Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on June 15, 2014.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.