Good morning, everybody. Let’s turn to Matthew 6:9. We’ll be continuing our study of The Lord’s Prayer.
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Let’s pray. Father, every single one of us, grandfathers, fathers, children, pastors, church members, before you, we’re all children. We come to you, Father, asking that You teach us how to pray. Jesus, thank you for giving us this prayer. We want to pray it with the right heart and with the right understanding. If we can just understand how You are teaching us not only to pray but how to do life, we will be so free and so unburdened. We will be free to do the will of God. And that is what we want to do. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
As children of God, this is the one point for today. The Father asks only two things of His children. One, is that we listen. Two, is that we rest in His provision.
I’m a father and so in our household we have certain rules and we started this not that long ago which is daily cleaning. Chores are important because it’s good for character. I grew up on the East Coast and so I had to mow the lawn and rake the leaves. I had to to farm the garden. There was a lot of manual labor and that’s good for boys, to be involved in those types of activities. In California, we have gardeners who come and take care of everything and so we have to find ways to put people to work in our house.
We started doing daily chores and it’s just a general rule that we will try to do 15 minutes of cleaning a day. Sometimes I say, today you don’t have to do it. But my boys fight me on every minute. In theory, if I said 15 minutes every day and we skip one day, then they owe me 15 minutes. In theory, they should do 30 minutes the next day. Then on Saturdays we do a deep cleaning and I always threaten, okay, this is going to be a deep cleaning because we didn’t clean every day this past week. It’s within my rights that the general rule or the law of our home is we clean.
As a father, it’s in my right that there are general things we clean each day. We will do the the toilets or the floors and a general wipe down. Then it’s something a little more serious on Saturday. But it’s in my right as a father that I can say, today do the normal stuff but add on the blinds. We’re going to do the windows. I’m not breaking my own law. It’s cleaning 15 minutes. As long as I stay within the parameters, it’s in my right to say, today we’re not going to do the floors. but we’ll do the blinds. Tomorrow, let’s do the windows.
And did you know our Heavenly Father has a will? It says, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. When the Father proclaims something in heaven, there is no hesitation. There’s no complaining. Everybody in heaven does the Father’s will perfectly. I don’t know how it is in heaven because I haven’t been there. I know there are certain creatures and angelic beings who are always in God’s presence. So maybe on a daily basis or on a minute-by-minute basis, God is instructing these beings to do His will. I don’t know if God says to the saints who have gone before us, okay, here’s My will and I’ll be back in a thousand years, since they are eternal beings. I don’t know the frequency in which the Father interacts with them in heaven. But it would be weird if the Father said to them, well, here’s a Bible and for the rest of eternity, just read your Bible and I’ll check in with you every million years or so, and you’ll be fine.
To me that would be a little strange because the Father at any moment can speak and as children or angelic beings, our job is to say, yes, Father. I’ll do whatever you say and I will obey immediately. When the Father does that, He definitely never breaks His laws. His assignments which may be given on a daily basis or a yearly basis or a thousand year basis, His assignments will never break the general laws that He has laid out in Scripture. So when it says, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, the first thing as children that we need to learn is how to listen.
We need to learn how to listen. Probably one of the most important rules in our house is to listen and listen right away. Because if the children have a hard time listening to a physical father and mother with an audible voice who’s raising their voice, if they have a difficulty listening at home, how well do you think these kids will do once they leave our home and they have to listen to a Heavenly Father whom they cannot see and whose voice may not be audible?
So part of the training growing up in our home is you must listen, and you must listen right away. I don’t know what kind of home you grew up in. You might have had a terrible father or a terrible mother. But Father says we pray, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. This Heavenly Father is in a category of His own. He is Holy. It really doesn’t matter actually what kind of earthly father or mother you had because all of us now have a new Heavenly Father and He is awesome. He is good. He is infinitely good and if you believe it, you will listen to Him.
You won’t project your earthly father and mother onto our Heavenly Father and say, He’s somewhat similar. He must be similar and so he must be moody. He must he want me to perform. His love must be conditional. I must have to do all these things for Him. No. Our Heavenly Father is in a category by Himself and our job is to listen to Him.
How do we listen? By doing exactly what He asks us and we start with this. He tells us what to do here. We have to start with the Bible. What I’m about to say, you may experience a little bit of push back. It may be a little controversial. You may have never heard these things, but I want you to just listen and take what I say and process it before you react to it.
The Father’s will is actually for us to listen to Him and to rest in Him. Listening and resting in Him is very linked. If we can’t rest in His provisions, we will have a very hard time listening. When it says, give us this day our daily bread, remember, blessed are the poor and blessed are the poor in spirit. There’s a spiritual dimension and a physical dimension. These disciples were both – they were physically poor and they were spiritually poor. No wonder they could say, Your kingdom come, because they were so ready to leave this earthly kingdom.
These disciples didn’t have a lot of money and so when they are praying this prayer, they were actually worried that they might starve. They were worried that it’s been a couple of days. I haven’t had a glass of water. I’m dying of thirst and if it hits the third day, I’m in the danger zone. This pair of clothing, that’s all I own and that’s all I can afford. And if I rip it, I’m not sure if I’m going to have something to cover myself. These are the real concerns of these early disciples.
What Jesus expounds on and explains further in chapter 6 is that our Father in Heaven has guaranteed the basic necessities of your life. He has guaranteed food. He has guaranteed drink. He has guaranteed clothing. He says, the birds of the air, do you think they randomly fly and he and catches the worm? Do you think that’s random? No, the Father says that He directed the flight of the bird to catch the worm.
The grass that is naked, green and exposed. Do you think it’s random that suddenly lilies pop up and clothe the grass of the field? That comes from our Heavenly Father. And the fact that we have food on our tables, is it because mom and dad are working? You can trace everything back to the Heavenly Father. The food that’s on your table, where did it come from? There is no food without the sun. There is no food without the rain. There’s no food without you having a healthy body that you can do work and earn money to put food on the table.
Did you create your mouth? Did you create your digestive system that can digest and consume what you put in your mouth so that it nourishes your body? All of this comes from our Heavenly Father. And that’s why He says, do not worry.
It is a commandment. If you worry, you are sinning and many people just live in constant sin because they’re worried. This is connected so closely to doing the will of God or listening because listening means you are doing the will of God. It’s linked because if you’re stressed about your job or if you’re stressed about your mortgage, if you’re stressed about these decisions that you have on your plate, do you think you’ll be able to hear God clearly? Do you think you’ll actually be able to do the will of God or don’t you think everything will be colored by your worry and your stress?
You really have two choices when it comes to provisions. You can either be devoted to money and that will become your god and in so doing you will despise God and pursue money, or you will be devoted to God. And how can you be devoted to God? It’s because He guarantees that you will have food, drink and clothing and He frees you up to be devoted to God and you actually despise money.
I am not God. I don’t know the future, but I can pretty much guarantee when I look around this room that unless something seriously difficult happens to you in your life, none of us here will starve. None of us in this room will die of thirst. Every single one of us will have more than one pair of clothes. I can pretty much guarantee when I look in this room just by virtue of who you are and where you live, you will not die of thirst, you’ll not die of hunger, you will have clothing. And it comes from your Heavenly Father.
What is the will of God? First let’s go to Matthew 7 because it might be a confusing phrase.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
For these people, they thought that doing the will of God was prophesying and casting out demons. Ministry was the number one goal of their life and that means if there were married, spouses were not above ministry and the children were probably neglected. Because they were consumed doing what they thought was the will of God.
Many people in the church are just busy doing things and they assumed, isn’t this doing the will of God? I’m showing up to church. I’m following the pastor. We’re all doing the same program. Isn’t this the will of God? Jesus in the end to these people who are well-intentioned will say, I never knew you.
So that’s a key. How do we know the will of God? You have to know Jesus. You have to know Jesus.
You start with the will of God that’s revealed to all of us in Scripture. And then specifically when it comes to decisions, there’s no verse about who to marry. There’s no verse about where to live. There’s no verse about what job to take. These things require you knowing Jesus and Him leading your life. If you do this, you will end up doing the will of God and listening to your Father.
If you do the will of God, the promise is that you will enter the kingdom of heaven. That means if you don’t learn how to do this, you will not end up doing the will of God and possibly you will not have entry into the kingdom of heaven. Listening is so important.
If knowing Jesus is number one, if you’re married, your spouse is number two. I’ve said this before but I’m just getting firmer in my conviction that this is the will of God. If you’re married, your spouse is number two after Jesus. Always your spouse is number two. How many people break this law? How many husbands put their career one or two and spouse slides down to number three? How many husbands do this to their wives?
Then you have children. How many times does children become number two or number one? Children should be number three. And that means if I’m in a ship with my family and everybody is drowning, I am biblically obligated to save Jackie and let my boys drown. That sounds harsh. How am I going to choose among the three? Jesus says choose your wife. Sacrifice for your wife. That’s just being biblical and keeping the order and actually playing it out. How many Christian parents put the child ahead of their spouse?
It happens. It happens all too often that for the parent, the child becomes the top goal when God’s will is to be good to your spouse. After you know Jesus and love Jesus, in relation to Jesus, you hate everybody else because that’s how much you love Him. That’s the Gap, but after Jesus, love your spouse. The patience, attention and care you give your spouse should far exceed what you give to your children but Christians break God’s law left and right.
Now I’m speaking to the families married with kids, what ways are we breaking God’s laws? I think one way is we assume the children of this generation should be in schools. We assume it and we may pray, should I homeschool? How about we reverse it? How about we reverse it and say, no, the children are my responsibility and unless God tells me to send them to school, I will not send them to school. How about we reverse it?
Moses and Joseph in the Old Testament, they had no choice. They had to grow up in the system. But we have a choice. And the Bible says to fathers in particular — it’s your job to discipline and instruct your kids in the way of the Lord. Parents, it’s your job to raise them. By default, many Christian parents put their kids in the system. Without even praying, we just put them in the world’s system. Are we obeying God’s law? Or are we breaking God’s law? Because who’s raising our kid if we just dish them off to our mother, or our mother-in-law. We dish them off to the daycare person. We dish them off to the teachers. Who’s raising our kids? Is it the father, the mother, or is it somebody else?
Do we dish them off to the youth pastor and say, you raised them. I can’t do it. You raise them. There are so many kids who are active in church, but they’re in the school system and you will not believe the kinds of stuff that are happening in schools. You will not believe it. It’s because your kids are not at that age. But we are hearing stories even in our small sampling of people around us. You’d be shocked at what happens in junior high. What happens in high school. You would be shocked and isn’t it odd that we just assumed that our kids should be in the school system.
Teachers, why don’t you raise my kid? We just put them in the system. And then we’re surprised that in college, these kids who grew up in church fall away from the faith. And I think parents living in California, we are in a bit of a challenge situation because of the cost of living. And so it’s become the norm that in many homes both parents are working.
And just from our experience when both Jackie and I were working and the kids were in the school system. We were trying our best. We were serving the Lord as best we could. We were very active in the church. We sent the kids off to school. I can tell you that the Word of God was not central in our home. Just practically, in terms of time spent, we were just barely making it through each day. We gave our companies our very best. And then the kids got the leftovers.
By junior high, do you know whose voice your kids are listening to the most? It’s no longer the parents. If they’ve been in the school system, it’s their friends. The friends will shape the worldview of your kid while they stay in this system.
What if we assumed that it’s our job to raise them? That we will start each day, because we’ve created space in our schedule, to read the Word of God. Devotion time, to me, that’s the main thing about homeschool. The academic stuff really is secondary. The main thing is you have a quiet time and everybody begins the day with the Word. And school does not start until that’s done.
I think if you if you prioritized Jesus, spouse, kids, church, if you followed that order practically, your kids will be so blessed. And as parents, even Christian parents who are double income, trying to pay for the mortgage, there’s just not enough time in the day and not enough energy in the tank to be able to instruct them and discipline them when you’re running on fumes after a long day. And you’re rushing out the door at 7 a.m. How are you going to prioritize devotions?
And the whole time the kids are at school, their friends are exposing them to things. Even though you’re trying your best to protect them in the home, you can’t protect them from what they are exposed to at school.
What if we assumed that Jesus is #1, spouse #2, children #3, church #4, what if we lived out practically these principles? Because when I look at God’s Word, I see it. I didn’t see it as clearly clearly before as I see it so clearly now. And now that we’ve adjusted our lives around these priorities, my convictions have only gotten stronger.
You might have the best job in the world. Maybe you have the most meaningful job in the world? You might be making impact to people? But is God pleased if your spouse is is not cared for? Is God pleased if your children are getting the leftovers of your day? Is God pleased when His Word is clear. Why would He even give you children if you didn’t even invest time in them? What’s the point of having children if you’re not going to be present with them?
And we may think, well, the best thing is I got to provide for them. You’re not reading Matthew 6. Who provides for your children? Is it you? Our Heavenly Father. Do you believe what Jesus says in His Word that it’s our Heavenly Father who fees us. The One who is feeding the birds of the air and clothing the grass of the field with lilies, He is the One who is feeding us.
Remember, we’re all children. Every parent is a child first. And your child is not yours. You don’t own them. They belong to your Heavenly Father. And so who is going to make sure that your kids are fed? Is it you? Why do you put that burden on yourself? I mean, as a father myself, all fathers, we’re going to make a living, we’re going to do good honest work because we’re reflecting our Father’s character. But in the end, it’s not our burden.
We can get so uptight and we can say, I am the Christian father and I have to provide. I need to make more and more money because my kids need the best education from the best schools. We need to live in the best school district and provide music lessons and opportunities to play sports. I need to provide all these things for my kids.
In the end, the kid will remember the fact that you were not there. Because you were too busy making money. That’s all they’re going to remember. Were you there? Were you there at the sporting event that you paid for? Were you there? Were you present in their lives? Did you instruct them in the Word of the Lord? Or did you just dish them off to a youth pastor? How real was was God in your life? Did they see it in the home? Did you prioritize the Word of God in your home? The kids will remember these things. It’s not about buying them nice things.
What’s the worst that can happen? You lose a job? You foreclose on your home? Is that the end of the world? The Father’s guarantee is — you will not starve. You will not die of thirst. You will have clothing. Isn’t that enough? Everything else that we stress out about — it’s not the end of the world.
Timothy not getting a full ride into Harvard and he has to settle for Stanford, it won’t be the end of the world. No pressure on Timothy. I want him to get into every school and turn them down and go where God wants him to go. That’s all that I care about. As parents and as Timothy is in high school, it can be so stressful. I got to get into this school. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get into your dream school.
The Father promises food, drink, and clothing. If you’re hungry and it’s been a week, 40 days since your last meal, okay, you might start to get worried. If you’re thirsty and it’s been three days since you’ve had a drop of water, I would be a little bit worried. Jesus says, don’t worry. Your heavenly Father, I know Him. And I know He has your back.
Imagine if we live that way. All the other decisions that we stress out about, it’s not the end of the world. We’re not going to starve to death. We’re not going to die of thirst. We’re going to have clothing.
If we only agreed with God and what He is saying in His Word, it would be so much easier to follow God’s laws. Jesus #1, spouse #2, children #3, church #4. If we kept this order, it would be so much easier to follow His laws and listen. It’s because of our greed and all the other worries that crowd in that we end up mixing the order. And in the end, we’re so devoted to money because we think that’s what it means to be a loving spouse or parent. I got to provide money for everybody. No, you got to provide yourself. You got to be whole. You have to be healthy. You got to be present. That’s what your spouse and children need.
Jesus never contradicts God’s Word. When Jesus leads you, what He tells you to do will never contradict the written Word. How do I know this? We look at the disciples and it seems like they’re full-time ministers. We don’t even hear about their family and it almost seems like they’ve just neglected everybody and they’re just following Jesus as lone individuals. It’s not true. Did you know in Matthew 8 where it says Jesus heals people, did you know in verse 14 it mentions Peter’s mother-in-law. Did you know that Peter was married?
And for a Catholic, that’s a big uh oh. For Catholics, Peter was the first Pope and then you’ve created this tradition, this man-made rule that every priest has to be celibate. And they have done this while Peter, their first Pope, was married. It’s a big uh oh. That’s an example of putting ministry above everything else. It’s one thing if God calls you to celibacy and you’re doing full time ministry out of that call, like Paul. But to make it a rule that everybody who is called to ministry as a priest has to be celibate? No wonder so much perversion has been done in that church because they introduced this man-made tradition that breaks God’s laws.
And so this tells me, it’s not just the 12 following Jesus. Family members are there. Who was making up the 120 who are in the upper room. I bet it’s people like Peter’s mother-in-law. They’re just following. You don’t hear about them. But they’re there. They’re there. There’s this caravan of people following Jesus, not every moment, but they’re there.
And so for me personally, I feel like God is just redirecting me, before He gives me specific things to do, I think our Father, He is so wise. He wants to make sure well I’ve listened to Him on the things He has laid out clearly in the written Word before I get a personalized Word. I can strive to be a good husband because that is God’s will. And the Father says, listen. Follow Jesus first. Second, be a good husband, be a good wife. Third, be a good father, be a good mother. The Father wants to see — can you do this? Will you do this? Will you listen? He made it so clear. And then, fourth, serve the fellow brothers and sisters at church.
Can you do these things while working on your idolatry of money and our worrying and stressing out about things that actually should not stress us out? This is God’s will. He wants us to trust because our Father has said, your basic necessities are guaranteed. He guarantees it. Otherwise, you call Him a liar. You’re calling Him a liar. If you’re stressing and you’re saying, I’m going to starve, you’re calling our Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit liars. Jesus says, your Father will feed you and He will give you drink and He will give you clothing. And He’s setting you free so that you can do His will.
And so after you follow His clear, written will, then we go to Jesus. And out of our relationship with Him, because we know Him, He’s shepherding us and He’s guiding us step-by-step. He will give you a personalized path for your life.
See, these are not just principles in a Book that you put on your wall and just follow them. No, following the written Word, that’s the beginning. But in order to be led, in order to really do the Father’s will that’s tailor-made for you, you have to know Jesus. You have to know Jesus. That’s why Jesus is always #1. He never stops being #1.
So the Father asks only two things of His kids. Can you listen? Will you listen to the clearly revealed, universal will of God. That’s the beginning. That’s the testing ground. That’s the starting point. And then listen to the tailor-made will as you follow Jesus as He Shepherds your life. And the reason why you’re freed up to live like this is because you believe that your Heavenly Father is going to care for your basic necessities.
We have such a hard time believing it. That’s why we break God’s order all the time. If we just believed it, we would be able to stay the course and keep God’s order. And then God seeing you keeping his Commandments. You’re listening. You’re a good son daughter. Then Jesus will start shepherding you and specific decisions.
Father, whether we are in our 80s or we’re a newborn, whether we are a pastor or a member, before You, Heavenly Father, we’re all children. If we could only believe this, we would be so less burdened by all the roles and responsibilities, responsibilities that other people put on us.
We will try our best to be a good spouse, but ultimately, Jesus, You are the perfect spouse. We know we will fall short. That’s why we look to You, Jesus, all the time. We will try our best to be good parents, but ultimately, we don’t put that burden on our shoulders because our kids are not ours. They’re Yours, Heavenly Father. They’re Your children.
Father, we want to be children. From youngest to oldest, we want to be children who listen. When You say something in heaven, it is as good as done. Everyone in heaven listens immediately. There’s no fighting You. There’s no bargaining with You. They just listen. We want to be people who listen to every principle that You lay out in Your Word. Every commandment, every priority in terms of relationships, help us to keep a proper order in terms of how we do life. Jesus #1. Spouse #2. Children #3. Church #4.
There really is nothing else that should make it to our list. Even our job — it’s just the way that You provide. And so our job doesn’t even have to be on our list. You’re providing our food and our drink and our clothing through the job. It’s not about the job. We see Your provision through the job. If we only believed that, we can be devoted to You, not money. You’ve set us free by providing for all of our needs.
Help us not to be greedy. Help us not to be devoted to money. It will ruin us. We will end up breaking all of Your laws. We will destroy our families if we’re devoted to money. Set us free. Help us to believe You’ve supplied every basic need to survive. That’s all that matters. And now we are free to do Your will, to listen to the voice of our Shepherd, to do whatever He asks, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how how much sacrifice is required, no matter how people might say we’re so foolish. We have been set free from every potential worry.
I pray that every parent and future parent here would, by default, assume that it’s their responsibility to raise their kids. And only if You tell us to send them to school, then we will send them to school. Otherwise, by default, we assume it’s our job as parents. We don’t dish them off to the school. We don’t dish them off to the youth pastor. We don’t dish them off to society. It is our responsibility. We will shepherd them and protect them and provide for them because we are a reflection of You. We are a reflection of Jesus and our Heavenly Father by how we raise them during these 18 years. It’s a small window. We’re going to do our best.
Ultimately, we release the burden. As parents, we can’t guarantee their future. We don’t even know tomorrow. We can’t even make our own hair black or white. We have zero control over anything. We will try our best. But, we release them back to You. Ultimately, we are all Your children.
Father, for all the singles here, help them in this season to put Jesus #1. Help them to learn how to surrender all the worries of life. Lord, you’ve met the basic needs of every single person here. They should not worry. They don’t have to worry about marriage. They don’t have to worry about their job. They don’t have to worry about buying their home. These are not things you’re asking us to worry about.
You know best, Father. We trust You. You sent us Jesus and He’s going to shepherd us. This is a season for all the singles to learn how to trust You, Lord Jesus, and trust their Heavenly Father and let go of their love of money, and their career, and the praise of men. This is a testing ground to prepare them for marriage and for parenting.
Father, we submit to You. We trust You. We want to listen and we want to rest in Your provision. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen