Summary: This sermon kicks off the sermon series on the Kingdom of God. In this sermon we begin with what Jesus began preaching, The Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe.
The Kingdom of God
“The Kingdom Proclamation”
Many people have been trying to connect the dots in their lives. Their lives and understanding of Christianity have been a series of seemingly unconnected dots, like those children’s pictures but without a key as to which color to draw, or without the numbers to connect the dots allowing the picture to make sense.
In today’s church we have all these talking points. We talk on salvation, repentance, heaven, hell, and other great themes of the Bible, along with practical advice taught in God’s word. But people are still confused because these are singular points with no connecting thread.
This morning I want to present the connective thread that ties them all together into a collective whole, into a picture and connect the dots. The thread is The Kingdom of God.
Over the next couple of months, in our Sunday Evening Service we’ll be looking at many of the misperceptions and misunderstandings people have concerning the Kingdom of God. And this isn’t anything new. This has been going on for a long time.
This morning we’re kicking off our Sunday night series with a message entitled, “The Kingdom Proclamation.” Tonight we’ll be looking at “The First Priority.”
The writer of Hebrews says we’re receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved; that while everything else around us is being shaken to the ground; we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
It’s important, therefore, that we understand what this kingdom is, and that we live within it so when life gets out of control we can stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Only then when the wind and waves of life come crashing down we can survive, firm in our belief and hope.
This morning we’re going to start off by looking at what Mark gives us at the very beginning of his gospel. It’s a kind of summary of the whole message he’s unfolding. In our passage he introduces it.
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15 NKJV)
Mark begins his gospel with this announcement saying, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1 NKJV)
Mark then gives us a glimpse of the ministry of John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets who was the forerunner and herald of Jesus’ arrival. As John the Baptist ministry was closing, Jesus came not preaching repentance, although it was an integral part of the message; rather He came preaching the Kingdom of God, and then the need for the people to repent and believe.
That is what I like to call our attention to because it is a perfect summary of Christianity and what it stands for, as well as the message of what the Gospel really is all about.
The reason I am starting here in this series is not just because this is where Jesus started, which in itself is sufficient, but also because there’s nothing that is so desperately needed in our world as a simple and direct statement of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We’re living in days and times of great confusion in which the church is partially responsible. You see the church has mistakenly believed that the more modern we make Christianity look, the more it will be accepted. But with the overall decline in church attendance in America and other Western Industrialized nations along with a decline in new believers reveals that these modern ways and techniques have failed.
And that’s because its sounding more like modern humanism, and frankly people have that in spades in the world. Sadly, our uniqueness is gone. We’re supposed to be a bride for the most glorious Bridegroom in the universe, and inviting others into the glorious event of the wedding feast of the Lamb.
It is therefore urgent if not downright important that we be clear about our approach to the Gospel, because if our initial approach is wrong, everything else that follows will be wrong.
If you are setting out on a journey and you want to go to a certain place, you’ll never arrive at your destination if you’re on the wrong road. The time to be careful is at the beginning, at the very first step.
The reason so many reject the gospel is because they have a totally wrong view of it and thus they know nothing about Christianity.
Their position is that because we live in an age of technology and scientific knowledge, and because everything is changing so fast they try to chart the course for their own lives on the fly. They say that the Bible is old knowledge and no longer relevant.