Introduction: Over the past few Lord\u2019s Days we have been looking at the Lord\u2019s Prayer
as the pattern for our own prayers and have found some surprising things. For instance,
did you realize when we began this study, that the Lord is teaching us here about
corporate prayer and not individual prayer? He says that we are to pray \u201cOur Father,\u201d
which is hard to do by yourself. Did you understand that Jesus was teaching us here to
pray that the Gospel would have a such a world-wide and power impact, that everyone
would treat God as holy, that His kingdom would come in power in every nation, with the
result that everyone on the earth would do what He commands perfectly, just as the
angels do in heaven? If you didn\u2019t see these things before, maybe it\u2019s because you never
really thought through what it is that Jesus says here. Or maybe you have become so
used to these words that they no longer register in your mind. Sometimes we can grow so
accustomed to things with which we are familiar that we can actually begin to lose sight
of what they mean. Have you ever found yourself looking at someone you know and
love very much and then all of a sudden see something about them you have never seen
before? Sometimes it\u2019s almost like seeing them for the first time. It can shock you. For
just for a moment that blindness is removed, and you see them in a new way. The same
thing can happen if when you have been a long time in a particular school or tradition of
Christianity. You can get so used to hearing the same things that you begin to lose the
significance of what they mean. And then you are surprised when someone comes in
from another denomination, someone who is looking at these things for the first time, and
can see things which you can no longer see. This should teach us that we need to pray
that the Lord would keep His truths fresh and alive in our minds, so that we would not
become blinded to the things He has shown us.
A. The answer is really quite simple, but again we should remind ourselves, so that
we will learn not to take God\u2019s goodness for granted.
1. When God first created the world, He virtually guaranteed these things to us.
a. We saw not too long ago how the Lord filled His world with fertile plants, with trees which were laden with fruit, with everything that was needed to sustain man.
this new creature called man, but also to take care of him, in much the same
way as you take care of the children that you bear. Your children haven\u2019t
done anything to deserve the kindness and care that you take for them. But
you are compelled to do so out of the love you feel for them, because they are
your flesh and your blood. Even so God was compelled by His love to take
care of His son, Adam (Luke 3:38).
2. But we mustn\u2019t also forget that this goodness which God gave Adam and Eve
was forfeited by them forever when they sinned.
a. Originally, man\u2019s labor was to be richly rewarded. The earth was to yield its
b. But with his fall into sin, things changed. The Lord said to Adam, \u201cBecause
you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree
about which I commanded you, saying, \u2018You shall not eat from it\u2019; Cursed is
the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of
the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the
ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you
shall return\u201d (Gen. 3:17-19).
c. Things became hard for Adam, much harder than they were before he sinned.
But notice that they didn\u2019t become impossible. God could have just as easily
withdrawn all of His food and provision from man and from all of His
creatures for man\u2019s sin, but He didn\u2019t.
d. This is because God is good. This is His nature. God gives even to His
enemies things they don\u2019t deserve. He provides for everyone and everything.
The psalmist writes, \u201cHe sends forth springs in the valleys; they flow
between the mountains; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild
donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they
lift uptheir voices among the branches. He waters the mountains from His
upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works. He causes
the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he
may bring forth food from the earth, and wine which makes man's heart glad,
so that he may makehis face glisten with oil, and food which sustains man's
e. There is no one living who deserves this kindness from God. Not only didn\u2019t we deserve it to start with, and not only did we forfeit our right to it through Adam, but we also rebelled against God every day of our lives before coming to Christ, and we still sin against Him everyday after coming because we still have sin in our souls. And yet, out of His mere goodness, God still provides for us.
B. But the fact that God gives this goodness to us freely is no reason why we should
not pray for it and thank Him for it.
1. We need to remind ourselves that there are places in this world where the Lord
b. Their sins have so offended and provoked God that He has visited them with
His judgment. This is the legacy their leaders have left for them. Remember
what Paul says, that even though God reveals His goodness throughout His
creation, He also reveals His wrath against sin. He writes, \u201cFor the wrath of
God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. . . For even though they
knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became
futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.\u201d (Rom. 1:18,
21). This verse literally means that God pours out His wrath on mankind
continually, for their rejection of Him as their God. They can see Him, they
know He exists and that He provides for them, but they are unthankful. And
so God, in His judgment, removes His goodness in some measure, and allows
them to suffer more of what they already deserve because of their sins.
2. Now here in America, we enjoy God\u2019s goodness to a greater degree. But we
mustn\u2019t allow this prosperity to deceive us into thinking that we are pleasing to
a. We must not allow ourselves to think that we as a nation don\u2019t deserve this
b. We have fallen into the same sins as these other nations, and worse. Many in
our country are atheists. Many are involved in false and idolatrous religions.
Many are immoral, addicted to drugs, guilty of gross perversions, such as
homosexuality and lesbianism, and guilty of the murder of untold thousands
of unborn children.
c. The only reason why God is as good to us as He is is because there are still many of His people here. But their number seems to be dwindling, as our nation plummets deeper and deeper into sin.
3. All this is to say that we should never take God\u2019s goodness for granted, but
should recognize what it is that God is doing for us, thank Him whole-heartedly
and pray that He would continue His mercies.
a. The fact that these sins I mentioned are still increasing and that God has
brought judgments upon us in the last several years through our weather,
should remind us that God is taking our sins seriously, even if we don\u2019t.
b. God might take His mercies, not only from the wicked, but from all of us, if
we do not continue to humble ourselves and pray. Whenever He brings
4. But we should not only ask that He would give us these things, but also that they
would sustain us.
a. It\u2019s one thing to have food, it\u2019s still another for this food to do us any good.
b. When we are sick, our bodies can\u2019t use the food the way they need to. There
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?