“Thy Kingdom Come” Part II

"Thy Kingdom Come" (Part II)

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 5 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray this way "Thy Kingdom Come" (Part II)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Let your kingdom come." (Matthew 6:10)

INTRODUCTION:

Why did so many Jews refuse to see their hopes and dreams fulfilled in Jesus? It was because so many Jews had relapsed back into the old and incorrect ideas regarding the Messiah and the Kingdom.

PROPOSITION:

It is the true meaning of the 'Kingdom of God' that we are concerned in trying to understand.

I. Meaning of the 'Kingdom of God'

A. King of the Kingdom

1. Miracles

2. Parables

3. Messianic Titles

4. Resurrection

B. Members of the Kingdom

1. What really is the meaning of the Kingdom of God?

2. Who really are the members of the Kingdom of God?

CONCLUSION:

"To pray for the Kingdom of Heaven is to pray that we may submit our wills entirely to the will of God." (William Barclay)

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CHAPTER 5

SUBJECT: Pray this way "Thy Kingdom Come" (Part II)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Let your kingdom come." (Matthew 6:10)

INTRODUCTION:

We have seen how that for centuries the Jews longed and looked for a Messiah who would establish his reign of righteousness and power. At times during Israelite history, the Jews expected the coming Messiah to be a great son of David who would establish a Golden Age greater even than that which David established. At other times when the monarchy was weak or non-existent, the Jews lost confidence in the possibility of a human agent and turned to God as the only possible Agent for the establishment of the Kingdom of God. At their best, the Jews realized that the Kingdom of God was separate from the Kingdom of Israel, and at their best the Jews realized that the Agent for the establishment of that Kingdom would have to be God Himself or at least some mysterious divine being which God would appoint.

It is to the New Testament that we must turn in order to see the fulfillment of Old Testament hopes and dreams. Why did so many Jews refuse to see their hopes and dreams fulfilled in Jesus? It was because so many Jews had relapsed back into the old and incorrect ideas regarding the Messiah and the Kingdom. The old idea that the Kingdom of God was in some way inseparably connected with the Kingdom of Israel, and the old idea that the coming Messiah would be a great human heir of David, both regained popularity in Jewish thought just preceding the ministry of Jesus.

To understand these popular Jewish beliefs regarding the Messiah and the Kingdom of God, is to better understand the difficulty Jesus had in convincing the Jews that He indeed was the fulfillment of all of the Messianic hopes and dreams.

PROPOSITION:

To the subject of the 'Kingdom of God' as it was taught by Jesus, we must now turn. It is the true meaning of the 'Kingdom of God' that we are concerned in trying to understand. To understand Jesus' teaching regarding the Kingdom, we can more intelligently pray 'Thy Kingdom Come.' The simple outline for the message is as follows: (a) King of the Kingdom, (b) Members of the Kingdom.

I. Meaning of the 'Kingdom of God'

A. King of the Kingdom

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When Jesus came into Galilee he said, "The appointed time has fully come. The Kingdom of God has arrived." Jesus was really saying that the far-off Divine Event which the Jews for centuries had longed to see, was now clearly before their eyes and was being fulfilled. He was saying that He was the fulfillment of Jewish dreams and hopes. In many passages Jesus stated that the Kingdom of God had arrived. "If I by the finger of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." (Luke 11:20) "The Kingdom of God is in your midst". (Luke 17:21) "The tax collectors and harlots are going into the Kingdom of God before you." (Matthew 21:31) "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it." (Matthew 21:31) "Blessed are the eyes which see, and did not see it, and to hear what you near and did not hear it." (Luke 10:23) The queen of the south will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here." (Luke 11:31) It was Jesus' teaching that the Kingdom of God had arrived. Jesus claimed to be the King of the Kingdom. Jesus' Kingdom power was manifested in various ways. Let us look at the words and works that were meant to demonstrate His Messianic power.

1. Miracles.

The miracles were not for the purpose of creating a sensational response to Christ. Nevertheless, in a real way, the miracles were meant to be signs which lended evidence that Jesus truly was the Messiah. The miracles were acts of compassion, but their purpose was even greater than this. The true purpose of the miracles was to actively demonstrate that the Kingdom of God had arrived. As A.M. Huner so well puts it: "The healing of the sick, the exorcism of evil spirits, the restoration of the maimed, the deaf, the dumb and the blind, the forgiveness of sins – all these were 'works' of the Kingdom … In one phrase, the miracles were the Kingdom of God in actions."

2. Parables.

The parables which Jesus told can only properly be understood as teachings regarding the coming Kingdom of God. Each parable talks about a different aspect of that Kingdom but each relates in some way to the Messianic Rule, and the true meaning of the Kingdom. The parable of the Mustard Seed serves as one example. Hunter points out that this parable essentially is saying: "The Reign of God, now like a small seed in your midst, will one day become a tree overshadowing the earth." (Ibid; p. 30) Each parable is meant to tell its hearers that the Kingdom of God is now actively working in their midst.

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3. Messianic Titles

The title by which Jesus most liked to be called was 'the Son of Man'. There are about three dozen examples of Jesus' usage of this title in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). We have seen in the preceding message to this one, that this title – Son of Man – was a Messianic title used especially in the book of Daniel: "13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14)

Jesus also assumed another title – the Suffering Servant – a title which is taken from Isaiah 52, 53. The suffering servant is described by Isaiah as one who really does God's will on earth. Jesus took this title to describe Himself.

Jesus did that which was unique, something which no one else had ever done – He combined the two titles of Son of Man and Suffering Servant and used these titles to perfectly summarize His ministry. To the Jew these two titles described two different concepts. 'Son of Man' described the triumphant Messiah. 'Suffering Servant' described the despised servant whose role was not earthly greatness but suffering and sacrifice. And yet Jesus used both titles when "He taught that the Son of Man must suffer." Says Father Hebert: "No one dared to think of the Messiah as suffering and dying, till He Himself did so. It is He (Jesus) who broadens out the Messianic idea, till it is seen to gather up in itself all Old Testament theology." (The Nature and Purpose of the Gospels; p. 70)

Thus, we see that Jesus' title of 'Son of Man' was a title of Messianic power. However, Jesus' combination of this title with the title of 'Suffering Servant' changed the concept of the Messiah drastically! Jesus power as the Messiah would not be in terms of military power, but quite the contrary – it would be in terms of the Power of love which would find its expression in the experience of suffering and sacrifice. Jesus came to show the true meaning of the 'Messiah'. The Messiah must suffer, not seek revenge. The Messiah must love, not hate. The Messiah must save, not conquer. The Messiah must rule by love in the hearts of men, and not rule by hate over the Jews' earthly enemies. The Messiah's Kingdom would be established on the foundation of suffering and sacrifice, not on the foundation of military force and arms. Jesus came to show the true meaning of the 'Kingdom of God'.

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4. Resurrection

Jesus' works and words and Messianic titles were all meant to be demonstrations of the King's right to reign. However, the most conclusive evidence of Jesus' Messianic power was the resurrection. Jesus conclusively demonstrated His power over Satan by His power over death. Thus the resurrection shows that Jesus is the true Messiah and that He alone has the right to reign over heaven and earth. Jesus' resurrection is the greatest demonstration of Messianic power, and spells the ultimate defeat of Satan. Jesus' resurrection has potentially put an end to death for every man, and potentially gives power to every man to become a member of the Kingdom of God.

B. Members of the Kingdom.

In our discussion thus far, we have talked extensively about the King of the Kingdom, but perhaps we have not yet satisfactorily answered the question, "What really is the meaning of the Kingdom of God?"

1. What really is the meaning of the Kingdom of God?

Let us offer a two-fold definition to the 'Kingdom of God'. First, as Hunter says, "To understand the phrase in the Gospels, we must remember that it means, linguistically, the kingly Rule of God and that it implies the Biblical idea of God, the God who acts, whose workshop is history and who is working out a great and gracious purpose in it to an appointed end." (Introducing New Testament Theology; p. 26)

The kingly Rule of God naturally results in kingly subjects; thus the Kingdom of God carries the secondary meaning of 'realm'. Those who submit to the kingly rule of God, are an intimate part of the Kingdom of God. In this connection, however, it is important to realize that "God's Reign exists, however men respond. (God's Reign) claims the obedience of men truly; but it is there before the claims are made, and it is still there if men reject them.") Ibid; pg. 26)

To better appreciate the latter definition, it would be to our advantage to ask the question: "Who really are the members of the Kingdom of God?"

2. Who really are the members of the Kingdom of God?

To answer this, let us go directly to The Lord's Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray: "Let your Kingdom come: Let your will be done, as in heaven, so also in earth."

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This portion of the Lord's Prayer is an example of parallelism. "The Hebrew tended to say everything twice. He said it in one way, and then he said it in another way which repeats or amplifies or explains the first way … We then have the perfect definition of the Kingdom of God – The Kingdom of God is a society upon earth where God's will is as perfectly done as it is in heaven." (Barclay's Matthew; pgs. 211, 212) Thus, everyone of all ages who have sought to do the will of God in their life are members of the Kingdom of God. Membership in the Kingdom of God is not limited to any certain nation, race, or age, but includes all people who have done and all people who do and all people who will do the will of God in their lives. Thus, we see how the Kingdom of God can be past, present, and future all at the same time. Membership in the Kingdom of God is dependent upon the quality of one's inner life. One becomes a member of the Kingdom when his heart is changed. Membership in the Kingdom of God was understood, at the best, in terms of keeping the covenant. It was finally realized, however, that a change of heart was essential in order to observe the covenant requirements of love and compassion. Thus Jeremiah 31:31-34, is a high mark of Old Testament thought and revelation:

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, 
"when I will make a new covenant 
with the house of Israel 
and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant 
I made with their forefathers 
when I took them by the hand 
to lead them out of Egypt, 
because they broke my covenant, 
though I was a husband to [a] them, [b]" 
declares the LORD.

33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel 
after that time," declares the LORD. 
"I will put my law in their minds 
and write it on their hearts. 
I will be their God, 
and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, 
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' 
because they will all know me,

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from the least of them to the greatest," 
declares the LORD. 
"For I will forgive their wickedness 
and will remember their sins no more."

The coming of Christ and the creation of the New Israel were the fulfillment of the 'New Covenant' prophesies. God sent the Holy Spirit to shed abroad His love in the human heart which is the evidence that one has entered into the New Covenant. Love then, is the ethic or standard for the new pattern of living. Christ's death and resurrection established the New Covenant and the Holy Spirit enables one to enter into the New Covenant. The standard for the New Covenant which God established through Jesus Christ is Love and because of this new standard, there is a greater emphasis upon right internal attitudes. The Sermon on the Mount which is the design for life in the Kingdom of God, demands pure motives as well as respectable acts. The standard for membership in God's Kingdom is the standard laid down in the Sermon on the Mount. The Holy Spirit enables us to reach this standard – a standard which is greater than the Old Testament Law.

CONCLUSION:

We have learned that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited-for Messiah. Jesus' Messianic power was shown by his works (miracles) and words (parables). Jesus' assumption of both titles – 'Son of Man' and 'Suffering Servant' – drastically changed the concept of the Messiah from a military hero to a loving Savior. Jesus' power over death resulted in destruction of Satan's works and ultimate defeat of Satan's Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God has two related meanings – Rule and Realm. God's kingly Rule assumes the presence of kingly subjects, but the Rule exists independent of man's response to the Rule. Members of the Kingdom of God include those of all ages who have and who are and who will submit their will to God's will. Thus, as Barclay has pointed out, "To pray for the Kingdom of Heaven is to pray that we may submit our wills entirely to the will of God." (William Barclay's Matthew; pgs. 212, 213)

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