“Your Kingdom come … but how, Lord?”

“Your Kingdom come … but how, Lord?”

 

Introduction

  1. Jesus’ teaching: “Your kingdom come”!? 
  2. How often do we pray this prayer?  How often think about God’s kingdom? – in honesty not often – not a part of our personal agenda or thinking
  3. How important to Jesus??  Very important – central to His thinking and teaching – therefore it needs to be central to our lives also

 

God’s Kingdom – Who? 

  1. Part of our problem – don’t naturally “think kingdom” – don’t live in a kingdom
  2. God’s kingdom is all centred on the King = all about the rule and reign of Jesus the King:
    1. OT: Psalm 2:6 "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."
    2. NT: John 18:33-37 
      1. Pilate: "Are you the king of the Jews?"
      2. Jesus: "Is that your own idea or did others talk to you about me?"
      3. Pilate: "Am I a Jew? It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"
      4. Jesus: "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."
      5. Pilate: "You are a king, then!"
      6. Jesus: "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
  3. So God’s Kingdom is “who” question, not primarily a “what” or a “where” question – JESUS AS KING – Jesus ruling over all – this is what we are praying for when we pray “Your Kingdom come!”
    1. Jesus’ rule over our lives as individual believers
    2. Jesus’ rule over congregations
    3. Jesus’ rule over communities & nations
    4. Jesus’ rule the world/creation – Jesus authority and power over all things both seen and unseen – 1 Cor.15:25 “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”
    5. Ultimately, Jesus’ eternal rule
  4. Jesus is the Lion-King – who’s able to resist the will of a lion?  God is bringing about the royal reign of His Son, Jesus:
  5. Isaiah 9:6-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

  6. Alternatives:
    1. Either, you and I get onside with God – recognise and participate
    2. Or, we get moved to the side – miss out – let’s not take this path
  7. Next issue/question – to understand HOW God answers our prayers for the coming of His kingdom

 

God’s Kingdom – How?

  1. Jesus explained many things about God’s kingdom – through parables, see Matt.13 – example: parable of the sower (picture of Jewish farmer – daily survival)
  2. Four stages of kingdom growth:
    1. Initiative – farmer gets off his … and goes out regardless of feelings
    2. Hardship – hard work & opposition – outward (elements: heat, sun) and inward (discouragement, laziness)
    3. Penetration/growth – waiting and persevering – seed lies “dead” in the earth for a time – no outward indication of things happening, yet he knows how it all works – faith mixed with experience encourages farmer’s patience and perseverance
    4. Results – harvest – rejoicing
  3. This is happening – Jesus’ rule is advancing – even in the hardest and most resistant soil = Islamic kingdom with all their proud boasts and success stories, eg media reports about Christians converting to Islam – covering all stages of kingdom growth:
    1. Initiatives: Mission advance and prayer initiatives for Muslim peoples and countries
    2. Hardships: Advance amid much opposition from without and within, great suffering
      1. From without – death threats upon Muslim converts, including here in Australia – total rejection, i.e. put out of family, divorced
      2. From within – troubles & divisions in local churches among Muslim converts, eg Sydney, Bahrain, Athens; lack of interest among Christians from Egypt and Pakistan to reach their own peoples
    3. Penetration: Spreading influences on all levels, in many places
      1. Radio & TV – penetrating air waves and finding many hungry hearts, eg Layla from Iran; Michael’s father
      2. Internet – downloading of Arabic Bible in Gulf countries; chat rooms
    4. Results: Amazing miracles
      1. FEBC listener in China: “I became a Christian but a relative who was an imam of a mosque told me to renounce Christ as my ancestors were all Muslims and I should not forget my heritage.  I told him that Jesus Christ is the only true living God.”
      2. Believers in Baghdad
  4. Jesus’ rule is sure – God is answering the prayer of His people: “Your Kingdom come” – Jesus’ rule over the hearts of people is spreading all over the globe today
  5. Good news, great stories – but so what?  “Doesn’t impact my life!” – yes it does, if you are a citizen of God’s kingdom.  How?

God’s Kingdom – What?

  1. Not matter where we live – city or country – all Christians are “farmers”
  2. What kind of “farming” in God’s kingdom?  Different answers – but one clear answer = PRAYING – obviously: “… our Father in heaven, may Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as in heaven….” – rest of New Testament expands on these prayers
  3. Objections:
    1. “We want to DO something” – prayer seems so passive, i.e. sitting around talking into space instead of getting out and doing something
      1. Prayer is THE WORK
      2. Prayer is working in the most strategic and powerful way in God’s kingdom
    2. We don’t understand prayer” – seems at times such a silly exercise – “secular” versus “spiritual” thoughts:
      1. Jesus’ kingdom is a spiritual kingdom – think opposite to worldly or secular ways
      2. Therefore, His kingdom is growing “spiritually” – through prayer – God does His work as His people pray – that’s His chosen way
  4. God’s kingdom advancing through four stages of kingdom growth – ways “kingdom farmers” get involved in the fields of our Father and King – examples:
    1. Initiatives: Take the initiative to pray for Muslim peoples and countries of world
      1. Suggestion: Instead of fearing Muslims or feeling angry towards them, choose to get involved in praying for a particular Muslim people or country – as individuals or families – learn as much as you can about them, eg via Internet – then pray
    2. Hardships: Don’t be discouraged by the “noise” via our media or your own negative feelings and thoughts – through prayer stand alongside those who are suffering for the Gospel around the world
      1. Suggestion: Read and listen to national & world news with a praying heart and a kingdom mind – listen, then pray brief prayers even if general – know that God and His people will be present in every hurting situation around the world (even if not reported via secular media)
    3. Penetration: Believe as you pray that, though some seeds don’t fall on good ground, many do – labour on through prayer for the growth of Christ’s kingdom all over the world, both here in Cooma and Australia as well as to the ends of the earth – prayer with patience and perseverance whether you hear about “fruit” or not
      1. Suggestion: Help one another to persevere in prayer as the Gospel penetrates and begins to push through the soil – have a prayer focus for the nations as an integral part of your home groups – share information and insights – stir one another to prayer
    4. Results: Expect and watch for news of God’s harvest – get excited – rejoice, thank God and encourage your heart in the Lord: “Our God reigns!”

Conclusion

  1. Do you belong to God’s kingdom?  Nothing greater in all the world than having King Jesus ruling and guiding your life
  2. If we already belong to God’s kingdom, then we are not just children of the King with all the privileges, but also God’s co-labourers with responsibilities – can’t have the one without the other.
  3. Kingdom “farming” is our calling – let’s make sure we farm God’s way!

Pastor Graham Roberts

Cooma Baptist Church, NSW

Marcy 4, 2007

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