Sermons

Advent 3 Midweek: 2nd Petition (Titus 3:4–8a)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

How does God’s Kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity. (LSB 324)

INI + AMEN.

God’s kingdom “certainly comes by itself without our prayer,” but in the 2nd Petition “we pray…that it may come to us also.” (LSB 324) But before we can look at how it comes to us, like you just said, we need to know what the Kingdom of God actually is. We hear that word “kingdom,” and we think of Kings and castles, lands and borders.

But God’s Kingdom has nothing to do with the countries, lands, rulers, and borders of this world. We’re not praying for some sort of Christian kingdom to be set up somewhere that will conquer lands and beat up on other “ungodly” nations. King Jesus Himself says, “My Kingdom is not of this world.”

God’s Kingdom is outlined for us in the Apostles’ Creed: that Jesus was sent from the Father to die for the sins of the world, to redeem you from sin and death, to purchase you out from under the devil’s power all with His holy, precious blood. The Kingdom of God is Jesus dying and rising for you, for me, and for all.

That’s the sort of Kingdom we’re praying for in the Second Petition. That Kingdom “certainly comes by itself without our prayer.” Jesus came, died, rose. He just did it. No one prayed for it, asked for it, really even wanted it. But He did it, just like His Father wanted Him to. We need that sort of Kingdom to keep coming to us. We need Jesus to keep coming to us, saving us, protecting us. We need His death and resurrection for us to become ours.

((2. God’s Kingdom is yours now.))

So then, “How does God’s Kingdom come” to you? Well, it already has. You’re in the Father’s Kingdom. His “kindness and love” have already “appeared,” as Paul says. Done deal. Past. “Certainly comes by itself without our prayer.” “It is finished,” Jesus says. But it’s not just off somewhere. The Father’s Kingdom advents right to you, each one of you! That, too, was “without your prayer.” He just did it in Holy Baptism.

You were brought into the Kingdom when the Spirit came upon you in the waters of Holy Baptism. Paul says, “The Father saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit advented to you, bringing God’s Kingdom to you and you into God’s Kingdom. It’s all done deal. There Jesus’ death and resurrection were made yours. All gift. God’s Kingdom accomplished, “finished” for you and right to you.

So, why do we need to keep praying for this Kingdom to keep coming if it’s already ours? Why does Jesus teach us to pray this prayer “daily”? Because we don’t believe it. We live as if the Father’s Kingdom doesn’t really matter. We live as if it hasn’t advented right into our “heart, soul, mind, and strength.” “We don’t let His love have its way with us, and so our love for others has failed.” We live as if His Word doesn’t actually matter. We’ve learned all the right answers already! Why read or go to Sunday School or Bible class? We live as if Jesus’ body and blood don’t matter. Not enough to receive as if our very eternal lives depend on it, anyway. But He’s moved all history for you to have it. He took on that body and blood and was born when “Quirinius was governor of Syria.” He was “crucified for us under Pontius Pilate.”

So we should “daily” pray “Thy Kingdom come.” He poured it out “richly” in Holy Baptism. He all the more makes it yours. You need that eternally much. So pray for it. “Thy Kingdom come.” It’ll happen. More Word read and studied. More Gospel heard. More Absolution received. More Body eaten. More Blood drunk. Then there’s More Spirit. More Jesus. More salvation. More Kingdom. Right to you. Free gift! Without this Kingdom coming to you, there’s no chance of you having a “godly life here in time.” No “faith toward God.” No “love toward one another.”

((1. God’s kingdom will be yours, too.))

But there isn’t just a “godly life here in time.” There’s also a “godly life…there in eternity.” Your Father’s kingdom is yours, but your Father’s Kingdom will be yours, too. The Kingdom of Salvation is an everlasting one. There is “the resurrection of the body” and “the life everlasting,” after all. It’s why Paul calls both the Father and Jesus “Savior.” Because that’s what the Kingdom’s all about. Salvation. Eternal salvation. That’s delivered to you now “richly,” but it will be given to you forever on the Last Day.

It really will be because you’re an “heir of eternal life.” Made one in Holy Baptism. The Spirit did that for you. You are an heir now, and you continue to live as an heir only by the Spirit in the Gifts. More Word. More Gospel. More Absolution. More Body and Blood all mean more Spirit. He’s the one who does it all. If you avoid the “here in time” work of the Spirit, then there will be no “godly life…there in eternity” either.

But what a gift “there in eternity will be.” Paul says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” That’s a gift yet to come. But it will. We pray for that to come to us, too. We are praying for Jesus to “come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead” whenever we pray “Thy Kingdom come.” And He’ll answer that prayer, just like He answers it by keeping His Word and His Gospel and His Absolution and His Body and Blood “here in time” for you so that you will be “there in eternity” with Him.

((Conclusion.))

God’s Kingdom is the Father sending His Son, Jesus, to die and rise for you. It’s the Spirit creating the faith within you so that you trust what Jesus has done for you and receive the Gifts Jesus instituted for you. The Kingdom “certainly comes by itself without our prayer” so “we pray in this Petition that it may come to us also.”

How does God’s Kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity. (LSB 324)

And what does that mean? Just what I’ve been saying for the past 10 minutes or so. YOUR FATHER’S KINGDOM IS AND WILL BE YOURS. He makes it happen. Not you. When you get involved, you get in the way. You really do. I do, too. Just look at how we live!

The Kingdom is yours in Holy Baptism. Free gift there. There “the Holy Spirit” was “poured out on [you] richly through Jesus Christ [your] Savior.” All the more richly “here in time.” Word. Gospel. Absolution. Body. Blood. In all those things THE FATHER’S KINGDOM IS…YOURS.

But it’s not just yours now. THE FATHER’S KINGDOM…WILL BE YOURS “there in eternity,” too. You’re made ready for that in the Gifts (the Word and Sacraments) by the Spirit. No Spirit. No eternal life. But how richly He works, how richly the Kingdom’s guaranteed: Word. Gospel. Absolution. Body. Blood. THE FATHER’S KINGDOM IS AND WILL BE YOURS. “This is a trustworthy saying.”

INI + AMEN.

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