Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

The Message of the Kingdom Is the Good News

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The Message of the Kingdom is the Good News

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The Message of the Kingdom Is the Good News

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How does the message of the rule of God on earth, the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth fit in with the overall message of the Bible? How prominent should the Kingdom of God and its establishment on earth be in the message God has given the Church to proclaim?

Sermon Notes

The Gospel And The Kingdom of God

How does the message of the rule of God on earth, the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth fit in with the overall message of the bible? How prominent should the kingdom of God and its establishment on earth be in the message God has given the church to proclaim?

Is the church’s primary message: Christ’s offering of His life to free people from the penalty of the law? Or, is the primary message: proclamation of the coming Kingdom of God that can only be entered into through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

Both messages are present in the scriptures. How do they relate? Is there a gospel about Christ and then another gospel about the kingdom? Should a message about the kingdom of God point a person towards Christ and what He accomplished by His death? Or, should a message about Christ crucified then point a person towards the kingdom of God?

Does this distinction direct the way we deliver the message?

Gospel Means “Good Message”

When I say the message I am using it in place of the word “gospel”. Gospel is the old English word used to translate the Greek noun Evangelion. Evangelion is the content of what is preached. It originally referred to a messenger who brought news of victory in battle or escape from danger. By natural transference, it came to mean the content of the message he brought… not just news but good news. The church writers then took this word and used it to describe the message proclaimed by Jesus Christ and the church. Note: its also where we get words like evangelical, evangelism etc.

In Scripture, other words are added to Evangelion to more fully describe the content of the message. Paul occasionally uses phrases like; the gospel of peace, the gospel of salvation, gospel of grace. You will also find the phrase gospel of God … a reference to where it originated from Romans 1:1 Romans 1:1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God,
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.

Paul uses the phrase “gospel of Christ” a bit more frequently, about 8 or 9 times. More often Paul simply says “the gospel” assuming the hearer knows what the overall content of the message.

Is the Gospel About Christ?

By that I mean: is the content of the church’s message to focus people on Christ crucified for your sins and Christ resurrected so you might live? Or is the church’s commission to carry forward the same message that Jesus Himself spoke [the gospel of Christ]?

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 [1] And I, brothers, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God. [2] For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
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here is a scripture which is easily used as a rationale for simplifying the message to one that directs everyone to the cross of Christ [Spurgeon quote]

1 Corinthians 15:1-16 1 Corinthians 15:1-16 [1] Moreover, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; [2] By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [5] And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: [6] After that, he was seen of above five hundred brothers at once; of whom the greater part remain to this present, but some are fallen asleep. [7] After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. [8] And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. [9] For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. [10] But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. [11] Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed. [12] Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? [13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: [14] And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. [15] Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. [16] For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
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verse 1-8 could be used to prove that the message given to the church to proclaim is first and foremost about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is much truth in this assessment but it also falls short of presenting the complete message. Paul goes on in verses 19-26 to complete the gospel message by taking us all the way to the goal line… a place and a purpose for resurrected believers the Kingdom of God… established on earth when Christ returns!

I do not want to speak of the death and resurrection as if they are no big deal. What I want to say is that the death and resurrection are important because of the essential place and purpose they hold in the larger message of the kingdom of God.

If all roads lead to Christ… Christ leads to the Kingdom of God.

A Personal Example

When I was young and foolish the sacrifice of Christ meant nothing to me. I did not care if anyone or anything forgave me for stuff I had done. If they didn’t like it that was their problem. What got to me was the message of the kingdom of God. That was something I could wrap my mind around. That was something I could want to be a part of. But, when I admitted to myself that I wanted in something was in the way… something ugly… me.

To have any part in that Kingdom of God, I needed to be cleaned up, and I needed that forgiveness. I could only get it through Jesus Christ.

I believe this is what Jesus meant when He said: “I am the way”.

John 10:1-10 John 10:1-10 [1] Truly, truly, I say to you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. [2] But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. [4] And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. [5] And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. [6] This parable spoke Jesus to them: but they understood not what things they were which he spoke to them. [7] Then said Jesus to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. [9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
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the reason the sheep want to go through the gate is because there is a pasture of delicious grass on the other side.

Paul Proclaimed the Kingdom of God

Ephesians 3:4-6 Ephesians 3:4-6 [4] Whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
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A mystery is something formerly not known but now revealed by God through the teaching of the church. The new understanding Paul spent a great deal of his time teaching is that the inheritance [ i.e. kingdom] does not come through Israel and covenant law. Entry to the promise of the kingdom was available to all people through faith in Jesus Christ. The inheritance is a role and position in the rule of God on earth at Christ’s return. Christ is the gateway to the kingdom of God.

When Luke [who traveled extensively with Paul] wanted to summarize the content of Paul’s teaching he said Paul taught about the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. Luke does not sum up Paul’s teaching as being all about Christ crucified.

Acts 14:22 Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
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summary of his teaching at the beginning of his travels in Galatia

Acts 19:8 Acts 19:8And he went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
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summary of his teaching midway through his ministry

Acts 28:23 Acts 28:23And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
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,31 to the very end [in case you want to propose that Paul’s content evolved]

Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God because Jesus told him to. Paul was adamant that the content of his teaching was not something he learned at the feet of the apostles. Its was what he received directly from the resurrected and living Christ.

Jesus Commissioned His followers to Teach the Kingdom of God

Luke 9:1-2 Luke 9:1-2 [1] Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. [2] And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
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, 10: 1,9

Acts 8:12 Acts 8:12But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
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from the beginning the church’s message focused on the kingdom and the role of Jesus in making it possible.

Jesus Proclaimed the Kingdom of God

Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 [14] Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, [15] And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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Matthew 4:17 Matthew 4:17From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
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… why repent? Because the Kingdom of God is going to come! [verse 23]

The phrase kingdom of God is mentioned 53 times in the documentation we have of Jesus’ teaching recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It’s the content of the message Jesus taught. Consider how many of His parables say the Kingdom of God is like...

His most famous teaching on ethics [the sermon on the mount] is filled with teaching about the Kingdom.

Matthew 5:3-5 Matthew 5:3-5 [3] Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [4] Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. [5] Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
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,10 introduced with comments on the kingdom [established on earth]

Matthew 5:19-20 Matthew 5:19-20 [19] Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
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The importance of keeping the commandments is framed by their place in the kingdom of God. Begin now to obey and follow and teach others the laws of the kingdom.

Matthew 6:10 Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
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set your hope on the kingdom when God’s will rules the earth

Matthew 7:21 Matthew 7:21Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
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begin now to do the will of God… as it will be in the Kingdom.

Teaching About the Kingdom of God Did Not Begin With Jesus

Matthew 3:2 Matthew 3:2And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
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John the baptist who went ahead of Jesus taught about the kingdom.

Psalms 145:10-13 Psalms 145:10-13 [10] All your works shall praise you, O LORD; and your saints shall bless you. [11] They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and talk of your power; [12] To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. [13] Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
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David wrote songs about the kingdom

Daniel 7:27 Daniel 7:27And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
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prophecies point toward the kingdom [Isaiah 40:9 Isaiah 40:9O Zion, that bring good tidings, get you up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
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, Isaiah 52:7-10 Isaiah 52:7-10 [7] How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that said to Zion, Your God reigns! [8] Your watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. [9] Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. [10] The LORD has made bore his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
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, Isaiah 61:1 Isaiah 61:1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
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]

Galatians 3:8 Galatians 3:8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.
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Abraham heard the same message and looked forward to a city whose builder and architect is God. A better country or nation he and all those who lived by faith could look forward to and call their own [Hebrews 11:9-10 Hebrews 11:9-10 [9] By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: [10] For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
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, 14].

Hebrews 4:2 Hebrews 4:2For to us was the gospel preached, as well as to them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
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the message God has for humanity is consistent. Israel had the good message delivered to them but didn’t grasp what it truly meant. They thought the nation of Israel was the kingdom of God. And that the messiah’s appearance would be to reestablish the Israel as the kingdom of God. As mentioned earlier, Paul spend a great deal of his time teaching this was not so… that entry to the kingdom of God was not through Israel, or becoming a Jew… it was through Jesus Christ.

Jesus, the Messiah, came and revealed understanding of the Kingdom not previously understood [mysteries]. Yet, everything He taught was built upon the foundation planned and set forth from the beginning. The Messiah did not come to establish the kingdom at that time. He came to lay some essential groundwork for the Kingdom that would be established at the appointed time [the end].

He gave His life as a sacrifice for sin… so that, you might have a place and a purpose in that promised kingdom of God… He is coming again at the appointed time to bring the rule and power and authority of God to earth as it is in heaven.

The message of the kingdom is the message God has always had for humanity, it is the message of the scriptures, it is the message the Messiah taught and added to, it is the message He gave Paul to proclaim. It is the message of the church of God.

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