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Worship Message - Thy Kingdom Come


Thy Kingdom Come...

Teach Us to Pray. That is the theme of our services during this year’s Lenten season. A

theme based on the Lord’s Prayer.

Each week of this season, we are considering a certain phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. We

are thinking about some of the important words in each of the phrases, and then about

how Jesus displayed those words. What He did to make sure the prayer is more than

just words, but also a description of how life is to be lived. The challenge of course is that

as Jesus lived out the prayer He taught, so are we to do the same.

Last week the first part of the Lord’s Prayer was highlighted. The first part being the 10-

word phrase, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”

Today, a bit longer phrase - 14 words long. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on

earth as it is in Heaven.

Two of the key words in that phrase are “kingdom” and “will.” First, a discussion of the

word kingdom.

I spent some time studying that word, related to the Kingdom of God. Here is kind of a

summary of what I found, as I think it relates to the Lord’s Prayer.

The Kingdom of God refers to the sovereign rule of God. Sovereign means fully

independent. In this case, God determining His own affairs. Having the authority to do

that without any outside interference.

One part of God’s sovereign rule was His decision to send Jesus to earth to defeat God’s

enemies.

The Kingdom of God also refers to the people on earth who have accepted Jesus as

Savior. Those who have, by that decision, been re-created spiritually. Therefore, those

over whom God reigns. And let me add, this is not a negative thing. It is not a negative

kind of reign. But a good thing, that being the case because God is love.

We know God reigns in Heaven. We know that His word alone is needed in Heaven .

We know that everyone in Heaven, from angels to human souls, not only obey every

word of God, but worship Him because of His power.

We know that happens in Heaven. Jesus taught us to pray that the same will be true on

earth. That here His words will be accepted as the authority they are. That here His

power will be worshiped. That here His will will be honored and followed. As it can be

stated, that here our will will be to do His will.

Which brings up the word done. You see, it is very important to know God’s will.

Including the very basic proclamation of His will that is found in both the Old and the

New Testaments. Including in Luke 27. Verse 10 has it, “Love the Lord your God with all

your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and

love your neighbor as yourself.

It has not happened often, but occasionally over the years I have been asked by a few

people what God’s will has been for certain things. Sometimes that has dealt with what

college to go to, or what house might be best to buy, or what kind of car is most

appropriate.

I want to be very clear that God is very interested in every part of our lives. Including

where we get educated and where we live and what we drive.

But I also think He will lead us in the ways we should go, not only with those things, but

with everything else, if we will obey what He makes so very clear about His will. That we

love Him and love others. If we do that, He will help us with everything else.

If we do that. We need to do that. Hence the word “done” in the Lord’s Prayer.

Again, it is important to know God’s will. It is important to study God’s will so we can

fully understand it, no matter what His will applies to. But it is more important - most

important - to do His will when it is known and understood.

In fact, that is so important that Jesus did teach us to pray that God’s will will be done,

and thereby that His Kingdom will be able to come, right here on earth, just as it is in

Heaven.

God’s Kingdom and His will. That is, according to the second part of the Lord’s Prayer,

what we are to pray for. That they will happen here.

Part of that is to pray for more and more people to accept Jesus so God will have more

and more people over whom He can reign.

Another part is to pray that those who do accept Jesus, including us, will be dedicated to

knowing and doing God’s will. That God’s people will have the desire and the strength to

obey Him.

That is what Jesus taught people to pray. But He did not just give that teaching. He

showed by what He did how to put those words into action.

Let’s consider that as we think about four ways Jesus put today’s Lord’s Prayer phrase

into practice, the first two ways happening very early and pretty early in His life, both

recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

First, Luke 2, where, in verse 22, Jesus’ parents took Him to the Temple in Jerusalem to

present Him to God.

Jesus was a few weeks old at the time. The presenting was required by Jewish law. In

doing the presenting, Mary and Joseph were being obedient to their faith. Obedient to

God.

That is important because the presenting included offering a sacrifice. Mary and Joseph

were poor, so offering a sacrifice was a stretch of their resources. But they were willing

to stretch. That was evidence of their love for God and His Old Testament teachings. A

love they taught Jesus.

It was while they were in Jerusalem they met a man whose name was Simeon, who was

righteous and devout. A man who had, for a very long time, been looking for the hopedfor

Savior.

The day Mary and Joseph and Jesus were in the Temple in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit

prompted Simeon to be there as well. Simeon saw Jesus. He went to Him and took Him

up in his arms. Simeon then blessed God and talked to Jesus’ earthly parents.

Simeon’s first words were personal. He said, “Lord, now let me, Your servant, depart in

peace, according to Your word.” It is reported in this passage that Simeon had been told

by the Holy Spirit he would not die until he had seen the Savior. Now he had. Simeon

recognized Jesus as the Savior. That is proved in what he added when he said, “For my

eyes have seen Your salvation.”

Simeon’s first words were personal. They were words of relief. He had finally seen the

Savior. He had met the Savior. Nothing would ever be able top that. So he was ready to

go to his Heavenly reward.

But then Simeon added some words for Mary and Joseph to hear. Words that described

Jesus “as a light for revelation and for glory.” For revelation to the Gentiles, which was

an early announcement that Jesus had come for all people - including Gentiles, as in

non-Jews - as in us. And for glory to God’s people Israel, as in the Jewish people.

Revelation and glory. Those two words can certainly refer to “kingdom” and “will.” They

can be interpreted to mean Jesus had come to introduce those things to people here so

they could be done here. So, even many years before He taught the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus

was already preparing to do what He would eventually teach. That was predicted by

Simeon.

Interestingly, what Jesus had come to do was not going to be easy, nor was it going to be

accepted by all. That is certainly the case today. It was predicted to be the case 2000

years ago. That was expressed when Simeon continued. He said, “Behold, this child is

set for the rising of many.” In other words, many people would enter God’s Kingdom.

Many people would learn from Jesus and understand and do God’s will. That would

happen because of Jesus’ ministry, including the death and resurrection parts of His

ministry. Many people did rise in those ways. Many still do.

However, others, Simeon said, would fall. As they fell, they would speak against Jesus.

In fact - how sobering must this have been for Mary to hear - Simeon added that “a

sword would pierce through [her] soul also.” The word “also” gives the prediction that a

sword would pierce Jesus, which did happen at the end of His crucifixion. But so, too,

would Mary suffer, at least emotionally.

For God’s Kingdom to come. For God’s will to be done. For those things to happen on

earth as they do in Heaven. That is for what Jesus taught us to pray.

And for Him, it was more than just those words. As announced by Simeon, that is why

He came to this earth. And it is something He displayed 12 years after His presentation

to God in Jerusalem.

Between the time of His presentation and when He was 12 years old, Jesus grew and

became strong. He did that both physically and spiritually. He was, day-by-day and

year-by-year, also filled with wisdom. That happened because the favor of God was upon

Him.

But then when He was 12, Jesus’ parents took Him to Jerusalem. Maybe Jesus had been

taken there other times, but this trip, when He was 12, is the one recorded, still in Luke

2. They went to attend the Jewish Passover celebration.

Jesus and Mary and Joseph went from where they lived in the northern town of

Nazareth to Jerusalem. For a few days they took part in all the celebration festivities.

Then it was time to start the journey back to Nazareth. Which it seemed all three of

them did. But on the second day of the journey back home, it was discovered Mary was

on the road and Joseph was on the road, but Jesus was not on the road.

Such a mistake is pretty easy to understand because of Jesus’ age. At 12, He would still

have been accepted to travel with the children, which means He could have been with

Mary. At 12, He also could have chosen to travel with the adults, which means He might

have been with Joseph. I assume each of His parents thought Jesus was with the other.

What a shock. What a scare Mary and Joseph had to have felt when they discovered

Jesus was with neither of them. Was He lost? Had He been kidnapped? They had been

entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of Jesus - of the Savior of the world. Now

He was gone. Had they failed, even before His ministry began?

Right away Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem. For three days they searched for

Jesus. I wonder if they ever had thoughts of giving up.

But then they found Him. He was in the Temple. Sitting among the Jewish teachers. He

was listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Such good questions that all

who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

What specifically Jesus heard and asked is not given to us, but may I suggest what He

discussed with the Jewish leaders was that a Savior was to come to introduce God’s

Kingdom and to make it possible for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. He

might not at that time have claimed that He was that Savior. He probably did not make

that comment at that time because there is no record that any of the teachers were

angry. But He was, even at age 12, already preparing people for such a claim.

When Mary and Joseph found Jesus, they, too, were astonished. But then His mother

said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, Your father and I have been

looking for You anxiously.”

I do not know Mary’s tone of voice. Whether there was some anger, or if there was only

relief, or maybe a combination of the two. But listen to how Jesus responded. He said,

“How is it that you sought Me?” In other words, “Why did you have to search at all? Did

you not know that I must be in My Father's house, doing My Father’s business?” In the

context of today’s part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Did you not know I would already be doing

what I can to fulfill God’s Kingdom and God’s will right here?”

Mary and Joseph should probably have known that. After all, they had been told who

Jesus is over and over again, including by Simeon when Jesus was just a few weeks old.

But after that exchange, Jesus went with Mary and Joseph back to Nazareth, where He

was obedient as He increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man.

Then, eventually, Jesus began His ministry. Which included teachings in which He

challenged people to fulfill the prayer to have God’s Kingdom and God’s will be done

right here on earth, just as it is in Heaven.

I have two examples of such teachings, including the results of such teachings. One of

them is recorded in Luke 19.

Being that late in Luke, this records something Jesus taught toward the end of His

earthly ministry.

One day, Jesus entered the city of Jericho. He was on His way to Jerusalem, where He

would soon be arrested, tried, condemned, and crucified. Jericho is about 15 miles

northeast of Jerusalem, so Jesus was getting close to His destination.

One day Jesus entered Jericho. His intent was to pass through the city. But He met a

man named Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus was an interesting man.

He was a chief tax collector. A collector of Roman taxes, which had made him wealthy,

but also very unpopular.

So unpopular that that day, as Jesus approached and then began to walk through the

city - as great crowds lined the road of the city, which indicates how well-known Jesus

was - people did what they could to keep Zacchaeus from being able to see Jesus.

Zacchaeus was short. Others in the crowd stood as tall as they could so his view would

be blocked. In the crowd, some probably shoved Zacchaeus or poked him or kicked him

or stepped on His feet. How would he ever know who to retaliate against?

Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was, but the crowd kept him from that. So he ran

ahead of the crowd and climbed a tree to see Him. A sycamore tree. A kind of tree that

usually has some level, low-hanging branches. It was such a tree Zacchaeus climbed. He

did that so he could see Jesus.

When Jesus reached that spot, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down

immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

That was certainly not what Zacchaeus intended. He had simply wanted to see Jesus.

But upon the command, he climbed down from the tree and welcomed Jesus, doing so

gladly.

What did Jesus and Zacchaeus talk about while they were together? II think they talked

about the challenge to not only pray about, but to accomplish the Kingdom of God

coming and the will of God being done. I think that was at least part of the conversation,

along with how to accomplish that on earth as it is in Heaven. I think that because of

what was said after the meeting.

Remember the part of God’s will to love others? Here is what Zacchaeus said. He

announced, “Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have

cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

It can be assumed Zacchaeus had cheated people. That is how most tax collectors

became wealthy. But he suddenly realized his cheating had hurt others. Suddenly he

knew he had been wrong.

So repentant was he - so much did he want to change to helping others - he agreed to

pay each one he had cheated four times more that what had been stolen, which was way

beyond what was required by law. Required if a tax collector was arrested and tried and

found guilty. Zacchaeus agreed to do more than what might have been required, and to

do so on his own accord. Doing so, not sometime in the future, but right then.

And Jesus? He hit the part of the Lord’s Prayer that speaks of God’s Kingdom. He did

that when He announced, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Jesus announced

that that day, one more person had been added to the Kingdom of God. That one more

person had been re-created spiritually. That God reigned over one more person. Which

again is not a negative thing, but a good thing, that being the case because God is love.

And then this from Matthew 16. A challenge Jesus gave His disciples. A challenge that

also applies to us, His present-day disciples. Jesus said, “If any man would come after

Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”

To follow Jesus means to do God’s will. To follow Him means to do what we can to help

His Kingdom to come. The goal being that both those things happen on earth, just as

they do in Heaven. And again the word is not to know or understand, but to do.

And listen to the reward Jesus added. Actually, there is a warning, too. The warning is

that “whoever would save his life will lose it.” But the reward is this. “Whoever loses his

life for My sake [whoever makes his will God’s will so that God’s Kingdom can come -

whoever loses his life for those spiritual goals] will find life.”

Jesus taught, “Pray then like this. Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy

name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” May we not

only say those words, but act them out. May God’s kingdom and God’s will be what we

strive to accomplish. Now and always.

Today’s closing song is the hymn Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim. We will

sing verses 1, 2, and 4, which fit today’s message very well. As we sing, let’s do so as a

prayer that we will, like Jesus taught and displayed, be committed to helping God’s

Kingdom and will be known and done here on earth, just as they are in Heaven.

Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim,

And publish abroad His wonderful name;

The name, all victorious, of Jesus extol:

His kingdom is glorious, He rules over all.

God ruleth on high, almighty to save,

And still He is nigh, His presence we have;

The great congregation His triumph shall sing,

Ascribing salvation to Jesus, our King.

Then let us adore and give Him His right -

All glory and power, all wisdom and might,

All honor and blessing, with angels above,

And thank never ceasing, and infinite love.

One part of God’s will was that Jesus suffer and die as the perfect sacrifice for sins. The

sacrifice needed for us to know blessings now and one day be with God in Heaven.

As yet another sign of Jesus’ desire to have God’s kingdom come and His will be done,

Jesus not only knew what God wanted. He obeyed what He knew. He obeyed through

torture and all the way to the cross.

To commemorate Jesus’ suffering, may we commit ourselves to learning how to pray.

May we be like Jesus and commit ourselves to furthering God’s kingdom and will.

Amen.

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