Summary: How is the power of the kingdom displayed?
Our passage speaks about two events in our Lord’s ministry, which, although separated in time, are united in the text of Luke’s Gospel.
We’ve said the Kingdom refers to God’s rule and reign; and the church exists to demonstrate what life is like lived under that rule and reign. Today, we’re going to think about three ways the power of God’s kingdom is displayed by those who would commit themselves to kingdom living. The power of the kingdom is displayed as we . . .
1. Let the kingdom come to us – vs. 20-21
A. We need to seek to let the kingdom come to us individually.
As we have noted before, Jesus taught us to pray:
“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” - Matthew 6:10 (NIV)
Where should be the first place we should seek to find an answer to this prayer? In us! And the answer is possible because of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is within us, which is a reference to His presence within the life of the believer.
“When you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit.” - Ephesians 1:13 (NLT)
As one who has a personal love relationship with God through faith in Christ, I now find that God has taken up residence with me through the Holy Spirit. So, as a believer, I know the Spirit of God resides within me; now I need to seek to allow Him to preside over me.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” - 1 Peter 3:15a (NIV)
The key to living Christ-centered as opposed to self-centered is our seeking to find the answer to one question: What does the Lord want?
B. We need to seek to let the kingdom come to us congregationally.
It’s interesting to note that the phrase “the kingdom of God is within you” could also be translated “the kingdom of God is among you.” In other words, there is not only an individual application to be made here, but a corporate or congregational application to be made too.
One of Paul’s favorite ways to describe the church was to describe the church as Christ’s body. Christ is the head of His church, which means He is the one who makes the decisions and gives us direction. We are each part of his body, and as such, are to function by obeying the decisions and following the direction given by our head, Christ.
“He is the head, and the whole body depends on him. All the parts of the body are joined and held together, with each part doing its own work. This causes the whole body to grow and to be stronger in love.” - Ephesians 4:15b-16 (Easy to Read)
There is no more powerful testimony to the power of the kingdom than people from different walks of life, who are committed to working through differences, and walking together in harmony and unity.
“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.” - Psalm 137:1-3 (NLT)
When Christ rules in our life as a congregation, we’ll be a church where God’s power is present; people are refreshed and blessed; and folks discover life everlasting. But what’s the key to living under His Lordship? A determination to answer one question in all we discuss, decide and do: What does the Lord want?
As the old saying goes, the difference between “united” and “untied” is where you place the “I”!
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias says that of all questions put to him challenging Christianity, the one that bothers him the most was asked by a Hindu friend: “If this conversion you speak about is truly supernatural, then why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians that I know?” In other words, a God who is said to transform should produce people with transformed lives.
The reason for this poor testimony is that while we may have come into the kingdom through Christ, we’re not letting the kingdom come to us by living under His Lordship. But when we do live under His Lordship, there’s no more powerful testimony to an unbelieving world.
The power of the kingdom is displayed as we surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ.
The power of the kingdom is also displayed as we . . .