Summary: Sermon 2 0f 5. Written and Preached by Steve Higgs of MCC. "What are some of the thoughts and images that come to your mind when you think about the word kingdom?"
Living In The Kingdom
What are some of the thoughts and images that come to your mind when you think about the word kingdom? Some of you maybe struggle with the controlling side of life and you immediately think, “Well…. every kingdom needs a king and why not me?” You imagine yourself sitting on a throne, perhaps with a giant turkey leg in one hand and a giant scepter in another. Making decisions to better the lives of those in the kingdom.
Some of you immediately think about the palace in the kingdom. You place yourself in an episode of Trading Spaces saying, “You know what this dungeon needs….some color.” Or maybe you imagine yourself with Frank painting chickens all over the palace walls.
Some of you are die hard romantics. You place yourself in every romantic movie of all time. You see yourself as the guy on the black stead trying to rescue the woman of your dreams…or you see yourself as the woman of his dreams asleep and wanting to be awakened by your prince. Or maybe you see yourself as the woman that needs to rescue the guy in distress.. we don’t see enough fairy tales that way.
Others of you have a more simple version of that reality. You envision yourself living in the plush, rolling hills of the kingdom and maybe working as a farmer or blacksmith and having dozens of children and just living the simple life.
In Acts chapter one we are told that in between his resurrection and his ascension into heaven that Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples. It was his last 40 days and what do you suppose he would’ve talked about….maybe a time of remembering (hey Peter, remember the time) or a teaching on the experience of death….we aren’t told much, but we are told that Jesus spent those last moments teaching about the kingdom of God. Verse 6 teaches us a little bit about the disciples mindset, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel. So, I’d like to spend a few moments talking about the kingdom of Israel and I’d like to spend a few moments talking about the spiritual kingdom Jesus referred to and then we’ll try to tie things in a neat little bow. So, before we can really dive into Acts 1 we need to go to Genesis 12.
Read Genesis 12:1-3
The heart of God is to have an intimate, close, healthy relationship with every person on earth. That is the overall and eternal plan, but in Genesis 12 God tells Abraham to leave everything….I’m going to start the plan with a single nation. I am going to build a kingdom of people that I can be in relationship with, and from the very beginning of the Bible we see that God is in pursuit of a people and one of the dominant issues becomes are the people in a pursuit of God.
One of the emerging themes in the OT is that this nation was to be holy…..you see that again and again in the Bible. He wanted this nation to be different from their neighbors. God says, “the other nations of the world don’t really desire to know me or be in relationship with me, but I want you to be different…..I want you to be unique….I want you to be holy.” God has such a desire to see people pursue him in the same way he pursues us.
So what happens when God builds a nation. Building a nation of people turned out to be a pretty easy project, compared to step 2, but we’ll talk about that in a minute. When building a nation of people…well, it’s pretty easy really….you need people making babies and lots of them, right?
My grandmother on my mom’s side was pregnant 9 months out of every year for a decade. The families last name was Koenigsknecht and if all her children had followed her example we could have built the nation of Koenigsknecht, a pseudo German nation, ironically none of her children have more then 3 children. We once a get together for all the Koenigsknechts in Michigan and over 1,000 people came. I don’t know what it would be like in the nation of Koenigsknecht, but there would have been lots of casseroles, sausage, and beer. And orange jello with carrot shavings would have flowed like milk and honey.
But, that’s the type of mindset you need right when building a nation….you need people. So Abraham after much dismay has Isaac and Isaac has Jacob and Jacob has 12 sons which eventually become what is called the 12 Tribes Of Israel…when the people needed to be organized it was usually by the tribe they were born into. His 12 sons just go gangbusters and start having babies left and right and from Genesis 12 where it’s just Abraham we make it to the beginning of Exodus and read these words, “the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous so that the whole land was filled with them.”