Summary: The joy of our faith is about much more than going to church. We don’t just have a building, we have a kingdom awaiting us. We don’t just have a leader, we have the King in Jesus.
That Magnificent Kingdom Mark 4:21-34
This past week I was getting my oil changed and I had a chance to present the gospel to the guy in the waiting room with me. For me, waiting rooms are the best places for evangelism because the people are sitting there with nothing to do. The oil change waiting room has been particularly fruitful for me, and it assures me that at a minimum I’m going to personally share the gospel every 3,000 miles.
And you get good warning signals there about how much time you have left. When the attendant comes in and shows the person the condition of their air filter, you know you only have about five more minutes.
So I’m in the oil change waiting room and this guy walks in and he’s a talker. So I asked him if he had any spiritual beliefs. His response was ‘I’m a Lutheran, in fact I used to be on the board at the Lutheran church I attend.’ So I asked him, ‘who do you think Jesus is?” All he said was that Jesus was of Arab descent, then he wanted to talk about the war in Iraq. So I asked, ‘Do you believe that Jesus is God the Son?’ The man couldn’t answer me, so he tried to shift the conversation to church committees.
It dawned on me that every time I mentioned the name of Jesus it seemed to really frustrate the man. But I wasn’t about to let him off the hook. So I asked him about heaven and hell. He had no firm beliefs, and he tried to shift the conversation to church parsonages. I asked him, if he fell over and died, and God asked why should I allow you in my heaven what would you say. He said, ‘because I’ve lived a clean life.’ Then he tried to shift the conversation to church finances.
At that point the guy with the air filter came in, so I knew I had to cut to the chase right away. So I said, sir, I’m really not concerned about church committees, church finances, church parsonages, or church business. I want to know, have you ever placed you faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, because that’s the only way to heaven? Still he tried to wiggle out of the conversation and talk about church. I just could not get this churchgoer to talk about Jesus or His kingdom.
Now I want to tell you something folks. I love you all very much. And I love this church. But if this is what it’s all about, church, we’re wasting our time. The Bible tells us we’re part of something much bigger than the organization of our local church, believers in Jesus Christ are part of the magnificent kingdom of God.
Listen to the words of Scripture concerning the Kingdom of God (Rev 21: 3-6). Brothers and sisters in Christ, the joy of our faith is about much more than going to church. We don’t just have a building, we have a kingdom awaiting us. We don’t just have a leader, we have the King in Jesus. Amen.
Now let me be clear on this, the Kingdom of God is both a present reality, and a future expectation. In Jesus the Kingdom of God came to mankind. So He preached, ‘the kingdom of God is at hand.’ Through faith in Christ we immediately, presently, become citizens of the Kingdom of God. So Paul says in Col 1:13, “for He rescued us (past tense) from the dominion of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Through faith in Christ we become citizens of the kingdom of God. So the kingdom of God is a present reality for us.
But while the kingdom of God is in one sense a present reality, it is growing and we await the full manifestation of the glorious kingdom to be revealed in the future, when Christ returns. In describing this eternal kingdom John says this in Rev 22:1-4.
You see folks, Christianity is about much more than coming to church. It’s about being citizens in the magnificent Kingdom of God. Isn’t that exciting? We tend to focus on the temporal. So when we think about our faith we often think in terms of the church, it’s organization, it’s building, it’s programs. But we need to see with spiritual eyes and be encouraged that our faith is about much, much more.
In our passage this morning, Jesus gives us three parables that give us tremendously encouraging news about the kingdom of God.
That Magnificent Kingdom; Revealed in Jesus Christ (4:21-23): If you were to translate this literally it sounds kind of odd. It says, ‘does the lamp come to be put under a basket?’ There are two things that stand out as odd in that literal translation. First, it says the lamp, not a lamp. Secondly, lamps don’t normally come, they’re brought. So your translation, like mine, has probably changed the wording to read “a lamp is not brought to be put under a basket is it.” But I think in so doing they may have actually made the author’s point more difficult to understand.