SBTS chapel live blog: your Kingdom come: or, whose agenda is our concern, anyway?

Communications Staff — April 7, 2009

Preacher: R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Text: Matthew 6:10

‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

Mohler continued his series on the Lord’s prayer. He began by saying again that prayer is the most intensely theological act we can engage in.

The Lord’s prayer is no generic prayer. The Lord’s prayer only makes sense in the context of Christ, in the context of grace and mercy demonstrated to us in Christ, in the context of obedience to Christ.

Almost everyone in our culture knows the Lord’s prayer and it has been turned into a generic prayer. People use it in times of tragedy and trouble. But this is a deeply radical and subversive prayer: it is a Gospel prayer.

It is never more subversive or radical than in the phrase: ‘your Kingdom come.’ We do not like the word Kingdom because we do not like the word king. We don’t want to have one who rules over us. To be a king in almost any context today is to be something that is defined as a constitutional monarch, which means you get to open parliament and get your face on a postage stamp. Today, no one really fears kings.

In the Old Testament, we see this catalog of kings who give themselves to evil. In the New Testament, we see that we need a government over us, because of our fallenness, for our good. But we still chafe at the idea of having a king, of having someone in authority over us.

But Jesus says we should pray, ‘your Kingdom come.’ When we hear this prayer, we better hear the crashing of human kingdoms. We should look to an eschatological fulfillment of a Kingdom that is already here, a Kingdom that is present in Christ.

Theological resistance

There are people who want to redefine God so that He is no longer sovereign over all things. There is a theological resistance to the sovereignty of God that is by its very nature a spiritual rejection of God’s sovereignty. But one is either sovereign or he is not. There is no general sovereignty.

Hermeneutical resistance

[I did not catch Mohler thoughts on resistance]

We are indebted to people like George Elden Ladd who presented the ‘already, not yet’ idea of God’s Kingdom. It is present, it is already here, or we would not be here, but it is not yet fully realized. Our understanding of the Kingdom of God is central to our understanding of the flow of redemptive history.

Sociological resistance

Augustine rightly described the city of God and the city of man and the two loves that mark this distinction. We understood that we are too often confused as to the difference between the city of God and the city of man. The greatest danger here is that we identify some earthly kingdom with the Kingdom of God and in doing this we would create an idolatry that is opposed to the Kingdom of God.

The Christological center of the Kingdom of God

We must understand where we fall in the God’s plan in redemptive history and the centrality of the Kingdom of God in that plan. Christ is the fulfillment of all that was promised of Israel’s king. We understand that Christ is the King in the line of David (Mohler read 2 Sam 7:8-17). Solomon is clearly in view here [2 Sam 7] but Christ is also clearly in view here.

This makes very clear that Christ has inaugurated the Kingdom in the NT, and that Christ is what it means to be the Davidic Messiah. We see Jesus telling John the Baptist that the blind see, the lame walk and blessed are He who do not take offense at me. We come to understand that Christ is the fulfillment of all that was foretold of Israel’s coming King. We think of Psalm 110: You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

We come to understand that Jesus is a Redeemer King. We also come to understand that Jesus’ Kingdom comes by violence. We come to understand that our salvation is an act by which we are snatched by the power of God from the domain of Satan. We are transferred into the Kingdom of His beloved Son.

Missing from so many who consider the Kingdom of God is its Christological core. Missing is the reality that Jesus says He is coming into His Kingdom. Christ comes into His Kingdom in the transfiguration.

Revelation says that the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of Christ and He will reign forever and ever. We are yearning for this. We know that Christ will reign forever and ever.

A spiritual kingdom that expands through the Gospel

Christ tells us that His Kingdom is not of this world. It is first a spiritual Kingdom. The first place where the King rules is in the hearts of believers who are turned to Christ. When Christ says that His Kingdom is not of this world, He means that it does not follow the logic of an earthly kingdom or follow the rules of an earthly kingdom.

The means of expansion of Christ’s Kingdom are the Gospel. We understand that in this age, we are praying for sinners to be snatched from the dominion of darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of light. We understand that in his age, the Kingdom is about missions and evangelism. For the conquest of the Kingdom is the conquest of souls. We understand that the glory of the Kingdom now is the glory of people bowing to Christ.

Entrance into this Kingdom comes only through Christ. And through faith in this Christ.

When we pray ‘your Kingdom come’ we are praying to see the nations streaming to Zion. We are praying to see the redemption of sinners. We are praying to see the wrath of God poured out on sin and His perfect judgment. We are praying to see every knee bowing and very tongue confessing that Jesus is Lord. We are praying to see redeemed humanity rule with Christ as vice regents.

’We are praying to see the martyrs judge the Caesars.’

We understand that all creation is groaning, waiting for this day. To understand the Kingdom is to pray for its coming. To understand the King is to pray for His full and manifested reign. It is a reminder to us that our citizenship is ultimately in heaven, but that we have to work to do. It is reminder to us that Christ is our King.

[Mohler was speaking quickly here: he had a section on praying for God’s will being done meaning (1) that we pray that His meticulous sovereign will be realized and (2) that people submit to His revealed will for them through obedience]

We are not resigning ourselves to this prayer. We are declaring the reality of the Messianic rule of Christ. There is nothing serene about this prayer: it is a declaration of war. We come to understand that history is coming to a conclusion and that conclusion is going to be the manifested reality of the visible Kingdom of God.

There is no more subversive prayer in earthly terms than this. There is no more Gospel-centered prayer that we could pray than this. The Kingdom of this world has become the Kingdom of this Christ. And He will reign forever, amen.

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