Did Jesus Come to Earth? (2)
Came to Establish the Kingdom of God
There is much confusion
as to how, when and where of the establishment of Christ's kingdom. Some
believe Christ's kingdom is yet to come at the Second Coming of Christ.
Others believe that it has already come. Some believe Christ's kingdom
will be an earthly kingdom where he reigns on earth for a thousand years.
Still, others believe Christ's kingdom is purely spiritual. The only way
we can ascertain the true nature of Christ's kingdom is to allow the scriptures
to speak for themselves.
The Old Testament
was built upon the hope of a messianic kingdom. Daniel prophesied
that God would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed. The kingdom
would not be left to other people, but it would consume all other kingdoms
and it would stand forever. (Daniel 2:44) Daniel further states that all
people; nations and languages would serve the king in this everlasting
dominion. This kingdom would be given to the people of the saints of the
most High. (Daniel 7:27)
As Isaiah begins his
writing the kingdom is foremost.
is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: 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. 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. (NIV)
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. 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
of the kingdom is the focal point of the New Testament. As one
reads through the gospels, the subject of the kingdom of God is ever present
in all Christ taught. Matthew opens his gospel revealing that John the
Baptist came preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew
3:1-3) As he heralded the coming of Christ's ministry, John heralded Christ
as mightier than he! Immediately following Christ's baptism by John, Jesus
begins preaching repentance for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew
The kingdom of God was
the focal point of all of Luke's writings. Luke opens the book of Luke
by proclaiming the purpose of Christ coming. As Luke opens his gospel notice
his emphasis concerning the role Jesus Christ would fill and its correlation
went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord
is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what
kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid,
Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give
birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob
forever; his kingdom will never end." (NIV)
Luke opens his gospel
by picking up on the theme of the kingdom of God from the Old Testament.
Isaiah prophesied that upon the throne of David Christ kingdom would be
established. (Isaiah 9:6-7) Comparing what Luke says with what Isaiah prophesied
leaves little doubt that Christ is the fulfillment of the messianic dreams
and hopes of the Old Testament.
As Luke opens the book
of Acts the kingdom of God remains in the forefront of all he writes. In
the second chapter of Acts, Luke reveals Peter preaching Christ as sitting
on the throne of David reigning as both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:25-37)
Luke records Peter on Pentecost declaring Christ is reigning on the throne
of David's kingdom as the angels had proclaimed to Mary.
I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried,
and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God
had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on
his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the
Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised
Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did
not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit
at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
' "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus,
whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." (NIV)
The Coming of Christ
There is one thing for
certain Jesus Christ came to establish his kingdom. To understand how Christ's
kingdom was to be established on the earth, we must first understand the
nature of his kingdom.
tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and
the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the
kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (NIV)
Christ promises to build
his church and he promises to give Peter the keys to his kingdom. The true
church is nothing more than the reign of God in the hearts of men. Obviously
the church is simply an extension of Christ's heavenly kingdom as he reigns
through the church on earth. What else is the church than an extension
of Christ's heavenly kingdom on earth? When we enter the church of our
Lord we enter into Christ eternal heavenly kingdom.
Matthew writes almost
with the same stroke of the pen: "For the Son of Man is going to come in
his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person
according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are
standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming
in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:27-28 NIV) Whatever time frame we
might imagine concerning the coming of "the Son of Man in his kingdom",
it is obvious Christ's kingdom came during the lifetime of some to whom
he was speaking.
kingdom came in the lifetime of his disciples. Paul says when Christ
died on the cross as an atonement for our sins he " . . . rescued us from
the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he
loves (Colossians 1:13-14) It is in Christ that we become "fellow workers
for the kingdom of God." (Colossians 4:11) When we were baptized into Christ
we received a kingdom that can not be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28-29) The kingdom
cannot be shaken because Jesus Christ is "king of the ages" (Revelation
15:3) and he is "King of kings" (Revelation 17:14).
Christ has built his
church or kingdom upon the solid rock of his eternal nature and the gates
of death cannot prevail against it. Many have been martyred: Stephen, James,
Paul, etc. As we read John's revelation, John sees those martyrs standing
before God's throne in heaven. I believe this part of John's vision is
as real as you and me.
he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who
had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.
They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true,
until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then
each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little
longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were
to be killed as they had been was completed. (NIV)
The earth is still in
existence, but those saints who have suffered martyrdom are alive and well.
Death does not destroy the subjects of Christ kingdom they reign with Christ
eternally. His kingdom is indeed an eternal kingdom in that Christ reigns
even through death. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who kill
the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can
destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28 NIV)
The Authority of
Christ's kingdom is
unlike earthly kingdoms, it is not dependent upon succeeding kings, Christ
remains king throughout the ages. When Solomon died he left his kingdom
to his heirs, they literally destroyed what Solomon spent a lifetime building.
Daniel prophesied that Christ kingdom would not be left to other people.
(Daniel 2:44) Christ is the eternal king. There is no successor.
A kingdom is a
monarchy. A monarchy is where one person has all power. It isn't
a place of anarchy where anything goes or a democracy where the people
rule. In kingdoms, kings reign sovereign. Jesus is king of his kingdom
and there is no other. Jesus said in the great commission "All authority
in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them
to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you
always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
When Peter stood up
on Pentecost teaching the multitude, he was teaching by the authority of
Jesus Christ. Christ had given him the keys of entrance into his kingdom.
He was also preaching by the authority of the great commission as he was
endeavoring to make disciples of those present. Peter taught them to be
baptized in the name or by the authority of Christ.
The nature of
God's kingdom is that Christ's reign is supreme in that Christ is preeminent.
God raised Christ " . . . from the dead and seated him at his
right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power
and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present
age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his
feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which
is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." (Ephesians
found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to
death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest
place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name
of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
the Father. (NIV)
Jesus said, "There is
a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very
word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak
of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and
how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever
I say is just what the Father has told me to say." (John 12:48-50 NIV)
Today as I look around
at the anarchy of the religious world, with each group proclaiming its
own brand of "truth". I wonder, how have we overlooked the fact that Jesus
is still king and what he says is eternally binding? If you wish to be
a part of Christ kingdom, it is extremely important that you follow the
instructions of the king, Jesus Christ. Jesus is not tyrant, but he is
king and he is the only eternal king. We must follow the instructions of
You may seek to follow
others, but Jesus wants you to know that you must follow him. To listen
to Christ is to listen to God. (Luke 10:16) Jesus said, "For just as
the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life
to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one,
but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just
as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor
the Father, who sent him. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word
and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned;
he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:21-24 NIV)
Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their
lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen
him after he had risen. He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach
the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be
You have seen religious
bumper stickers that read: "Jesus One Way." This paramount to saying that
Christ is Lord of lord and King of kings.
said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know
the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV)
For there to be another
way, there would have to be two kings or two saviors. Jesus is the only
King of kings and Lord of lords. Before him every knee will bow and confess
he is Christ to the glory of God.
The Kingdom A Place
replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed
to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are
Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of
Hades will not overcome it. (NIV)
The gates of death
cannot prevail against Christ kingdom. We have seen in John's vision
where the martyred are alive and well before the throne of God. We
have firsthand knowledge that Christ reigns in his kingdom in the present
and on through death. Christ's kingdom provides a place of refuge from
the destructive forces of Satan.
we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we
know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again;
death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died
to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same
way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
What a relief, the blood
of Christ shed abroad through his kingdom makes us dead to sin as we determine
to live for God. We are saved us from sin and spiritual death. Proof of
this lie in the fact that Jesus rose from the death grip of Satan. He is
alive evermore and we reign with him as kings and priests in his kingdom.
What a glorious privilege! Salvation has been brought down.
he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find
refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not
fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence
that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (NIV)
A preacher stayed one
night in a farmer's home while on an evangelistic tour, and early the next
morning he observed a very practical illustration of Psalm 91:4. Writing
about the many valuable lessons to be learned from nature, he said, "I
sat looking at a brood of chicks as they trailed behind their mother. She
kept clucking loudly to attract her young as she scratched for food. At
first the little ones just watched her, but soon they began to follow her
example. Suddenly a strange dog appeared. With a deep growl he leaped over
a small fence and ran toward them in a threatening manner. The mother hen
glared fiercely at the intruder, and frightened him by her actions. The
little chicks quickly ran to her side and found a place of safety beneath
her wings. Peeking out with a defiant and impudent look, they seemed to
be saying, 'You'll never be able to get us here, you big black hound!'
The dog turned and ran, but the young ones stayed where they were for a
long time, content in their place of refuge. As I watched the scene, I
was reminded of a comforting truth. We who belong to Christ can also find
rest and blessed security beneath His wings. We are sheltered by His love,
and the forces of darkness cannot harm us if we put our trust in Him!"
Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often
I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings, but you were not willing. (NIV)
The true church affords
the subjects of Christ kingdom a place of refuge from the destructive forces
of sin. A refuge is a place of safety.
During initial construction
on the Golden Gate Bridge, no safety devices were used and 23 men fell
to their deaths. For the final part of the project, however, a large net
was used as a safety precaution. At least 10 men fell into it and were
saved from certain death. Even more interesting, however, is the fact that
25% more work was accomplished after the net was installed. Why? Because
the men had the assurance of their safety, and they were free to wholeheartedly
serve the project.
How far are you from
the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus
had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which
is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this:
'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your
God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and
with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these." "Well said, teacher," the
man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other
but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and
with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important
than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered
wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."
And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. (NIV)
This man was not far
from the kingdom of God because he was seeking the kingdom with his heart.
The question I propose to you this morning is not whether Christ kingdom
has come, but are you searching for Christ with your heart. Is Christ reigning
on the throne of your heart. The kingdom continues to be at hand today
in a real sense even today. Many are not far from the kingdom but have
never surrendered to Christ as King. His kingdom is at hand for you to
enter. Are you seeking the King's direction for living? Jesus says, " .
. . the kingdom of God is within you."
How far you are from
the kingdom of God is dependent upon you. You are the one who creates the
distance. In one sense, you are really not that far away. You are as close
as one decision away. It is only your decision to allow Christ to rule
in your heart that keeps you out of his kingdom.
having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come,
Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful
observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because
the kingdom of God is within you." (NIV)
While serving as a missionary
in Laos, a missionary discovered an illustration of the kingdom of God.
Before the colonialists imposed national boundaries, the kings of Laos
and Vietnam reached an agreement on taxation in the border areas. Those
who ate short-grain rice, built their houses on stilts, and decorated them
with Indian-style serpents were considered Laotians. On the other hand,
those who ate long-grain rice, built their houses on the ground, and decorated
them with Chinese-style dragons were considered Vietnamese. The exact location
of a person's home was not what determined his or her nationality. Instead,
each person belonged to the kingdom whose cultural values he or she exhibited.
So it is with us, we live in the world, but as part of God's kingdom, we
are to live according to his kingdom's standards and values.
To have Christ to
rule our hearts:
We must first hear what
God says about Christ and his kingdom. (Romans 10:17)
We must first believe
that he is Christ the King of kings. (John 8:24)
We must change our minds
about the way we are living and surrender to follow Christ.
This is what we call
repentance. (Luke 13:1-7) Confess him as Lord. (Matthew 10:30-32)
We must make a commitment
to die with Christ, to die to self and come alive to God.
This commitment is made
at baptism. (Mark 16:1-16; Romans 6:3-4)
believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will
be condemned. (NIV)
If we follow the King's
teaching he will take us out of the dominion of darkness and place us in
his kingdom. (Colossians 1:13-14)
How far are you from
the kingdom? The church is far more than a place to go on Sunday, or a
place of entertainment. The church has to do with allowing Jesus Christ
on the throne of my heart directing my life.
did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the
world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever
does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in
the name of God's one and only Son. (NIV)
Don't let the god of
this world blind you as to whom is really in charge.
if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god
of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see
the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord
Saints rule with
Christ for God has raised Christians up to sit with Christ in his heavenly
kingdom. (Ephesians 2:1-9) In Daniel 7:27 the scripture says "Then
the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His
kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and
obey him." (NIV)
As John writes to the
seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation, we find Christ ruling
and the saints have inherited the kingdom of which Daniel prophesied. John
writes, "To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace
to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven
spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To
him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has
made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father-- to
him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:4-6 NIV)
Deciding to allow Christ
to enter the throne room of your heart is the most important decision you
will ever make. It is the decision, which will make you a priest in his