Yesterday I finished teaching through Part 1 of my series on the Kingdom of God/Heaven. Part 1 has been focused on laying a foundation for understanding how much the Kingdom dominated Jesus' teaching and is associated with the word "gospel" in the Bible.
It is fascinating, once you put on "Kingdom glasses," how "Kingdom" words explode out of the New Testament . . . words like kingdom, king, throne, scepter, crown, rule, authority, dominion, etc. Even in letters like 1 Corinthians where Paul says, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified," he goes on shortly thereafter to say he will see what the arrogant ones in Corinth are made of when he shows up because the Kingdom is not in word, but in power!
The Kingdom was the thing Jesus taught on during His forty days after the resurrection and before His ascension, and it was the last thing we have recorded in Acts that Paul taught on. In the middle of Acts Paul even told the elders in Ephesus that he was innocent of their blood because he had shared with them the Kingdom, the "whole counsel of God."
If you have never undertaken a study of this, I would really encourage you to listen to at least yesterday's teaching (you can get to the church's download page by clicking here, then you can select the 1/23/11 teaching from that page). I couldn't begin, in yesterday's teaching, to review all that I covered in the first two, but if you at all doubt that the Kingdom was a dominate—maybe even the dominate—part of Jesus' and the early church's teaching, then yesterday's teaching will give you a lot of food for thought.
Next week I hope to begin to peel apart just what this Kingdom is, and what the teaching was, and how that affects us in our day to day Christian living. The Kingdom has been seen in so many different ways—and that makes some sense considering some references to it by Jesus are a "now" and "present" reference, some are "near" reference, and some are a "later" reference. Some have said, incorrectly (I believe), that the Kingdom is all about Heaven and not about here and now. Others have said, also incorrectly, that we are supposed to turn this earth into the perfect Kingdom by social justice, etc. Some would seem to demean or water down the cross as not as important because the Kingdom was the true subject . . . but I believe that the cross is the crown of the Kingdom, and that the cross is what allows us to victoriously represent the Kingdom and walk in its authority. I will go in to detail on all of this in coming weeks and teachings, but for now I wanted to invite you to share yesterday's with me. May God bless you through it as He is blessing me.