Fellow teachers, we held our Kingdom seminar on Saturday about which we have shared with you before. It was a great day. God is at work. Below is one link to the three messages. The second link (Sermon on the Mount) is to another series.
The only thing not on there is a short introduction I did before Steve Brown delivered the first message. For clarity, the notes for are at the bottom of this page.
On Sunday we began our follow up to the seminar with the first lesson of about fifteen on the Sermon on the Mount (The Kingdom Life). We welcome your feedback.
Love you all.
- Tom Jones
Introduction: Welcome to seminar: All the Way to Kingdom Come. Today we are going to be exploring one of the
- Most exciting
- Most intriguing
- And in many, many ways most challenging in all Scripture.
It is one that has been misunderstood and distorted in various ways. And that is true for us in our own family of churches…and likely true of those groups represented by some visiting with us today. We pray that the subject of THE KINGDOM OF GOD will have much meaning to you before the day is over.
- In the first session: “The Kingdom is Coming” – Steve
- In the second session: “The Kingdom is Here” – Frank
- In the third session: “The Kingdom is Now” – (I will be presenting)
Before Steve does our opening message I want to say just a few things by way of introduction.
1. You may never have understood some of the things we will discuss today about the Kingdom of God...That doesn’t mean that you have not been in the Kingdom or living out the message of the Kingdom. Kingdom living is going on with anyone who just has a simple desire to obey Jesus, take seriously what he said and submit to his Lordship. So why even study these things? Because the more correctly and accurately we understand God’s plan the better we will be at carrying it out…and finding all its power.
2. Some of the things you will hear today are things that Steve and I, particularly, have thought for years about or at least for months. (Frank a little less! He’s younger!). We don’t expect you to just immediately be where we are on things. We just want you to be Bereans (Acts 17:10-11). We fully understand that you will need to take time and wrestle with some things that are new thoughts for you. But here is what we would ask, because we know God asks this: Act on anything you become convicted of. The more we obey what we do understand, the clearer our mind and our heart will be to understand even more. No one of us teaching today, understands everything we need to understand. We are like you—a work in progress. WE CAN’T ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS BUT ARE EAGER TO KEEP SEEKING. As we have shared some of these things with some of you, we have been asked “where is this all going?” Our answer: We don’t really know. But we have been excited for months about what we have been learning and are excited about new things we have yet to learn. Our commitment to you is that with God’s help and your help, we are going to give our all to living out. In talking with one of the brothers in this church several weeks ago, I asked “what are you thinking about the seminar that coming up, given what you have heard?” Answer: “I am looking forward to it. Teaching is fine, but I just want to know what are we going to do about it, so it is not just something we teach. He is right to feel this way. And our commitment as teachers, evangelists, ministers and elders is to give our hearts to living out what we teach.
3. Don’t be afraid. SOME HAVE GOTTEN A LITTLE NERVOUS. You signed up to follow Jesus. We are not going to do anything but call us all to listen to Jesus. You have trusted him in your life. You already know how good that is to do. This is not going to be anything we cannot live if we just keep trusting. If fact, not only will we be able to live it – with his grace and help – but we will find it the most exciting thing we have ever known.
4. In our background in the churches of Christ it was prominently taught that the kingdom is the church and the church is the kingdom. That was an idea brought over into our own teaching in our fellowship of (ICOC) churches. Many of you remember a study that was in the study series that was called THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM. Here is the way that study ended:
A. The church is the kingdom of God on earth established in approximately 33 a.d.
B. Acts 2:42 As citizens of the kingdom and members of the body (the church), we must be devoted to:
3. Breaking Bread
C. Matthew 6:33 We must seek his kingdom first.
Ask them to commit themselves to at least Sunday services and Midweek services.
It is clear that this study was designed to communicate that the church is the kingdom of God on earth and that seeking first the kingdom means making a commitment to the church. While there is something in that idea that is related to the truth, overall it is quite misleading and does NOT communicate the idea of the kingdom of God that we find in Jesus’ teaching. One of the things we believe you will see in our study is that we should not teach that the kingdom of God is the church. The church has a close relationship to the kingdom of God, and those who are truly a part of the church are in the kingdom. However, the concept of the kingdom of God is much larger and richer than is implied by saying the church is the kingdom and that it began in 33 A.D. (That date has its own problems.) However, we are hopefully going to do not just take out an idea that many thought was true, but we are going to at least make a start today at understanding what the Kingdom really means.
5. This is not the only important unifying theme in Scripture. There are things like Covenant, Salvation, Relationship, Transformation and Lordship and we won’t be forgetting any if those. And that is a good segue into the last point:
6. There will be some things that will be changing in our life as a church because of this focus... (and we will talk about those in third session)… But we need to understand that some things are not changing at all:
WHAT IS NOT CHANGING? (many things, including these)
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God.
- Jesus is Lord, God is the Father, and the Holy Spirit indwells.
- The Cross is at the heart of our lives and all the Kingdom of God means.
- We respond to Jesus and the gospel through faith, repentance and baptism. Must die to the old life and be born again.
- We are sinners, flawed human beings who are saved and brought into the kingdom of God by grace, and we stay in it by much grace.
- The church is the Body of Christ on earth.
- Every Christian is an important part of the body.
- Commitment to the church, the fellowship, and one another relationships is at the center of the target.
- The Lord’s Supper is a crucial time.
- There is still a spiritual battle and an evil one who tries to block the will of God.
- Prayer is still our greatest spiritual resource.
- Making disciples of ALL nations (including our own city) is still the mission.