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ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

December 1, 2005

A Study In Luke About The Kingdom Of God, Part 2

Last Month, the first half of the study on the Kingdom of God appeared in the newsletter, today, the final installment of the Luke study is offered.

The Kingdom of God is Something Different:
Jesus continued His delineation of the Kingdom by pressing various aspects of it into His Disciples' minds. Beginning in chapter 13, verse 23, most of the conversation between He and His Disciples concerned the make-up and magnitude of this Kingdom. When asked, "Lord, are there few who are saved?" His admonition to His own Disciples was:
Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Luke 13:24
Striving versus strolling presents a vivid contrast. Casual and seeker friendly approaches to the Kingdom of God will yield no lasting result. Those duped by "easy believism" have a rude and abrupt end awaiting them. Jesus said,
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
Luke 13:28
Further characterizing the Kingdom being totally different than man's constructs, Jesus hurried to explain the Kingdom was not limited to religious Jews, but included many from all nations and backgrounds. The universality of national representation in the Kingdom was a thrilling note which signaled a territory beyond legalist's walls. Jesus then added, "The last (those of other nations) will be first and the first (Jews) will be last."
They shall come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the Kingdom of God.
Luke 13: 20
Continuing His expose on how this Kingdom was different from the mind-set of the religious strategists, the Master concentrated on other aspects of the Kingdom which deviated from social norms. Humility was to be exalted, while pride was viewed as being in "that other kingdom." Socio-cultural rules for earthly communion were abased, because in the Kingdom of God, all reward will be based on the final outcome.

A reminder of the shallowness of His hearers came in the form of a "smart" remark:
Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, 'Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God!'
Luke 14:15
Hearing this somewhat childish observation, Jesus likened the Kingdom of God to a man who made a great supper and invited many guests who did not come. He, of course, was speaking about the Jews, as well as modern religious participants, who wished to determine their own timing for interaction with the Lord. They put Him off and by doing so were in essence saying, "I'll catch you another time." Such action angered the Master Host. Those first invited gave excuse, while those hungry and destitute welcomed their invitation. The latter group recognized their need and seized their opportunity. They responded immediately and discovered the criteria for their invitation was simple: "That my house may be filled." Jesus' Kingdom is just different!

Luke 16:16 provided further insight. In the midst of derision, Jesus separated His Kingdom from those governed by men pleasers: "For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15)."

His Kingdom was of greater range than the religious-social order of His contemporaries. Punching home the fact that the Kingdom of God had been amply represented for many years through the Law and the Prophets, He reiterated that the Old Testament was actually couched in Kingdom terms. His gospel of the Kingdom was not new, but rather the proper rendering of Original Intent. In other words, it was different than what the theologians of His day and the past had imagined. Instead of coming as a political figure, Messiah came as a suffering servant. Nevertheless, the foundations of His Kingdom had been laid from the beginning.
The law and the prophets were until John (proving their connection to Kingdom work). Since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
Luke 16:16
Multitudes recognized the preaching of John was different. His anointed words about repentance rang true and were different than what they had been hearing. They sensed the need to repent and turn to God; they were hearing about a way that others had never presented. John's messages came from the Law and the Prophets. His rough appeal challenged their theology and rattled their complacency. However, the clergy and those associated with them, solidly held their ground. Seeing hundreds baptized for the remission of sins did not thrill them. When John was murdered, alas, their problems were increased, for Jesus preached the Kingdom of God everywhere and the crowds thronged to Him. "Everyone is pressing into it" reflected the power of His appeal. One must press into the Spirit to know the things of the Spirit, and one must press into the Word to gather its strength, and one must press into Jesus in order to enter the gate to the Kingdom!

The Kingdom is Based on a different book:
The Kingdom of God is governed by a different book than the rule book of the church or Temple. The Bible was to be interpreted in terms of the Kingdom. When Jesus said, "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fall," He was making Kingdom inference. He hurried into the example of divorce and adultery. This was a topic of many a Scriptural discussion led by the left wingers who compromised and sited Moses on divorce. Jesus Kingdom talk flew into the face of popularly accepted practice. Immediately He launched into another example which was a "turn about" to popular theology. He taught the poor man reached heaven and the successful religious Jew went to Hell.
If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.
Luke 16:31
This Kingdom is different!

When asked by the Pharisees as to just when the "Kingdom of God would come," He answered by describing an inner Kingdom rather than their secular one. His answer to them should be the standard answer given to a thousand ministries today. Jesus gave the absolute quintessence of an answer.
The Kingdom of God does not come by observation; nor will they say, 'See here' or 'See there!' For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you.
Luke 17:20-21
This Kingdom is different!

It is not measured by crowds, not based on success or results oriented programs and is not quantifiable. The Kingdom is within the heart and soul of its citizenry and no method known to man can determine its scope or sequence or power. It is like Elijah's seven thousand; it supercedes man's estimations and is identifiable by the Lordship of its progenitor.

A little child was brought to Jesus and nurtured as the multitudes were told,
Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the KINGDOM OF GOD.
Luke 18:16
This Kingdom is different!

Jesus used the children as examples and explained:
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.
Luke 18:17
This Kingdom is different!

A little child will lead them. One must consider how a little child would enter in order to comprehend the magnitude of Jesus' warning. With trust and wonderment, they enter in. Without agenda or program, they enter in. Void of fear or reluctance, they enter in. Full of joyfulness and drawn by the adventure of their life unfolding, they enter in. Believing what they hear without doubt, they enter in. Having that quality of childlike willingness to learn, they enter in. Not burdened with guilt and sin, they enter in. Believing all things, hoping all things, they enter in. With unfeigned love and spontaneous affection, they enter in. Bearing the image of their Father, they enter in. Readily responsive and characterized by eagerness to explore, they enter in.

This Kingdom is different.

The rules of earthly kingdoms fade before it! Ordinarily triumphant pageantry accompanying entrance to an earthly kingdom was afforded the rich, famous or those accruing status by some defined route. Not here! Not in Jesus' Kingdom. The rules are different, so Jesus pointed out the changes. He preached:
How hard it is for those burdened by riches and the baggage of this world to enter in (Luke18:24-25).
How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.
The only hope, the only possibility, the only aspect of assurance that one could possibly rely upon was mouthed into being by the Master,
The things which are impossible with men are possible with God!
Luke 18:27
Oh, how one must lean upon that truth, for there is no other hope for a society gone mad except for the possibility in God. Bowing before Him, imploring Him, seeking Him, loving Him, calling out to Him are remedies which social man has lost in his striving for success and fame. With the battle to redefine every aspect of truth and to apply spin to every falsehood, the only hope remaining for revival and renewal lies within "impossible with men, but possible with God."

This Kingdom is different and so is its citizenry.

The Kingdom of God is populated by those who have consciously entered in. There is no communion of saints aside from this fact. Jesus said there is a fellowship like family among those who have entered in.
Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life.
Luke 18:29-30
The camaraderie of Kingdom fellowship is through the commonality of its testimony. When the community of the Kingdom stops allowing a worldly church to define its mission and limit its influence THAT is when the multitudes will see it is DIFFERENT!
Now as they heard these things, he spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the "Kingdom of God' would appear immediately, therefore He said: 'A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.'
Luke 19:11-12
His parable told of the nobleman's return and the accounting given to Him by His servants. Those who identified with Him and with gusto went about doing what He would have done had He been present found themselves well rewarded. Those who regarded circumstances and acted with no faith were rewarded with death. The main issue was spelled out to all who heard,
Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before Me.
Luke 19:27
This Kingdom is different!

It's all about who reigns in the heart. These sons of the resurrection, who are "sons of God" and equal to the angels, are different from those whose religion is their God and pretence their method.

Because His earthly ministry was closing fast, Jesus gave a quick series of teachings about the Kingdom in rapid order. Luke included them. The Master described the Last Days and then said,
When you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near…take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to STAND before the Son of Man.'
Luke 21:30-36
This Kingdom is different!

As time erodes and His hour advances upon Him, one finds Jesus with His disciples sharing a last meal.
For I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.
Luke 22:16
For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.
Luke 22:18
This Kingdom is different.

And I bestow upon you a Kingdom just as My Father bestowed upon Me. That you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Luke 22:29-30
After these words on the Kingdom, no others followed. The Kingdom was bestowed on those Disciples and their duty was to preach and bestow it upon those who would adhere to their doctrine. The great issue today is still about in "whose Kingdom" one serves. The most tertiary probe into modern Christendom uncovers the salient fact that in this generation, the Kingdom of God has not been embraced and therefore not bestowed on the vast majority naming His Name. Where does one begin to correct this matter apart from returning to John's preaching, "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand?"




Until Next month,


Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.







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