Summary: Jesus' priority in his ministry was the Kingdom of God. This lesson focuses on the value and power of the kingdom.
1. Thy Kingdom Come
Astronaut James Erwin is one of but a few men to walk on the moon. As he stood upon the lunar landscape and looked up at the earth, he prayed for the first time in his life. He thought about the strife among nations, poverty, hunger, and rampant evil; and he thought to himself: "What is more important than man walking on the moon is that God should walk on earth." This is the desire we express when we pray, "Thy Kingdom come."
2. The Kingdom of God is not a dominion; country; or empire as we tend to understand them.
3. Jesus came to this world with the agenda of expanding the non-political kingdom of God
a. Jesus' View of the Kingdom:
1) The kingdom is not as much a domain as a dynamic -- rule and reign of God
2) The kingdom is not as much a place as a presently active power -- growing imperceptibly and powerfully
b. "Kingdom of heaven/God" repeated 60+ times in gospels (church 3 times in gospels and 100+ in epistles) -- Jesus' emphasis? Kingdom
c. From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4.17
d. Matthew 5 -- poor in spirit; persecuted -- part of kingdom of heaven
e. Matthew 6 -- kingdom come; seek first (priority)
4. Consider the Kingdom of Heaven
I. The Kingdom of God Is Valuable -- Matthew 13.44-46
Back in 1905, there was baseball game at Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rhyolites were playing the Beattys and the Beattys were up to bat. The pitcher threw the ball, the batter swung - and the ball rocketed toward 1st base.
The 1st baseman was a man named William Giffiths, and as he saw the ball coming his way, he was amazed to see it ricochet off a small stone and landing in his glove. He beat the runner to first easily
The little stone had given Griffiths a lucky break, but he decided it had no business on the playing field, so he walked over and picked it up. He started to raise his hand to throw it off the field when something caught his eye. He took a careful look at the stone and recognized free gold in it. Then he quietly slipped it into his pocket and went on with the game
That evening, he returned to the ball park with a lantern and spent an hour scratching around in the soil until had accumulated a bucketful of rocks. By morning he knew that those rocks assayed at more than $900 a ton.
He called in two friends and with them quietly bought the ball park.
The mine was called First Base, and the first shaft entered paying ore at a depth of 33 feet. And Infielder Griffiths soon found himself a very wealthy man. (The Saturday Evening Post July/Aug 2000 H. Allen Smith and Ira L. Smith)
Well, in two parables of the kingdom, Jesus tells of two other men who made some amazing discoveries.
A. Recognition of its value -- JOY
B. Sacrifice to Attain
1. Redemptive Acts of God [ Exodus; Cross]
2. Receptive Actions of People [We will do and we will hear]
C. Note the Differing Circumstances
1. Unintentional as Saul of Tarsus
2. Intentional as the Ethiopian
II. The Kingdom is Powerful
In a cemetery in Hanover, Germany, is a grave on which were placed huge slabs of granite and marble cemented together and fastened with heavy steel clasps. It belongs to a woman who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Yet strangely, she directed in her will that her grave be made so secure that if there were a resurrection, it could not reach her. On the marker were inscribed these words: "This burial place must never be opened."