I hope that this finds each of you having a wonderful end to a wonderful week filled with reminders of God's amazing love and power. Tomorrow morning at church, God willing, I will be giving the sixth teaching in a series on the Kingdom of God that began, in my heart, many, many months ago—if not a year ago or more. I can not describe to you how much this teaching is impacting me as I study this subject, this "gospel" of the Kingdom that Jesus and the early church declared. There is no way I can even begin to put a fraction of the insight and background and evidence in this blog, I can only offer the audios of it. I put them on the website of the church I pastor by the middle of the week following each teaching. They are in mp3 format, between 40–45 minutes each, usually about 20 MB each, and totally free! There is a link to our fellowship's audio resources page below, and you'll find them listed, in reverse order, under the "Current Series: Kingdom of Heaven" section. (Kingdom of Heaven Audio Teachings)
I know that we are all busy, and that God may be leading each of you to other topics or places of study, but I say with all humility that, if you are able, I believe you will be blessed by starting at the beginning and following this series through. I am finding that the "Kingdom" lens, or "glasses," has changed the way I read the epistles and understand the parables. It was the message John the Baptist declared, the message Jesus declared, the message He sent the disciples to declare, the message He taught them between His resurrection and ascension, and the message taught throughout Acts, including in the last verses of Acts with Paul in prison. The epistles were written to people who had been taught about the Kingdom of Heaven/God . . . and Jesus, the disciples, and Paul were very familiar with its immediate power implications in the here and now, as well as its simultaneous realities of being both a future event and also a place called Heaven now. The study I am giving is focusing mainly in the third aspect of the Kingdom—the part Jesus said was in our midst now, the part Paul walked in knowledge of and had confidence in . . . and Jesus said that it was the gospel of the Kingdom that would be preached to all the world before the end would come.
I believe that the presentation of the Kingdom good news changes the entire focus of the Christian life from simply an emphasis on getting saved and to "Heaven" in the future, to living a life submitted to a King now. It changes the way we see ourselves, and how we carry ourselves as Christian. As we understand the war our Kingdom is in against a kingdom of darkness, as we understand the power both kingdoms bear (and which is superior!), and as we understand the reality that receiving Jesus as Lord means submitting the entirety of our lives to His Lordship, I believe that we will find our Christian life rocked. I believe that lukewarm Christianity finds its antidote in the Kingdom understanding, and that it is the true understanding we must have. When Colossian 1:13 tells us that, through Jesus, God has, ". . . delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son" it is telling us about much more than a future reality of Heaven, but also about a present reality of being born again as citizens, soldiers, and ambassadors of one Kingdom, now here in the midst of another kingdom with which we are at war.
I could go on for pages upon pages about why I feel this is important, and why I feel it is true, but I will just trust God to move you from here in the direction He has planned for you. I am excited about the study, and I covet your prayers and feedback on it. I have no interest in pursuing it for "gee whiz" knowledge, or simply for the sake of theology, but rather that I may grow in my walk with the Lord, and I would welcome any prayerful thoughts and insight you may have, as well as any questions. May we all grow together closer and closer in to His image, that He may more fully display Himself through us. May He bless you and keep you and pour His Spirit upon you.
Kingdom of Heaven Audio Teachings