By Not Known
The opening words of the Lord’s Prayer have been on our minds this month as we considered the Biblical base behind the new Ministry Plan for our congregation
After the very important title of address, Our Father who is in heaven, the prayer starts with a focus on God. (That is an important lesson for the order and emphasis of our won prayers.) The focus on God moves from his name, to his kingdom and then his will.
These are interconnected. Let’s take them in reverse order. God’s will is revealed in the Scriptures. As we do what God wills in the Scripture his kingdom rule is extended. As God’s kingdom is extended his name is hallowed, or set apart as something really special. So, as we do God’s will we extend his kingdom and hallow his name. Doing his will is central.
These themes are on view in Matthew 28: 16- 20. Jesus there reveals his will for the Church as he gives the commission to mission. But note how it begins. Jesus speaks as one to whom all authority has been given. This is his delegated authority, for the Father entrusted the creation to Jesus in order to full and finally establish his kingdom (1 Cor 15: 24- 28)
The ‘will’ of Jesus in the Great Commission is singular and clear. We are to make disciples from all nations. Put simply, a disciple is one who is under the disciple of Jesus and who does his will as a submission to his kingly authority.
Disciple making involves the external and internal extension of Christ’s kingdom. The kingdom is externally extended as more and more people are added to the kingdom by obeying the gospel and believing in Jesus. Baptism is the public symbol of this external extension. These believers are to be taught to obey all that Jesus taught – that is, to do his will in everything. This is the internal extension of the kingdom.
And so, as the church does Jesus’ will, as reflected in the Great Commission, we extend his kingdom both outwardly and inwardly. And this hallows God’s name in the linkage seen above.
It’s now time for us to move on with the Ministry Plan, turning targets into action timetables. May God keep our focus on the ‘big picture’ of his name, kingdom and will. And may he be with us always as we do this.