The Kingdom of God is With Us
Text: – “The Law and the prophets were until John. Since that time, the Kingdom of God has been preached and everyone is pressing into it” – “Luke 16:16”
Introduction: – It’s so often the “Little Things” in life that are the most important and are the most cherished by people. So, it is with “Words as much as Deeds”. It’s interesting to discover afresh two little words which carry with them an enormous impact and meaning.
The two words in our context now are “Until John” as they are found in “Luke 16:16” where it says – “The Law and the prophets were until John. Since that time, the Kingdom of God has been preached and everyone is pressing into it” – “Until John” is a very significant phrase, but one that seems to be mostly ignored.
Until the arrival of Jesus it is a fact that both the Law and the Prophets were trumped. However, the greater message, the Gospel of the Kingdom became the prevailing message when Jesus came. The previous message was thus deemed as obsolete, having been fulfilled through Christ’s Work at Calvary.
It is a fact now that “One has Heaven’s Backing” the (Gospel of the Kingdom) the other (The Law and the Prophets) doesn’t – “One reveals God’s purpose in this present day, defining our assignment; the other does not”.
Let me say to you my Brothers and Sisters that the “Message We Carry Creates a Reality.” It is true to say today that the “Nature of the Message We Carry Determines the Reality We Live in and Minister From.”
Again, my Brothers and Sisters let me say and remind you that “Those who fully embrace Gods given assignment regarding the message of the Kingdom will see the Ever-increasing Government of God displayed in the Affairs of Mankind.”
It is Gods purpose that we together live as Kingdom People and that we together portray His Kingdom Authority everywhere we go.
If we want as Pastors and Leaders, and yes even if we are not in a leadership role this is the message, the only message that creates an environment suitable to the display of God’s love. It is a message that portrays His Uncompromising Purity and His Unfathomable Power – It is a message that is our “Now, Right Now, at this Moment” message.
The question arises though for us today and it is – “What is the Message We Are Carrying, Living and Proclaiming?”
So, we come to our first question.
- What Gospel Are We Together Preaching?
It is a truth readily seen as we look on the internet that the church has for the most part replaced the Gospel of the Kingdom with the Gospel of Salvation. However, the truth is that they are Intertwined like Siamese Twins and cannot be divided.
The message of salvation is glorious, the message of salvation is full of beauty so much so that we can easily miss the reality of it only being a part of the whole message that Jesus gave us.
The glorious and beautiful message in the Gospel of Salvation is rightly focused on seeing people getting saved and going to heaven. However, the Gospel of the Kingdom is focused on the Transformation of Lives, Cities, and Nations through the effect of God’s present rule. Let me say to you my friends it is a reality that the “Rule and Benefits and Government of the Kingdom” is possible right now and its possible to Experience some of Heaven right now on Earth.”
Let me ask you my friends – “Are You Confusing Your Destiny with Your Assignment?” Let me say to you – “Heaven Our Destiny” Yes! but “Bringing the Kingdom is Our Assignment.”
The focus our Kingdom Message is the rightful dominion of God over everything. Therefore, whatever is inconsistent with Heaven namely, “disease, torment, hatred, division, sin habits and so forth” must and should come under the authority of the King and this authority is expressed through you and me as we continue on our pilgrimage of faith.
What is Greater? Gods Kingdom Power or the Worlds Power? Well! of course it is Gods Kingdom Power – that puts everything else into the shade. It therefore follows that the Kingdom Message we carry is a Message with Authority” over the issues of “disease, torment, hatred, division, sin habits and so forth.” These kinds of issues are broken off of people’s lives why? Because inferior realms cannot stand wherever the Dominion of God becomes manifest.
If as Gods People we carry and succeed in displaying this message, something wonderful happens. The Holy Spirit then positions us to initiate and bring about cultural change in all areas of our cultures. It through us by the Holy Spirit brings change to “Education, Business, Politics, the Environment, and the other essential issues that we face.”
The Salvation Message and the Kingdom Message is the message that has been committed to us all as Children of God and we are expected to carry this message into all the Nations of the World as seen in “Matthew 10:7” – “Acts 18:31.” It isn’t anything new it is simply the message that Jesus, demonstrated, and revealed that our world should be like through His words and actions.
There is no Sickness in Heaven.
- When the Kingdom is manifest in a person’s body, that person is healed “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”.
There are no Demons in Heaven.
- When Kingdom deliverance is manifested that reveals what Jesus declared would be “Matthew 12:28” – “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”
You see! We see the world we live in through our own eyes, however, it should be what the “world looks like through His eyes”. It’s all about what His world looks like and how that reality can affect this one. The kingdom of God is in the unseen realm and obviously is eternal “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” – “2 Corinthians 4:17”
Let me ask the question today – “What’s Your Eyesight Like? The reason I ask is that – “Perception is absolutely vital” and it affects the daily reality of how we live and what faith sees.
Let me let you into a little secret today – When you were Born Again, and you became a Child of God you received spiritual vision and a vision beyond all we together could ever imagine. We received the vision of Heaven and the capacity to perceive the Kingdom of God. How can I say that you ask? Well! easily because we are told in “John 3:3” that “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” which obviously means that when we are Born Again, we can see Gods Kingdom.
I hope therefore that you can now understand that the impact of His Kingdom in the here and now goes far beyond the two illustrations which I have given previously. It has an effect on every area of life.
- Why Was Heaven Silent
Let’s note that the Scripture didn’t say, “Until Jesus” No! it said, “Until John” Why was that? It is because it was John the Baptist who broke Heaven’s silence with the message of the Kingdom. It’s true to say today that before John the Baptist came onto the worlds scene God and the Heavens had been silent for 400 years. There were – No Visions, No Dreams, No Prophecies – absolutely nothing except a profound silence. Then John arrived and became the megaphone of Heaven.
It was not a mistake that the Holy Spirit highlighted this detail of the Law and the Prophets were until John. No! because it was John who first declared, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” – “Matthew 3:2” it was the megaphone declaration of John the Baptist that ushered in the knowledge of the shift in the focus of Heaven.
What further does this bring to our attention? Well! remember that there is a further place in Scripture where 400years is equally significant. Israel lived in Egypt as a nation of slaves for 400years. Then the divine moment came when again there was a shift in the focus of Heaven, and everything changed. If you recall they were told to place the blood from a lamb on the doorpost of each Jewish home on the night specified by God. In doing so the Angel from God would pass by them. The reason that an Angel from God was coming was to bring about freedom from the bondage and slavery there were experiencing by enacting out the plague of the death of the 1st Born.
It all happened as Moses had declared – He Was Gods Megaphone Right Then – The Angel of the Lord came and released Israel from their slavery in Egypt to their pre-determined destiny in the sovereignty of God as a Promised-land People.
In a moment, they went from being “Slaves to being Free” – “Absolute poverty to possessing the wealth of the most prosperous nation in the world”.
The first mention of the phrase “400 years” resulted in the rescue of a people and the formation of a nation, Israel. This was the redemption of God’s people.
ln the time of John the Baptist, God announced the rescue and creation of a new nation, declaring, “It’s a new day!” The difference being on this occasion was that a new Nation was formed and this time by the Holy Spirit and through the channel of conversion and re-birth. This time it was not only one nation Israel. No! this time it was including “Every Tribe and Nation” throughout the World.
It’s interesting to consider that this was the very first time since the “Genesis 1” creation that there would be ushed in a “New Creation” and it was the New Creation of a People Born of God – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – “2 Corinthians 5:17” – “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” – “John 3:6-8” – New Living Translation
This is exactly the message that Jesus brought in “Luke 16:16” when He said “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.”
Jesus was declaring – It’s a new day! – It was a new day that was marked by a new message. When John the Baptist came forth, it was even more significant than deliverance from 400 years of slavery under Egypt. That deliverance dealt with the nature and potential of mankind, but John’s pronouncement changed everything it was so much more profound in its implications.
- What Was the Message of Jesus?
I quoted earlier what Jesus said in the words – “Luke 16:16” – “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.”
This is an amazing statement that Jesus made. The harvest is great is what the Gospels tell us and that is very true. It’s true that anyone in their right mind would want to get in – The wording would seem to indicate that “the nature off the message determines the size of the harvest” especially as He did say “everyone.” However, Universalism, where everyone eventually ends up in Heaven is totally a false doctrine. It’s a fact of Scripture that there are those who are “Elected to Salvation” and those “Who Are Not” and anyone who truly searches the Scriptures and does not want to “sit on the fence” recognises this. The message of Jesus though – The Message of the Kingdom, has a greater reach than any of us can begin to imagine or think possible.
The message of Jesus is one of an Everlasting Kingdom” and an “Eternal Dominion” in which His – Authority, Rule and Reign – can be enacted in our lives right here and now before we ever reach Heaven.
The promises of Scripture are at times beyond our comprehension and if we are not careful, we can simply skip over them because they are so hard to believe. The promises though are there awaiting our adoption. Whenever He declares something this big, He’s wanting to capture people’s hearts, and to make obstacles for them to live in and be satisfied with mediocrity.
These promises are not given to us to help us to know the future as much as they are given to create hunger for what might be. The promises of God are clearly revealed when we as the people of God get hungry and cry out to God for their fulfilment.
As Leaders, Pastors and in fact all of us should refrain from trying to figure out the season for Gods promises to be fulfilled but start chasing Him for them to be fulfilled right here and now in our time. Oh! we might get it wrong we say – If so, we are in good company the Disciples of Jesus got it wrong often and can we consider ourselves any better than them? No! of course not.
Here’s an example – In “Daniel 9:2-6” – “During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. So, I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfil your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.”
What was he doing? He was creating an atmosphere where all the people were able to press in and take hold of Gods blessings. Let’s do so also.
“The Gospel of the Kingdom is focused on the Transformation of Lives, Cities and Nations through the effect of God’s Present Rule- this is made manifest by bringing the Reality of Heaven to Earth.”