March 9, 2020 by

Kingdoms at War

Matthew 6:10

“Your kingdom come.”

When you sign up for Christ’s kingdom, you parachute directly into a war zone. What is happening there? What is the kingdom of God? In what sense is it a present reality? In what sense is it yet to come? How would things be different if you had a “God invasion” in your life? Your family? Your workplace? Your neighborhood?

Sometimes our prayers are too small, sometimes our prayers suffer because our vision is so small. If we truly want to honor God, we will believe what he says and then act on that belief by praying large prayers that require an Almighty God to answer them.

When we come to the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, it is as if God himself says, “Ask me for something hard. Ask me to send my kingdom to the earth.” Now that’s big. It’s a lot bigger than asking God to give you a good time on your vacation to Hawaii. As we will see later in our journey through the Lord’s Prayer, it’s perfectly appropriate to bring even the tiniest concerns of life to our Heavenly Father. But if all we do is pray about small things, we have missed the world-changing power of the Lord’s Prayer.

Your Kingdom come. That’s serious business. On one level, you are asking God to send Jesus back and bring down the curtain on human history as we have known it. On another level, you are inviting God to invade your world and transform it. If that’s of interest to you, then let’s spend a few minutes thinking about what it means to pray this way.

But what is this kingdom of God for which we are to pray?  It’s clearly a crucial topic, or Jesus wouldn’t have mentioned it. It is clear that Jesus talked to his disciples about the “kingdom of God” almost every day. It’s no small subject.  And Jesus said that when we pray, we are to petition God that the “kingdom” might “come.”

What is the kingdom of God?  Ask 10 different theologians and you will receive 10 different answers.  For one thing, the term is never precisely defined.  In our thinking, a “kingdom” requires a king and a realm in which he will rule. For a kingdom to be operative, the king must have people who are subject to his rule. The kingdom of God is first of all a society, an organized group of men and women.  It is second of all “on earth.” It is thirdly a place where the will of God is done. 

But why is the kingdom of God so important? Why would Jesus speak of it over and over again?  The parable of the Hidden Treasure and parable of the Pearl form a pair illustrating the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the need for action in attaining it.

Most importantly, why is the kingdom of God so important that we should make it the subject of our daily prayers? 

That’s a very good question and in this message I would like to offer four different answers.

1. The Kingdom of God was the central issue of Jesus’ ministry. 

The kingdom of God is what he came to establish. He said that in various ways over and over again.  Consider the following verses:

Matthew 4:17, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee . . . preaching the good news of the kingdom.

Luke 4:43 “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God . . . for that is why I was sent.”

Luke 17:21 “The kingdom of God is in your midst.”

John 18:36-37 “My kingdom is not of this world . . . my kingdom is from another place . . . You are right in saying I am a king.  In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

When Jesus began his ministry, he announced that the kingdom of God was “at hand” and “in your midst.” He said that preaching the kingdom of God was the reason he had been sent to the earth.  At the end of his ministry, he told Pontius Pilate that his kingdom was “not of this world” but was “from another place.”

Jesus came to establish a new society on the earth. This society would be made up of men and women who are fully dedicated to doing the will of God.  When he was here, the kingdom of God was “at hand” because the King himself was “in the midst” of the people. And that explains why the people of the world will never understand the people of the kingdom. 

The kingdom comes first in the hearts of men and women as they surrender themselves to Jesus Christ. That’s where it all begins. What was important to him must become important to us.  And that’s one reason Jesus taught us to pray “Your kingdom come.”

But there is a second reason why Jesus taught us to pray this way:

2. The kingdom of God is the only thing that will last forever.

If you are looking for significance and permanence in this world, you are wasting your time.  By definition, this world forgets the past, lives in the present, and dreams about the future.  And all those things we do to give ourselves significance-the degrees after our names, the houses we buy, the money we save, the cars we drive, the empires we build, the relationships we seek, the clothes we wear, the networks we create-in the end, those things will amount to nothing.  If you are living for this world, you are of all people most to be pitied.

Why?  Because nothing in this world lasts forever.  That’s why Hebrews 12:28 says that God is going to give “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” Everything that is of this world is shakable. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he predicted that she would give birth to a Son who would “rule over the house of his father Jacob, and of his kingdom there will be no end“ (Luke 1:33). God desires to establish a kingdom on earth that will last forever.  That kingdom will be made up of men and women who have decided to live by God’s eternal values

Therefore, the whole human race may be divided into two groups-those who live by earthly values and those live by kingdom values.  Living by earthly values produces earthly rewards that pay off quicker and disappear faster; living by kingdom values produces kingdom rewards.  They don’t usually come as quickly, but they last forever.

You can live for this world or you can live for the kingdom of God.  The choice is yours. 

That’s the second reason the kingdom of God is so important.  It’s the only thing that will last forever. 

3. The kingdom of God gives a purpose, meaning and goal to history.

Where is history going?  Most of us have spent many years reading the Bible and looking at pictures of Jesus performing miracles and speaking to great multitudes. I can recall standing in the museum in Europe, just a few feet or so from Michael Angelo’s powerful painting of Christ being taken from the cross. We believe that the Jesus who is the subject of that painting, the one who died on the cross and rose form the dead, is actually, literally, bodily, physically and personally returning to the earth one day. And he’s not sending a representative. He’s coming back in person. That’s a mind-blowing fact. No wonder the skeptics think that Christians believe in fantasies. If you stop and ponder what we believe, it is truly an out-of-this-world truth.

In order to reclaim the world from Satan, God entered the human race in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The battle rages on between the two kingdoms, King Jesus on one side and Satan on the other.

You are praying that God’s whole program for human history might succeed and that Satan’s counter-kingdom might be destroyed. 

4. The kingdom of God is the only possible explanation why some people live the way they do.

This is the final reason why the kingdom of God is so important. Without the kingdom of God it is simply impossible to explain the way some people choose to live.  There are men and women all around us who, although they seem perfectly normal as the world counts normal-ness, in some ways seem to behave very differently. They have decided to “seek first the kingdom of God,” and that has made all the difference in the world. Should that surprise us?  No, because Jesus predicted that some people would choose to live that way.  These are his words in Luke 18:29-30, “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life." Jesus is teaching us that the kingdom of God changes the values of life. When you sign up for Christ’s kingdom, you parachute directly into a war zone. You are leaving a life that makes sense (from the world’s point of view) for a life governed by eternal realities. People will do things because of the kingdom of God that they would not do otherwise


If you ever decide to make the kingdom of God the first priority in your life, you may not become a missionary, but you will become fundamentally different from the world around you.  Praying, “Thy Kingdom come,” means asking the heavenly Father to help us in our own lives to be faithful, obedient, authentic, and effective Christians. We spread God’s kingdom not only with words but also through our actions and the observable qualities of our character.

You become a kingdom man or a kingdom woman when you decide to live by the values that matter to God-righteousness, holiness, humility, compassion, zeal, sacrifice, charity, joy and forgiveness.