Summary: If God’s will is to be accomplished on earth, it will be through God’s people.
Matthew 6:9-15, 13:31-35
Stories abound about modern geographical ignorance. Given a map, a majority of people could not accurately locate the Grand Canyon, New York City, or the state of Washington. In a recent poll of Britons, 67% do not know when WWII ended, 64% do not know where the French Alps are located, and an astounding 70% do not know where the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is based.
We might pride ourselves on the fact that we know the correct placements to all of these locations, but I have a sneaking suspicion that many of us do not know where an important area is located. Where is the kingdom of God?
THE KINGDOM IS US
When facing Pilate, Jesus stated that his kingdom was not of this world. If it is not of this world, then we might ask, where is it? In the book of Revelation, there is a vivid description of the kingdom of God descending from heaven and being established on earth. This is a wonderful vision, but we need to ask, and we need to know where the kingdom of God is now.
Today God’s kingdom is in us. After the resurrection, Jesus breathed on his disciples and they received the Holy Spirit. Luke writes that the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit brings God’s kingdom into our lives.
Wherever God is present and God rules is where God’s kingdom is located. Reflecting this idea, Luther wrote in his Small Catechism, “The kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself; but we pray in this petition that it may come unto us also.”
There are many ramifications of being God’s kingdom. This does not make us God, but it is from within that we communicate with God, and it is from within that God’ gives us the peace, strength, faith, hope, and love for us to face all of life.
God kingdom grows as God’s rule expands in our lives, and as more people come under the Lordship of God, and where God takes us residence.
SPREADING THE KINGDOM
God’s kingdom expands as we mature in our faith, deepen our commitment to Jesus Christ, and become more obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Another way for God’s kingdom to expand is for others to be filled with the Holy Spirit and live in faith.
The kingdom is passed from person to person. Almost every person worshipping here today can point to a person or persons who influenced them in their Christian life. It might have been our parents, pastor, distant cousin, schoolmate, or co-worker.
Because the kingdom of God is spread from person to person, it is vitally important for us to be bold and loving in our witness. It is important to be clear about what God has done for us, and the difference faith in Christ has made in our lives. Equally important is the need to be vocal in our witness, and to back up our actions with our words.
God’s kingdom is heaven on earth, and we have the privilege of inviting others to live in God’s kingdom with us.
YOUR WILL BE DONE
Often Christianity has fallen into the trap of reducing a life of faith to a list of do’s and don’ts, rather than a life lived in response to the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The main command that we have as Christians is to “Love our neighbor. In John, Jesus says, “This is my command that you love.” In Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about people coming before God on judgment day and being judged on how they served others.
We follow the Spirit by loving others. This is the completion of the law, and it should be the “bottom line” of anything we do. The question that should be constantly on our lips is, “Does this demonstrate the love of God and meet the needs of the people?
The stress of God’s will is that we live out God’s will in our lives. We are called to change ourselves and not attempt to force others to change.
Prayer gets personal. It is more than words or thoughts. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes us.
For God’s kingdom to come, and God’s will to be done, it will come in each of our lives as individuals.