KINGDOM COME… NOW!
Mark 1:11-15, Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel,” and Matthew 4:23, And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people highlights the threefold ministry of Jesus, Teaching, Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. 22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (Mark 1:21-22); Preaching, But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons (Mark 1:38-39); Healing, (Mark 1:25-32).
These three make up the substance of the Kingdom. And The Kingdom of God begins with an expression of love:
1:10-11 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
1) HEAVENS VIEW: BELOVED
YHWH identifies how He perceives Jesus, immediately following the Heavens opening up and the Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove. Jesus is God’s beloved. Matthew tells it like this in 3:16-17, When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved (agapetos) Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Love is an important scriptural directive. Love is the basis of the baptism of Jesus first in water, as He fulfills the demands of obedience, and as He is loved upon by Father God as He is filled with the Spirit without measure, For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure (John 3:24).
This experience of affirmation is crucial at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus is secured by His Father’s love and He demonstrates that He is sensitive to His Father’s voice and presence. In the book The Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent, we see five identified traits that children need to receive from their parents, in this case a Son from His Father. They are: 1) Meaningful Touch; 2) a spoken message; 3) placing high value in blessing a child; 4) seeing a future for your child; 5) being committed to fulfilling that future.
Jesus received His Father’s blessing at His baptism. The same thing happens again at the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-5.
John 17:26 addresses Jesus understanding of His Father’s love (agape) for Him and how that love is supposed to affect us personally, And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. Holy Spirit brings the affectionate touch of the Father to us. This is why we are to be filled with His presence and receive His gifts and encounter His anointing. At the river Jordan, Father God spoke words of affirmation to His Son. These words help us to see the humanity of Jesus and His human needs. And they help us to re-identify with our Father in Heaven, Abba Father.
Abba is the word little kids would call their male parent in Palestine. Children do not normally call their fathers father all the time. It’s too formal and rigid. We use words like dad, pop, daddy, poppa, dada. These are our equivalents to Abba.
2) EARTH’S VIEW: A CHILD FROM THE ONSET
John 1:1, 14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus relationship with the Father was from the beginning. Jesus, the Eternal Son of God, became flesh. The secret to the sinless life of Jesus and to His miraculous ministry is bound up in His relationship to the Father. Even though He was God, Jesus drew His power from an intimate, child-like relationship with the Father in Heaven. The ability to hear what God is saying, to see what God is doing, and to move in the realm of the miraculous comes as an individual develops out of the same intimacy with and dependence upon the Father.
How did Jesus do what He did? The answer is found in His relationship with the Father. How will we do the “greater works than these” which Jesus promised? We discover this by developing the same relationship of intimacy, simplicity, and obedience. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, shows the nature of this relationship and how the ministry of Jesus flowed out of it. Today we are going to take a look at the Gospel of John as a primary source for an examination of Jesus relationship with the Father and Spirit.
FATHER’S LOVE ILLUSTRATED
Stergein: (Storge) This means a natural affection, like that between members of a family, or even in the love of animals for their offspring. This kind of love binds any social unit together. It’s kind of like fellowship.
Philein (noun form philos) This phileō, spontaneous natural affection, with more feeling than reason, occurs some 25 times. It is the love between friends, the mutual attraction of similar interests and characteristics. It is the appreciation of the qualities of another person and can be understood as tender compassion. The Greeks valued friendship very highly, and philein is the most commonly used word for ‘love’ in the classical writings.
Agapan (noun form agape): This means the highest form of love which sees something infinitely precious in its object. It is a love of esteem and of prizing for the values ascribed to the beloved. Agapē means to love the undeserving, despite disappointment and rejection; the difference between agapaō and phileō is difficult to sustain in all passages. Agapē is especially appropriate for religious love
Eros: Sensuous love.
James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
We typically define the Father’s Love as agape theologically. This is His unconditional concern for us that He demonstrated for us in Christ’s death for us (Romans 5:8). We do this because we have people who have identified agape as unconditional in the sense of sacrificial action and incapable of being enacted by humans completely. Our theology has moved agape out of experience and has made it philosophical or conceptual, not experiential.
Let me address how we experience the love of the Father. We do it through His phileo love, not agape. The phileo of the Father for the Son is described in John 5:20, For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. The ministry of Jesus, His words and works apparently flowed out of phileo love. It was in the relational intimacy of tender compassion that Jesus sensed His Father’s presence and heard His voice, which let Him know what the Father was doing.
Father God expresses this same type of love for us. John 16:27 says, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. Our communication and connection with God is supposed to flow out of the same continual experience of our Father’s phileo for us. Modern definitions of agape focuses on a truth about God that is almost untouchable or unknowable from a human standpoint through its elevated concept. Phileo is important, as it focuses on God’s tender touch, which is missing in most believers lives.
3) OUR VIEW: LOVE ENACTED THROUGH KINGDOM
Mark 1:15-15 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
The Kingdom of God is the number one theme of the Gospels. It is the most recurrent theme in the Gospels in both variations it is known as, The Kingdom of God or The Kingdom of Heaven. It is also one of the most misunderstood and attacked truths today. This is why it is so important to get a grip on what Jesus was talking about.
In order to understand what the Kingdom is all about we need to look at Jesus’ interview with Pilate in John 18:35-37, Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (35) το βασίλειό μου δεν είναι αυτό το κόσμο
One of the strongest voices against defining the Kingdom as a geographic boundary is seen in this passage. Jesus says His Basilia (Kingdom) is not of this cosmos (World). Matthew 5:18 tells us what the cosmos needs, For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. The most common words for “earth” in Hebrew are ˒ereṣ and ˒aḏāmâ, with ˒ereṣ meaning the earth in contrast to heaven (Gen. 1:1; 2:1), to the sea (Gen. 1:10), and to the Underworld (“land of the living,” Isa. 38:11; cf. 26:19, “land of the shades,” meaning Sheol); or to territory, like the “land of Egypt,” (Gen. 47:13). ˒aḏāmâ (from ˒dm “be red”) refers primarily to the soil (Exod. 20:24) and occurs often in the expression the “face of the earth” (Exodus 32:12), i.e., the surface of the soil, the idea of the face of the earth (cosmos) and the substance the first man was made from (dust) is why he is called Adam (The Eerdmans Bible dictionary).
Understanding the concept of God’s Kingdom from a biblical point is really important. The reason for this is the way people have warped or perverted the understanding of Kingdom over the years.
Jesus Kingdom transcends Adam’s restrictions. This is why the idea that Jesus Kingdom is simply the application of a form of government over men is a serious error. I say this because there are many people in the world who believe that this is what Jesus meant, like Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and others who accept what we call ammillinarianism as a way to understand the return of Jesus. This way of thinking is creeping into Charismatic circles through the teaching called preterism or partial preterism. It’s a teaching that says that the prophetic pictures about the future that were painted in the NT were actually fulfilled during the early years of the church like the parousia (rapture). They say the Second Coming happened during the seize of Jerusalem in 70ad, and that our blessed hope is seen as our ability to subjugate the world by ruling the nations. Kingdom Now is just another variation of ammillinarianism.
When you have people who get filled with the Spirit, but were Seminary trained or educated by people who believe in a preterist view and start believing that it is true, like the late C Peter Wagner, or Harold Eberly, or Che Ahn, or many of my friends at Bethel, it becomes a problem. Just like becoming saved doesn’t automatically correct our way of acting, becoming Spirit Filled doesn’t automatically change our way of thinking or correcting bad theological positions. This is why we need to be biblically literate people, and produce biblically literate people.
Starting in the 1700’s during the Renaissance, people in the church started looking at the Kingdom as the churches response to human suffering. Liberal Theologians typically see God as the benevolent Father of everyone, and that He is working toward their ultimate salvation and redemption. Liberals have taken the idea of the Fatherhood of God and liberally applied it to everyone, and that He loves all men equally. Strains of this perspective have led people to embrace Universalism, a belief that everyone gets saved because God as Father will not reject His children in the final analysis.
The problem with this way of interpreting Scripture is Jesus. Jesus revealed God as Father in a very restrictive sense. He addressed God as Father about Himself and His disciples. That’s it. Everyone else was seen as children of the deceiver, the god of this world. And Jesus viewed all men as sinful, or capable of sinning. That’s where His grace came in, which has produced a Kingdom that isn’t of this world, and those who belong to it are simply sojourners, pilgrims in a hostile land.
Correct view: Fatherhood is a grace gift… Fatherhood: Jesus #1 concern about God (Matthew 6:1, 2, 7-15)… Only spoke to the disciples as God being Father… This was a divine mandate… We are called into a loving relationship… God really, really loves us
So liberals see the church as a social agency that is supposed to minister to the needs of broken humanity, and as we act with kindness and wisdom, we will enforce the Rule of God on earth through peace. That was the main way the European Church viewed the Kingdom in the early 20th Century. Two world wars shattered this notion and drained the faith of the faith of many, leaving Europe as essentially a non-Christian community.
The Kingdom in the OT revelation was seen as the Messianic Expectation, as they looked forward to how God would deliver them. From a religious perspective, this was a eschatological hope. From a secular or religious perspective, it was seen as National in the people and their politic.
By the 1st Century, the Jews had compressed the two ideas into one, as they equated the Kingdom with the King in a physical sense. They lost their future, spiritual expectations. 1st Century Jews were ammilinarians of their day.
Jesus was a both/and, not an either/or in His theological teachings on the Kingdom. It wasn’t just physical or future, it was both. Jesus viewed the Kingdom as being inaugurated by the establishment of his reign when He ministered during His first coming. His reign had a 3 fold expression: healing the sick, casting out demons, and the exercise of power over nature like the cessation of storms, walking on water, miraculous food provision, and the like.
The Kingdom carries within it a sense of conflict when you think about the three expressions. This is summarized perfectly in the Westminster Shorter Catechism when it states the purpose of Jesus as, “destroying the activity of satan in the world.” This conflict is primarily fought on the battlefield of the human soul, as that is the ultimate prize to be conquered. Salvation establishes Kingdom residents.
This battles engages areas like hunger (John 6), natural catastrophes (Mark 4:35), sickness (Luke 7:21), death (Luke 11-16), and truth.
It is a fight between two Kingdoms that is similar to the time between D Day (June 6th, 1944), and V Day (May 4/5, 1945.