When Jesus Christ launched His ministry on earth, He chose to begin with the words, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mark 1:15) In other words, turn away from everything you know presently towards what I am going to show you over the next three years.
From man’s ways to God’s ways. From self, back to God. Essentially, this is still the central message of the Church to itself and the World today and it should still be our launching point, as it was His. Below are the notes from a message I preached several years ago which still resonates today – I trust it will inspire you to think and act as He did, in bringing God’s Kingdom on earth.
It’s the Kingdom!
From Resurrection to Ascension:
Jesus prepares His followers for a coming new day, a new leadership – a new paradigm. No longer the comfortable presence of Jesus, but in the near future they would have to hear the voice of the Spirit, follow the leading of the Spirit and live in the Spirit’s power.
”Acts 1:1-9 “1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”
Vs.3 “He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
Why did He speak to them about the Kingdom?
Bringing His Father’s Kingdom to earth was His primary goal.
His resurrection confirmed and enabled the Kingdom.
His soon coming Ascension would release the Kingdom fully, across the whole earth. Jesus’ ascension passes the Kingdom on to us!
The IMPORTANCE of the Kingdom
Jesus begins His ministry with the Kingdom:
Matt. 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Turn from what you know to something Divine and supernatural. Jesus introduces the new: the not yet heard or seen.
Jesus teaches the priority of His Kingdom:
In His mentoring of the Twelve: Luke 8:1 “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him ..”
In equipping the Twelve: Luke 8:10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’
In ministry: Luke 9:2 “and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
In His teachings: Luke 9:11 “He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.”
In prayer: Luke 11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
In living for Him: Luke 12:31 “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
In fulfilling His command: Matthew 10:7 “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’
His Kingdom embraced and expanded: Acts 1:7 “He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
His power is given for embracing and expanding His Kingdom over all the earth! His ascension is our commissioning! Our task now is to Share His Kingdom!
What do I do now?
Absorb. Receive and become.
Activate. Allow Him to release His Kingdom through you.
Pray as a church: “Our Father in Heaven, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”