Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Talking about The Kingdom of God

Matt. 12:28 But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
Luke 9:2 Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 
Mark 4:11  He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God.
Mark 9:1 Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!”
John 18:36  Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
Matt. 21:43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit.
Mark 10:14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

I've listed several starter scriptures for us to consider. Look up each one and read the contextual passage entirely.  What is this Kingdom of God?  We learned last time that there are some who may not enter it and some who may. Many preachers today talking about 'end-times theology' suggest the Kingdom of God is yet to come. However Jesus apparently disagrees. Jesus said his casting out demons gave evidence that it had at that point arrived among them (Mark 12:28). He sent out disciples to teach about it (Luke 9:2). He told disciples (and us) that we believers are permitted to understand its secrets ( Mark 4:11). He said that some in their presence would see the Kingdom arrive in power (Mark 9:1). The Jews were told that the Kingdom was to be taken from them and given to people who bear Spiritual fruit (Matt 21:43). John was the longest living Apostle who died in about 100 AD. But others were killed much earlier. The disciples must have been able to witness something powerful that represented the Kingdom of God. The Resurrection of Christ is just about the most powerful witness of God's Kingdom anyone could imagine, and all of them saw that plus many more believers.

The Kingdom of God is not something yet to come but is something that arrived with Jesus and has remained with us. The body of Christ, the church has survived these 2000 years in spite of our internal failures and errors, and in spite of Satan's attacks. The Kingdom of God is still preached. It is hear now and we are part of it. You and I are citizens of this Kingdom because of our faith in Christ as Redeemer, Lord, and King. The unity that we each have with the Holy Spirit, creates a unity among us. This unity is the bond of the Kingdom of God. Remember, Jesus told Pilot that His Kingdom was "not of this world (John 18:36). It is through simple faith that anyone enters the Kingdom of God, the faith of a child (Mark 10:14-15). While it is important that we try to reach children for the Kingdom, while they are still children, this does not mean that everyone over 18 who fails to believe is forever lost, of course. It just gets harder for us the older we get.

The important thing to remember today is that God's Kingdom is already here and we are part of it. Perhaps we should live in such a way that demonstrates that!

Your servant in Christ's Love

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