Faithlife Sermons

God's Kingdom and our Inheritance

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Intro: Everyone would like that call from a lawyers office about the long lost uncle or aunt that you never knew that has left you millions in cash or acres of land in their last will and testament. Its a dream made in the movies…but its far from reality.
Brothers Zsolt and Geza Peladi were homeless in 2009, living in a cave outside Budapest, Hungary, and scavenging junk for a living in Hungary when they learned they had inherited a fortune from a grandmother in Germany. The siblings were located by charity workers and put in touch with the attorneys who were handling the estate of their maternal grandmother in Baden-Württemberg, The Telegraph reported.
The once-penniless brothers received 4 billion pounds. Today, that would be equivalent to more than $5 billion in U.S. dollars.
Inheritance in this life can be a great experience, but it can be a deadly one as well. It often times leads to greed, covetousness and family divisions. The opportunity to receive an increase in wealth quickly can be a dangerous temptation for greed to fill our hearts. That shot of wealth quickly vanishes and leads to a hunger for more that is not readily available.
Jesus said:
Matthew 6:19–21 NASB95
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that our true treasure is not found on this earth, but instead it comes from above in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our greatest treasure and when he enter into a relationship with him, we are promised something greater than any sum of wealth can grant us on this earth. Followers of Jesus are called into a restored relationship with God and we become heirs of a heavenly inheritance.
Paul uses the phrase “inherit the kingdom of God” twice in these few verses in 1 Cor 6:9-11. For us to understand what he is saying, I want us to camp on that phrase this morning. As we come to understand that phrase, we can see more clearly how important a phrase it is as Paul calls out the sin evident in the church at Corinth.

I. Identifying the Inheritance(9)

To understand this passage clearly, we need to start with understanding some baseline terms that Paul uses here. We will look at two: Kingdom of God and inheritance
First we will look at Kingdom of God.
There has been alot of discussion about what is the kingdom of God that is mentioned in the Bible. You can read various authors and come to discover various interpretations. But when we step back and just look at what the Scriptures say, you come up with some simple truths that help give clarity to our understanding of the Kingdom of God.
A. Two Kingdoms?
A Kingdom is oftentimes thought of as a realm where a king exerts his authority or a people whom the king rules over. But is that how the bible describes the kingdom of God? In his book Gospel of the Kingdom, George Eldon Ladd writes,
A kingdom may indeed be a realm over which a sovereign exercises his authority; and it may be the people who belong to that realm and over whom authority is exercised; but these are secondary and derived meanings. First of all, a kingdom is the authority to rule, the sovereignty of the king.
Ladd, George Eldon. Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (p. 19). Eerdmans Publishing Co - A. Kindle Edition.
Ladd goes onto to show how the primary Hebrew and Greek word usage for kingdom in the bible actually means the “rule and authority of a king.” Therefore the kingdom of God is the rule and authority of God over all, not just in a certain moment of space and time, and not over a specific geographic location, and not just his rule over a certain group of people. Let’s look at a few verses
Psalm 145:13 NASB95
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Matthew 6:33 NASB95
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
When we look at the usage of the term “kingdom” which obviously referring to God’s kingdom, in both instances his sovereignty and authority are the primary meaning. When we seek first the kingdom of God, we are seeking more than inclusion into the populace of that kingdom and its spatial local, we are seeking the rule and reign of God in and over our lives.
Therefore we must confess from Scripture that there is a universal rule and reign of God over all things.
Psalm 103:19 NASB95
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
1. TWO KINGDOMS UNDER ONE KING
But when we talk about the kingdom of God, we also are referring to a place and a people and we do so because Scripture speaks in such a way. This kingdom of God involves a people and a place. Is God’s kingdom here and now or future, or both?
Let me introduce to you what is the called the TWO KINGDOM view that is a reformed view of God’s universal reign in conjunction with the overall reign of God throughout history. This view seems to answer the question that I have about God’s reign… how do we connect God’s reign over all things in relation to unbelievers and believers. The 2K interpretation seems to make that clear to me. Its components are as follows:
One Universal Reign of God
Gen 1 God reveals his authority and rule over creation with appointing Adam as Vice-regent or King as He calls Adam to “be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over the earth. The blessings from God of his kingdom was institution of marriage, family, working of the garden. This was God’s rule over all human beings in his Kingdom with Adam serving as the earthly king under God’s supreme rule. Adsam was also called to be priest of the garden, whereby pointing people to God’s rule as we worked and kept the garden in its state of holiness.
God intended for his universal sovereign rule to be expressed through humanity in a single earthly kingdom; he intended a perfect union between the cultural and the religious to exist in the garden—Adam was supposed to be the perfect king/priest. Had Adam succeeded in this responsibility, mankind would have continued to perfectly rule the natural world as mediators of God’s universal rule.
Gen 3 shows us that this kingdom was disrupted by Adam’s failure to accomplish the task set before him. Therefore sin caused the kingdom to be divided. These two kingdoms under one reign of God are seen more clearly after the destruction of the world by flood with Noah. After Noah and his family comes off the ark to a re-created world, God calls them to “be fruitful and multiply” but he does not give them dominion like he did with Adam. This dominion falls out of the hands of man and instead is retained by God as he establishes his rule and looks forward to the one who would rule in Adam’s place- the Messiah. Instead, God promises to preserve creation and rule it until the Messiah comes to rule perfectly as priest/king where Adam failed. This cursed side of the kingdom, or the “common kingdom” represents all unregenerate people on the earth, under God’s rule and being preserved and ruled by him.
One example of this rule of the common kingdom is God’s human institutions that he uses to govern the earth and keep it from total chaos. Romans 13:1
Romans 13:1 NASB95
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
The other side of the divided kingdom or the second kingdom under God’s universal rule is the redemptive kingdom. What God is accomplishing through the Messiah is first realized in Gen 12 when God calls Abram to leave his home and be the Father of many nations. In this redeemed kingdom, God sets forth his love on certain called persons, whom God sets his love upon and who enter that covenant with God by faith. By faith, Abraham believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Through Abraham, the multitudes from Abraham, representing God’s people in God’s kingdom will be a blessing to the nations.
From this work of God’s sovereignty, he brought forth kings like David to rule as a reflection of his power and goodness, all pointing to the better Adam, God’s Son who would come to triumph where Adam failed. Jesus Christ, God’s Son obeyed perfectly, triumphed over the temptations of Satan, and gave his life as the perfect atoning sacrifice. Upon his resurrection, he took his seat in the heavenly realm as the true priest and king of God’s redeemed kingdom.
This is redeemed kingdom established in God’s people of the OT and eventually the church in the NT is all a demonstration of God’s Kingdom actualized in the world existing in the overall reign of God and alongside a common kingdom that is ruled by and preserved by God until the final work of God in his consummation.
Notice the distinction of that redeemed kingdom in Jesus words,
Matthew 7:21 NASB95
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
To enter the kingdom of God is to be redeemed by the work of Christ and to enter that kingdom is to enter by faith.
All human beings exist under the rule and reign of God but only those who are chosen by God, given faith to believe and are regenerated by the Holy Spirit exist in redeemed kingdom of God which is visibly represented in the true church today.
1 Corinthians 6:9 (NASB95)
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
In our passage today, Paul’s point to the Corinthians is that there is a distinction to those who belong to the kingdom, those who inherit the kingdom of God. Not all belong and not all inherit this kingdom, which reveals the existence of two kingdoms under God’s reign and as we look forward into this passage, Paul will identify the characteristics of those who do and do not belong to the kingdom of God.
2. A FUTURE KINGDOM REUNIFICATION
Jesus also makes the promise of a future kingdom that is to come. That return of Jesus Christ upon the earth will be when Jesus will consummate his kingdom that was inaugurated during his first coming. Jesus stated in Matt 25:31-34
Matthew 25:31–34 NASB95
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
The two kingdoms will become one again as those in the common kingdom will merge with those in the redeemed kingdom as Jesus Christ rules and reigns for all eternity. Jesus will make a new heaven and earth where is power and authority will be with the redeemed who will dwell in his presence as well as be over those who rejected him who are suffering eternally in hell, separated from Christ. Hell is just as much a part of the kingdom of God as heaven. Christ will rule over it all for all eternity as King!
Philippians 2:10–11 NASB95
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Revelation 11:15 NASB95
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
What we wait for then is not that this world will continually grow into a kingdom that honors Christ but one that will violently be recreated to be one kingdom under Christ when Jesus comes again as a warrior to judge the wicked and welcome in his holy ones.
B. The Inheritance of God’s kingdom
Secondly, Paul uses the metaphor of inheritance of God’s Kingdom. Now that we have studied the meaning of the kingdom of God, now we need to understand what it means to inherit the kingdom of God.
He tells us in v 9 and 10 that the “unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.” In the positive, Paul is saying that the righteous will inherit the kingdom of God. To inherit the kingdom does not mean that believers in Jesus will inherit God’s overall rule and authority because that exists regardless of whether you believe in Him or not.
But Paul is stating the qualifications of belonging to the kingdom of God, the redeemed kingdom as we have learned today. To belong to that kingdom is to be an heir of God by saving faith in Christ. This wordage paints a beautiful picture of what God is doing among his people. Inheritance is a practice of passing down the wealth and riches of loved ones who have died. This practice of earthly living carries great spiritual truth.
Galatians 4:4–7 NASB95
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
The idea of inheritance actually flows through the OT into the NT as the story of God unfolds. Starting with the redeemed kingdom, God calls Abram into covenant relationship and in love, gives Abram a new name and promises Abraham and his offspring a future land as an inheritance. This promise was based on the covenant with God and that covenant was based on sovereign grace. What we have received from God is not something that is earned but freely given by a relationship built on love.
Exodus 32:13 NASB95
“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ”
The land became the inheritance to which God’s people sought but it only became a symbol for Israel’s attainment and dwelling of that inheritance was lost die to their sin. Its loss of the land resulted in foreign armies being sent by the Lord to capture Israel and remove them from the land. This separation from the land reflected their separation from God in their sin. But the promise of God to redeem a people continued, not through disobedient Israel but through a promised Messiah.
Likewise, when the Messiah the Lord Jesus came, the idea of the promised land pointed forward to a kingdom which would be ruled by the Messiah as king. Its focus shifted from physical land and upon a inheritance of an eternal relationship with the Lord. In that relationship, the Lord Jesus was our inheritance. He provided spiritually what the land in the Canaan could not provide. Jesus provided eternal rest from enemies. Jesus Christ and his kingdom also promises abundance in joy and resources, fulfilling all our spiritual needs in Him.
Peter sees clearly the spiritual ramifications of the theme of inheritance as he lays out one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture,
1 Peter 1:3–5 NASB95
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Our inheritance is unconditional. Notice the sovereign grace of God introducing these verses. Our salvation is according to “his great mercy.” His mercy gives us salvation instead of wrath for our sin. His mercy gives us spiritual clarity instead of darkened blindness to spiritual truth. His mercy gives faith in God instead of rebellion against him.
Next we see that He causes us to be born again. All heirs of the kingdom do not find their way to the kingdom on their own. Instead, its location is gifted to them and the strength to travel to this kingdom is also endowed to their bones. No person can cause another person to be born and so our inheritance is one that gifted to us-free from deserving it! Like the opening illustration, we are unaware we even belong to such wealth until the phone call comes out of nowhere. Then we are instantly rich…in Christ!
Our inheritance is unfading. Lands are overcome by armies. Riches are overwhelmed by thieves. Family is overwhelmed by death. These are good but not our true riches. Our inheritance is eternal and unable to fade away. Our inheritance is Jesus Christ and the blessings in him.
Our inheritance is under God’s protection. No one can steal away Jesus Christ from us nor can we fall away from loving him, if our love was genuine to begin with. Our inheritance is Jesus and he is our portion. There is correlation to this in the OT when the Lord tells Aaron and the Levites that they would not get a portion of the promised land divvied up to them. Instead, he tells them
Numbers 32:19 NASB95
“For we will not have an inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this side of the Jordan toward the east.”
Now we will spend next week looking at the characteristics of the inheritance of God’s kingdom and which person’s belong to that kingdom that God has instituted with Christ as King.

II. Identifying the Beneficiaries (9-10)

III. Inheritance from the Lord and its Benefits

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