Friday, June 7, 2019

Paul and the Kingdom of God


What Paul had to say about the Kingdom of God?  Did his teaching conflict with Jesus'?



Scriptures:
  • Acts 1:6-8
  • Matthew 6:9-10
  • Acts 28:23-31
  • Colossians 1:13-14
  • Mark 12:32-34
  • Galatians 5:19-24
  • Romans 14:14 - 18
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
  • 1 Corinthians 15: 50 - 55
  • Romans 8:18-23
  • 1 Corinthians 6:1-3
Outline:
  • Introduction
  • Review of the Kingdom of God
  • The Ancient Jewish Perspective
  • Thy Kingdom Come
  • Paul Teaches the Kingdom of God
  • Forgiveness of Sin
  • Your Works Matter
  • The Future Kingdom
  • Saved for What Purpose?
  • Conclusion
Themes:
  • Kingdom of God
  • The Jewish View of the Kingdom of God
  • Paul’s view of the Kingdom of God
  • Personal vs Universal View of the Kingdom of God

Introduction

Is there more than one gospel?
Jesus talks about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Paul talks about:
  • the Gospel of Grace
  • the Gospel of God
Does Paul preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?
  • Does Paul teach a different gospel than Jesus?
Up to now we’ve been contrasting the Gospel of the Kingdom of God vs the gospel of salvation by faith
Jesus clearly emphasizes doing good works in relation to the Kingdom
Today we will look at what Paul says about the Kingdom of God.
  • Does he even talk about it?

Review of the Kingdom of God

Meaning of Kingdom

  • The term “Kingdom of God” is the same as the “Kingdom of Heaven”
  • Matthew is the only one who mentions The Kingdom of Heaven
  • Kingdom means “reign”
  • Kingdom of God means the Reign/Rule of God
  • Only Christians can enter the Kingdom of God
Kingdom is not used the same as how we use it.
The Kingdom of God is not where God rules; it is the fact that God rules  --NT Wright

God’s Plan

Garden of Eden

God’s plan is the same now as it was in the Garden of Eden
  • To have His will implemented on earth through the dominion of mankind
  • Adam was created to be God’s image bearer and to reflect God’s will on earth
  • God was delegating His authority to Adam
God wanted to work in this world through human beings reflecting his wise gentle stewardship over creation.  

God Chose Israel

God then chose an elect people to implement His plan through -- Israel
  • They failed to accomplish God’s plan

Jesus

God sent Jesus to fulfill His plan through a larger group of people
  • Jesus will rule with the saints here on earth fulfilling God’s plan

The Gospel

The Good News doesn’t end at the resurrection
  • It ends with a renewed Heaven and earth ruled by Jesus and the saints

Now and Not Yet

The now and the not yet means that some things will be made right right now and some won’t until Jesus comes back.  
We saw that Jesus clearly talks about entering the Kingdom of God now, but He also talks about entering the Kingdom at His second coming.  
  • In both scenarios, the Kingdom is here on earth.

In some ways God’s rule was inaugurated when Jesus died on the cross, but it will not be completely fulfilled until Jesus returns.

Jesus’ Teaching of the Kingdom

Most of Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom emphasized how you live your life vs what happened after you died
“Repent the Kingdom of God is here”
  • Repent means to rethink the way you were thinking about your life.
Jesus taught
  • Forgive others
  • Love enemies
  • Feed the poor
  • Heal sick
Jesus is not saying that everyone in the world is living this way.  
  • But that it is now possible to live this way

Inheriting the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is about the new creation
  • As Christians we get a regenerated mind and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit
The Kingdom of God is being indwelled by the Holy Spirit and living and loving in complete agreement with the Holy Spirit
  • The fruit of inheriting the Kingdom is living under God’s rule
  • Implementing God’s will at all time
  • Your will is aligned with God’s will
  • Having the fruits of the spirit

The Ancient Jewish Perspective

The Jews were awaiting a Messiah  to come and usher in the rule of God
The Jews expected a messiah to:
  • Fulfill the Scriptures
  • Defeat the ultimate political enemy
  • Rebuild or cleanse the temple so that God can come back in glory
  • Establish God’s reign over Israel and the world

Religion and Politics Were Intertwined

The 10 Commandments weren’t thought of as their religious text.
  • It was the law
  • It was a political document
  • Analogous to our constitution
There was no secular worldview at that time. Everyone only thought of things from a religious perspective.
  • There was no scientific view
  • There was no secular view
Religion and everything else was fused together.

Other Nations Were Ruled By Gods

Kings of other nations were thought to be descendants of the gods
  • They were royalty and deity
  • Thus they were implementing the will of the gods
  • They would influence other nations to follow their god by conquering them and making them worship their king
  • The empires thought that when they conquered other lands they were liberating them.  

National Salvation Not Personal

In the ancient times they didn’t really focus as much on the individual as we do.
  • The United States is the most individualistic nation that the world has ever seen.  
In that time, the concept of freedom vs independent was on a national level.  When God sent Israel into exile it was never … Jerry, Mark, and Tom.  Either the whole nation was in God’s favor or not.
Israel was either in the promised land or it wasn’t
  • It wasn’t about each individual achieving entrance
Israel was either free or in slavery
 They were expecting a Messiah to save all of Israel at once
When Jesus says to make disciples of all nations it is not talking about individual people.
  • People connected by some type of identity
  •  ethnic, political or religious

Expecting a Messiah for Israel

Therefore when Israel was expecting a Messiah they conceives a Messiah coming to save the nation of Israel as a whole.
  • They weren’t looking for a personal savior
  • Salvation wasn’t based on the actions of each individual
How could Jesus be the Messiah if Israel was not free?
  • How can the Kingdom be here if we are still under Roman rule?
  • How can God’s rule be in place if Israel is still under submission to another land?
  • How can God’s rule be in place if there is any single land not under submission to Israel?

The Disciples Were Still Expecting Israel’s Takeover

Acts 1:6-8
6So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
  • The apostles expecting Israel’s political system to be restored
They would’ve thought if God’s going to bring about the cosmic victory that he would’ve had to bring about Israel’s political victory first.

Gentiles Grafted In

The Jew was God’s solution to the problem  They failed in this calling
God entrusted his oracles to the Jews
  • This does not mean that the Jews were given secret knowledge this means that they were given the responsibility to teach it to the nations
  • They failed in that mission
God did not replace the Jews with the Christians
  • Justification is about Gentiles being grafted into the Jewish family
  • God has not replaced Election with incarnation.
  • Incarnation is the fulfillment of election.
We are now commissioned to spread the good news throughout the world
Example:  7,000 converts daily  to Christianity from another religion
  • Mostly in Africa, Asia and South America

Thy Kingdom Come

“No Jewish prayer is complete unless you pray for God’s kingdom to come”
-- Jewish Rabbi
Matthew 6:9-10
    9“Pray, then, in this way:
            ‘Our Father who is in heaven,
            Hallowed be Your name.
      10‘Your kingdom come.
            Your will be done,
            On earth as it is in heaven.
Similar to the Jewish Kaddish which is

The Kaddish or Qaddish

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world
which He has created according to His will.
May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days,
and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon;
and say, Amen.
  • Used in the Jewish prayer service
  • Hymn of praise to God
  • Mourner’s Kaddish
  • Was praying for the Messiah to come

Analysis of the Lord’s Prayer

  • Praying for God’s will to be implemented
  • Praying that it happens on earth
  • God’s will is already implemented in Heaven
This is not a uniquely Christian prayer
  • Perhaps the “as I forgive my debtors” part was unique
Both prayers pray for the time they got establishes his kingdom on earth.
The Kaddish is a national prayer
We have turned prayer into a private request for supplication
When we pray for the Kingdom to Come is two fold.  
  1. Praying for God to rule our lives
  2. Praying for God’s will to be implemented across the entire earth

Paul Teaches the Kingdom of God

  • Jesus talks about the kingdom of God 120 times
  • Paul mentions the kingdom of God 14 times
Acts 28:23-31 (NASB)
 23When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers,
26saying,
            ‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY,
            “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
            AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
      27FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
            AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
            AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
            OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
            AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
            AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
            AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”’
28“Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” 29[When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]
      30And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,31preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
  • Paul taught the Kingdom of God for 2 years straight
  • The Kingdom of God was likely the main emphasis of His teaching
  • Perhaps Paul didn’t include his teaching on the Kingdom of God in his letters because they were foundational
  • He mainly addressed new issues in his letters

Forgiveness of Sin

Colossians 1:13-14
 13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
  • We were previously not in the Kingdom of Jesus
  • Now we are
  • Your sins are forgiven when you belong to the Kingdom
We no longer need the temple or the High Priest to have our sins forgiven

Your Works Matter

Jesus’ Teaching

Jesus was teaching about a renewed heart.  
  • Jesus is talking about the purity of the heart to which the other laws were pointing.  
Mark 12:32-34
32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.
  • Believing in the One true God and how you treat your neighbor are more important then burnt offering and sacrifice
  • How you view God and how you treat others is more important then forgiveness of sin
  • Jesus emphasized your actions bringing you into the Kingdom of God
  • He told the rich young ruler to enter the Kingdom He had to sell everything and give it to the poor
Remember that entering the Kingdom is not the same as obtaining salvation

Paul’s Teaching

Galatians 5:19-24
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
  • Paul does teach that your actions matter
  • Your actions can prevent you from inheriting the kingdom of God
  • The state of your heart is a result of being filled with the Spirit
Sins
  • Paul lists some  sins
  • This is not an all inclusive list of “the bad” sins
  • Paul is not listing out a hierarchy of sin.
  • You cannot pull out one sin and say it is worse than the others.
The fruits are the result of entering the Kingdom

The Kingdom is Not Just Personal

  • Your personal salvation isn’t the end all and be all
Romans 14:14 - 18
14I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
  • Paul emphasizes walking “in love”
  • Just because something isn’t a sin doesn’t mean it’s not wrong
  • The Kingdom of God is about more than your personal freedoms.  
  • The impact your actions have on the corporate body are equally if not more important than your personal salvation.  
  • The Kingdom of God is not just about something in the future
Paul taught that you are living in opposition to the Gospel if you put your brother’s salvation at risk
Example: When Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles
  • Racism and prejudice is in opposition to the Gospel

Not About Traditions and Rituals

When Paul says the kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit he is referring to the church fight over what you should eat and what you should drink. The kingdom is not about how closely you follow the traditions but it is about how you live your life.

The Future Kingdom

Resurrection of the Dead

Paul shows us that The kingdom is both present and future.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28
20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.
24Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. 25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put everything under His feet.” Now when it says that everything has been put under Him, this clearly does not include the One who put everything under Him. 28And when all things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.

The Resurrection

  • Jesus is the first fruit of the dead
  • When you bring the first fruits it is a guarantee that the rest of the offspring is coming
  • Christ is the first fruit and at his coming he is going to raise everyone else up.  
  • We will rise from the dead when Jesus returns
  • The resurrection establishes Jesus as the world’s one true Lord.  

Jesus Made Ruler

  • Every knee will bow to Jesus
  • Jesus completely implement the Kingdom of God
  • He will then subject it to God
In a sense we are living in the Kingdom of Jesus now
  • This is what He inaugurated
The idea of the second coming is not to take people away and take them somewhere else.  
Once dominion is given back to God, the Kingdom of God will be fully inaugurated

Victory Over Death

1 Corinthians 15: 50 - 55
50Now I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must be clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
  • The final victory is over death.  
  • Resurrection is not what happens to people when they die.  
  • To defeat of death is to bring you back to life
We will get an incorruptible body
  • Immortality is not about leaving your body behind.  
  • Immortality is a new gift for the body.  

Saved for What Purpose?

We are called to be: kings, queens, rulers, priests.  
Romans 8:18-23
 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
  • All of creation is waiting for us to reach maturity
  • We are the first fruits of the Spirit
  • We are the first being to be indwelled with the Holy Spirit
  • We are the first beings to be indwelled by God
“Don’t you know that we will judge angels”
Jesus had created a single family of Jews and Gentiles ready through the Spirit to be God’s agents.  
The plan set forth in the Garden of Eden needs totally faithful human beings.  
  • When we are raised from the dead we can fulfill that.  
We have been justified so that we can qualify to be just rulers
Jesus was not just teaching us how to be obedient to please Him
  • Jesus was trying to teach us what types of humans we need to be to rule the world
  • Jesus was trying to get us ready for our future role
“Justification is not to take us out of the world. It is to qualify you to rule in the world.”
-- N. T. Wright


1 Corinthians 6:1-3
1Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Conclusion

Paul and Jesus are not in conflict with their teaching on the Kingdom of God
Paul clearly teaches that your works can prevent you from entering the Kingdom of God
  • And Jesus teaches that the works of the Father are to believe in the Son
We run into theological problems when we assume that entering the Kingdom of God means getting into Heaven
  • That is not what Paul means
Entering the kingdom is when those who are Christians act in the way that Jesus commanded us.  
  • It is us living our lives according to God’s will in every situation.  
  • It is applying God’s wisdom to our lives, and walking within the principles of God instead of the values of the world.  
We saw that the Kingdom of God is personal and universal
  • To implement the Kingdom means that God has triumphed over the Kingdom of Satan
  • To implement the Kingdom also means that God has triumphed over...your plans

The kingdom of God exists wherever God‘s will is being done.
  • To enter the kingdom of God is to admit that you are not the highest authority in your life.
The kingdom of God exists where God is king. Where God’s character and God‘s beauty prevail in reality. It involves relinquishing the idea that I am the Lord of my life.
If He is not the Lord in some areas then He is not the Lord over our life.
Every person on earth has something that they consider their highest value.
  • For some it is their race for some it is their sex for some it is their political party.
  • For others it is God.
Which one is it for you?
  • Do you get angrier when someone says something against your political party or against your God
  • Do you get more disturbed when someone cheers for the wrong team, or for the wrong God
  • Does it bother you more when someone takes credit for your work or for God’s work?
Who is Lord over your life?

Presenter: Michael Leadon




References

Kaddish (Wikipedia)
Kaddish Part 1: What are we praying for?
The Kingdom of God with the Rt Revd Dr Tom Wright
N T Wright - Pepperdine Bible lecture 2016 (Part 2)
Whatever Did St. Paul Do with the Kingdom of God? - N. T. Wright
The Kingdom of God: A Biblical Vision (Part 11: Paul and the Kingdom)
- Brock Bingaman, 3/17/19
Our Lord's Community Church
Christian Population Growth

Extra

Acts 20:24 - 25
24“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
 25“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.

The Future Kingdom

Romans 5:12-21
12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned. 13For sin was in the world before the law was given; but sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who did not sin in the way that Adam transgressed. He is a pattern of the One to come.
15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many! 16Again, the gift is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment that followed one sin brought condemnation, but the gift that followed many trespasses brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18Therefore, just as one trespass brought condemnation for all men, so also one act of righteousness brought justification and life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20The law came in so that the trespass would increase; but where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness, to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Eternal life - is the life of the coming age
  • Not a disembodied immortal soul
God made space time and matter in Genesis and said it was good.
He is stressing grace over what we had in Adam.  Where Jesus brought us is further than where Adam was.