Call to Worship: Revelation 19:6 “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
Opening Songs: Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)- Jadon Lavik
Shout to the Lord - Hillsong
Mighty To Save - Michael W. Smith
Scripture: Deuteronomy 6
Song: Take Me Into The Beautiful - Cloverton
Sermon: “The Kingdom of God Has Come Upon You”
Closing Song: Build Your Kingdom Here -Rend Collective Experiment
Benediction: Our benediction is a promise and a warning. Deuteronomy 4:25 “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”
These last weeks we have been talking about listening to God and the blessing that comes with obeying. Scripture tells us that if we would just listen, we would be powerfully changed. 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” Not only will we be changed but that same change will go out to the ends of the earth just as Jesus said it would. Unfortunately man decided to go their own ways and stopped listening. Obviously listening to man has only moved us further away from eternity as each generation dies off. Jeremiah 7:23 “I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Because of this God has turned His face from shining on us and we remain powerless in our desolation, delusion and captivity. This was not the plan but the church followed their stubborn hearts and refused to seek the Kingdom of God.
Now here is the strange thing about this. People are mad at God because of the condition the world is in. They start asking questions that blame God for everything and every problem, instead of looking inward and repenting. I am sure you have heard these before. Why would a loving God allow so much evil in the world? Why would an all-powerful God not just fix everything? Why would He allow so much suffering and pain in the world? If God has the power to stop war, why doesn’t He? If God knows everything, why doesn’t he prevent such horrible atrocities before they happen? Why does God allow some to die horrible deaths while other slip silently away? Yes I am sure there are hundreds more of these kind of questions people ask when they are angry, hurt or simply making excuses to get themselves off the hook. I say excuses because most do not look intently into the word of God for answers thus nullifying by their unbelief. James 1:25 “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” They think these questions validate their own ignorance, pain or apathy. As you know there is no excuse good enough to stand before God and excuse yourself from His presence and authority. Romans 14:11 “It is written: “As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God. 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” As we saw last week not everyone who confesses with their mouth will be saved, which is why we must make sure of what we are being saved into. What will happen is that every knee will bow and acknowledge God either from heaven or hell. There is no excuse. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” We either love God with everything we have or we don’t; there is no in between.
Here is the strange part about blaming God for everything. People actually think that if they blame God, they are off the hook. That simply isn’t true but people do it anyway. Usually this blame is done because of a lack of understanding of who God is and a failure to listen to His word, thus they perish. Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” So let’s look at scripture and gain understanding. Let’s see what God has done and then ask yourself if you can really blame God. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” God had created Eden for man and it was perfect. There was no death, no working the land, no sickness, climate controlled, no birth pains. He also gave man the choice whether to obey or not because of His amazing love. Man chose to disobey and death entered but because of God’s amazing love that endures forever, He gave them a way back to life. He then offered them the Promised Land. Genesis 17:1 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” He said Exodus 23:25 “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” This land is then described in Deuteronomy 11:8 “Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9 and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. 13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.”
Obedience is the key to this land and is described in Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: and Leviticus 26:11 “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” If we do not obey, our disobedience leads to being cast out of the beautiful land. Deuteronomy 28:58 “If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God— 59 the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. 60 He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. 61 The Lord will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed. 62 You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. 63 Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.” Leviticus 20:22 “Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out.” Likewise we are told in Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Now God gave us not just the promised land but the whole world. Again God gave the choice to obey or not. Jesus coming to save us shows us God’s love for the world. Ephesians 2:2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Even after disobeying in Eden and after disobeying in the Promised Land John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Again God gives us a choice but this time our obedience gives us something greater than Eden and the Promised Land. We have the kingdom of God coming near. Again we are given a choice to believe. Yes I know there are many who say that now some are chosen and some are not. I always like to ask the person saying that - what makes you think you are chosen. God loved the world and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Then there are those who say not only are you selected but there is nothing you can do about it nor can you fall away. Yes it is by grace but you must obey. They make it sound like you can live your life however you choose and be okay. Sadly this teaching has caused the downfall of many. That teaching is not from the bible. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” Yes following Jesus wholeheartedly is a secure position but if you don’t obey you will fall.
Then finally we have been given the gift of eternal life but we must believe in Jesus. John 3:15 “everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” As we saw last week there will be those that will not enter this kingdom. They will not enter this Kingdom that comes near on earth nor will they enter the one in heaven. The only way to enter is to repent of our sins and turn from our wicked ways. I also want to remind us that we need the power of God for that to happen so that as Paul said earlier “All of us also lived among them at one time gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.” I think it is important to call these sins what they are. I am not going to spend much time on this but when we commit abominations before the Lord, you will not inherit the kingdom of God no matter what man says. Yes you will find a church that says otherwise but that is not God’s word. I will let you do a word study on the word abomination found mostly in the KJV / detestable mostly in the NIV. And yes homosexuality is an abomination before God but so are these. Proverbs 6:16 “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable /abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” By the power of God we do not have to continue in these sins. 1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
The true gospel of Jesus Christ gives us a way out when there wasn’t one. The problem is that many in the church talk about sin but don’t offer the world a way to defeat our enemies, as there is not power in the church to do so. Others just ignore what the bible clearly states. Instead they become friends with the world. James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” For example there will always be someone with the will power to defeat their enemies like weight lose, finances etc. but for the most part those people are the ones making money off all the others who can’t seem to stop as Paul said “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” A person struggling does not want to hear try harder, do better! Now the same goes for the church. Most churches struggle for example in attendance yet there are these mega churches that seem to have found the way. Well not really the way, just the ability to do things better than everyone else, not necessarily filled with the Spirit of God. I would say that most, if filled would stop what they were doing or they will be stopped as we see in the news quite regularly.
So why do so many in the church and many outside blame God for everything; the answer is simple. It is easier to blame God than to repent yourself and submit to our king. Jesus said, “Repent and the Kingdom of God would come near.” This means if we would humble ourselves and obey God’s word once again, God would turn his face to us and clothe us once again with His power and the Kingdom would come near. Does this really sound like a God who hates. He has offered us the power to defeat satan yet the church refuses to take it. We have been told to obey and God means it. If we do not we feel his wrath as we have seen in the church. Disobedience brings the wrath of God on us even if many teach 1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” When we disobey we feel the wrath of God. So while evil is let loose on the world and the church in spite of this people still refuse to repent and keep going their own way, all the while still blaming God for everything. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Revelation 16:8 “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.”
Today and down through the ages, men and woman have refused to repent. Isaiah 48:17 “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. 18 If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. 19 Your descendants would have been like the sand, our children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.” The church is described in Deuteronomy 32:28 “They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!” If only the church would pay attention. Proverbs 1:20 “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: 22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD. 30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”
We were told to be careful. 1 Kings 8:25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.” Psalm 81:8 “Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel! 9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. 10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. 11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. 13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! 15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. 16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
God has demonstrated His love for us by allowing His kingdom to come near. Yet today we have many saying the Kingdom of God is coming after the rapture and tribulation. Funny thought! If the kingdom is coming then, there is no church, no Jesus, Holy Spirit God, everyone is gone who was the church yet Jesus is going to come set up His kingdom with - ? You see these teachings are the other god’s we were warned about. Deuteronomy 29:26 “They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. 27 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. 28 In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.” We have already felt God’s wrath and there is only a remnant of the church left and the church sits in desolation and delusion. Great is the Lord’s anger. As Jesus said Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” As God promised David, there would always be a remnant so we must be grateful for our lives. Ezra 9:15 “Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.” During this time most have gone their own ways and now worship in vain. Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Jeremiah 16:11 “It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.” Jeremiah 5:23 “But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away.” Jeremiah 9:13 “The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” Jeremiah 11:8 “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.”
So we see a loving God who has always offered us the beautiful land. Jeremiah 3:19 “I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. 20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me, declares the Lord.” God is not wrong nor should His motives be questioned when people say what kind of God would….? I have shown you that God loves the world and wants everyone to be saved. Peter quoted Joel in Acts 2:21 and said “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” He then said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
We are still called to accept the message of the gospel and yes the kingdom will still come near. Yes most will not accept for one reason or another but for those who do. John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” You cannot follow false teachers and still expect to see the kingdom of God. 1 John 2:24 “As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.” When we accept the message of truth, we then have opportunity for the Kingdom of Heaven to come near. Scripture makes it clear the Kingdom already came near but man has rejected it. Now we wait for God to turn His face back to us. Jesus reigns on the throne of David just as he promised. This is not a future event. Mark 11:9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Earlier Simeon said in Luke 2:28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” So right away the kingdom was available. Jesus said Matthew 4:16 “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 has come near.” And then we see what that kingdom looks like in Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” John later asked if Jesus was truly the Messiah. Luke 7:22 “So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Jesus then gives His disciples authority and power to out and do the same. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Then later he told them Luke 24:47 “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Earlier in scripture Moses said in Numbers 11:29 “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Then we saw that take place at Pentecost. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and make “The kingdom of the world become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He reigns for ever and ever.” This was to continue in the church and we were to carry of the work Jesus started. Isaiah 42:5 “This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Paul is told, Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
So while scripture makes it abundantly obvious the kingdom of God is near, let’s make it even more obvious with some more scripture. Obviously healing is a major part of scripture and a continuous bone of contention. The easy answer is just to believe scripture and stop being so stubborn. Mark 3:1 “Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone. 4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” Not only do people in the church today fight against healing they did back then too. People today have no problem believing God could heal if he desires but a person having the gift of healing / miraculous powers, no way. This passage contains the verse I want you to hear. Luke 11:14 “Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. 17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.” But this is the verse you need to hear. Verse 20 continues “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus drove out demons so the Kingdom of God has come upon them. It is not a millennial kingdom we wait for in the future. Our repentance brings back something already available.
That verse by itself is enough but this I find very interesting. Luke 22:14 “When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” So Jesus said this before his crucifixion. Then we see Acts 10:34 “Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” Earlier Jesus said, “I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
So it is obvious the Kingdom of God as we read in the gospels and see move across the earth in Acts is available to all who will turn from their wicked ways and repent. We lost it because of our disobedience. We should have a new campaign saying “We Lost it” instead of “I found It!” This is not just wishful thinking or myth but the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we live in the Kingdom of God, our stubborn inclinations of the heart are replaced with the armour of light. Our hearts are changed, the old is gone and the new has come. Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Jesus said to wait and be “clothed with power from on high.” So we wait.
Last week we talked about those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God if they continue in their wicked ways. Paul said 1 Corinthians 6:9 “do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” For us to see the same, we must have the kingdom of God come near. If we continue with our stubborn inclinations of the heart and refuse to repent, we will not see the Kingdom come near but when the Kingdom does come near all that I just read can be washed as white as snow. . Sadly the church has settled for darkness and not light. The church has settled for living in captivity and not freedom. The church has refused to set aside their own ways to follow God’s way; thus the kingdom remains afar.
But there is good news for us who believe and are willing to turn away from the empty ways handed down to us by our fathers. Joshua 1:2 “Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Deuteronomy 9:1 “Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. 2 The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” Deuteronomy 11:26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. 31 You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you have taken it over and are living there, 32 be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today.”
So the world is ours for the taking. The Promised Land is now the world if we would just believe and obey God’s word. If we would just humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways and the inclinations of our own hearts. Ezekiel 36:24 “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices / abominations. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!”
God gave us Eden and then the Promised Land and then the Kingdom of God because he loves us. And then Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” We then will spend eternity with God. God still gives us all a choice. James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Continue living in stubbornness or Matthew 6:33 “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We can then spend eternity with God or spend eternity with satan; God givs us the choice. Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”