The Gospel 6. The Gospels Complexity - Kingdom

November 20, 2016

The Gospel week 6: The Gospel’s complexity part 3 – Kingdom
Key Text: Luke 6:17-26
We are in the final week of our series “The Gospel” we have looked at what the gospel is and isn’t we have established the simplicity and the complexity of the message we have. Tonight, we conclude that with the message of the kingdom.
We read in Mark 1:14-15;
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Jesus came not preaching the gospel as we understand; he preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. This is a heralding good news that again is told throughout the Bible.
The narrative of Scripture is:
1.  God made creation to reign over it.
2.  Man sinned; and due to this became enslaved to idols/sin.
3.  Israel seeks a true king however; no man is able to be the true king
4.  Jesus becomes that true king who releases us from sin, the devil and this enslavement of this world.
5.  One day is coming when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of God.
Throughout time there has essentially been two kingdoms:
-      Kingdom of lies/darkness/death
-      Kingdom of life/light/eternal life
This is not like there are only 3 types of people in the world those who can count and those who can’t.
No scripture tells us effective there is only one true God everything else is a lie. There is essentially a demonic dark kingdom of lies and death and there is the Holy kingdom of God of light and truth.
There is an inherent complexity with this aspect of the gospel as the amount of references are huge and the complexity of the debate doesn’t help. I plan to give a simple and applicative explanation of it tonight.
One major problem of this narrative of scripture is that it can be used to justify liberating people without restoring them – we call this liberation theology. It essentially sees that people are all around the world in bondage and God throughout scripture calls people to freedom; therefore, I am fulfilling the gospel when I involve myself in the liberation of other. The problem is that personal liberation (although good) without reconciliation to God leads to just a different type of bondage. Ironically because people don’t understand the kingdom narrative in scripture they generally use the brutality of the power they are trying to dispose and end up become the power that they are fighting against.
Do yourself a favour and see how many liberation movements around the world became more oppressive and powerful that they powers they were trying to dispose of.
So let’s look at this narrative of the kingdom and what it means to us from Luke 6:17-26.
This is Luke’s rendition of the beatitudes that are found in Matthew 5. Let’s read together…
Luke 6:17-26New International Version (NIV)
Blessings and Woes
17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
    because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
So many of us struggle with these words because they seem almost counter-intuitive; they demand of us something that seems illogical. And so we reinterpret them or ignore them, because surely God doesn’t want us poor, hungry, weepy, hated and exclude… surely…
Well let’s look at it. You see what Jesus is showing us here is what the kingdom will look like; what will define it and essentially it is unlike anything that has ever come before it or will ever come again. Because it was typified by someone (Jesus) who lived this out before it was grasped by his follower.
We see here in this passage what the Kingdom reign of God looks like. Firstly, from this passage we see;
1.His Kingdom’s Principles
The passage clearly describes the principles that govern this new kingdom. Jesus says blessed are you who: are poor, hungry, weeping, hated and excluded.
Added to this he contrasts this with the woes. He says woe to you who are rich, comfortable, fed up, who laugh now and who are liked by everyone.
When we look at the world we see the woes as the principles to have (to long for); everyone is striving to be rich, comfortable, fed-up, happy and liked. And it seems utterly natural like honour these things. Why would you honour the latter.
These are things for the now! If the now is all we have then it makes perfect sense to be as rich, comfortable, fed up, happy and liked as possible.
But Jesus shows us that in fact these things in themselves are decaying look at the passage he says:
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
If there is an eternal world to come, then you have invested in the wrong things. And Jesus then illustrates this reality with his very life.
If Jesus was who he said he was; then why did he live as He did; if he was King of kings, the true lord of all creation; why was he poor, hungry, a man of sorrows, who was hated by His own people?
He did this to illustrate that His kingdom transcends this world, it is not bound by the same principles of this world; this world destined for decay steeped in enslavement is not the true goal. Jesus pointed his followers, and in turn us, to the coming kingdom!
Does this mean that I need to sell everything to be poor, hungry, sad and hated. No it means that if you get the gospel these things don’t define you. If you have the kingdom then poor or rich; yours is the kingdom, hungry or satisfied; irrelevant; the kingdom is all; weeping you are blessed hated you are joyful. Why because your; life your hope; your significance is not found in this kingdom; rather it is found in Christ and His kingdom!
This is the gospel that we can find freedom from these things that enslave us!
Which leads me to
2.His Kingdom’s Power
Most people of the world hearing this would think I am being absurd, Carl Marx would say I am selling you opium, a smoke screen to lull you into inactivity; to make you content with your discontent.
However, when we are honest, these things actually can not satisfy or give true power, they are illusions and bad ones at that. If riches, contentment, power and favour were the true end of our existence they would truly satisfy.
However, like bad food they leave us feeling more wretched and hungrier than we were before. They have a tendency of temporarily masking our striving but then leave us more desperate than we were before.
The lie of the world is that these things can mean more than they actually do. The hope of the gospel is Jesus comes to show us that there is more to life.
And we can be blessed in our poverty, satisfied in our hunger, happy in our sorrow and joyful in in exclusion. Because our King.
Jesus alleviates our poverty; because he took our real poverty upon himself, he satisfies the deep hunger of the soul and fills our heart with hope that no sorrow can take, and when we are hatred and mocked for Him we rejoice because we know that we are living in what He set out for us.
The world cannot fight against this because can never understand its power.
Have you ever wonder how a rag tag group of middle eastern separatists became a movement so significant that it overthrew the greatest empire in the world?
It was through the extension of a kingdom whose power was not bound in this world, whose might was humility and whose offensive capacity was caring for people.
The world looks at this and says you are fools, but those who know the good news realise that this is the only power that truly works!
Which leads me to
3.His Kingdom’s victory
The victory of the gospel – the victory of the kingdom does not lie in a display of power, or manipulation of people. It comes through quiet, humble sacrifice.
Jesus did not come to display His power he showed His weakness and it turned out to be greater than all the strength of men. He did not come to display His wisdom, but his foolishness which was in tern far wiser than all the wisdom of men (1 Cor 1).
Victory was won through sacrifice and humility. And as the Kingdom expands it will go out in the same power.
Those who connect with the liberating power of the kingdom without the transformative power of the gospel cry that we must release people from poverty, we must release the slaves; give back the land etc.
However, the means that they choose are through incitement, violence, hatred, power.
The Kingdom of God comes with a different power. It says our king became poor so that His riches could be know; surely I then can become poorer for the sake of my fellow human.
It says I will get messy with the sadness; pain, discomfort and alienation that the lost feel. We will sacrifice to identify with them and then in love will endeavour to connect those people to the true restoration needed.
The Kingdom comes to invade not through force but through sacrifice and love. It comes to win through getting messy with the lost.
It pervades against the kingdom of darkness not by power but through love!
We can only do this if our heart is free; if we are a part of the kingdom because of our king!
He is the one who took our slavery and poverty and hopelessness and alienation so that we can live with others who are homeless, hopeless, and alienated and restore them to Him as well.
The Gospel offers true freedom, because it offers us a King who became the very things that enslaved us so we could receive the royalty we could never earn!
I pray you find peace in this Kingdom; and that you could in that find release from this kingdom that will enslave you and entrap you!
[PRAY]

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