2016 06 19 pm John 4:34 Lord’s Day 49 Hungry to Do His Will

What did Jesus mean when He taught us to pray, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”? He gives us the answer in John 4:34.

Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Have you noticed that Bush Inn Shopping mall and every other shopping mall have more and more and more food places?  A lot of that has to do with luxury but the reality is that if we do not eat, we die.  We need food.  And indeed, that is why one of the next petitions of the LP is Give us this day our daily bread.  God knows that we need food each day and He has instructed us to ask Him for our daily food.

But that is not the petition of the LP that we are focusing on today.  The one before us today is “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  And as we heard in the catechism answer, the reference to “heaven” points us to the example of the angels and how they carry out the work they have been called to.  But we are not going to consider the example of the angels today; we are going to consider the example of Him by whom the angels were created – the Lord Jesus.

And we do this because He also shares our human nature.  He knows what it is like to be hungry and tired and in pain, etc, and to be hurt and disappointed by others, etc.  He knows what it is like to be tempted to sin.

So to help us understand what this petition of the Lord’s Prayer means, we see in John 4:34 that    The Lord Jesus equates Obedience with food.

In this chapter, Jesus has an extended conversation with a Samaritan woman.

Samaria was north of Israel and the relationship between Israel and Samaria was terrible – they despised one another.

v8 tells us that “the disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.”  But in v27 we see that they have come back and are amazed that Jesus was talking to her, because, well, she was a woman… and a Samaritan woman to boot!  But she leaves to tell the people in her town about all that Jesus had said to her and in v30 we see that they are all coming out to meet Him.  But in the meantime the disciples are trying to get Jesus to eat something, as you see in v31.  “But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’  So the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him something to eat?’”  And that seemed a reasonable assumption on their part, if you take Jesus’ words literally: He sent us away to buy food but now He is telling us He has food – conclusion, someone else has given Him food.  But Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.”

So let’s take some time to consider His response as we ask two questions:

  1. First, what is the Lord Jesus’ food?
  2. And second, is the Lord Jesus’ food my food?
  1. So first of all then, what is the Lord Jesus’ food?
    1. Well, let’s quickly begin by noting what the Lord Jesus’ food is not.
      1. And to start with, even though we might be stating the obvious, the Lord Jesus is not talking about literal food here; He is using figurative Jesus did not survive on a diet of doing God’s will; He had to eat bread and cheese, etc. just like you and me.  So the Lord Jesus’ food in this verse is not actual food.
      2. But note also that the Lord Jesus’ food is not doing His own will. For He says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.”  And the ‘Him’ He is referring to is His Father in heaven, as we shall see in a moment.   But the Lord Jesus’ food is not to do His own will.
        1. In Isaiah 14, we encounter words that on the one hand apply to the King of Babylon but also to Satan. Satan was originally a good angel He became the leader of the evil angels and he was thrown out of heaven.  And Isaiah 14 is one of the places in the Bible that explains this.  But just note the emphasis on the sin that lead him to be thrown out of heaven.  We read, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! … You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”  What do we hear five times in those verses?  “I will…”  I want what I want.  I want to do what I want to do.  I do not want what God wants.  I do not want to do what God wants me to do.  I will do what I will.  I
        2. And that stands in stark contrast to what the Lord Jesus says here, doesn’t it. His food is not to do His own will.  His will is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His
  1. And as we switch our focus now to what the food of the Lord Jesus is, which is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work, turn over a page or two to John 6:37. For here Jesus speaks again about doing the will of His Father and says more about what the Father’s will is.  He says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.  39 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  40 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.”
    1. And in effect, what we have here is the gospel in a few short verses. Before the creation of the world, the Father chose some from the mass of fallen humanity to be the bride of Christ that would spend eternity with Him.  And then the Father gave the Lord Jesus His instructions, if you will.  He said, Go down to earth and be born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit.  Then endure temptation all day and every day but live a life of perfection.  And then take the guilt of all the sins of my chosen people on your shoulders, and go to the cross at Calvary.  And there I will pour out my fierce anger on you and then you will die.  But I will raise you from the dead and exalt you.  And all who believe in you will receive the gift of eternal life.  And at the end of time, I will raise every single one of them from the dead and present them to you, spotless and pure and radiant.  This is my will for you – go now and do it.
    2. So Jesus came to earth to do the will of His Father in heaven.
    3. And note that this included knowing what His Father wanted Him to do and then doing He knew He had to go the cross and He went to the cross.  His food was complete obedience.  Just as He needed bread and water, so He needed to do what His Father required of Him.  And praise God that He did!

So the Lord Jesus’ food was to know the will of His Father in heaven and to do what His Father required Him to do.

  1. Well, Jesus commanded us to pray, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” So His food should be our food.  But is it?  Is the Lord Jesus’ food your food?  Our second point.
    1. Well, to answer that question, we need to know what God’s will is for us, don’t we. And that is why God has given us the Bible.  It is in here that He has revealed His will for us.  And His will is the commands we encounter throughout the Bible.
      1. And given what the Lord Jesus said about the Father’s will for Him, it comes as no surprise that the chief command revealing God’s will for us is the one we find in 1 John 3:23, for example, where it says, “Here is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.”
        1. When you are in hospital and unable to eat and drink yourself, they put you on an intravenous drip to supply you with the absolutely essential nutrients to sustain life.  Well, belief in the Lord Jesus is the essential food of eternal life – John 3:16, “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
      2. So in relation to obeying this command Is the Lord Jesus’ food your food?
      3. And if so, do you see that to pray the petition, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, requires you tell people that God commands them to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins? You cannot ask God that people might obey this command and then not tell people about this command!
  1. Now, before I say any thing more, I want to make one thing crystal clear: You receive eternal life by believing in the Lord Jesus. You cannot earn it, you do not deserve it, it is not a reward but the free gift of grace to undeserving sinners.  We are saved by grace alone through faith alone by Christ
  1. But to all of us who claim to believe in the Lord Jesus, there is more that needs to be said about God’s revealed will and whether or not the Lord Jesus’ food is our food. And this is because Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
    1. And the will of the Father is expressed in the 10 Commandments, for example, and the words of Ephesians, for instance, “Therefore, each of you must put of falsehood and speak the truth … do not let the sun go down on your anger … Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth … Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality … Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church … children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right, etc,” and the words 1 Peter 1:16, for example, where God says, “Be holy, because I am holy.”
    2. It is impossible for one who has truly believed in the Lord Jesus to care nothing at all about obedience to the commands of God. A true believer will be eager to do what God commands.
      1. Please turn with me to James 1:22. (p1011)  There we read these words, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”  To just hear God’s will and know it is not enough.  We must be doers of God’s will.
      2. And we have an illustration of this from our earlier reading about Elijah and the Widow of Zeraphath. Elijah asked her to bring him some bread.  She then told him that the had only enough bread for herself and her son and then they would die.  He situation was utterly desperate.  But Elijah said first bake bread for me and then for you and your son and all will be well.  Elijah demanded complete  And we read that “She went and did as Elijah said.  And she and her household ate for many days.”  Do you think her story is in the Bible so that we might imitate her hearing?  Or is that we might imitate her hearing and doing?  It’s the later isn’t it.
  1. Those saved by God’s grace in Christ Jesus are to be eager to do God’s will. When we pray, “Our Father in heaven … Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and we open the pages of our Bible and find commands against adultery and lying and requiring us to observe the Lord’s Day and honour our parents and against greed and filthy jokes and requiring love and a willingness to help the poor and needy, etc, and by good and necessary deduction we learn that we are to attend worship services and Bible studies, and to volunteer to lead this class or clean the church or serve in office, etc, we must be eager to do; we must be like the widow of Zeraphath who was like the Lord Jesus who considered obedience to His Father’s will as His food.
  1. The reality, though, is that often we can be like the little girl who had a very rich Grandmother. And it was Christmas time and the little girl had high hopes of receiving a smartphone or a camera or something like that.  But what she got instead was an embroidered pin cushion, exactly like the one that her grand-mother’s grand-mother had once given to her.  But living in 2016, the little girl didn’t think that much of embroidered pin-cushions.  So to be polite, she wrote a letter to her grand-mother.  She said, Dear Grandma, thank you for the pin-cushion.  I have always wanted a pin-cushion, but not very much.”
    1. Are you like that little girl, perhaps, when it comes to God’s will? Does your commitment to obey God’s commands really amount to a letter that says, “Thank you, Lord, for having a will for my life.  I have always wanted your will for my life, but not very much”?

You see, if that had been the attitude of the Lord Jesus, you and I would be lost and without hope.  But that was not His attitude; instead, He considered obedience to His Father’s will His food.  And because of this, you have salvation and it is 100% secure.  And we know this is true because Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

Well, the will of God is obedience to His commands and perseverance in those things that the Lord has called you to do.    So may it be that the Lord Jesus’ food is your food.  Amen.