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“Thy Kingdom Come”
Matthew 6;10


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Midweek Vespers—January 21, 2009

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

We continue our Midweek Vespers sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven.  Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.”

Yesterday a spectacular ceremony of great pomp and pageantry took place in our nation’s capitol as the new President was inaugurated into office.  That’s the kind of kingdom that the Pharisees in this evening’s reading, and most other Hebrews in Jesus’ day, expected the Messiah to usher in when he came.  An earthly kingdom of pomp, pageantry, and power, overthrowing the Romans who were occupying their country, ushering in a wonderful new age for their people, making the earthly kingdom of Israel the most glorious and mighty on earth.  “When will all this happen?” they ask Jesus.  “When will the kingdom of God come?”

Jesus’ reply wasn’t what they expected to hear.  It was because of this disappointing reply that they could never accept him as their Messiah: “The kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

God’s Son did not come to earth to establish a worldly kingdom.  As he told Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” 

Paul says in Colossians: “The Father has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” 

God’s Son did not come to earth to establish a worldly kingdom because he was on a much greater, more important mission, a rescue mission for the whole world.  For, apart from him, all of humankind—including us—are hopelessly locked in the clutches of three great enemies: sin, death and the devil.

But, God sent his Son on a rescue mission.  “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  God sent his Son on a rescue mission, not to overthrow the Romans, but to overthrow our SPIRITUAL enemies: sin, death and the devil. 

King Jesus did indeed ride into Jerusalem to the acclaim of the crowds on Palm Sunday; but not on a warrior’s white steed, he rode on a humble donkey.  By the end of that week, King Jesus was indeed invested with crown in the palace of Pontius Pilate on Good Friday; but not a crown of gold, he wore a crown of thorns. 

Instead of conquering the Romans, he was executed by them, put to death on a cross.  Yet, King Jesus was victorious, but not in earthly battle.  He was victorious for you in spiritual battle.  By his life, death and resurrection, victorious for you over your spiritual enemies: sin, death, and the devil.

Today, our nation’s new President began his work by issuing a series of executive orders and appointments to high office.  King Jesus has issued an executive order canceling all your sins.  And King Jesus has appointed you to the highest office: child of God, and citizen of heaven. 

When you pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come,” you are not praying for the establishment of an earthly kingdom.  “For the kingdom of God is within you.”  So, what does it mean when you pray, “Thy kingdom come”?

King Jesus rules over a threefold, spiritual kingdom, his kingdom of power, his kingdom of grace and his kingdom of glory. 

In his kingdom of power, he governs the universe, controlling and directing all things according to his will.  As he says to the disciples, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  As the song puts it, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”  When you pray “Thy kingdom come,” you are praying about Christ’s kingdom of power that he would direct and control all things for your good and the good of all believers. 

In his kingdom of grace, he rules as the head of his Church, all those who trust in him.  The Holy Christian Church is not just a human organization or a sociological phenomenon, it is the spiritual Kingdom of Christ.  When you pray “Thy kingdom come,” you are praying about Christ’s kingdom of grace that he would preserve and enlarge his Church throughout the world.

In his kingdom of glory, he reigns forever in heaven over angels and archangels and all believers who have already entered eternal glory. When you pray “Thy kingdom come,” you are praying about Christ’s kingdom of glory that he would give you eternal life and take you to be with him in the paradise of heaven.  As Paul says in 2 Timothy, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.  To him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

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