Thy Kingdom Come = Rest.

I used to race this old 1999 BMW 328. The car was uber basic – and awesome.

5spd manual transmission, stock everything except for upgraded brakes, tires and stainless steel brake lines. I bought it quite used as I operate on a ‘cheap speed strategy’. It was my daily-driver-slash-track car. I drove it to over 230,000 kms until the engine started making this insane knocking noise. Sadly (regrettably?) I sold it. Now I’m rolling in a Ford Escape SUV. Very exciting.

I remember at one track day, rolling into the pits and seeing this massive banner for a tire company that stretched across the racetrack. ‘Power is nothing without control’.

That could have been a tag line for my consumer view of prayer at the time. What good is it being a child of God if you can’t control the power of God?‘ 

I would never come out and say that my understanding of prayer was basically to tell God what to do in Jesus name and if you doubted in your heart, you jinxed your prayer – but that’s what my theology amounted to at the time. I have since been graciously corrected and reoriented.

As it turns out, prayer is not a tool that Christians use to get more favourable circumstances. It is a gift that gives us the rest and grace of God regardless of our circumstances.

I find that I need that reorientation daily.

For some reason when I wake up in the morning, my heart has returned to it’s default setting in one way or another. I continually have moments where I’m convinced that I’d make a fantastic addition to the Godhead. More often than I’d care to admit, I think that if God would just do my will on my timeline, He’d find I’m pretty much bang on about how the world would work best.

Thankfully, His mercy is new every morning – I need it that often.

I’ve been deep diving into the Lord’s prayer with Redeemer. Line by line, it is grace upon grace. It’s not an empty template we follow, simply inserting our list of requests into the ‘daily bread’ part.

The Lord’s prayer is a gift of grace that invigorates us with confidence and gives us rest when our lives are in severe unrest.

Our old nature wants to be God and our new nature finds true rest in God, so Jesus gives us this incredible petition: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

This gives us great confidence – not because we can presume to know God’s will, but because we know His will is perfect and He loves His children.

Often, we look at the brokenness of this world, our lives, or our bodies and wonder: if God has all the power in the universe, which He does, why doesn’t He just flick His finger and eradicate the suffering in our lives?

Breathe friend.

United to Christ, you’re standing in God’s will. There’s no better place to be. [1]

Praying for ‘God’s kingdom to come & His will to be done’ removes us from our exhausting, failing attempts to be god and reorients us to rest in the greatness of God.

The root cause of all human problems is that while we were created to serve the Creator, we favour serving creation because we are born into a sinful condition. Thanks, Adam.

To borrow from Calvin’s institutes, God’s kingdom comes to us two ways. First, the Spirit of God reorients our desires and second, the Word of God reshapes our thoughts.

This heart and mind reorientation is liberating considering that we live in a world where things are constantly happening in our lives that make us want to cringe, cry or curse.

When we pray, ‘thy kingdom come’  we are asking God to extend His royal power over every part our hearts, minds and wills. When we bend our knee to the King of grace, our soul enjoys deep rest and finds peace.

If you read what Jesus taught about His kingdom in the gospels, you will find that He talks about the kingdom of God in two ways. He talks about it like it has already come and He also talks about it as though it has not yet fully come.

We live our lives in the ‘already and not yet’ state of God’s kingdom.

The kingdom of God has already come with Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. That means that united to Christ, we are not slaves to sin and circumstance. The grace that rescued us is reforming us. More and more, we will enjoy and glorify the One who saved us.

The kingdom has not yet fully come because we deal with suffering in all forms and all men face death. Christians are not exempt. BUT, suffering and death itself will be eradicated with Christ’s return and for all those united to Christ, the end is not death but life.

We don’t float around as formless spirits, singing songs for all eternity. That is colouring book eschatology.

The bible paints an incredible picture of our gospel hope. The cross was God’s plan to get us back on Plan A. He’s not on Plan B. The bible does not teach evacuation but restoration.

God is not going to destroy the work of His hands at creation and concede defeat. The devil did not succeed in knocking God off of Plan A. God isn’t going to concede anything. He’s restoring everything.

This world will be made new, our bodies will be made new and God will dwell with us. ‘Heaven’ is where God dwells and in the end, that will be with His children on this earth, which He will restore and make completely new. [2]

To borrow from Keller, a sinless Saviour dying a substitutionary death reveals the wisdom of God:  ‘He could end sin without ending us.’

To borrow from Nacho Libre, ‘let’s get down to the nitty gritty.’

If you’re like me, you’ve had moments when you looked out at the evil or the suffering in the world and wondered why God doesn’t just end it. While I am sorely under-qualified to speak for why God does or does not do something, I can say this with confidence: He’s wiser, more patient, gracious, generous and loving than we are.

You and I would have nuked the human race the moment Adam sinned. We would have nuked them when they made a golden calf to worship because Moses was gone longer than they preferred. We would have nuked them 1000 times between Genesis and Malachi. Biblical history reveals that God is infinitely more patient and gracious than we are.

We can’t fathom how anything good could possibly come from horrifying and tragic things, but of course that’s because we aren’t good with things that are broken beyond comprehension or dead altogether. God, on the other hand, specializes in resurrection. He only works with what is broken and dead. He’s that good.

When we pray ‘thy kingdom come’ we are really asking for two things. First, we are asking for His grace to rule our hearts as we live in the ‘already’ state of His kingdom and secondly, we express our yearning for the life in His future kingdom that is promised to us in the gospel – but not yet here. A life with no sorrow, injustice, tears, suffering or death.

God gives us grace & peace for life in the ‘already and not yet’ as we come to Him in worship.

Good news.

God is working everything out in all of human history for the good of our salvation and for His glory – despite all appearances to the contrary. He’s that good. He loves us with a love so so strong, that united to Christ, death itself is not going to hold us.

Of course we can’t really grasp that, but that’s the beauty and magnitude of the gospel. The end of our understanding and ability marks the beginning of our worship, wonder, awe, and restful dependancy.

We pray so that in our helplessness, we are lifted out of hopelessness.

A toddler cannot understand how being denied what they want could possibly be good. No amount of reason helps the child because the reasoning that undergirds your will is eclipsed by their commitment to theirs.  In a cosmic sense, we’re all toddlers.

God grants us His grace to bear the suffering that comes with living in a world broken by sin. As we pray ‘thy kingdom come’ we find rest in the greatness God’s divine will and this reorders our will, giving us peace.

The worship and adoration in the Lord’s prayer leads us into God centredness, healing us of our self centredness.

Self centredness curves us inward where we become anxious and exhausted because we don’t have control over everything. God centredness turns us upward where we find peace and are liberated because we know God is with us despite everything. 

Prayer is a great gift whereby we can come and be comforted by Our Father. There is great rest to be found by confessing our smallness and trusting in His greatness.

You have a loving Father over you. Your life is in the hands of the death proof saviour of the world who brought cosmos from chaos, brought life from death and holds the universe together with a word of His power.

Thy kingdom come.

Press on,

Paul

Listen to the sermon on “Thy Kingdom Come” HERE
[1] John 10:27-30, Philippians 1, Ephesians 1:1-14, Ephesians 2, Hebrews 13:20-21

[2] Acts 3:21, Romans 8:20-21, Romans 11:25-26, 1 Corinthians 15:25-26, Revelation 21

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