Summary: The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD - Christmas Focus
A great European king was so enraged at the report of Muslim victories that he immediately joined the crusade to drive Islam out of Palestine. This great king took his army and spent many years fighting in a crusade to free Palestine from Islamic domination.
When he left for Palestine, the king clearly instructed all his subjects and tenant farmers to continue serving as if he were still residing in his castle. Some of the people respected the wishes of the king and diligently performed their duties, thus continuing to share their bounty with the king. Many of the people, however, began to lose interest in their work. They grew lazy and the longer the king was gone the more careless they grew in their attitude toward the king. Eventually they began to ignore the existence of a king and some even went so far as to claim that he had already been killed in battle. These people refused to support the king in his crusade.
When the king eventually did return, he found the castle and town in a state of disrepair, the tenant farms were in deplorable condition and his wife had moved in with his brother. Luckily for the king, he had not returned home alone but at the head of a powerful and battle seasoned army. Every person who had refused to support the king by properly caring for that which had been left in their charge had their property taken away and they were expelled from the kingdom. As for the king’s wife and his brother, they were both sentenced to the gallows.
Once the king had put his affairs in order he immediately held a great banquet. To this banquet the King invited all the tenant farmers, merchants and craftsman who had remained loyal to him. When everyone had eaten and drank their fill the king ordered the chief steward to bring forth all the treasures the king had brought back from his crusade. The people were in awe! The treasure was immense: almost beyond believing. The king then stood and raising his hands he motioned for silence. The king spoke: “this is the treasure I will share with the men who fought beside me in the Holy Land; and not to them only, but also with all my loyal subjects who remained steadfast to the standards of my kingdom, they to shall also be given a portion of this treasure.
KINGDOM OF GOD
This Christmas season we have been focusing on what the birth of Jesus meant to this world and all that inhabits it. We have examined who Jesus is; we sought to understand the reality of God incarnate and Jesus’ role as the Messiah; and we especially looked beyond the babe in the manager by looking to the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. Today we want to honor the birth of the Christ Child by examining His Kingdom.
This day we celebrate the birth of King Jesus: the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are celebrating the birth of a King who reveals God’s love for us in His willingness to suffer and die in a sacrifice that provides us with eternal life. We celebrate the fact that the birth of Jesus made the Kingdom of God attainable for all who would bow to the sovereign authority of Jesus Christ.
1. Kingdom – In general we use the term ‘kingdom’ to denote the physical territory that falls under the sovereign authority of one man: the king. It is also possible to use the term ‘kingdom’ in reference to the extent of the king’s authority or the sphere of his influence.
2. Old Testament Kingdom – In the Old Testament God made a covenant with the Israelites and established His Kingdom plan with them. God setup a royal priesthood and had the people build a place for His presence: Tabernacle and then Temple. The intention was for God to be the ruler of the Hebrew nation and the Hebrew nation would bring the Kingdom of God to all mankind.
3. New Testament Kingdom – In the New Testament, the Greek word ‘basileia’ is generally translated as kingdom. It is often qualified with the addition of one of the following words: God, Heaven or Christ. The term ‘basileia’ is an abstract noun, which is used in the New Testament to denote sovereignty, a temporal reign and a permanent system of authority, especially as they relate to God’s relationship with mankind. In other words, in Jesus, God established a temporary system of His authority here on earth; and He will establish an eternal place and system of authority when Jesus returns.
GOD’S KINGDOM BEFORE JESUS
God chose the Hebrew people and established His plan for an earthly Kingdom with them. God told Moses: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6) God labored very hard to turn the Israelites into a holy nation; God went so far as to establish an earthly dwelling place among the Israelites. Yet, even with the temple of God being built in their presence the Israelites still refused to keep their covenant with God.