The Kingdom of God: What is it?

Thy Kingdom ComeThe news today is full of discouraging items, everything from legalizing drugs, to celebrating sexual depravity, to the continuing murder of countless children in the womb and so much more.

We believers in Jesus Christ, sons and daughters of His Kingdom,  live in the “kingdom of darkness.” I tend to forget that. As a Bible believing Christian I should know this and not be so surprised when culture and the world run headlong into Hell. Adam’s flesh is fallen. It is dead to God and righteousness. The unsaved are “children of the devil.” The governments of this world are under the control of the “god of this world.”  We are between two worlds, two kingdoms, the kingdom of darkness and the coming Kingdom of Light.

So when I remember this, I must ponder and think deeply about the Kingdom that I do belong to. It is a Kingdom that is not here, yet. It is my “hope.” And this HOPE is sure. We are taught to pray, “Your Kingdom come,” because it is still future, but it is for sure. We are to be “groaning for” and longing for this kingdom, eagerly waiting for it with perseverance (Romans 8:18-25).  By God’s Grace in Jesus Christ, I am a member of this Kingdom. I have been transferred from the “dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of Light” because I am now “in Christ.” I belong to the “Kingdom of His dear Son.” I am a citizen of this heavenly kingdom because I have been “born again.” Jesus tells us to enter into the Kingdom “you must be born again.”  We must be regenerated, that is new life, eternal life. That Life only comes as a result of believing in the One and Only Lord Jesus Christ who then gives us His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life.

We hear the term “Kingdom” used all the time in Evangelical circles today. “We are building the Kingdom of God.” We “expand the Kingdom of God.” We are “doing Kingdom work.” We say things like, “the Kingdom of God is in us.” I remember being taught in Bible school six different kingdoms that God rules over: the universal kingdom (God’s sovereign rule over the whole universe); the spiritual kingdom (believers individually and corporately the church); the theocratic kingdom (Israel); the Mystery Kingdom (Christendom); the Messianic Kingdom (Millennium); the Eternal Kingdom. This can get real confusing, especially when you have to really “stand on your head” to get all this from the Bible.

In fact the Bible, God’s Word to us today, only speaks of ONE Kingdom. That is the Kingdom of Christ, God or Heaven. It is the Kingdom promised to Abraham and his offspring by covenant. It is the Kingdom that God promised to David’s Son, the One David calls “LORD.” It is the Kingdom that the prophets all spoke of as the hope of Israel and the “covenant of Peace” and the “mercies of David.” It is embodied in the “New Covenant” prophesied by Jeremiah and seen in the “Son of Man” in Daniel. Hosea said that one day Israel will be restored to the land promised to Abraham when Messiah “will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, You are My people! And they will say, “You are my God!” God promised Abraham and therefore Israel the Kingdom of God. But the only way they were going to realize it was when Messiah came and restored them to it. The angels announced the birth of Messiah, prophets and prophetesses rejoiced! John the Baptizer was given as the Elijah “preparing the way of the Lord.” He came preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near!” Jesus, the Messiah preached the same thing and taught His disciples to preach the same. The Kingdom was at hand, it was near! Messiah was here, but only a prepared people could receive the Kingdom. Repentance and faith was required, then and now.

When Israel rejected their Messiah the Kingdom was postponed. They killed Messiah as ordained by God, because He had to die for their sins and the sins of the whole world. But the disciples continued to anticipate the DAY when the Kingdom would come. The Day when Messiah would establish His throne in Israel, destroy their enemies and rule the whole world in righteousness from his father David’s throne. Jesus taught them this. For three and a half years He explained how to be prepared for the Kingdom in the many parables and who could enter in. When He rose from the dead He spent the next 40 days with his apostles explaining the Kingdom of God to them further (Acts 1:3) and before He ascended to the right hand of the Father they asked Him when He would establish this promised theocratic, Davidic Kingdom. And He said it was not for them or us to know, but until then we were to be His witnesses (martyrs) taking the Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole world until His return. He said to them in Matthew to “Make Disciples! of everybody, everywhere until I return.”

Friends, we are looking for a Kingdom not made with Hands, one that will come from Heaven when Jesus returns. When the King comes this next time, the Kingdom in Heaven will be established here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Let us be found faithful, enduring to the end, so that we and those who believe our message may share in the Prize of the Upward Call of Christ Jesus in His Kingdom.

Revelations 22
vs 7  “And behold, I am coming suddenly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book”
vs. 12, 13 “Behold, I am coming suddenly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
vs. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
vs. 20 …”Yes, I am coming suddenly!”

BE READY!

 

 

 

Making Disciples: Keeping It Simple

Aleck Malunga

Making Disciples

The Lord Jesus left his followers-disciples with ONE mandate and that is to make other disciples. In Matthew 28:18 – 20 by His own authority and His personal presence, Jesus commands all believers to Make Disciples (the imperative) of everybody, everywhere, to the end of time. This is done as we continuously GO along life’s way with the Gospel message every day, BAPTIZING those that believe the Gospel into the local church. and then continually TEACHING them all that Jesus has taught us (i.e. the Word of God). And HE promises every generation He will be with them to the end of the journey.

Let me share with you a testimony from one of my disciple making heroes, Herb Hodges. It will encourage you pastors and the rest of us to be about the business of “making disciples.”

“During my last pastorate (1970 to 1980, when I left the pastorate to teach & train church leaders around the world), there was a dear 84-year-old former school teacher, a silver-haired, sweet-spirited saint named Minnie Lowe. The older ladies of the church sent a representative to me one day, Grace Jordan, with an appeal. “You are meeting with all of these other special groups in the church weekly <I was meeting with six weekly special-study groups in the church at the time—at a time when I was preaching three to five times weekly, and deeply involved with many people!>; could you possibly meet weekly with us older women? Would you please pray about this and let us know?” I quickly dismissed it as an unlikely possibility—after all, what could 80-year olds DO with the message of the Victory Life in Christ even if they learned it? But I made “the mistake” of PRAYING ABOUT IT, and God laid it heavily on my heart. I finally consented, and we began to meet for two hours each Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. to explore the many dimensions of the Jesus-centered, Spirit-filled life. I was shocked at how many there were in the class, and how faithful each was in attendance. One morning in class, Minnie Lowe, seated on the front row, broke down in tears while I was teaching. We waited, and she finally dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief, then she said to me tearfully, “Brother Herb, what am I going to TELL Jesus? I’ve been a Christian for over 50 years, and I’ve never heard any of these teachings in my entire life? I’m about to go to be with Jesus, and He clearly told us what to do with our lives, but no one ever explained this to me. What will I say to Him?” I replied, “Mrs. Lowe, you were a school teacher, so you know something about the game of football, don’t you?” She replied, “Yes, at least a little.” “Then you know that when a football is fumbled when the game is being played, the opposing team doesn’t recover the ball where it WISHES it had been fumbled; it recovers the ball where it ACTUALLY WAS FUMBLED. You see, somebody (probably MANY supposed ‘ball-carriers’) in your long Christian life fumbled the ‘BALL’ BIG-TIME by not telling you these things. But you can RECOVER THE BALL NOW, AND IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE YEAR, OR TWO YEARS, OR FIVE YEARS LEFT, YOU CAN SCORE SOME LATE-GAME SCORES FOR HIM THAT WILL CHANGE THE ‘FINAL SCORE’ for many, many people, and will change your personal rewards—for ETERNITY.” I hardly knew what I was saying! About three weeks later, she showed up in church with a whole row of white-haired people seated in the long seat beside her. When she introduced the circle of them around her to me at the door at the end of the service, she said, “I HEARD WHAT YOU SAID, and enlisted two vans and drivers to come to our high-rise rest home the next Sunday morning and pick us up…..” Within two weeks, there were even more of them—she was enlisting more and more happy drivers with vans each of those weeks. Then one Sunday night, shortly afterward, EIGHT OF THEM WEPT THEIR WAY DOWN THE AISLE at the invitation time of the evening service, and each of the eight came to Christ that evening, and then others in the group began to fall like dominoes. They went back to the rest home and excitedly enlisted others to come with them, and a MOVEMENT started. Several months later, the “whole GANG” of them poured out the swinging doors at the back of the auditorium into the vestibule which I called “our love room”. They fairly swamped me, pushing me out into the middle of the love room, and circling me with their celebration. When we broke up a while later, I took Minnie Lowe aside and said to her, “Mrs. Lowe, do you remember that question you asked me that morning in our ladies class?” She LAUGHED AND CRIED SIMULTANEOUSLY as she said, “Yes, I do remember, but thank God, NOW I HAVE SOMETHING GREAT THAT HE AND I CAN TALK ABOUT WHEN I GET THERE.” Why don’t ALL CHRISTIANS REGULARLY DO THINGS LIKE THIS?”

Why don’t we?

Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ

Definition of a Disciple: one who professes to have learned certain principles from another and maintains them on that person’s authority.

Prerequisites to becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ

1A. Be born again (You have to believe first!)

John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, except a person be born again, he can not enter into the Kingdom of God.

John 3:16 For God so loved the whole world that HE gave His only Son (to die for your sins), so that anyone who believes in HIM (Jesus Christ the Son of God), would not perish (in the Lake of Fire) but have eternal life. VS 36 The person who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life,; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.

Acts 6:7  And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples  multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Titus 3:5  God saves us, not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration (being born again), and renewal by the Holy  Spirit. 

2A. Identify publicly with a local Bible focused Church by being Baptized in water

Matthew 28:19  Go therefore, and make disciples all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…

Acts 2:41 So those who accepted (believed) his message (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) were baptized, and that day about 3000 people were added to them (the Church).

Acts 9:26  And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe he was a disciple.

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

3A. Be taught the teachings of Jesus and follow their example of obeying the teachings of Christ.

Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe (obey, do) all that I have commanded you.”

1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.”

Attributes of a Disciple

1A. Imitate Christ

Ephesians 5:1  Therefore, you be followers (imitators) of God, as dear children;

Matthew 10:24-25 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple to be like his master, and the servant like  his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall                              they call them of his household?

Acts 11:26  … And the disciples were called Christians (little Christs) first in Antioch.

2A. Doers of the Word

John 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on him, “If you continue in my word, then you are really my disciples.”

3A. Make other Disciples

John 15:8  This is how my Father glorified, by you bearing much fruit; THEN you will be  my disciples.

Matthew 28:19  In your going therefore make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and know this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Acts 14:21  And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many (Lit. Made many disciples), they returned again to Lystra, to Iconium,  and to Antioch,

4A. Total Commitment

Luke 14:26-27  If anybody comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, and yes, even his own life, he cannot  be my disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross (of suffering), and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33  And so, any of you that does not forsake (abandon) all that he has, cannot be my disciple.

Romans 12:1 Therefore I beg you Brothers and Sisters, by the mercies of God, to you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, unto God. This is your reasonable sacrifice. And do not be like everyone else in the world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and  perfect will of God.

Definition of a Disciple of Christ…

A disciple of Jesus Christ is any person who believes HE is God in the Flesh who died for all sins and rose from the dead, who having believed in Him obeys His Word, imitating Him in word and deed by the power of the Holy Spirit, having abandoned everything else so as to be totally dependent upon the grace of God in his life and is discipling others to do the same.

ARE you “just” a believer OR are you a REAL disciple of Jesus Christ?

                      Just get me to heaven…
Just get me baptized…
Just let me join the church…
Just let my life be better…

                        OR

WILL YOU forsake everything, including yourselfe for Jesus, and build Christ’s life into other believers by being a disciple maker?

Be a true disciple of Jesus.
Disciples are to be trained for ministry, because all Believers are

  1. Created for ministry Eph. 2:102.
  2. Saved for ministry 2 Tim. 1:9
  3. Called into ministry 1 Peter 2:9-10
  4. Gifted for ministry 1 Peter 4:10
  5. Authorized for ministry Matt. 28:18-20
  6. Commanded for ministry Matt. 20:26-28
  7. To Be Prepared for ministry Eph. 4:11-12
  8. Needed for ministry           1 Cor. 12:27
  9. Accountable for ministry Colossians 3:23-24
  10. Rewarded for ministry 1 Corinthians 3:8

THE CHARGE:

BE DISCIPLES AND MAKE DISCIPLES!

This outline has been edited from a sermon by Herb Hodges.