The world needs a revolution, a massive shift towards the Kingdom of God. This revolution has already started in Christ, but it won't be complete until He finishes His redemptive work.
We’re in a series, Pray Like This, which is looking at the Lord’s Prayer, in Matthew 6:
Matthew 6:9–13 (ESV) - 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Our focus in this series is not that we would seek to pray, word-for-word, as shown in this passage. Rather, our desire is to build an awareness of things of God… To care about the things He cares about, so that we can pray our own words, oriented towards the themes and priorities that God shows us here.
Last week, we worked our way through verse 9, and learned that Our Father in Heaven is a loving, gracious God, who seeks the good of His people. That He sets the standard for love and provision for His children.
As we move forward into verse 10 this morning, we learn more about God, and His desires for His people.
ASK: When I say the word “revolution”, what comes to mind?
The root of the word is “revolt”. And if we had to define that, we could use terms like “overthrow”, and “rebel.” It’s a word which denotes massive change, often uncontrolled change.
We had lots of revolutions: The American Revolution had us breaking away from England and establishing our own country. The Industrial Revolution led away from hand production methods to mechanized manufacturing processes. And the Technological revolution gave us the Internet and modern technology which has changed – and continues to change – our world.
Some revolutions are political. Others are social. Some economic. And still others are a combination of these things.
You may not realize this, but what Jesus is praying for in verse 10 – and what we’re praying for when we pray along – is the largest and widest-ranging revolution in all history.
Is that news to you? Let me explain…
Any established Kingdom has at least three things going for it: a sovereign ruler, subjects or people, and territory in which they live.
For example, look at the United Kingdom. They have a ruler, Queen Elizabeth II. They have subjects, all the citizens of the UK. And they have territory, which includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
In much the same way, the Bible describes another kingdom, God’s kingdom.
Think back to the common passages that churches share around Christmas time. In Luke, for example, we’re told of Jesus:
Luke 1:32–33 (ESV) - 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
This is the Kingdom we’re talking about. Christ is King of Kings (the highest there is). We, who are in Christ by faith, are His subjects. And ultimately, the whole earth will be His territory.
But there is still work to be done. The Kingdom is ALREADY in play, but NOT YET completed. That’s why I say that when we pray in line with the Lord’s Prayer, we’re asking God to bring the largest revolution in all history.
We’re praying for the Kingdom of God to come in fullness, and to overthrow all other earthly kingdoms. For God’s will to be done throughout the earth, just like it is done in heaven.
It’s a radical prayer! The kind of thing that will change the world. And that’s why it’s at the heart of the Gospel.
We often think of the Gospel as the Good News that Jesus died for sinners so that we can be born again to new life through faith in Him. And that is an ESSENTIAL part of the message. But it’s not everything.
Consider, for example, Jesus’ own teaching in Mark 1:
Mark 1:14–15 (ESV) - 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Jesus himself ties the message of salvation into being a part of the coming kingdom of God. You cannot separate the kingdom from the Gospel. It’s part of the Good News. The Gospel rests on the truth that God intends to radically reorder the nations – and creation itself – under His own rule, to bring glory to His name.
Yes, Christ is going to reign and rule. To change the world around us. And we get to be part of that!
See, the coming of the Kingdom will take place in His time, according the counsel of His will. It’s tied into the Second Coming of Christ, and His final redemptive work in conquering Satan, Sin, and Death. These are all things which scripture promises in the future, and no man knows the day or the hour in which they will take place.
However, in the meantime, there is still work for us to do.
To be sure, I don’t see how someone could pray along in verse 10 “Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” without seeing that as a personal commitment to action.
In order that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we who claim to follow Christ need to be faithful in living for Him – in an outward fashion – in our daily lives.
ASK: So, let me ask you: Are you working to represent your King, and His kingdom, day by day? If not, are you even sure about how to do it?
Let me share with you a few ideas of how we might live this out.
First, we need to be growing as followers of Jesus.
If Christ is our King, and he is, perhaps we should strive to be faithful Christians. But you know, that doesn’t “just happen”. You don’t go to bed one night, ask God to make you a better person, and wake up the next morning perfected in character.
To grow spiritually, that is, to become a more faithful Christian takes “discipline”. That’s the root word for the word “Disciple”. It takes a deepening and strengthening of your personal devotional life through prayer and Bible study, and also through service, to develop greater effectiveness as a believer.
ASK: How seriously do you take your faith?
Second, we need to lead our families toward Christ.
I hear people, all the time, say that they want to have a Christian home, a Christian family. However, these things don’t just pop into existence either. They don’t just happen. Christian homes are based on Christian values, which come from a sound spiritual foundation . . . faith (in Christ), love (for God and one another), and hope (in God’s plan and purpose).
And, these values have to be nurtured continuously . . . though worship and prayer, and searching the scriptures. Christian homes don’t just happen . . . they’re built on a rock-solid foundation, Jesus Christ.
ASK: How seriously do you seek a Christian home?
Third, and finally, we need to impact the world around us.
The Gospel is Kingdom-minded. It’s about bringing Glory to God’s name, all around the world, by sharing the hope of salvation with every man, woman, and child who will listen. The first piece of impacting the world around is to share the propositional truth of who Jesus is, and what He’s accomplished for us.
However, while the Gospel is the first and most important way to impact the world around us, we also have the ability to impact the world with Kingdom values, simply by how we live.
Micah 6:8 (ESV) - 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
So, whether we’re simply showing love and grace to others in our community, or we’re standing against ungodliness by strongly protesting evil things, or we’re impacting arts and culture as an expression of the creative God we serve, all of these things matter. And all of them can be used to advance the Kingdom.
As we close, I would leave you with this thought…
It’s such a familiar phrase isn’t it? How many times have we prayed it? “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
This is the kind of revolution the Church and the world needs. The kind of revolution where God is declared “Sovereign” over everything . . . including, our lives.
And we can begin to experience a part of this revolution today.
Ten chapters after the Lord’s prayer, the Lord speaks again and tells us how:
Matthew 16:24–25 (ESV) - 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
This is the King of Kings speaking! If you want life… If you want to experience the goodness of an eternal kingdom, free from sin and death, follow Jesus. Take up your cross. Deny the things of the world, and even your own agenda, and live for His glory, and His kingdom purposes!