“Your Kingdom come…”
This week we continue our devotions in The Lord's Prayer. This week we are considering the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ core message was about the Kingdom. His first sermon was,
“Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
So if it was so important to Jesus, why do so few people have clarity on what the Kingdom of God is? Why don’t we speak more about it?
The Kingdom of God is His authority to rule
We can often think of a kingdom in terms of a realm that can be expanded. We may think in terms of the United Kingdom, ruled over by the Queen, whose empire can shrink or grow - this idea is not entirely accurate.
The biblical concept of ‘Kingdom’ (basileia, occurring over 160 times in the NT) might be better translated ‘kingship’ - it’s God’s reign; it’s His authority, power and right to reign. Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert defying the Kingdom,
‘The kingdom isn’t geographical. Rather, it is defined relationally and dynamically; it exists where knees and hearts bow to the King and submit to him.’ (What is the mission of the church?).
The Kingdom is here and the King is active
The bible speaks of the Kingdom as being here, active, right now; but it also teaches that it is coming in the future. Both aspects are true of the Kingdom.
It has come, is coming (it breaks out here and now) and will come (fully realised when Jesus comes again).
“inaugurated eschatology,” means that the Kingdom has come, but will only be fully realised when Jesus returns. Jesus says,
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28)
‘Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:20-21)
The Kingdom of God is here, right now! The King is amongst us. His power is present to save, heal, bring freedom. Jesus is continuing to do the things that Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-21)
These are the benefits given to anyone who will receive a new King and new Kingdom. Jesus ‘Proclaims good news (gospel) to the poor’ - The gift of righteousness, adoption and hope is available to the humble. He offers ‘Freedom for captives’ - Justification and freedom from sin. By the Spirit, He gives ‘Recovery of sight ‘- Seeing Life in Christ and eternal hope. It remains ‘The year of the Lord’s favour’ - The King, Jesus, offers grace.
This is still His mission today, and it becomes the mission of all of the subjects of the King.
"Father, I thank you that you have brought me into your Kingdom. You are my Saviour and King. May I live for you in ways are fitting for your citizens. ‘Your Kingdom come’ in my life - may I live a life that reflects your values, empowered by your Spirit. Amen”
During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?