This is a summary of the sermon preached on August 13, 2023.
- Date: Sunday August 13, 2023
- Venue: A Sunday service at Tokyo Multicultural Church
- Title: "Doing the will of God"
- Scriptures: Matthew 12:46-50 1
At Tokyo Multicultural Church, we’ve been going through what we call “discipleship” since the beginning of this year 2023.
The discipleship is all about who we are and how we are to live as a follower of Christ.
Today’s Scripture teaches us (see Matthew 12:49-50) that as a follower of Christ,
These are the questions that I’d like us to think about today.
Being one in the family of God
About the first question,
Paul says in Ephesians 2:14-19 that
Furthermore, about being one in Christ, Paul writes in Galatians 3:28-29 (see also Galatians 3:14, 22, 26) that not only our nationality, cultural background, and religious experiences, but also
But here you may wonder
These kinds of questions lead to our second question for today, which is
Doing the will of God: behavioral part
About doing the will of the Father in heaven, Jesus teaches in the famous sermon on the mount (Matthew 7:21) that
But also, surprisingly, in the following verses (Matthew 7:22-23) Jesus continues that
Well, you can find the answer for yourself if you read through the entire sermon on the mount.
But because we don’t have enough time today, I’ll give you my answer:
Now, you may be wondering,
Well, you are certainly right if you just consider what I call a “behavioral” part of doing the will of God, which focuses on our behaviors or actions—what to do or not to do.
But, there is what I call a “mental” part of doing the will of God, which is related to our thoughts and attitudes—how to think and what to think.
Doing the will of God: mental part
In fact, the very first words of the sermon on the mount teach us the mental part of doing the will of God. In Matthew 5:3, Jesus says,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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Here I think
In other words, the mental part of doing the will of God involves having an attitude of humility, depending not on themselves, but on God, with the recognition that we’d never be able to do what God desires us to do at every moment in life by ourselves (cf. Isaiah 66:2).
Having an attitude of humility would lead us in many cases to repent before God.
This is the reason why doing the will of the Father involves repenting (and believing as well) in Matthew 21:28-32.
To summarize, doing the will of the Father in heaven means that
we are not able to do what God desires us to do at every moment in life.
This is what I call the mental part of doing the will of the Father.
Here you see that this mental part of doing the will of God is exactly the way how we get saved.
We get saved by recognizing our sins, repenting, and believing in Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Yet, doing the will of the Father doesn’t end there.
After we get saved by faith in Christ, becoming one in God’s family,
Yet, even after we get saved, the mental part of doing the will of God still plays an important role because we would never be able to fully accomplish the behavioral part of doing the will of God;
We still sin after salvation.
And when we sin, what is important for us to do is to
Now, based on what we have learned today,
Well, first of all, if you do not believe in Christ yet, I sincerely hope and pray that
As we all know, this world is filled with competitions.
At school or at work, or even at home we would usually have to compete against others to get what we want.
Moreover, we are always compared with others.
People evaluate us according to what we do or what we do not do compared with others.
And we would usually
If you do something in favor of somebody, then the person may give you something you want in return.
But, if you do something against somebody, then you would probably receive something undesirable from that person.
In many cases,
And this kind of causality dictates our world.
And we are so used to it.
We don’t have to compete against others for affection of God.
He loves us just the way we are. His love never changes no matter what we do or what we do not do.
In other words, we don’t have to or cannot earn God’s love by our work.
This is what grace is all about: we receive what we do not deserve from God.
So, even if you are not able to do what God desires us to do at every moment in life, He still loves you, and embraces you if you repent and come back to Him.
His love is unconditional in this sense.
Jesus Christ took all our sins on Himself, and died on the cross on our behalf, so that if we believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior, we may not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
And Jesus died on the cross to save us from condemnation not because we have done something in favor of God.
Then, He will embrace you just the way you are, and you may become His child, being one in His family.
Even if you have already experienced such unconditional love of God for yourself, and have put your faith in Christ, it is always good to
He’ll never leave you or forsake you even if you fail to live a life pleasing to God.
You’ll never be cut off from God’s family even though you are not fully able to do what God desires you to do at every moment in life.
You may get angry with or speak ill of somebody.
You may look at somebody lustfully.
Or you may not be able to love your enemies, and to be perfect like God the Father.
Here are what it means for Christians to do the will of the Father in heaven:
- recognize your weaknesses/sins in humility;
- repent your sins;
- re-dedicate yourself to a life pleasing to God, depending more on the Spirit; and
- repeat the cycle, going back to 1).
Yet, in doing so,
Bibliography and Notes
- Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009.
- France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2007.
- Osborne, Grant R. Matthew. The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010.
- Wilkins, Michael J. Matthew. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2004.