Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Your Kingdom Come”
Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this …”
The Lord’s Prayer is both a prayer for us to pray and a model for us to follow. It is brief in length and profound in substance. And perhaps no petition illustrates the combination of brevity and profundity better than the second petition, “Your kingdom come.” What is the kingdom of God? What are we praying for when we pray for God’s kingdom to come?
First, what is the kingdom of God? Put simply the kingdom of God is the reign of God or the reign of Christ. Wherever Christ is worshiped, exalted, and loved, there is the kingdom of God. The kingdom is most clearly expressed in this world in and through the church. Thus as the Lord builds his church, so his kingdom advances. Moreover, while the specific terminology ‘kingdom of God’ is not used in the Old Testament, the concept is clearly present. God promises to send his king to rule and to reign among his people (2 Samuel 7). David, although Israel’s greatest king, is but a faint picture of the coming perfect and eternal king. Thus, when Jesus arrives proclaiming that the kingdom has come, he is not speaking into a vacuum. That is, there is a ‘kingdom context’ or ‘kingdom awareness’ present among his people drawn from the pages of the Old Testament (e.g. kingdom psalms, prophesies of the king to come, etc).
Second, there are several things to consider regarding the petition, ‘Your kingdom come.’ In one sense, the kingdom has come in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is able to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17; 12:28; Mark 1:15; Luke 17:21). The king has come! King Jesus has come and has ‘inaugurated’ or ‘established’ his kingdom. The kingdom of Christ is not an earthly or political entity – there is no ‘zip code’ for the kingdom of God. As Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Or as the Apostle Paul puts it, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). The kingdom of God is a spiritual reality. In his first coming, King Jesus defeated Satan – he delivered to him a mortal wound, a death blow from which he will never recover (Col 2:15; Heb 2:14-14; Rev 12:7-12). And when Jesus returns to ‘consummate’ his kingdom, Satan will be finally and fully defeated once and for all (Rev 19:15-16; 21:4). But until that glorious day of Christ’s return, we boldly pray, “Your kingdom come.”
So what are we praying for when we pray with these words?? We are praying that the reign of Christ would be more and more established in the world. We can be specific … (1) we are praying for our own holiness – that we would put on Christlikeness and put to death indwelling sin; (2) we are praying evangelistically – that the lost would bow the knee to King Jesus; (3) and we are praying for the church – for the faithful proclamation of the word and the faithful exercising of the keys of the kingdom. Indeed may we pray, “Your kingdom come.”