||2016-01-27 12:56:00, 조회 : 1,192, 추천 : 224
| Hello to another beautiful day that has been given to us by God! Today, we will continue with our book, When You Pray, by the author Philip Graham Ryken. Which we will look at chapter 6, Your Kingdom Come. |
As per usual, the author begins the chapter by providing us with a verse, coming from Matthew 12:28: "The kingdom of God has come upon you."
For any Christian, throughout the spiritual life, the question arises, "When will God's kingdom come?" Day by day, the world seems to be getting worse, with more terrorist acts occurring with groups like ISIS. And with each day, it seems more like an up-hill climb for those that believe in God. Indirectly and directly, Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs, and even now, we're at war with the world. So, when will this war end? When will God come to triumph over this world?
To first generally understand the coming of God's kingdom, we must know of the situation at hand. From the very beginning, there has been two kingdoms. These two kingdoms are the kingdom of God and kingdom of man. At the moment, each of these two kingdoms has its own ruler, its own people, its own desire, and its own destiny.
The kingdom of God is ruled by Almighty God, while the kingdom of man is essentially ruled by Satan. In the kingdom of God, the people are loyal to God, while in the kingdom of man, men and women are rebellious against God for they love themselves and hate God. The destinies are different, and on the last day, the kingdom of God will triumph over the kingdom of man, and it will be on earth as it is in heaven. However, for now, Satan and his followers will battle those of God's kingdom at every chance. The war began in the Garden of Eden, and was when Satan persuaded the first man and woman, to not seek for God's kingdom, but rather to seek for their own glory. And the rest of human history has been the story of these two kingdoms at war.
This can be seen when Satan attempted to kill the King of God's kingdom, Jesus Christ. Herod had sent soldiers to search and destroy every male child in Bethlehem, and essentially the king of this world tried to kill God's King while he was a baby. Then again, when Jesus went into the wilderness, he was tempted by the devil. Due to murder failing, the next trick was bribery. Satan led Jesus up to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, in which he offered, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it t anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours." The temptation was to trade the kingdom of God for the kingdom of this world. However, Jesus rejected Satan.
This is what Jesus' ministry is mainly surrounded on. Matthew 4:17 reads, "From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'" In his earthly ministry, Jesus mentions the coming of the kingdom more than a hundred time. From beginning to the end, the Gospel according to Jesus is the good news about God's kingdom.
And in one sense, God has always been the ruler, the King. As Psalms 103:19 reads, "The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all." While we may believe that this world is a democracy, in reality, it has always been ruled by God. However, the issue at hand, is that God's kingship has never come without conflict and disputes. God has always had to fight to defend his rule against the kingdom of darkness. Even now we're at war between God and Satan for the souls of men and women. There are two kingdoms and God's kingdom cannot come without Satan's kingdom being destroyed.
Even Satan himself knows of the result. He knows that no matter how much he tries, he will eventually fall. However, in his stubbornness, Satan will not go down without a fight. And while he has failed in killing the King and failing to persuade him to switch sides, he has been rather successful in going after the King's people. Satan would proceed, as he does so now, by persuading people to reject God's kingdom, in which this is done by persuading them to wish for the wrong kind of king. And even though the people wanted God's kingdom, they did not understand what kind of kingdom it was that was promised to come. In which they failed to understand what the plan of the kingdom was, what the purpose of the kingdom is, and the current state of the kingdom now.
In terms of plan, the confusion arises in that many Christians believe that the kingdom of God will come by sheer force. People wished for a military force to be involved in the takeover, rather than the real weapon, spreading of the word. People rather use force, which leads to bloody crusades, no different than the ISIS of our time, and/or through entertainment to bring people, which only leads to man-centered worships. In terms of purpose, many Christians misunderstand what is to really occur. Some believe that this will happen through a form of political agenda. As for the progress, many people don't see any progress being made because they are frustrated with their lack of understanding of the plan and purpose. They want the kingdom of God to quickly come , and people become impatient when it seems so long in coming.
And what can help us with our lack of understanding of the kingdom? It is by learning how to pray, "Your kingdom come." It is through these simple words from the Lord's Prayer that are able to understand the plan, the purpose, and the progress of God's kingdom.
The fact that it is in the Lord's Prayer allows us to understand God's plan. It is contained within a prayer, and likewise, we are to pray for his kingdom to come. The fact that we are praying for the kingdom to come tells us that the kingdom can only be established through God's efforts, and none of ours. For the kingdom coming isn't something that we can establish through our own efforts.
God's plan was to establish his kingdom through his Son. When Jesus Christ had died and fully paid for our sins, God raised him from the dead and exalted him to his kingly throne. Now that Christ is King, God does not tell us to go out and establish his kingdom, but rather invites us to enter it. This is why God's kingdom comes through the proclamation that the risen Christ is now King.
And the reason why many churches attempt so many other things besides preaching Christ is because the church suspects the kingdom to be established in other ways. However, there may be a million reasons as to why someone might enter the church, but that doesn't mean they have entered the kingdom. The only way people ever come into God's kingdom is by hearing the good news, which is the salvation that is offered through Christ's death on the cross.
When we hear the good news that Christ is King, the first thing we are to do is to submit to his rule. When we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ, God establishes the kingdom in our hearts. Which is part of the reason why Jesus said, "the kingdom of God is within you." Anyone who has entered the kingdom of God has ever done so by praying to god, "your kingdom come," or similar words. That is the way that the kingdom comes to us and for us to enter the kingdom. It is by asking of God to establish his throne as the supreme King within our hearts. And it is necessary that His kingdom comes into our hearts before it can come to rule the world. Heaven must be in us before we can be in heaven. God's kingdom must be in us before we can be in God's kingdom.
The second petition of the Lord's Prayer also says something about the kingdom's purpose. When we pray, "Your kingdom come," we are asking for God's kingdom to come and not our own. The fact of the matter is, a king has the right to rule his kingdom any way he likes, and God's kingdom is a kingdom of a heart, not a territory. The kingdom of God is the ruling of God, which means we ask for Him to reign over our heart, mind, and will.
And after we have prayed for the kingdom to come, we are to seek it. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." And we do this through the common activities of our daily life. God's kingdom may not be of this world, but it is certainly meant to come into this world. When we are doing kingdom work provided, which is whatever we do to submit to God's rule, we are doing kingdom work because we do it for the sake of his honor. We are doing kingdom work because by doing it, we are showing how God has changed us, even though our work may not be able to change the world.
In which seeking for God's kingdom also means that we are to pray for God to establish his rule around the world. We are to ask God to use pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and church planters, and even us to spread the Gospel that saves lives. And it is natural for anyone who comes into God's gracious rule to want for everyone else to come under it as well.
As for the progress of the kingdom, the immediate fact that we're praying for the kingdom to come tells us that the kingdom isn't here yet. And yet, it has come because Jesus has come, and he is the King. And so, when we're praying for the kingdom to come, it has already arrived, however, we are waiting for it to have dominion over this world.
The progress of God's kingdom is gradual, and does not all come all at once. Jesus explains this to his disciple in a number of his parables, for example the mustard seed that gradually grows into a small tree or the yeast that slowly grows of the bread. One of the points of the parables, with relation to the kingdom of God, is that it is a slow growth. And so we should not be discouraged when we look around us and feel as if the kingdom of God is not yet here.
The fact of the matter is that we live "between the times." There is a gap between the coming of God's kingdom and the very establishment of it. God's kingdom has already come, but it is not yet here in all its glory. Christ has already come, but he has not yet come again. As Thomas Watson puts it, "The kingdom of grace is nothing but the beginning of the kingdom of glory. The kingdom of grace is glory in the seed, and the kingdom of glory is grace in the flower." In relation to the mustard seed, the tree doesn't come out of it overnight, but must go through a long process. And so we should not be surprised if the kingdom seems to come slowly. We must place our confidence in the fact that it will surely come. And as we wait for the coming of the glory of the kingdom of God, we prayer we should be saying is, "Come, Lord Jesus."
Which concludes chapter 6, Your Kingdom Come, in which I hope that this has enlightened you on the matter of the kingdom of God, and that you are able to understand that the kingdom of God is to come to its full glory. It is already here, established through our Savior and King Jesus Christ, and we are to wait in faithfulness and do our best in inviting those who haven't established the kingdom of God into their hearts to do so. Thank you!