A King and a Kingdom.
In Matthew 6:10, as Jesus is teaching his followers, he instructs them to pray:
Paul David Tripp writes, “‘Thy kingdom come’ is a dangerous prayer, for it means the death of your sovereignty.” I know for me, the “default setting” of my heart is to believe that I am the ultimate authority on my life, and that I am in control. My flesh recoils at the idea that I might not be in absolute control, but the Spirit speaks the truth that to believe this is death. Christy Britton observes, “But for believers, a tension exists between our flesh and the Spirit working in us. The Spirit desires God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, while our flesh seeks to establish our own kingdom and sovereignty.”
During this season as a church, when so much of our effort and work has been focused on a building and where we are going next, it can be very easy to believe that this is about building our kingdom, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The Kingdom is about a King.
First and foremost, the Kingdom is about a King. In ancient China, dynasties were named after the people who established them, and the families that carried on that rule. Kingdoms are named by the king that rules over them, and are typically remembered and ranked by the amount of land conquered and the amount of people ruled over.
Throughout his life, Jesus is continually declaring the coming of a kingdom, with himself as its king. Jesus preaches “the good news of the Kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43) as one of the main themes of his ministry. The kingdom Jesus established is not about the amount of territory captured or people subjugated, but about the message that he came to be “God with us,” and to redeem those people under the oppression of their own sin. Jesus established his kingdom in love, laying his life down for his subjects so that they would be free from the slavery of sin.
The Kingdom is a people.
King Jesus then brings those he has rescued into his rule and reign. God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13) and makes us family – His children set apart for his purposes. God invites us into this kingdom life: following Jesus and making much of God in every part of our lives, just as Jesus did in his life. He does this through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God comes to live in us, opens our eyes to the scriptures and the work of God, and empowers us for His mission.
We can be tempted to believe that this work depends on us. I want to be clear: God doesn’t need you or me. He doesn’t need our time, resources, or money. It is only by his grace that he rescues us, brings us in, and gives us the privilege of being part of His kingdom’s work.
The Kingdom is Eternal.
The Kingdom of Jesus will last forever. Alexander the Great established the largest empire the world had ever known, but after he died in 323 BC it fell apart. The Roman Empire was supposed to last forever. It lasted 507 years before it fell. The Kingdom of God is eternal because Jesus is eternal. Jesus rejected the thrones of man and subjected himself to death on the cross so that the will of God would be fulfilled, and man could be reconciled to the Father. He was resurrected on the third day, ascended to the Father, and is alive. As Christians, we look forward to the day when he will return, not as the suffering servant he came as the first time, but as a conquering king before whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
This building we are building at 39th and Harrison will be a special place for us to gather, to hear the word of God, to educate, serve, and equip people for mission – but one day it will crumble and fall. But we, the people of God here at LifePoint are proclaiming a King that reigns forever, and a Kingdom that will stand forever. May we live everyday as citizens of this Kingdom, looking forward to the return of our King.