This sermon will focus on the Kingdom of God. FOCUS: The history of the idea of kingship/kingdom through the Old Testament. First, Israel’s desire for a king was basically a rejection of God’s kingship. But God proceeds to honor and use human kingship, calling David and promising that his descendants would reign forever. When David’s line appears to end several centuries later, it leads to quite the conundrum. What happened to the promises of God? But then we begin to read Messianic prophecies that portend the coming of a king from the line of David that would re-establish Israel on one hand, and re-establish the reign of God over humanity on the other.
These prophecies are all fulfilled in the person of Jesus, Son of God and Son of David. Jesus enigmatically claims that the Kingdom of God is present in some sense in his earthly ministry, and that it can be present in the lives of his followers as well (Luke 17:21). This is held in tension with the idea that the Kingdom of God will be actualized in its fullness in the last day, when Jesus will judge the world and establish his rule more overtly.
Basically, we will boil this down to the idea that the “Kingdom” of God is the reign of Jesus in the world, and to the degree that Jesus is present in and Lord of our lives, we can confidently say that the Kingdom of God has gained a little foothold in the present day. We experience a foretaste of what’s to come.
Parables of Matthew 13:24-33 and Luke 17:20-30, to get some clarity on what Jesus means when he says the “Kingdom of God.” The Matthew passages will be discussed in Day 1 below. The Luke passage, in a nutshell, says first of all that the Kingdom of God is present among the followers of Jesus (via the presence of Jesus in their lives), and that as for the coming of the “consummate” Kingdom in the future…don’t waste time speculating because it will come unexpectedly and suddenly. So just focus on being busy doing the Lord’s work.
We will end by summarizing the whole narrative that we have built up during FOCUS, and how, if we can truly internalize and live out the story built in FOCUS, we can be empowered and emboldened to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God while in the hostile Kingdom of God.