The Gospel According To Mark (Part 6)

February 12, 2023   /   Jesus Church

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The Gospel According to Mark

(Part 6)

Good morning and welcome to Jesus Church

We are on part 6 of our series walking through the story of Jesus (Mark)

  • Last week started a 2 part teaching on what’s called Kingdom of God
    • Last week was the overview… birds eye view of this Kingdom
    • Talked about the Kingdom that is here but not yet
  • This week we will go a lot closer into the fabric of what this means
    • And what is this kingdom all about
    • So lets read this passage we used last week one more time

Mark 1:14-15

After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee claiming good news of God. Time has come, kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.

This is Marks way of telling us what Jesus ministry is all about

  • Mark is telling us… all of Jesus teaching if it came down to 1 thing
    • This is the one statement of why Jesus came
      • The time has come…
      • The kingdom of God is at hand…
      • Repent and believe the good news.
  • And lets be clear: This is the central message of Jesus
    • The phrase “Kingdom of God (Heaven)” used over 150x in gospels
    • Plus eternal life in Johns Gospel – Translated to Greek verbiage
      • So there are literally 100’s of references to Kingdom of God
  • Ex: Jesus said – Seek first the Kingdom of God… more than anything
    • Disciples were to go out/preach “The Kingdom of God has come”
    • Even outside gospels… Paul always talking about Kingdom of God
      • But he uses it in a non-Jewish way… Greko-Roman
      • Redemption… adoption… Jesus is Lord

Tag: Which is just to say… this is central message of Jesus and NT writings

That leads us to two problems…

1 – Kingdom of God is not the central message of the church

  • I was raised in a great church – Never heard about Kingdom
    • I went to Christian school – Never heard about Kingdom
    • Even in my studies in University – This wasn’t a focus
  • And that’s an issue because Jesus talked about it a ton
    • If this is the central message of Jesus… should be for us as well
    • Think I first heard about this as a focus in my mid-20’s

2 – Kingdom of God is confusing

  • At best not easy to understand…. don’t worry if confused (not alone)
    • Even 1st Century Jews were confused and they expected it
    • Because in Jesus the Kingdom came in a different way
  • Last week we talked about the now and not yet of Kingdom
    • First coming inaugurated the kingdom of God
    • Second coming Jesus ushers in fullness once and for all
  • A WW2 historians use the analogy of D-Day & VE-Day
    • D-Day at beach of Normandy: Victory sealed 3 Reich loss
      • But was 12 months later before Germany surrendered
      • And that was a hard long battle for a victory already sealed
    • In the same way… Jesus victory on the cross sealed Satan’s defeat
      • Only a matter of time until peace comes permanently
      • So victory is won and the war will be over but not yet

Mark 4:30-32

What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like? It is like a mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds on earth, yet when it is planted it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.

  • Jesus is saying the Kingdom of God starts small… like a mustard seed
    • It starts with a man/woman who raises their hand in church
      • But then it spreads and grows deep in ground and to sky
      • And next think you know its gigantic

Tag: Easy to see this topic is anything but easy… today drill down kingdom

  • Think on: What is kingdom (God’s rule… realm where God’s will done)
    • Today – What is Kingdom by what is the kingdom NOT
    • Talk through 4 misconceptions on Kingdom in the church
    • Because either we hear nothing… or misconceptions

1: Kingdom of God is Heaven

This comes from a misunderstanding of Matthew’s Gospel

  • Matthew constantly says “The Kingdom of Heaven” instead of “God”
    • B/C this is written to the most conservative Jewish crowd
    • And if Matthew said “God” in this phrase
    • They would have been highly offended… never listened
    • Matthew replaced “God” with “Heaven” to reach his audience
  • Keep in mind: Not once does Bible say Heaven is place u go when die
    • That phrase “Go to heaven when you die” is never used in Bible
    • Idea of life in God’s presence after you die is everywhere
    • But Bible says things like “With the Lord” after death
      • You are with God waiting for resurrection
  • Heaven used in a different way – Place God’s will is done
    • And I think of Jesus’ prayer again “Kingdom come/Will done…”
    • On Earth as it is in Heaven
      • Jesus prayer: To see the Earth remade to what God intended
      • Which makes the Kingdom according to Jesus very “Earthy”

And that’s what Revelation tells us anyways – God remakes the world

  • End vision isn’t God destroying Earth & we float to this Heaven
    • No… the final page is a marriage of Heaven/Earth
    • Where God’s will and presence is fused with Earth
    • Talks of city/streets/art/architecture/kings/nations/rivers/tree
  • So why do I think this matters
    • When we think of Kingdom as Heaven
    • Think of it as somewhere else in the future… tragic mistake
    • Because to Jesus the Kingdom of God is right here – right now
  • And God’s vision for the future isn’t somewhere else
    • Its right here… in your body… neighborhood… family… friends
    • To live in a way to show that Kingdom to everyone around you
    • Showing what God is going to do for creation someday

2: The Kingdom of God is the Church

Problem – People pin their hopes and dreams on shoulders of the church

  • People say the church is God’s plan to save the world
    • And in a lot of ways that is true
    • God’s plan from beginning: Save humanity through a people
    • From Israel to the church… God does his stuff through people
      • And you are the people of God
  • But ultimately God’s plan is to rescue creation through a PERSON
    • Because everyone else fail – We are not the Messiah
    • Jesus is the only Messiah… only one who can save the world
  • And we partner with Jesus in all this Kingdom work
    • But when the mission is put all on the church
    • A – Church can’t cope… tired… self-destruct
    • B – People give up on the church because we aren’t perfect
      • Part of the solution… also part of the problem!

What’s right about this idea

  • In the now and not yet… God’s rule for now is over people
    • Kingdom is made of men/women/kids
    • In Sermon on the Mount 95% is all about relationships
    • And not just friendships… mean people… hurtful people…
  • Think what Jesus said when asked on greatest commandment

Mark 12:32-34

Well said, teacher, the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all of your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

  • Jesus saying when you realize God’s call on your life…
    • Love God and Love People
    • Then you are close to the Kingdom of God
    • Because in the “NOWNESS” of Kingdom its all about relationships
  • That’s why finding ways to do community is so important
    • Sunday Funday / Life Groups / Grabbing coffee
    • Inviting a couple over to your house – out to dinner

3: The Kingdom of God is socio-political

Problem is this isn’t the strategy Jesus took with the Kingdom

  • Jesus said little or nothing to political issues of the day
    • Jewish freedom from Romans
    • Taxation which was unethical and oppressive
    • Pharisees even try and get him to take a stand and he wouldn’t
  • I ask the question why… answer is because to Jesus
    • The way forward wasn’t Power over the System
    • If we can get the right president… senator… judge
      • Then God’s will will be done
  • But the way Jesus wanted this to work was Power under the System
    • That it would be home grown and grass roots
    • Where followers of Jesus live in and then out the Kingdom of God

What does that mean… what’s right is Jesus does want to shape politics

  • In America we have separation of church & state (all for that)
    • Interestingly – Intention was to keep state out of church
    • Not the church out of the state
  • But because we have this – Also separation of theology & politics
    • Politics loves this… great have your beliefs – Keep it to yourself
    • Don’t bring it into legislation or laws or where your taxes go
    • Reality is what you believe about the Kingdom of God
      • That should influence everything about you
      • Jesus kingdom vision should influence what we call politics
  • That said… I think the most effective way forward
    • Is for the Kingdom people to get involved
    • Its not just getting the masses to vote for what you want

Anthropologist – Studying historical political influences

  • Did a ton of research and found
    • Culture isn’t actually created by the masses
    • Its made by a small amount of influential people in power
  • His call for Christians was…
    • If you want to see our culture changed
    • Become one of them… and just be a follower of Jesus there
      • Wanna see education changed – Be a teacher
      • Wanna see Kingdom come to city council – Run for position
      • Wanna see Kingdom come to neighborhood – Get involved
  • The only way that you can ever build the Kingdom of God
    • Commit yourself to where ever God has you
    • And the Kingdom is there with you

4: Kingdom of God is Spiritual

This idea that Kingdom is individual – deep in heart – quiet time solitude

  • None of that is bad… but its not what Jesus means by the Kingdom
    • Comes from early church that was heavily ran by Roman Empire
    • Same thing happened when WW2 Germany took over churches
    • People (Bohoffier) go to desert to get away from corruption
  • And its been around ever sense – If you really want to be with God
    • You have to go away from culture and society
    • Not all bad! Good to have time alone with God
  • Problem with this view of the Kingdom… its all about you
    • And honestly you need a vision of kingdom that’s bigger than you
    • Because God’s rule is cosmic in size

Notice all 4 misconceptions make Kingdom smaller

What we can’t do… shrink Jesus rule and make him rule over less

  • The danger is we all have a kingdom where what we want happens
    • If you woke up this morning… took shower… made coffee
    • That was an expression of your power and authority
    • What you wanted to happen happened
  • And if your married your wife has a kingdom
    • And if you have kids you have little mini kingdoms
    • And this is why we have war… kid kingdoms like the middle east
    • We all have these “WILLS” – I want this to happen…
  • And to come under the will and authority of Jesus is to lay down that
    • And embrace the will and kingdom of God



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