How does your belief in the God’s coming kingdom affect your life now? Now that we’ve looked at the kingdom as hope (what we look forward to) and gospel (what we preach to others), we’ll examine how God calls us to embody the kingdom now. Taking our cue from Jesus’ kingdom-saturated ministry, we’ll see how he enacted the future in the present as a testimony and a taste of what’s to come.
three dimensions of the kingdom
- kingdom hope (including, judgment and restoration)
- kingdom gospel (message preached)
- kingdom way (lifestyle, motivation, allegiance)
Jesus was obsessed w/ the kingdom
- we’ve already established that Jesus was a kingdom preacher
- that Jesus believed he was messiah—God’s anointed king of the kingdom
- that Jesus chose 12 disciples and promised them 12 thrones in the kingdom
- his parables were all about the kingdom
- parable of the sower: responding to the “word of the kingdom” seed
- parable of the tares & wheat: righteous and wicked grow together until the kingdom age when judgment occurs
- parable of the minas: teaches how to steward what God has given you so as to be rewarded in the kingdom
- parable of the sheep and the goats: treat those in need well so when the son of man sits upon his throne he will grant you entrance to kingdom
- you wanna tell me you can understand Jesus w/o understanding the kingdom?
- he was obsessed with it
- it was his hope, his destiny, his dream, his sermon,
- he gave his life for it (Rev 5.9-10)
- he called the kingdom a treasure in a field and a pearl of great price (Mt 13.44-46)—something worth selling everything to get
- as for priorities, Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mt 6.31-33) (on quiz: in what verse does Jesus tell his disciples to seek first his kingdom?)
- but, he doesn’t stop here
- his whole ministry, including preaching, healing, exorcisms, dinner parties all enacted the kingdom
- I want to look at three incidents
- his inaugural sermon
- his answer to John’s delegation
- an exorcism
- inaugural sermon
- Luke 4.16-21
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
- Isaiah 61.1-11
1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them …the oil of gladness instead of mourning…4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5 …foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; 6 but you shall be called the priests of the LORD…you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. 7 …in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy… 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
- Isaiah’s prophecy pertains to the kingdom age
- Jesus takes the Isaiah 61 text as his mission statement
- in other words, Jesus’ mission is to embody the kingdom in his ministry
- have you heard of the golf advice, “be the ball?”
- for Jesus it’s “be the kingdom”
- john’s delegation
widow of Nain
- Jesus encounters a scene
- he’s the kingdom preacher, the one called to proclaim release, favor, good news
- he’s not just a kingdom preacher
- he also enacts the kingdom
- where he goes there’s a bubble of the kingdom
why do I think Jesus’ healing is connected to the kingdom?
- John the Baptist heard about this miracle
- when he heard it, he sent 2 disciples to ask Jesus a question
- “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Lk 7.19)
- when they arrive Jesus is in the act of healing many
- from diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and blindness
- Jesus replied:
- Luke 7.22-23
22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
- Luke 7.22-23
- this statement includes quotations from both Isaiah 35 and Isaiah 61
- Isaiah 35 had said, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy”
- Isaiah 61 had said, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor”
- Jesus alluded to Isaiah 35 & 61 in answer to John’s messengers
- John’s question is “are you the messiah”
- Jesus encodes his answer in scriptural references
- he says, “do you see the kingdom in my miracles?”
- they are acts of compassion but that’s not all
- they are acts of power but that’s not all
- they point to Jesus’ identity as the kingdom man—the messiah, the one destine to rule the world
- they point to the beautiful future the prophets envisioned
- they point to an age when everyone enjoys perfect health
- he’s doing it now, right before their eyes
- people respond differently
- if you want to know what the kingdom will be like,
- just look at Jesus in action
- he gives a taste of the kingdom
- a preview of coming attractions
- casting out demons by finger
- Matthew 12.28 28 But if it is by the spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
- Luke 11.20 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
- Jesus was effectively dropping the kingdom on their heads and they couldn’t see it
- this does not mean the kingdom has arrived, since the kingdom is when EVERYTHING wrong with the world is made right
- Jesus was setting everything around him right, but not everything in the world!
- surrounding Jesus is a bubble of the kingdom
- if you came into the bubble, you got a glimpse of what the kingdom would be like (if you were a leper, you’d be healed, if a prostitute, you’d repent and find forgiveness, etc.)
- proclamation that kingdom has come near, at hand, etc.
- Mark 12.34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
- Lee Camp:
“And even though that coming aeon remains yet in the future, there is in Jesus’ life and ministry something occurring which embodies that future coming reign. The word proleptic is a helpful adjective here: proleptic is that which represents or characterizes something in the future as having already occurred, or already having been accomplished in the present. Jesus’ life and ministry—and subsequently the life and ministry of the church—thus proleptically realizes that coming age, in which the enemies of God will be entirely defeated…we might picture the overlapping of two aeons, of the new having broken into the old; the old still holds on to its pitiful existence, while the new is even now in our midst, its triumph assured. The eschaton, the end, is even now in our midst, but not yet fully.”
- the idea is live now the way it will be in the kingdom
- this is how we testify to the world individually and as a community
- from how we do our homework, to how we do marriage, we are giving the world a foretaste of the kingdom
- Victor Gluckin:
“When people come and interact with Christians, they should get a small taste of what it will be like in the kingdom. It should be different than when they interact with people living for this age. The gathering of the church is an embassy for the kingdom. When we are together, you sense the kingdom spirit. When we leave, we are ambassadors for the king.”
- 1 Corinthians 6.1-8
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud– even your own brothers!
- Paul is flabbergasted at how the Corinthians are treating each other
- you are going to judge the world and you can’t figure this out!
- Paul uses proleptic reasoning to convince them not to sue each other
- your destiny should shape your present reality
- what do you do before going on a beach vacation?
- lose weight, get a tan, workout, buy supplies, etc.
part of embodying the kingdom like Christ did is obeying God now
- 1 Corinthians 6.9-11 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (see also Gal 5.19-21; Eph 5.5; 2 Pet 1.10-11)
- How should the kingdom affect how God’s people live now?
- judgment day
- Matthew 7.21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
- Luke 9.62 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
- Hebrews 6.4-6 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
- Luke 12.31-32 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Jesus spoke of spirit and they thought of kingdom
- Acts 1.6 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
 Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship, (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008), 75-76.
 Victor Gluckin, “The Kingdom People” in The Kingdom Story (lecture, Living Faith Christian Church, Warwick, RI, November 16, 2014), accessed May 12, 2016, http://livingfaithri.org/sermon/the-kingdom-people-part-5/.
- Other Restitutio podcasts and posts on the kingdom of God
- visit KingdomUprising.com for more resources on the kingdom
- check out Anthony Buzzard’s The Coming Kingdom of the Messiah and Greg Deuble’s They Never Told Me This in Church
- Intro music: “District Four” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.