Good afternoon po. We shall continue our study on the Lord’s Prayer with the help of Heidelberg Catechism.
Last week, we started looking at the specific petitions that Christ models for us to pray for. Ito yung mga bagay na dapat hinihingi natin sa Diyos. And we were not able to discuss the whole sense of the first petition as expressed in the catechism, but we emphasized that God is honored when we truly know him and worship him for who he is. So one application we noted is that we should ask God to give us and increase in us a true and saving knowledge of God in Jesus Christ.
Now, in the second petition, it says, “Your kingdom come.”
At isang tanong agad dito, “Bakit natin kailangan pang ipag-pray ‘to?” Does it mean hindi Diyos ang namumuno ngayon? Or it could be influenced by the “eschatological views” we learned from other churches. (*Eschatology — Truths concerning the end of all things). Many churches believe that the “kingdom of God” that Christ promised is something yet in the future (not a reality now).
Yung understanding po natin about “God’s kingdom” ay may effect din sa ating requests and expectations when praying, “Lord, your kingdom come.”
Take Note: Hindi po tayo magdi-discuss comprehensively about “kingdom of God” or “eschatology.” Ang pinaka-topic po natin ngayon is prayer. And later, we will go to our 2 sermon points regarding prayer.
But a basic understanding of the kingdom of God will help us know what the request, “Your kingdom come,” means and does not mean. Again, maitatama nito yung ating prayer mismo and expectations in our prayer.
So, what we’ll look at first are the…
Two Perceptions about the Kingdom of God that the Prayer, “Your Kingdom Come” Does not Refer To
When we talk about the kingdom of God, Scriptures tell us that God rules sovereignly over all things.
- Psalm 103:19 — “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.”
- Isaiah 45:5 — “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God.”
So when we consider the “universal reign” of God, it is already there even from the beginning. Mula pa sa simula, ang Diyos na ang naghahari at namamahala sa lahat ng mga bagay. Ang kanyang plano ang laging masusunod.
In that case, praying “You kingdom come” DOES NOT mean praying for God’s sovereign rule and providence.
Another perception of the “kingdom of God” that we see in Scriptures is that of a “physical and political kingdom.” At ito yung naging struggle ng maraming Jews, kasi throughout their generations, ang hope nila ay yung Messiah ay magiging katulad ni David or Solomon na maghahari in a political and physical sense.
Kaya nga kahit yung disciples ni Christ, ang tanong sa Kanya after his resurrection in Acts 1:6, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” At ang tinutukoy nila na restoration ay yung time when Israel is prosperous and able to conquer any enemy.
That is their expectation, but as Christ said to Pontius Pilate in John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world… My kingdom is not from the world.” Hindi galing sa mundong ito at hindi ito binubuo ng mga bagay sa mundong ito.
In fact, Scriptures inform us that God will destroy everything in this world in the last day and make a New Heavens and New Earth.
So in that case, praying, “Lord, Your Kingdom Come,” DOES NOT mean longing for God’s physical and political kingdom here on earth.
RELATE: Many Christians throughout history are hoping for a time when everything is “Christianized.” Nung bata ako may pagka-ganun thinking ko eh, “Siguro kung Christians lahat ng nakaupo sa gobyerno, maayos lahat. Walang mahirap. Tapos mayaman yung Pilipinas.”
But again, the kingdom that Christ promised is not a political or social kingdom here on earth.
What then is the “Kingdom of God” Referring to?
So ano yung “kingdom” na tinutukoy ni Lord, na siyang hihilingin natin mula sa Diyos?
And this is where we divide our discussion into 2 sermon points: (1) Praying for the kingdom of grace, and (2) Praying for the kingdom of glory.
(I actually borrowed those terms from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)
1. PRAYING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GRACE
In Romans 14:17 (READ), Paul says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Considering the context on Romans 14, some believers in the church Rome believe na dapat kahit ano pwedeng kainin, while others insist na dapat gulay lang. And for them, this is important to being citizens of God’s kingdom.
But Paul argues, “No, being members of God’s kingdom, being under his reign is not a matter of rules on what to eat. But it’s about having the fruit of the Spirit in you.”
Ang isang tao ay ganap na pinaghaharian ng Diyos kapag siya’y pinagkilusan at binago ng Banal na Espiritu at siya’y namumuhay ayon sa Salita ng Diyos.
So the “kingdom of God” in this sense is not a physical or political kingdom, but a “spiritual kingdom.” It points to the saving and transforming grace of God at work in the lives of people. (Hence, the WSC terms it as “kingdom of grace.”)
And is this kingdom something yet in the future? No. It is a reality now.
- Mark 1:15 — Christ says, “The kingdom of God is at hand (it is near). Repent and believe the gospel”
- Matthew 28:18 — Christ says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
The authority, the dominion over all things has been given to Christ, and that secures the further completion of his redemptive work for his people. Compared with the Old Testament, the ministry of Christ and the apostles is marked by the widespread preaching of the gospel of salvation.
And everytime the gospel was being preached in various places of Israel and beyond, God continues to call his people, regenerates them by his Spirit, and converts them into believers and followers of Christ.
So the kingdom of God is now realized in each and every believer. It is realized in the church all throughout the world.
And the question is, “Is God’s kingdom in you? Are you a member of God’s kingdom?”
Paano ko malalaman pastor? Well, take time to examine yourself.
- Ika nga ng Nescafe: “Para kanino ka bumabangon?” “Para kanino ka namumuhay sa bawat araw, linggo, at taon ng buhay mo?” Para lang sa sarili mo, para lang sa pamilya mo… O para sa Diyos?
- “Kapag gumagawa ka ng mga desisyon sa buhay, sino kinikilala mong awtoridad na dapat masunod?” Sarili mo, kaibigan mo, yung favorite celebrity mo… O ang salita ng Diyos?
- “Kanino ka nagtitiwala para sa kaligtasan mo at katuwiran mo sa harapan ng Diyos?” Sarili mo… o si Cristo?
- “Anong pinaka-hangarin mo sa buhay?” Yumaman, maka-travel sa buong mundo… o makilala at makapiling ang Diyos magpakailanman?
Your answers to these questions will reveal whether you are in God’s kingdom or not. And friends, there’s no in between. It’s either you are a member of God’s kingdom or you’re not. Either you are under the lordship of Christ or under the rule of Satan.
And if you are still under the influence of Satan, nothing but judgment and destruction awaits you. But the good news is this, in 1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God [Christ] appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
Bagamat tayong lahat ay nahulog sa kasalanan, at sumunod sa tukso ng diyablo, at lahat tayo’y nararapat na itapon sa impyerno—si Cristo mismo ang namatay para pagbayaran at linisin ang ating mga kasalanan at para tayo’y maligtas.
At ang panawagan ng Diyos sa atin ay magsisi, magtiwala, at magpasakop sa Kanya ayon sa Kanyang Salita.
So that’s the first way we pray for God’s kingdom of grace. If you think you’re not yet a believer, PRAYER, “Lord, may your kingdom come to me. Subdue my heart. Save me and be the Lord of my life.”
And when Christ rules over his people, he rules us with peace, joy, and eternal life.
The second way we pray for God’s kingdom of grace is that we ask for God’s kingdom to be preserved and increased in us.
Dahil sa mga kahinaan natin, may mga times pa rin na nahuhulog tayo sa kasalanan, natutukso ng mundo, at nanghihina sa pananampalataya. That’s why we pray, PRAYER: “Lord, rule in us so that more and more we submit to you.”
We believe that none of God’s elect will perish. No true believer will lose salvation. But praying this way is God’s appointed means of grace for preserving us.
READ 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5.
That is the mark of true and mature believers. Are we praying that God’s Word will come to us not only as written letters and spoken words, but in power and full conviction? Hence, let us pray that whenever we read God’s Word or listen to the preaching every Lord’s Day, we will leave this place revived and transformed by the Spirit.
The third way we pray for God’s kingdom of grace is that we ask for God’s kingdom to spread to others.
Not just for us, but for others as well. We may not know who are the elect, but there will always be elect out there who needs to hear the gospel towards conversion in Christ.
- Are we praying for the conversion of our loved ones?
- … our friends? Neighbors?
To pray, “Lord, increase your church,” is to pray for the gospel ministry:
- Are we praying for our pastors? Are we praying for more ministers, even elders and deacons to fulfill the ministry?
- … for missionaries?
- … for wisdom, strength, provisions for training, so that more and more we will be equipped to proclaim the gospel to others?
Of course, that implies that we too should be intentionally involved in supporting the gospel ministry. But it all starts with the heart for it and praying for it.
PRAYER: “Lord, may your gospel reach more people who are lost. And grant us whatever is needed to support it.”
So we pray for God’s kingdom to come to us and increase in us, and also to spread to others. That’s how we pray for God’s kingdom of grace.
Now, aside from praying for God’s kingdom of grace at the present, praying “Your kingdom come” also means praying for God’s kingdom of glory in the future.
And that leads us to our sermon point 2…
2. PRAYING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GLORY
As believers living between Christ’s 1st and 2nd coming, we are living in the “already, but not yet” state. What do we mean?
READ 1 Corinthians 15:24-26
24 “Then comes the end, when he [Christ] delivers the kingdom to God the Father [the kingdom already exists] after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
The whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 is about the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the believers unto glory. And here we see that although the kingdom is already here (though spiritual), although Christ is already reigning, there is still a future state where Christ will consummate everything. Pag-sinabi nating “consummate,” magiging perpekto at kumpleto na lahat. As in perfect and complete in all respects.
ILLUSTRATION: When you plant a tree from a seed and it grows 4 or 5 feet tall, you know it is perfectly alive. But it is not yet fully grown.
As believers now, our salvation is already perfect but not yet completely perfect.
- We are already forgiven and justified (no need for further works)… but we are not yet completely free from sin and temptation. May righteousness na, but not yet complete righteousness.
- We already have peace with God and fellowship with him… but there are still limitations and distractions
- We now have knowledge of him… but we’re not yet free from ignorance and confusion
- We are healed spiritually… but not yet free from sickness and death
- We now possess the Spirit (i.e., fruit of the Spirit)… but not yet in complete fullness.
So while we now experience the newness of life, there is more yet to come! A place where:
- Wala nang kasalanan
- Wala nang lungkot or ano mang mga bagay na ikakatakot
- Wala nang conflicts, misunderstanding, or issues with one another
- Wala nang pagod sa pag-serve para kay Lord
- Wala nang imperfections and distractions while worshipping God
- Wala nang limitations in knowing him.
But we shall all behold him and enjoy him in the fullness of his glory and the joy of his presence forevermore.
And as members of God’s kingdom, that is where we’re heading, brothers and sisters.
Is this what we long for? Is that our desire, that God will bring everything to perfection now!?
Of course, hindi natin pwedeng pabilisin yung pagbalik ni Lord. Only God knows when. So to pray, “Lord, your kingdom come” means, “Lord, help me set my minds on your heavenly kingdom.”
As Paul said in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Let’s admit it. The reason why we pray less about heaven is that we are so in love of this world. The reason why we think little of heaven is that we are so busy with the concerns and anxieties and dreams of this world. That’s part of our weakness.
Every day, every season of every year, we are tempted by the world and worldly things. We are tempted to have other things rule our hearts and lives.
EXAMPLE: December is a season where we get many things in this world. Parties in the office, reunion with friends, family gatherings, lots of gifts. It is not wrong to enjoy the fruit of our labors, and celebrate with our loves—these are God’s good gifts to use here on earth.
But there’s more than these things. There’s more beyond this world. Perfect joy, perfect peace, everything perfect for those who belong to Christ.
As so our PRAYER should, “Lord, fill my minds more and more of the riches of heaven, that I may less and less treasure this world.” The more we long for heavenly things, the less we will embrace the things of this world.
Mga magulang ko po’t kapatid, this world is passing away. But we have this blessed comfort and hope, that in Jesus Christ, the best is yet to come and will surely come.
In Revelation 22:20, Christ said, “Surely I am coming soon.” May our hearts reply, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Come!”
Reuel Dawal is the Minister of the Word and Sacraments at ZCRC. He was an intern prior to being ordained and installed as the church's new pastor. He is currently finishing his Biblical and Theological Studies at the Miami International Seminary (MINTS) online. He and his wife Yeng are married since 2017 and lives in Imus, Cavite.