spread His Kingdom.

Every time a new believer is baptized, God’s Kingdom has come.
Every time a man chooses to love his family instead of abandoning them, God’s Kingdom has come.
Every time a boy chooses to work for his wages instead of stealing, God’s Kingdom has come.
Every time a woman uses kind and loving words instead of harsh and hateful words, God’s Kingdom has come.
Every time a business man gives out of his wealth to help feed the poor, God’s Kingdom has come.
Every time a farmer blesses God for his abundant crops, God’s Kingdom has come.
Every time warring tribes are reconciled, and decide to live in peace with one another, God’s Kingdom has come.
Every time we live as lights in the darkness, God’s Kingdom has come, and is spreading out, and growing.

Paul told us that the Kingdom of Heaven (which is the same thing as the Kingdom of God) consists of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

When we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are praying for all of the things I have been speaking about. And that means we are striving to accomplish all of these things. We cannot pray for God’s Kingdom to come, but then live as though we love the evils of this present age more than Him. We cannot pray for the Kingdom of God and live like citizens of Hell. We must strive to be good citizens of the Kingdom of God. We are not only citizens of the Kingdom, but we are also ambassadors and representatives of the King.

Whenever we have dealings with unbelievers, we are representing our King, Jesus Christ. Whenever you speak with an unbeliever, you are speaking in the Name of Jesus Christ. Imagine that when you become a Christian you are given a special robe – it is white with golden trim – and on it your name is embroidered with the words “Ambassador of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.” Everywhere you go, you are wearing this special robe. Everything you do and every word you say, you do and say in your role as a Kingdom Ambassador. And someday we will be called in before the King to give an account of every word we spoke and every deed we committed as His ambassadors.

Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt 12:36 – 37).

We must be very careful not to neglect our role as the King’s representatives. One way we can do that is every morning, after we wake up and put on our clothes for the day, we imagine putting on our Kingdom Ambassador’s robe. When we walk out of our door, we are not walking out as a common person of the world. We are walking out as the personal representatives of the Most High God. You might look like an average Kuki Chin person. But you are not just an average person. You are special. You are an ambassador of the King of the Universe. And the King expects us to behave as such.

Jesus once said “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” That means that His first coming inaugurated the Kingdom of God on Earth. He said His kingdom was like a tiny grain of mustard seed. When it started out it was the tiniest of seeds, but then it grew larger than all the other plants and became a tree.

His Kingdom started with only a handful of people – on the Day of Pentecost there were only 120 people in the entire Kingdom of God on Earth. But now look at it! Since that day billions of people have come into the Kingdom. Right now there are nearly two billion people alive who claim Jesus as their Savior and King. And who knows how many more will be added before the end comes?
But someday the end will come, and Christ will return as a conquering King, and He will establish His eternal Kingdom in power and great glory. When that happens all evil will be vanquished, and sorrows will cease, all tears will be wiped away, and there will be no more sickness, disease, or death.

When His Kingdom comes in its fullness, there will be no more wars, and no more pain. All earthly kingdoms and governments will be done away with, and Christ will rule and reign in righteousness and truth.

But when He comes, all those who have not bowed their knee to His rule and reign on their own accord, through faith in the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross, by accepting His free gift of salvation, by being baptized into Christ, all who are not members of the Body of Christ will perish.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
But whoever does not believe will not have life. They will have death, and they will experience it for ever and ever.

• “Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”

3. The “We” Petitions

• Give us this day our daily bread,
• And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
• And lead us not into temptation,
• But deliver us from evil.

4. The Doxology

• For Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen

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