Sermon Notes • August 22

The Kingdom of God

Which verse is the center one in the Bible? Most often the answer is Psalm 118:8, which reads, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” Actually, there are 31,102 verses in the King James translation and since that is an even number, there is no single middle verse of the Bible. Psalm 103:1–2 are the two middle verses of the Bible, with 15,550 verses before and after them. Read those 2 verses.

What is the most common name and most common attribute of God in the Old Testament? What is the most common theme of the New Testament?

The most common name for God and the one God gave to Moses according to Exodus 3:14 is, “I am who I am.” He is the eternal God who does not change and can be trusted to keep every promise.

The common attribute of God in the Old Testament and the only one given emphasis in the Hebrew by use of triple repetition is that of the holiness of God expressed by the angels in Isaiah 6:3. Read that verse. 

The holiness of God means first that He was totally different from all else in creation and second, it carries an ethical concept that reminds us that God is without sin. Because God’s holiness will not allow Him to be in the presence of sin, God had one of two choices. God could either destroy us in our sinfulness or He could find a way to purge that sin from us. The Cross is God’s provision to purge us and acceptance of that provision allows God to do just that. Rejecting that provision means we remain in our sin and of necessity must be separated from God. 

The most common topic in the New Testament is the Kingdom of God, In the New Testament there are 65 verses that refer specifically to the Kingdom of God. There are 31 verses that refer of the Kingdom of Heaven and another 30 plus verses that refer to the kingdom with specific reference to that kingdom. In the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Thy kingdom come.” We should understand what the kingdom really is and what we are asking God to bring about in our lives, in our community and for our world when we offer that prayer. 

To have a kingdom there must be two essential ingredients. There must be a king and there must be subjects. In the Kingdom of God there is a King who is King Jesus Himself and there are subjects, those who belong to Him by faith and as such name Him Lord or King of their lives. 

See Ephesians 5:and Matthew 24:14 

The question is not who is King because that is obvious, but rather who are His subjects? To be a subject of a kingdom first one needs to become a citizen of that kingdom and then one needs to be a loyal subject of the king. Merely living within the confines of a kingdom does not make one a citizen of it. Merely attending a Christian church or having one’s name on the membership roll does not automatically make one a citizen of God’s Kingdom.

God says we are all sinners and Saint Paul wrote that because of their sin they are citizens of this world. He also said that because of that we are enemies of God. We cannot become citizens of the Kingdom until that enmity is cared for. That is done via an acceptance of the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross. His shed blood pays the price of our being enemies of God because of our sin. Jesus made it very clear that in the final judgment He will determine who is a real citizen and who is not. His decision will be based entirely on whether or not one’s name is written in the Book of Life. That book is a listing of all who have personally accepted Jesus as Savior. To the rest, some of whom will plead they were involved in the church and in the ministry of the church, He will simply say, “Depart from me, I never knew you” or literally “Depart from me for you have never really been a citizen of my kingdom, you have never been registered on the official rolls kept in that Book of Life.” Read Matthew 25:31-41. The unfortunate thing is that too many people who attend church every week have never made that personal commitment and yet Satan has convinced them that they are OK since they were baptized, have their name on a church roll and take communion regularly. That is just not so. Becoming a citizen of Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God demands that there is a deliberate act of personal commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

See John 3:3. 

Contemplate what commitment to Jesus means. Satan has spread at least 2 lies about that commitment. One lie says the Kingdom of God is some sort of democracy in which we get the opportunity to decide which laws we will accept and which ones we will repeal. If popular sentiment is against a law of God, we simply vote to amend that law or even annul it. 

A second lie is that participation in the life of the Kingdom is optional. If we want to participate, we can. If we want to opt out, we simply declare ourselves absent. There are no requirements, just suggestions, and nothing that we can be held accountable for. That is a totally twisted view of the Kingdom. In a kingdom there is not only a king but subjects that are in totally submission to that king.

Over 100 times in the New Testament we see Jesus and Lord used together. See Romans 10:9,  Acts 16:31, and Philippians 2:9-11.

James Merritt, in his book “Crown Him King” wrote the following on the subject of the lordship of Jesus: “While Jesus is His human name and Christ is His holy name, Lord is His heavenly name. Jesus Christ is Lord means:

He is our Master, therefore we are His slaves

He’s our Sovereign therefore we are His subordinates

He is our Ruler, therefore we are His servants

He is our King, therefore we are His subjects.

This is not a choice we make or an option we consider. This is not up for discussion or waiting for a show of hands. This is the way it is. Jesus is Lord whether some of us like it or not, understand it or not, believe it or not, accept it or not.

The question, therefore, is not “Is Jesus Christ Lord?” The question of His lordship has already been asked and answered for all eternity.” 

Merritt went on to write, “The only real question is, “Is Jesus Christ my Lord?” 

That is the question each one needs to personally answer. The question is not, “Have you trusted in Jesus as Savior?” but have you realized that in order to properly make that commitment you must also acknowledge Him as Lord. Remember, “If He is not Lord of all He is not Lord at all.” God does not ask us to accept Jesus as fire insurance for eternity but to accept Him as He really is, the Lord of His Kingdom and, therefore, Lord of every life in that Kingdom. Each one who is seeking to live according to His will needs to regularly evaluate his life and allow God to reveal areas where He still wants to rule and then ask Him to give the power to turn that area over to His Lordship. That is what being a real Christian is all about. That is what being in the Kingdom of God means.