|Your kingdom come|
STUDIES IN THE LORD'S PRAYER
Copyright © Rosemary Bardsley 2002
STUDY FOUR: YOUR KINGDOM COME
We have seen in Study Three that the first concern in our praying is God-centred. The first part of this concern was for the honour, or hallowing, of God's name. The second part of this God-centred concern or focus of prayer is God's kingdom. Jesus told us to pray 'your kingdom come'.
We have already seen, when we studied the sovereignty and majesty of God, that he is indeed King of all the earth. The whole earth, with all of its nations and peoples, is his. Nothing is outside of his control or beyond his authority and power. Why then, do we need to pray 'your kingdom come'? Because his kingdom, his rule, his authority, his sovereignty, are not acknowledged by all; in fact, as the Scriptures make clear, this is a rebel world, and we are rebellious people. From the first rebellion against his authority until the final elimination of rebellion described in Revelation and other Biblical books, there is cosmic rejection of his authority and rule. There is also a cosmic rejection of the principles and mindset of his Kingdom. It is only where the Spirit of God has taken the Word of God about the Son of God and shone into the darkness of men's hearts that there is any reduction or reversal of this rebellion against the eternal King. And it is only there that we are set free from the bondage of the performance-based mindset of the kingdom of darkness and liberated to live in the life/peace mindset of the Kingdom of light.
[Read Psalm 145 to get a feel of the joy of God's Kingdom.]
These two aspects of God's Kingdom combine to reveal a truth that is largely overlooked: the Gospel is 'the Gospel - the good news - of the Kingdom' [Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Luke 4:43; 8:1; Acts 8:12]. God's kingdom is the content of New Testament preaching [Mark 1:14; Luke 9:2,11,60; 16:16; Acts 1:3; 20:25; 28:23, 31]. Associated with this 'good news' quality of the Kingdom is the fact that it is something of great value and great attraction:
So, what are we praying when we say 'your kingdom come'? We are praying for the coming of God's kingdom in three dimensions: inner, expanding and ultimate.
A. WE ARE PRAYING THAT KINGDOM OF GOD WILL COME IN OUR OWN HEARTS
Luke records 'Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. His answer was, "The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is!' or 'There it is!' because the Kingdom of God is within you."' [Luke 17:20-21'.
This is the personal or inner dimension of the Kingdom of God. This begins when we acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and God, when we realize, admit, and confess that Jesus Christ is exactly who he claimed to be, the Son of God, and who the Scriptures claim that he is, King of kings and Lord of lords. To receive Jesus Christ is to receive him as the King. He is no less that this. He can be no less than this. To receive Jesus Christ is to enter into his Kingdom and to embrace his Kingdom and its mindset and principles
From that point of Christian confession onwards his Kingdom is within us.
When we pray 'your kingdom come' we are praying that his Kingdom will be more and more of a reality in our lives:
We are praying for the ever increasing impact of his Kingdom - his reign- in our lives.
B. WE ARE PRAYING THAT PEOPLE WILL BE ADDED TO HIS KINGDOM AS THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS IS PROCLAIMED
Jesus taught that where he was present the God's Kingdom drew near to men:
Jesus taught that where his followers went on his mission the God's Kingdom drew near to men:
Jesus taught that to truly repent and believe meant entering the Kingdom:
Jesus taught that those who believe in him know the truth about God's kingdom:
Jesus taught that the expansion of the kingdom comes by the proclamation of the Word of God:
Read the following parables:
Jesus taught that in his death and resurrection the Kingdom of God came with power; wherever that death and resurrection are proclaimed the Kingdom of God is seen:
Thus when we pray 'your kingdom come' we are praying that the Good News of Christ's Kingdom [Luke 8:1; 9:2,11; 16:16; Acts 28:23] will be proclaimed, and that people will hear, and understand that in hearing this message about Jesus Christ, they are being confronted by the Almighty Sovereign Lord; we are praying that they will believe and repent, and thus enter into that Kingdom as it enters into them by the power of the Spirit of God.
It is here, under this heading of concern for God and his expanding Kingdom, that our prayers for the conversion of our relatives and friends, and for the work of mission and evangelism, fit in. Here we are praying that his Kingdom will come to them: that someone will tell them of the good news of his Kingdom, that the Spirit of God will impact their hearts with the truth and urgency and wonder of the Kingdom, and that they will repent and believe, and so enter that Kingdom, born again by the power of the Spirit.
C. WE ARE PRAYING, OVER AND ABOVE ALL, THAT HIS ULTIMATE KINGDOM WILL COME
From Genesis 3 onwards there is an anticipation of the coming of God's Kingdom. Many have been deluded over the centuries, thinking that the ultimate Kingdom is the Kingdom of Israel, while all the time national Israel is but a prophetic shadow of the real Kingdom. Many are still deluded, perceiving God's Kingdom in physical, earth-bound categories. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived into a minimal view of the ultimate coming Kingdom.
What does our prayer mean here? It means that under this heading we are praying for:
Go to Worksheet 4 for Biblical references to each of the above.
For this kingdom we wait, and for the ultimate coming of this kingdom we pray.
All of this and more we are praying for when we pray 'your kingdom come'. It is a massive prayer.
In this are included and validated:
To pray 'your kingdom come' involves personal commitment to God's kingdom.
Incorporate the powerful reality of this prayer 'your kingdom come' into your prayers during the next week.
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