by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Hebrews 12:25-29
I. Sometimes terminology can interfere with our understanding
A. When you’ve been a part of something for a while, we develop jargon. But newcomers don’t understand the jargon
B. It happens in business, but it also happens in the church.
1. There are different terms for the church: body, kingdom, New Jerusalem, etc.
2. We often treat the terms as synonymous but there is a reason the different terms are used.
II. The Kingdom
A. Old Testament Kingdom
1. God offered the Israelites the ability to be a kingdom of priests with God as their ruler if they would obey Him - Exodus 19:5-6
2. But Israel eventually wanted a physical kingdom with a visible ruler - I Samuel 8:5
3. Israel did not keep God’s laws and was rejected - II Kings 17:18-20
4. This did not mean that God’s kingdom ended - Psalms 145:13
5. The Messiah was promised to rule over David’s kingdom - Isaiah 9:6-7
6. A kingdom would be established that would not be destroyed - Daniel 2:44
B. New Testament Kingdom
1. Jesus was the promised king, but his kingdom was not of this world - John 18:33-37
a. Notice again that obedience is necessary to be a part of this kingdom
b. What nation can exist without its citizens obeying the laws?
c. Notice that Jesus used the present tense. His kingdom exists, though the entrance was not yet open to all under the New Covenant.
2. It would arrive with power in the lifetime of those listening to Jesus - Mark 9:1
III. Difference between “church” and “kingdom”
A. “Church” translates the Greek word, ekklesia, which means “the called out.”
1. Those who are a part of the church had been called out of the world of sin and into the kingdom of light
2. Church refers to the people, the “who”
B. Kingdom refers to the “where,” the place ruled by a body of laws
1. As Jesus noted, it does not have to be physical place.
a. Its concerns are not about the physical world - Romans 14:17-21
2. The kingdom of God (or the kingdom of heaven) has long existed and will continue to exist
3. But the church didn’t exist until people were called out of the world to enter the kingdom - Colossians 1:13-14
IV. Receiving the Kingdom
A. Daniel’s prophecy was that Jesus would receive a kingdom (not found it) - Daniel 7:13-14
1. This is what Jesus taught in numerous parables - Luke 19:11-15
2. After his resurrection - Matthew 28:18
3. He will reign until all enemies are conquered - I Corinthians 15:24-28
B. But there is another way the kingdom is received
1. Mark 10:13-16 - The kingdom belong to the children
a. Children are innocent and trusting
b. Like children, we might not understand why things are the way they are.
c. We don’t see where the path is going - Jeremiah 10:23
d. We have to trust our God - Psalms 37:3-5; Proverbs 3:5-6
2. The next story in Mark serves as a contrast - Mark 10:17-27
a. The young ruler wanted eternal life, but he could not put his trust fully in Christ
b. Notice that he referred to Jesus as “good teacher” - Mark 10:17
(1) Jesus was just one of many teachers.
(2) If we only see Jesus as a good teacher, will we follow if his teaching differs from what we want?
(3) A “good book” has good advice, but people feel free to ignore it when they don’t like what it says.
(4) Jesus is more than a good teacher. He is God - Mark 10:18
c. His wealth prevented him from entering the kingdom
(1) Unlike the children, he could not put his future fully in Jesus’ hands
(2) Children don’t care about wealth. Money is not a concept children generally understand - Mark 10:23-25
(3) Yet, the cost of not following Jesus was a far greater cost
d. What Jesus told him was not to push him away - Mark 10:21
(1) Jesus is not taking away our fun or security.
(2) He is pushing us away from what ultimately causes harm and will abandon us
3. There is a third contrast - Mark 10:28-30
a. The apostles gave up everything for Jesus and the kingdom
V. God moves in the world installing and removing kingdoms
A. There will always be changes because people change - Jeremiah 18:6-10
B. But we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken - Hebrews 12:28