Summary: The Kingdom of God must be the thread that is woven throughout our stories.
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Title: Where is your story taking you?
Text: Mark 1:14-20 (14-15)
The Big Idea: Jesus invites us to aspire to be Kingdom people.
I am reading The Power of Story by Jim Loehr. He defines story as, “the tales we create and tell ourselves and others… [however] our stories may or may not conform to the real world.” In other words, the story we tell ourselves and others may in fact be largely fiction.
According to Loehr, we may say that ours is a story of Christendom; a story in which Christ is our Savior and Lord; a story in which we are part of the Kingdom of God and live as Kingdom of God people; a story in which we are devout followers of Jesus Christ, but is the story we wish to be writing true to the story we are actually living?
I am a fan of the BBC comedy sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances. It is largely about a middle class couple living in England… Richard and Hyacinth Bucket. The title is very appropriate to the story line, in which Hyacinth is obsessed with how they are perceived, i.e., her life is about keeping up appearances. Unfortunately her desire to be seen as a person of high social standing results in some very entertaining and amusing stories.
On one occasion she purchased a ski rack and set of skies and had them mounted on the top of their car. They never go skiing but she wanted the neighbors to think they were skiers.
Hyacinth is always telling a story she wishes were true but in fact is largely fiction. The story she tells does not jibe with how her life really is.
In our text today, Jesus says, “At last the time has come! The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good news!” Another way of putting it would be to say, “The Kingdom of God is at hand or has arrived.”
If the beginning of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry is marked by the proclaiming of the arrival of the Kingdom of God, then we who are followers of Christ are Kingdom people. And those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as the sovereign of their lives, then live under the guiding influence of the Spirit of God.
If this is so, the relevant question is this: “Is the Kingdom of God a thread woven throughout the story that is and is yet to come, the story of your life?”The first concept regarding the Kingdom of God in our respective stories is spatial in nature. (Not special… spatial.)
A. In your story, is the Kingdom of God everywhere?
In our culture the whole concept of a kingdom is pretty foreign to our understanding, particularly as people who resist the idea of anyone being an absolute sovereign over us. We like the idea of democracy wherein we even control the government that guides our society. But we do understand the principle of absolute sovereignty. We understand that the Caesar was the emperor of the Roman Empire. There may have been some kings, governors, and other lesser authorities over regions of the Roman Empire, but the Emperor was the supreme ruler over all.
The same could be said of the Kings of Europe, the Dynasties of China and the Czars of Russia. And scattered around the world today are those who hold title of king or hold power as autocrats or dictators.
In most cases an autocrat rules over a bordered realm. But in the Kingdom of God the rule or reign of God has no borders. The domain of his sovereignty encompasses the entire universe as we know it… including what we do not know. And most importantly, we understand the rule of God to be a rule of the heart or of our lives… Specifically, we believe Christ to be the highest authority in the life of a Christian.
But to get us started in our thinking we begin with a basic question.
1. In your story, are you in the kingdom of darkness or the Kingdom of Christ?
He has rescued us from the one who rules the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Colossians 1:13
Every Christian who wishes to experience the rule of God in all of life understands that he or she is no longer a subject of the ruler of the darkness of this world. Every Christian lives in the Kingdom of Christ and is subject to Christ.
We also understand that the rule of God extends throughout the universe and encompasses everything and everyone.