Jan 7 2024 The Kingdom of God 2


Last week after our discussion time, there were some really good points brought up. Sue shared some great thoughts… John Ference and I were talking about the ‘already but not yet’ concept…

Jesus’ first announcement of the Kingdom of God – both Matthew and Mark listed these similarly:

Right after the temptation in the wilderness:

Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mat 4:17)

When Jesus was telling them to preach the gospel – it was a public announcement of good news – and that news would be connected with the new king or Caesar or a great military victory.

Luke 2: 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: 11 Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord.

14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!"


What is being announced here? There is a new king – the king has come – going back to Christmas – the angel said to them – But the angel said to them… Good news, great joy!

I’ve talked about this numerous times – but this is almost exactly the same as Caesar Augustus becoming king – 30 or so years earlier. Google the public announcement of Caesar Augustus! And the language is very similar. But God is saying – Sorry, the real king has come and all other kings are false and not true.

When we think of our gospel – and the summaries of the gospel – when Jesus came – this was his inauguration, but his consummation will come.

God has come in Jesus to make everything right – to restore all things – NT Wright

And that all takes place because of those summary points – making everything right has to do with his coming, his death, his resurrection – we have to understand it as the full story when we talk about the gospel, not just do this and that and you are saved – but God the king is rejected by humanity – and years later, He returns to be king again.

Both of the verses – the first slide – Repent.

Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. When you hear this – is there an image that comes into your mind? I think of an angry preacher! REPENT! YOU SINNER! But there is a reality, yes, we are all sinners, yes, we all need to repent, but what Jesus is doing – well, that’s too narrow of a focus for what Jesus is doing.

Repent – turn – change your mind – about the kingdom and the king.

For the Roman – for those who are gentiles – they need to turn from their current loyalties (to Caesar) and turn TO Jesus.

For the Jewish – turn – change from what you expected or wanted the Messiah to be.

Jesus came as something very different than what they wanted or expected.

For all who come to Jesus – coming in faith to Jesus is a radical transformation of our identity that is changing who we are – we are now fully identified with God – with Jesus Christ in every way – and that is how God makes thing right – and that is who the Messiah is.

We see this phrase throughout the gospels – entering the kingdom of God.

It comes up numerous times.

And Jesus invites people in- continually. And some simply reject the invitation – some say – I’ve got this or that – and reject the invitation – and others receive it.

Jesus tells a story about a wedding feast – and invitations are sent out and the RSVP’s come back as regrets – and Jesus says I have to fill the house – go to the highways and byways – come in! He makes the offer to all!

We have to be careful and never give up on a person, because God’s offer will always be extended to them. It is easy for us to give up. Often, it takes a really long time.

We don’t know WHO or WHEN. That is why we need to love, welcome and accept ALL into our lives – because even though they may have closed themselves off to that for a long time, we don’t know when they will be ready and available to it.

Already not yet reality – John F spoke of it last week. God reigns over all the earth – but there is this other concept that the earth is under the power of the evil one. It is a paradox. We need to learn to be comfortable with it – this reign is inaugurated, but not consummated.

Revelation – the last page

Revelation 21 – notice what is no longer there…

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.

The sea represents evil throughout the Bible. The sea is gone.

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them

God is in our hearts – already! But not fully around us – in person – in living color! And we have that day to look forward to.

, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them[b], 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes

No more tears – they will not exist. There shall no longer be mourning. No loss. No grief – no death – no mourning, crying, pain – the first

; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Count all the things that are not there!

Revelation 22: Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of [b]the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve [c]kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they [d]will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

AND THEY shall reign

You know the Hallelujah Chorus? Handel missed one thing! We will reign with Him forever and ever!

Genesis 1:28 – the first time the word REIGN is used in the Bible (Used on the last page of the Bible and used on the first page!)

And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule (reign) over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

God has created us – His eternal purpose for us is to partner with Him in His rule and reign over all things.

Psalmist – for a little while, He has made him lower than the angels…

Only for a little while.

But that partnership was blown up by humanity. So, God has to spend His time working to bring all of this story – this gospel story – back to the way it was meant to be – but God being God kicked it up a couple of notches! We will be more glorious than Adam and Eve – because of Jesus. The image was just kicked up when Christ died and was raised from the dead.

Jesus rescued human beings in order that through them He may rule His world in the new way He always intended – NT Wright

We think the Adam and Eve story was a disaster – but it was always intended that we were to rule in a new way – they ruled in a partial way – but we reign fully.

Watch the Bible project video on the Sermon on the Mount.

We are to rule as gardeners. God was the first gardener. It is not a rule of violence – but of peace –

This is how Luke presents His first announcement:
Luke 4:16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."

21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

This is Isaiah 61:1-2 – and it is Isaiah’s interpretation of the Year of Jubilee.

Every 50 years – all land went back to the original owners – it was the Law. How would that go over in America today?! If you bought a house in the 49th year? It goes back to the original owner.

Jesus IS the jubilee – the year where everything is restored. Everything Israel hopes for is fulfilled in Jesus. All debts are forgiven.

In these quotes – Jesus intends us to take literally and metaphorically – He did literally give sight to the blind. He literally healed those who were sick. He preached the gospel. He did not empty the prisons literally -but spiritually. And we need to look at this – there are spiritually blind, oppressed, sick – but we need to always do all of these things spiritually. These verses are always applicable to us in a spiritual sense – and sometimes God allows us to do these in a literal sense – and every time we have the opportunity – we should do this!

We will never rid the world of poverty. But we should help the poor. We should always focus on the spiritual needs of this world – as we go about doing the more literal things of this world.

Then -

Luke 4: 25 "But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." 28 And all in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;

They got really angry! Because to them – the kingdom was about their nation and their land. And Jesus is saying – it has never been that. The nation of Israel was there to be a blessing to all the people – and they forgot that – it was about them – when Jesus announced a kingdom coming – they thought it was about bringing US back into control. But it was never about them.

Those who are the outcast – the hated – the enemies – Jesus says – No – He wasn’t afraid to tell people those who He came for and to – it goes way beyond you. There is no coercion from Jesus. He never forces anyone into the kingdom. He just puts out the invitation and continues to leave it there and people get to decide what they want – and Jesus is quick to welcome them. He is the prince of peace – and we are to be people of peace. The gospel is a message of peace and joy – no manipulation. The story needs no manipulation. Paul refused to use persuasive words of wisdom. He could have wooed and wowed. But he wanted them to hear the simple message and give them the choice/opportunity to choose.

Luke 6: 20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God belongs to you. 21 "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh…

24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort already. 25 "Woe to you who are well satisfied with food now, for you will be hungry. "Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

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