Bethel Church second Value
By Simon Lasky
Sun 23rd February
Definition: the kingdom of God is “creation healed”
1. The message of Jesus was the kingdom of God.
He used the word church twice! Think of. All the times “kingdom” is mentioned and all the parables of the kingdom.
See Luke 4:43, 8:1, 9:2, 10:9, 17:21
In the message translation of acts 1 “in face to face meetings He talked about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together ………” The resurrected Christ considered this the best way to spend the 40 days before his ascension. No seminars or conferences but meals talking about the kingdom.
Romans 14:17 the kingdom is righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. Righteousness not a religious, pious thing but the right thing, involving justice and integrity. We don’t take a stance on something because of self-interest but because of justice. God cares for all especially the poor and being kingdom people means we speak truth to power on behalf of all, not lobbying that Christians can be protected from the big bad world.
2. The kingdom is near
Much traditional evangelism emphasises the distance between the sinner and God so that the sinner perceives their need for a saviour. Saying you are a sinner and needs God’s forgiveness is very different to saying his overwhelming love is available to you right now.
Interestingly the disciples were told to declare the nearness of the kingdom. It was near because of the works of the kingdom and the kingdom within the disciples. God is near, a tidal wave of blessing is a heartbeat away.
3. Now and not yet
The kingdom was inaugurated by Jesus and will come in fullness when He returns. Now we see some of His kingdom here and now but not all sicknesses healed or problems solved. We talk about the “now” and the “not yet”. Challenge is are we too pragmatic? The now and not yet allows this. Without going down the prosperity gospel route, is there more for us to experience in the here and now. So do we have a testimony that is consistent with our theology? How many “Not Yet” experiences do we need before we qualify for a “now” experience. We need to have testimonies about what we have experienced of kingdom here and now.
Amazing interdependence between kingdom, jubilee (1st value) and the Holy Spirit (3rd value). Jubilees message is the kingdom message and we experience the kingdom through the Holy Spirit. After what we have looked at today,
Is it any wonder that Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom?