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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

The Gospel of the Kingdom

The Gospel Jesus preached. Luke 8.1-3

Luke 8 Part 1 (1)

Pray Psalm 47.7-9.

For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding.
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.
The princes of the people have gathered together,
The people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is greatly exalted.

Sing Psalm 47.7-9.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God is the King of all the earth; sing praise to Him with glorious psalms!
He rules the nations by His worth, and on His throne receives their alms.

Princes of peoples gather all to Abraham and to our God.
Exalt the Lord, and on Him call – the earth is His, so praise our God!

Read and meditate on Luke 8.1-3.

1. What was the substance of Jesus’ preaching and teaching?

2. How was Jesus’ ministry supported?

Many who profess to believe in Jesus Christ today rejoice to know that their sins are forgiven and they are going to heaven when they die. This may well be true; however, this is not what Jesus proclaimed during His earthly sojourn.

This “gospel” which offers forgiveness and eternal life as the substance of Jesus’ Good News is more a form of “near Christianity” than true. Jesus granted forgiveness and spoke of eternal life, it is true, but not as the primary focus and content of His teaching. Jesus preached and brought glad tidings of the Kingdom of God, the new regime of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18) that He brought into history like a bright new day, and which was rolling back the darkness of sin and wrong belief and would reconcile and restore all the world – every feature, facet, and form of it – back to the Father Who made it.

The message of Jesus is Good News because it addresses life here and now as well as life there and then. The there and then of the Kingdom is more than most believers understand, and the here and now it affects is beyond what many have ever dared to ask or think (Eph. 3.20). The true Gospel, once believed, unleashes power to make all things new in our lives (1 Cor. 4.20; 2 Cor. 5.17), to transform us from woeful sinners to image-bearers of Jesus (2 Cor. 3.12-18), to embolden us for effective witness (Acts 1.8; 1 Pet. 3.15), and to use us to turn our upside-down world rightside-up for God (Acts 17.5-9; Rev. 21.5).

If the only thing you received when you believed in Jesus is forgiveness of sins and assurance of heaven, then you have not heard the complete Good News, Good News so powerful that it heals the sick, drives demons to their doom, changes the course of everyday lives, and leads folks – like the disciples and these brave ladies – to commit themselves and all they are and have to follow Jesus, come what may.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
After all the miracles that Jesus had done in a variety of places, now He and His chosen twelve were setting off to go through every city and village preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God.
The very Kingdom that we are to work and pray for so that it appears on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6.10; Lk. 11.2).

The logistics of how they accomplished this journey are interesting. Besides the work that they were doing in their own sphere, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others also provided for the group from their substance (Lk. 8.2, 3). This is the giving that Jesus had taught His disciples about: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Lk. 6.38). Tithing from their livelihood, they supported the needs of others. “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And try Me now in this’, says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’” (Mal. 3.10).

I remember having a conversation with a person skeptical about tithing. Their issue? Christians are just tithing their money to Christian endeavors and the money just keeps going around. Hmmm. Christians give to the poor, the needy, the unemployed, the sick. Christians tend to the needs of people’s health and well-being. Christians spread the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Christians educate and train for employment. Christian ministries reach around the globe to do works of mercy and service. Churches help people in their given communities. Christian people all work in their Personal Mission Field in their own special ways. And some need the financial support of others. Some don’t. But God’s money does keep going around in circles and it is a genius way to fund the earthly Kingdom of God.

And we see life-giving aspects of service and funds happening in this situation, with Jesus and His disciples, on this arduous adventure (Lk. 8.1-3). We are all called to follow Him. And tithing happens to be an act of obedience (Lev. 27.30). In our minds it may not always make fiscal sense, but it is something that we are commanded to do. It is how things work in the Kingdom.

We are called to follow Jesus with our life and substance. “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’” (Mk. 8.34).”’

“These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 14.4).
We are all the ones—preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God.

For reflection
1. Why is giving an important part of the life of faith?

2. What do we mean by “near Christianity”? What’s lacking in this view of the faith?

3. Whom will you encourage in the Gospel of the Kingdom today?

We are here told what Christ made the constant business of his life, it was teaching the gospel. Tidings of the kingdom of God are glad tidings, and what Christ came to bring. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 8.1-3

Pray Psalm 47.1-6.
Thank God for His Kingdom and for your calling to it as a citizen and ambassador. What will you give for Jesus today? How will you follow Him? Commit your day to the Lord as His disciple, servant, and ambassador.

Sing Psalm 47.1-6.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
O clap your hands, you peoples all, with joy to God your songs intone!
Shout out to Him, and on Him call, He is the mighty, sovereign One!

High is the Lord, O, fear His Name! He rules, a King o’er all the earth.
Nations and peoples He has tamed, the heritage of His holy worth.

God has ascended with a shout, the Lord with sound of trumpet bold!
Sing praise to Him, let praise ring out! Let praise through all the world be told!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Do you understand and have you begun to realize the Kingdom of God as Jesus intended? Our book, The Kingdom Turn, can help get you beyond “near Christianity” to the full presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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