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Archive for the 'Kingdom of God' Category

Introduction

One topic that Scripture mentions a great deal is the subject of: life in the next age. In essence, many passages in the Bible tell us that believers will live again, after Jesus returns. Not only that, but Scripture also tells us where believers will live, in the next age. Consider the following passages, which speak about that very subject:

Psalm 37:29 (ESV):

29 The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.

Isaiah 65:9 (NAB):

9From Jacob I will save offspring, from Judah, those who are to inherit my mountains; My chosen ones shall inherit the land, my servants shall dwell there.


The Bible opens with audacity and gusto, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The statement is as terse as it is powerful—God made the universe. This one grandiose proposition undergirds the faith of all Jews, Christians, and Muslims. As God speaks, water separates, land appears, vegetation sprouts, animals multiply, and humans take shape. Five times over, the magnificently crafted creation poem resounds with the refrain, “it was good.” Then, on the sixth day, God surveys all of His work and concludes “it was very good.” The reader of Genesis finds himself compelled to affirm the inherent and primal goodness of the universe. From the shining stars to the flowing seas, all is the product of a brilliant and beneficent Creator who lovingly and powerfully spoke it into existence.

It’s great to have knowledge, especially the true knowledge of the kingdom of God! However, it is also important to ask ourselves – what are we doing with this knowledge? Are we holding it to ourselves, stuck in our own little “Christian bubble,” or are we actively sharing it? If we’re not sharing it, we are not obeying Jesus’ command to preach the gospel and make disciples! We will be held responsible for what we know and what we’ve done with it. So I wanted to share an assignment from my evangelism class this year, to write a letter to someone explaining the gospel to them, and encourage you to think about how you can be proclaiming this live-saving message! How would you share it, and what are the necessary “ingredients” of the message? (If you think this letter would be useful to share with someone, by all means copy it and adapt it to your situation!) Let’s get busy sharing this amazing truth!

It is evident that the average church-goer has no real grasp on the biblical meaning of Messianic titles such as ‘Son of God,’ ‘Christ,’ or ‘Son of Man.’ According to Dr. Hugh Schonfield, author of The Passover Plot, the majority of the Christians he conversed with “were not even aware that Christ was simply a Greek translation of the Hebrew title Messiah (Anointed One), and supposed that it had to do with the heavenly nature of the Second Person of the Trinity.”[1] The significance of such titles is clearly being overlooked. However, their importance is not to be understated, for Jesus himself said that it is “upon this rock,” namely the fact that he is the Christ, that “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt 16:16,18). Thus, it is essential to have a correct understanding of such Messianic titles, for a vague or unbiblical understanding of Jesus’ titles will lead to a corruption of the gospel message he preached, and ultimately, his identity.

This author puts his finger on a major reason why the idea of heaven fails to arrest people’s attention. Thanks, Xavier, for sending this over.

“But to those who search in faith for the ending of the Story, our Enemy has whispered an even more diabolical lie, harder to dispel because it is veiled in religious imagery: ‘Heaven will be a never-ending church service in the sky.’ All those silly images of clouds and harps. I’ve heard innumerable times that ‘we shall worship God forever.’ That ‘we shall sing one glorious hymn after another, forever and ever, amen.’ It sounds like hell to me.

Rob Bell does a fantastic job explaining the arc of Scripture in this talk delivered to pastors. His point is that we should not start with sin when talking to new people, Cheap Jerseys free shipping but instead begin with a robust creation theology. In other words, we should talk about God’s original design, his goodness, what we were originally called to be as humans before delving into the problem of sin. Rob beautifully ties the beginning of the Bible to the end by comparing and contrasting Genesis 1-2 with Revelation 21-22. Rarely do we see someone of Rob’s popularity preaching the kingdom in such an uncompromising way. Enjoy!

by Bethany Reise

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes that there is but one hope to which believers have been called (Eph 4:4). Most Christians have been taught that the hope they are awaiting is eternal life in heaven, to which their immortal soul will depart after death. They would be surprised to find out that this is not the hope to which Paul was referring. Paul was speaking of the resurrection of the righteous which is to occur at the second coming of Christ. It is only at this time that the dead who have been sleeping in their graves will be awakened and clothed with immortality. They will live and reign with Christ in the kingdom of God which is to be established on the earth at the end of the age.

The Workers Are Few

The following was inspired by Matthew 9:35-38

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38 NIV)

 

The following quotation is from Justin Martyr’s book Dialogue with Trypho, written in Rome between a.d. 155 and 161. It includes a dialogue between a Christian (Justin) and a Jew (Trypho) following the failed Bar Kochba revolt of a.d. 135. Considering the fact that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in the fighting and rebuilt upon it Aelia Capitolina (complete with a temple to Jupiter on the old temple site), Trypho’s question must have been ringing in the ears of many Jews and Christians. Is God really still going establish his kingdom on earth with its capital in Jerusalem? Justin replies in the affirmative and indicates that most, but not all, Christians agree with him.

The following lengthy excerpt is from Irenaeus’ book Against Heresies in which he identifies, explains, and refutes the various unorthodox ideas of his age in an effort to warn his fellow Christians of their danger. Irenaeus was the overseer of a church in Lyons, Gaul (modern-day France), in the second century. He wrote his magnum opus in a.d. 180 to fight against the Gnostics and their descendants, all of whom denied the earth as the permanent home of the chosen people. In what follows Irenaeus marshals a panoply of arguments to defend the notion that “the meek will inherit the earth” as Jesus and the prophets of old had also taught.

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