June 29, 2012

A Cry from Those Who Long for His Appearing

by Mike Riccardi

“…Your kingdom come…”
– Matthew 6:10 –

In this phrase, Jesus commands His disciples to ask the Father to sovereignly increase and, ultimately, consummate His kingdom. Christians must pray for the Lord’s kingdom to come, understanding both the “already,” and the “not-yet” aspects of His kingdom.

Pray for the “Already” Aspect of His Kingdom to Increase

R. C. Sproul comments:

“When Jesus told His followers to pray, ‘Your kingdom come,’ He was making them participants in His own mission to spread the reign of God on this planet so that it might reflect the way God’s reign is established in heaven to this day.”

You can pray for this in three spheres: for yourself, for other believers, and for those who are not yet Christians.

  • In your own personal life, pray that you would be an increasingly submissive, obedient subject to your King.
  • Pray that other Christians—that is, the rest of those who belong to God’s kingdom—would be increasingly submissive and obedient as well.
  • Pray that His kingdom would extend. That is, pray that unbelievers would be evangelized and converted, in order that they may become submissive and obedient subjects to the King. Commit to praying for personal opportunities to preach the Gospel to the lost, and thus playing a part in this mission.

Pray for Christ’s Return and the Establishment of What Remains “Not Yet”

Pray that King Jesus would return to reign in His fullness upon the earth from the throne of David. Pray that He would come and consummate His rule over all things, thus giving the heavenly voices reason to shout: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15), thereby eradicating evil and all that was not in conformity with the kingdom “already.”

  • Along with the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:22, pray “Maranatha!
  • Along with the Apostle John in Revelation 22:20, pray, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
  • And as the expectant and eager bride, join the Church, dressed in fine, white linen, and along with the Spirit, pray to the King, “Come.”

D. A. Carson summarizes the nature of the petition for the Father’s kingdom to come:

“To pray ‘your kingdom come’ is therefore simultaneously [a] to ask that God’s saving, royal rule be extended now as people bow in submission to him and already taste the eschatological blessing of salvation and [b] to cry for the consummation of the kingdom.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones clarifies nicely:

“When we pray, ‘Thy kingdom come’, we are praying for the success of the gospel, its sway and power’ we are praying for the conversion of men and women; we are praying that the kingdom of God may come today…everywhere in the world. … But it goes even further than that. It is a prayer which indicates that we are ‘Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God’ (2 Pet. 3:21). It means that we should be anticipating the day when all sin and evil and wrong and everything that is opposed to God shall finally have been routed.”

So also we should pray, all we who “long for His appearing” (2Tim 4:8).

Do you long for that day? Do you eagerly anticipate the end of your battle with your flesh? Do you groan inwardly, longing to be clothed with your resurrection body that is free from all sin? Do you long to be conformed finally into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 1 John 3:2)?

And even more than that: Do you long for the routing of all sin, evil, and wrong? Do you treasure the supreme worth of the glory of God so much that your soul happily awaits its vindication and victorious display? Do you delight in the holiness of God such that it gladdens your heart to know that the Lord Jesus will finally get what He is worthy of in all of His creation?

Then pray for the Lord’s kingdom to come.

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • Dave Dunbar

    We’re not nearly heavenly-minded enough.  We don’t do much of what Col. 3:1-2 says, seeking things above, setting our minds on things above.

    A fitting conclusion to God’s holy and inerrant Word:

    He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.  Amen.

  • MarkO

    No challenge to long for “the Rapture”?  
    also…
    “The kingdom of the world HAS become…” which means Jesus is sitting NOW on David’s throne now. If that is the case, then we should not pray for Jesus to sit on David’s throne on earth, a throne which no longer exists (on earth).  

    • Unless, of course, Revelation is writing about events that will take place in the future. And so in the future, when the events prophesied will take place, then it will be said that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. In which case, “has become” doesn’t quite have the force you seem to imply (or, assume) it does.

      Regarding your assertion that Jesus is now on David’s throne, I give my response with the same amount of thought and reasoning: No He isn’t.

      Seriously MarkO. We all get you’re not a premillennialist. I like that you’re still willing to faithfully read a blog that you know disagrees with you on this issue. But if you’re going to beat that drum every time you see a post loosely related to eschatology, at least do us the courtesy of putting together a reasoned argument with an air of respect for your brothers, instead of making bald assertions and assumptions amidst scoffing, as if there’s no interpretation that’s remotely feasible other than your own. It gets tiresome, and it doesn’t cast those who take your position in a very favorable light.

      • MarkO

        Mike,
        Thanks for engaging my points…

        …but as for the rest I don’t think you are using a literal grammatical-historical hermenuetic on my comment above since you ascribe more to me than I do to myself. In commenting I try to be brief and to the point. That is out of respect to you all and your readers (I don’t like long winded comments anymore than the next guy).

        back to the topic at hand.
        I was reading my MacArthur Study Bible the other day and noticed that Pastor John comments that the Tribulation begins at Rev 6 (most Dispensationalists I read say the Trib begins at Rev 4 or 5). 

        I find that helpful because this insight from him and other comments in the study Bible indicate that his position must be that Rev 4 and 5 are about the enthronement of Jesus some time before Tribulation. In reading what Pastor John says about Christ’s Ascension in the study Bible my preliminary conclusion is that he must be affirming that Christ is presently enthroned. If so that is an encouraging thought.

        • In commenting I try to be brief and to the point.

          When, in a post on the believer’s heartfelt, prayerful longing for the return and vindication of Christ, the first comment is, “No challenge to long for the Rapture?” that’s not aiming at brevity. It’s a backhanded swipe that has characterized your comments on eschatology, and is out of place. The “literal grammatical-historical” remark in your most recent comment is the same.

          …you ascribe more to me than I do to myself.

          Actually, I haven’t ascribed anything to you, good or bad. I’ve simply described what has characterized your comments on this issue.

          Back to the topic at hand.

          Actually, this is not the topic at hand. The topic is praying for the “already aspect” of Christ’s reign to increase, and praying for the “not-yet” aspect of Christ’s reign to come. So, I’ll address your most recent comments, and we’ll save further comments on that topic until we have a post up about the nature of the Davidic reign.

          Regarding Pastor John’s comments, the comments in the Study Bible indicate that Chs 4-5 take place after the present age. See the outline in the introduction, which puts Chs 4-5 as the first scene of “The Things which Will Take Place after These Things.” Further, the note on 4:1 reads: “what must take place after this. According to the outline given in 1:19, this begins the third and final section of the book, describing the events that will follow the church age.”

          None of this means that dispensationalists deny that Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33; Heb 10:12) and reigns over all (cf. Acts 10:36). Nevertheless, He continues to wait until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet (Acts 2:34-35; Heb 10:13). When that happens, He will return and rule on David’s throne on the earth, in fulfillment of 2Sam 7, Ps 89, Ps 110:2, etc.

  • Pingback: Praying today for the “already” and the “not yet” « Strengthened by Grace()

  • Steve L.

    Excellent post! As an old preacher on the radio used to say, “Keep looking
    up!”

    I wonder if Gary Demar has read this :<)