The Lord's Prayer, Part 3Thine Is the Kingdom
Leslie Basham: “Thine is the kingdom.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains what it means.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It means the kingdom isn’t mine. It doesn’t belong to me. For some of us, this may be news—but it means I’m not in control. I’m not God.
Ladies, we smile a little when I say that, but I think one of the besetting sins of the female part of the human race—I don’t mean to leave the men out, and I’m sure some of them struggle with them, too—but I can speak for women; we are born controllers.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, November 21.
“For Thine is the Kingdom.” This phrase doesn’t just bring the Lord’s Prayer to a close. It’s not a generic closing language like, “Yours truly” or “Sincerely.” This phrase is full of meaning. Here’s Nancy to show us.
Nancy: Well, I hope as you’ve followed along in our study of the Lord’s Prayer that you have been freshly challenged and blessed and taken up with the wonder of how much is in this prayer.
We really could never fully plumb the depths. Some of you think about how long we’ve been studying it together, and you wonder how anybody could have ever gotten this much out of the Lord’s Prayer, but I think you’ve seen that each phrase, each word is pregnant with meaning.
It would take us a lifetime to fully understand all that it means. I hope you’ve seen in the Lord’s Prayer that it’s not only the way Jesus taught us to pray, and it is that. It’s a model prayer; it’s a pattern for our praying. Everything that you could possibly think of or need or want or pray somehow can fall under one or more of the aspects of the Lord’s Prayer.
Certainly, it is teaching us a way to pray, but I think even broader than that, you’ve seen that the Lord’s Prayer is teaching us the way to think, a way to live, a perspective on all of life. We pray, “Thy kingdom come,” but we want to live in submission to His kingdom and letting His kingdom come in our lives.
Every aspect of the Lord’s Prayer is instructive for us, not only about our prayer life, but also about life in general. I love how all-encompassing the Lord’s Prayer is. There’s so much balance in it. It has symmetry; it covers the bases, so to speak.
We saw when we started this series, early on, that the Lord’s Prayer starts with worship—appropriately, “Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). We saw that biblical praying is God-centered praying.
We don't just start our prayer "Father" or "Dear God" or "Dear Lord" or "Our Father" because that's the way to start a prayer, just words that we say. Jesus warned us against vain repetitions, praying things thoughtlessly, not really considering what we are praying.
It's important that our prayer life be really grounded in who God is. So that's why Jesus taught us to start with worship.
When we say, “Our Father,” (and we spent quite a bit of time on this) there’s that sense of familiarity that Jesus has said we have permission to have with God.
The Old Testament saints knew very little of God as Father. God was someone who could not be approached. He was a God who came down in thunder and lightning and fire and earthquakes and made mountains shake. The God of the Old Testament is no different than the God of the New Testament.
In the New Testament you see some of those evidences of God’s power and presence, as well, but when we come to the cross, which is the crux of the matter, that’s what bridges the gap between the old covenant and the new covenant.
When we come to the cross, Jesus makes it possible for us to approach God, not to be pushed away by Him, but to draw near. In the Old Testament they were told, “Don’t come near the mountain where God is, or you will die.”
Jesus said, “Here’s a way, through My shed blood on the cross of Calvary, that you can come near.” So we can approach Him boldly. We can come to Him as our Father. We can share our needs with Him with the same ease with which children share their needs with a loving, earthly father.
In a good, healthy family relationship, children don’t quiver in fear at the thought of going and asking their father for something they know he wants to give them. It’s our father. Yet, with that sense of closeness and intimacy and familiarity, there’s also a sense when we say, “Our Father,” of reverence, of awe, of respect for this great God who is infinitely above and beyond us.
As we pray this prayer, we recognize that we stand in awe of:
- His splendor
- His greatness
- His power
- His authority
- His immensity
- His glory.
We bow the knee before this Father, for He is not only Father; He is King. We bow the knee before His majesty and His sovereignty. While worshiping this great King, our Father, we then feel the freedom to bring before Him our petitions. Jesus said that we should.
We recognize that He has the ability and the desire to meet our needs as no one else can. As we’ve been going through this series, it has struck me how often I tend to ask other people to meet my needs and forget to ask God. Every good and perfect gift is from above. It comes down from the Father of Lights. Jesus said, “Worship the Father, and then come and bring your petitions before Him.”
We looked at six petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. The first three center on God and His glory—hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done. His name, His kingdom, His will. It’s all about Him. Then the last three petitions that we’ve looked at more recently have to do with our problems, our needs, our concerns. We’re encouraged to take every concern to the Lord. "Oh what peace we often forfeit, all because we do not carry everything to Him in prayer," the hymnwriter said.
And so we pray, “Lord, give us this day our daily bread” (v. 11). That has to do with our present needs, today’s needs, our practical needs. It’s a prayer for provision. Then we pray, “Lord, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (v. 12). That’s a prayer that covers our past. “Lord, in our past, we have failed. We have sinned. We need pardon. Not only provision for today, but pardon for yesterday.” Then, as we look to the future, we pray, “Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (v. 13).
Deliver us—snatch us out of the jaws of the evil one. It’s a prayer for our future for protection. Present provision, past pardon, and future protection.
Today, we come to the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer—what some have called the epilogue. Having laid our burdens before the Lord, having told Him our needs, having asked Him to meet those needs, having expressed faith that He can meet those needs, we continue to bow before Him.
We end where we started—in worship, and we’ve been worshiping all the way through. We come to that phrase, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matt. 6:13).
Before we dig a little into what that means—and we’re going to take several days unpacking that sentence—let me start by telling you that that sentence is not found in many of the most reliable manuscripts of the original New Testament.
I read numbers of commentators on this. Most seem to agree that this sentence is probably not in the original text. There are some who would disagree with that, and you’ll find in your modern translations that sentence is often in brackets or even as a footnote.
But I think we would all agree that what that sentence says, “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen,” is biblical. It’s consistent with the rest of Scripture. As we look back, we can see in church history that that sentence has been used if nothing else as a congregational response to the Lord’s Prayer since the very early days of the church.
Whether or not Jesus actually included those words in the original prayer He taught His disciples to pray (I’m not smarter than the commentators; I can’t tell you for sure), but I do believe it’s a biblical sentence, and I want us to unpack what that means.
“Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” That sentence is both a benediction and a doxology. Benediction is just a blessing. Bene “to speak well of,”—it’s a benediction. It’s speaking well of God. It’s blessing the Lord.
A doxology is a hymn of praise to God. In this doxology we proclaim the preeminence of our Father God, the sovereignty, His almightiness, His majesty, and His greatness. This sentence, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory,” echoes a prayer that King David prayed in 1 Chronicles 29, when the Israelites brought their offerings for the temple building project.
The temple hadn’t been started yet. It was David’s son, not David, who would supervise that project, but David collected offerings for the temple. He wanted to build a house for God. God said, “You won’t do it, but your son will.” So David made preparations for the temple. When the people brought their offerings, which they did generously, David prayed this benediction, this blessing to God, this doxology, this hymn of praise to God.
Let me read it to you, and see if you don’t see how similar it is to what we pray at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. First Chronicles 29, beginning in verse 10:
Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: ‘Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is yours.
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.’” (vv. 10–13)
Can you tell that that is kind of an expanded version of what we pray at the end of the Lord’s Prayer? “For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” As we add that benediction, that doxology to the close of the Lord’s Prayer, it reminds us to whom we’ve been praying—who God is, who we’re talking to. This is not just some guy on the street.
This is not just some good, old buddy. This is God, and we remind ourselves of that. Then as we’ve looked at these past six petitions, we’ve been asking God for things: for provision, for pardon, for protection. But as we come to this doxology, we recognize our need not only to receive from Him, but also to give to Him.
God has given so many incredible things to us. He has given us provision and pardon and protection, and so we give back to Him blessing, praise, and thanks. That’s what David was saying, as the people brought their offerings to the Lord: “Lord, everything we have, You gave to us, and so we’re giving it back to You. And with our offerings we’re bringing our praise, our thanks, our worship.”
Let’s look today at that first part of that sentence: “Yours is the kingdom.” We’ve already prayed in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come,” and we took quite a bit of time in this series to examine that concept.
When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we’re saying we want God to reign and to rule in our lives and in our world. When we say, “Thine is the kingdom” or “Yours is the kingdom,” we’re declaring that He does reign and rule, though not in the full, ultimate sense that He one day will.
But we’re saying He is the King here and now, whether people recognize it or not, whether people submit to it or not. The Father to whom we pray is the sovereign Lord and King. He’s the Lord and King of His Church, of this world, of all creation, and of all the universe. He is Lord and King over it all. He made everything. He owns everything, and He has the right to rule over every square inch of the universe.
That’s what we’re acknowledging, affirming, proclaiming when we say, “Yours is the kingdom.” You are the King. Yours is the kingdom. We’re saying, “O God, You are the ruler of the affairs of this earth. You govern over the governors and governments of this world.”
As we make that affirmation, “Yours is the kingdom,” it means the kingdom isn’t mine. It doesn’t belong to me. It means, now for some of us this may be news, but it means I’m not in control. I’m not God.
Ladies, we smile a little when I say that, but I think one of the besetting sins of the female part of the human race—I don’t mean to leave the men out, and I’m sure some of them struggle with this, too—but I can speak for women; we are born controllers.
We want it to be our kingdom. We want to be in charge. We want to fix. We want to manage, and under God’s authority and Lordship, there are some places where it’s appropriate for us to do that, but we have no ultimate authority. We have no ultimate control. You try to hold on to your children, you try to control their lives—you can’t! I mean, your children can be right in front of you, and you can be holding on to them, and something can happen.
It’s an accident; it’s an emergency. You can’t control your children, and even if you could lock them up in a room and keep them under lock and key and control physically, you can’t control their heart. You can’t control their will. You can’t control the way they think. We can’t control. You can’t control your husband. You may have tried, but if you have, you’ve found out it doesn’t work.
What a relief it is to say, “I don’t have to be in charge of the world. It’s not my kingdom. It’s God’s kingdom, and He has the right to do as He pleases with my life, with my family, with my relationships, with my health, with my world. He has the right to do what He wants to do because His is the kingdom. If it pleases Him—He’s the King—it pleases me.”
It means it’s not my kingdom. It also means the kingdom does not belong to Satan or to the rulers of this world. It’s not their kingdom. At times it may appear that it is their kingdom, and there are wicked rulers, and they are merely pawns in the hand of Satan who is trying to accomplish his will and his kingdom here on this earth.
Satan is a relentless foe of Christ as King. He wants to dethrone God. He started trying in Genesis chapter three with Adam and Eve. He’s still at it today, and he will continue to be at it until he is thrown into the pit, locked in there, and the key thrown away for all of eternity.
But between now and then, he does exercise opposition to Christ’s kingdom and Christ’s kingship and rule. Sometimes the affairs of this world seem so far from being under God’s control. I mean, just think about the international news over the last few days and weeks and months. You say, “Who’s running this thing?” It seems at times as though it’s just spun out of control or that wicked people are in control.
Let me tell you—His is the kingdom. It does not belong to Satan. It does not belong to wicked rulers. It belongs to God. In Luke chapter 4, do you remember reading about the wilderness temptations of Jesus—how Satan tempted Jesus in the desert for forty days and nights?
Verse 5 tells us, “And the devil took him up and showed [Jesus] all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” Now, this was probably not a literal ability to see all those kingdoms, but a vision. Satan gave this vision to Jesus and said to Him, “To you,”—now, this is Satan talking to Jesus, who is God, he said, “To you, I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours” (vv. 5–6).
Now, something is way wrong with that speech and Jesus knew that. Jesus says in essence in His response, “You know what? It’s not yours to give. Any authority, any reign, any rule, Satan, that you have, is delegated. It’s limited. It’s temporary. The kingdoms of this world, past, present, and future, with all their authority and all their glory belong to God, not to you. So worship Him.” Satan said, “Worship me, and I’ll give it to you.” Jesus said, “It’s not yours to give. Worship God.”
I will acknowledge that most of this world is in rebellion, is in anarchy against His rule. It’s a kingdom in rebellion, but it is still His kingdom.
This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
("This Is My Father’s World," Maltbie Babcock, 1901)
Don’t forget that—in your home, in your church, in your workplace, when it feels like evil people and evil rulers and evil is controlling your environment and your world. Remember, God is the Ruler. His is the kingdom. So if we say, “Yours is the kingdom.” We have to ask, do we render to Him the reverence and the respect that are due to a King? Do we really believe that our Father is the King and that the reign and the rule over heaven and earth ultimately belong to Him?
I know we know that theologically, but do we really believe that? If so, how will that affect the way we live? If His is the kingdom, if we really believe that, it means we will obey Him. He’s the King. His is the kingdom. It means we will surrender to Him as King. We will say, “Yes, Your majesty.” It means that we will trust He is in control of all the events of this world and all the events of my world. It means that we will proclaim His kingdom, His reign, His rule, in every way possible throughout all the world.
I may not be able to go to some other part of the world to proclaim Him as King, but I can proclaim Him as King in my part of the world. It means without apology in a world that loves pluralism and thinks any religion is okay, unless it says it’s the only right way to believe. In that kind of world, we must, without apology, proclaim winsomely, compassionately, humbly, but firmly, “Christ is King! His is the kingdom!”
It means that we live in hope—not in fear, not in dread, but we live in hope, in confidence of His ultimate reign and rule over all creation.
It means we don’t fear the kingdoms of this earth. Sometimes we look around, and we’re tempted to fear. We hear about all the nuclear threats and all the crazy people in this world—road rage, random violence, world wars—and it’s easy to be fearful, especially if you’re a mom, and you’re thinking about what kind of world your children are growing up in.
Listen, if His is the kingdom, you will not live in fear. You will live in hope; you will live in confidence. You don’t even fear Satan himself. Yes, he has power, but his power is nothing compared to Christ’s power! We recognize that the kingdom of Satan and all the kingdoms of this world, their reign and rule are temporal. They will not last forever.
I love the passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that says what will happen in the end. This is what ought to give faith to your heart.
Then comes the end, when [Christ] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him [to the Father] who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (vv. 25, 28)
Martin Luther said it this way:
And through this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
("A Mighty Fortress is Our God," Martin Luther)
So we say, “Lord, Yours is the kingdom. Yours is the power. Yours is the glory forever. Amen.”
Leslie: Even in a democracy like the United States, most people serve a king—themselves.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us a new way to live, by submitting to the true, rightful King and building His kingdom.
That teaching is part of a series called, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3. The entire series will lead you into a richer prayer life. It also touches on important topics like forgiveness, sin, temptation and asking for your daily needs to be met.
You can get all three parts of the Lord’s prayer series on CD. When you do, you’ll get some longer versions of Nancy’s teaching that we didn’t have time to air. Get all the details by calling 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com to order. You can also read transcripts from the series and listen to the audio at no charge. Again, the web address is ReviveOurHearts.com.
Think of the most powerful person you can imagine on the earth. Now, if you start to compare that person to God, it could make your head hurt. Nancy will explain more tomorrow. While you’re getting ready for your Thanksgiving celebration, I hope you’ll make Revive Our Hearts part of your day.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.