Your Kingdom Come

  • Your Kingdom Come
  • Matthew 6:10
  • Lyndol Loyd
  • January 14, 2018
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1-14-18 sermon from LakeRidge UMC on Vimeo.

All the way back in January of 1986, the Chicago Bears were the Super Bowl champions and people all over the world were doing the “Super Bowl Shuffle.” How do I know? I remember because it was my freshman year of college and the song was a true phenomenon.

 

There is a story about that team and how one day Coach Mike Ditka was delivering a locker room pep talk when he looked over and saw defensive lineman, William “Refrigerator” Perry. Then again, how could you not see him? At 338 pounds he stuck out even amongst a crowd of NFL players. Ditka gestured to Perry and said, “When I get finished I want you to lead us in the Lord’s Prayer.” Then Ditka began his talk.

 

Meanwhile, Jim McMahon, the brash and outspoken quarterback, punches fellow player John Cassis and whispers, “Look at Perry, he doesn’t know the Lord’s Prayer.” Sure enough, Perry sat with a look of panic on his face, his head in his hands, sweating profusely. Cassis replied, “Nah, sure he does. He’s just nervous. Everybody knows the Lord’s Prayer.” After a few more minutes, McMahon leaned over again and told Cassis, “I’ll bet you fifty bucks Fridge doesn’t know the Lord’s Prayer.”

 

When Ditka finished his pep talk, he asked all the men to remove their caps. Then he nodded at Perry and bowed his head. The room was quiet for a few moments before Perry began to speak in a shaky voice and said, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord, my soul to keep…”

 

Cassis, felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Jim McMahon who whispered to him, “You win. Here’s your $50. I had no idea Perry didn’t know the Lord’s prayer.”

 

People aren’t born knowing the Lord’s prayer. Those who learn it often fail to really understand the depth and significance of what they are praying. That’s why here at LakeRidge we are spending the next few week’s breaking down the Lord’s Prayer so that we can understand this model of prayer that Jesus Himself gave to His disciples.

 

One line of the prayer that seems to be the least understood of all is, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  (Mt. 6:10)

When we hear the word “kingdom” we think of Queen Elizabeth, Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince George. Many Christians do not have a great deal of clarity on what the Kingdom of Heaven is.

 

We struggle to understand what this earth would look like if God’s Kingdom were really to break into human history. It boggles the mind. So that’s what we are going to contemplate. To help us wrap our minds around this idea we have a video I want us to watch to help prime the pump.

 

Read Scripture and you will find that the writers spent an enormous amount of time reflecting on what the earth would look like if it were rightly aligned with the Kingdom of Heaven. You see it in both the Old and New Testaments, but it is a spiritual reality that can be difficult to describe. Because we live in a fallen world where sin is very much a reality it can be challenging to fully comprehend the glory and goodness of God. But we can catch a glimpse.

 

For instance, when the Kingdom of Heaven becomes a reality for us here, broken relationships will begin to be healed, spouses will love each other more fully, parents will meet their responsibilities to their children, the hungry are fed, justice reigns for those who have been wronged and the church begins to ache with a passion for people who are lost and hurting. It is an amazing vision. No wonder Jesus taught His disciples that they should pray for the Kingdom to come.

 

Jesus lifts up the message of God’s Kingdom over and over. It was core to His gospel. In Mark 1:14-15 we read, “14Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15‘The time promised by God has come at last!’ He announced. ‘The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!’

 

When Jesus says the Kingdom of God is near, He’s not saying it’s getting kind of close. He’s saying it’s available now. It has broken into human history. It’s here.

 

In human history, there is only one life that has been lived in which God’s will had total unhindered sway. Jesus encompassed in His own person, in His flesh and blood, the reality of the Kingdom of God, a life in which whatever God desired became reality. But the story does not end there.

 

Jesus lets His followers know that it is now possible for human beings to live in the presence and power of God. We can do it right now. The Kingdom is near. The Kingdom is here. We can live a life saturated with the presence and power of God, we really can.

 

I think you have to ask yourself, “What would it look like if God’s Kingdom came, if His will were done on earth as it is in heaven?”  Let’s unpack that for just a moment as we think about the different spheres of life. You’ll find that a very interesting and compelling vision breaks forth.

 

In Revelation 7:16 it says that when God’s Kingdom is fully realized, never again will people hunger and never again will they thirst. Think about what that would look like – the elimination of hunger. No more pictures of little children with swollen bellies. No mothers trying to scrounge around for enough food so that their babies can survive another day. It becomes a shift from poverty to abundance.

 

Watch the nightly news and it becomes difficult to deny the fact that we live in a world in conflict. Isaiah 2:4 says, “The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.” Just think about these words – no more fighting, no more hatred.

 

Isaiah 11:6 says this about the coming world of peace, “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.” It is a picture of peace on Earth.

 

In Revelation 21, John describes his vision of the City of God whose streets are paved with pure gold which is surrounded by twelve gates, each made of a single pearl. We are talking about a Kingdom where there is no more pollution, no more rundown, broken-down neighborhoods.  This kind of Kingdom imagery just continues on throughout scripture. Revelation 21:3-4 has some of the most beautiful words about the Kingdom, “3I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’” No more Kleenex and no more funeral homes.

 

Perhaps best of all, we will not live in a world where we are separated from God by sin. Ezekiel 36:26-28 says, “26And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. 28And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God.”  No more cold, stubborn hearts. We will never again say something we will end up regretting later. We will never do anything we have to be ashamed of doing. We will never do anything we have to feel guilty about.

 

We will look to the face of God and He will be our God and we will be his people. The Lord Himself will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be joy inexpressible. What an incredible vision. All the more reason we should pray for the coming of the Kingdom.

 

It would be a wonderful thing if only one Kingdom were at work in this world. But that is simply not the case. There was Caesar’s kingdom in Jesus’ day, and there are many political and economic kingdoms today, all exercising power and flexing their muscles, seeking to have influence over us.

 

Besides these kingdoms, there are entertainment kingdoms, and the list goes on. Of course, spiritual forces also are at work in the heavenly realms, trying to keep us from walking in the power of God’s Kingdom. If we are going to be successful in praying for God’s Kingdom to come and walking in the power of His Kingdom, we must be ready to resist the lures of other false kingdoms.

 

God’s Kingdom is near and here, but one day it will come in all its fullness. One day there will be no other kingdoms. There will come a time when every other kingdom will be swept away and we will experience God’s rule and authority unleashed in all its glory. What a day that will be.

 

How will the Kingdom come and the kingdoms of the earth crumble and fall? How will this broken world get straightened out? People have been trying to make this happen based on human power for a long time.

 

Revolutions come and revolutions go. Governments get overthrown, but still people go on hating each other. Wars still break out. The human heart is still hard as stone. Even the best efforts of churches and well-meaning people have not ended the oppressive presence of false kingdoms.

 

Sometimes people think if we’re just clever enough about economic growth, a rising tide will lift all ships. It hasn’t yet. Sometimes people think it’s a political deal. Oddly enough, even in the church people can think, “If we only get a certain person elected.’ So far, the Kingdom hasn’t happened under a national banner.

 

It will happen as followers of Jesus pray. As we allow the Kingdom to break into our lives, day by day. It will come as God, in His sovereign power, continues to enter our world and brings his kingdom with Him.

 

How will God’s Kingdom come to earth? Amazingly, it all starts with prayer. This is why Jesus calls us to pray, “Your kingdom come.” This happens as we pray three distinct directions:

 

  1. That the Kingdom of God will break into your own life and invade your soul. Pray that God would have full rule in every area of your life; hold nothing back. This could become the most powerful, dangerous and transformational prayer you will ever pray.
  2. Pray for God’s Kingdom to be unleashed in the Church and among other believers.
  3. Then pray for an in-breaking of the Kingdom of God in our world.

 

Kingdom prayers dare to pray, “God, Your will be done in my life. Your will be done, not mine, with my children, my marriage, my friendships, my career. May I bring the reality of Your Kingdom into my relationships. God, make me a Kingdom kind of servant and a Kingdom kind of encourager and a Kingdom kind of friend.”

 

What might happen if we prayed, “God your kingdom come, your will be done in my financial life.”? It might involve very serious sacrifice. What if we really asked for the Kingdom to come in our workplaces, our neighborhoods, every part of our lives?

 

As followers of Jesus, boldly pray like this, action is inevitable. The Holy Spirit of God begins to transform our desires, dreams, and goals. We move naturally from being people who pray about the Kingdom to people who are living in the Kingdom. We take up the cross, we deny ourselves and we follow Jesus.

 

When we dare to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done,” we need to understand what it is that we are getting ourselves into as Christ’s followers. It is an incredibly bold prayer if you think about it. We are declaring to heaven and earth a couple of substantial things:

  1. I’m ready to endure whatever it takes to help usher in God’s Kingdom. I am ready to take up the cross and enter the spiritual
  2. God, may I become the kind of person who does Your will from my heart. May Your Kingdom come to earth in my life. May I be a Kingdom bearer.

 

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, had a covenant prayer that he used to lead early Methodists in saying that strikes at the very heart of this idea. Usually, he would offer it at the beginning of a new year. It seems appropriate to me that we would close out this morning’s message by joining together in saying it as a way of praying for the coming of the Kingdom of God.

 

I am no longer my own, but yours.

Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;

put me to doing, put me to suffering;

let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,

exalted for you, or brought low for you;

let me be full,

let me be empty,

let me have all things,

let me have nothing:

I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things

to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

you are mine and I am yours. So be it.

And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.