The Kingdom of God is not geographical it embraces all of creation
I found this quote which should echo through all we look at today
“The Kingdom of God is primarily the dynamic reign or kingly rule of God and derivatively the sphere in which the rule is experienced”
George Eldon Ladd- A Theology of the New Testament
A question to immediately ask is-
What is the extent of God’s dynamic reign?
We long to see God’s rule extended across the earth
I am reminded again of that verse we all love so much in Isaiah 2
Isa 2:2 In the last days
the mountain of the LORD'S temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
Isa 2:3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Isa 2:4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
We also know of that verse in Isaiah 9 very appropriate for this time of year
Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
Of the increase of His Government and peace there will be no end.
Isa 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Isa 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—
Isa 11:3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
Isa 11:4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Isa 11:5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
Isa 11:6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
Isa 11:7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
Isa 11:8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
Isa 11:9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
What I have found myself doing here then is painting a picture of how God sees Kingdom rule Not Kingdom Rule as man sees it. It is so easy to believe that our world can be changed in other ways.
Which parts of our world are on your mind today?
Now Pray for the Kingdom of God to be revealed in these places
Men and women all across our world seem convinced that Our world can be changed by imposing rule upon it. By marching in and saying you are not allowed to do this. You must believe this or that or I will shoot you.
Sometimes we even believe we must do this for the ‘good’ of those who live there.
But we were called to a different way to change our world
Have you ever played Risk OR Monopoly Risk is a board game where you compete to conquer the world at the throw of a dice. Down the ages there have been men who have thought they could dominate the world in this way.
Daniel explained Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2 of his book
Da 2:31 “You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.
Da 2:32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
Da 2:33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
Da 2:34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
Da 2:35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
He went on to describe each section of the statue was a Kingdom or empire that would follow Nebuchadnezzar.
The Roman Empire A corrupt and overextended empire found itself overturned.
One of the most powerful forces at work within the empire was the growth of Christianity.
But Constantine’s problem along with all those emperors who had gone before was a conviction that he could impose his beliefs on others.
This has been the same since then too
• The Islamic Empire
• The Mongolian Empire
• The Holy Roman Empire
• The Ottoman empire
• The Napoleonic Empire
• The British Empire
• The Third Reich
• The Japanese Empire
• The Soviet Empire
All whether founded on a man or an ideology failed because of their reliance on conquest not consent.
I find it interesting that the word for empire comes from a Latin word meaning to dominate or command.
Jesus had a vision of a Kingdom and it was the Kingdom that Isaiah had seen.
A vision of a Kingdom that did not march in and occupy land, but a Kingdom that won men and women’s hearts and minds.
He laid out a map or journey by which we would find that Kingdom
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
Mt 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
Mt 25:36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Mt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
Mt 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
Mt 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
Mt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Mohammed, Stalin, Genghis Khan and Osama Bin Laden were not or are not interested in whether men followed their ideals only that they submit to the force of arms. They had or have NO credible offer of a changed world only a share in the spoils at the cost of others.
Jesus Christ told his friends to
Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.
It is a fundamental principle of the Kingdom of God that
it is Grace received NOT Law imposed.
2. All Creation
A. Me First!
I remember watching a wonderful old black and white film made just after the war. It was called ‘A passport to Pimlico’
The London District of Pimlico decided to declare itself as an independent Country- Print its own money and make its own laws. It didn’t survive very long.
I believe that the most important place to achieve the dynamic rule of God is in here. But I know that there are parts of my life that can behave like Pimlico.
Declare themselves Independent and go off our own way.
Can you identify areas of your life that threaten like Pimlico to declare independence?
But I need to realize that the extent to which the whole earth is filled with the Glory of the Lord is the extent to which His rule is filling me.
The First bit of Kingdom I can do anything about is this bit. Thats right ME
We have a tendency as Christians to speak of BIG plans and of Vision and Strategy- I need God to rule first in me
Reign in me
Sovereign Lord Reign in Me
Reign in Me
Sovereign Lord Reign In Me
Captivate my heart let your Kingdom Come
Establish their your throne Let your will be done
Reign in Me Sovereign Lord Reign in Me
Reign in Me Sovereign Lord Reign in Me
The great thing about the Holy Spirit is that He goes before us. We have just completed a whole series on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Have a look back or reflect again on how you might seek to demonstrate more Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self Control.
B. Into all the world.- One person at a time.
I am constantly amazed that the message of Jesus Christ is so little known. I know that the Bible stories are out there and at this time of year it is impossible not to at least have some sense that this is a celebration of something that happened to do with Jesus.
I guess what upsets me is the extent to which all the truths of the Gospel of the Kingdom get twisted in peoples minds.
• You Christians are always telling us not to have any fun
• Religions are all the same Pie in the sky when you die
• I could never be good enough to be a Christian
There is no getting away from the call that is on our lives to go and tell people about the Love of God for each one of us. That He came to give us Life
As I have already said This is not about Geography it is about all creation and all creation one person at a time.
Remember the image from the All Age meeting two weeks ago the Shepherd leaves the 99 to find the lost 1
Mt 18:13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.
Our Evangelical tendency is for the big meeting the campaign the initiative and they have their place when these are prompted by the Holy Spirit and have the individual in view. I realized again that my call is to the lost but one at a time. Each person is precious to God and not a number on a card.
I’d like to share a picture God gave me which I shared with the Leadership the other Sunday.
I was in the cab of a combine harvester but it was night time and I could only pick out the bit of field that the spotlights could pick out I had to go where the spotlight showed me. The sun came up and I could see a vast field of wheat. But then I was outside the cab down on the ground and shown a single stalk of wheat full and ripe. I had a pair of secateurs and carefully cut it .
Who are your single stalks of Grain?
How might you share the Love of God with them?
3. All Creation Expectant
When preparing to speak on the Kingdom I kept being brought back to this passage. It’s very familiar but might be a surprising choice.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.