Tuesday, September 6, 2011

YOUR KINGDOM COME; do we really want that?

For the last few weeks at my church, we have been studying "The Lord's Prayer".

Here is the first part of the prayer: (Luke 11:2) "...Our Father in heaven,Hallowed be Your name. YOUR KINGDOM COME. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven..."

A lot of times, we just skip over this part and focus on the second part of the prayer: (Luke 11:3-4) "...Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us and lead us not into temptation..."

In today's american church, sometimes I'm not so sure that we want "HIS kingdom to come". We rather like things the way they are. We've built a "god in our own image", a militaristic, materialistic god, who winks at our greed and our love of violence. This god looks nothing like the Christ of scripture who came proclaiming "the kingdom of God"

Early on in HIS ministry, Jesus declared: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the favor of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19)

Two prophets (Isaiah & Micah) wrote the following, describing what the "Kingdom of God" looks like: "...Come, let us go to the house of God. There HE will teach us HIS ways and we will walk in HIS path. HE will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between the nations. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore and everyone will live in peace..." (Micah 4:2 & Isaiah 2:2-4)

Before this, we see that military violence was not a part of God's original plan for HIS people. God wanted to be HIS people's champion; their warrior; their defender.

Look at these verses:

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still" Ex.14:14

"I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared...If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you...Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water...I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run...I will send the HORNET ahead of you.." (Exodus 23:20-28)

"The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes" Deuteronomy 1:30

"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you"
2 Chronicles 20:17

"Not by power or by might, but by MY Spirit says the Lord of hosts" Zechariah. 4:6

THIS WAS GOD'S PLAN! All the military violence we read about in the Old Testament is a DIRECT RESULT of human disobedience and people trying to do things THEIR WAY.

Can we just admit that we've tried it "our way" and we've only made a mess of things? Oh that God's people would in earnest pray YOUR KINGDOM COME!

A few more passages that indicate how those of us in the kingdom should act & react:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward is that to you?'" - JESUS (Matthew 5:43-47)

"Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." - JESUS (Luke 6:35-36)

"Do not repay evil for evil...live at peace with everyone,. Do not take revenge...on the contrary, if you enemy is hungry, feed him! If he is thirsty, give him something to drink...do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" - Paul the Apostle (Romans 12:17-21)

“If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” - JOHN THE BAPTIST (Luke 3:11)

In the book "Acts of the Apostles", Luke paints a beautiful picture of how the believers in the first century acted out this "kingdom living':

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts" (Acts 2:44-46)

"No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had...so that there were no needy persons among them, for from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need." (Acts 4:32-35)

GOD'S KINGDOM IS BASED ON LOVE! HIS love for us, Our Love for HIM, Our love for people.

In the words of Shane Claiborne, "Once we really understand how to love our neighbor as our self, capitalism as we know it won't be possible and marxism won't be necessary"

I don't think we (america) have EVER truly allowed God to be our champion, our warrior, because we would rather trust in our military might. We don't really BELIEVE that God can be our DEFENDER.

What if....we decided to bless our enemies AND let God be our champion?

Do you believe that tyrants like Hitler or Osama BIn Laden are too big and mighty for God to overcome?

No comments:

Post a Comment