The Kingdom of God: In Your Midst
"But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.’ 27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!’ 28 But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’ 29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, ‘This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. (30) For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 33 ‘No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.’ 37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table." Luke 11:20-37
Q: What does the second petition mean?
A: “Your kingdom come” means: Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you. Preserve your church and make it grow. Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy Word. Do this until your kingdom fully comes, when you will be all in all. Heidelberg Catechism, Question 123
Q: What do we pray for in the second petition?
A: In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come) we pray, that Satan's kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened. The Shorter Catechism, Westminster Confession of Faith, Question 102
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
The church is to make the invisible kingdom visible. Churches are communities of hope and healing, which foreshadow the kingdom that is to come.
The Pharisees ask, “When will the kingdom of God come?” (Luke 4:16-22)
We live in the already, but not yet. (inaugurated eschatology).
1. Do not be DECEIVED with those who claim special knowledge regarding the completion of the kingdom.
- Because of the longing of the disciples (v.22) many would be deceived into believing false narratives regarding the kingdom. A longing for spiritual insight which is not governed by Scripture can lead to greater sorrows and deep error.
- His coming in power will be unmistakable. (v.24)
2. Do not be unprepared. (We can be aware of deceivers and false narratives and still be unprepared for the coming of Christ.)
“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16 SO I ALWAYS TAKE PAINS TO HAVE A CLEAR CONSCIENCE TOWARD BOTH GOD AND MAN.” Acts 24:14-16
Embracing a Kingdom Orientation
1. Live with eternity in view.
“Few of us live daily on the edge of eternity in the conscious way the Puritans did and we lose out as a result. . .Readiness to die is the first step in learning to live.” J.I. Packer
2. Enjoy the good gifts of life without being consumed by them.
3. It is a glorious prospect to give your life away in serving others. (Luke 17:33)
4. There is only one ultimate allegiance.
1. What do we mean when we say, “living in the already, but not yet”, regarding the kingdom?
2. What is the basis of Paul’s “I take pains”, in Acts 24:16? (see Acts 24:14-15)
3. How do we live in such a fashion that we enjoy the good gifts of God without being consumed by them? (Remember Lot’s wife, Acts 17:32)
4. How do we live out the reality of Luke 17:33?