Summary: Jesus came announcing that the kingdom of God is at hand. Just what is the kingdom of God and what does it mean to live in it?
Wildwind Community Church
December 12, 2010
Isaiah 26:1-9 (NIV)
1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.
2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.
3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
5 He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust.
6 Feet trample it down-- the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor.
7 The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you...
Last week we talked about the world that Jesus came into – a world of darkness and of light, of brokenness and of beauty. We saw how God did not, and does not, wait until the darkness is gone before coming to us. Today I want to talk to you about what it is that Jesus brought with him when he came.
Jesus came announcing one thing – the kingdom of God. This was his message.
Mark 1:15 (NKJV)
15 ..."The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. What was the gospel? Well, as most of you know, gospel means “good news,” and the good news was and is that the kingdom of God is at hand!
So the gospel, the good news, is the availability of the kingdom of God to every person on earth.
Luke 2:10 (NIV)
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for some of all the people.
Jesus also said this about the kingdom:
Luke 17:20-21 (MSG)
20 Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, "The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar.
21 Nor when someone says, ’Look here!’ or, ’There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you."
The kingdom is already among you – it is here right now. The gospel, the message of Jesus, my friends, was not about going to heaven when you die. It was about entering into a certain state of being that is eternal, so that when you die, you simply remain in that state of being only in another form. Now that sounds really trippy, so let me explain it this way. Let’s say that I were to begin working out really, really hard tomorrow (because that’s the day we always start a new workout plan, right? Tomorrow!), and over the next few months develop a rock-hard body. (Wait for laughs to subside.). That new body would belong to me, and I would be in that state wherever I went. I’d take my new body with me not only to the gym, but to church, and to band practice, and to the movies – it would be with me everywhere because it would be part of me. In the same way, the kingdom of God is part of us and we can learn to live in it right now. And when we do that, since it is within us, we take it with us everywhere we go – including into eternity. If we are living in God’s kingdom now, then after we die we just continue living in God’s kingdom. Make sense? We enter the kingdom of God right now while we live – we learn to experience the peace and joy and love and hope that characterize that kingdom, and that’s it. Once I get my Mr. Universe body, I don’t need to worry that one day I show up to church and left my awesome body at home. It is assured of being with me everywhere I go, and it cannot be anywhere else other than where I am.
So it is with the kingdom of God. Jesus went around announcing, “The kingdom of God is at hand – it is available – it is close enough for you to touch – it is in you and around you – it is potential and promise, and you can begin living in that kingdom immediately.”