HOUSMAIL HM#069 - DEFINING THE KINGDOM OF GOD - PART 1 6 Jan, 2001
When presenting the Good News of the Kingdom of God, there are some important questions we should ask ourselves.
WILL OUR DESCRIPTION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE ENOUGH FOR THE HEARER TO DESIRE IT FOR HIMSELF, ABOVE ALL ELSE THAT THIS PRESENT LIFE OFFERS?
HAS IT ALREADY DONE THAT FOR US?
Answering this adequately, would probably break down into several sub-headings. The following five will do for a start.
1. THE LAND
Description of Territory, Environment, Living Conditions, Politics, etc.
Would we want to live FOR EVER under those conditions?
Or might we perhaps alter the description of the Kingdom a little (or a lot), for those who want a different sort of Kingdom to that described in the Bible? (Some preachers DO do that - it builds bigger Churches!)
2. THE KING
a. Evidence from the Old Testament sufficient to validate the claim of Jesus to be truly theIs our description of Jesus enough to compel our own personal love for Him?
Messiah described by the prophets.
Only by matching Jesus to this OT identification, can we grasp the sheer magnitude of His delegated authority, both to speak for God, and fulfill the OT Kingdom promises which depend on that authority.
b. A description of Jesus Himself. Who is He? What is He like?
Can we trust Him not to break His "election promises"? Not ever?
(Which of course is quite unlike any other human ruler we have
Would we want to live FOR EVER under the rulership of such a King?
Or would we perhaps want to change Jesus a little (or a lot) to suit
(Some preachers DO do that! It builds bigger Churches!) The lives we choose to live
now, will answer that question!)
3. THE KINGDOM LAWS
Will our description of the way of life taught by Jesus, leave hearers under conviction of SIN?
(John 14:8; Acts 2:37-38) Not to condemn, but offer hope and bring to repentance!
Have we made ourselves familiar with the "rule book" describing the KINGDOM LAWS?
Would we be content to live FOR EVER under those laws?
Indeed, will we be content to live by them NOW?
This is NOT about "salvation by works". But neither does it have anything at all to do with the popular gospels (so called) which offer a short cut to counterfeit "Cheap Grace"!
Let us not deceive ourselves! The GRACE envisaged in the true Gospel, is a salvation which will come at GREAT PERSONAL COST. (See below) It will cost us EVERYTHING WE HAVE! (Luke 14:25-33) And it will come with an obligation for faith, love, and obedience, which are the inevitable product of experiencing true grace.
4. THE PEOPLE
Children of God - Heirs of Abraham - Disciples of Jesus - who can be relied on to ALWAYS do exactly as Jesus would.
Would we be content to live FOR EVER with such people as our ONLY companions?
5. COUNTING THE COST
The cost of this kingdom is VERY high! It will cost us EVERYTHING WE HAVE!
(Matt 13:45-46; Luke 14:25-33)
- There will be sins to recognise, confess and forsake.Are we prepared to "count the cost" and then pay the price? (which means giving Jesus an unconditional, and irrevocable, signed, "blank cheque" for our future in this life! ..... and the next!)
- There will be new standards of obedience and holiness to pursue.
- There will be family, and friends, who in future, must ALWAYS take
a lower priority than obedience to Jesus, even if that means they
reject us. Even preserving our mortal lives, must become less
important to us than "obeying God rather than men". (Acts 4:29)
- There will be possessions to which we must relinquish our "rights".
- And there WILL be persecution! (John 15:20-21; 2 Tim 3:12)
God will only reveal Himself to those who search with ALL THEIR heart! (Jer 29:13-14)
The Gospel challenges us to that unusual level of "nobility" which will undertake a DAILY "Berean search" of the Scriptures to "see whether these things be so". (Acts 17:11-12) Only thus will we also come to believe, as some of them did.
Are we prepared to search with ALL our hearts?
The Kingdom will be a truly wonderful place to be. But it will only be attractive to those who truly search for God. (It will NEVER be attractive to those whose eyes and ears are closed to Godís perspective on lifeís true eternal values! - Matt 13:13)
To hear the Gospel is to be confronted with a choice.
Believing and obeying the Gospel, means deliberately and intelligently rejecting all the attractions this present world has to offer, in order to choose the Kingdom instead. We cannot have both!
Does our Gospel presentation convey enough information about the Kingdom, to allow the hearers to know exactly what the differences are, between the two?