Thesis: The KOG is the reign of God in the hearts of people.
1. Last Sunday PM we asked the question, "Who is a Christian?"
a. Many are asking this question.
1) Used to have neat, tidy answer--not anymore.
2) Past: Only members of churches of Christ (cf. joke!).
b. Illust. Em Griffin, in his book The Mind Changers: The Art of Christian Persuasion, tells about how his 6 yr. old daughter got a candle-making kit for Christmas. Took out sheets of wax and immediately tried to shape them into a turtle. Brittle wax broke into several pieces. Em Griffin showed his daughter how the wax first had to be melted, molded, and then hardened. People change in the same way.
c. As it relates to the question of "Who is a Christian?" most members of churches of Christ are already "melted."
1) Few hold only members of churches of Christ are going to heaven.
2) Most are open to idea that God will save others.
3) What we desperately need is a Biblical, practical understanding of why that is (molding ... hardening).
2. Tonight: "What is the Kingdom of God?"
I. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS THE CHURCH.
A. Dominant view has been that KOG and The Church are the same.
1. Daniel foretold a "kingdom that would not be shaken" (Dan. 2:44).
2. That kingdom was established on the Day of Pentecost.
3. Kingdom and Church are the same (Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9).
B. Much of the material written about the word "kingdom" has been a reaction to Premillenialism. (cf. Foy E. Wallace, Jr.'s God's Prophetic Word)
1. Belief that Jesus will return & set up an earthly kingdom (in contradiction to John 18:36).
2. In fighting this erroneous belief, we have exaggerated our case in defining "kingdom."
II. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
A. The content of Jesus' teaching = the Kingdom of God!
2. Jesus' parables--"the kingdom of heaven is like" (Matt. 13).
B. The KOG: Broader than the Church.
1. Prior to Pentecost: Matt. 12:28; Luke 17:20-21; Matt. 23:13.
2. Present time: Col. 1:13 1 Thess. 2:12; Rev. 16.
3. Future Kingdom: 2 Tim. 4:1, 18; 2 Peter 1:10-11.
C. What is the KOG? How do you make sense of all these passages?
1. The KOG is the rule/reign of God.
2. The rule of God where?
a. John 18:36 ..... spiritual, not geographical.
b. God reigns in the hearts of people! (cf. Heb. 8:10-11).
3. Illust. What do you need to have a kingdom? Only two necessary components: king and subjects. Don't need a geographical realm. During WW 2 some of the "kingdoms" of Europe were controlled by Nazis. Kings & Queens were in exile. Did they cease being kings/queens because they didn't have a country? No. Still had loyal subjects!
1. The KOG is the reign of God in the lives of Christians.
2. To understand the KOG as the Church promotes sectarianism (overhead).
3. Salvation is not on the group plan!!!