Sermon preached at Poole Christian Fellowship on 24 March 2013
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These verses are about the Kingdom of God, and the message from them is simple:
“It’s time to embrace the Kingdom of God”
By the “Kingdom of God”, we mean the rule, the government, the reign of God. The Kingdom of god exists wherever God’s will is done.
The Kingdom of God existed in eternity in the past, where only God’s will was done, and there was nothing but the will of God. We know that at some point in the past Satan led a rebellion against the rule of God, that this rebellion transferred to earth and that now, as John tells us “the whole world has come under the control of the evil one”.
But in the coming of Jesus, the empire struck back! Jesus announced his coming with the words “the Kingdom of heaven is near” and we read that He taught the good news of the Kingdom of God. The great news is that the government of God, the rule of the great, wonderful, awesome, almighty God is available to all who would take hold of it.
The question for each of us is: will we embrace it?
So now to this passage:
1. The Power of the Kingdom of God
In a world that has been without God, the kingdom of God comes with power. What would we expect when the rule of God comes into a situation? We would expect to see, freedom, deliverance, joy, release and truth.
(We have to comment in passing about the references to the evil spirit that is here. Jesus says that this woman has been under the power of Satan for 18 years. Much like someone who says they were bombed by Hitler, it does not mean that Hitler was personally involved in each bomb – it means that he was the power behind it. Likewise, Jesus is not claiming that the woman was possessed by Satan himself, but that Satan was the power behind what happened. In this case though it does appear that a spirit was responsible for what happened, and it is necessary for that spirit to release the victim)
Jesus has come to set the captives free, freedom from sickness, freedom from sin, freedom from judgement, freedom from death…it’s all a part of the package. We know that the kingdom has not come in its totality yet, which is why our freedom in this life is only partial, but it has come…and it is coming.
Jesus brings freedom…are we prepared for it. And are we prepared for the change that it brings into our lives.
2. The Parables of the Kingdom
In these two parables Jesus is showing that the kingdom of God
- Starts small
- Grows large
- Brings shelter, provision and comfort
- Works internally
- Is pervasive
3. A Problem for the Kingdom
The synagogue ruler’s reaction is quite incredible! As is the Pharisee’s reaction to the second incident. In fact there is a strong suggestion that the whole thing was a set up to catch Jesus out. But amazing as it is, these people prefer their own rules to the power of God.
There is a Pharisee in all of us. We have to constantly watch out for manifestation of the yeast of the Pharisee in our own lives. And the trouble is that just as yeast spreads throughout the dough, so does the yeast of the Pharisees.
4. The Purpose of the Kingdom
The purpose of the kingdom is for God’s will to be done. That is a response we have to make now. Do we want the Kingdom to come? Do we want God’s will, whatever it may cost? Do we want God’s government to come in the deepest recesses of our lives?