For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13, NKJV)
Our prayers should not only be about our needs and desires (Heb. 4:16). They should not only be supplications on behalf of others (1 Tim. 2:1-2). They should also be filled with adoration for our Heavenly Father. Reverent respect and regard for the Almighty ought to be evident in our manner of prayer (Matt. 6:9). Acknowledge the regal, royal, sovereign rule of our Father as we pray. It is precisely because He reigns supreme that we are impressed with His willingness to hear and answer our prayers. His eternal power, announced by His whole creation, assures us of His ability to act on our behalf. His majestic glory humbles us in His presence and impresses us of His love toward us, low as we are in comparison to His majesty (Psa. 8:4). As we pray, let us remember to whom we are addressing our petitions. This will help define our attitude in prayer as well as shape our faith in our Father to “do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10, NKJV)
It is helpful to remember this is a model prayer (Matt. 6:9). We are to pray respecting and yielding to God’s program – God’s will – in everything. John the baptizer had already preached that the kingdom of heaven was near (Matt. 3:2). Then, Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23). As Jesus predicted, the kingdom did come “with power” and Christians are now citizens of the kingdom (Mk. 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; Col. 1:13; Heb. 12:28). God accomplished His will and established the coming kingdom, the church (Matt. 16:18-19). To pray for the kingdom to come today would deny the truth that it has already come! Nevertheless, the model of praying in harmony with the will of God is sound. Like Jesus in the garden, “thy will be done” is our prayer of faith and expectation that God will fulfill His will on earth – just as it is accomplished in heaven. When we pray, “thy will be done,” we must also live in harmony with His will so that our lives complement rather than contradict our prayers. God’s program will always succeed. May our prayers reflect our complete submission to His will in our lives.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:50, NKJV)
Even though Jesus taught plainly that His kingdom “is not of this world” in John 18:36, many souls continue to believe His kingdom will be established as a future world government, with Jesus ensconced on His throne in Jerusalem. However, Jesus said His kingdom would come into existence “with power” during the lifetime of those who heard Him teach (Mk. 9:1). His kingdom was established through the powerful events recorded in Acts 2. His kingdom is His church (Dan. 2:44; Matt. 16:18-19). When Jesus returns on resurrection day, He will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, not set it up on the earth (1 Cor. 15:23-26). At that time, with resurrected, immortal bodies, we will enter the heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18). Our mortal, corruptible bodies will not inherit heaven. The kingdom of God is incorruptible and not of this world. Even so, only with resurrected, immortal bodies will God’s people pass into eternal life (1 Cor. 15:52-56). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1–4, NKJV)
Greatness in the kingdom of heaven is not defined by prominence above others, or by power over others, or by preference before others. Greatness is defined by humility, such as is seen in a little child. By these words, Jesus thoroughly rejects the notion that we are born with a “sin nature,” a corruption that originated in Adam and is transmitted through his progeny to all of humanity. If we must “be converted and become as little children,” then little children do not possess corrupt hearts. Otherwise, Jesus’ analogy is meaningless. The child stands as the prototype for greatness in the kingdom. Those who are great in the kingdom are not driven by a sin nature. Like children, they are driven by the innocence of humility. Any doctrine that corrupts the innocence and humility of children before God and mankind is false and deplorable error.
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Daniel 2:44, NKJV)
Daniel had just given God’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. A great image depicting four successive world kingdoms, beginning with Babylon, was struck on its feet of iron and clay (the fourth kingdom, v. 40). The image was crushed by a stone of divine origin, which became a great mountain that filled the earth (Dan. 2:31-43). The superiority of the kingdom of God over the kingdoms of men is thus portrayed, as well as when it would come into existence. God’s kingdom would be “set up” in the “day of these kings” (of the fourth kingdom, v. 40-43). This occurred during the Roman Empire, the legs and feet of the image. Jesus came preaching, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk. 1:15). And, He said some would not die until they saw the kingdom come with power (Mk. 9:1). The kingdom of Daniel 2:44 is the church of Christ (Matt. 16:18-19). Unlike the kingdoms of men, God’s kingdom, the church, is “not of this world” (Jno. 18:36). It fills the earth, it cannot be destroyed by men, and it shall stand forever.
25 And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:25–27, NKJV)
We learn many valuable lessons from Paul about what it means to be a gospel preacher. (Many of which do not conform to the modern concept of the preacher.) This passage teaches us what Paul preached, how he preached it and his moral responsibility before God. Is your preacher preaching “the kingdom of God” like Paul did? When Paul preached “the gospel of the grace of God” he did so by preaching the kingdom of God, the counsel of God and the church of God (vss. 24, 25, 27, 28). He preached a present kingdom, composed of those delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:13). When Paul preached he accepted its weight of moral responsibility. He would be guilty of the blood of sinners if he preached error or if he did not fully preach the gospel (cf. Ezek. 3:17-21). My preacher friend, never forget that your work points immortal souls toward eternity. Preaching is not about you; it is about the Lord, the lost and the Lord’s little ones. Boldly preach all of God’s word; hold back nothing that is needed for the lost to be saved and for the saved to be safe (vss. 28-32). This is your work as an evangelist. Do it well.
And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” (Mark 9:1, NKJV)
When Jesus began preaching the gospel, He said the kingdom of God was near (Mk. 1:14-15). Now, in Mark 9:1, He plainly said the kingdom of God would come (be present) during the lifetime of some who heard Him speak. Although many wish to argue with Jesus over the coming of His kingdom, we will not. Just as Jesus promised, the kingdom of God came with power on Pentecost following His death, resurrection and ascension (read Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4). His kingdom is His church, to which He adds those being saved (Acts 2:47). Ever since, those converted to Christ by His gospel are delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed “into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13). This could not happen if the kingdom of God did not yet exist. Since you now know the kingdom of God has come, the crucial question is whether or not you are a citizen of it. Believe and obey the gospel of Christ and you will indeed be a citizen of the kingdom of God (Mk. 16:16; Rev. 1:5-6, 9).