< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: God's Plan for Evangelism Part 11

Saturday, January 12, 2013

God's Plan for Evangelism Part 11

More in the Bible on the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 13:41-43 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Jesus also looks forward at the Last Supper to the day He would drink again of this fruit of the vine with His disciples. Matthew 26:29 “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Paul looks forward to the resurrection of the dead in eternity in 1 Corinthians 15 and he tells the Ephesians they have been sealed by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

In 1 Peter 1:5 Peter speaks of a “salvation already revealed in the last time.” And the author of Hebrews tells us we are strangers and exiles on the earth and we should look forward to “the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (That’s Hebrew 11:10, 13)

One day Jesus will part the skies and return to establish His kingdom finally and forever. The world will be set right, justice will be done, evil over thrown forever and righteousness established once and for all.
Isaiah 65:17-19 See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
We will have a new world. And God will dwell with us. We won’t suffer or hurt or die anymore. God will wipe away every tear and we will finally see His face.
Christians will not bring about the kingdom of God. We can do a lot of good on earth; we can help people and share the Gospel; but the kingdom of God will come in God’s time and by His power. The heavenly Jerusalem comes down from Heaven; it’s not built from the ground up.
We look, rightfully, to Jesus as our hope, not some human power or action. We are to long for His return. For Him!
Inclusion in the kingdom of God depends entirely on one’s response to the king. Jesus made this very clear. When the rich young ruler asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered “follow me” which for that man meant turning away from his trust in his own wealth and believing in Jesus. He talks about the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. In the end the difference between “come” and “depart from me” is how each person responded to Jesus as He was presented by His “brothers”, that is His people.
The Jews knew from scripture there would be a Messianic king who would rescue them. They also knew about a suffering servant of the Lord, prophesied by Isaiah and had a vague idea of a divine “Son of man” who would appear at the end of the age. (From Daniel 7). What they never fathomed, though, was that all 3 of these would be the same man!
But Jesus declared Himself to be the fulfillment of Israel’s messianic hopes and also referred to Himself as the divine Son of Man. AND he said the Son of man came “to give life, life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43) which points to the suffering servant of the Lord in Isaiah 53:10.
He told them! And us! That He Himself fulfilled all at the same time the roles of the Davidic Messiah, the suffering servant of Isaiah and Daniel’s Son of Man! He was infinitely more then the earthly revolutionary the Jews were hoping for. He was the divine servant king who would suffer and die for His people to win their salvation make them righteous in His Father’s eyes and bring them gloriously into His kingdom.
Based on all of that is it any wonder that Jesus makes entrance into His kingdom depend solely on whether a person repents of sin and trusts in Him and his atoning work on the cross?
Therefore, being a citizen of Christ’s kingdom is not a matter of just “living a kingdom life” or “following Jesus’ example” or “living like Jesus lived”. A person can be those things and still not make it into the kingdom.
Repentance and faith! Relying on Him alone as the perfect sacrifice for our sin and our only hope for salvation is what it takes.
Way back in Genesis 15:3 we hear: Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
God said the cross is what it takes. He says it’s enough! Who are we to say it isn’t?

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