Week 8: The Coming Kingdom
THE MAIN POINT
The gospel story finds its conclusion in the new heavens and earth. However, glimpses of this gospel story can be found in those who live out God’s kingdom here and now.
We must be kingdom-minded people who live the gospel story of redemption every day.
Revelation 21:1–2; Matthew 13:1–44
The end times (eschatology) is often a hotly debated and controversial subject. The book of Revelation is often confusing and if not read through the lens of Jesus and with some help, can be misunderstood quite easily. Revelation focuses on events at the end of the age more so than any other book in the Bible. However, it also focuses on practical choices that believers and unbelievers must make in the course of their lives, choices that have consequences.
The book of Revelation lands with a simple, but profound theological truth; Jesus wins. Jesus wins over sin, death, Satan, corruption, pain, and all the corrupt things of the world. And he institutes his kingdom, fully complete, with no more pain, crying, or death. A kingdom of life in its complete fullness.
The story of the Bible, the redemption story of God calling mankind back into relationship with himself will have a climactic moment. A moment when Jesus will once again reveal himself to humanity and will bring to completion what started in Gen 3:15.
Rev 21:6: “Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”
As you prepare the core of the message using personal story and questions keep in mind these points:
- The gospel spans the whole entire biblical story. A good creation broken and rebellious but redeemed by a loving God. Revelation 21:1 shows us the ultimate fulfillment of the gospel. God wants to restore the world to the way it was before the fall.
The scene in Revelation is hopeful, but what do we do right now? One way to connect Revelation to the present is understanding the kingdom of God. Jesus constantly spoke about the kingdom of God in his parables. Some parables would start out, “The kingdom of God (or heaven) is like…” Jesus is contrasting the kingdom of God with the kingdoms of this world. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31–32), a farmer sowing his field (Matthew 13:3–9), a hidden treasure that someone finds (Matthew 13:44). Jesus used symbols to teach about the kingdom of God. The mustard seed example helps Christians understand that the kingdom is like a small seed that when planted and cultivated grows larger than any seed in the garden (and spreads over the entire garden).
3. George Ladd famously coined the phrase “already but not yet” in his monumental Theology of the New Testament in 1993. When Christ came, he inaugurated the kingdom of God. He preached about the kingdom and said that the kingdom is near (Matthew 4:17). However, there is still a future hope of kingdom fulfillment when Christ returns to bring the kingdom of God to full consummation.
4. “This is the story of the Bible. The fellowship God originally intended was lost due to human disobedience. God began the process of restoring that fellowship using Abraham and his descendants, the nation of Israel. From that nation, God brought one Man, Jesus, who was and is God. Jesus’ first coming began to undo sin’s effects; His second coming will complete the job.” (Stephen J. Lennox)
As you prepare the application, challenge and/or encouragement, keep in mind these points:
- We must be kingdom-minded people who live the gospel story of redemption every day.
- There is HOPE in Jesus. Like we learned before, God has kept his covenant and never broken it. Therefore if Jesus says he is coming back, HE IS COMING BACK.
- We are not called to sit idly and wait on Jesus to return, but rather he has kingdom-minded things for us to do now. Eternity starts here and now. New life is available now. And Jesus calls you and me into this big redemptive story.