Video: What does Jesus coming here mean to you?
(Special thanks to Matt Maynard for putting this together, and to all who participated in this video! Next month, Lord willing, we’ll have another one for you).
In our groups this afternoon, before Trunk or Treat, we will be discussing God’s plan for his people. Jesus came to free us from death and give us eternal life with Him. His first coming was in humility, service and sacrifice. His death on the cross was for our redemption from sin, salvation from death, and now our risen Lord, Jesus Christ, is preparing a place for us. This same Jesus, will come again to receive us, transform us, and bring us into His glorious eternal kingdom with the Father. Do you believe this? We’re talking about our entrance into the kingdom of God. Flesh and blood can not inherit this. For we who seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, we shall all be changed. This mortal will put on immortality. This corruptible will put on incorruption. Death will be swallowed up in victory. I’m talking about the kingdom of God.
This whole year, in case you haven’t noticed, we are reading through the Bible seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This week’s readings were from Mark 8-Luke 6. I don’t know what your doing with this, but I’ve personally been marking every reference to the kingdom in my Bible, and it is truly amazing what it says! I’m continually learning more and more from Jesus’ words about the kingdom of God. It’s like a vast and glorious vista of God’s glory opening up before us!
First, we can know that Jesus came to set up and proclaim the kingdom of God. He is the Son of Man in Daniel 2:44 and 7:13-14. Jesus is the one who comes and sets up an eternal kingdom. Matthew 16:19,28 make it clear that the kingdom of God was established and witnessed during the lives of those living in Jesus’ day. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. In fact, in Luke 11:20 Jesus says: “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.” This is past tense. Has come, not will come.
Jesus came, established and proclaimed the kingdom of God. That was His message and it is our message still. Look at Matthew 24:14.
In the gospels, Jesus explains the kingdom’s secrets through parables (Mark 4:11). Jesus’ parables often begin with the words: The kingdom of heaven is like… (Matthew) or in Mark and Luke’s gospels Jesus says: the kingdom of God is like…
A careful study of these parables of the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God reveals several important secrets of the kingdom:
That there is nothing on this earth worth more or more important than the kingdom of God! Those who find it and truly see it will give up everything to get it. Matthew 13:44-46 gives us two of those parables back to back.
That the kingdom of God is often compared to seeds being sown, plants growing, and a harvest coming. Here we see that the kingdom of God is not simply about a beginning, or what happened at Pentecost, but also about the entire process from sewing seed, to development of plants, to reaping the harvest. The coming kingdom of God includes when it is set up, how it spreads to all nations, and how those in it are ultimately is gathered into glory. This is all encompassed in the concept of the kingdom of God. It’s beginning, its spread, its membership, its character and ultimately its gathering to glory.
Many of the parables of the kingdom of God include a judgment day, some of which have that as their major theme: Matthew 20:1-16, 22:1-14, 25:1-13; 14-30, and 31-46. In these you could say that the kingdom of God’s coming includes all of these, not simply its establishment, and not simply its glorification, but both, plus all that is between.
That until the judgment day some parables reveal that there will be both good and bad within the kingdom of God itself, but that after judgement day, all evil will be removed forever and those within the kingdom of God will receive their eternal inheritance in the kingdom in God’s presence. Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43, and 47-51; also especially Matthew 25:31-46.
When I pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I’m praying that what Jesus established when He came as our sacrifice will be completed by His coming in glory.
Matthew’s gospel has opened my eyes on this. His is the only gospel to refer to it as the kingdom of heaven (32 times). Mark, Luke and John refer to this as the kingdom of God.
Matthew is also the only gospel to clearly distinguish between the kingdom as the Son’s, before the Judgment day, and as the Father’s after the Judgment day. While the kingdom is referred to in Matthew as “the Son’s” there is both good and bad within it. Jesus parable in Matthew 13 of the wheat and tares (told in 24-30 and explained in 37-43). Watch this as Jesus explains the parable: verse 40-42. Jesus teaches in this parable that both good and bad will be in His kingdom. He will not weed out the bad until the harvest, or judgment. During this period of the kingdom, the saints in the kingdom will face hardships, temptation, sickness and even death. But at the end of the age, when Jesus comes again in glory and judgment, Jesus will cleanse all sin and evil out of His kingdom. He will send His angels to gather out the bad and cast them into the fiery furnace. Then look at verse 43 and notice the shift from Jesus’s kingdom, where good and evil are allowed to exist together, and the Father’s kingdom, where the righteous who are gathered shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Matthew is the only gospel to make this distinction. It occurs several times:
6:9-10 the Father’s kingdom
13:41 the Son’s kingdom
13:43 the Father’s kingdom
16:28 the Son’s kingdom
26:29 the Father’s kingdom
Compare Luke 22:16,18. Note particularly Jesus words in
Luke 22:18 – I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMES
Matt. 26:29 until I drink it new with you IN MY FATHER’S KINGDOM.
Is the kingdom of the Father not the kingdom without any evil (Matthew 13:40-43)?
Jesus says that in His FATHER’S KINGDOM He will eat and drink of this with His disciples., Luke 22:18 makes it clear that this is when the KINGDOM OF GOD COMES. (I.e. Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-10)
Now in the Son’s kingdom there is wheat and weeds (good and evil) growing together, but then, in the Father’s kingdom, the weeds are gone, the evil is taken out, and the righteous shine like the sun.
This is what 2 Peter 3:12-13 and Revelation 21:1 reveal. There will be new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness! In this, the Lord’s prayer is finally answered! Thy kingdom come (FATHER’S KINGDOM) Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Folks, this is wonderful! We may be living in hard times now, but the best is yet to come!
Go with me to 1 Corinthians 11:26. When we take this communion, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes. The final words of the Bible are a cry for Christ’s return. Come, Lord Jesus! Seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first motivates that heart longing and cry.
Just as surely as Jesus came as humble sacrifice and set up His kingdom, Jesus Christ will come again as our glorious King and gather all who are His into the kingdom of the eternal Father. It’s Friday, and right now we carry a cross, but Sunday’s coming, when the tomb was found empty and Jesus Christ rose from the grave.
He’s coming again. Are you ready to enter the kingdom of God?