Posts Tagged ‘kingdom of God’

Stand Firm in Your Faith

September 15, 2014

Sometimes the world around us can be pretty tempting.  If we are not careful we can easily fall into the way of the world, thinking that what we see with the eyes of the flesh is more important than the world of the spirit.

I.  Within You:  Luke 17:20-21

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Many of the Jews at the time of Jesus were looking for a messiah who would restore the autonomy of the kingdom of Israel.  They were tired of being under the rule of the Romans and longed for independence.  In these verses above we are told that the kingdom of God is within us.  It is not a kingdom of this world. Jesus acknowledged to Pilate that He was a king, but that His kingdom was not of this world.  We are told by Paul that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.  That we wrestle not with flesh and blood.  It is a spiritual battle, a battle not based in the material world of the flesh, but in the non-material world of the spirit.

II.  Serve God or Money:  Luke 16:13

 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Mammon is not a word that is commonly used today.  It basically means money.  You cannot serve God and money.  It is not that money is important, it is that it is not more important than God.  God must be first.  We live in this material world, but the non-material world of the spirit is, and must be, more important to us.  We cannot serve God and the world.  Only one thing can be our top priority, and that must be God.

III.  Giving Offense:  Luke 17:1-4

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Take heed to yourselves.  Be careful that the things that we say and the life that we lead does not become a stumbling block to others in their faith.  If someone sins against us, we can rebuke them.  If they repent, we must forgive them.

IV.  Sifted:  Luke 22:31-32

 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Like Simon, our faith may be sifted, or tried, by events in this life.  If we do fail, it does not have to be permanent.  We can repent and be restored.  We should encourage others who go through trials, and occasionally fail, that momentary failure does not have to be permanent separation.  Of course, the goal is to pass the test, standing firm in our faith.

As we seek to be faithful servants of the kingdom of God, we should steadfastly give God priority in our lives.  We should seek to live lives that will encourage others in their faith and not be a hindrance to them.  We should forgive those who have wronged us even as we trust that God will forgive us.

These are the sermon notes from 9/7/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

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The Kingdom of God is Near

June 10, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 6/9/13.

I.  The Kingdom of God is Near:  Luke 21:29-33

Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

A.  Christ had promised to return.

1.  John 14:3

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

2.  Acts 1:9-11

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

B.  We live in expectation

From the very first generation, people have expected Christ to return in their lifetime.  The gospels were almost the last part of the New Testament to be written, because it was only after the apostles began to die off, that it occurred to them that it was necessary to have a written record of the life of Christ.  They had anticipated his soon return.

I remember as a young person hearing a lot of emphasis on the rapture, the belief that Christ would take his people from this world before the seven-year tribulation.  The presentation was very clear that Christ could return at any moment, we should be ready.

I remember reading in church history, that many, if not all generations have had those who read the prophetic words and interpret them in the light of their current circumstances, and believe that they are in the last days before Christ returns.

I consider this to be, not so much an error in interpretation, as a marvel in inspiration.  That God would have inspired the prophets to write in such a way that each generation would read the words and live in expectation is a marvelous feat.

II.  Take Heed :  Luke 21:34-36

But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Take Heed:  We are to be alert, be ready for our Lord’s return.  The day will come “like a thief in the night”  “like the lightning that flashes from east to west”.  We need to continue to do the Lord’s will until He comes for us, or we go to Him.

Watch:  We should live with both anticipation and patience.  Our kids have a dog that provides a nice illustration.  The other day when we picked up our daughter-in-law, their dog immediately went to the window, stuck his head past the curtain, and watched us leave.  When we returned a while later, the dog was still sitting there, head to the window, watching for her return.  That dog is a good illustration of waiting in anticipation and patience.

Pray:  We should pray to be worthy.  We are only made worthy because of the righteousness of Christ.  Yet the presence of Christ in our lives changes us.  We should pray that God continues His work, both in us, and through us.

For our part, we need to be careful to keep God as our top priority.  If we are not careful, the cares and concerns of this world may crowd Christ from the place of priority in our lives.  This  is why  we must take heed, watch and pray; for the kingdom of God is near.  

Kingdom Work

May 1, 2012

I am still behind.  These are the notes from 4/22/12

1 Corinthians 3:5-17 (NKJV)

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.  (biblegateway.com)

I.  Working For the Kingdom

We recognize that there are many people working for the kingdom of God in many different ways.  Each person contributing to God’s work in whatever way will receive a reward for their labor.  Even though we work, it is only God who gives the increase.  We should continue to be faithful in our labors, knowing that they are not in vain.

II.  What Are You Working On?

Most of us have jobs where we put in a lot of hours.  We have responsibilities with our family and homes.  We have some free time to relax and participate in hobbies and recreational activities.  In all of these endeavors, we continue to represent Christ.  Our Christian witness is not restricted to the church, or working with specific evangelism efforts.  Our whole life is a witness.  Are we seeking to let the light of Christ shine through our lives?

III.  Are You Tearing Down?

The people of God are called the temple of God.  Elsewhere in scripture, this refers to the individual believer, but in this context it is talking about the gathering of believers, or, the local church.  We must be careful how we speak about the various ministries that God is using to build His kingdom.  It is one thing to debate doctrinal issues.  It is another thing to speak badly about ministers, or ministries.  We need to be careful that we are building up, and not tearing down the kingdom of God.

What is the overall impact of  your life for the kingdom of God?

Kingdom Work

August 24, 2009

The impact that we have in the spiritual realm is not limited to the number of people whom we lead in the sinner’s prayer.  Sometimes our lives and actions have their greatest impact beyond the realm of our observation.  The song “Thank You” by Ray Bolz, wonderfully expresses the view that we cannot know what impact we are having, while on this side of eternity.  Our lives should be lived in obedience to the Lord, seeking to let our light shine,  trusting that God is pleased, not with what is outwardly observable, but with what He observes inside of our hearts.

Thy Kingdom Come

January 14, 2009

“…the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  Mark 1:16

“My kingdom is not of this world.”  John 18:36

“…the Kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17:21

I was asked recently what I thought about the already/not-yet aspect of the kingdom of God.  I will attempt to briefly address that concept in this post.

The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom.  We become a part of the kingdom of God when we are born again.  We are born again when we respond to the message of Jesus with repentance and faith resulting in salvation.  At salvation, the spirit of Christ enters into our hearts, resulting in our spiritual birth into the kingdom of God.

Our new relationship with God after salvation results in us having a dual citizenship.  We are a part of the kingdom of God, while we are here on earth.  While we are on earth, we are still subject to the rules and regulations of our earthly home.

There will come a time when the final judgement will be at hand.  There will be a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell.  At that time there will be a final division between the kingdom of God and those whose eternity will be spent in hell.

So, the kingdom of God is at hand.  It is available now, already here in our midst.  All who wish to enter the kingdom may do so through their faith in Jesus as the Christ.  

And the kingdom of God is not yet.  The final separation has not yet occurred.  We still live in this world subject to the tests and trials of our temporal existence.  We look forward to the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Thy Kingdom come, both now in the hearts of believers, and in the future culmination of this earth’s human history.

Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven

January 12, 2009

I have occasionally had people ask me if there is a difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.  We had a big discussion a time or two in our Wednesday night Bible study and I wanted to share some information with the readers of this blog.

There are a number of parallel verses in the gospels.  In the following list, the verses are basically identical except that Mathew uses Kingdom of Heaven, while Luke and Mark use Kingdom of God.  Although Mathew will occasionally use the term Kingdom of God, the term Kingdom of Heaven is only used in Mathew.

Math 5:3                             Luke 6:20

Math 8:11-13                    Luke  13:28-29

Math 10:7                          Luke 9:2

Math 11:11                          Luke 7:28

Math  13:11                        Luke 8:10                  Mark 4:11

Math 13:31                         Luke 13:18&19        Mark 4:30-31

Math 19:23                        Luke 18:24                 Mark 10:23

Math 22:2                           Luke 14:15

I believe that in reading these verses in comparison with each other it will become obvious that Mathew has substituted the term “Kingdom of Heaven” for “Kingdom of God”.  Is there a reasonable explanation?

Mathew was written primarily to the Jewish people.  They had a historical belief in the Kingdom of God as expressed in the theocracy of the nation of Israel.  I believe that Mathew substituted “Heaven” so that his readers would understand that he was talking about something that was not of this world, something other than a reestablishment of the sovereignty of Israel under God’s rule.

With all due respect to the various televangelists and others who might disagree, there is no difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven as expressed in the gospels.  The terms are synonymous.