KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
TO BE THE LORDíS PRAYER
THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven...Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Mat. 6:9).
There are three petitions in the Lordís prayer that are inter-related. These are: (1) Hallowed be Thy name (2) Thy Kingdom come (3) Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. The three petitions are to one another as root, stem, and fruit; as beginning, middle, and end. In the hallowing of Godís name the foundation is laid for the establishment of His Kingdom; it is the unveiling within the heart of the nature and majesty of God. Thus the Kingdom is established as the heart of man prostrates itself before the King, renouncing all of self, and rejoicing in its new allegiance. But this is not all ó there can be no stopping here. It is not enough to know the rule of God, that the Kingdom be established within and rejoiced in. There is an end, a goal, a great purpose for which all of this is wrought, and that end is that THE WILL OF GOD MAY BE DONE. From the name of the Lord we pass to the rule of God; and from the rule of God we press onward into the will. From the outskirts of His personality we pass to His heart.
This third petition of the Lordís prayer springs directly and naturally out of the second petition, and is really explanatory of it. We have been taught to pray, "Thy Kingdom come." Godís Kingdom does come, when His will is consciously done in earth, as it is done in heaven. The central idea of kingship is that of rule, authority, power. Kingship is only real and effective when the King commands and the people consciously obey. In looking to heaven as the model of our obedience to Godís will, we should consider the physical heavens which are the shadow of the true. The sun, moon and stars observe their seasons, traveling along their appointed orbits ó all these are what they are, and do what they do, in obedience to Godís will. We see how unweariedly all perform their function, the great sustaining the small, the small reflecting and enhancing the glory of the great; and, as members together of one system, obeying in peaceful harmony Him who calls them all by their names. We see how the sun, morning after morning, comes forth rejoicing to run his race; how the moon observes her appointed seasons, and the sun knows his going down; how all fulfill the will of God untiringly and unfailingly. So is it in the spiritual heavens.
Throughout history, there have been those anointed of God who have seen some connection between the stars and the messengers of God. This connection can easily be made because both the stars and the ministering spirits are called "the host of heaven" in the Bible. There are several beautiful passages that provide the indisputable link between the two, of which I will cite only one. "Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the HEAVENS: praise ye Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all His ANGELS: praise ye Him, all His HOSTS. Praise ye Him, SUN and MOON: praise ye Him, all ye STARS OF LIGHT. Praise ye Him, all ye HEAVENS OF HEAVENS" (Ps. 148:1-4).
The natural sun is the brightest luminary in the natural heavens. And to help us in correctly interpreting the meaning of the spiritual sun, Genesis 1:16 informs us that God made "the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. Here we first have the idea expressed of both the sun and the moon being rulers. Then we find that God, the supreme Ruler, is called in the Word a "Sun." "For the Lord thy God is a SUN and a shield" (Ps. 84:11). Also, our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is in Malachi 4:2 called "the Sun of Righteousness." He rules. Furthermore, we find, in reference to men, that II Samuel 23:3-4 reads: "He that RULETH over men...shall be as the light of the morning, when the SUN ariseth." And in II Samuel 21:17 we find David the king called "the LIGHT of Israel." This same meaning is found in II Kings 8:19 where we read: "Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah for David His servantís sake, as He promised him to give him alway A LIGHT." This is exactly the same promise that we find in Jeremiah 33:17 where the Lord says, "David shall never want a man to SIT UPON THE THRONE of the house of Israel." Davidís offspring were to be the "suns," or RULERS of Israel, the source of light, influence, and direction. In Matthew 14:33 we find, concerning saints who are to be Kings and Priests and rule with Christ (Rev. 3:21; 5:9-10), that they are compared to the sun: "Then shall the righteous SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the Kingdom of their Father." Of the same ruling saints Jesus says, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron." Then He hastily adds: "And I will give him the MORNING STAR" (Rev. 2:26-28). That is, "I will give him power over the nations ó rulership ó and I will give him the position as the morning star to give direction to mankind." Now consider these meaningful words of Daniel the prophet wherein he foretells the manifestation of the sons of God in the end of the age: "And they that be wise shall SHINE AS THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE FIRMAMENT; and they that turn many to righteousness as the STARS for ever" (Dan. 12:3).
The truth of the stars of the heavens includes many wonderful examples of that which is taking place in the realm of the Spirit. The stars of the heavens exist in a realm where God is absolute Sovereign and Lord, where His life prevails. Therefore, in their highest meaning, in their spiritual meaning, the stars are used to represent HEAVENLY, SPIRITUAL RULE AND DOMINION. Can we now open the eyes of our understanding to behold the wondrous truth that Godís elect sons ARE THE CONSTELLATIONS OF THE SPIRITUAL HEAVENS, THE LUMINARIES AND RULERS IN GODíS SKY! As the glory of the Lord arises upon His chosen ones they pierce the gloom of the dark night of sin and sorrow and bring deliverance, life, and order out of the chaos of manís failure and despair.
From the finger tips of our almighty heavenly Father worlds glide forth in their orbits, and mighty stars as numerous as the sands of the sea circle for incalculable ages in their courses with the sweet precision of a diamond watch. The inspired Psalmist penned these words of beauty and truth: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. IN THEM HATH HE SET A TABERNACLE FOR THE SUN. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Ps. 19:1,4-6).
In the day when David wrote these expressive words the word "tabernacle" carried an altogether different connotation than it does in our modern usage. When we were in Israel we saw dotting the landscape the black "tents of Kedar" mentioned in the Song of Solomon, the goat-skin tent habitations of the nomadic tribes which follow their flocks over the hills of Judea. We are accustomed to think of a tabernacle in terms of a temple or other grand and imposing edifice, whereas in the east where the books of the scriptures were written, tabernacles were tents, and so was the first house of God, the Tabernacle in the wilderness. We view our sturdy houses as places of security and protection from the blazing sun, the chilling cold, the ravaging winds, and the treachery of men; but in the east the tent was the place of habitation, the position of dwelling.
In Godís tabernacle or habitation it was not a matter of protecting God from the influences of the external elements, but a matter of a place to draw attention to the fact that He was there. It was the place of His abode, His manifestation, His activity, that His people might behold Him and know that He dwelt amongst them. He inhabited the tabernacle in order to presence Himself among them, not in order to have a shelter for Himself. This concept of the tabernacle as being a display to exhibit the glory of God is the thought of the Holy Spirit in Psalm 19. The sun is not contained within the strong walls of some celestial fortress ó if it were it would be hidden. It is not concealed, but put on display for all creation to behold in all of its brilliance and majesty, and to benefit therefrom. "In them (the heavens) hath He set a tabernacle for the sun."
There is no truth within the pages of Godís blessed Book more certain than the fact that God is creating a new heavens and a new earth, and the constellations of the new heavens are not made up of the physical stars, but of living stars of Godís sons formed and fashioned into an order and image through which to influence creation and rule over all things. Beyond question this is the allegory proclaimed by the Lord to the prophet Isaiah: "And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, THAT I MAY PLANT THE HEAVENS, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, THOU ART MY PEOPLE" (Isa. 51:16). In commenting on this instructive passage Ray Prinzing wrote: "When God has thoroughly planted His people in the heavenlies, they will be in a settled place, firmly secured by His grace, to dwell in Him, established in His love and grace, no more to be lost or wandering in the emptiness of selfhood. ĎBut God...hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show (display) the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesusí (Eph. 2:4-7).
"As Paul pointed out, we are made to ĎSIT TOGETHER,í or, literally, TO SIT DOWN WITH HIM in the heavenlies. There is a DIVINE PLACEMENT where we are FIXED in Him. Not running or wandering all over the heavens, roaming about here and there, causing havoc by the exercising of spiritual power where it ought not to be placed. We are not to be Ďwandering starsí blazing across the sky in some brilliant display attracting attention, but we are to be placed in our fixed orbit, to be seated in Him ó abiding in the calling wherewith we are called, to fulfill that for which we have been apprehended. God has a place for every one in His great purpose.
"All the hidden secrets of His righteousness will be revealed through those whom HE has planted in the heavens. What a union, what a oneness with Him, that HE shares the mysteries of His righteousness with these processed ones, and then places them in position to declare that righteousness. Not just by words, not just by some form of preaching or teaching, but by their OWN TRUE STATE OF BEING. They, themselves, shall be all righteous, and thus become a living declaration of His righteousness. Words fail us to express the wonder of this glorious truth that begins to gleam in our spirit with hope and joy" ó end quote. Again I would emphasize the fact that the Psalmist establishes the position of the sun in the heavens. Of the heavens he says, "IN THEM hath He set A TABERNACLE FOR THE SUN." In the Old Testament as well as in the New, the glorious sun that lights our day is set as a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. He is also the Sun of God! And all the sons of God are the suns of God, the blazing stars of the hosts of the heavens with its constellations which rule all things.
In heaven ó in that realm of spirit in which God dwells, where He is all that He is ó Godís Kingship is a reality. There is divine order there in all its perfection. The hearts of all who are one in Him there wait upon God. Mighty angels and holy saints delight to do His will. In heaven ó the realm of spirit which God inhabits, where all His plans and purposes originate ó God speaks and it is done. This third petition is a prayer that all Godís sons may grow up in His house and learn the ways of obedience and responsibility, so that His Kingship may be consciously as real and effective in the earth realm as it is in the heavens ó the realm of the spirit.
In this regard J. D. Jones penned these inspiring and instructive words: "íThy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.í Will it be hard? Hard? I know of nothing harder! This is the great feat of life. You can only learn to say, ĎThy will be done,í through struggle and agony and heartbreak. Obedience to God leads to the land of blessedness and peace, but the gate by which we enter ó the gate of self-denial ó is a narrow gate, and we have to agonize to enter in. God has a will for each of us, and His will concerning us often clashes with our own. The desires of the flesh and of the mind hanker after earthly comfort and wealth and ease. Scarcely a day passes but our desires and the will of God for us come into violent conflict. To surrender our own wills, to make Godís will ours, means pain. It is a dying. It is a crucifixion. But there are one or two considerations of which I would like to remind you, which ought to make this surrender easier for us.
"The will we are asked to make our own is our Fatherís will. ĎThy will be done!í Whose will? Our Fatherís will! After all, it ought not to be very difficult to obey a fatherís will, to fulfill a fatherís desire, even when that will runs counter to our own, for we know there is love in the case. Remember, you are not asked to obey a despot; you are not asked to obey a tyrant; you are not asked to obey a slave-driver; you are asked to do the will of your Father ó your Father, whose love is only to be measured by the Cross of Jesus Christ. It was the remembrance that the will He was called upon to obey was His Fatherís will, that helped Jesus in the Garden. It was a hard thing for our Lord to say, ĎThy will be done,í when He knew that involved the Cross and the Grave; for Jesus, let me say it with all reverence, had all a manís feelings, and He shrank from the bitter agony and shame. He would gladly have escaped the Cross and the Tomb. ĎIf it be possible, let this cup pass.í Then He remembered it was His Father who was bidding Him drink that bitter cup. That thought steadied Him, gave Him courage, made Him strong. He was ready for anything and everything that His Father appointed. ĎThe cup which the Father hath given me to drink, shall I not drink it?í We, too, shall be strong to make Godís will our own, when we remember it is our Fatherís will. For our Father is love ó love at its best and highest. There is a story about a man who had in his garden a weather-vane which had on it this inscription. ĎGod is love.í A friend seeing it asked if it was meant to imply that God's love was as fickle as the wind. ĎNo,í was the reply, ĎI mean that from whatever quarter the wind may happen to blow, God is still love.í Bear that in mind ó God is love; the will you are asked to obey is your Fatherís will.
"íThy will be done!í Notice, Godís will is not simply to be endured or suffered ó it is to be DONE. The petition is not ĎHelp us to suffer Thy will,í but ĎHelp us to DO it.í Do not narrow the scope of this prayer. You prayed this morning, ĎThy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.í What did you mean by it? I will tell you what you ought to have meant by it: ĎHelp me, O God, to do what Thou wouldest have me to do, to be what Thou wouldest have me to be.í That is what the prayer means. It means that we accept Godís plans and purposes as our own, and resolve to realize them, at any cost. You can pray no nobler prayer than this, for in the doing of Godís will lies the secret of the perfect life. We look at the life ó the sonship ó of Jesus, so beautiful, so pure, so perfect, so powerful, and we are lost in wonder and rapture. But the secret of that life is here: Jesus from the beginning to close of life was intent on doing Godís will. He Himself let us into the secret. ĎI am come,í He said, Ďnot to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me.í ĎMy meat and drink,í He said, on another occasion, Ďis to do the will of Him that sent me, and to accomplish His work.í
"When a boy of twelve He had come to the sublime decision that every moment of His life should be spent in doing His Fatherís business. Do not commit the mistake of thinking that it was only in Gethsemane and the Judgment Hall and on Calvary that the Christ was doing the will of God. He was doing it during those silent years at Nazareth. He was doing it when at school. He was doing it when He was at the carpenterís shop, mending the tables and chairs and ploughs of the dwellers in Nazareth. He was doing it when He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom in Galilee. He was doing it when sharing in the festivities at Cana, and taking part in Matthewís farewell dinner. He was doing it when healing the sick and raising the dead and comforting the lonely and lifting up the outcast. In fact, He was never doing anything else. Every day, every moment, Jesus was doing the Fatherís will, and the result is the perfect life of sonship, the pattern for us all" ó end quote. Ah, herein is found the secret to the life of sonship. The Lordís prayer is the pattern prayer for sons. "Our Father" is the way it begins.
KNOWING GODíS WILL
How do I know when I am in Godís will for my life? This is a question often asked by the Lordís people. They say, "I have gone through many trials, nothing seems to be working; I appear to be going nowhere. It must be that I am outside of Godís will for my life. I desperately want to know His will for me and to be in it. If God would only write His will for my life in big letters on the wall of my bedroom, I would gladly do it. But I donít know what His will is. How can I know the will of God, if it is not clearly spelled out?" That is a good attitude ó we all need to be where He wants us to be, doing what He ordains for us to do. But it is not uncommon for saints to have idealistic notions concerning Godís will. We think that God only cares about great and mighty happenings ó not the mundane things of ordinary life; certainly not the commonplace things of our lives! We want to have the power of Elijah, the wisdom of Solomon, and the strength of Samson ó then we would know we were in Godís will!
We forget that in the New Testament saints were more apt to be in jail, to be misunderstood and despised, to be hated, persecuted and martyred as a result of being in Godís will. Certainly thirty years of doing nothing in Nazareth ó the place of no good thing ó could not be Godís will for one called to such a high calling as sonship! Surely being dragged before the courts, falsely accused, slandered, beaten, tormented and crucified between common criminals on a cross cannot be Godís will for a King-Priest after the Order of Melchizedek! After all, we are the "Kingís kids" and we should live like one! You see, my beloved, we suffer from "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" syndrome. We are quite positive that the place we are now in couldnít be Godís highest will! It cannot be that our peculiar set of circumstances, limitations, adversities, problems and difficulties can be Godís will for one with the revelation, vision and calling we have! We conceive of His will as being under more favorable conditions, at some other geographical location, in some other job, or in another church. Some folks think Godís will is possibly with some other spouse. We feel like eagles on hummingbirdís nests. No! Godís will begins in that inauspicious place where you are right now. He lays out His way just ahead of you ó the next step, and then the next. The next step may be no more glamorous than the prededing one. It is finding Godís way in your circumstances, not necessarily new circumstances. He is working in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. The work is wrought within. It has more to do with being than with doing. When you are in His way you are in His will. Well did George Warnock write: "Let us remember that the will of God is primarily a SPIRITUAL LOCATION IN GOD, and not a geographical location. True, as we walk in His will it is important that we find ourselves in that particular geographical location that God would have us to be...but this is only incidental. To be spiritually located in the Land of our Inheritance is most important...and from then on the earthly and the material matters relative to the will of God find their proper sequence."
The blessed firstborn Son of God testified: "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will but the WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME" (Jn. 6:38). As the Son of God Jesus spoke only that which the Father had given Him to speak, for this is characteristic of all "sent ones." Herein may be known the difference between the messengers of religious Babylon and those apprehended as sons of God. It is this: "My meat IS TO DO THE WILL of Him that sent me" (Jn. 4:34). To do Godís will! That is what a son lives for; but it is also what he lives on. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word proceeding out of God" (Mat. 4:4). Nothing can satisfy the sonís appetite but this: he hungers to do Godís will. Nothing else will fill him. The truth of these words is simply this: the strength of life for a son of God is to do the Fatherís will. Now that is a great and surprising revelation to many. Some will tell you that life is in keeping the commandments, others that life is in holding the right doctrine, another that life is in attending meetings, another that life is in taking communion, another that life is in water baptism, or in speaking in tongues, or in winning souls. But life is none of these things! It is more than all. Life is not to have an experience, or do this, or that, or the other ó just to DO WHAT GOD WILLS, whether that be working or waiting, or winning or losing, or suffering or prospering, or living or dying. We feel helpless beside a truth so great and eternal. God must teach us these things.
Are we doing Godís will? The question just means this: Are we working out our common every-day life on the great lines of Godís will? In all we say and do, are Godís nature and character expressed through us? Is SELF swallowed up in HIM? Is CHRIST the CENTER of our lives? It is not a question of where we are and what we are doing ó it is a matter of how we are doing it. You may be held within the limitations of a most difficult and contrary situation, in a very "un-son-like" environment. You may conceive that Godís will can only be found in circumstances more "conducive" to spirituality. But ó God will hold you there until you learn that in living union with Christ His will is done in any circumstance as naturally as breathing. If you, dear one, are struggling to know His will, then sit at His feet like a little child and learn the simple truth that Godís will may be done as much by hewing stones, or sweeping floors, as by preaching or prophesying. Godís will is THE LIVING OUT OF HIS LIFE! Seek not a dream, or vision, or great revelation of what you should do. Start where you are...LET HIM LIVE THROUGH YOU right there...His will shall begin to be done in you today! This will bring you to the blessed place where the will of God is like the air you breathe ó it just comes naturally as you obey the still small voice of the spirit within.
THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH
In heaven the will of God is done absolutely, totally, completely. Is it possible ó faintly, vaguely possible ó for Godís will to be done in earth in the same totality and completeness as it is done in heaven? Is it? You know about Sadam Hussein, of course. And you know about Fidel Castro, the Serbs, the Islamic Fundamentalists, the gangs, abortionists and humanists. If you took the terrorists into account, and all the liquor stores, the vulgarity and obscenity in movies and television shows, the divorce rate, the violence, the sexual immorality, the crooked politicians and the Chinese ó do you still think that the will of God can be done in earth, as it is in heaven? Iím going to tell you something. You're dreaming, itís wishful thinking, youíre whistling in the dark, youíve got your fingers crossed hoping for the best ó unless you know which earth the Fatherís will has to be done in first, completely.
It is significant to note that neither Luke nor Matthew record Jesus as asking for the Fatherís will to be done ON the earth, but rather, IN earth. "In earth" does not mean the outer world of mountains, hills and valleys, of rivers and trees, of cities and villages. Man himself is the earth, as the apostle says, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels" (II Cor. 4:7). Again, "The first man is of the earth, earthy" (I Cor. 15:47). And yet again, "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy" (I Cor. 15:48). "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19). My interest is not "Thy will be done in earth..." and earth is that which is farthest away from me ó the drug addicts, the terrorists, Iran and Somalia. The cry of my heart is: "Thy will be done in this earth that I am in the same totality and completeness and absoluteness as it is done in heaven. And when Godís will is done in this earth that I am, and that earth that you are, and the other earth that your friends and neighbors are, soon it will take care of the whole earth, within and without.
But let me say to you: That is impossible. The whole will of God will never be done in your life. "But," you say, "evidently you donít know how spiritual I am. Youíre not aware that Iím totally committed. Iíve been walking with God these many years. I am an intercessor, and I have the gifts of prophecy, the word of knowledge, healing and miracles. I am in fastings often. I pray without ceasing. I donít drink wine, smoke, curse, lust, tell white lies or go to movies. I have given up much for the Kingdom. I have come out of Babylon. I have entered the Most Holy Place. I have the New Day revelation. I have received the call to sonship. Certainly the will of God would be done in me." Do you know why we say those things? Because we never had a real revelation that in me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing (Rom. 7:18). There is no good thing in me. And, precious friend of mine, there is no good thing in you. When I discover that there is no good thing in you, then I have no reason to be angry with you, because you are just like me. I never get mad at sweet little olí me! So the whole will of God can never be done in me. But there is one man in whose life the whole will of God HAS BEEN DONE. Therefore ó "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." Therefore ó "Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus." If the Lord Jesus Christ lives in you, through you and as you, then the whole will of God being done in Him will be done in you.
It is like the story I read some time ago. Once there was a fine orchestra. And they had one of the finest first chair violinists ever. The word got out that this violinist had recently purchased a new Stradivarius violin, the finest made. The newspapers caught wind of it and made a big to do of his first performance on this new instrument. And so it was on the front page of the Calendar section. And there were posters around town. Articles were published that gave the history of Stradivarius and the many decades of musicians who had played this fine instrument. So the night of the concert comes. The theater is filled to overflowing with people who have come to hear this violin. The music begins. The orchestraís sound builds. Emotions swell. People are overcome by the beauty of the sound. The evening is a great success and at the close of the concert, applause breaks out. The star violinist stands and raises his violin above his head. With that everybody jumps to their feet and applauds louder. And at that, the violinist takes his valued Stradivarius and breaks it over his knee. Horror and silence sweep over the audience. The people were aghast. The musician held up the twisted and splintering rubble and said, "This thing did not make the music. I bought this at the pawn shop for $150. It is not my Stradivarius." And he threw it on the floor. Then he added, "It is the Master who makes the music." Ah, Jesus Christ is the Master who makes the music ó we are the violin! It doesnít matter what value you place on your life, or what power you hold, or what lineage you have. You may see yourself as a Stradivarius. You may see yourself as a pawn shop special. It really makes no difference. Jesus Christ is the Master and He can make the most beautiful music through any life that will say and truly mean it, "Thy will be done in this my earth, as it is in heaven!"
And, let me add, Godís will shall be done ON that earth out there as well. You see, dear ones, the disruption of Godís will on this planet did not originate with the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. The rocks and waters did not disobey Godís command or rebel against His will. The sun, moon, and stars did not sin. MAN was the crowning glory of Godís creation. He was formed of the earth, and wonderfully and fearfully made in the image and likeness of God and given dominion over the earth and all things. And it was this man who did his own will rather than Godís, moving out of the divine order. Through manís disobedience (Rom. 5:19) chaos fell not only upon the human family but upon the entire creation under manís dominion ó the whole creation fell with Adam (Rom. 8:19-22). The standing and state of the physical creation rises or falls with its master ó man. Since it is by, through and because of man that the curse has come upon all material realms, this condition cannot be rectified by the things themselves ó only by MAN HIMSELF. Therefore Godís will can only be done ON earth when it is first done IN earth ó IN MAN. Jesus was striking at the root of the issue when He taught us to pray for Godís will to be done IN US, IN THIS EARTH WHICH WE ARE, as it is done in heaven. How awesome the thought ó Godís will can be perfectly done in our earth! Yes, it can ó by the Spirit of Jesus Christ living in us and acting through us. His will can be done in our mind, in our nature, in our body to the same degree it is done in the realm of spirit. The will of God in peace, righteousness and eternal life can come to pass ON earth only as it is fulfilled IN THE LIVES OF MEN.
GODíS NAME AND GODíS WILL
There is another great truth I share with Godís elect today. It is the truth that the name of God and the will of God are ONE. The name denotes Godís nature and character, what and how He is. The will bespeaks of energy going forth ó it points to action, to effect ó it is to be done. It is very needful for our spiritual understanding to remember this distinction, for the will of God always acts out the name of God. What God IS is what God DOES. What He brings forth into manifestation is precisely that which is true within Himself. Godís name and His will exactly correspond to each other. If the name of God is that which has been revealed to us of His nature and character, then the will of God will be the doing of those things that spring as actions out of His nature.
But there is a truth beyond this. When the name or nature of God has been formed in our lives, the will of God will then be done out of what is true within us. It is here that we no longer merely do the will of God, we become the will of God. George Hawtin wrote of this: "Truly DOING the will of God springs directly from BEING the will of God. You can never truly DO Godís will until you have BECOME Godís will. As soon as this happens, you find all the old things are done away. Your ambitions go and His ambition becomes yours. All the old ambitions fade out of your life to make way for Godís will. You no longer have a will of your own. At Gethsemane Jesus still had a will of His own which He surrendered fully to the Father. But after His death and resurrection He no longer had a will of His own. We have died with Him and we have been raised with Him to BECOME GODíS WILL. When you step upon this blessed territory you no longer have a will of your own. Godís will is YOUR will, Godís plan, YOUR plan, Godís purpose, YOUR purpose. You kneel long in prayer before Him, but you have no requests to make. Your whole being proclaims, Amen! Amen! Thy will be done! And from the thousand corridors of your spirit echoes the joyful sound: Amen; Thy will be done! Thy will be done! Old things pass away all around you. They must pass away to make room for the new things. Everything changes. Everything becomes new. Your planning, scheming, organizing, advertising until you are in a state of exhaustion is gone and in its place comes the rest wherewith He causes the weary to rest, and oh how sweet is the refreshing!"
I WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME
"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven..." We are invited to consciously seek harmony with Godís will. His will shall be done in any event, but every man must be brought at some point in time to personally and actually submit to that will. "Who hath resisted His will?" (Rom. 9:19). Who can interfere with His infinite, omnipotent purpose? Can we stop the advance of the tidal wave? Can we prevent the desolating rush of the tornado? Can we bind the sweet influences of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion? No tumultuous furies of human passion, no volcanic outbursts of wrath and defiance can change one iota Godís eternal, inscrutable purpose. The Psalms and Prophets are replete with this great truth. God sitteth above the water-floods, and God remaineth King forever. God turns to His own praise the wrath of men and the madness of people ó God rules and overrules evil and makes it redound to His glory.
"And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" (Dan. 4:34-35).
With what new and wonderful significance does the proclamation of Jesus Christ now echo through the corridors of our spirits as we hear the impelling words sound from His lips: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME" (Jn. 12:32). This speaks not of Christ being lifted up in our daily living, or in praise, or by preaching, but upon the cross of Calvary, dying for the sins of the world. The verse following the one quoted above makes this very clear: "And this He said, signifying what death He should die." And again: "...as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up" (Jn. 3:14).
Whenever there is introduced into any revelation this "I WILL" of God, then you immediately erase the will of man, the self-efforts of man, and are brought face to face with the sovereign grace of God. In the face of the sovereignty of Godís purpose all of manís hostility toward or unbelief regarding what God says He will do is as nothing, for whenever God decrees "I WILL do it," all of manís unbelief cannot deter the sovereign operation of His grace. Man has the tremendous powers of will. Man can say "I will," and he can say "I will not"; and when a man says "I will not," to God, he will go down as swift as an arrow to its mark, swift as a stone into the depths of the sea; he will sink to the deepest depths; he will be cast down to endure the judgment of fire and brimstone until his breaking comes. Learn this, O man, and you will know a great truth: manís will is subject to Godís will! The will of God is always the higher will. In the will of God lies the origin of all creation ó its very existence, its joys, it power, its glory. In the will of God lies the origin of redemption ó the fact of it, its power, its glory. In the will of God alone lies the origin of the grace of God in the life of each of His children ó its being, its power, its blessedness, its glory.
The Lord Jesus Christ became man in order to do the will of God, and also to teach us what is Godís will, and how to do it. On one occasion we read, "And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed" (Mat. 8:2-3). I desire to impress upon your mind and heart, dear reader, these words, the words of Jesus: "I will." The most important of all things is first to know Godís will, and secondly to do, the will of God. I would call your attention to the prayer of the leper. That is a prayer which neither you nor any Christian should ever offer. It is a wicked prayer for you to offer. It is a prayer that will be fruitless. The leper said, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." That leper was ignorant. In his case there was this excuse for him: that the Lord Jesus Christ was only unfolding His mission, and that He had not fully revealed Godís will. Ignorance of the Lordís will was the one thing that stood in his way of getting the healing. He saw that Christ was able. He said, "Thou canst make me clean." But he was in doubt as to whether Christ was willing. Therefore he said, "Lord, if Thou wilt." The Lord said, "I WILL," and the moment He said that, there was no more "If Thou wilt" in that manís heart.
Let me illustrate. Supposing now that you and I are talking together on the telephone, and after some remarks you say to me, "Bro. Eby, may I see you this morning?" You know many precious folk want to come by and see us, about the same time sometimes, and sometimes would like to stay and visit for a few hours, or days, and sometimes they cannot do it, because I am a very busy man, and have an immense number of things to do. The work load is such that I must spend a full fifty to sixty hours in my office each week with correspondence, study, writing, and attending to many matters pertaining to this ministry. Generally, when we have visitors, or when I go away for a few days, I must then work overtime the same number of hours in order to keep up with those things the Father has entrusted into my hands here. Many people do not understand this.
But you have said to me, "May I see you this morning?" and I say, "Yes, if you will come to my office I will see you at eleven oíclock today." Well, now, suppose you come to my office at eleven oíclock. You walk into the front office where my wife is the receptionist. Suppose you say to Lorain, "Bro. Eby told me that if I came he would see me at eleven oíclock." "All right," she says, pointing, "there is his private office door; knock there." Suppose you stand there in the entrance area and then you lie down on the floor, and begin to howl like this: "Oh, Bro. Eby! if thou wilt, if thou wilt, thou canst see me in thy office. Oh! Bro. Eby! If thou wilt!" Well, I wonder who is making all that noise, so I open the door and say, "Honey, who is out there making that noise?" "Oh, it is a person you told to come see you this morning, and I told him to knock at your door." "And what did he say?" "The person said to me, ĎOh, it is so good of Bro. Eby to invite me to come. Oh, I wish he was willing. Oh, if I only knew he was willing.í I said, Did Bro. Eby not tell you he was willing? ĎYes, and I wish I could believe ití" "Oh, Bro. Eby, if thou wilt, if thou wilt," and you keep on howling like that, and I say, "Honey, tell the person I am willing to see him. Bring him right in." You stand up and begin howling again, "Oh, Bro. Eby, if thou wilt." "Honey, tell that person to come in at once." "He wonít come in, Dear." "Why?" "He says it is too good to be true; he wonít come in unless you come out." So I step out and say, "My dear friend, I told you to come to my office at eleven oíclock, and I am willing to see you." "Oh, Bro. Eby, I wish I could believe it were true. Oh, if thou wilt, if thou wilt."
Now, would that not be great nonsense? But that is the way people talk to God and about God. Jesus said to the leper, "I will ó be thou clean." And straightway his leprosy was cleansed. In this case the leper said, "Lord, if Thou wilt." And Jesus answered, "I will." But in John 12:32 no man is inquiring concerning the will of God. The omnipotent and sovereign Lord and Redeemer of heaven and earth issues the wonderful and certain fiat: "I WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME!" When the Lord Jesus Christ says "I will," no man on earth has any right to even question whether or not He will. It is a wicked blasphemy to say that He will not do what He has said He will do. He said that if He was lifted up upon the cross He would draw ALL MEN unto Him. The WILL OF GOD is that all men be saved. "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL MEN; for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:1-4). And yet I hear many Christians, and some who profess to be walking in sonship, impiously saying, "I do not believe that God will save all men." To which I say, It doesnít make any difference what YOU believe, your unbelief does not make either the grace or the power of God of none effect.
Jesus says, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME!" "It does not mean that," they argue, "it means that He will draw all of the elect, or He will draw all men who believe, or He will draw all kinds of men." "But how many does it say He will draw?" "All men," they are forced to answer. To which I respond, "If that proclamation is not true; if He is not strong enough, and purposeful enough, and loving enough to draw every spirit on earth and in hell, and throughout the universe, to Himself, then He has told a lie. If He can, but wonít, then He is a mean, hard, vindictive, uncaring, sadistic tyrant. And if He canít, then Heís not God." "Oh, Bro. Eby," they cry, "that is heresy!" "But," I say, "that is Jesus. Was He a heretic?" "Oh, no; you do not understand, we can explain all that away, and you must not talk like that." But they explain and I still donít understand!
Has the first Adam more power than the second? ALL were made partakers of the sinful nature through the fall of one man (Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:21-22). Adam had power to take the whole human family down with him; even without their consent. If he being of the earth, earthy, could do this, how much more power will the second Adam show in lifting all again, through His death and resurrection! And if He does not, then the sin of Adam is more powerful than the redemption of the second Adam. The first Adam affected all; the second Adam can only affect some. Jesus said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." He did not say He would draw them if they decided to come, or He would draw them, and they could come if they chose; but if He was lifted up (which He was), "I WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME." It is not a partial drawing, an action to be yielded to or resisted according to the whims of the subject. It is a complete action, the subjects are drawn irresistibly and totally. If the drawn ones merely "sensed" His drawing but could resist, Jesus would have said, "I will cause all men to sense my drawing power." But the wonderful words "unto Me" denote the object and the end of the drawing. He says not, "I will draw all men toward me," but "unto me." A total, completed action. "I will draw all men UNTO ME" ó all the way! Hallelujah! It should be clear to every thinking mind that the last Adam has more power than the first; that the Almighty cannot fail; that He has a plan by which He will cause ALL to come at the appointed time, praise His wonderful name!
Are you perplexed and agitated over the wayward condition of sons and daughters, or other loved ones? THEN REST IN GODíS PROVISION, FOR HE HAS APPOINTED A TIME WHEN THEY, TOO, SHALL COME TO CHRIST. And if they are not responding to the many attempts to convert them, it is because GOD IS NOT CALLING THEM YET. But never fear, in due time, He will merely point His finger at them and say, "Come!" and it will be as when Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus and cried out, "Lazarus, come forth!" All of heavenís hosts will converge upon them to bring them to their promised and purchased salvation. At last they will know the power of sovereign, irresistible GRACE!
Paul Mueller relates the following story that so beautifully documents Christ's ability and power to draw all men unto Himself. "Some years ago, during our missionary tour in Nigeria, West Africa, we were told a fascinating story of a people who lived on an island off the coast of Africa. These island people were in a remote area, isolated from the mainland, but God sought to bring a significant number of people on this island to salvation. There were no missionaries or other Christians on the island, so the Lord gave a dream to the chief of the tribe. In the dream, the chief was told to erect a cross and call the entire tribe to present themselves before that cross. As the people came bowing before the cross the chief had erected in obedience to the dream, they came without understanding of the significance of the cross. But they came nevertheless, for it was the command of the chief. However, as they came and bowed before that cross, they wept in repentance and their lives were changed by the power of God. Later, a missionary came to the island. He found the people serving God as best they knew, and he explained more fully to them the ways of the Lord" ó end quote.
Beloved, when God wants to bring a people unto Himself, He is well able to do so, even to reach out to them without the use of human vessels, if need be. The Christ has been lifted up from the earth and now HAS ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH. In due time He will bring His redemptive process into glorious fulfillment and consummation. If God wants to save some Russians, He has shown how powerfully He can demolish the iron curtain and take those lives unto Himself that are appointed of the Father. If He wants any number of Chinese, He is able to apprehend them unto salvation in spite of the iron rule of an atheistic government. There is no continent too dark, no people too enslaved by satanic powers, no man too wicked and incorrigible but what His power can reach them. Christ has been lifted up from the earth, and HE WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO HIMSELF. You can count on it!
In the meantime Christ invites us to be participators with Him in His great redemptive and reconstructive work by praying as He has taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." And God will answer that prayer. May He begin the answer in each one of us today!
To be continued... J. PRESTON EBY [HOME] [KINGDOM RESOURCES]