The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Scripture: Luke 13:29, Luke 11:2, Luke 1:32-33
Date: 06/13/2015  Lesson: 11
"The same Jesus who defeated sin and Satan on Calvary is soon to return to begin the process that will eradicate evil and purify this earth from the tragedy that Satan inflicted on God's creation."

Jesus saves Leftovers by Doug Batchelor

Jesus saves Leftovers by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning, friends, and welcome once again to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very special and warm welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world, watching on the various television networks and also our friends joining us live via the website - part of our extended Sabbath school study class. A very warm welcome to our members here at the Granite Bay church. Good to see you all here on this beautiful Sabbath morning. Thanks for coming and joining us as we study God's Word together.

We've been studying through our lesson quarterly dealing with the Gospel of Luke, and today we find ourselves in lesson #11. The lesson is entitled the Kingdom of God. We have a free offer that goes along with today's study, and for anyone who would like to receive this offer, you just need to call our resource line. The book is called three steps to heaven and the phone number is 866-788-3966. Again, that number is 866-788-3966 - that's 866-study-more.

Ask for the book or offer #102 and we'll be happy to send the book to you - three steps to heaven - just a great resource for study, to draw you closer to Jesus. At this time I'd like to invite our choristers to come forward and they're going to lead us in some hymns as we begin our time together. Our first one is #223 - crown him with many crowns - we're going to do the second - the first, second, and fourth stanzas - #223 - join with us. Crown him with many crowns, the lamb upon his throne; hark! How the heav'nly anthem drowns all music but its own! Awake, my soul and sing of him who died for thee, and hail him as thy matchless king through all eternity. Crown him the Lord of love! Behold his hands and side- those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.

No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bends his wondering eye at mysteries so great. Crown him the Lord of years, the potentate of time, creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime! All hail! Redeemer, hail! For thou has died for me; thy praise shall never, never fail throughout eternity. Amen. We're so glad to welcome william byas and jessica, his wife, to join us here at Granite Bay, today, and so we love it when william plays our piano. Our next song is #4 in the theme of the Kingdom of God, praise my soul the King of heaven.

This is a gorgeous song and we're going to do the first, the second, and the fourth stanzas - #4. Praise, my soul, the King of heaven; to his feet thy tribute bring. Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who like thee his praise should sing? Praise him, praise him, alleluia, praise the everlasting king. Praise him for his grace and favor to our fathers in distress. Praise him, still the same forever, slow to chide and swift to bless; praise him, praise him, alleluia, glorious in his faithfulness.

Angels, help us to adore him: ye behold him face to face; sun and moon, bow down before him: dwellers all in time and space. Praise him, praise him, alleluia, praise with us the God of grace. Thank you so much for singing along with us. And we welcome Pastor Ross up to do our opening prayer. Let us bow our heads.

Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for the opportunity, once again, for us to gather together on this Sabbath to study Your Word. Lord, we ask the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds. This is an important lesson - it's talking about the Kingdom of God - the Kingdom of heaven. That, of course, is our focus and we just ask your blessing, Lord, as we study together. In Jesus Name, amen.

Thank you, singers. At this time, I'd like to invite chuck holtry to make his way to the front. He is our afcoe director. Afcoe is the Amazing Facts center of evangelism. And one of the things afcoe likes to do every year is to take a group of graduates on a mission trip to some distant place.

Now this past December, we had a team that went to nepal and I think we did give a little mission report on the team over there. Chuck was not with the group that went to nepal, he was actually over in thailand, preparing the way for an upcoming mission excursion to thailand. So chuck, what were you doing this past December in thailand? I had a friend of mine who said, "we would like to do some work in thailand among a refugee group of people - the Karen people - some of you are familiar with them. Refugees from burma, or myanmar, are going over into thailand. So you were there for several weeks and I know you did some preaching/teaching while you were there? Yes, we were specifically training Karen pastors - most of them don't get formal training.

We're training them how to do evangelism as well as doing public evangelism at night and teaching them how to do it. And then we did some week of prayer - a week of prayer at the refugee camp and some other orphanages. So it was busy. We've got some pictures that I think you kind of want to share with us a little bit. Tell us about these pictures.

Okay, this picture right here is almost iconic thailand; however, this is the refugee camp. It's the largest Karen refugee camp in thailand. It's called mae la camp. There are 50,000 people squeezed into three square kilometers here. Just the - incredible place.

The next slide - this - I put this slide just to give you a feel - how close burma, which is now myanmar - is to thailand. One side of the bridge is burma. The other side is thailand. People are not supposed to be walking back freely, but they do. It's pretty open land.

That's a no-man's land. You see some of the people standing right there. But there's a flood of refugees. The burmese government does not like the Karen people - persecutes them - and they come across to the thailand side. Thailand doesn't know what to do with them.

They put them in refugee camps. And so, we're working specifically - we were working with - and this coming December we'll be working specifically with the Karen people. We've got some more pictures, telling us about some of the things that were happening while you were there. This was our outdoor evangelistic series and we had about a hundred people - two-thirds of them were children - come every night. We were within hearing distance of the river and so we knew - we couldn't guarantee it, but we're almost positive that a lot of the people coming in our audience every night were coming over from the myanmar - coming over to hear the evangelistic series and going back.

Our goal is when we go back this December, we'll be running six sites in the same area simultaneously. We did one this last year - in fact, the next slide shows you - this is the same place in the daytime. I want you to see. I felt so neat. I was doing an evangelistic series underneath a tree.

At night time - you can't see it as well, but in the day time, just one massive tree. We were kind of in a vacant lot there, about a hundred - two hundred yards from the river with myanmar. The next slide shows the other part. We did a week of prayer at a refugee camp. And adra runs the school - there are 800 students here at this high school on the refugee camp.

Many of the students there are adventists, but there's a lot that are not adventist. They do a week of prayer once a year. They bring in outside speakers. The next slide gives you a little picture with the school. This is the main school building.

There are curtains hanging in between classes. It is half-inch plywood covered with black paint - that is the chalkboards. I don't know how to describe - I'm a teacher - I've been to a lot of schools and I dreamed for nicer things in my schools and I was humbled when I was there because this is - what they're operating with is so much less than what we're willing to operate with and yet God is moving. These young people would sit and listen to me speak for an hour and make not a word. I was amazed because, you know, especially through a translator, it can get boring at times.

We had two hundred people and they listened the whole way through. Just a really neat experience that we had there in thailand. The next slide - I want to close with this one because - see the lady standing next to me? Her name is helen hall. When she was 42 years old, she was in australia and she got a call on her heart to go and become a missionary to thailand. That was 34 years ago.

She only goes back to get her visa. Years she's dedicated herself specifically to teaching Karen young people. She is the principal of the school I was just showing you about. Helen is - she's indomitable - that's the best way I can describe her. There is nothing that stops her.

She will argue with officials when it's right to argue, then she'll back off when she knows she's going to get nowhere. She knows how to do whatever it takes to make her children succeed. Her young people have the highest rate of going on to college from the refugee camp because of the work that she puts into them there and fifty to sixty of her young people are baptized every year and become faithful members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. So just a tremendous work that helen's doing there, and when I saw her courage and her willingness to pour her life into it, it just encouraged me. And I think I want to share the story with you as well.

God has given us a calling. He's not asking for a week here or a week there, although that's great to do and I'm looking forward to that this coming December. God is asking for us to give our lives in service, where he calls us. It may not be thailand, it may be Sacramento, but wherever God calls us, to give our lives one hundred percent there. Amen.

Well, thank you, chuck, for sharing that with us. It's exciting. We're looking forward to the team going back there this December and then sharing with us a mission report following this evangelistic effort and outreach and some health work that they're doing. If you'd like more information about the upcoming afcoe/thailand mission trip, please be sure to contact chuck. You can get ahold of him at Amazing Facts, through the Amazing Facts website.

Well, Pastor Doug, at this time we're going to begin our lesson. Again, as we mentioned earlier, it's lesson #11 entitled the kingdom of God and Pastor Doug will be bringing us our lesson today. Thank you, pastor. Hi. Happy Sabbath.

Hello everybody. Hi friends, who are studying with us - part of our Amazing Facts Sabbath school class other places. You know, we always say the same thing every time we start Sabbath school. Across the street and around the world just keeping thinking of other ways of saying planetary Sabbath school class, or something like that. We're just glad that we have people who are studying all over - via the internet and we are going to continue with our study through the book of Luke.

We're dealing with the lesson #11 today talking about a central theme of the Bible: the Kingdom of God - the Kingdom of God - and we have a memory verse and the memory verse comes from Luke chapter 13, verse 29 and I invite you to say that with me. Luke 13:29, you ready? "And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God." Luke 13:29 - now, this was actually a little bit disturbing - this verse - to those that were listening because, for the Jewish nation, what they wanted was - they wanted their kingdom to be restored and to spread everywhere else and, basically displace - all other kingdoms. And Jesus was saying, 'many will come from the east and the west and sit down in the Kingdom with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and the children of the Kingdom will be cast out.' In other words, there would be many from the outside that would come in and some who are in the inside that would be left out. And so qualifications for the Kingdom of God were not based on genetics or dna, but it was a willingness to serve the King. And so this was a central teaching of Jesus all through the new testament.

Matter of fact, we're going to look at a number of verses and along the way - I think I've got a few of you lined up who are going to help me look up some verses. First of all, what is a kingdom? A kingdom is a political or territorial unit ruled by a sovereign. The realm of the sovereign - or realm - a sphere in which a thing is dominated. Now when we study the Kingdom of God in America, we're all a little handicapped in our understanding because we live in a very different kind of a republic. We don't have a king.

One of the things that America was founded on is we wanted to have a government without a king and a church without a pope. We wanted there to be freedom in the government and freedom in the religion. And - but a kingdom - especially many of these ancient kingdoms - the King not only expected to be obeyed as the law, he expected to be the administrator as the center of government and he expected to be worshiped as a God. Now we know there were many earthly monarchs that wanted all those things and didn't deserve them. But, you know, the pharaohs, they not only expected to administrate and be the law givers and the Judges, they asked for worship.

And the caesars asked for worship. He didn't start out this way, but alexander the great, later on, he asked for worship. What about king Nebuchadnezzar? What about king darius? They worshiped the King. And so now, for humans, that's very inappropriate. But when we're thinking about the Kingdom of God, is it appropriate to worship our king? And so when people say, 'I want Jesus as my Lord and my king' - do we know what that means? The thief that was on the cross - you know, the one person Jesus saved when he was on the cross was that thief.

And he said, 'Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' So he called him 'Lord' and 'king' and Jesus could save him. He could become a citizen in Jesus' kingdom because of his plea - his declaration - and he recognized Jesus. How could you see Jesus as a king in that condition? Here Christ was hanging on a cross and he's - he's, you know, he's beaten and he's bloody and he's pale and dying and not clothed like a king and this thief called him 'king.' So obviously, when we talk about the Kingdom of God, it's different than what we would typically think of. It's a spiritual kingdom, for one thing, in this world. Now this is the central message of Jesus that you find through the Bible.

For instance, look in Matthew chapter 3, verse 1, "in those days came John the baptist, preaching in the wilderness of judaea," - what's the first thing John said? - "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is coming in two thousand years." What did he say? "At hand" - what does 'at hand' mean? Simple translation is 'within reach.' It means it's here. You can reach it. And then what did Jesus - now that's John the baptist; what did Jesus say? Matthew 4:17, "from that time Jesus began to preach" - first thing out of his mouth -"'repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" By the way, you notice that both with John and both with Jesus, the first word of the Gospel is what? Repent. Meaning, entrance into this kingdom, one of the prerequisites, is humbling yourself in repentance. This is different from the Kingdoms of the world where you enter by force, by strength, by how big and strong and tall, and rich, and powerful you are.

No, you get into this kingdom by repentance. But this is the Kingdom that's going to last. Now, the subject of the Kingdom of God is so important to understand because when Jesus came the first time, did the apostles understand the subject of the Kingdom? I'm not talking about just the jews, the apostles - how long was it that they did not understand the subject of the Kingdom? Was it six months into Jesus' ministry? Were they confused about the Kingdom a year into Jesus' ministry? After two years walking with Jesus, did they finally understand the Kingdom? How about three and a half years before the cross? Were they still confused about the Kingdom? How about after the resurrection? Were they still mixed up about the Kingdom? They were, right after the resurrection, still. You read - we're going to get to it later, but they asked him, before he ascended to heaven, 'will you, at this time, establish the Kingdom?' They were thinking that he was just going to throw some kind of whammy on the roman empire and that Jesus was going to set himself up as the descendant of David and they would have an earthly kingdom. Is it possible that God's people could, once again, be confused about the nature of the Kingdom? 'Oh, not us.

We have it all figured out.' Could the devil do the same thing to us now that he did to the apostles when Jesus came the first time? That we really don't understand what kind of kingdom it is. I think there's a good probability. If it's the most important thing Jesus is teaching, then it is one of the most important things for satan to confuse. Does that make sense? Not understanding what the subject of the Kingdom is. You know, the whole Gospel story, in the - you know, the Gospel doesn't begin in the new testament, the Gospel begins in the old testament and the Gospel story is about raising up a kingdom.

God took a nation of poorly educated slaves and he turned them into a kingdom. Isn't that right? When Moses led them out, they had to start from scratch and they turned into a kingdom. And God wants to do that once again. He's got this spiritual kingdom that he's establishing here in this world. Alright, that takes us to our first section, under Sunday, for - the first part it says, characteristics of the Kingdom.

Now I'm going to have somebody read Luke 11:2 in just a moment. Who's got that lined up? Okay, richard, we'll have you in a moment. And I'm going to read John 13:34, Jesus said, "a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." What is the foundation principle in God's kingdom? Love. What's the foundation principle in many earthly kingdoms? Fear. Yeah, it's based on the power of the King, but it's - if you don't do what the King wants - what did Nebuchadnezzar say to get everybody to bow to his image? 'You'll hurt my feelings'? Or did he say, 'you're going to go to the furnace.

' And what did darius say to get everybody to recognize his authority? 'You're going to a lion's den.' And if you're a roman caesar, 'if you don't serve me you're going to be crucified.' If you're a citizen, you're beheaded. If you're a non-citizen, you're crucified. And so people - the motive for obeying the King wasn't love, it was fear. Jesus said it's a different kind of kingdom - different kind of motive - motivated by love. Now if you look in Luke 4, verse 42 - we'll read through 44 and then we'll go to Luke 11:2.

It says, "now when it was day, he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought him and came to him, and tried to keep him from leaving them; but he said to them, 'I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.' And" - it says - "he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee." As Jesus traveled around, what was his mission? 'I must preach the Kingdom of God.' Alright, go ahead, read for us Luke 11:2. "So he said to them, 'when you pray, say: our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

'" Alright, so one of the first petitions in the Lord's prayer is regarding what? Thy kingdom come. Would you pray for something that already existed? Why would you pray God's kingdom come if it isn't already here? And when we say 'God's kingdom come' - come where? Is that talking about the second coming, or it is talking about the Kingdom coming within us? Or maybe both? So as we get along in our study on the Kingdom, we're going to find that there's really two dimensions of the study on what this kingdom is. But there it is in the Lord's prayer. Now, you don't find this in Luke so you have to go to Matthew. But if you go to Matthew chapter 6, verse 13, there is one additional point that Matthew makes regarding the Lord's prayer, that is not mentioned in Luke.

Matthew 6:13 - at the end of the Lord's prayer it says, 'for yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, amen.' And so you've got the Kingdom mentioned as one of the petitions in the prayer and then you've got the Kingdom mentioned as a declaration at the end of the prayer, but the Lord's prayer is sandwiched in the context of a different kingdom. Why is that? Because in our world today, there are two kingdoms in conflict. If I could summarize the motives of those two kingdoms, it would be love and selfishness. I don't know about you, but those are the two forces I feel fighting within me all the time and it's really easy to surrender to selfishness. It's kind of natural, matter of fact.

Just always think about yourself and every decision and the context of your life all revolves around 'it's all about me, isn't it?' 'It's all about me.' 'I did it my way.' I mean, that's this kingdom of this world. It's all pulling this direction. Christ's kingdom is the polar opposite. He said, 'love the Lord, love your neighbor' - that's going that direction - 'as you love yourself.' So it starts by a love that goes out. the Kingdom of the devil is all about a love that goes in and you'll ultimately - it's a vortex of self-destruction.

Eventually, you will destroy yourself with self love if you make yourself your king. That's the Kingdom of the devil - satan wanted to be God. The world fell because eve - and then following in her, adam - decided to put themselves first. 'You will be as God.' 'Don't make God your God, you be God.' And so you've got these two motives - these two kingdoms that are at war with each other. Did Jesus recognize the devil, at least as kidnapping this world, and he was the King, of sorts? Christ said, 'the prince of this world comes.

' Why did - why did the devil say to Jesus, 'fall down and worship me and I'll give all these kingdoms of the world'? What did the devil show Jesus in vision? He made all the Kingdoms of the world pass before him and he said, 'fall down and worship me and I'll give all this to you.' Why is he claiming that? Because he said, 'these people on this planet worship me.' - With a few exceptions. That's why, when the devil came to represent our world at this heavenly meeting, in the book of job, God said to satan, 'where'd you come from?' He said, 'I came from my kingdom. I came from the earth.' And God said, 'it's not all your kingdom because I've got an ambassador there, his name's job.' And so the whole purpose of the Gospel is we're trying to take back this world for Christ because he - it's his. He made it. So there's this - this battle between these two kingdoms.

Now most of the time in the Bible it's called the Kingdom of heaven - in a lot of the parables of Jesus. In the old testament, when it talks about the Kingdom of heaven, you'd be surprised that sometimes it's referred to as the Kingdom of the heavens. In the new testament, at least one time, it calls it the kingdom of Christ and God. Let's read this to you. Ephesians 5:5, "for this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.

" - So you've got Christ and God - it's the same kingdom - kingdom of heaven, kingdom of Christ, kingdom of God. And this was the central teaching of Jesus' ministry. So I'm just going to read you two verses that are similar - Matthew 9:35 - and it says, "then Jesus went about all the cities and the villages," - you know, this is a great verse. If you want to summarize the ministry of Christianity - did Jesus have a country ministry? He went to the villages. 'He went about all the cities' - did he have a city ministry? Huh? Yeah, we all - we all wish we could just move to the country - have country living.

Jesus had a city ministry. He had a country ministry. He went to the cities and the villages teaching. Was Jesus a preacher? Or a teacher? Or was he both? "Teaching in their synagogues" - did Jesus use the church as a basis for his ministry? In the villages and in the cities he did it through a church. That's why we believe in church-based media - "preaching" - oh, he's not only a teacher, he's a preacher, preaching what? "The Gospel" - the good news - "of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

" That one verse sort of just encapsulates the whole panorama of what Jesus' ministry was about. It mentions this again - that was Matthew 9:35 - I'm actually going backwards - Matthew 4:23 - "and Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people." He went everywhere, healing everything, preaching the good news, but it was all about the kingdom - a different kingdom. Now did Jesus establish his kingdom when he was here on earth? When he was being tried - why did they crucify Jesus? You know what the jews said to pilate? Now here they are trying to get rid of Jesus. They said, 'he has declared himself king.' They thought that was the coup de gras. Why? Because there was no king but caesar.

And when they tried that with pilate, pilate talked to Jesus - he said, 'are you a king?' And Jesus said, 'my kingdom is not of this world, yet.' Isn't that right? Because Christianity had not spread. But pilate went back out after talking to Jesus - he went back and said, 'I find no fault in him. He's not trying to be a king.' What did they put above Jesus' head when they crucified him? 'This is the King of the jews' and the jews wanted pilate to change that to say, 'he said he was the King of the jews'. Finally pilate finally develops a little bit of backbone. He says, 'what I have written, I have written.

I'm not changing it.' Because he was the King of the jews. But, you know, that was a capital offense in the roman empire. If anyone claimed to be a king other than caesar, that was it. There was no other king but caesar. Now you could be a vassal king, like herod.

In other words, you ever heard the expression 'king of Kings'? For instance, the King of persia had 127 other Kings under him. And when you read about king jehoiachin, he sat at the King's table with the other Kings underneath evil merodoch. And so it talks about Kings that were vassal Kings - or subservient Kings to the King. But so king herod was a vassal king, but the supreme king in the time of the caesars it was the caesar - it was Augustus or it was Titus or tiberius or whoever it might be at the time. Alright, still going here, Luke 1:32.

Now we're going to find out more about the roots for this kingdom, Luke 1:32 and 33, "he will be great, and will be called The Son of the highest;" - speaking of Jesus - "and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." So it makes it sound like a kingdom began with what Bible character? Of the house of who? And Jesus, they often said, 'son of - David.' And who does David represent? He was the anointed shepherd, king. Is Jesus a shepherd? King? Who loved his sheep and was willing to lay down his life for his sheep? David, Jesus. Who wept over Jerusalem? David, Jesus. Who experienced the loss of a son hanging in a tree? God The Father, David.

I mean, if you look at the analogies between David and Jesus - but when the children of Israel were carried off to Babylon, ten of the tribes that had chosen another king, they pretty much dispersed and, you know, there's traces of them you can find in the middle east and different parts of the world - the ten tribes. You ever heard of the world wide church of God? A lot of dear people but they were a little mixed up on their theology about the ten tribes. They were sure the europeans were the lost tribes of Israel. And, you know, our mormon friends, a lot of just wonderful mormon people out there, but they're a little confused on the ten tribes. They believe the American indians are those missing ten tribes.

Are you aware of that? That's good. That means you're not reading the book of mormon. If you didn't know that. But - and it's become quite a pickle for the mormons now, because dna testing shows that the native Americans aren't even slightly related to the jews, they're related to the people of mongolia, china. That's pretty easy to substantiate.

But the ten tribes, they were captured by the assyrians and it tells that they intermarried and became - they dispersed and lost a lot of their identity. Later, some of them came back and lived in samaria. They were called samaritans, but they were, sort of, amalgamated jews and assyrians and everything else in between. But the tribe of judah - what tribe did David come from? The tribe of judah reMained fairly pure. Carried to Babylon, they came back.

That's where you get the word 'jew' - jews are not all from the different tribes. Jews are talking about the group that came from the tribe of judah - it's just a shortened form of that. The others are Hebrews, technically, or Israelites. The line of David. Even though they were carried off captive, you notice what it does? The first thing it says in Matthew chapter 1? What's it tracing in chapter 1 of Matthew? Why does it trace the genealogy of David - of Jesus, sorry - to David? It's showing that Jesus was literally taking the throne.

He was the one who would establish what David started. And God made a prophecy to David. He said, 'your son that will come from you, he will build me a house that will last forever.' Was that just talking about Solomon or was it talking about Jesus, The Son of David? Christ said, 'destroy this temple made with hands and in three days I'll make one without hands.' And what was he speaking of? His body. What is the church called? The body of Christ. And so it was always understood this son of David would raise up the body of Christ.

And, yeah, this is just, to me, a very exciting truth. Alright, so - by the way, in the book of Luke, the phrase 'kingdom' is mentioned forty times. Revelation 11:15, "then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'the Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord" - now, is that past tense or future tense? Revelation 11 when the seventh angel sounds, is that past or future? It's in the future. And that seventh angel sounds and it says, "the Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord" - that means they're not yet, but they will be. Are you all with me? "And he will reign forever and ever!" Will Jesus ultimately reign on earth? Yeah, he will.

Does the new Jerusalem come down out of heaven? Yes. And it's the capital for that new kingdom. Alright, that was all part 1. Monday, part 2 - characteristics of the Kingdom - part 2 - it's very different from the Kingdoms of the world. Look, for instance, in Luke and someone look up for me Matthew :4 - who's got that? Okay, kim.

If you look in Luke 18:15, "then they also brought infants to him that he might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called to them and said, 'let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.'" What typically qualifies a person to have a cabinet position in the realm of some powerful monarch? How bright a counselor will they be? How strong? Are they a great warrior? Are they a great administrator? And what does Jesus say is a criteria for being in his kingdom? Do you have the heart of a child? Do you trust? Simple child-like trust. Are you humble? Of course, not all little children are humble, but they used to be. Something happened.

Kings 5:14 - I always thought this was interesting when naaman was washed of his leprosy - "so he went down and he dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." Naaman was cleansed of his leprosy and he gets flesh like a little child and then what he does, he goes back to Elisha and he says, 'can you please give me - give me some earth from Israel to take back to syria? For now on I will only worship God. In syria, my king worships another God and I'll be surrounded by that, but I'm only going to pray to the true God in a foreign land.' Isn't that a picture of what the Christian is? We worship the true king in a foreign land. You know what an embassy is? An embassy is the outpost of one kingdom within another kingdom. And if you go to an embassy, if you go to some of the many embassies in Washington, d.c., If you can get within the borders, you'll find out they speak the language of their home kingdom. Many times they wear the attire of their home kingdom.

Even though they're in it - they're surrounded by a different kingdom - and they eat the food of their home kingdom. I remember when I was in cameroon, africa, I got in the elevator with a marine and he was all dressed up in his marine blues with the shiny brass buttons - it's a very striking uniform - and so, you know, you're in a foreign country and two Americans - I started talking to him. He said, 'I'm part of the embassy here and we're getting ready to celebrate the fourth of July. And I thought, well, here we are in cameroon, africa, but they said, 'as far as we're concerned, within the embassy, it's the United States and we're going to celebrate the fourth of the July even though we're in cameroon, africa.' And so, when we gather as a church, this is like an embassy and we celebrate what's happening in heaven. We go along with what the teachings of Christ are here.

It's a different - it's an enclave of another world. Alright, read for us Matthew 18:4. "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven." How different from what we value as great in this world - in the Kingdoms of the world. You know, I hope I've made some progress but, through trial and error along the way, I think the Lord has told me one of the things he values the most is humility. That - and the thing - you're never more like the devil than when you're proud.

That's true. And you're never more like Christ than when you're humble. And, I'm not saying I've arrived, I just said I think I've learned something along the way. And a haughty spirit goes - what? Before a fall. It says when you humble yourself like a little child that's - God can work through that - when we're proud and we think that we've got God within - that we're, you know - I'm not talking about having God - that we are Gods is what I meant to say, then God can't work with us.

Okay, Luke 18:24 - that's one characteristic of the kingdom that's different from our world. Luke 18:24, "and when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, he said," - he saw the rich man walk away - "'how hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.' And those who heard it said, 'who then can be saved?' But he said, 'the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.'" How different that is from the world today. When you talk to people today about, you know, what their goals are, it often has something to do with 'I want to be popular, I want to be powerful, I want to be wealthy" - and the wealth often goes with - if you have enough wealth you can have some power and popularity - you can buy it. But the Lord says, 'no, that's not where the power comes from. That's not where the prestige comes from in my kingdom.

' It's through humility. If we're preoccupied with accumulating earthly riches to hoard and to store down here, then that's the wrong spirit. Where does Jesus say we should be storing it? In heaven. Is that just imaginary or is that real? There's a real kingdom of heaven and there's real gifts that are being stored there. When we invest in God's kingdom, it's really so we can reach people because the money doesn't go to heaven.

The money affects people who go to heaven and how long do they last there? Forever. You'll see the results of that investment. Okay, and so it's not riches. Jeremiah says, in chapter 9, verse 23, "thus says the Lord: 'let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might," - now I'd like to be wiser. I wouldn't mind being mightier - "nor let the rich man glory in his riches;" - I think most of us wouldn't mind more riches, but listen to what the Lord says - and this is old testament - "but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me.

" - What does the Bible say is the most valuable thing for us to treasure? 'Do you know me?' Knowing me is more important than being physically mighty or financially rich or being intellectually sharp. Do you know me? - "That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,'" - the Kingdom of God is very different when you think about it. You know, in the world, it's an eye for an eye - you get even. God says 'turn the other cheek.

Now, keep in mind, eye for an eye is a biblical phrase, but it's talking about something the government does, not individuals. That's how a government follows civil law. But individually, the Lord talks about forgiving. In the world, you get even with your enemies, but in the Bible kingdom, you love your enemies. That's not natural, is it? You start looking at the foundation principles of God's kingdom and it is really strange.

If you wanted to establish a new religion here in the world - and some are doing this - you'd say, 'follow my teachings and you'll be healthy' - you'll never get sick - 'and you'll be wealthy, and you'll have power, and you'll be worshiped by others.' You know, there are actually Christian pastors that are putting that forward to people and they seem to be thriving. You know why? Because it's a message people kind of like. It appeals to our carnal natures. But what did Jesus say? Follow me and you'll be hated and persecuted. If they hated me they're going to hate you.

Take up your cross. Be crucified with me and you'll have peace and joy and blessing. He that seeks to save his life will lose it. He that loses his life or lets go for my sake, he will find it. It's opposite from the world.

And yet, people still follow Jesus even though they knew that, because when they tried it, they found that it worked. They had that peace. I just want to quote something from John stott. He say, "greatness in the Kingdom of God is measured in terms of obedience. You know the Lord said there's a lot of folks out there that say, 'Lord, Lord,' but they don't do.

How do you know someone is really your king? When you obey him. When you follow him. And Jesus - and, by the way, that was Matthew chapter 7, verse 21. It says in Ephesians 1:4, "just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Alright, I want to go down to the Kingdom of God already not yet - and so this is talking about the two forms of God's kingdom: the internal kingdom and the external kingdom. And if you look - someone's going to read for me Luke 17:20 - who's got that? Okay.

Look in Mark 4:11, "and he said to them, 'to you it has been given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables," - so what do we know right away about the Kingdom? There's something mysterious about the Spiritual kingdom. Am I making that up or did Jesus say it? He calls it the mystery of the Kingdom. It's not the first kingdom - when he says 'the Kingdom of God is at hand,' that spiritual internal kingdom - there's something mysterious about it. And it could be spreading - you know, typically, when you see a kingdom spreading you can see their outposts and their flags and their armies and - but Jesus' kingdom, it's spreading on the inside. It's in people's hearts.

It's what they believe. Hard to measure. Alright, read for us, please, Luke 17:20. "Now when he was asked by the pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, 'the Kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'see here!' Or 'see there!' For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you." Alright, is that clear? When Christ first began to talk about his kingdom, when he said, 'the Kingdom of God is at hand' was it the Spiritual kingdom or the literal, physical kingdom? It was the Spiritual kingdom that was there. And so, it's the internal one.

It says, 'the Kingdom of God is within you.' So who reigns in your heart? That's how you determine if you are a child of God is 'is God reigning in my heart? Am I surrendering to His Word and to his will?' Philippians 3:20, "for our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ," - so there's a temporary time where you've got a spiritual kingdom on the inside and you're getting ready for the literal kingdom that's also on the outside. And so it starts out with the internal kingdom. And then we've got another verse here that makes that clear and that's - well, I'll tell you what, go with me to acts chapter . I'm just going to read a passage here - acts 1, verse 1 - now we're studying the book of Luke; who wrote acts? Luke. Luke did.

Matter of fact, they're both written to the same character, a guy by the name of theophilus. And he says, "the former account I made, o theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen, to whom he had presented himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom" - what did he talk about? - "Things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the father, 'which,' he said, 'you have heard from me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.' Therefore, when they had come together they asked him," - notice, is this before or after the resurrection? This is happening after the resurrection but before the ascension of Jesus. There was a forty-day period of time from the time when Jesus rose from the dead until he ascended. He ascended forty days after his resurrection, then there were ten more days until pentecost - that's why pentecost is called pentecost, because pentecost came fifty days after the passover.

So during those forty days, did they still understand the Kingdom? - "They asked him, saying, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?' And he said to them, 'it is not for you to know times or seasons which The Father has put in his own authority.'" Now you know what he's repeating here? When he speaks about the second coming, the literal kingdom, who knows the day and the hour? No one. Nobody. The Bible says it's not for you to know the times and seasons. We don't know. Is it going to happen? Yes.

Absolutely. I believe soon. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and samaria, and to the end of the earth.'" Now, this is under the section for Thursday under witnessing - and I'm just kind of jumping ahead there, quickly. When a king was coming, did he just plop out on the ground and say, 'surprise!'? Or did a king often send representatives before him to prepare the way? When John the baptist began to preach, he said, 'I'm the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare the way of the Lord.

So some had a job of going before the King to prepare the way. Is our king coming? Do we have a job of preparing the way so others are ready to receive him when he comes? And that's under the section of witnessing. So there is a physical kingdom that happens when Jesus comes. When does the Spiritual kingdom begin? It began back in the Garden of Eden with the sacrifice of the first lamb. You can't say the Spiritual kingdom began just when Jesus said, 'the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

' Could someone be part of God's Spiritual kingdom in the days of abel or Enoch? Whenever anyone invited God to be the King of their life, they were part of that kingdom. But in a more definite sense, when Jesus began preaching 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand' and John the baptist began preaching, he was getting ready to pay the price for the Kingdom with his life, it was in a much fuller sense. But then there is a literal kingdom that is coming and that's the second coming. Now, this is - you know, Daniel, you just can't beat it. You know what the central message is in the book of Daniel? the Kingdom.

It's all about the Kingdom. Here's the prophecy - you know, the great image, Daniel chapter - and you go to verse 44, it talks about all these different Kings and, you remember, the gold is what kingdom? Babylon. Babylon. Silver is medo-persia. The bronze is - greece.

The iron is - rome. Rome. And the iron and clay is - papacy. It's the - yeah, it's the co-mingling of religion in the - europe - and the breakdown of the roman empire. And then what? A stone comes.

And you read here in Daniel chapter 2:44, "and in the days of these Kings" - which is where we're living now - "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people;" - now some people say that was when Jesus came the first time, but are there still other kingdoms fighting for dominance in the world from the time of Christ's first coming till now? Absolutely. Kingdom will rise against kingdom and nation against nation. We're still living during that time. Are there wars and rumors of wars? So there's battles between kingdoms here and there's still a battle between Christ's kingdom and the devil's kingdom in this world, but the time is coming when it's all going to be over and there'll only be one kingdom and that's what Daniel's talking about. - "It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever.

" 'Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And also there was no more sea. And i, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from God prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband, and I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'behold the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be their God and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.' Is there going to be any other contesting kingdom after the millennium? You know what the battle - the final battle - of armageddon is? After the new Jerusalem comes down whand gog and magog - all the wicked who have ever lived try to asSault the city of God - is the final battle between two contesting kingdoms. And then Jesus comes up on his white throne. What does a throne represent? He reigns.

And there's this great white throne judgment and all the other kingdoms are subdued. They are all judged. They are all punished. How many parables did Jesus tell about the Kingdom of God that talked about a king coming and he will judge those who had rejected him? And so, this is all the culmination of the battle between the two kingdoms that we see in the world here today. So is there going to be a time when the Kingdoms of this world become the Kingdoms of the Lord and his Christ? It's talking about God The Father and God The Son.

Yeah, there is going to be no more battle between kingdoms. Now, if you want to be a citizen in God's kingdom, when does that begin? When Jesus comes? You know, there will be no more visas issued at the second coming. If you want to be a citizen of God's kingdom when he comes, you must now apply for your visa and become naturalized before he comes. Isn't that right? It'll be too late then because he knows who are his now. You can't - I mean, how's he going to know if you're loyal? Sure, everybody's going to say, 'oh, yeah, yeah, I've decided to change and I'm going to worship you.

' And it's only really going to be now that we have that opportunity to make the Lord the chief of our life and to become citizens in his kingdom. What is the constitution for God's kingdom? What's our constitution - North America? You know, 'we the people are endowed with certain rights by our creator'? The Bible is the constitution and the promises of the Bible. You know, if you want to see what the - the motives are and the foundational teachings for the constitution of Jesus' kingdom, you can read basically the sermon on the mount there in Matthew chapter 5 through 7. It just talks about the Spirit of Christ and what it means to be part of that kingdom. Who is invited to be part of God's kingdom? Whosoever will.

Let me tell you something about David. You might think 'I'm not qualified. I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not rich enough.

' You know what it says about how David started his kingdom? Samuel - this is my last verse - 1 Samuel 22:2, "and everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented" - the poor in spirit - "gathered to him. So he became a captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him." They grew into David's mighty men that later grew into the cabinet of his kingdom. How did they start out? Poor and wretched - 'blessed are the poor in spirit.' - Who did Jesus use to start his kingdom? Did he go to the universities of Jerusalem? Did he go to the military academies? Or did Jesus go and get fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds - all that were in distress, all that were in debt, and all that were poor and he made a kingdom out of them that turned the world upside down and that means that everybody here, everyone watching, you can qualify to be part of God's kingdom. We have run out of time, but I want to tell you how to do that.

We have a free book I hope you'll send for and it's called three steps to heaven. We'll send it to you free and you can also get it online - just go to amazingfacts.org. If you want to get one in the mail, call 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #102 and we'll send you three steps to heaven - a classic by Joe Crews on how to be a citizen in God's kingdom. We are out of time for today's study, friends. Thank you for joining us and, God willing, we'll study more about the Kingdom next week.

Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, Biblehistory.com is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word. Go deeper. Visit Biblehistory.com. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming. Watch Amazing Facts television by visiting 'aftv.org'. At 'aftv.org' you can view Amazing Facts programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Why wait a week? Visit 'aftv.org' - it's that easy. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com

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