The Truth that Makes Us Free (6)
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4.17
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south. Psalm 107.2, 3
Here’s an idea
“What’s happenin’?” “What’s goin’ on?” “‘T’sup?”
Have you heard any of those expressions yet this week? How did you respond? “Not much”? “Same old same old”?
Our language these days has become trite and trivial in many ways. It can be easy for us to miss an opportunity to insert a word of truth into the fabric of lies that constitutes our society (cf. Ps. 12). We who want to live under the Scriptures can do better than just to go along with the flow of insipidity. The next time someone greets you with one of those phrases, don’t just jerk your head up and say “Hey.” Rather, respond by saying, “The Kingdom of God is at hand!”
At the very least, that will give an entirely truthful summation of precisely “what’s up” in the world.
Because the Kingdom of God is definitely what’s happenin’ now, and the fact that it is, is very Good News.
The Good News of the Kingdom
Jesus came to earth to bring, not just salvation for men’s souls, but a whole new era, realm, and quality of existence, a new age and reality, down from the lofty heights of heaven, where it had been held in reserve for millennia. His coming signaled the arrival of the Kingdom of God into the everyday experience of human lives everywhere.
Jesus came to embody, proclaim, bring near, and establish the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven. The Kingdom of God is the reign of Jesus Christ over all men and things. It is a new economy of righteousness, peace, and joy which is unfolding and advancing throughout the world. It brings real and transforming spiritual power, in the Person of the Holy Spirit of God, making all things new and bright and filled with the glory of the unseen eternal God.
This is Good News, and the people we see each day, steeped in lies and wrong belief, need to know it.
The Kingdom of God is the truth of God and Jesus Christ, ruling over and subduing all things, making all things new, bringing life and immortality to light through the Good News of Jesus.
The Kingdom of God brings freedom from bondage to sin, from the fear of death, and from the frail and foolish limits of human good intentions. The Kingdom of God brings life to dead sinners, hope to desperate people at every stage and level of life, power for selfless and virtuous living, and love like that of Jesus Christ which gives and edifies and comforts, without the slightest hint of self-interest.
Jesus Christ holds the keys to the Kingdom of God, and He offers them freely to all who believe in Him and are born again by the grace of God. From the moment that someone comes to faith in Jesus, everything begins to change. Escaping the lies of this age, those who believe in Christ step into the light of truth and start to see the world differently. They learn to love the things God loves and to value what He holds dear. They grow in new ways and find themselves overcome with peace and joy in even the most difficult or adverse situations. Believers in Jesus become part of a new community of people who are working to help the world overcome the problems of sin and know more of the light and truth of the Word and Kingdom of God.
We pray for the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, and we know that Jesus has commanded us to make seeking the Kingdom the defining priority of our lives (Matt. 6.10, 33). The Kingdom is what’s up for those who believe in Jesus, and we want everyone around us to know it.
So why not say so!
The Kingdom of God is growing on the earth like a wondrous, brilliant jewel, overcoming all other worldviews and realms and shining the light of truth and life into the ever-receding darkness of unbelief and death (Dan. 2.44, 45; 1 Jn. 2.8). The Scriptures teach that all who believe in Jesus Christ are citizens in and ambassadors of His Kingdom, sent to the world to bear witness to His reign (2 Cor. 5.17-21; Jn. 20.21; Acts 1.8). We are called to represent this new reality, by our words and deeds, so that others can enter with us into this incredible Good News and the salvation that comes with it.
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so” the psalmist declared (Ps. 107.2), and this certainly falls within our job description as ambassadors and witnesses of Jesus Christ.
Do we believe the Scriptures? Are we submitted to the Word of God as the truth about what’s up and everything else as well? Then let the world oppose or oppress us, let our believing friends caution or avoid us, but let us take every opportunity God provides to make known the Good News of the Kingdom of God by every means, in every season, so that some, at least, of the people to whom God has sent us might be saved.
1. What is your strategy for being a witness to the lost people around you?
2. What should local churches do to equip and encourage their people to fulfill their calling as Kingdom citizens and ambassadors?
3. Besides the Gospel, what other hope do people have of escaping the darkness of sin and unbelief and entering into light and life? What are the implications of this for all who would follow Jesus?
Next steps – Preparation: Suppose someone were to ask you to explain the Gospel. What would you say? Make a brief outline of the Good News of the Kingdom, and how we may come to know it. Then start sharing this with all your friends – saved and unsaved alike!
T. M. Moore
Two booklets can help you become more consistent in proclaiming the Kingdom and salvation of God. Joy to Your World! will show you how to identify and begin working your Personal Mission Field, and The Gospel of the Kingdom will enable you to have greater confidence in your message. Both books are free by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.