Seeing the Kingdom (1)
“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come…”
--Matthew 6:9, 10
Among the members of the Christian community a certain amount of confusion exists concerning the Kingdom of God. While all evangelical believers acknowledge the reality of the Kingdom, there is disagreement both as to its nature and to the time of its coming. In Luke 9:27 Jesus told a group of His disciples that many of them would still be alive when the Kingdom of God actually came to earth. He Himself preached that, with His incarnation and ministry, the Kingdom had “come near” and was actually “in the midst” of the very people to whom He ministered.
Two problems confront us at this point. The Kingdom of God is portrayed through the Scriptures as a dramatically new and different economy, a reign so striking in its beauty and power that all the nations of the world are captivated by it and eager to participate in it. It doesn’t appear that anything like that is happening, at least, not in this day, and this causes many believers to suspect that the actual coming of the Kingdom of God is postponed until the day of Christ’s return.
However, there are many places in the world w here it seems quite obvious that something new and powerful has broken into the experience of humankind, something, as it were, from beyond this world. We shall be examining the evidence of this glorious in-breaking throughout the course of this study.
Nevertheless, second, some people ask why, if the Kingdom of God had already come, or was to come in the lifetime of the first disciples – why Jesus would instruct His disciples, and us, to pray for its coming, as though it had not yet arrived.
The answer to both these concerns is that the Kingdom of God has not yet come to earth. Not fully, at any rate. The prophets and the Book of Revelation describe the full and final coming of the Kingdom of God in terms of a paradise on earth, where the realities of the unseen world are present, visible, and able to be enjoyed without hindrance or interruption, and where sin and sorrow have no place whatsoever. That aspect of the Kingdom of God is certainly yet to come, and all sincere believers look forward to and long for that day with the yearning of those who are journeying toward their beloved home.
But we have to believe, given the words of our Lord, that the Kingdom has come, is here, and is unfolding on earth, especially since, for the past 2,000 years, we have seen real evidence that something new and powerful has entered human history, something altogether unknown in the days before the incarnation of our Lord. The Kingdom of God has come. It is here, on earth, and it is unfolding, advancing, and growing in constant and observable ways.
But there is always room for the Kingdom to come even more. In our lives, and through our lives into all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, the Lord Jesus intends to bring His rule of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit to ever-greater presence and power. We are to pray for this increased coming of the Kingdom in and through our lives, and to seek it as our highest priority (Matt. 6:33).
But how shall we know when it is advancing? What does it mean to “see” the Kingdom of God, as Jesus promised that we would? Once we begin to understand the indicators of the Kingdom’s presence, it will become much easier and more exciting for us to seek it daily as our first and overarching priority in life.
Download the series, "See the Kingdom." Click here: VP See the Kingdom.
For more insight into the Kingdom, get the book, The Kingdom of God, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, from our online store. Or read the article, “An Unshakable Kingdom,” by T. M. Moore.