Declare and Defend (3)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes... Romans 1.16
The Kingdom of God
The wrong-believing worldviews of our wrong-believing age present themselves as strongholds of truth against what they regard as the naïve, unscientific, and hypocritical beliefs of Christians. We who believed are called to take such thinking captive so that it obeys Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10.3-5). For we know that God is true, and His Kingdom is true, and only the truth of God and His Kingdom can set people free from the lies that so easily distract, deceive, and destroy us.
The Good News for our wrong-believing age is that Jesus has risen from the dead and is ruling over His Kingdom to the ends of the earth and the age.
With the coming of the Kingdom of God, a new era has broken into human history. A new King is on the throne, and He is advancing a new economy – a spiritual economy in which grace fuses with Law, issuing, by the power of God’s Spirit, in widespread, ever-increasing love and truth among men.
A new agenda governs the direction of history: King Jesus is building His Church and calling out a people for Himself. That people is constituted as a holy nation, and together they pursue an altogether new priority – seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness for all of life. They are infused with new hope, the hope of knowing God’s glory and showing His glory to the world.
All this has come about because of the glorious, saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News of His Kingdom! His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension – and the promise of His imminent return – have ushered out the old era, overcome the old tyrant that ruled men’s souls, canceled the old economy of sin and death, replaced the old agenda and priority of mere self-seeking, and set aside the old, unreliable hope in fleeting things and circumstances.
In the Gospel, the one true God is working to overcome all the lies of the sin-bound world.
The Kingdom of God is thus Good News – Gospel.
If we could summarize in one word just what that Good News consists of, surely it would be the word, power. The Kingdom of God is power, as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 4.20. Power to dissolve the influence of lies. Power to change hardened hearts. Power to heal and renew broken lives. Power to bring joy and goodness. And the active presence and ready availability of that power – the power of God’s Word and Spirit – is Good News for the world because it makes possible a hope for the world and all its creatures.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is the power of God for transformation, a transformation so complete and thorough that it will finally make all things new, even the whole vast cosmos. Those who know this power are changed by the glory of God. Increasingly, their lives begin to refract the living reality of the risen Christ, their King (2 Cor. 3.7-18; Eph. 4.17-24). The fruits and virtues that flow from their lives, like rivers of living water, are precisely those most desired and least in supply in a fallen world (Jn. 7.37-39; Gal. 5.16-23; Ps. 12.1, 2). Together, those who know this power form communities of grace and truth to transform relationships, cultures, and whole societies, as has been demonstrated over and over throughout the course of Church history (Acts 6.1-7; 17.1-9; 19.18-20).
Despite what the wrong-believing world thinks about the Church, the Gospel of the Kingdom is truly Good News. We who believe it must prepare ourselves to declare and defend that Good News with vigor and grace.
The transforming power of the Gospel
This transforming power of the Gospel of the Kingdom is the experience and testimony of every person who, coming to salvation in Jesus Christ, has taken up the calling to seek this Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit as their guiding orientation in life (1 Thess. 2.12; Matt. 6.33; Rom. 14.17).
Righteousness is abounding love, founded in spiritual knowledge and true discernment, leading to excellence, purity, and justice after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 1.9-11). Righteousness defines the character of the Kingdom of God.
Peace is that “beyond understanding” state of mind and heart that nothing can terrify – an all-pervading sense of wellbeing which nothing can shake (Phil. 4.6, 7). Peace is the context which unfolds as the Kingdom advances. Those who know the power of the Gospel know peace because they are settled on Christ, hidden in the palm of God’s hand, sheltered by His Word, and filled and protected by His Spirit.
The joy that arises from such peace is the joy of the Lord’s Presence with us and is the consequence of the Kingdom. This sense of joy conveys a hope that is lodged in transcendent and unchangeable realities, a hope so infectious that, observed, it leads others to seek a reason for it (1 Pet. 3.15).
Where the power of the Kingdom is at work, which we enter by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the salvation of God is working transformation so that the fruit of righteousness, peace, and joy begin to be increasingly in evidence.
This is the Good News of the day of salvation, the Good News that men and women in every age have delighted to know.
And today – now – is the day for us to be seeking, declaring, and defending this great salvation.
For reflection or discussion
1. The Gospel Jesus declared is the Gospel of the Kingdom. How would you explain this Good News?
2. Why is the coming of the Kingdom of God such Good News?
3. Why is now such a good time for declaring and defending the Gospel of the Kingdom?
Next steps – Preparation: Prepare an outline of a presentation of the Gospel based on the Good News of the Kingdom as outlined in this installment. Read over it and pray through it until you can share it easily.
T. M. Moore
You can download this and all the studies in this series, “Let God Be True,” by clicking here. For a series of discussions on improving your conversational skills, begin here in our Personal Mission Field Workshop to learn the art of Christian conversation.
A companion book to this study, Understanding the Times, is available at our bookstore. Learn more about this book and order a free copy by clicking here. Our booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom, can help ready you to proclaim the Good News. Order your free copy 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.