Summary: The Kingdom of God was the #1 topic of all Jesus’ ministry. He told us to seek first God’s Kingdom and righteousness, and in a world filled with so much bad news, we need to hear and focus on the Good News of the Kingdom so as not to live our lives withou
The Kingdom 101
• Coming to the US from South Africa certainly had its cultural challenges. Even though we also grew up speaking English, some words meant very different things there from what they do here.
• A lady friend of ours, newly from South Africa, was driving along the freeway to a speaking engagement in Los Angeles when the hood of her older car suddenly got caught by the wind and blew right off.
• This scary incident delayed her quite a bit and she finally arrived about 30 minutes late for her engagement.
• She was most apologetic and explained to her hosts and audience that what had caused her delay was the fact that her bonnet had blown off along the road.
• For those of you who have traveled in the UK or British colonial areas, you will know that they refer to the hood as the "bonnet" and the trunk as the "boot".
• My wife and I and our oldest and youngest daughters are still "Resident Aliens" – just so as not to scare anyone, we had our head antenna and body scales surgically removed so as to look like you all
• We still carry our Resident Alien cards.
• But you know that we are not from here by the way we speak and if you hung around us at home you would notice that we have not become thoroughly Americanized – we still retain some customs and habits that were part of our South African heritage, upbringing and development. Our outlook on life, our values, our principles were all shaped by the culture in which we were raised. There are times when we will communicate with each other in Afrikaans – one of the languages of our homeland.
• I remind you, my dear friends – as Christians – you are also Resident Aliens here on earth. As the old Gospel song put it: “This world is not my home – I’m just a passin’ through, Treasures and my home are far beyond the blue…”
• And when Believers forget that truth and blend in indistinguishably with this world, then we cease to be effective instruments in the hands of God.
• The J.B. Philips translation of Romans 12: 2 puts it this way: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold”. We are not to be like soft putty in the hands of this world’s culture, this world’s politics, or this world’s lifestyle. Rather, we are to be God’s instruments of change to bring the kingdoms of this world into alignment with the kingdom of God.
• In fact, I believe that that is our primary calling and the sole reason for our being – to be those who help expand and build up the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God
• Now why is that so important? Well for a number of reasons – but let me just briefly share 3 with you.
1. Jesus made it the #1 priority in all his teaching and preaching. All His parables, all His messages were focused on life in the Kingdom. Wherever people were healed, forgiven and delivered from the power of sin and the devil, there the Kingdom came.
2. Secondly, Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the other necessities and requirements of life – what we would eat, what we would drink, what we would wear, etc. would be added to us. How often have we not put the cart before the horse – seeking first all those other things – and then if we had a little time over, doing something for God. And we wonder how come the Kingdom seems so long in coming.
3. The third reason why it is so important for us is because in a world filled with so much bad news, we need to hear and focus on the Good News of the Kingdom as frequently as possible – otherwise we’ll end up just as crazy as the many out there who live their lives without God’s light and hope.
Well, I titled this message – The Kingdom 101 – to serve as a refresher and broad, general overview of the Kingdom of God. Consider it as you would a large mural. Then in the coming weeks we can zero in and look more closely at some specific aspects.
It is said that the essence of good communication is to
• tell people WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO TELL THEM
• then to TELL THEM
• then TELL THEM WHAT YOU HAVE TOLD THEM
So let me tell you what I am going to tell you:
A. The Bible presents us with the fact that there are in reality 2 kingdoms or 2 realms – the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness – or the Kingdom of God and the dominion of the devil. It doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail as to when and how and why this other evil kingdom came into existence – but there are a few Scriptures that give us some clues or hints.