The Now and the Not Yet
"Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)
Matthews Gospel is often referred to as the "Kingdom Gospel." Over and over Matthew talks about the Kingdom of Heaven. The next time you read through Matthew, underline "Kingdom" or "Kingdom of Heaven" every time you come across those phrases. "Kingdom of Heaven" appears over 30 times in Matthew's 28 chapters.
In the Lord's prayer, Jesus instructs his followers on some of the things that they should ask God for. The phrase, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," encapsulates the entire book of Matthew. God's desire is not just that his will be done in Heaven. He is not interested in seeing his kingdom established there. God is interested in seeing his kingdom established on the earth.
For many Christians, this is a revolutionary thought. In many circles, we are taught that God is not interested in the world. The idea of the "Kingdom of God" is something intangible and invisible. For many Christians, their hope in going to heaven when they die is enough for them.
Jesus, though made it clear that God's will all along has been to see his kingdom established on the earth. The kingdom age began with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It will culminate in his return and his establishment of his kingdom on earth.
Until then, our job is to live as representatives and ambassadors of the King. Theologian George Eldon Ladd called this, "the now and the not yet." The Kingdom Age has started but it will not culminate until Jesus returns.
In the meantime, our prayer should be to see God's will done on earth as it is in heaven. While this might seem like a daunting task, let's make sure we think in the context of our lives. There are many things in the world that I have no influence over. My life, my family, my job, my social circle, however, these are all areas in which I do have some control.
The challenge is to always be looking for ways in which we can bring the Kingdom of God into our lives, conversations, relationships, etc. As we pray for God to establish his kingdom on the earth, our hearts will become attentive to the Holy Spirit's voice. We will become more conscious of ways in which we can spread the message of the kingdom.
What is one way you help bring God's Kingdom into your world today?
David and Annie are serving the Lord in the US, South America, and beyond, helping spread the message of the Kingdom. They are training leaders and helping build great local churches. Would you join their team? Just click here to get involved. Thanks so much!