The Coming Kingdom 044

Dr. Andy Woods | May 2, 2018 | Matthew 6:9-13 | The Coming Kingdom

Andy Woods

The Coming Kingdom

5-2-18    Matthew 6:9-13   Lesson 44

Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew 6:9-13. As you know we’ve been continuing to move through, Biblically, the doctrine of the Kingdom. We’re taking a look at what does the Bible say about the kingdom from Genesis to Revelation.  And we’ve seen that we are not in the kingdom right now.   The kingdom has been, not cancelled but postponed; we carefully documented that.  And then we’ve looked at number 2, this idea that so many people have that we’re in the spiritual form of the kingdom now, so you hear people saying Jesus is reigning in our hearts and these sorts of things.  And I gave you the two major problems with that: number 1, they’re changing the Old Testament definition of the kingdom.  And number 2, the kingdom will only come after a time of great tribulation, which has never happened yet so we can’t be in the kingdom now.

Now we’re moving into part three of our study, I think we’re in chapter 16 so of the book that I wrote and we’re trying to ask and answer the question, why do some people believe we’re in the kingdom now.  What verses do we use?  So we’re starting off with a collection of passages from the ministry of Jesus.  And that’s very big because in Kingdom Now theology or what’s called amillennialism (can you all say that?) Ah-mill-en-eal-ism.  Very good.   You just have to kind of get it out of your system a little bit to figure out what we’re talking about.   But in amillennialism everybody runs to the ministry of Jesus as He apparently (they think) started some kind of spiritual kingdom, not at His first advent.  And we don’t believe that; we believe He offered the kingdom and it was rejected and postponed but He’ll establish the kingdom at his what?  Not first advent but second advent.

But they must have passages that they use and we’re trying to look at those and give you really the correct interpretation of them.  One of the ones they uses is the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  And that was what Jesus and John the Baptist and the Twelve preached and I gave you several reasons why when those verses, like Matthew 3:2 say that the kingdom of heaven is at hand it’s not saying that the kingdom is here but the kingdom is near because Jesus was there and had Israel enthroned Christ the kingdom would have come.  So it’s not here but it’s in the state of any moment expectation.  [Matthew 3:2, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” ]

And then the last time we were together we looked at another couple of verses that people use to argue that Jesus set up a spiritual form of the kingdom in His first coming.  And there’s a couple of verses in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says “theirs is the kingdom.”  [Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”   Matthew 5:20, “”Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Luke 6:20, “And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”]  And “is” there is in the present tense.  So people use that expression, “theirs is the kingdom” to argue that the kingdom started with the first coming of Christ.

And I gave you some reasons why that present tense verb “is” shouldn’t be controlling.  It’s an example of what you call a futuristic present in the Greek, where something is so certain that you talk about it in the present tense.  And I believe I gave you the example of 1 John 2:17 where John says, “The world is passing away…” passing away is a present tense verb and the problem is the world hasn’t passed away for 2,000 years since John said that, right?  I mean, the world is still here, right.  I can kind of touch the ground and see that the world is here, it hasn’t dissolved.  So why would John say the world is passing away in the present tense?  He says it that way for the simple reason that he’s communicating certainty; it’s so certain that he can talk about it as if it’s happening now.  And that’s sort of common in the Greek language.  So “theirs is the kingdom” is really not saying the kingdom started.  What it’s saying is the kingdom is certain; it’s one day arrival is certain.

And also the last time we were together we started the so-called Lord’s Prayer and this prayer, properly understood, communicates very clearly that we could not possibly be in the kingdom now if you understand what Jesus is requiring for us to pray.  So that’s why we’re looking at, this evening and we should be able to finish this this evening, the dispensational and kingdom implication of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.

So let’s go ahead an open up by reading that prayer.  Matthew 5:9-13 says, “Pray in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  [10] Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.  [11]  Give us this day our daily bread.  [12] ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  [13] ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  Anybody every prayed that prayer?  I was praying that prayer before I even got saved, as an unsaved Episcopalian.  And one of the things to really understand right at the beginning is although we call this “The Lord’s Prayer” this is not the Lord’s prayer.  This is not a prayer that Jesus ever prayed, nor was it a prayer that Jesus could ever pray.

Why do I say that?  Because of that clause there in verse 12, “forgive us our debts,” another way of saying it is forgive us our sins.  I mean, could Jesus have ever prayed, Father, forgive My sins?  Obviously not, Jesus was the only sinless human being that’s ever walked the face of this earth.

Harry Ironside, one of the greats from the past, says: “Jesus Himself could not pray for it for it includes a request for the forgiveness of sins and He was forever the sinless one.”  So this has really been misnamed throughout the eons of time as “The Lord’s Prayer.”  This is not “The Lord’s Prayer,” this is better named The Disciple’s Prayer, He’s teaching His disciples how to pray.  And if you want to study The Lord’s Prayer you would not study Matthew 6,  you’d study which section of the Bible?  John 17, that’s the prayer that Jesus prayed that we really ought to call the Lord’s prayer.  It goes on for a whole chapter where He prays for Himself, He prays for His disciples and He prays for the church.  It’s one of the last magnificent prayers He ever prayed prior to His crucifixion and then His ascension.

The second thing to understand about the so-called Lord’s Prayer, which I’m going to call The Disciple’s Prayer, is most people pray it and they have absolutely no idea what they’re praying.  It’s almost like a ritual that we go through and I know this to be true because I prayed this for years and years and years  not having the foggiest idea what I was praying.  And you remember what the Sermon on the Mount says, that our prayers aren’t to be empty ritual; we’re not to go on babbling Jesus says like the pagans but worship is intelligent, we need to intellectually grasp what it is we’re doing.  The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind can’t comprehend.  Christianity never bypasses the intellect; the intellect is a gift from God and you can’t worship God the way we’re expected to if we don’t understand what we’re doing.

So the false model that people use for this prayer is the so-called ACTS model which is not the Book of Acts, it’s the pneumonic device, A-C-T-s.  The A stands for Adore, so we come before the Lord and we start to adore Him, and that’s what people think is being communicated in verses 9 and 10, “Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be  Your name, Your kingdom come,  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  So you kind of get into the presence of the Lord and you adore Him.  The “C” in the ACTS model is Confess your sins, and people use verse 12 for that, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  So you adore God and then  you confess your sins.  The “T” in the ACTS model stands for thanks giving.  So you’re coming to the Lord and you’re giving Him thanks. And not that these things are bad to do in and of themselves, it’s just not what Jesus is communicating here when He’s instructing His disciples how to pray.  So people think thanks giving is in verses thanks giving is in verses 9 and 10, you’re hallowing the name of the Lord and those sorts of things.  And the “S” in the ACTS model stands for supplication where you’re asking God to meet your needs.  And so people locate the supplication or supply of needs in verse 11, “Give us this day, our daily bread.”

So for years and  years and years that’s the way I prayed it because that’s basically the way I was taught, Adore, Confess, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  And it really wasn’t I got to Dallas Seminary and I got under a very good teacher who is now with the Lord, named Dr. Toussaint, where he completely reoriented my thinking on what this prayer is actually saying.  And so I’m going to share with you this evening some of the insights he gave me because it’s going to revolutionize the way you pray.

Toussaint’s basic point in his commentary on Matthew, called Behold the King, is the whole Gospel of Matthew, including the so-called Lord’s prayer, or the disciple’s prayer, is about the kingdom.  Everything in Matthew’s Gospel relates to three purposes, and you can’t really understand Matthew’s Gospel nor can you understand the disciple’s prayer in Matthew’s Gospel until you think like a Jewish Christian.  You’ve got to get your mind out of 21st century America and  you’ve got to start to think the way a Hebrews Christian would have thought because remember, the entire early church was Jewish. Right?   You have no Gentile converts in early Christianity until a man named who was converted?  Cornelius, Acts 10 and 11.  And it’s really not until Paul goes on his first missionary journey into Southern Galatia, outside of the borders of Israel, Acts 13 and 14, that the demographics of the church start to change away from Jewish only, or primarily, to Gentile.

So the seminaries today will try to teach you, and they’ll try to teach you this on the History Channel and on Mysteries of the Bible, they’ll try to tell you that Mark was the first Gospel written.  I would say that’s not true; Mark was not the first gospel written, Matthew was the first gospel written.  Matthew was written first; how do we know that?  Because this is what the church unanimously agreed on for two thousand years.  Every single church father believed that Matthew wrote first.  It’s not until you get into higher criticism that started in Europe that people started to think Mark was the first written gospel.

Now why did they start to say Mark was the first gospel written?  Because Mark is shorter, right?  And according to the theory of evolution, and here’s part of the problem, they bought into the theory of evolution, they bought into the theory of evolution, right, things go from simple to what? complicated.  And people look at the Gospels and say well that’s obviously what happened, things started off  simple, sixteen simple chapters in Mark’s Gospel and that evolved into a more complicated gospel, Matthew’s Gospel.

So what you have to understand is nobody believed Mark wrote first and it wasn’t until German higher criticism in Europe that they started to second guess 2,000 years of church history.  And beyond that we know that Matthew wrote first because Matthew is a very Jewish gospel.  I’ll give you some evidence for that a little bit later.  So obviously it was written during a time period when the church was still Jewish; the church was Jewish early on so it stands to reason that the Book of Matthew would be written first to address a Jewish question.

So what is the Jewish question that these early Christians are wrestling with?  If Jesus is the King (this is their question) then where is His kingdom?   Because according to the Old Testament the King comes and what follows immediately?  The kingdom, Isaiah 9:6-7 says that and many other passages.  [Isaiah 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  [7] There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”]

So they believed in Jesus, that they called Yeshua, and they’re sitting there looking around and saying the kingdom isn’t here so maybe this Jesus that we have believed in is the wrong Jesus; maybe He’s the wrong Messiah.  So therefore God uses Matthew to explain to this Hebrew Christian audience that He’s the right guy, you believed in the right guy, it’s just His kingdom hasn’t been cancelled but it’s been what?  Postponed!  And everything in Matthew’s Gospel is going to relate to that issue.

So Matthew wrote to explain that the Jesus in whom they had believed was the long awaited Messiah.  That’s why the book opens up with what?  Matthew 1 opens up with the genealogy connecting Jesus, genealogically back to David and then back to Abraham.  Now the genealogy in Luke 3 doesn’t do that; it connects Jesus genealogically back to Adam.  So why would Matthew’s Gospel connect Him back to Abraham and David and Luke’s Gospel connects Jesus back to Adam?  Because Luke is answering a Gentile question written later; Matthew is answering a Jewish question written earlier.  Do you see that?  So he’s explaining to them that yeah, He’s the right guy, you believed  in the right guy, that’s why it has all those prophecies that He fulfilled.  He fulfilled the virgin birth prophecy, His miracles are documented and so forth.

And then the gospel is also written as to why the kingdom had been postponed despite the fact that the King had arrived.  Why had the kingdom been postponed?  Because God’s covenanted nation, the nation of Israel, did what with the offer of the kingdom?  They turned it down. And then Matthew’s Gospel goes on and it explains the interim program of God, which includes us as the church during the kingdom’s absence.  So every word, every paragraph, every verse, every jot and tittle in Matthew’s Gospel is related to that threefold purpose, including the prayer that we just read.  The pray has to relate to the kingdom because that’s what Matthew’s Gospel is all about.

So Dr. Toussaint summarizes the so-called Lord’s Prayer this way:  ““The sample prayer, it can be concluded, is given in the context of the coming kingdom.”  There are in the prayer six requests.  “The first three requests are petitions for the coming of the kingdom. The last three”  that would be petitions four, five and six, “are for the needs of the disciples in the interim preceding the establishment of the kingdom.”  [Behold the King: A Study of Matthew (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 2005), 112.]

So requests one, two and three are different ways of praying for the kingdom to come.  The last three petitions, petitions four, five and six are needs that I have right now that I won’t have once the kingdom comes.  Once the kingdom comes I won’t have those needs anymore because the presence of the kingdom will fix those problems.  But until the kingdom comes I have three needs and so we’re not only told to pray for the kingdom to come, petitions one, two and three, but we’re told to pray for our needs that we have as God’s people, that we will always have while the kingdom is not present.  Does that make sense?

So what you see here is this is not the Acts model, this is requests concerning the kingdom of God, which shouldn’t surprise us because that’s what all of Matthew’s Gospel is about.  So verses 9 and 10 are requests one, two and three, synonyms, different words, same meaning, different roundabout ways of saying and requesting for the kingdom to come.  And then verses 11, 12 and 13 are three needs we have that we’re to pray for while the kingdom is not here.  The first need is physical, the last two are spiritual.

So here we go; requests for the kingdom to come, verses 9 and 10.  The first request, and I think we went through this last time, didn’t we?  The first thing we’re to pray for as God’s people, as disciples, is “Hallowed be Your name,” “name” is the person of God, “hallowed” is reverence. So we are to pray for the time in history to come when the name of God will once again be revered and respected.

Now does God care about His name? Apparently He does; one of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain.” Right?  So the name of God is very important!  And would you guys say that the name of God is being respected today?  Just turn on the TV or even watch… even the Super Bowl commercials. I mean, the name of God is dragged through the mud everywhere you go.  And Paul, over in the Book of Romans, chapter 2, verse 24 says, “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” speaking of the rebellious Jews, because of what you’ve done “the name of God is blasphemed” everywhere in this world.

And so what are we to pray for? We are to pray for the arrival of the time in history when the name of God will be respected all over the earth.  Now prophetically when will that happen?  With the manifestation of the kingdom, because the prophet Isaiah, chapter 29, verse 23, when he makes a prediction about the kingdom says, “They will sanctify My name;” when the kingdom comes the name of God is respected again.

And the prophet Ezekiel, chapter 36 and verse 23 makes a similar prediction; when the kingdom comes God says, “I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, [which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.]”

So as citizens of the coming kingdom we should be people that honor the name of God, right?  I mean, we shouldn’t be involved in profanity and the different cuss words that so easily roll off our tongues, because the time in history is going to come where the name of God is going to be exalted, the name of God is going to be praised all over the earth.  And it’s not going to happen until the kingdom comes.  So petition number one, pray for the time in history to arrive when the name of God will be respected.  Jesus is speaking to Jews in the Sermon on the Mount, they would be thinking of Ezekiel 36:23.  They would be thinking of Isaiah 29:23.

Now as Gentile Christians who don’t know the Old Testament that well we don’t think like a Jewish person and so we miss the meaning of what He’s saying; we fall for different models trying to explain this, like the Acts model.  But if you were speaking to a Jewish person… I remember, I went to high school with a very devout Jewish person and we were having to read a story in a high school class, each student took a turn reading a different section of this story from the book.  I can’t even remember what book it was, but it was something out of classical literature. But we had to read a paragraph where the character in the story was using God’s name in terms of profanity.  And I remember when he got to that part he just said to the teacher I’m sorry, I can’t read that, because in Judaism you can’t do that,  you can’t just go around using the name of the Lord in vain.

In fact, Melanie Stafford, a Hebrew Christian,  used to be our secretary here, and when she would use the name God in e-mails and things she would leave out a vowel in the middle because she felt that if she just used the name God in just common speech, to her that would be misusing the name of the Lord.  So what I’m saying is a Jewish person would understand what he’s saying here.  So pray for the time in history where the name of God will be respected and exulted again all over the world and the only time that’s going to happen is the kingdom, the coming of the kingdom.

The second clause is we are to pray “Thy kingdom come,” that’s in verse 10.  Not only are we to pray “Hallowed be Your name” but we are to pray “Thy kingdom come.”  Now the word “kingdom” here is the Greek word basileia.  Does Jesus define what he means by the kingdom here?  He doesn’t define it at all?  So how do you think we ought to define it?  By the Old Testament.  It’s a term that makes sense if  you pour into it everything that’s preceded in biblical revelation.

And we spent a lot of time going through the Bible defining the kingdom, haven’t we?  The kingdom is a time period when Jerusalem will be the center of worldwide authority, politically and spiritually.  It’ll be a time of perfect justice, world peace, peace in the animal kingdom, universal spiritual knowledge.  It’s that stone cut without human hands that destroys that ten king confederacy.  In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, Daniel 2:44.  [Daniel 2:44, “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”]

And because we define the kingdom the way the Old Testament defines it and we’re not experiencing kingdom conditions now, the kingdom must be future.  That’s why the doctrinal statements of our schools reflect that idea.  The College of Biblical Studies that I was a professor at for seven years has a doctrinal statement and it says, concerning the end times, “The imminent return of the Lord, which is the blessed hope of the church, is to be followed in order by the tribulation, the establishment of the reign of Christ on earth for one thousand years, the eternal state of punishment for the unsaved and the eternal state of blessing for the saved.”

See the order there?  First Christ comes back for His church. That’s the rapture.  Then you have the seven year tribulation period and then only after that period has come and gone, then  you have the second advent of Christ where  you have the kingdom.  How do you get that?  You get that from coming to the word kingdom with the definition that the Old Testament has already set up for us.

Sugar Land Bible Church has a clause in one of our position statements concerning the dispensations and these are the different ages of time yet future, present and yet future.  And this comes word for word right out of Dallas Seminary’s doctrinal statement.  It says, “At least three of these dispensations are mentioned in the Bible and are the subject of extended revelation, viz.: the Dispensation of the Mosaic Law,” that’s the Old Testament, “the present Dispensation of Grace” that’s the church age that we’re living in now, and notice this, “and the future” see that,” the future Dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom. In interpreting the Bible, we believe that these are distinct and should not be intermingled or confused.

The moment someone comes into this church and starts to authoritatively teach that Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now and we are in a spiritual form of the kingdom now is the moment they’re violating our doctrinal statement because we’re very clear about it that the kingdom is yet future. We’re in the present age of the church, not the kingdom.  And to drag kingdom concepts yet future into the present age is to intermingle and confuse those three dispensations.

We don’t even teach seven dispensations here, I mean I do personally because I believe in them, but we basically believe in three, the present age of the church, the Old Testament Law, and the coming age of the kingdom.  And with the advent of progressive dispensationalism Jesus is reigning on David’s throne now, which is now being taught very aggressively at Dallas Seminary, they believe   in an already not yet form of the kingdom, we’re in it spiritually but we’ll be in it to a greater extent later in the millennium.  They’ve violating their own doctrinal statement.  Now they get real mad when you point this out.  And when I was going to school there I used to try to bring these things up and I was sort of dismissed as a fanatics that actually wanted to follow the doctrinal statement the school was based on.  That was held out to me as this is what will be taught here when they asked for my tuition money, so yeah, the doctrinal statement is kind of important.  If you can violate one section of the doctrinal statement how hard is it to violate another one?  And another one?  And another one?  And people say oh, it’s just a minor issue.  Well, if I can damage it here and ignore it here I can ignore it basically anywhere.  That’s why doctrinal statements, at least to my way of thinking, our way of thinking, matter.  But they were confusing and intermingling the dispensations, that’s what they were doing, by making today phase A of the millennial kingdom, or spiritual form of the kingdom.

So whether it’s Dallas Seminary, whether it’s Sugar Land Bible Church, whether it’s the College of Biblical Studies, all of those schools when they started acknowledge that the kingdom was yet future because they poured into the Word what the Old Testament said, not their own personal meaning.  Toussaint criticizes those who with platonic concepts,  you know what platonic is, non-physical spiritual ideas, “who with platonic concepts subjectively spiritualize the future aspect of the kingdom of God in Christ’s teachings.”

Ed Glasscock, in his commentary on Matthew, says, ““It should be remembered that Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray, and the petitioning for God to bring about His kingdom certainly indicates that the world in which we live is not yet under His rule. Jesus introduced the kingdom at His appearing (cf. Matthew 4:17) but was rejected by His own people who chose to have Caesar as their king (John 19:15). He was not declaring that the kingdom would come in the hearts of His servants but that it would exercise dominion over the whole earth (). Thus, even though He was the Messiah and brought the promise of the kingdom to the nation, the kingdom is still expressed in eschatological terms,” that means future terms, “‘let it come,’ because it is not yet realized in human history since the Messiah was rejected and killed.”   [Matthew, Moody Gospel Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 1997), 147]

I mean, how could the kingdom be here when Christ’s own nation turned Him down and ushered in to fast tracked through the system to get Him executed.  So clause number one, pray for the time in history for the kingdom to come when God’s name will be respected.  Clause number two, pray for the manifestation of the kingdom to come one day.

What’s the third clause or petition: “on earth as it is in heaven.”  What does that mean?  “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”’ And I think we understand that one.  “Your kingdom come,” I think we understand that one but what does this one mean?  “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Now let me ask you a question.  Is God’s will ever challenged in heaven?   It is never challenged.  Can God get outvoted by a board in heaven?  Sorry God,  You didn’t have the majority on your side, you lose this one?  Can the American people ever vote against God in heaven?  No.  We can vote all kinds of people in and out, we do that all the time;  you can’t vote God out in heaven. What He says goes; it’s unchallenged authority, it’s unchallenged rule.

So what are we to pray for?  We are to pray for the time in history to come when God’s unchallenged rule that already exists in heaven will come to the earth…”Your will be done” where? on earth as it’s already being done in heaven.  What does that mean?  That’s just another way of praying for the kingdom to come.  That’s why Jesus showed up and He said to Israel, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven,” the rule that already exists in heaven has now come near.  “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  The rule of God in heaven has drawn near in the person of Jesus Christ; the unchallenged rule of God in heaven can come to the earth in a nanosecond if Israel will enthrone her king.  See that?  So we are to pray for the time to come when God’s unchallenged rule in heaven will come to the earth.

Dr. Toussaint says, “In other words, Matthew 6:10b ‘is an appeal for God’s sovereignty to be absolutely manifested on earth.”’  [Behold the King: A Study of Matthew (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 2005), 110]  Is that part or your prayer life?  Do you pray for that?  That’s what we ought to be praying for.  When is that going to happen?  The Book of Revelation, that’s when it’s going to happen because in The Book of Revelation, about halfway through the book there’s a little clause there in Revelation 11:15 that says, “‘…The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ…”   What is happening in the Book of Revelation is the kingdom of God is coming to the earth as Satan is being evicted.  Do you see that?

The Book of Revelation is an answer to the prayer request in Matthew 6:10, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  The sovereignty of God which already exists in heaven we’re to pray will come to the earth.  The Book of Revelation is an answer to that prayer request.  Do you see that?

So what do you have here in these first three partitions?  They are just different ways of praying for the kingdom to come.  “Hallowed be Your name,” pray for the time in history when God’s name will be manifested and respected on the earth.  Number 2, pray for the kingdom to come the way it’s defined in the Old Testament.  And then number 3, pray for the sovereignty of God which, already exists in heaven, to come to the earth.  These are just different expressions for praying for the manifestation of the kingdom.

What about the rest of the prayer?  Well, I’ve got three needs and so do you; three needs I won’t  have when the kingdom comes but three needs I do have right now while the kingdom is postponed.   The first need is physical, the latter two needs are spiritual.  John Walvoord, in his Matthew commentary, and I recommend his Matthew commentary as well.  He says, “In verse 11, [Matthew 6:11] the petitions are changed to the first person” I’m no longer praying about God, I’m praying about myself,  “relating to human need.”  “Give us this day our daily bread.  [21] And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  [13] And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’”  [Matthew 6:9-13]  See how it all changes there from God to myself?

So what’s the first need that I have?  The first need I have is toward daily bread.  Pray this way until the kingdom finally comes.  “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Now I enjoy eating other things besides bread; I enjoy meat, I enjoy hamburgers, French fries, milkshakes and all that stuff.  So why does it only tell me to ray for my “daily bread”?  Bread is a figure of speech called a synecdoche; a synecdoche is a figure of speech where the part represents the whole.  It’s like saying today the White House did such and such.  Well, did the White House do anything?  Not really, it’s just sort of considered a part for the whole.  The White House is sort of a part representing the whole Presidential administration.  So when he says pray for “our daily bread” what he’s saying is pray for food, pray for physical necessities, things that you need to have that will be a done deal once the kingdom arrives.

Ed Glasscock, in his Matthew commentary says bread was most likely used figuratively for food in general.  Now guess what folks?  Once the kingdom comes you won’t have to pray that prayer any more. Why is that?  Because there will be agricultural prosperity all over the earth.  You won’t even have to walk by faith any more for your daily needs.  Amos 9:13, of the kingdom, says, “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD ‘When the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip with sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved.”

Isaiah 65:21-22 of the future kingdom says, “They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  [22] They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.”  Prosperity.

Zechariah  8:12 says, “For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.”  Doesn’t that sound great, because in the meantime as you look at this planet, although in America we are very blessed materially, as you look at this planet starvation and famine are ravaging planet earth.  Right?

Here’s some verses to look up on these if  you want to.  Acts 11:28 talks about a famine in the days of Agabus.  [Acts 11:28, “One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.”]

2 Corinthians 8:2 talks about the poverty of the Macedonians.  [2 Corinthians 8:2, “that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.”]

Paul, in Philippians 4:12 says I know how to abound in much and I know how to abound in scarcity..  [Philippians 4:12, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”]

Revelation 2:9 the letters of the seven churches, in one of those churches, I think it’s Smyrna, he acknowledges the poverty that those in Smyrna were experiencing.  [Revelation 2:8-9,  “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:  [9] ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”]

So all this stuff you see on so-called Christian television about prosperity and the Christian life is a life of prosperity, and it’s some sort of guarantee, there’s not a shred of proof for any of that.  If  you’re experiencing wealth today, and I define wealth as you’ve got more than what you need, then you’re maxed out in terms of material blessings because that’s not what’s normative.

So in a world where there’s scarcity and want and famine, which will exist before the kingdom comes, the basic prayer that we’re to pray is for the basic necessities of life to be met, whether it’s bread, food, shelter.  And I like what it says, I believe it’s over in 1 Timothy, it talks about well, if we have food and clothing, food and shelter we ought to be content with that.  [1 Timothy 6:8, “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”]  In America we’re trying to get rich and the Bible says we ought to be content if  we’ve got the basics of life covered.   So that becomes part of our prayer life, right?

Now Matthew’s Gospel, was it written to a Gentile audience or a Jewish audience?  Very Jewish.  How do I know that?  Tons of Old Testament citations, a very Jewish vocabulary, a very Jewish subject matter, a genealogy that traces Christ’s lineage into Judaism, a focus on Peter, Peter was the apostle to the Jews, unexplained Jewish customs.  Mark explains one of the Jewish customs, Matthew leaves it unexplained.  Why would Mark explain it and Matthew leave it unexplained?  Because Matthew was written to people that already understood the custom.  The earliest church fathers believed, whether it’s Eusebius or Origen, that Matthew’s Gospel was written to Hebrew Christians.

And Matthew’s Gospel has a five-fold division.  There are five great sermons in the Gospel of Matthew.  How do I know that?  Because every sermon ends with this phrase, “when Jesus had finished saying these things.”  That happens five times, meaning there’s five great sermons.  The Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7; the missions discourse, chapter 10; the kingdom parables, chapter 13; the discourse on humility, chapter 18, the Olivet discourse, chapters 24 and 25.

Let me tell you something, that five-fold structure, you talk to a Jewish person, a Hebrew person, they know exactly what you’re talking about because they’re used to five-fold structures, aren’t they?  What do we call Torah, or the Law?  The first five books of Hebrew Bible, Genesis Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, isn’t that five?  You look at the Psalter, 150 Psalms divided into how man books?  Five!  By the way, when David went to slay Goliath how many stones did he have in his backpack?  Five.  I mean, five is a big deal in Judaism; it shows up all the time.

So Matthew’s Gospel is very Jewish because of its five-fold division.  And let me tell  you something, the Jews already understood this idea of provision until you enter your destination because when they came out of Egypt and they were  in route to the Promised Land, it took them forty years to get there, because of disobedience.  What was on the ground every single morning except for Saturday?  Manna. Do you know what “manna” means?  It’s a Hebrew word that says “what is it?”  Every morning they looked out and there was this strange thing on the ground, and God said okay, you can eat it, and they said “what is it?”  And so it got the name “manna,” “what is it?”

What was that?  It was the physical provision of God.  And every single day, even as they’re murmuring and complaining against God and building a golden calf, every single day it was there.  And the only exception to that rule was the Sabbath, and I think more was given to them prior to the Sabbath so they wouldn’t have to work on the Sabbath.  And what was God teaching them?  Every single day—I’m going to provide your needs!  But Lord, what about next month and next  year?  Don’t worry about that, today it’s there, today provision is there.  But Lord, what about my 501K plan or 401K plan, which is now a 201K plan?  What about my retirement, and my retirement home?  What happens if I get sick and old and can’t pay my bills?  And what about this and what about that?  God says don’t worry about it, there’s a provision for today; every day it’ll be there.  And sometimes they went and they tried to horde, Americans don’t do that do they?  And they took more than what was needed for the day and what happened to the manna?  It rotted. Every day the provision is going to be there, for forty days, forty years,  you can read all about this in Exodus 16:14-36 and that manna was there every single day for forty years, until they finally entered Canaan forty years later.  And the moment they entered Canaan and they were in the land of milk and honey, which was capable of sustaining its inhabitants, the manna stopped because it was no longer needed.  See that pattern?  The provision is always going to be there until you arrive at your destination.

So Jesus is teaching the same truth; while we are living in the devil’s world and kingdom prosperity is not here the provision will be there every day until the day comes when you will enter the kingdom then the provision won’t be necessary anymore, then the manna will cease.  So it’s an analogy that the Jewish mind could completely wrap its head around.

So we are to pray for our daily bread, physical needs.  Then we have a spiritual need; we need to pray for forgiveness and we ought to forgive other people. Amen!  Verse 12 says, “And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  Now here come the evangelists, they use that as an altar call.  How do you come to Jesus?  Well,  you’ve got to forgive, you’ve got to forgive as you’ve been forgiven.  You’ve got to ask Him to forgive you and then  you’ve got to forgive other people and if you don’t do that you’re not a Christian.  Right?  How does the Bible always condition justification before God?  Based on what?  Faith by itself.   Whether you ask God to forgive you is irrelevant; whether you forgive somebody else is irrelevant.

The only thing you have to do to get right with God is to believe in Jesus.  I have all the verses there that define that.  Genesis 15:6, John 3:16, Acts 16:30-31.  And according to Lewis Sperry Chafer the Bible teaches this 150 times; 150 time the Bible says to get right with God as a sinner that’s unsaved  you trust in Christ, end of story.

So if that’s true then why are we supposed to pray “forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors”?   This is a provision, not for justification but for sanctification.  This prayer is not given to an unsaved person.  This prayer is given to people who already are in a relationship with God because how does the prayer begin?  “Our Father,” an unsaved person doesn’t have God as a Father.

Toussaint explains, “Judicial forgiveness is not in view [Acts 10:43] but fellowship [1 John 1:5–9]. It is impossible for one to be in fellowship with God as long as he harbors ill will in his heart.”  [Behold the King: A Study of Matthew (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 2005), 111.]

John Walvoord says, “The Christian already forgiven judicially should not expect restoration in the family unless he, himself, is forgiving.”  [Matthew: Thy Kingdom Come (Chicago: Moody, 1974), 53]

Ed Glasscock says: ““It is not likely here that the issue of forgiveness is referring to initial redemptive forgiveness (for salvation) but the forgiveness for offense against the Father in the perpetual daily life situation (for fellowship). There is no salvific passage that requires the one being saved to perform any act, such as forgiving others, in order to gain forgiveness. The overwhelming testimony of Scripture is that salvation from eternal torment is a free gift not granted on the basis of any act (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Rom. 4:5; etc.).”  [Matthew, Moody Gospel Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 1997), 148-49.]

What is he saying here in Matthew 6?  He’s not telling unsaved people how to get saved; he’s telling saved people how to stay in fellowship with God.  Just like in a marriage, you can upset your spouse by doing something self-centered of sinful against your spouse but the two you are still married positionally.  Right!  Well, then, what happened to  you?  You legal relationship never changed but your intimacy that you enjoy with each other has been altered, until you apologize for what you’ve done.  See that? So what we do as Christians is we commit sins… has anybody in here ever sinned?  Some of  you are committing a sin right now, you’re lying. As Christians we can go back to the old nature and we can sin.  Now does that make you unsaved?  No!  What got cut or damaged is not your position before God; that’s already been resolved.  It’s your moment by moment fellowship, intimacy and enjoyment with God.  That’s damaged the moment you (we) move into unconfessed sin, which we don’t confess to God.

Now once the kingdom comes can you ever move out of fellowship with God?  You won’t be able to. Won’t that be nice?  Why is that?  Because the Bible says that at the beginning of the kingdom age there’ll be a resurrection, you’ll be in a body that won’t even have a propensity for sin.  That’s called glorification.  But in the interim we have the new nature inside of us but the old nature is still there, isn’t it?  It’s been rendered inoperative but I can return to it at will.  So what happens when I do that?   I don’t get unsaved, I don’t get unjustified, I don’t get unborn again, that’s an impossibility.  God is still my Father but my intimacy with Him, my enjoyment with Him is damaged until I confess my sins to Him.  For us that’s 1 John 1:9, written to Christians. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just  to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  And what else should I do in this prayer?  Not only confess my sins but as I have been forgiven I should do what to others who have wronged me?     I should forgive them.   I should forgive as I’ve been forgiven.

Now do we realize this, that when you forgive somebody it’s helping you, not the person that upset  you?  Do we get that right?  See, we’re going to hold a grudge against somebody thinking it’s going to hurt the other person; it injured us, when in reality the person that injured us probably didn’t even know they injured us.  I mean, they’re out enjoying their life, they don’t have the foggiest idea what they did to you; if they know they’ve forgotten it a long time ago and here we are holding all this bitterness inside of us.  Well, we’re damaging ourselves, not that other person.  That’s what unforgiveness does; it’s like drinking poison, thinking it’s going to hurt the person that hurt you.   See that.

So when we ask God to forgive us of daily sin and then we forgive others as we have been forgiven by God, what just got restored?   Not position but what?  Fellowship!  And as long as I’m living in this fallen body I’ll always have that need.  Once the kingdom starts and I’m in my resurrected body I won’t have to pray this ever again. See that?

And the mike started me two minutes late so I’m going to reclaim two minutes here.  The last request that we should pray is “deliver us from evil.”  “Evil” is better translated deliverance “from the evil one, “and do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.  Ed Glasscock says, ““…and the object from which we are to seek deliverance is evil. More literally it should be understood as ‘the Evil One.’…The petition of the model prayer, then, is for God to allow us to undergo the testing but to be rescued from the snare of the Evil One, the Devil.”  [Ed Glasscock Matthew, Moody Gospel Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 1997), 150]

So we are to be praying for protection from “the Evil One,” and don’t waste your time binding Satan in your prayer life. Satan will not be bound until the millennial kingdom. In the interim we are living in his world; he is unbound.  He is not bound until Revelation 20:2-3.  [Revelation 20:2-3, “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.”]  He won’t be bound until when?   The kingdom.  Now we’re not in the kingdom  yet, right? So Satan today is unbound; wouldn’t you say that?

Now the amillennialist will tell you that Satan is bound today in which case I say well, he must be on a very long leash.  He is the prince of this world, the god of this age, the prince and power of the air, the one we wrestle with, a roaring lion, the one in whom the whole world lies within his power.  So he’s running loose on the earth, so since that is true I’m to pray that God would protect me and my family, and my church, and my loved ones, from his ambitions to sift me like wheat.

Now once the kingdom comes will I have to pray that anymore? No, because he’ll be in the abyss.  So do you see what these three requests are?  They’re requests that we have now that we should pray for that we won’t have once the kingdom comes.  They are physical, meeting our physical needs, we’re to forgive others as we have been forgiven, and we’re to pray for protection from the evil one.

So you look at this whole prayer and what are you seeing in it?  You’re seeing verses 9 and 10, three requests for the kingdom to come, different ways of saying the kingdom should come.   And then we’re praying for three needs that we have while the kingdom is not here.  The first is physical and the last two are spiritual.  So since this is the form of the prayer it makes no sense to say that we’re in the kingdom now, does it?  I mean, the whole structure of this prayer is denied when people come along and say Jesus started a spiritual form of the kingdom.

Anyway, I hope that helps you and I hope you pray that in your prayer life because that’s how the Lord taught us to pray.  Amen.  So I’ll stop talking at this point and we’ll let adults get their kids.