The Book of Matthew

Tuesday: God’s Kingdom on Earth

Theme

Sermon: Thy Kingdom Come
Scripture: Matthew 6:10
In this week’s lessons, we learn what the kingdom of God is and how it manifests itself on earth.
Theme: God’s Kingdom on Earth
The normal course of the kingdoms of this world is described in a remarkable way by God in the book of Daniel. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon, had given a party in the course of which he had defiled the vessels taken from the temple of God at Jerusalem. In the midst of the party, handwriting had appeared on the wall of the palace, and Belshazzar was frightened. The writing said, “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN,” meaning “God has numbered the kingdom, and finished it; thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting; God has divided the kingdom, and dispensed it to the Medes and the Persians” (Dan. 5:25-28). Daniel then said to the king, “God gave Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor…. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. And he was driven from the sons of men, and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou, his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this” (Dan. 5:18, 20-22). That night, in accord with the writing, Belshazzar was killed, and Darius reigned in his stead. 
This is the course of all the kingdoms of men. God allows a man or a group of men to rise above their fellows in power. The triumph of the group brings pride, and God removes them, bringing them into the jaws of death. Men rise and fall, but over all of this seething course in human history God reigns. God is sovereign over human history, even over those realms that are now in rebellion against Him. His kingdom prevails. This is one aspect of the expression “the kingdom of God” and it brings comfort to those who would otherwise be in turmoil or anxious about upsetting world events. Jesus said, “Be anxious for nothing” (Matt. 6:25-34), and He added that although there would always be “wars and rumors of wars,” nevertheless, His followers were not to be troubled (Matt. 24:6). 
Turning from the fact of this universal kingship of God, we come to that aspect of God’s kingdom on earth by which He is seeking to bring into being a race of men obedient to Himself and in tune with His purposes in history. In one sense this had begun even in the Old Testament period. For the Word of God came through Nathan to David the king, saying, “The Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thine own body, and I will establish his kingdom… And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee; thy throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:11-12, 16). David immediately recognized that this could never come about by man’s doing, and so gave God all the glory for it. Later the promise to establish David’s house was expanded and repeated. And the prophets looked forward to the time when the Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah, would reign over the whole earth from Jerusalem (Is. 24:23; Zech. 14:9, 16). 
When the Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth and began His formal ministry, the kingdom of God came in another sense and was closer. In Christ it was among mankind. Thus, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is among you.” Now, as His Spirit works in the lives of those who have been given Him by the Father, there is a sense in which the kingdom also comes in men. Thus Paul, who went about “preaching the kingdom of God,” defines it in its internal aspects as “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). This kingdom comes today whenever and wherever God’s righteousness, peace, and joy transform a life and bring the fullness of spiritual blessing. 
Study Questions:

What is the normal course of this world’s kingdoms? How does the book of Daniel illustrate this?
How does the Old Testament describe God’s kingdom on earth?
Describe the kingdom as it comes in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Application: How does knowing that the kingdom of God has both come and is yet to come in its fullest and final form affect how you think and act while the unrighteousness of this earthly kingdom continues?
Key Point: Men rise and fall, but over all of this seething course in human history God reigns. God is sovereign over human history, even over those realms that are now in rebellion against Him. His kingdom prevails.
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to Philip Ryken’s message, “Kingdom Come.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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