PART 15 – DON'T JUST WAIT FOR THE KINGOM (13/3/20)
“Your Kingdom come…”
Yesterday we saw that we are called to demonstrate the Kingdom through our words, works and wonders. Today, as we finish this series of devotions on the Kingdom I want to remind you that our priority in extending the Kingdom is prayer.
Pray ‘Your Kingdom come’
Let’s not just wait for things to change or presume that God will do His thing regardless of us. No! Jesus is teaching us to pray for the Kingdom to come. We often want to jump to action, not realising that this is a spiritual battle against the forces of the kingdom of darkness.
Pray for your personal response to the Lordship of Christ. We need to daily re-offer our lives to Jesus. Pray for your community that more of them would receive the King and be ready for judgment and His coming. Pray about Jesus’ return – Set your mind and heart on the eternal joy that awaits you in a recreated universe. Allow this vision to reset your purpose.
Until the King and Kingdom come, we have a mission
Jesus didn’t just pray and nor should we. Jesus’ mission was focussed on bringing the Kingdom to planet earth. We read about His ministry,
“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (Luke 4:43)
His church also has the same mission of bringing the Kingdom,
“Then they gathered round him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” (Acts 1:6-9)
His disciples were fixated on Jesus’ coming and restoring the Kingdom - restoring the borders and kingship in Israel; however, Jesus responds by promising the power of the Spirit in order to bring more people into the kingdom. J.I Packer wrote,
‘The task of the church is to make the invisible Kingdom visible through faithful Christian living and witness-bearing.’
May we gain Jesus’ clarity and passion about our mission - to help people to enter the Kingdom.
Let hope inspire you to faith
Let’s remember that although we are commissioned to use words, works, wonders and to pray, it is only God who extends or builds the Kingdom, and He has promised to do so. We can get discouraged by the smallness or hiddenness of our work. Jesus encourages us by giving us such parables as the tiny seed growing into a large tree, and the yeast mixing through a large batch of dough (Matthew 13). These teach that through this age, the Kingdom is often overlooked but the King and the Kingdom are coming in great glory and will fill the earth. The promises of the Kingdom are given to inspire us to prayer and action. I leave you with the promise of Isaiah,
‘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 for ever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.’ (Isaiah 9:7)
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…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – RECEIVE THE KING TO ENTER THE KINGDOM
What do you enjoy most about living in the United Kingdom and what one thing would you change?
Introduction - please read in your group
Today, and through our devotionals this week, we are thinking about The Kingdom of God. We live in a Kingdom under a monarch, and as Christians we have been transferred from the 'dominion of darkness' and into the Kingdom of God.
Jesus first sermon was, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). We can enter the Kingdom by turning to Jesus and receiving Him as Lord and Saviour.
The Kingdom of God is His authority to rule, and we enter the Kingdom by receiving Him as Lord.
1. The Kingdom is coming: The Bible teaches that the Kingdom has come, but will only be fully realised when Jesus comes again. This phrase 'Your Kingdom come' has a particular emphasis on looking forward and praying for the King to come.
How much do you think and pray about the coming Kingdom?
How does having that eternal vision change our lives?
2. The kingdom is here: The bible also teaches that the Kingdom has come right now; Jesus' kingship is affecting more and more people every day. We can play our part through these four factors that featured in the life of Jesus:
i) Praying (Extending the kingdom is principal a spiritual battle so prayer is vital)
ii) Words (Words of love, challenge and the gospel)
iii) Works (Loving service)
iv) Wonders (Praying for people and situations for God to heal, provide, break a habit...)
How does each aspect help people to receive Jesus and so enter the Kingdom?
Which aspect would you most like to improve and what do you plan to do about this?
Pray - In groups of 3-4
In groups of 3-4 (Try to get into the same groups each week if possible)
Is there anything that you want prayer for out of this week’s study?
Is there anything that you want prayer for more generally?
How connected to God do you feel at the moment and how could you go deeper this week? (let's follow up on this when we next meet together).