Summary: Exposition and application of the Lord's Prayer. Your kingdom come in me and in the future!
Living The Lord’s Prayer, Part-3, Mathew 6:6-13
“Your Kingdom Come”
“Everybody treats us so nicely. No one seems to thing that we mean what we say. When we say “kingdom of God,” no one gets apprehensive, as if we had just announced (which we thought we had) that a powerful army is poised on the border, ready to invade. When we say radical things like “Christ,” “love,” “believe,” “peace,” and “sin”—words that in other times and cultures excited martyrdoms—the sounds enter the stream of conversation with no more splash than baseball scores and grocery prices.” — (Eugene Peterson in Leadership Vol. 10, no. 2)
What is the Kingdom of God? In the second line of the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Your Kingdom Come.” What is the kingdom and what does it mean for His kingdom to come? Where does it come from? Where is “it” going? What is the nature of the Kingdom? Who is a citizen of the kingdom? When will it come? Has it already come? Is it a physical or spiritual kingdom?
These are important questions to ask. How careless of so many to pray week in and week out, for some day in day out, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come” and never have considered at any depth what that kingdom is. If we are to build the kingdom we need to know what it is.
This morning I will state plainly what I believe to be a biblical view of the kingdom and how it applies to the here and now of the Christian life.
No other biblical doctrine as that of the kingdom of God is as oft mentioned in the Bible and yet so routinely debated. There is vastly differing opinion among theologians, scholars, pastors, denominations, and the like, as to the message of the kingdom. There is no debate however that it is a prevalent biblical doctrine.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38 NIV)
Everywhere He went Jesus preached the kingdom. In Matthew 4:17 it says that “From that time on [early in Jesus ministry] Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (NIV) Or in the KJV Jesus says “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It is just out of reach, it is present, it is here.
So on the one hand you have Jesus telling people to repent for the kingdom is near and then on the other hand you have Jesus telling people to pray, “Your kingdom come.” Which is it? Is the kingdom right here, close enough to reach out and grab or is it afar off and something that I need to pray for it to come?
It is both here and it is yet to come! The kingdom of God is present wherever God reigns. The kingdom is present when we allow God to reign in and through us. It is yet to come in that Jesus has promised to return and establish a literal thousand year reign upon the earth which will usher in eternity.
For nineteenth century liberal theologians like Albrecht Ritschl and Adolf von Harnack, the kingdom of God is not something to be established in the future, but is now present in the form of the “brotherhood of man.” For higher critical scholars, the infinite value of the individual soul, and the ethic of love fully represents the kingdom; the apocalyptic component in Jesus’ teaching is secondary to Jesus message of universal love. The predominant liberal view is that the kingdom of which Jesus spoke was a present ethical kingdom.
Reformed theologians have typically viewed the kingdom only in terms of a present spiritual reality. The more optimistic among them look to a day when all of the world will be come to faith in the Jesus Christ and thus the completeness of the kingdom of God will be realized. For them the kingdom is now and there is at least the possibility of the perfection of Christ reign on earth through His Church.
Dispensationalists have tended to focus on the apocalyptic teaching of the book of Revelation and Daniel to say that kingdom which Jesus spoke of as “being near” is near in the sense that it will soon, in the grand timeline, be consummated.
For dispensationalists the focus is on the future, though the present reality of Christ reign in the life of the belier is recognized.