Kingdom of God Part 4

January 4, 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 4 from Preaching In Shorts on Vimeo.

The mission of Jesus was to invade this Present Evil Age with his Kingdom rule, the Age to Come. Those who chose to receive the proclamation of the Rule of God are, in fact, the Church.

Jesus did not seem to begin his mission with the focus of starting a new movement inside or outside of Israel. He came as a Jewish man to Jewish people. He accepted, as binding, the authority of the Old Testament Scriptures. He conformed to the practices of the temple. He worshipped in the synagogue. He lived and worked as a Jew. While he would sometimes travel outside the Jewish territory, he insisted that his mission was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel

Matthew 15:24 (NIV)
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

When he sent his disciples out to minister, he told them to go to Israel only.

Matthew 10:5-6 (NIV)
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

There are at least three exceptions to this fact:
_ the Samaritan woman: John 4.1-42
_ the Centurion’s servant: Matthew 8.5-13
_ the Caananite woman: Matthew 15.21-28

These three stories all seem to have mitigating circumstances which called for exceptional steps to be taken by Jesus. His central mission was to proclaim to Israel that God was acting to fulfill his promises and bring Israel to her true destiny as his children.

Israel rejected the message of Jesus about the Kingdom of God. His proclamation came early in his ministry

Mark 1:15 (NIV)
15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

and drew instant denial and only intensified during his ministry culminating in his sacrificial death on the cross.

Mark 3:1-6 (NIV)
1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

While Israel refused to accept the offer of Jesus, the Kingdom, a small group, a remnant, did respond in faith. The Jewish idea of discipleship was to call for a commitment to the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament). Jesus’ idea of discipleship was to call for a commitment to himself and his message. So he raised disciples who were committed to him and his message.

Since Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom to Israel as an offering of her fulfillment to her true destiny and they rejected, the mission was still accomplished in those followers who received his message and became his disciples. These disciples were to become known as the Church The choice by Jesus of these twelve was an enacted parable in which Jesus authenticated that he was raising a new congregation to replace the nation of Israel who had rejected his message.

Since the Kingdom of God is dynamic (his rule), the Church and the Kingdom are not the same. The Church is made up of those who are ruled by the King of the Kingdom, but it is not the Kingdom.

The rule of God as presented in the words and works of Jesus confronted men and women to respond and come under his rule, forging a new relationship with him as King

Mark 3:31-35 (NIV)
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

When the powerful rule of God impregnates an individual, he or she is made a part of the body of Christ, the Church.

The rejection of God’s offer of the Kingdom by Israel became irreversible. Jesus soberly announced that Israel was no longer to be the people of God’s rule. Their place was going to be taken by others who proved trustworthy

Matthew 21:43 (NIV)
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

Since the Church is the recipient of the life and fellowship of the Kingdom, then one of her main purposes is to demonstrate in the life and power of the Age to Come in this Present Evil Age. The Church lives in two ages at the same time. We are the people of the Age to Come living in this Present Evil Age. The Church must provide a model to display the life of the future perfected order.

The Church is the conduit through which God’s Kingdom acts are performed

Matthew 10:8 (NIV)
8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Luke 10:17 (NIV)
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

This makes discipleship important. The Church has often fallen short of making true disciples of Jesus. The Church tends to promote character and community to the neglect of performing such Kingdom ministry as praying for the sick and casting out demons. Proclamation of the Kingdom must be words and works combined.

Jesus left the keys to the Kingdom in the hands of Peter

Matthew 16:19 (NIV)
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

The background of this idea comes from Isaiah 22

Isaiah 22:22 (NIV)
22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

where God gave Eliakim the keys to the House of David commissioning him with its care. The art of caretaking is often understood as conserving or protecting. We must not make the mistake of the third servant in the parable of Jesus found in Matthew 25.13-40. He received his talent, conserved it by burying it, and by doing so earned the wrath of his master. Jesus redefined caretaking to involve investing and risking.

According to Jesus the Church is built on the rock of his Messiahship. Hell will not prevail against it. To insure that the Church understands its authority Jesus said, I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Loosing denotes freeing those under the control of Satan. Binding means to prohibit or forbid Satan from harming the Church. Binding and loosing do not automatically mean that God will do what the Church speaks. Binding and loosing means that the Church does in this Age what the Father has already ratified and determined in the Age to Come. The Church is attentive to what God is doing, binding what he has bound, and loosing what he has loosed.

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