Kingdom of God Part 2

January 2, 2010

Here on A Jesus Moment we have a series of short (20 – 30 minute) teaching videos, audios, and notes that we feel help to explain what being a Christian is all about. We call this collection Preaching in Shorts. This part of the Preaching in Shorts collection is about the Kingdom of God which is central to the message and ministry of Jesus.

To listen to the message click here

or watch the message below:

Kingdom of God Part 2 from Preaching In Shorts on Vimeo.

The words of Jesus in Mark clearly denote that the Kingdom had arrived with Jesus. The words and works of Jesus form a unity in which the Kingdom of God is spoken about and demonstrated. In Jesus we have the presence of the future. Jesus has brought the rule of God from the future into the present. We now live in the presence of the future. This expression was often used by the late Dr. George Eldon Ladd to express Kingdom reality. He often said that the church lives between the times; she lives between the inauguration and the consummation of the Kingdom. This “now-but-not-yet” concept is seen throughout the New Testament. Matthew illustrates it at 12.28 when he writes,

Matthew 12:28 (NIV)
28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15.24,

1 Corinthians 15:24 (NIV)
24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

John writes in 1 John 3.2,

1 John 3:2 (NIV)
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

What Jesus did was as important as what he said. Twentieth century Christians are often more preoccupied with what he said, too often forgetting that what he did carries the same message. He taught as much by doing as by saying.

It is fair to ask the question: What did Jesus do in his ministry? Mark’s Gospel makes it clear that the mission of Jesus was to destroy the activity of Satan in the world. He gave his hearers an optical illustration of the Kingdom in his ministry of healing the sick and casting out demons. Jesus and Satan were in a cosmic conflict that was being played out in the battle for ownership and rule in the lives of men and women. In like manner other battles were afoot: hunger (John 6), sickness (Luke 7.21), and death (Luke 7.11).

Matthew 12:22-31 (NIV)
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. 30 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

…clearly demonstrates that the war between Jesus and Satan is not a civil war within a kingdom. Rather, it is a battle between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The strong man, Satan, is bound (deo: to bind–a metaphorical term indicating the curbing of power) so the strong man’s house (Satan’s kingdom) may be plundered. The power is curbed, but not rendered completely powerless.

Matthew 16:23 (NIV)
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Luke 22:3 (NIV)
3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.

Jesus won the war, but there are battles still left to be fought. Jesus gave his disciples the mission of continuing to bring the Rule of God into the world in their lives and proclamation (Luke 10.8-9).

Luke 10:8-9 (NIV)
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’

In their preaching and miracles Jesus saw Satan’s defeat (Luke 10.18).

Luke 10:18 (NIV)
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

The last words of Jesus to his disciples when he left…

Acts 1:1-8 (NIV)
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

…demonstrate that he would empower his disciples to continue in the cleanup of the war. We are caught up in the conflict of the Ages.

Let’s dig into the scripture to further explain the Kingdom of God and the conflict of the Ages.

We often tend to think of this life and eternal life as separate, but your eternal life starts when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You are already living your eternal life.

In the New Testament there is an interesting Greek word “aion” which is best translated age but unfortunately is often translated “world” examples:

Matthew 12:32 (KJV)
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Matthew 12:32 (NIV)
32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. The entire sweep of man’s existence is set forth in terms of this age, and the age to come.

Ephesians 1:21 (NIV)
21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Mark 10:29-30 (NIV)
29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

So it is clear we are talking about to periods of time and not two worlds. In this age we are to expect hostility to the Gospel. In the Age to Come, those who have followed Christ will be freed from all opposition and sufferings and will enjoy eternal life.

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