< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: God's Plan for Evangelism Part 10

Friday, January 11, 2013

God's Plan for Evangelism Part 10

Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed by the Indians he was trying to help at about age 27, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” This quote captures both the cost and the reward of being a Christian.

It is costly to become a Christian. But look at some of the rewards: forgiveness of sins, adoption as God’s children, a relationship with Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, freedom from sin’s tyranny, the fellowship of the church, the final resurrection and glorification of the body, inclusion in God’s kingdom, the new heaven and new earth, eternity in God’s presence and seeing His face!

Paul quoted Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 2:9 9 However, as it is written “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—

The Christian life is not just about avoiding God’s wrath. It’s about being in a right relationship with Him and enjoying Him forever. Or “gaining what we cannot lose: – becoming a citizen of His eternal kingdom.

The moment we become believers Paul tells us in Colossians 1:13, God delivered us “from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”

Jesus preached on the kingdom of God constantly. So did Peter and Paul. The author of Hebrews wrote:

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

What is this kingdom, exactly? Is it a place? Is it here now or is it something we’re waiting for that will come in the future? Why is it the kingdom of God? Doesn’t he rule over everything whether a person is a believer or not?

Scripture teaches us that the kingdom of God is God’s redemptive rule over His people. “Kingdom” can be a bit confusing. We think of kingdom geographically. A place; with borders.
Biblically speaking though, the kingdom of God is best understood as more a kingship. Psalm 145:11, 13 describes God’s kingdom as God’s rule, reign and authority. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, and Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
And not just His rule and reign, but His redemptive rule and reign. His loving sovereignty over His own people!
1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?
The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Also, the kingdom of God is here: Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This was a stunning claim that Jesus made. The Jews had for centuries been waiting, hoping and praying for the dawning of the kingdom, for the day when God’s rule would be established on earth and His people finally vindicated. And now Jesus was telling them that that day had arrived. And through Him!
Jesus’ incarnation was much more then just a kind visit from the Creator. It was the launching of God’s full and final counter-offensive against all the sin, death and destruction that had entered the world when Adam fell.
And you can see the war happening all over the story of His life in the New Testament. King Jesus going alone into the wilderness to face Satan, the one who tempted Adam and had thrown the world into corruption so many years earlier – and He defeats him. He heals the lame and blind, He raises people from the dead. When He was on the cross He cried out “It is finished!” And death was defeated because 3 days later He rose again.
Step by step, blow by blow, Jesus was decisively rolling back the effects of the fall. The rightful king of the world had come and all that stood in the way of the establishment of His kingdom – sin, death, hell and Satan was being overcome.
What that means is: many of the blessings of the kingdom are already ours. Jesus told the disciples He would send them “another comforter” the Holy Spirit who would guide them, convict them of sin and sanctify them.
We are reconciled to God as a believer.
Paul even says in Ephesians 2:6 that in God’s eyes we are already raised up and seated with Christ! “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”.
But the kingdom is not yet complete. And it will not be complete until Jesus returns. Satan has been bound, but not destroyed. Evil has been defeated, but not annihilated.  The kingdom of God has been inaugurated, but not completed. Jesus spoke of a future day when the kingdom would finally be consummated.

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