Kingdom of God Part 6

January 6, 2010

Here on A Jesus Moment we have a series of short (20 – 30 minute) teaching videos, audios, and notes that we feel help to explain what being a Christian is all about. We call this collection Preaching in Shorts. This part of the Preaching in Shorts collection is about the Kingdom of God which is central to the message and ministry of Jesus.

To listen to the message click here

or watch the message below:

Kingdom of God Part 6 from Preaching In Shorts on Vimeo.

Prayer is an important discipline for the believer. It is important to see Prayer in the context of the Kingdom of God. There are times to pray and there is a model of prayer which the Gospel writers provide for us. First, we will look at the model of when to pray and then the model of how we should pray.

Jesus found prayer a necessity. It was a meaningful part of his ministry. Luke recorded ten occasions when Jesus prayed. Seven of these passages do not record the prayers. In addition to these ten times, Luke recorded two parables that only appear in his Gospel which are about prayer.

Luke 11:5-8 (NIV)
5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The prayers in the life of Jesus are all associated with important events in the ministry of Jesus. Luke shows Jesus praying on the following ten occasions. We might find in this list some times to pray that we have not thought of before.

They are: at his baptism

Luke 3:21-22 (NIV)
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

after a day of ministry

Luke 5:15-16 (NIV)
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

before choosing the disciples

Luke 6:12 (NIV)
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

before instructing

Luke 9:18-22 (NIV)
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” 19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” 20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” 21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

at the transfiguration

Luke 9:28-29 (NIV)
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.

on the return of the seventy-two

Luke 10:17-21 (NIV)
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

before teaching the disciples how to pray

Luke 11:1 (NIV)
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

for Peter and the disciples

Luke 22:31-32 (NIV)
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

at the point of suffering

Luke 22:39-46 (NIV)
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

and on the cross

Luke 23:34 (NIV)
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Luke 23:46 (NIV)
46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

From the beginning to the close of the ministry of Jesus, from his baptism to the cross, prayer was a central part of the life of Jesus. I believe that it is true that each of us can improve in our communication with God. We can learn to pray in the power of the Kingdom just like Jesus prayed.

Matthew 6:1-15 (NIV)
1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Remember, the basic background of the teaching of Jesus is that of the invasion of God’s rule into the kingdom of Satan. This provides an adequate key for understanding what Jesus is teaching. Jesus taught his disciples about acts of righteousness and the place they should be accomplished (v. 1-4). The place for doing acts of righteousness is in secret, not in public. The pattern for prayer is the same. Jesus said, Do not be like the play actors when you pray…this is how you should pray… (v. 5, 9). The address is not a put down of prayer, but a put down of the showboating style of prayer which would call attention to the one praying!

There are two sets of petitions in what is often called the Lord’s Prayer. Actually, it is a model for the disciples to use in their prayers. The first set, petitions one and two, are concerned with the establishment of God’s purpose on a cosmic scale. The second set, composed of the last three petitions, regards the personal needs of the disciples. All five petitions are imperatives. Remember, the basic background of the teaching of Jesus is that of the invasion of God’s rule into the kingdom of Satan. This provides an adequate key for understanding what Jesus is teaching. The first petition is the hallowing of God’s name, which means not only reverence and honor given to God, but also to glorify him by obeying his commands. Let your name be hallowed. We can speak to God about allowing us to act in such a manner that his reputation is not slandered.

The second petition is that God’s Kingdom would come and be practiced on earth as it is in heaven. At some point in past time, Satan was cast out of heaven along with a host of beings. The war which arose in heaven had been cast down to earth. Jesus was teaching his disciples and us to ask the Father: “Just as you have expelled Satan from heaven, establishing your rule there, that you continue to bring about that same rule on earth.” Everything was now all right in heaven, Satan was cast out—now he is to be pursued on earth.

Let your kingdom come, your will be done. Pray for God’s Rule in our life, work, children, family, recreation.

The third petition comes in verse 11. Give us today our daily bread… This unfortunately is an inadequate translation. It could better read, …Give us today the bread of tomorrow…. Hunger is a work of Satan. Jesus took the work of Satan seriously. He requested the Father to bring to his people today some of the abundance of God’s rule from tomorrow.

Give us today the bread of tomorrow. We can pray for the specifics which we need in our lives. We can pray for spiritual, emotional, physical, financial and social needs.

The fourth petition is …forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors. This is a prayer for the forgiveness of sins. This petition has a condition attached to it. Matthew 6.14-15 makes this petition clear. These verses do not mean that our forgiveness of others earns us the right to be forgiven. They mean that God forgives only the penitent, and one of the chief evidences of penitence is a forgiving spirit.

Forgive us our sins. This is the arena to pray for forgiveness of our sins.

The fifth petition is …And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Here again a better translation could be: Do not let us succumb to the attack of the evil one, but deliver us from the evil one and his attacks. Jesus was giving instruction to his disciples on how to pray when Satan comes to attack. Satan was surely going to attack them in their ministry.

Do not let us succumb to the attack of the evil one. Stand against the attack of the evil one. The entire prayer of Jesus is based on his conviction that this present world is under the control of the evil one. The praying of the disciples in this fashion was one more tool in their arsenal.

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