Summary: What does Luke mean by the phrase “the kingdom of God” and how does it apply to our daily lives and ministries? Sermon also deals with disciples’ question in Acts 1:6 “So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restor
Enlarged Understanding of the Kingdom of God
Series: Book of Acts #4
We are in a study of the Book of Acts and this morning I what to talk with you about “the kingdom of God.” What does Luke mean by the phrase “the kingdom of God” and how does it apply to our daily lives and ministries?
We quickly encounter the concept in the opening verses of Acts. Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about (What?) the kingdom of God.” Jesus has risen from the dead. Before ascending to the Father he takes time to teach his followers. How many would agree that whatever Jesus taught during that time must have been extremely important. So what does verse 3 tell us he spoke to them about? The kingdom of God! It’s important that we understand what that means. In fact, the book of Acts opens with this statement about the kingdom of God and ends with a similar statement in Acts 28:30-31 “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached (What?) the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” This concept runs through the book of Acts. What is “the kingdom of God”?
I. The kingdom of God essentially refers to the Reign or Rulership of God. As Westerners we are prone to think of a kingdom in geographical terms. But the biblical concept is in terms of rule and dominion. Wherever God’s rulership is expressed the kingdom of God is to that extent being realized.
It was difficult for Jesus’ followers to grasp the progressive manifestation of the kingdom of God that Jesus taught. They essentially saw the kingdom of God as a single day—the Day of the Lord—when God would establish His reign on the earth. And it is true that the full realization of the kingdom of God will not occur until the second coming of the Lord. But to understand what’s happening in the book of Acts and what God wants to do in us today we must have a fuller revelation of the kingdom of God. There is both a “now” and a “not yet” dimension of the kingdom of God. As Westerners we have a hard time embracing that. We tend to think linear and in well defined categories. But the biblical concept of the kingdom of God is more holistic than linear. God’s rule is being asserted in the now but the fullness of His rule is yet to come.
(1) The ultimate consummation God’s plan and the uncontested rule of God will not be fully realized until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord—until Jesus returns in power and glory and told in Revelation 19 & 20 and puts down all opposition to the Father.
Peter wrote about that in 2 Peter 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
That will never happen without the sudden return of the Lord. So now we only experience the earnest of our inheritance. The final consummation of God’s plan will involve a cataclysmic intervention of history by the second coming of Christ. Rev 21:1-4 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."