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Kingdom Importance

Kingdom Come pt 1  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Kingdom of God is not only important to study - it's important for life.

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Introduction

Series Intro
Matthew 6:9–13 ESV
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
We’re moving into a new series called Kingdom Come.
The Kingdom of God for many is a cloudy idea that can refer to many aspects of the Christian faith:
Heaven and the end of the world (Jesus comes back like Braveheart)
Spiritual warfare (You know the King and you have your armor so you’ll take the devil down)
Evangelism (How many used to sing “I’m in the Lord’s Army”, or “Onward Christian Soldiers” - I wondered what people with no church background might think about these songs? Someone wanders into church during a hymn-sing thinking, “What did I sign up for?)
Here’s the problem:
The Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew) is a confusing and muddy concept for many Christians.
Partly because it has been used to support things such as biblical theologies (How we understand God through the Bible), ecclesiology (how we do church), and even war (in the Crusades)
The Kingdom of God is one of the major themes in the Bible that binds the story of God’s redemption.
ILLUST - Story of a kingdom in rebellion and the King’s effort to save or Ed Stetzer’s illustration of Tennessee in rebellion during Civil War (Subversive)
During the season prior to the Civil War, both West and Middle Tennessee began to side with the Confederacy - they took a Stand in rebellion. East Tennesseans, on the other hand, with their mountainous terrain that depended less on farming and agriculture (and, therefore, depended less on the slave labor such livelihoods relied on) remained predominantly allied with the abolitionist Union. Though living in the midst of a southern state bordering on breakaway, the people in the East were not in agreement with the beliefs and practices espoused by the loudest voices who lived in other parts of the state. The city of Shelbyville was even eventually nicknamed “Little Boston.” So when Tennessee officially became the last of the southern states to secede from the United States following Lincoln’s attack on Fort Sumter in 1861, it did so without the full support of its fellow citizens from the East. Right after Tennessee seceded from the Union, East Tennessee seceded from Tennessee. East Tennessee was in rebellion against the rebellion. As a result, they were treated as cross-state enemies, eventually being invaded by the armies and militias of their own state who had been deployed with orders to keep this splinter section under control. They were forced into a sort of guerilla warfare for daring to insist that the rightful rule of their country resided in Washington, DC, not Richmond, Virginia. In many ways we as believers in Christ—followers of another Ruler, citizens of another kingdom—are much like the people of East Tennessee in Civil War America. We live among a world system that, even though ultimately under the reign of a sovereign God, temporarily exerts a competing authority that seeks to enforce an unjust, unrighteous order on those it claims to rule. The Supreme Court, for example, would later find that the secession of the southern states was an illegal and illegitimate act. Their confederacy had no legal authority. Thus, the United States was always legally sovereign over those states. They just didn’t know it. And so it is with us. The world’s illegal rebellion is illegitimate. It certainly feels real, of course—IS real—but it doesn’t change the reality that God is still Ruler of everything. Though people may think they have rebelled, they have not—and cannot—ultimately escape the fact that King Jesus still is sovereign.
Stetzer, Ed. Subversive Kingdom: Living as Agents of Gospel Transformation (pp. 3-5). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
I would totally understand if this “kingdom” idea has always struck you as being cloudy and mysterious or even if you’ve never really thought about it all that much. If you have, your tendency may be like many who pocket it away and dismiss the kingdom as a theological concept somehow detached from real life on the ground—lived every day. To many the kingdom is a spiritual idea that makes sense in the context of sermons and Bible studies but not between regular business hours or on Friday nights when you’re making plans for the weekend. And if that’s all the kingdom was—a spiritual theme or wordplay that seeks to capture the essence of Christianity in some memorable turn of phrase—we might have the luxury of keeping it at that kind of comfortable, churchy distance. But the kingdom of God is real. It’s here. It’s happening. It’s right there in the room with you. It has broken into our time and space and is subversively working to overcome the darkness of our age. The kingdom of God is a radical rejection of every value or point of view that keeps people in bondage to untruth, blinded to Christ’s mercy. It is a refusal to classify any person as being expendable or beyond reach, an unwillingness to view any situation as something that cannot be transformed and infused with hope.
Stetzer, Ed. Subversive Kingdom: Living as Agents of Gospel Transformation (pp. 7-8). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
We will have a five-part series that look at:
The King and His Kingdom
The Nature of the Kingdom
Life in the Kingdom of God
The Mission of the Kingdom
Do you want to know about Jesus? - Who Jesus is?
Study the Kingdom of God
Do you want to know how to get to heaven or what heaven will be like?
Study the Kingdom of God
Do you want to know how to live a life that is free of worry - a life that full of joy?
Study the Kingdom of God
Do you want to know how to make your life have meaning - a purpose beyond the 9-5? Do you want to live for something bigger than yourself?
Study the Kingdom of God
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Heaven and the end of the world (Jesus comes back like Braveheart)
Why we will use Matthew:
Table 4.2 New Testament book or division Number of occurrences of “kingdom of God” (ESV)
 Gospels 53 
Matthew - 5 (“ kingdom of heaven” 53 times) * 
Mark - 14 
Luke - 32 
John - 2 
Spiritual warfare (You know the King and you have your armor so you’ll take the devil down)
Acts - 6 
Paul (Romans—Philemon) 8 
General Epistles 0 
Revelation 0 
Entire New Testament 67
Evangelism (How many used to sing “I’m in the Lord’s Army”, or “Onward Christian Soldiers” - I wondered what people with no church background might think about these songs? Someone wanders into church during a hymn-sing thinking, “What did I sign up for?)
Message Intro
**Today, I hope to answer these questions:
What is the Kingdom of God?
Why should we study the Kingdom of God?

The Kingdom of God is important to study because of its connections.

“It is clear that no view of Christ’s person and work which is separated from the context of the Kingdom [of God] can claim to reflect a biblical mode of thought.”
David Wells
A good grasp of the kingdom of God is indispensable for a proper understanding of Christ and the redemption that he accomplished.
The Kingdom connects theology
Covenants
Kingdom connects the Bible - OT / NT - It is the story of God
From beginning to end, the Kingdom of God is the thread which connects the pages of Scripture. 
Kingdom in Paul -
From Romans to Jude, the New Testament contains about eighteen references to the kingdom of God or of Christ: ; , ; , , ; ;
The Kingdom connects Heaven and Earth
The Kingdom of God describes the final rule and reign of God. It describes the place where God is ruling and life is all it is meant to be.
Matthew 4:12–13 ESV
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,
;
Matthew 4:17 ESV
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 4:12–13 ESV
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,
Matt 4:12-
Ma
The Kingdom of God that Jesus is preaching is an inbreaking of this final Kingdom - it’s the beginning.
The Kingdom connects God and people
The Kingdom of God was how God interacted with his people from the beginning of time. And Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom, explained how people can and do enter the Kingdom. 
Jesus meets Nicodemus, a religious leader, who wants to know how he can connect with God. Jesus says in John chap 3:
John 3:3–5 ESV
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
jn3:3
(Speaking of birth - shout out to my daughter, Tatyana, who has a birthday tomorrow)

The Kingdom of God can be difficult to study because of its contrasts.

The Kingdom is already but not yet
Is the kingdom present or future?
ILLUST - the answer is same as when I ask some of my children if they want a hot dog or hamburger - YES.
Now because of this, I am OK with living in the tension but I understand that some people are not.
Yes.
But the answer is - Yes.
Present
Matthew 12:28 ESV
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Future
matt
Matthew 26:29 ESV
I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
ILLUST - It’s Christmas!
There is Christmas season - small parties, moments of good cheer, a few gifts are opened.
Then there is CHRISTMAS Day - This is the fulfillment of the Christmas season.
Jesus
The Kingdom is universal and particular
God, as Creator, reigns over all his creation,
Psalm 24:1 ESV
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
Isaiah 6:5 ESV
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
yet his creation is in rebellion against him - many are loyal to a rebellious kingdom which God has allowed to continue for the time.
But there are those who are faithful in there hearts to the King and they form the growing particular Kingdom. 
Listen, God is allowing Satan a limited, even though powerful rule over his kingdom in general.
Yet, God is displaying his glory and power through his particular people who have submitted themselves to God’s rule in their lives and follow his ways.
You can either follow Satan’s temporary rule or submit to the true King now.
What do you think the people of West Tennessee would have done had they foreseen the outcome of the Civil War? I imagine a large majority would have changed sides - some would have stayed in rebellion, but most would have gone with the true and final rulers.
Eventually, when Jesus returns the universal Kingdom of God and the Particular Kingdom of God will be one, but until then, there is a contrast and a tension.
The Kingdom is judgment and grace
Does the kingdom concern salvation or judgment? 
Grace
Matthew 25:34 ESV
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Judgment
Matthew 13:47–50 ESV
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
matt 13

The Kingdom of God is a joy to study because of Christ.

The Kingdom is about Jesus because Jesus is about the Kingdom
From start to finish, Jesus earthly messages talked about the Kingdom of God:
Matthew 4:23 ESV
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
Matt
Not only did Jesus teach on the Kingdom of God, he embodied it.
A better understanding of the Kingdom of God will give us a better understanding of Jesus.
I pray that at the end of our series you will have a greater understanding of Jesus and a deeper affection for him.

The Kingdom of God is worth the study because of its cost.

The Kingdom will cost you. Do you really want it?
The Kingdom costs us everything in life and gives us true life
Matthew 13:44–45 ESV
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
Matthew 13:44–46 ESV
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
matt 13:
Matt 13:
Jesus told Nicodemus how to enter the Kingdom of God and when he did so, he would have eternal life.
Jesus said we are to “seek first the Kingdom” and all other aspects of life would be settled.
What does the Kingdom of God have to offer us, here and now, that would be worth losing everything else on earth for?
Jesus is saying that if we didn’t have anything else on earth, but the promise of the Kingdom of God, we would still be overjoyed.
The Kingdom is inside-out and upside-down
The Kingdom of God begins it reign in our lives when we submit to Jesus as Lord of our life. When we do, our new allegiance begins to affect our actions. There are actions that bely your allegiance, and there are actions that are borne from your allegiance. This is the inside-out Kingdom.
It’s not a better way of doing, it’s a new way of being.
Kingdom-living is upside-down from the rest of the world. The rest of the world is in rebellion against the King, kingdom life is in allegiance to the King.
The Kingdom takes us beyond being church-going people to becoming Kingdom-minded people.
Scott McKnight
“Though the church and its activities can fit into the Kingdom, you cannot squeeze the Kingdom into the Church. When we try to fit the Kingdom into our church-box, we create church people, instead of Kingdom people! And there is a huge difference between the two:”
Church People: have reduced ministry vision and can’t see past church-bound categories for ministry (i.e., usher, greeter,
Kingdom People: have Kingdom vision to think/ dream/ act outside the box They want to heal the wounds in their neighborhood, workplace, and community
Church People: see the gospel in terms of good news about the afterlife
Kingdom People: see the gospel in terms of good news in this life
Church People: understand discipleship as primarily about enjoying a closer relationship with God that grows me to spiritual maturity
Kingdom People: understand discipleship as the call to lose their life for Christ’s sake so they can participate in His family for His mission.
Matthew 10:5–10 ESV
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.
Matthew 10:16–18 ESV
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
Matt 10:1
How would that sound as a benediction? This is how Jesus sent out his Twelve, and we are sent out with the same Spirit to the same world to deliver the same message.
The Kingdom is not a means to a bigger church; the church is a means to demonstrating the Kingdom!

Conclusion

This Kingdom transforms and liberates
Transforms
Our hearts to new allegiances
Our relationships
Our treasures
Liberates
Only this Kingdom has the power to overcome the kingdoms holding us captive
This is the true Kingdom which will be the place of freedom for all eternity
What if we actually understood what the world will look like when it is finally ruled finally and completely by God? Would we live differently now?
What if we allowed Jesus to reign fully in our lives now? What would need to change? What freedom might we gain? What transformation would occur?
What if we actually began to live as agents for the King? In rebellion of the rebellion? How would the priorities of our lives change? Who else might enter the Kingdom during our time in this series?
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