Preaching Articles

I don’t have a big problem when people disagree with me. That will happen from time to time. Actually, disagreements help me immensely. I learn a lot from disagreements. No, it is not disagreements that I hate most; what I hate is to be misunderstood. Sometimes the misunderstanding comes from the imprecision of the English language. Sometimes it comes from the hearer not listening carefully. Sometimes it comes form the hearer not having the full context of my work to understand what I am sayng.

But then sometimes it is due to my own mistakes in articulating my understanding. But be that as it may, I wanted to talk about a recurring theme in my work that is misunderstood by many.

“How do you preach the coming Kingdom?”

In an article a while back, I asked the question, "Are you a preacher or a motivational speaker?" In that article I argued that “the coming Kingdom” is missing in motivational speaker’s sermons. My argument is that the Kingdom of God should totally saturate our sermons. Just as people hear the cross even when we are not necessarily speaking specifically about the cross, people should hear the coming Kingdom even when we are not speaking specifically about it.

Then someone responded, “We can’t preach about the second coming or prophecy every week.”

I admit that I was not as explicit as I could have been in presenting the point, but the questioner has misunderstood my point. I was not speaking of eschatology or end time prophecy. No, I am not only talking about the second coming, although I think that does play a role in our preaching. Neither am I talking about speculative prophecy and things like Russia coming into Israel or God’s people disappearing or something like that.

To be honest, I am not even talking about something that is totally in the future. “Coming Kingdom” might imply that I am speaking of something we do not have now but will come in the future. No, I am talking about something that we have now but will be more fully experienced in the future. I am talking about a present reality and a future reality. I am talking about something that is now and that is future. I am talking about the reality that Christ’s actions have set up a competing Kingdom to the kingdom of this world. This competing Kingdom has its own laws and ways of relating.

Yes, we can learn of the Kingdom by reading the parables. We can learn of the Kingdom by listening to Jesus as he preaches the Sermon on the Mount. I am talking about the fact that we Christians live in that Kingdom now, while it is true that we also live in the kingdom of this world.

Ambassadors Of Christ

But we don’t just live in this world. We are ambassadors of Christ and God’s Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20).

So when I say to preach the coming Kingdom, I mean to help your people learn how to become members of that Kingdom. I mean to help your people learn and understand what Christ has done so that this Kingdom is possible and open to us. I mean to help your people understand that in being a member of this Kingdom, there are ways of relating and ways of being (that Christ spoke of in his Sermon on the Mount—that was Kingdom preaching). I mean help people understand the responsibilities of being an ambassador of the Most High God.

So yes, there is both a future focus (when the Kingdom will be fully realized) but also a present focus (living in the Kingdom while we live in this world).

And yes, this is a dynamic that is missing in those who would make the American Dream the gospel. This is a dynamic that is missing in those who would preach about how to get a better job or how to get ahead at work. Yes, this is a dynamic that is missing and reminds us that even though preachers may encourage the saints, they are not merely Tony Robbins. I mean no disrespect to Tony Robbins; neither do I mean that preaching should not encourage the saints. But I do mean that when we are encouraging the saints and when we are uplifting their spirits, we are doing it within the context of God’s coming Kingdom.

As you go, preach that the Kingdom of heaven has come near. (Matthew 10:7)

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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Stephen Belokur

commented on Dec 4, 2013

Excellent! PTL!!

Chris Surber

commented on Dec 4, 2013

Great thoughts Sherman. Indeed, the Kingdom ought to central and assumed in every message.

David Davila

commented on Dec 4, 2013

It is a very confusing article, but from my understanding we are to be preaching the Gospel of Grace, rightly divide the Word. The Kingdom of God is future and will be preached during the Tribulation.

Jay George

commented on Dec 4, 2013

Very good. Very clear. Very much needed reminder

Tshidiso Molefe

commented on Dec 4, 2013

Well said MoG - a lot of preachers have missed the point. What we are here for is to proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Saviour as well as telling those who are basking in their shadows about the Kingdom of God. Have we written something new apart from the Bible that warrants us to tell something apart from the true Gospel? Let's be warned: the Kingdom of God is very real and is here. Want to see and experience it? Look around - even a blind person can see it. Keep them coming and soon every one of us will see the importance of responding to what God wants us to respond to. Glory be to God Almighty.

Ferdinand C Nnadi

commented on Dec 5, 2013

Very incisive, if you ask me. Some of us seem to have forgotten that THIS vocation is not meant to be a spectacle for seeking of self-popularity. It is also neither an opportunity to introduce our personal views and concepts in a bid to sound or appear intelligent and innovative. There are rules of engagement and a laid down template for effective and good performance on this assignment. It is rather unfortunate that some of us have elected to ignored doing the needful:knowing the theme. We all know what happens when a speaker speaks without knowing his theme. Are we keen to understand the very essence of the preaching assignment?

Prescott Jay Erwin

commented on Dec 5, 2013

Thanks again, Bro, Sherman. To David Davita I would say, "Hear the Word of the Lord: 'the kingdom of God has come upon you' (Mat 12:28; Luk 11.27), 'The kingdom of God has come near to you' (Luk 10:9, 11)." Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, so it's preaching is not for a future tribulation alone. The biblical point is that believers are aliens and strangers here on this earth (regardless of what country we live in) and this earth along with its elements are destined to be melted with fire and replaced by a new one -- even heaven will be replaced with a new heaven (1Pe 3:10-13; Isaiah 66; Revelation 21:1). We are citizens of the Kingdom that has come and is also coming, which transcends heaven and earth. We are currently walking by faith in this Kingdom because we do not see it with our physical eyes; we see if from afar, with spiritual eyes, and welcome it (Heb 11:13). It's very much like living the reality of Ephesians 1 and 2: He has chosen us in Christ Jesus, He has adopted us by Christ Jesus, we have been redeemed through the blood of Christ Jesus, have received an inheritance in Christ Jesus, been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, been quickened (made alive) with Christ Jesus, been raised up with Christ Jesus, been seated in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus, been brought near by the blood of Christ Jesus. The Father has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col 1:13). All of this is true right now, but the fullness of it is yet to be realized, "to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment." It has as many implications for today as for that distant tomorrow -- how distant we don't know, for the Apostles said the time is "at hand" and "is near." That must inform and infuse my preaching -- that's what I believe, anyway. So, I exposit God's Word, rightly dividing it, and preach both it's present and coming realities with all it's implications for the present and the future, all the implications of the future reality that bear on the present reality.

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