Summary: The sermon describes what is meant by the ’Kingdom of God’ and that to enter the kingdom we need to repent and believe.
The Kingdom of God is Near
Text: "The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
a) What is the Kingdom of God?
Ever since I was 5 years old the word ’Kingdom’ has intrigued me.
When I went to my Primary School there was a big sign over the road which read ’Kingdom Hall’, and as you probably may have guessed this was the place where the Jehovah Witnesses met in Camberley, my home town.
Now if I’m honest, it probably wasn’t until I was about seven or eight, that I came to understand what the word Kingdom meant, but as a child brought up in a Congregational Church, I found it very odd that at Sunday School we would hear about God’s Kingdom, and say ’Thy Kingdom come’ within the Lord’s Prayer, and yet whenever I asked my mum, as to what the Kingdom Hall was all about, she became instantly dismissive and her attitude implied that I really didn’t want to know anything about this matter.
As I grew up into my teenage years I used to go on long bus rides with my friend Phillip, and we would sometimes go down to Winchester. If you’ve ever been to Winchester, one of the most prominent landmarks, which you can hardly miss, is that of the statue of King Alfred.
King Alfred is the King who is reputed to have burnt the cakes, however in my History classes at secondary school, we learnt that England, in Saxon times, was divided into a number of Kingdoms, and King Alfred ruled over the Kingdom of Wessex, which from my memory covered most of the South of England, as well as Devon and Cornwall.
Here then was a Kingdom where there was a ruler who controlled an area of land, people and belongings, and to do this he needed to have a strong military back up, to fight off any invaders who might usurp this territory and call it their own.
So with those examples of where the word ’Kingdom’ can be found at the back of our minds, we now turn back to the Bible and look at the ’Kingdom of God’.
So what is the ’Kingdom of God’? That is one of the questions that many scholars have pondered upon for many a year and still not really come up with a perfect definition.
The term kingdom was always on Jesus’ tongue, and therefore you would think that we ought to be able to understand it, - and yet many people don’t.
In my handy, dandy, ‘Dictionary of The Bible’ it states that:
’The idea of the Kingdom of God springs from the conviction that God the Creator is King of His Universe’.
Throughout their history, the Jews longed for a King who would be anointed by God, to lead their nation. Consequently Saul, followed by David and Solomon were appointed to lead them in Kingship.
However after a long time without a King, the first century Jews were looking for another king like David, an anointed Messiah to lead them to political power through military might.
But when Jesus spoke of the kingdom, he wasn’t talking about an earthly, nationalistic kingdom, nor was he speaking solely of a futuristic, heavenly kingdom, He was announcing the establishment of His rule on this earth.
We only have to look to King Constantine of Greece, to see an example of a King without a Kingdom, a King in name only. He may theoretically have a land which he is the ruler of, but in reality the majority of the people do not support his claim to Kingship.
So, to be an effective King, you need to have a loyal following of people who will acknowledge such a Kingship.
All the great Kings throughout history have been those who lead their people from the front and are willing to put their own lives on the line for the good of the people.
Surely there can be no greater King than Jesus who came to earth, not to be served, but to give his life to be a ransom for you and me.
When Jesus came to earth, His kingdom was, and still is, centred on the hearts of His people. When we give ourselves over to Jesus we let him into our heart, and as a result, all the hurtful things that we do and say become replaced by a kind of Peace and Joy which fills the void and changes our lives.
Sometimes this transformation appears almost instantly, whereas more deeper hurts and sinful ways may take a time to be cleansed.
This cleansing process does not depend upon what Jesus Christ is prepared to do for us, because there, [POINT TO CROSS] on the Cross, he has already paid the price for our sin, but often our healing is limited because we do not let Jesus into all areas of our lives.