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Thy Kingdom Come

 

Matthew 6:1-15

 

Jim Davis

 

Luke 1:26-33

26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

 

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

 

Matthew 2:1-6

2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

 

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:

 

6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

 

Matthew 4:17

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 

 

Mark 15:2

2 "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate.

 

"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

 

The Kingdom of God

 

Throughout Matthew’s gospel the key word is “kingdom.” Luke tells us that Christ would be given the throne of David. The gospel writers proclaim Jesus as king of the Jews, as the one who came to rule on earth as he rules in heaven. If you were to take Matthew’s gospel and replace the word “kingdom” with the word “church,” the gospel of Matthew would become very confusing. When we do find the word church in the New Testament we are forced to go back and explain the church is the kingdom. Yet, even this approach is losing its appeal in our modern world. Today most churches teach the church is waiting upon the coming of Christ in his kingdom at his second coming.

 

Often, we are just as confused in our thinking. After the resurrection of Christ the disciples ask, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b.) He had spent forty days with them teaching them about the kingdom of heaven.

 

Acts 1:3-5

3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." 

 

Many in the church believe the disciples asked the wrong question. They should have ask, “Lord, are you at this time going to establish your church?” Yet, Jesus was preaching the kingdom of God was at hand (Matthew 4:17). He spent forty days with them after the resurrection speaking to them about the kingdom of God. The kingdom came with power on Pentecost. Peter proclaimed that David’s throne had been given to Christ. They asked the right question before Pentecost. God didn’t drop all his kingdom plans to establish a church. Christ did what he was born to do—he took his seat on David’s throne after his ascension.

 

Acts 2:24-36

24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

 

"'I saw the Lord always before me.

Because he is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;

my body also will live in hope,

27 because you will not abandon me to the grave,

nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

28 You have made known to me the paths of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence.'  

 

29 "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

 

"'The Lord said to my Lord:

"Sit at my right hand

35 until I make your enemies

a footstool for your feet." '   

 

36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

 

We are translated into the kingdom of Christ upon obeying the gospel.

 

Colossians 1:13-14

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

Revelation 1:5-6

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

 

1 Peter 2:4-6

4 As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:

 

"See, I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

will never be put to shame."   

 

Internal Dominion of the Kingdom

 

The kingdom of God is the theme of the entire Bible. The Scriptures are written to establish God’s kingdom—i.e., his rule—in every heart. Theologians have crossed swords over the question of the Kingdom—what it is, what it isn’t—but is it really that unclear?

 

Matthew 6:9-15

9 "This, then, is how you should pray:

 

"'Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 Forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.'

 

14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

Jesus instructed his disciples to pray “. . . your kingdom come.”  This phrase is inseparably connected to the next part of the verse “. . . your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” This simply restates and explains the first part of the equation. God’s kingdom is about getting God’s will done earth as it is done in heaven, as he conquers one heart at a time. The kingdom has never been anything more or less than God’s rule on earth as he rules in each heart.

 

The kingdom Jesus spoke of was not a province to be entered. To the Jews the kingdom was a national political entity, which was to conquer all the kingdoms of the earth. They came to believe God’s kingdom would conquer the world. They overlooked the fact that this was impossible without God ruling in their hearts. They thought they could become a force for God. Yet, they failed because their hearts were far from God. Their concept of the kingdom was far from the true design of the kingdom of God.

 

Luke 17:20-21

20 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." 

 

Israel became obsessed with circumcision. Circumcision simply became a mark branding them as God’s people. It became God’s brand of ownership stamped upon them much like branding cattle to claim ownership. They failed because weren’t circumcised in heart.

 

Romans 2:28-29

28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

 

The only way for the Jews to experience the power of God was for them to be circumcised of heart. Israel’s army often marched into battle and failed simply because their hearts were not circumcised. God did not rule in their hearts. Their national goals overshadowed their need to allow God’s Spirit to rule their lives. They failed. It shouldn’t surprise us that the New Testament speaks of the kingdom of God as being within us.

 

Paul stressed the inward qualities of the rule of God’s kingdom. It is no accident that Paul writes, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus . . .” (Colossians 3:17) When we allow God to guide us, and work through us, it is then he will accomplish his work through us. This allows God to establish his kingdom in our hearts.

 

Psalms 51:10-12

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

 

David asks God to create in him a pure heart and give him a willing spirit. It is a personal prayer for God’s kingdom to come more fully in his heart.

 

Our prayers must be about God ruling in our hearts. It is the only way God’s kingdom can come on earth as it is in heaven.

 

“When Christ came into the world, He said [to the Father: ‘Here I am. . . . I have come to do your will, O God’ ” (Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 10:7). He said that, even though it led to unimaginable pain. His submission culminated in a lonely prayer the night of His arrest: “My Father,” He said, “if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Matthew 26:42).

 

Only God has the power to conquer our sinful hearts. This is important for there must be significant change before we can begin to see the kingdom of God.

 

John 3:5-7

5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

 

John 3:3

3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." 

 

The External Dominion of Christ’s Kingdom

 

The authority of Christ rules, all power was given to him in heaven and on earth. His power is continually being exerted in the life of the Christian.

 

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

 

Today Christ reigns on David’s throne. Yet, the establishment of his kingdom is an ongoing task as the gospel spreads to one heart at a time. Christ is in the process of putting his enemies under his feet. The kingdom will not be fully established until the last enemy is destroyed—i.e., death.

 

1 Corinthians 15:24-26

24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

 

Christ work will not be completed until his second coming. At his second coming he will have placed all his enemies under his feet, and then he will destroy his last enemy death. This will culminate in Christ’s ultimate victory over Satan. Then we will be ushered into Christ’s eternal heavenly kingdom.

 

It is comforting to know that the power and the kingdom of our God are being exerted in our world as well as in our hearts. Christ is in the process of placing all his enemies under his feet as I speak. This is the most comforting aspect of being a Christian, for those who obey Christ—GOD RULES our world.

 

First century Christians were taught that God rules. This was their message to the world. Christ rules over the living and the dead. He rules over our enemies. We have become victors through the blood of the Lamb.

 

Revelation 12:11

They overcame him

by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much

as to shrink from death.

 

Those first Christians embraced Christ’s kingdom as they obeyed the apostles teaching.

 

Acts 8:13

12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

 

Acts 19:8-9

8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.

 

Acts 20:25-26

25 "Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

 

Acts 28:23-24

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.

 

To accept Christ kingdom you must believe that he rules supreme. The disciples’ prayers revealed a clear understanding of the sovereignty of God. Peter and John were taken into custody after healing a cripple in Acts. They were commanded not to teach the good news of the kingdom. Afterwards they prayed for God’s power to come upon them so that they might boldly preach the word.

 

Acts 4:21-31

 

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

 

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

 

"'Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

26 The kings of the earth take their stand

and the rulers gather together

against the Lord

and against his Anointed One.'  

 

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

 

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

 

Jesus’ example prayer teaches us to pray for God to rule on earth as he rules in heaven. This is precisely what was happening in this incident in the disciples’ lives. They were praying for God’s power to salvage them as He gave them boldness. Sadly the Pharisees lives became self-centered and powerless as they sought what they followed what they had construed to be God’s will. God’s name must not only be hallowed, but his rule must be sought in our every word and deed.

 

When God rules our hearts he will strengthen us in every good deed and word.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

 

The Kingdom is where the King is. And we could say that, in some sense at least, there are “places” the King refuses to be. Why? Because the Kingdom of God is reserved for people who are fundamentally different. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10).

 

In contrast, he says, “That is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Through God’s grace and our faith we are made worthy subjects of the King. As Paul states it elsewhere: “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14).

 

Conclusion:

 

The gods who rule our world today are Money, Power and Sex. Our world revolves around these Gods. When they rule they bring destruction. They destroy lives.

 

A man who won $314,000,000 lottery lives in misery.

 

How many times have we seen power destroy those who have it.

 

How many have signed their lives away through one sexual act.

 

Jesus Christ desires to give you an abundant life. Christ is more powerful than this world’s gods. He is sovereign.

John 7:37-39

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

 

Acknowledging God’s authority through Christ is where it begins as Christians. Acknowledging Christ has all power and authority is the beginning of a faith that leads me to believe he is always with me.

 

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." 

 

Jesus says, “And surely I am with always, to the very end of the age.” Do you know how we acknowledge God in everything? By seeking to obey the things he taught.  God is one with us when we choose to one with him.

 

Bible Study Questions

 

1. What would happen if you exchanged the word “kingdom” for the word “church” throughout the New Testament?

 

2. What was Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth? (Luke 1:26-33)

 

3. What are some reasons for the misunderstanding concerning Christ’s kingdom?

 

4. What does it mean to pray for God’s kingdom to come?

 

5. What qualities of Christ kingdom did Paul emphasize in Colossians 3:17?

 

6. Is it possible to experience the power of God in our lives without a willingness to be born again?

 

 

 

 

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