The Lord’s Prayer: Your Kingdom March 16, 2014

Deuteronomy 30:6-14         Psalm 121      Matthew 6:10                        1 Corinthians 15:23-28

 

We know what a commonwealth is.  We live in one.  That is: “According to the Hornbook of Virginia History, 4th ed., page 88:

“A commonwealth is ‘a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people. When Virginia adopted its first constitution in 1776, the term commonwealth was reintroduced, most likely to emphasize that Virginia’s new government was based upon the sovereignty of the people united for the common good. The designation commonwealth of Virginia has been used in official records ever since.”[1]

We know what a representative democracy is.  We live in one. That is it is “A form of government where the powers of the sovereignty are delegated to a body of men, elected from time to time, who exercise them for the benefit of the whole nation.”[2]

But do we know what a kingdom is?  The dictionary definition is “a country whose ruler is a king or queen.”[3] As we are praying the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking for God’s kingdom to come.  How can God’s kingdom arrive here?  Where is God’s kingdom coming from?  What does God’s kingdom have to do with where we are living?  These are our questions as we pray for God’s kingdom to come. It might turn out that our prayer turns into: “Lord, bring in thy kingdom, beginning with me.”[4]

 

  1. How can God’s kingdom arrive here?
    1. John the baptizer: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (3:2)
    2. Jesus: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:16)
    3. Jesus goes on to call disciples (Matthew 4:18-22)
    4. Jesus preaches about the good news of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23)
    5. Jesus cured various diseases, pains, demoniacs, epileptics, & paralytics (4:24, 12:28)
    6. Jesus reassured the poor in the spirit & the persecuted would have the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3, 10-11)
    7. Jesus gave the disciples the authority to cast out unclean spirits & to cure every disease & sickness, & to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom (10:1, 7)
    8. That’s right; God’s kingdom has come near through the person of Jesus Christ.  So, we want to see more people repent.  We want more people to be cured of every disease and sickness.   There is good news for you, your family, and your neighbors.  When they hear about God’s kingdom, then it is that much closer.  And God wants all people to be part of his kingdom.   So, from where does God’s kingdom come?

 

  1. God’s kingdom comes from heaven
    1. Your Father is in heaven (Matthew 5:16, 6:1)
    2. His throne is heaven (Matthew 5:34)
    3. Your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him (Matthew 7:11)
    4. Jesus will drink the fruit of the vine again in his Father’s kingdom (26:29)
    5. It sounds like God is coming here! So, what are we to do? We are asking God’s kingdom to come and for his will to be done here on earth.  I am thinking that as God’s will is done, then our wills have some response.  We know that God has given us free will.  We also know that God does not want us to be robots that are told when and where to go. 

 

  1. What does God’s kingdom have to do with where we are living?
    1. We have to be righteous to enter the kingdom (Matthew 5:20)
    2. We teach Jesus’ commandments & we will be great in the kingdom (5:19)
    3. We store our treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20)
    4. We strive for God’s kingdom & his righteousness (Matthew 6:33)
    5. Jesus said, “You enter the kingdom when you do the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) & “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, & sister, & mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
    6. Many from the east & west will eat with Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 8:11)
    7. The demons knew that the kingdom is coming (Matthew 8:29)
    8. We get to acknowledge God before others (Matthew 10:32-33)
    9. We need not take it by force (Matthew 11:12)
    10. Yet, the kingdom of heaven has weeds sown with wheat (Matthew 13:24-30)
    11. The kingdom of heaven grows like a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32)
    12. The kingdom of heaven is what we want to have, like a pearl of great value (Matthew 13:45)
    13. We enter the kingdom like children (Matthew 18:3-4,19:14)
    14. We have mercy because of being in the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:23-35)
    15. Some of us will become eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:12)
    16. We give up our wealth to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23-24)
    17. God gives the kingdom to whom he wants to (Matthew 20:1-16)
    18. We are be servants to be in the kingdom (Matthew 20:25-28)
    19. We are to produce fruit for the kingdom (Matthew 21:43)
    20. We are called to enter the kingdom (Matthew 22:1-14)
    21. We endure as the good news of the kingdom is proclaimed throughout the world (Matthew 24:13-14)
    22. We will be wise to look for the kingdom (Matthew 25:1-13)
    23. When we look, we pray like Jesus, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Matthew 26:39)
    24. For this to happen, we have to want to do God desires for us.  I don’t know about you, but this is hard for me.  I like the way things are in my life.  Yet, if I want to be in God’s kingdom, then I pursue God’s will.  It would seem that my life would be better in God’s kingdom than running it my way.  I do believe that would be best for me.  I do believe it would be best for you as well.  With all the good that can come from living God’s way in God’s kingdom, I don’t know why we would want to resist God’s will.  I think this story helps us see what the kingdom is like (John Killinger’s book, p. 40-42.)

Living in God’s kingdom won’t be like our lives now.  It will be better.  And it is not too far away!  So, we keep praying for God’s kingdom to come.  We really do need to see God’s will done here on earth as it is in heaven.  Judah ben Tema says this about God’s will: “Be strong as a leopard, and as swift as an eagle, and fleet as a hart, and courageous as a lion, to do the will of thy Father which is in heaven.”[5]  Do you want God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?  Then continue to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

[4] Wilson O. Weldon, Our Father, (The Upper Room, Nashville; 1968), p. 27

[5] Charles M. Laymon, The Lord’s Prayer in its Biblical Setting, (Abingdon Press, Nashville; 1968), p. 100

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