Open your Bibles to Matthew 6:9-13. Today marks our third week focusing on the Lord's Prayer. If you are interested in how long we will be in this text, I believe the answer will be three more weeks, but this may change depending on how the Lord directs me. Therefore, God willing, we will spend a grand total of six weeks focused on prayer.
In reality, this is not nearly long enough. For prayer is vital to our relationship with our Father, and I fear that we have a tendency to miss the mark in our prayer life. I fear that when we do pray, which is not nearly enough, we are praying wrongly, or at least out of line with God's will. However, my hope is that over these six short weeks God will move in our hearts by the power of His Word and cause us to be a people of prayer whose hearts resemble Jesus'.
With that said, let us turn to Matthew 6:9-13 and read our text. Pray that God open the eyes of our hearts, and then examine our text
- Matthew 6:9-13 - “"This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your 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.”
To being, I think it is important that we understand our terms. The phrases “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of Heaven” are frequently mentioned in the New Testament. Both of these phrases mean the same thing. In Matthew alone we see the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” mentioned 32 times. Here are the times Kingdom language is used prior to the Lord’s prayer in Matthew.
- Matthew 3:1-2 – “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
- Matthew 4:17 – “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
- Matthew 4:23 – “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.”
- Matthew 5:3 – “"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- Matthew 5:10 – “"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- Matthew 5:19 – “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Let me ask this: in order for there to be a Kingdom, what is necessary? A king and subjects. You cannot have a Kingdom without both of those things. Lets start with the King. Who is the King of God’s Kingdom, and why is he not yet on his throne?
The answer to that question is obvious to us. The King of God’s Kingdom is His Son, Jesus. This idea that Jesus would be the King was first revealed to humanity implicitly in the Garden of Eden but was first expressly stated in 2 Samuel 7, when God promised King David that some day God would raise up an eternal King and He would establish His throne forever. This is the first time we see an explicit foreshadowing of Christ the King. From that point on, this forever King is all over the Bible. Listen to what God says about Jesus in Psalm 2.
- Psalm 2:6-12 – “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
As I said, Psalm 2 is just the tip of the iceberg, throughout the Old Testament we find a number of verses declaring to humanity that the King is coming. Here are two more, just to get a taste of it.
- Daniel 7:13-14 – “"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
This text is where we get the phrase “Son of Man” that we so often see in the New Testament when referring to Jesus, the Son of Man. This Son of man is given the dominion and glory of an eternal Kingdom.
- Micah 5:2 – “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”
This Old Testament text is the one that the three wise men used to understand the arrival of Jesus. They knew that the King of the Jews would be born in Bethlehem. Which we know occurred. Once again we see the phrase “whose coming forth is from of old, the ancient of days” meaning that God has declared it.
In the Gospels, Jesus starts to connect the dots. He begins to bring the Old Testament declarations into the present by talking about the arrival of the Kingdom and of course the arrival of the King. Here is a direct example, a very familiar text that we read every year at Palm Sunday.
- Matthew 21:5 – “Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'
With this said, we have answered the first question, who is King, but we have not answered the question, when does he sit on his throne? We know that God has decreed it, but when does it manifest itself? When does Jesus begin to reign? The answer to this question is that Jesus begins to reign after His death and resurrection.
- Hebrews 2:7-9 – “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.“
- Philippians 2:8-9 – “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,”
This leads us to the next question. Why? Why is the path of Kingship the cross? Why must Christ die, to reign? Remember earlier, we stated that there are two parts to a Kingdom, a King and His people. Without a people, a King is just a lunatic running around in a robe. The definition of a King is one who rules over a people. So how does this help?
Let me ask, what does the cross achieve? What is the purpose of Jesus dyeing? It is to save us. It is to atone for our sin, so that we can be reconciled to God. The death of Jesus is for the purpose of ransoming a people from every tribe, language, tribe and nation? It is to pay the dowry for the bride. It is to adopt the elect. To bring in the sheep. It is to give eternal life to those whose names are written in the book of life of the lamb who was slain?
The cross is necessary because until our sin is paid for, we are not servants of the King, we are separated from God and we are followers of Satan.
- Colossians 1:19-22 – “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”
- 1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.“
With all this said, lets come full circle and remind ourselves why we are talking about the Kingdom of God. Remember, Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray, and He is telling them to pray that the Kingdom of God would come into this world. This is the second thing Jesus tells us to pray for. It comes right after Jesus tells us to ask that God's name be hallowed. Therefore, before we pray for our sicknesses, our finances, our stress, our family, we are to pray that the Kingdom of God would come into this world. He is telling us to pray that Jesus Christ wold take his rightful place in the hearts of humanity. Jesus is telling us to pray for the salvation of souls.
This of course begs the question, do we do this? Are we praying for people to be saved, to be born again? Are you praying that your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and people throughout the world would would accept Jesus Christ as their King? If not, why not? Why aren't we concerned about the end of Pslam 2 that says, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.” Why doesn't that bother us? It should. We should be pleading with God to that he would draw people to his Son, the King.
As usual, the Apostle Paul is one of those who understood praying for God's Kingdom to come. He gives us a good example. Listen to these text.
- Romans 10:1 - “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”
- Colossians 4:3 - “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-- 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. “
- Ephesians 6:18-20 - “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. “
Just as we asked last week, imagine what would happen if we regularly prayed “Your Kingdom come in Cascade, your Kingdom come in Monticello, Your Kingdom come in Wyoming, Your Kingdom come in Anamosa, Your Kingdom come in Worthington, Your Kingdom come in Farley. Your Kingdom come in my work place, Your Kingdom come in my home, Your Kingdom come in our schools. Once again, I have to believe if we prayed like Jesus tells us to pray, not with vain repetitious words, but authentically, from our hearts, we would see great Mountains moved in the hearts of man.
We must recognize that it is God would brings His Kingdom, not us, and we must turn to Him and plead with our Father to do a work in our world. Who knows, perhaps you will be the answer to your own prayer and you will be given an opportunity and a boldness to proclaim the Gospel in your corner of the Earth.