THE STRASBURG CHURCH OF CHRIST
Let us restore New Testament Christianity!
Preacher - L. John Bost
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AFTER THIS MANNER PRAY ("The Lord's Prayer")
shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven...
The kingdom is spoken of as yet in the future throughout the four gospel accounts. But, from Acts 2 forward, it is spoken of as in the present (See Rom. 14:7; 1 Cor. 4:20! Paul writes of the Father, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col 1:13). Notice the past tense of the verb - He has delivered us and He has translated us." That means that the Christians of the first century were in the kingdom at time Paul wrote these words. The kingdom was no longer future, but present. It had come!
Should we pray, "Your kingdom come...?" Coffman writes:
...it seems strange indeed that men still pray this prayer in exactly the same words. Should this be? No! Especially if it is prayed with any thought that God's kingdom is not yet established. Thus, if one limits these words to their obvious, primary, and original meaning, they form no proper part of a prayer today.
To paraphrase the commentator, "Why should we pray for something to come when it has already come? But, is there a sense in which this part of the prayer is still applicable today? Yes there is. In his commentary on Luke 11:2, Coffman quotes Anthony Lee Ash:
There is a sense in which the kingdom is to come in any age, since not all have owned the sovereignty of God ... Even after the kingdom came at Pentecost (Acts 1:5-8; 2:1-4), the prayer remained a valid one for Christians. If it were not, Luke would not have preserved it in a gospel written for post-Pentecost disciples. And if it were a valid prayer for them, it remains so for Christians of any age.
The Greek word translated, kingdom, in both Matthew 6:10 and Luke 11:2 means, "sovereignty, royal power, dominion," according to William Edwy Vine. Indeed, it is appropriate for Christians to pray that the the kingdom be ruled over and adhere to the royal power of Jesus Christ, the "blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim 6:15: Rev. 17:14; 19:16)!
It should be the prayer that the gospel be preached throughout the world and that the kingdom will grow and prosper as lost humanity hears, believes and obeys His Holy Word. After His resurrection and shortly before His ascension He told the Apostles (Matt. 28:18-19; Mark 16:16, harmony):
God into all the world and preach the gospel. Teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned.
That is how the Kingdom grows! It prospers and pleases God when its members are faithful to Him in faith, worship, fellowship, and service.
Thy Will Be Done
The Father's will is done when His people obey His will as taught in the Word. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
The Son said pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." His will is always done in heaven. He wants it to be so on earth.
(Continued in Part 2, November 15)
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