Summary: Part 1 of 4 of the series, Secrets of the Kingdom of God, Revealed! In this first message of the series we uncover the location of this kingdom. The obvious question - where is it? The answer is truly an astounding one!
Where is this kingdom?
Read at beginning of service:
Matt 13:10-17 (NIV)
10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" 11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "’You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 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.
The Important Message
A while back in one of my devotional times I came across something that really leapt out at me. You know those times when you read something that kind of makes you open your eyes a little wider and examine the words a little bit more carefully? It all revolved around a phrase, the "kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven". For the past week I decided to do a "little" study of this expression and what I thought would be little turned out to be a lot. In fact, more than I ever imagined.
In studying this phrase I noticed something interesting…
Matt. 3:1-2 (NIV)1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Matt. 4:12-17 (NIV)
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali-- 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Mark 1:14-15 (NIV)
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom of God. What was this good news? That the kingdom of God is near! As I discovered this I realized, wow there is something really important about this kingdom! Looking further in the New Testament we find… Matt. 10:7 (NIV)
7 As you go, preach this message: ’The kingdom of heaven is near.’
Luke 9:2 (NIV)
2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Luke 10:9 (NIV)
9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ’The kingdom of God is near you.’
Luke 10:11 (NIV)
11 ’Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’
Acts 8:12 (NIV)
12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 19:8 (NIV)
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.
Acts 28:23 (NIV)
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
Acts 28:31 (NIV)
31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Clearly the message of the kingdom of God was a very important one to John the Baptist, Jesus, and the early church! It also clear that yes they preached Christ and yes they preached the good news – but in some way all of this is connected to what they also declared about the kingdom of God!