Last time, we covered the first of Jesus’ talk, found in Matthew 5 – I’m sorry, Matthew 6, starting in verse 5.
Matthew 6:5 – And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray at the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, “They have received their reward.” But when you pray, go in your room and shut the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, don’t heap up empty phrases, as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, then, like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. No need to spread the fact that we pray all the time, or that we are great because we pray. It’s that we pray to God, not people. This is where we finished last time – realizing that God is in heaven, that His name is holy, and that we should come to Him with respect.
The next one that we’re going to cover today is in Matthew 6:10.
Matthew 6:10 – Your kingdom come.
Why should we pray that God’s kingdom come? God’s kingdom is the next step in God’s plan – a thought that He burned into the memory of the twelve disciples. Let’s read how that happened – Acts 1:9 through 11.
Acts 9:9-11 – And when He had said these things – that’s Jesus talking to His disciples – as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him up out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Modern Christianity has gone to great lengths to water down this statement. They’ve turned the Kingdom of God on earth into the church. Most Christians believe the church is to do all the things the Bible says Jesus would do when He returns. But this statement is hard to ignore. If you really want to do God’s will, instead of joining a social club, called the church, they saw Jesus crucified, and then they saw Him alive again, after He died. You don’t just come back from something like that. Then they saw Him – while they were talking to Him – begin to rise up off the ground and ascend until they couldn’t see Him anymore. While they were straining to the see the last glimpses of Him, two men, curiously dressed in white robes, whom they had not noticed until that very moment, said to them, “Why are you guys looking up into the sky like that? He’s coming back down here to earth, just like you saw Him go up.” Now that’s pretty plain talk. And that’s what I believe will happen. He went up. He promised to come back. So He’s going to come back. And it should be every Christian’s hope that He will return in the same way that He went up.
So we should all pray, “Your kingdom come.” That’s the next step in the plan. From that moment, when they saw Him ascend, until He returns, is what we could call the church age – a time for God and Christ to raise up a family of children to help them in the next step in the plan. We’re in that phase now. We’re all waiting for the next step. So, we should pray, “Your kingdom come.”
Christ’s arrival – besides being the next highly awaited step in God’s plan – is also when all the people of God through all ages – past and present – will be given their crown of life – their reward. It’s going to be a happy day. It’s going to be a celebratory day. What we’ve longed for for so long will finally be ours, because of what Jesus Christ and God the Father have done for us. Let’s read about it – 1 Corinthians 15:51. Paul says:
1 Corinthians 15:51 – Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable. And we shall be changed. For this perishable body – this physical body – must put on the imperishable – that is, the immortal – and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” And then he says: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So the very day that Jesus returns – at the sound of the trumpet – we receive our reward – eternal life with God the Father and Christ the Son. But it’s even better than that. In Hebrews 2:10 we can read where Paul says:
Hebrews 2:10 – For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
So Jesus is the Firstborn Son. We’re also sons. He’s our Brother. We’ll be like Him in our composition and in relationship with Him and with God. That will happen when His kingdom comes and when we are resurrected at that time – at the sound of the trumpet.
So, we’re going to have a new relationship with God. It’s going to change. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says:
1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then, face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So, God is no longer going to be mysterious to us. We’ll know Him as well as He knows us. To know Him that way, we will also have to know much of what He knows. So, our perspective is going to change drastically. We will understand things like God does – finally and at long last.
Do you remember when your grandfather died of a stroke? Well, you’ll know why that was a good thing. That’s another reason why we should pray, “Your kingdom come.” The world has eight billion people in it. The suffering in this world is incredible! And when Christ returns, at last, that’s going to end. Think about how many people there are! Well, you really can’t conceive it – you know, seven to eight billion people! And indescribable suffering occurs every day. There’s more evil in the world now than ever – if for no other reason than there are more people.
Indescribable suffering. I received a phone call Thursday from a lady – a former client – who now works in a chaplain’s program that supports first responders. Here in Albuquerque – quite close, actually, to our home – an atrocity occurred that has deeply affected our entire community. It was a crime against a child, perpetrating by her own mother, that was so reprehensible even her family said, “Put her to death.” My former client mentioned that just talking to the people who were the first ones in the door traumatized her. Much worse than that, this happens all over the planet every day. As people become more and more self-centered, crimes against children are skyrocketing.
The apostle John – one of the original Sons of Thunder – in his old age, wrote about a vision he saw from God about the end time. And he reveals not only what he saw, but how seeing it affected him as well. When John wrote this, all the others disciples – his friends – had been murdered – some even crucified, as the Romans did to Jesus. The church was also beset with heresy and all kinds of people problems. Persecution of Christians was rampant. With this in mind, let’s read what he said at the very end of his writing in Revelation 22:18.
Revelation 22:18 – I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies of these things says, “Surely, I am coming soon. Amen. And then he adds: Come, Lord Jesus! You can put an exclamation point after that: Come, Lord Jesus!
When I heard about the persecution of Christians in the past, I saw God’s assertion that we would be persecuted again, but I never really understood how that could happen here. During the last eight years in this country, I finally saw how it can happen here in this country. So, yes, we can all pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Then God gets about the business of wrapping up the production of members of His family at this time, as well. All this is like going through the eye of a needle. Once we get through, things widen out. Once Christ has returned, God and Jesus are going to seriously intensify their efforts to produce more children for God’s family. For a thousand years of peace, health and prosperity, the earth’s population will burgeon like never before. Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, droughts will all be a thing of the past. Human trafficking will stop. War will stop. Theft, including taxation, will diminish. Taxation will go down to 10% for everybody. You might think that’s a high number when you think about tithing, but do you realize…let’s just take sales tax, as an example, which, in New Mexico, is 7% threatening to go higher all the time. Do you realize that while sales tax on things you buy – let’s say that’s 7% – everyone who produces the things you buy has to pay taxes for the things they buy to produce what you buy? That means a much greater part of what you pay for an item or commodity is tax! Now there are 545 people in this country that want it that way, and they get what they want. When God sends Jesus back, the swamp is going to be drained for good! “Your kingdom come!” We’re way ready for it.
Let’s talk about when it might come. Most people don’t even think about it, but Paul said something interesting about this. I’m sorry – not Paul, Peter. It’s in 2 Peter 3:3.
2 Peter 3:3 – Knowing this, first of all – okay, first of all – that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” I mean, if He’s not around, we can do what we want, right? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.
Those who don’t believe in God or His power to intervene look around and say, “Come on, man, you must be mad! Everything is going to keep going, just like it always has!” But don’t let them make you feel stupid with their politically correct talk. Here’s what God reminds us of in verse 5:
V-5 – For they deliberately overlook this fact – that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water – and through water by the Word of God, and that by means of these the world, that then existed, was deluged with water and perished. Oh right! God has already violently upset the status quo once – with a flood – the evidence of which is under our feet as we speak. You can’t find a place on the surface of the earth that doesn’t bear evidence of a flood in the distant past.
V- 7 – But by the same Word – he says in verse 7 – the heavens and the earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and the destruction of the ungodly.
You know, some Christian people used to know this. My parents were never really that religious, I guess I could say. We went to church on holidays most of the time – Easter, Christmas – things like that. But I remember, when I was seven, asking them about Noah’s flood, and they affirmed that it did happen. And I can remember my father telling me, “God promises to never flood the earth again. Next time, it will be fire.” So, according to the Bible, the return of Jesus ought to be on our minds.
Whilst it should be on our minds, prophecy doesn’t say when. I’m not saying we should become chart builders or prophecy buffs – trying to figure out when He’s going to come back – because we’re never going to figure that out. You know how I know this? Because Jesus said He hadn’t figured it out yet. He plainly tells us, “Only the Father knows.” Personally, I think that may well be because the Father is looking for certain conditions on earth before He pulls the trigger.
Think about this: If we knew when it was going to happen, would we even have to pray, “Your kingdom come?” We would know it’s coming a week from Tuesday. I think about those theologians who say, “All the prophecies of Christ’s return and the kingdom of heaven are really about the work of the church, which is the kingdom of heaven.” I think about how Jesus destroyed that idea in advance with one simple sentence: Your kingdom come. God’s kingdom is coming. And while we don’t know when, we are given some instruction by Jesus about things to look for, so that we can have faith in God’s promise to send Jesus back. Let’s look at one of them. It’s in Matthew 24:3.
Matthew 24:3 – And He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
Following this question, Jesus took two chapters to answer them. And He said, essentially, two things. He gave the general picture of what will happen before He returns and He emphasizes the need to be ready for His return since we don’t know when it will come – to be ready always, to be prepared. You know, a fireman never knows when the bells going to ring, so he has to be ready to go. That’s you and that’s me.
Being ready is not about studying to find out more about when, but to living a good life – to be learning how to be a Christians in God’s kingdom. Now, if you don’t believe me about this, just read what He said in Matthew 24 and 25. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know what He had to say in response to the question, “When will it happen?”
Before we move from this issue, there’s one more scripture I want to show you. It’s something Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:1.
2 Timothy 3:1 – But understand this, that in the last days, there will come times of difficulty. Why? For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
You know, that’s getting harder and harder to do, because there are more and more people like that. People have always been this way. All we have to do is read the history of Israel in the Old Testament to see that. But what Paul is telling us here is, that it’s going to spiral down. Have you ever watched the water drain out of your sink? As you open the drain, the water starts to slowly move around the drain. The water on the outside moves the slowest. If you have a bit of food or something floating on the outside, you can see it. And as it gets closer and closer, as it turns its circle around, closer and closer to the drain, it begins to move more rapidly, until, at the end, it just disappears quick as a wink down the drain. That’s what he’s telling us it’s going to be like. Negatives have always been present, but they will begin to increase slowly and then more rapidly, until things suddenly go out of control and spiral down into a vortex of social, political and moral chaos. You can see its increasing speed now, can’t you?
So, we should be praying, “Your kingdom come.”
Okay, we’re going to stop for today. So far, we’ve seen that we should pray to our Father, who is in heaven. You know, it’s really stylish now to pray to Jesus, but that’s not what Jesus told us to do – not that you can’t do it, but He said, most of the time, we should be praying to our Father, because He’s the boss. And where is He? Well, He’s in heaven – “Our Father, who is in heaven….” Why? Because He can be. Because He’s great, powerful, holy and perfect. “Holy – or hallowed – is His name.” The first thing He tells us to do in our prayers is to pray that He will send Jesus back to us to rule the earth. What does He tell us to pray for next? Well, we’re going to learn more about that next time.
Until next time, this is Bill Jacobs for LifeResource Ministries, serving children, families and the Church of God.