Sermon Notes

How to Pray (Part 3 – Thy kingdom come)


  • In our study of the Lord’s prayer (that is the prayer that the Lord taught His disciples – the disciple’s prayer), which we began last week, we saw that the prayer in itself includes one acknowledgment and six petitions.
    Here are three points that sum up what we saw last week,

    • Asking petitions in prayer are not sinful or a degrading of its quality, but rather are the very things that prayer was meant to carry into the presence of the Almighty.
    • The power of prayer, the need for prayer, and subsequently our desire to pray, as Christians, lies in the fact that our God hears us, and that this God that hears us is our heavenly Father.
      All our prayer and supplications, our petitions, are offered in the shadow of wings of this great reality that God is our Father. And that is not a conceptual ideology, but a relational reality.
    • Although it is not a sin to fill you prayer with requests, it is sin that contorts the priority of our requests in prayer. And in the Lord’s prayer, He instructs us that the first request that we make ought to be our desire to see the name of the Lord made Holy.Let me remind you that the Lord’s prayer is not a recital that Jesus taught in order that we may repeat it verbatim (although there is no sin in doing so from time to time). The reason He teaches this prayer is in order to teach His disciples how to order the contents of their prayers.

      And therefore, it ought to dawn on us how odd it really is often times when we make this first petition by repetition without even understanding what it means.

      In order to make this first petition, you need to know what Holiness is. You need to understand through faith and experience why God’s holiness is the deepest desire for all who’ve seen it. You need to have that desire in you, in order for this petition to be your first priority.

      Just thinking about it makes me want to preach another sermon on it.
      Beloved, picture the sight of God’s attributes, His divine perfection, and unlimited power. Whatever little that you see of that glory is the substance of your faith and belief. You might believe a lot of doctrines and carry a lot of apologetic arguments and yet see very little of that glory, and your faith as a result does not amount to much. For you faithfulness and delight in God is a result of that glory that you see as the Holy Spirit reveals to you from Holy Scripture.
      And the more you see of His glory, the more you will pray – hallowed be Your name.

Exegesis – A Warning

  • Now, the portion we come to today makes mention of a phrase that I’ve been careful while attending to, in my previous sermons, in our journey through Matthew’s Gospel account.
    It is the phrase – the kingdom of Heaven, or the kingdom of God
    It is one of the most important yet difficult concepts in all of Scripture. And it is particularly difficult to preach on, especially for me, considering the fact that scriptural references to kingdom have an eschatological (end-times theology) nature to them.
  • Let me read you the second petition of the Lord’s prayer, and then explain why your theology of the end times will affect the way you pray this petition.
    Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come,

    • Now, there are different views on the end-times that different theologians hold. While some wait for the rapture of God’s people (believers) before the great tribulation of the anti-Christ, others believe that the anti-Christ already came, persecuted the Church, and was defeated in as early as AD 70, and that we now live in the rule of Christ, awaiting His final return.
    • So, when you pray, “O Lord let Your Kingdom come!”, people who hold to these views will be implying two different kinds of a coming of this Kingdom.
    • Another way that eschatology affects this prayer, is in how it affects the way we live today for this kingdom.
      Remember the context of the sermon on the mount,
      Matthew 4:1717 From that time [since John was arrested] Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
      v2323 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
      As Christians, we are called to seek first the kingdom of God, as ambassadors of this kingdom.Now, in eschatology one of the ways you can classify the different positions is by identifying them as either and optimistic view, or a pessimistic view of the end times.
      The pessimistic view, which tends to be more popular, sees the world we live in as progressively degrading, where persecution against Christians will grow, and sin will become more and more rampant, till a tipping point when Christ will return.
      Whereas, the optimistic view, as Kim Riddlebarger puts it in a helpful article, tends to see the world itself as the theatre of God’s redemptive activity, which accordingly extends to all spheres of life, including political, cultural, and social arenas. Involvement in Christianising the world before Christ returns as the primary mission of the church and the hallmark of true piety.1

      Therefore, from a pessimistic standpoint, how you live out the prayer – Thy kingdom come – will be very different from how an optimist would do it.

    • Now, the reason that I talk of this subject as being especially difficult for me to preach on, is because I have not made up my mind yet on where I stand on matters of eschatology.
      However, for now, I believe that God’s providence will use that for our advantage.Because, all I intended to do with the eschatological slant of this topic, is to do what I just did – to tell you that it has an impact on how you pray this petition. But what to believe about the end times is a task I leave to you to study and determine, while I do the same, at least for now.

Your Kingdom

  • Instead, what I want to do is to give you the fundamental understanding of the phrase – the kingdom of God, so that you are able to apply that understanding to all the verses that point to God’s kingdom, and why this phrase is so important to the Christian faith.So, at that fundamental level, I want to be able to equip you to pray this second petition in the Lord’s prayer.
  • For starters, the kingdom of Heaven is synonymous to the kingdom of God. They are not two different kingdoms or two different references to the same kingdom. They are synonymous.
    “Kingdom of God” occurs 68 times in the NT and “Kingdom of Heaven” only 32 times, and all 32 times in the Gospel according to Matthew.
    And yet Matthew use these phrases interchangeably in Matthew 19:23-2423 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 

    Another reason to believe that they are synonymous is that many instances where Mark and Luke refer to the kingdom of God, Matthew refers to as the kingdom of heaven.

  • So then, what is the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven?
    When we think about a kingdom, we usually picture a realm or a people. A nation under a king who rules over them. We are reminded of the monarchy.
    So, when you say “the kingdom of Israel”, we mean the Jewish nation led by a king, like David.
    And so when you ask the question, “What is a kingdom?”, the answer is that a kingdom is realm and a people ruled by a king.
    And if you ask the question, “What is this or that kingdom?”, the answer is that it is a kingdom of this and that people, ruled by this and that king.However, no one called the kingdom of Israel, the kingdom of David. If I could stretch the analogy a bit, none of us would call India, the kingdom of Modi, or America, the kingdom of Trump, or Biden. Why? Because we see a kingdom as a realm and a people under a king. They together make up that kingdom and no one person owns the kingdom, but they all belong to that kingdom.
    But not so with God! Even though God’s kingdom has a realm and a people, that is not what identifies this kingdom. It is God Himself!
  • Your kingdom come 
    • Not, O Lord bring the kingdom that you belong to. But Your kingdom, the kingdom that is Yours, that belongs to you, come.
      As John Piper put it, the basic meaning of the word kingdom in the Bible is God’s reign — R-E-I-G-N — not realm or people.2
      Or as Doug Wilson put it, the kingdom of God is nothing less than the rule and realm of the Lord Jesus Christ, manifested in history according to His will and pleasure.3 

      Therefore, the focus of the kingdom of God, are not the subjects of that kingdom or its location or realm, but its King. The Kingdom of God is the rule of Christ.

  • Your kingdom come
    • This kingdom that is God’s rule, like any other kingdom has a realm and a people.
      Let us see what more the Scriptures say about the nature of this kingdom
      Psalm 103:19The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
      Daniel 4:3His kingdom is an eternal kingdom 

      So, this kingdom is both all encompassing and eternal.John 18:36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

      This kingdom has servants who would fight for their King, and this kingdom is not of this world or from this world.

      Luke 17:20-21 20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”8
      Romans 14: 17 – 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

      “In the midst of you” here can mean inside of you, or in your souls
      This kingdom ushered in by Christ, is not the kingdom in its physical reality, but inside of a Christians soul – the rule of Christ. 

    • How do we now reconcile these two emphases of the kingdom, one of a physical, observable kingdom to come, and another of an invisible kingdom already being built up?
      • For one, in understanding what we discussed earlier. That this kingdom is not primarily its realm, or its people, but its’ King.   
      • Secondly, because the nature in which the NT refers to the kingdom is in an already, yet not already sort of way. That in a way the kingdom is upon us, and in another it is yet to come.
        Again, as Doug Wilson puts it, “God’s good pleasure is that His kingdom start small and gradually grow to fill the earth.”
        Matthew 13:31-32 31 He put another parable before them, saying, z“The kingdom of heaven is like aa grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 

        Matthew 13 has several parables on the kingdom of God that we will see when we get there. This theme of the kingdom runs throughout the Gospel according to Matthew, and so the foundation we learn today, remember, as we journey through this book.

    • Therefore, the realm of God’s rule stretches over all things, for all time. At the root, this rule begins at the heart where God rules over the hearts and lives of those who willingly submit to Him. These are the people of God.
    • The people of this kingdom are born-again believers.
      Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 

      It is those who belong to the kingdom now, that will enter in to it then when it is revealed in its entirety.

  • Your kingdom come
    • As I mentioned in the beginning, your eschatology and understanding of the millennial rule of Christ, will impact the way you pray this prayer for God’s kingdom to come in the ultimate sense.However, from the fundamental understanding of the kingdom we just covered, it becomes clear that the coming of God’s kingdom is not just in the ultimate sense, but has begun as a mustard seed and is now growing, and will grow to be larger than all the garden plants and become a tree.

      Therefore, when we pray that the Lord’s kingdom come, we mean it in more than one way. We mean that Christ must return and establish His spiritual and physical rule once and for all. But we also mean that this kingdom reality comes to pass to a greater degree as we work to build His kingdom.

    • How?
      To quote Doug Wilson, “We have a kingdom gospel-“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14pastedGraphic.png). We find kingdom repentance-“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ (Matt. 3:2pastedGraphic.png). The New Testament contains kingdom teaching-“to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3pastedGraphic.png). Not surprisingly, there is also kingdom preaching-“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12pastedGraphic.png; 20:25pastedGraphic.png; 28:31pastedGraphic.png). And there is kingdom apologetics-“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8pastedGraphic.png).”4 

      Therefore, everything that the Christian does in building up the church of God, is to build up the kingdom of God.

    • Also, there is a sense in which the word come, is used in an immediate sense as though His kingdom come now.The eagerness to see more of God’s kingdom revealed in this prayer is unquestionable.
      [A word on the elections]


  • The first two priorities of our prayers are clear. To desire to see the name of the Lord as holy, and eagerly awaiting the revelation of His kingdom around you, and ultimately in Christ’s second coming.
    1 Corinthians 15:24-26“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death”
    Hebrews 12:28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire 
  • A short look at verses which spoke of the kingdom so far in Matthew
    • Matthew 3:2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
    • Matthew 4:8-9Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
    • Matthew 4:1717 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
      23And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 
    • Matthew 5:3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      10 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      19-2019 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Michael Teddy Fernandez

Author Michael Teddy Fernandez

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