The Lord’s Prayer: “May Your Kingdom Come” (part 3 of 9)

Luke 11:1-4

            “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.  When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come.” Luke 11:1-4

The Lord’s Prayer is dearly loved in the Christian Church.  We say it frequently, and certainly in crisis.  Sometimes it is said for the sense of security we get from something old, familiar, and connected with our Lord Jesus.  Sometimes we need the words to help us pray.  When people who have told me they can’t pray I have encouraged them just to read it and sit quietly.  When we study it we become aware that it is filled with meaning and power.

May your kingdom come.  We say it easily, but what does it mean?  If we asked what people generally mean when they pray these words we would probably get a lot of different answers.  Some would say that we are praying for the return of Jesus, something like, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

Another popular idea is that God is supposed to help us build Christian institutions.  Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom of God.  He often said, “The kingdom is at hand.”  He brings the kingdom. Unlike those popular definitions he is referring to a sphere of rule, the creation of God’s kingship in the hearts of people through his own teaching, death, and resurrection – through faith.  In other words, God’s kingdom is people.  It is God’s people throughout the world and through time who are loyal to him as their Lord.  It is people who love the Lord and are brought together spiritually in him.  We are called to be the kingdom, along with his people all over the world and throughout the ages.

As we read the gospels we begin to see there are two key issues that we must deal with.  FIRST, the question that is the most basic one: are we members, citizens of God’s eternal kingdom?  It is the most personal, profound spiritual question we face.  SECOND, we need to understand that God’s kingdom is eternal and divine.  It is a kingdom that is not built on the power struggles of our world.  It is claimed not in power but in faith.  It is not political, not social or restricted to one human group, nor is it economic in nature.  This kingdom of God, which seems sheer foolishness to a world built on power and control, is already here in Christ, and it is coming as it spreads through the hearts of people throughout the world.  Finally, it is coming in all its fulfillment and glory with the return of Christ.  Then all power will be clearly seen as his.

Being citizens of this kingdom depends on our relationship with the Lord.  “May your kingdom come” means first of all, may your kingdom come in me.  Help me to be your loyal subject.  Bring about the realities of your love, righteousness, holiness, beauty and peace in my life.  Lead me into a greater reality than the mundane things I spend most of my time with.  Make my loyalty fitting for your kingdom so that my ethics and decision-making reflect that you are Lord.  May my priorities and will participate in what is divine.

Is the kingdom of God in you?  Are you a citizen?  There are many passages that speak about what it takes to be in God’s kingdom, to be real followers of Jesus Christ.


Let’s look at them by using the litany on the screen, titled:


Pastor: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.  (Mark 1:14-15)

People: We believe and celebrate the kingdom of God.

But who shall enter it?

Pastor:  Jesus said, “Not everybody who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the kingdom, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do.” (Matt. 7:21)

People: Then only those who are obedient to the will of God enter into his kingdom.

Pastor:  Jesus said, “you shall be able to enter the kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires.” (Matt. 5:20)

People: Then only those who keep God’s law perfectly in letter and spirit can enter.

Pastor:  Jesus said, “How difficult it is for rich people to enter the kingdom of God!…. It is much harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” (Mark 10:23-25)

People: Are only those ready to give up everything fit for the kingdom of God?

Pastor:  “Remember this.  Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter.”  (Mark 10:15)

People: Then trust, dependency, and humility qualifies one for God’s kingdom.

Pastor:  “No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

People: Then only the totally committed can enter.

Pastor:  Who shall enter the kingdom of God?  How can anyone qualify?

People: “This is impossible for people, but not for God; everything is possible with God.”

(Mark 10:27)


Declaration of Faith:

We are the covenant people of God because God has called us.  God has established his reign among us and in all who believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior.  We

believe and have seen his grace.  We have received his forgiving love.  We are the people of God – adopted into his family, citizens of his kingdom.


Life In God’s Kingdom

“After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.  When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else? Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the person who does not fall away on account of me.’” Matthew 11:1-6

John the Baptist was in prison.  The things he heard about Jesus’ teaching and preaching did not quite fit his expectation of the Messiah.  In fact, it was disappointing.  He sent his disciples to ask the question: Are you the one we are looking for, or should we expect someone else?  Jesus’ answer was simply to tell them to report what they saw and heard in the miracles and teaching.  And he adds, “Blessed is the one who takes no offense in me.”

Jesus affirms that he is the one promised to bring the kingdom of God by the fact that people in need are served, are healed, are given life and good news.  (repeat … signs of the kingdom being present)

Are we a part of God’s kingdom?  As a church?  As individuals?  What is the goal or standard by which we would judge that?  Our world judges goals and success in terms of material wealth or power or influence or pleasure.  But the kingdom of which we are a part has a different set of priorities and standards.  The question for us as a church is this: are people being served, accepted, healed, and are they receiving good news.  The question here is not whether we have achieved great things, not whether we have become a mega church, not whether we are rich or powerful, but whether we are faithful to being the kingdom hands and feet of Jesus around us.  We begin to sense the importance of our ministry.  We are a part of building something that is eternal.

We live in a dilemma.  We live in two worlds, two kingdoms.  We live with two different sets of values, two sets of priorities.  Jesus described our dilemma.  The kingdom of God is like a king who was going away for awhile.  He gave one of his servants 10 talents, another 5, and another 1.  You know the story.  When the king returned the ones with 5 and 10 had used what God gave them for his kingdom, and they were rewarded greatly by the king.  The one with one talent buried it and brought it back unused.  The point is clear for us.  God has given us tremendous abilities, gifts, money and resources that can be used for the building of his kingdom in the hearts and lives of people.  When used for his kingdom these things will bring us joy and more blessing.  There was finally no joy for the person who refused to be faithful to God.  What are you and I building?  Is it important eternally?  Are people being served by us using our talent?  Are they hearing the good news?  Is new life given through the gift of love and the power of prayer and the good news we have to share?

It is very exciting when we think of the fact that together we are building something that is eternal in the hearts and lives of people.  Let’s be sure we have not buried our talent.  God promises joy, blessing, and fulfillment like nothing in our world can offer when we are faithful in his kingdom.

We are surrounded by kingdom building opportunities, just take the time to look at the volunteer board in the social hall.  One of the things happening this spring is a mission trip – a time of attempting to act out being the kingdom of God in some very concrete ways.  Our hope is that you will think about going, or pray for and support this team that goes out from us.  Lets take a couple minutes to listen to two people’s experience from last year.




May Your Kingdom Come Here!

It is clear from what we have seen that the Kingdom belongs to God.  He is sovereign.  To go against it is to fight against God.  So we are then a part of it by receiving his grace through faith.   It is a miracle that you and I can participate in the creation of a divine kingdom.  It is the miracle of faith when we acknowledge that JESUS IS MY LORD.  The Apostle Paul says that no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.  The Heidelberg Catechism says that to pray this petition means, “Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you.”  We hear that being kingdom people means that we are spiritually in touch with God and in community with each other, bound together in the love and desire to be obedient to our Lord.  Christ calls us to be unified in his love and under his authority, leadership, rule and eternal plan.  He said in Luke 17, “Don’t look for signs, the kingdom of God is among you.”  It is among you as you live in your family, in your work, in your worship, and in your serving and caring for others.

We are called to be kingdom citizens and kingdom builders.  God builds his kingdom within us and through us.  When we celebrate his covenant promises in the baptism of children and adults, we celebrate kingdom identity.  As we attempt to build a sense of community in worship together, it is covenant kingdom community.  The reason adult education, doing ministry, fellowship together, and trying to understand our unique role in kingdom building is so important is that all of this is the work of building the kingdom of God in the hearts and lives of people.  In John 17 Jesus prayed, “Father, make them one as we are one.”  Why?  “So that the world may know that you sent me.”  Why?  Because God is at work, not only calling individuals to salvation, but also building spiritual maturity in them and using them to serve and to witness to others.  God is at work through our calling as a church and as members, building an eternal kingdom that is bigger and more important than any one church.

Yet, unity builds the kingdom.  We have all met people who believe in Jesus Christ but do not think they need to be a part of a church.  What we observe in them is that they often do not do much spiritual growing.  The Apostle Paul used the image of a building.  Imagine the kingdom of God like a huge building.  Each person is a brick in that building, each church is a section of that building, and all together they make up an eternal kingdom.  But there are some bricks laying around on the ground – just laying there.  Do the ones laying on the ground add to the structure, do they fulfill their purpose?  They are still bricks, but refusing to grow into being what God intended.

We are called to unity and love in Christ.  Our working together, our love for one another, our participation in learning, growing and serving – all of this is a demonstration of the mercy, acceptance, grace and forgiveness of our God.  This is unique in our world.  God has chosen what is weakness and foolishness in our world, and made that the power base of his kingdom.  Here is the kingdom of peace that the prophet Isaiah talked about, “The lion and the lamb shall lie down together.”  This is the kingdom of love that seeks justice, and is filled with compassion for the poor.  This is the kingdom in which power is used to serve others and where the forces of evil within and around us are a constant enemy.

It becomes clearer what God is calling us to be and what we are really praying when we say: May your kingdom come.  In the middle of all that is unjust, dishonest, destructive to people, depersonalizing and demoralizing, and unforgiving, we are called to be a community of truth, love, peace, hope, kindness, and self-giving.  Today we pray that in your life, in my life, in every person’s life who touches this church, that in this church the kingdom of God will come.


May God build his kingdom within and among us, and empower us to be kingdom builders.

In your journeys to and fro, God direct you;

in your happiness and pleasure, God bless you;

in care, anxiety, or trouble, God sustain you;

in peril and in danger, God protect you.

The grace of God be with you all, now and always.