Summary: The reason why there is so much muck in the world is due to the battle of the wills. Jesus wants this to be different. But for it to be different—we need to surrender our wills to his wills and be like him.
The Tale of Two Kingdoms
Tale of Two Cities
Around French Revolution end of 18th C
The Two Cities are
i. London and Paris
ii. The Old Paris (before the Revolution) and the New Paris (after)
Thought to be a metaphor for the advancement of civilisation
The story describes human nature and in particular human rebellion as being responsible for the ills of the world – yet redemption is found in sacrifice of one’s own will in order that good triumphs over evil.
Sounds like the story of Christ? Well Dickens played on such themes
James explains this in James 4:1-6
1. Kingdoms in Conflict
The Tale of Two Kingdoms
Deepest human longings are relational
We need other people to feel:
Loved, valued, that we have purpose, to feel secure and to be at peace
Our identity is found in a sense of community
Yet often our relationships are a source of misery as we impose our will on others—or others impose their will on us
History – kingdoms constantly in conflict (e.g. Dickens’s novel)
People choose their own way
When we live this way we hurt those around us
But our behaviour also puts us offside with God
We are in conflict with his kingdom and therefore his will for us
2. Who’s Kingdom Rules?
Jesus was always proclaiming, “The Kingdom of God is near” – Mk 1:15
Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven was explained 150 times in NT
What is meant by kingdom?
“A state or people ruled over by a king or queen” or “a sphere of influence”
Each one of us has our own kingdom or queendom. Or sphere of influence is that we decide what happens in our kingdom—how we treat others
Not necessarily a bad thing—we were created this way
God gave us dominion/co-rulership over his creation
Care of what we have influence over
ILLUSTRATION: Two and Three Year Olds
John Burke, “Soul Revolution”
First words, “mine,” “let me do it,” “watch me”
Exercising control over their bodies – exerting their will
Little kings push for more territory—throw tantrums when their will is not done
They soon learn that there are other kingdoms to respect as well
As we grow up, your kingdom extends to the sway you have with others at school, or at work, or with your kids or parents.
Burke surmises, “God’s desire is that we should willingly align our kingdoms under the loving rule of his kingdom and exercise our wills under the direction of his loving will.
Stop acting like two year olds and give up our will to dominate or abuse or manipulate or deceive for our own personal gain
3. Kingdom Revolution
The dominant symbol in the French Revolution—guillotine
Many who aligned themselves with the King or the Catholic Church were sent to their deaths by guillotine
Because of the violence associated with it, the guillotine is often met with disapproval
In Dickens’s book, the Tale of Two Cities, the violence committed during the French Revolution is in a sense justified as Dickens is hopeful that the violence will give way to a new and better society.