Our Father in heaven,
let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom . . . (Matthew 6:9-10)
The fact that the “Lord is King” is the sense of His being sovereign over the world He created is presumed anywhere you look within the Scriptures. I mean, He created it, so He must have it under His control, right? However, His Kingship and His Kingdom are two completely different things. His Kingship is, as I asked, the reality of being the Creator. Some will call it, providence. Merriam-Webster defines that as:
- often capitalized : divine guidance or care
- capitalized : God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny
But His Kingdom is the reality of redemption, we know it as Grace!
Oh, I suppose that this distinction is Biblical in substance, but the vocabulary of Scripture doesn’t really show it. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, Kingdom is used for both Yahweh’s Universal Sovereign sway and His Redemptive relationship through the Sacrifical system, and finalized through Jesus Christ. So, in the Lord’s Prayer, where it says, “Bring your Kingdom,” (or in other translations, “Let your Kingdom come . . .” or “Yours is the Kingdom . . .”) it is using it in the sense of His Redemptive relationship.
This riles some when you point out that in Sovereignty, Yahweh does sometimes overrule the will, lives and actions of all men, including those who deliberately defy and disobey Him. For example, in a monstrous act of sibling rivalry that was surpassed only by Cain’s murder of his brother, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and told their father he was dead. But Yahweh overruled their act so that later, Joseph could say, “Even though you intended evil against me, but God intended it only for good . . .” (Genesis 50:20). “By the hands of lawless men” the Jews of Jerusalem “crucified and killed” Jesus; but God was overruling their plans so that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and knowledge of God, and by his death the world was redeemed!” (Acts 2:23).
So you see, He does (and frequently does) overrule the actions and decisions of men. However, in this prayer, the overruling we are praying for is something different. It is speaking of God’s reign of grace in the heart and life of someone who bows in repentance before his authority, who is simply looking to be delivered from the grip of evil and led in paths of righteousness! This is exactly how it is when we make Jesus King!
So this Kingdom we are speaking of is not a place, but rather a relationship. Yeah, yeah. I realized you hear that all the time, but it is a perfect description of what we are called to. It exists wherever men place Jesus as Master of their lives! When Jesus began preaching the “the kingdom of God is at hand,” he meant that the long-promised redemption has come! All you have to do is ask!
Simply surrender and become Jesus’ disciple; give Him the complete loyalty of your heart, and all Him to reshape your life into His image! By receiving forgiveness from Him; by identifying with His concerns; by loving Him without any reserve, and giving His claims precedence over all other — in short, by manifesting what Paul called “faith energized by love,” faith which acknowledges and embraces Jesus Christ as, in Peter’s phrase, “Lord and Savior.”
It was this faith that Jesus was describing to Nicodemus when he told him that no one sees or enters the Kingdom without a radical transformation by the Spirit of God, which pictured as being “born again.” None of us can enter the Kingdom without the Spirit’s help and guidance, and we must never be too proud or arrogant to ask for it, or refuse to be changed in whatever fashion our Father sees as necessary. That is the only expectation and requirement of you!
The Kingdom arrived with Jesus; in fact, you could probably say that as the Son of God incarnate, Jesus IS the Kingdom of God! His rule in our lives is regal in the full-blooded sense, personal, direct, and absolute. His claims are the claims of God, overriding those of man. Yet, His rule is not tyrannical, because King Jesus is His people’s servant, their shepherd, and champion, ordering all things for their protection and enrichment. Jesus assured us, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
But it’s not just that. Jesus is their brother in the Royal family. He lived on Earth as “a man under authority” and He will not ask more of us than was asked of Him. His rule doesn’t have the nature of a dictatorship, but rather of pastoral care. He stated, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own.”
The first act and fundamental service Jesus performed for His disciples was to save them from sin and death. So the Kingdom of God is the realm of Grace, where the damage done to us by sin is repaired. So, the Gospel of Grace proves to be what the Kingdom is all about.
In one sense, the Kingdom is here now, and as disciples of Jesus, we are in it! But in another sense — the Kingdom remains in the future and is waiting for Christ’s return. Any request for a new display of God’s sovereignty in Grace — renewing the Church, converting sinners, restraining evil, providing good in this world — is a further explanation of “Bring about Your kingdom.” If you are going to ask me where intercession appears in this prayer, this is it!
When we pray “Bring about Your kingdom,” we are both searching and demanding! What I mean is that we must be prepared to also add, “and start with me; make me your fully obedient subject. Show me my place among the ‘workers for the Kingdom of God,’ and use me to extend your Kingdom and to be your means of doing it!”
When we make this request sincerely, it becomes a prayer that the Savior who calls for self-denial and cross-bearing and consent that our life will be lost in serving the Gospel, will have His way with us.
Now I don’t do this all the time, but sometimes I get personal. So, I want to ask you: is this something you are truly hoping for in your walk of faith? If it happens, are you willing to face it bravely? Now, before you answer, you better truly search your heart — and if it fits, begin to pray the prayer He taught us.
So, let’s end today’s message by praying:
Father, pour out your Spirit in rich and full measure on my own life, but also on my whole family. Allow your Kingdom to come with power and Grace to this household.
Allow your Spirit of Love and Peace to fill our hearts and minds. Father, let you Kingdom and not man’s kingdom prevail in the church and the world.
As our society becomes increasingly antagonistic to our faith, break through with your Spirit and destroy the kingdoms of men and Satan.
Let your Kingdom come and rule in your church. Hinder and confound those who would build their own kingdoms in your name.
Send your Holy Spirit to kings and to all those who are in authority so that we will lead quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and honesty.
Let your Kingdom break through to all who are searching for the Truth in order that all men might be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.
Come quickly, Lord, establish your Heavenly Kingdom so that all suffering, injustice and rebellious spirits would cease. In Your Name, amen!
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.