Sermon for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Aug 12, 2018
The Will of the Father
In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask that our heavenly Father’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven and we understand this to mean that while the good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, we are asking in particular that it be done in our own lives as He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world and our own sinful natures which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die (SC). Our consolation is that while we do not always do the Father’s will, Jesus has. Jesus has broken and hinder every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world and our own sinful natures. Jesus has promised that He keeps us firm in Him (Word) and in faith until we die.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” We should find great comfort in that word “never.” It means that all of you who have been called by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel will never be dismissed from His service. You will never be expelled from His kingdom. You are forever a citizen and heir of the heavenly kingdom deserving all the rights that that entails such as the protection and comfort of living inside the walls of God’s own city. In these few words, Jesus assures us that what we pray for in this petition is ours and will never be snatched away.
We are often concerned with doing the father’s will. We want to make sure we make the right decisions in our lives and for the lives of our children. We can even be paralyzed at times because we are not sure which decision would be more pleasing to God. Do I choose choice A or choice B? It is good to be concerned over such things and whether what we are doing is pleasing to our heavenly Father. In light of the Third Petition and the will of God being done, we should notice that it has no action for us to take. We are the receivers and beneficiaries of God’s will being done. He breaks and hinders. He strengthens and keeps.
This is what Jesus had as His purpose in coming down from heaven. “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Jesus clearly states that He came down from heaven to fulfill the Third Petition by doing the Father’s will. He came to break and hinder evil plans and purposes and He came to strengthen and keep you in faith unto the Last Day. He did the heavy lifting so that we might simply focus on Him. He did the Law’s demands and the dying under Gods wrath, the rising from death and defeating of the devil so that we would look to Him in faith and trust that as He purchased and won us from sin and death that He will not let us go but instead will always guard and protect us from all that would separate us from the promised inheritance.
In verses 39 and 40, we have two parallel sentences. They begin and end in the same way with the middle phrase changed slightly to expand our understanding, just like much of the teaching Jesus does in John’s Gospel. He begins each sentence by telling us what He will next say is the Father’s will. “And this is the will of him who sent me” and “For this is the will of my Father.” (We could digress into a discussion of the Trinity as we explain the Father sending the Son but will stick with Jesus fulfilling the will of God.) In both cases, Jesus is going to explain what the will of God is as it relates to His own life and the lives of man – you and me.
He also finishes each sentence with what we might term as a purpose statement. He explains why these things must be done; why He must do the Father’s will. “I will raise it up on the last day” and “I will raise him up on the last day.” Jesus does the Father’s will so that on the last day, He might raise up you and all for whom He was sent. He was sent to conquer death and undo what sin has brought into the creation.
“And this is the will of him who sent me that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me but will raise it up on the last day.” The entire purpose and will of God in sending His Son was to achieve the salvation of man. From the moment of His conception in the womb of Mary, God’s will was being done that nothing would be lost. All of the creation was in mind, from the lowliest of servants to the most powerful of emperors, as Jesus took His first steps and thus began His journey to the cross. It was for you and for your mother’s cousin twice removed on her father’s side that was seen as the black sheep of the family, as it was for the most notorious of criminals. It was not God’s will that anything be carved for which Jesus would not die and redeem but that His sacrifice would be sufficient and include all. And so it was. The all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus was the will of Him who sent Him. In that piercing of His flesh and shedding of His blood, Jesus lost nothing of all that was given Him. In His rising from death and treading of Satan underfoot, Jesus has won victory for every sinner born into this world. God’s will was done in the life and death of His Son.
“For this is the will of my Father that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.” Notice that here Jesus is more pointed as to in whom the Father’s will is done. In the first statement, we see the universal will of God being done in the redemption of all mankind. He we see that the Father’s will includes and individual aspect for you as for everyone. The Father’s will is that each of us would look upon the Son, that we would behold the incarnation of God dead upon a cross and that we would believe that it was for even us. Yes, it was the Father’s will that the Son die for the sins of the whole world but it is also the Father’s will that you would believe that it was for you, for your redemption, and for your eternal life. It is the Father’s will that you be granted an introduction to His Word, incarnate, written, and proclaimed that faith in Him as your Savior would be worked and preserved in you.
As we pray the Third Petition, we can know that God’s will has been done in the life of Jesus as He has lost nothing of all that was given Him and we can know also that in looking upon Jesus and believing in Him that the Father’s will is being done in our lives.
This gives you something to think on as you sing “Lord Jesus, Think on Me” as one of today’s distribution hymns. Think about how Jesus was always thinking on you as He was about His father’s will here on earth and about how He is always thinking on you now as He preserves you in faith until that last day when He will raise you up and give you eternal life with all the saints who have looked on Him and believed.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.