Summary: This message explores the nature of the Kingdom of heaven and of God and how Christians participate in bringing it "on earth as it is in heaven."
We are learning the ways we "shrink Jesus down," from his robust loving nature.
? Last week we discovered his surprising agenda-a kingdom not a religious club. Transformed people of the king transforming their world.
* The tension exists today between Jesus and religion. Religion establishes a club exemplified by the Pharisees while Jesus brought the motion of God’s agenda.
? The tendency of a religious club according to Jesus’ collective teachings:
* It forgets its original purpose and becomes a maintainer of the status quo.
* It neglects genuine transformation (real repentance & fruit). There is little integration with faith & behavior.
* It is separatist, viewing outsiders (non-believers and even believers) with suspect. It often defines itself by who it is against.
* It is performance based, focusing on conforming behavior in order to be and feel more important in the club. (advancing our ego downfield).
* It is rote and rule-based rather than thinking and life-style based.
* This survives fine in grace teaching. Grace is for sin and heaven. But the Christian life is shoulds and oughts.
* And there is not grace if you cross the leader.
* Its leader(s) has all power (control) [versus responsibility] and he/she rewards with power.
* It is static and lifeless without motion.
* "I pray that I may quit of God that I may find God" (Meister Eckhart)
* Wagon horse vs. a stallion, race horse, free-range horse ...
* Jesus and the Kingdom-The Full Agenda
? The Kingdom was Jesus’ primary subject. Jesus spoke of the kingdom often. The word is used 121 times in the gospels (e.g. Mark 1:15)..
Mark 1:15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" This was Jesus primary message.
? The church is not the kingdom. The ekklesia is the assembly of those "called-out ones." The Kingdom is the Rule or Reign of God or will or heart of God (Mt 5:10).
Mat 5:10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
? He came to save us from our sins and to put things right from the kingdom of man. That is, our individual and collective will. The surrender of our hearts (our will, agenda, wants, chosen attitudes, chosen judgments) is key.
? Therefore the kingdom is God’s reign, His will, His agenda in contrast with our fallen, self-oriented, unrighteous agendas.
* Much of life is a clash of wills.
* The answer is not to get rid our will, but be transformed.
* Ants and dial spray.
* Marx and Opiate of the people.
* Two things: direction and intensity.
* Someone’s will, will cross your will. It’s a given. What do you do? We need transformation:
* Nature (hidden wisdom) of the Kingdom ("the Kingdom of Heaven is like...") (Mat 13)
* What you signed up for.
? The Kingdom of heaven is like is used 7x in Mat13 & 3x more in Mat.
? It is of the inestimable worth. Its people recognize this &pursue in wisdom (Mat 13:44-45; 13:17). The kingdom of self tends to negotiate a smaller commitment (Mat 19:20-30; Mat 8:18-22).
Matt. 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Matt. 13:45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
Matt. 13: 17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Matt. 19:20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
Matt. 19:21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Matt. 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Matt. 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Matt. 19:25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
Matt. 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Matt. 19:27 Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"
Matt. 19:28 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first