Jesus Church
The Thread of Life – Part 23 (The Kingdom of God)
November 14, 2021

The Thread of Life – Part 23 (The Kingdom of God)

November 14, 2021

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The Thread of Life – 31 Stories that point to Jesus

Part 23

Welcome to Jesus church: Here and Online

  • We believe in the Bible – Committed 2021 to going thru the Bible
    • Started with understanding the Bible…
    • To understand the Bible – Have to understand how it’s written
    • There are a ton of different genre’s in the Bible
    • Everything from historical documentation to poetry
  • As much as you have to understand genre to read a book properly
    • You have to understand genre to read the Bible properly
    • You can’t read 1 Chronicles the same way you read the Psalms
    • Just like you can’t read Jurassic Park like a biography on Lincoln
      • Both convey truth… but we need context to their genre

Last week we started the New Testament and the Birth of Jesus

  • No we aren’t gonna start singing Christmas songs yet (calm down)
    • But what we saw through the story of Jesus birth
    • Many believed they knew what they needed in a savior
    • But if Jesus was limited to what they wanted (military leader)
      • Maybe Rome would have been defeated… Israel restored
      • But relationship with God would not have been restored
  • So they would have gotten what they wanted…
    • But not what we needed
    • God doesn’t give you what you want… but what you need
    • And we needed someone to save of from sin… not Caesar

TAG: Today we are jumping into the ministry of Jesus… Lets Pray

Question: What was the central message of Jesus

If you had to boil down all Jesus teachings… gospels into one theme

  • The central theme of Jesus’ teachings was: The Kingdom of God

Matt. 4:17

From that time on Jesus began to preach (goes all over Israel… and Matthew sums up Jesus teachings into one sentence) saying “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”

  • Matthew boils all of Jesus teachings down into one sentence
    • Repent – To change your mind
      • Or to think about the world in a whole new way
      • It’s like a paradigm shift
    • Kingdom of Heaven has come hear – What does that mean
      • It’s not the place you go when you die
      • It’s never elsewhere… it’s always here on Earth in Jesus
  • Reason confusing: Matthew uses diff language than other Gospels
    • Mark/Luke/John say “Kingdom of God”
    • Matthew speaking to Jews uses heaven to not offend the Jews
    • Orthodox Jews even today write out God’s name “G-D”
  • So in the 1st century HEAVEN was a synonym for God’s presence
    • Kingdom of Heaven & Kingdom of God are the same idea

So what is the kingdom of God – It’s God’s rule & reign

  • Jesus will say a few paragraphs later
    • Your kingdom come… your will be done
    • Which to the Hebrew world were 2 ways to say the same thing
  • The kingdom is where God’s will is done… Where He is in control
    • So Jesus says: Repent… shift the way you see the world
    • Why – Because the rule/presence/will of God has come near
  • Last phrase “COME NEAR” – means “Available & in front of you”
    • How can Jesus say this???
    • B/C Jesus is standing right there… he’s right in front of them

And Jesus is the Kingdom of God in flesh and blood

  • He’s the king… He’s the presence… He’s the rule… reign… healing
    • All dwelling in one place
    • Jesus says… it is here and available to you right here… right now

2 Things about the Kingdom of God

First: Kingdom of God is now AND not yet

Only way to understand Jesus’ teachings on the kingdom

  • Is to think of God’s rule as: Now (here) and Not yet (future)
    • Because at times Jesus talks of the Kingdom as if its here now
    • Other time’s he talks about the Kingdom like its still on its way
  • So which one is right??? Both!!!
    • So when Jesus came the first time – Initiates the kingdom
    • But when Jesus returns again – He will complete the kingdom
      • Not just to cover pieces and moments
      • But to cover everything for eternity

We live in between – Theologians call it “Time in between the times”

  • And right now there is more than one kingdom at play
    • There is the kingdom of God (God’s will is done… in control)
    • There is the kingdom of darkness (Where evil’s will is done)
  • There are kingdoms in full defiance against the rule & reign of God
    • There is a war and we live right in the middle of that tension

Second: Kingdom of God is always growing

Jesus tells parables – Full of Theology (Teachings of God/kingdom)

  • Kingdom is like yeast
    • Put a small about into a batch of dough…
    • It will grown and permeate through the entire thing
  • Kingdom is like a tiny mustard seed
    • Put in the ground it grows into a giant tree
  • Think about the story of Jesus… he starts with 12 followers
    • Today there are billions of followers of Jesus
    • The kingdom of God always grows

Reason that is so important – Many people believe as time goes on

  • Evil will grow and the world will get so dark
    • The kingdom of God will shrink into nothing
    • Darkness and evil will consume what Jesus esablished
      • That simply isn’t in the scriptures
  • People think persecution coming & will destroy the church
    • What happens thru history every time we see persecution
    • The church grows exponentially
    • And if you wonder if we are in the last days… the answer is yes
      • However – How long have we been living in the last days

Acts 2:14-18, 21

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. Its only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy… And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Peter goes on to say… these last days started w/ Jesus resurrection

  • So are we in the last days… YES – Absolutely
    • And we have been for over 2000 years according to scripture
      • What the Bible means by “Last Days”
      • Period of time in history b/w Jesus resurrection
      • And His return to implement everything he already started
  • And we live right on the cusp of human history
    • And yes Evil runs rampant all over the world
      • But that’s nothing new… Its been happening for centuries
      • Famine… Oppression… Death… Hate… Cardinals winning…
  • Ask any historian and they will tell you things have been worse
    • Yes the world is dark… evil runs amuck
      • But go study the collapse of Roman Empire
      • Go read about the Black Death…
      • Go read about Nazi Germany…
    • The difference is modern technology… we are more aware
      • A bomb can go off half way around the world
      • It gets filmed and dropped into a You tube video
      • Which is downloaded onto my phone in seconds
    • We have front row seats to evil all over the planet
      • And so people think things have never been so bad
      • Because we are more aware of evil all over the world

Here is the danger: Easy to think that the God’s kingdom is shrinking

  • We should just bunker down and wait for Jesus to come back
    • But Jesus himself said the kingdom of God is always growing
    • It started with “God with us”
    • But continues with “God through us”
  • And that will never happen unless you understand
    • God’s kingdom is always growing… on earth as it is in heaven
      • Look in South America – Church is growing
      • Look in Africa – Church is growing
      • Look in China – 1 generation ago only 2 million Christians
        • After all missionaries/churches/bible colleges closed
        • We now believer there are over 120 million Chineese

Point… We’re part of greatest movement in history

If you feel like things are retreating / Kingdom is shrinking

  • Its because you aren’t looking at the reality of God’s kingdom
    • Because Jesus is back from the Dead
    • And the Spirit of God is alive in His church
    • It is growing… and it cannot be stopped
  • And you and I get to be a part of that story
    • Don’t allow yourself to be robbed into a shrinking kingdom
    • Because that isn’t the kingdom of God

Rom 8:11 – The same power that conquered the grave lives in YOU.

  • And if that is true – And Jesus says that kingdom is available to you
    • That means that ANYTHING is possible
    • That means that ANYONE is reachable
  • Don’t live with a defeatist attitude to just wait it out for Jesus
    • You have the power of God’s Spirit
    • You have a multitude of believers around you
    • You have an every growing kingdom at your fingertips
  • We should believe that there is nothing that can stop us
    • Because God has set everything up FOR us

TAG: And the way all this starts… the match for the spark

According to Jesus it all starts with PRAYER

Matt. 6:9-13 (KJV)

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

They kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts,

as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever Amen.

Two things Jesus shows about his ministry – how we can engage

  • 1st: Jesus teaches us to pray for his kingdom and his will – WHY?
    • Because Jesus knows that God’s kingdom is not fully here
      • Its in strife against the kingdoms opposed to God’s will
      • And we pray for the Kingdom of God continue to grow
    • Because Jesus knows that God’s will is not always done
      • There is human will that rejects God’s will on this earth
      • Right now evil things are happening all over the world
        • Things that are 100% against Jesus teachings
        • Are those the will of God – NO THEY AREN’T
        • Bible says God is at WAR with evil… not complicate
  • 2nd: Jesus teaches us the primary way we partner w/ God is prayer
    • To Jesus – Prayer actually changes reality
      • Prayer actually moves the hand of God

Dallas Willard

God’s response to our prayers is not a charade. He does not pretend to answer our prayer when he is only doing what he was going to do anyway. Our requests really do make a difference in what God does or does not do. The idea that everything would happen exactly as it does regardless of if we pray or not is a shadow that haunts the minds of many who sincerely profess belief in God. It makes prayer psychologically impossible, replacing it with dead ritual at best and of course God does not respond to this, you would not either.

    • Listen: Prayer actually moves the hand of God
      • Story in Exodus – Israel is in defiance to God’s mercy
      • God says he is gonna wipe out Israel and start over w/ him
      • Moses begs/prays to God not to do what he decided
        • And then it says God “changed his mind”

Jesus main focus was Kingdom of God – We play a role in that kingdom


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