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The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(8 of 8 in a series) The Apostle Paul wrote, “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Col 1:12-13).  When we embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ by faith, we enter into the kingdom of God; right here, right now. “[He] qualified us.”  We have a right to be here.  We have our papers, if you will.  We have the qualifications, in Christ, to be here in the new kingdom.  “He delivered us.”  He rescued us.  He saved us from the penalty and ongoing power of sin.  “[He] transferred us.”  We have been transferred to a new kingdom. …
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Entering the Kingdom

Faith is ..., The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(7 of 8 in a series) We enter the kingdom of God by faith.  We often think those who saw Jesus in person must have had an easier time embracing Him than those of us who came after and must come to Him by faith; not having seen, heard, or touched Him in the flesh.  But the faith requirement was just as real for Jesus’ contemporaries as it is for us.  We require faith because we did not see Jesus in the flesh.  They require faith for the very reason they did see Jesus in the flesh.  Look at this exchange in John chapter 6.  “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me will…
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The Secret Kingdom

The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(6 of 8 in a series) This framework of how Jesus did and did not fit the expectations of His first-century audience and how Jesus, the secret king, set up His secret kingdom brings so much depth to our own understanding of Jesus’ words, actions, and events of the Gospels.  And it explains the reaction to Him that sometimes puzzles us.  The Jews, including John the Baptist, tried to interpret the coming of Jesus with a distinctively Old Testament mindset.  Of course, this was entirely appropriate as this was the revelation they had.  And it was God’s revelation.  Throughout the Scriptures, God's revelation is always true, but not always complete.  We cringe at the idea of God’s revelation being progressive.  We don’t want to hear anything that may alter our understanding…
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The Kingdom Goes Underground

The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(5 of 8 in a series) With the exception of the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane, the passion week remained a public week for Jesus right up to His crucifixion.  His death was very public.  His trials bounced from leader to leader with stops before the crowds clamoring for His death.  He carried His cross through the public streets and died in a public place of execution.  His death made news throughout the entire city and beyond.  Remember the two disciples on the road to Emmaus the next Sunday who, not suspecting their guest was Jesus said, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here these days … concerning Jesus the Nazarene?” (Lk 24 18-19).  Christ died a very public death.…
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The King Goes Public

The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(4 of 8 in a series) In the gospel of John, Jesus’ proclamation at the feast, His attesting miracles, His identifying Himself as one with the Father, and His announcement that eternal life is found only in Him are all leading to the recognition that He could indeed be the promised Messiah.  This momentum builds toward the Sunday before the Jewish Passover.  In an event we now call "Palm Sunday," Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey in fulfillment of the prophet Zechariah's words from circa 500 BC.  “Now this took place (the triumphal entry into Jerusalem) that what was spoken through the prophet [Zechariah] might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted upon a donkey, even upon a…
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The Secret King

The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(3 of 8 in a series) Based on the testimony of the Old Testament prophets, the promised coming of the Messiah was to have a distinctive King aspect to it.  The Messiah was to "destroy the world powers in an act of judgment, deliver Israel from her enemies, and restore her as a nation."¹  Just as Jesus appeared to set aside the judgment aspect of the expected Messiah's rule, He downplayed His king identity as well.  If He was a king at all, He appeared to keep it a secret.  Jesus often instructed those He had healed to keep it under wraps as if He didn’t want His popularity to get too big.  An odd instruction from a would-be king.  As it was, Jesus’ fame did eventually reach king-like heights.  But…
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Last of the Old Testament Prophets

The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(2 of 8 in a series) In the early chapters of the gospels, John the Baptist arrived on the scene and announced that the coming of the Messiah was imminent.  “As for me, I baptize you in water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not even fit to remove His sandals.  He Himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean His threshing floor, and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Mt 3:11-12). Notice the imagery used by John the Baptist.  The great day of salvation and judgment is just around the corner.  John…
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The New Kingdom

The Kingdom Of God, Thoughts
(1 of 8 in a series) One of the best ways to understand what changed between the Old and New Testaments, between the Old and New Covenants, is to explore, study, and evaluate what exactly Jesus did when He ushered in the kingdom of God.  We often comprehend the meaning of Jesus’ first advent totally around His substitutionary death on the cross.  But we cannot separate Jesus’ delivery of a new covenant, a new arrangement with God that was made true by His death and resurrection from His broad description of initiating the kingdom of God on earth.  The two are inseparable.  When we accept the new arrangement with God that Jesus wrought on the cross as our substitute, when we embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ, we become…
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