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1. ILL – In an earlier century, a large boulder laid in the middle of the roadway. Traveler after traveler walked past the boulder, veering off the side of the road to get around it. All the while, they were shaking their head and muttering, "Can you believe that? Someone should get that big thing out of the way. What an inconvenience!" Finally, a man came along and, seeing the boulder, took a branch from a tree and pried the boulder enough to get it rolling and rolled it off to the side of the road. Lying underneath the rock, he found a small bag with a note. The man picked up the note and read it. It read as follows: "Thank you for being a true servant of the kingdom. Many have passed this way and complained because of the state of the problem and spoken of what ought to be done. But you have taken the responsibility upon yourself to serve the kingdom instead. You are the type of citizen we need more of in this kingdom. Please accept this bag of gold that traveler after traveler have walked by simply because they didn’t care enough about the kingdom to serve."
2. I wonder what “bags of gold” we miss out on, simply because we don’t bother to get involved in serving the heavenly kingdom; or are we the type of heavenly citizens our Father wants more of?
3. Today, we will be talking about the “kingdom of God.”
4. Mark 4:21-34 (Read)
5. The thought of a “kingdom” is very prominent in the Bible. The expression “the kingdom of God” is used 68x in the N. T. In Matthew, it is called the “kingdom of heaven” & is used 31x.
6. Jesus taught that we were to seek His Kingdom 1st.
7. Matt. 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
8. Most Biblical scholars regard the “kingdom of God” as the central theme of Jesus’ message.
9. Mark 1:14-15 “14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’”
10. The apostles carried on this theme in their own preaching.
11. Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
12. Rom. 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”
13. If this was so important to Jesus & the disciples, then we must understand 2 things…
I. What is the Kingdom of God?
A “kingdom” naturally designates a King. Therefore, the kingdom of God is the reign of God.
When & where is this Kingdom? 3 main theories have been offered.
- Some (C. H. Dodd) have argued that the “kingdom” was fully manifest in the teaching & actions of Jesus on earth & that the Kingdom had no future ramifications whatsoever. It is purely a spiritual kingdom where Christ reigns in the hearts of people.
- Others (Albert Schweitzer & Johannes Weiss) have argued that the “kingdom” was intended to be wholly futuristic & is still yet to come when Jesus returns. It then will
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