“Welcome to the Kingdom of God” (John MacDiarmid)

Sermon preached at Poole Christian Fellowship on 10  May  2015

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Luke 16 v 16-18

“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it.  It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

 Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

The NIV heading of “additional teachings” do not do justice to this important  passage, so we will be considering it under the heading of “welcome to the Kingdom of God”

The Good Old Days

Jesus, probably looking at the Pharisees who were mocking him, acknowledged their  foundation when He said” “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John”. From the days when God called a people to himself, the Law given by Moses, and the words of the prophets (the Old Testament)were preached , and it was a great era for God’s people.

  • They were a people called by God
  • They lived under his provision and protection
  • They were shown the right way to live
  • Their sin was overlooked

But there were problems with the good old days

  • Although sin was overlooked, it was not completely dealt with, as sacrifices had to be offered daily.
  • It was exclusive – if you were not one of God’s people, there was little hope for you (though there were exceptions)
  • There was no relationship with God – that was the province of a small group of prophets.
  • So it was only a temporary measure – in fact the Law itself pointed to a day when there would be a new covenant.

The Better New Days

The Old Days give way to a new era, as the Kingdom of God is preached from John onwards.

It is a message of

  • Forgiveness – under the New Covenant there is a forgiveness that there never was before
  • Relationship with God – now every person who comes to faith has a relationship with God through Jesus
  • Open to All – Jesus says that the Tax Collectors and Prostitutes were entering the Kingdom of God ahead of the Pharisees. There is no one who has led a life so bad that it can not be turned round.

The Big Question

Can I now live as I wish? – this is the question the Pharisees were asking, and which has been asked by people for the last twenty centuries. Jesus answers the question with a resounding “no”

  1. The Law – God’s moral standard – stands firm
  2. The Example – Jesus uses as an example the Law about divorce – showing that even w hat Moses taught fell short of what God requires, and that anyone guilty was an adulterer.
  3. In other words, the Law is higher than anything that can be kept to by any human
  4. So how do the two work together?
    1. Jesus lived the perfect life on my behalf
    2. You come as you are. In the story of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus did not condemn the woman, but accepted her in spite of her sin.
    3. You come in repentance. In the same story, Jesus told her to go, and to leave her life of sin. Jesus welcomes all sinners, and calls them to repentance
    4.  Jesus then gives them the power to live for Him

So….

Welcome to the Kingdom of God where…

You are accepted

You are welcomed

You experience the reality of God

You are secure for eternity

You receive the power of God to love the life God wants you to live

 

Welcome to the Kingdom of God

 

John MacDiarmid

May 2015

Posted Under: Talks

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