Exemplifying Kingdom Conditions

Steve Viars June 12, 1990

 

- tonight we're going to take some time to review for 2

  reasons:

 

      1)  we have the clubs workers with us

 

      2)  its good in a series like this to pause every so

          often and be sure we have the big picture

 

I.  Review

 

1)  order of basic end-times events

 

    - rapture

    - believers to heaven for - Judgement seat of Christ

    - on earth - 7 years of judgement - tribulation (we've

      talked about a lot of events and persons in the trib. -

      we won't review them tonight other than to say that the

      trib. is divided into how many parts? (2) - the 2nd

      part known as the great trib.

    - 2nd half begins when the Antichrist breaks his pact

      with Israel and erects an image of himself in the

      temple, known as the abomination of desolation

    - towards the end of the trib - another event in heaven -

       marriage supper of the lamb

    - trib ends with - battle of Armageddon

    - that begins the mill.

 

-two weeks ago we began talking about the millennial

  kingdom- we said that this was a major Bible theme

- let's review some of the major concepts we've already

  looked at

 

2) What is the millennium?  (1000 year rule of Christ on this

    earth following the tribulation)

 

3) What was one of the main reasons for expecting a coming

   kingdom sometime in the future?  (old testament promises

   which haven't been fulfilled)

 

4) We also said that, even though everyone has the same

   Bible, not everyone believed in a future millennium.  What

   were the three "millennial options" we discussed?

   (a-millennial, post-millennial, & pre-millennial)

 

5) What do each of these options mean?

   (amillennial - no future kingdom)

   (postmillennial - church ushers in kingdom, Christ returns

      afterward)

   (premillennial - Christ returns to this earth and

      establishes his kingdom)

 

6) What did we say was the main issue that determined which

   of these "milennial options" a person believed in?

   (hermenutics)

 

 

7) What are three ways to interpret Scripture that we

   discussed?

   (literal method, spiritualizing method, critical method)

 

8) How did we tie this together with the three groups,

   amillennialists, premillennialists, liberals

    liberal - literal but wrong

    amil - right but must be spiritualized

    premil - literal and right

 

9)  What verse did we go to in the NT to show how believing

    in a premillennial return of Christ should affect us

    today?  (Col. 1:13 - "Who hath delivered us from the

    power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom

    of his dear son)

 

        - we said that while we are not technically living in

          the kingdom of God today, Paul could certainly make

          this statement because we are personally related to

          the king

        - it doesn't do much good to believe in a

          premillennial return of Christ unless we're working

          hard at kingdom living here and now--

            - that is looking for more and more ways to be

              submissive to his lordship

 

 

II.  What Is The Church's Relationship To The Kingdom of God?

    - one of the questions we have to answer in this study is

      "If God made all these OT promises to Israel, how did

       we come into the picture?"  In other words, what does

       all this have to do with the church?

    - Can you think of why that would be an important

      question to answer?  (In a few minutes, we're going to

      look at what the millennial kingdom will be like - but

      if we don't understand how we're related to that, and

      what implications that has to us, then knowing what the

      kingdom will be like won't be that valuable

 

    - let me give you the "punch line" first and then we'll

      develop this from one of the gospels

 

    A.  The Church Was "Grafted In" When Israel Rejected

        Christ

 

        - One of the best ways to see this point is to study

          the concept of the "kingdom of God (heaven)"

          through the gospel of Matthew

 

        - now please remember three things about Matthew

 

            1)  the gospels weren't the first NT books to be

                written.  Sometimes we think that since they

                were in the front, they were written first.

                That’s not true.  Several of the epistles had

                already been written.  The point is - the

                gospels were written to the infant church

                which had already been established.  They

                were written to explain certain things to the

                early church.

 

            2)  Matt. was written primarily to Jews.  It

                stands to reason that since we want to know

                about the relationship of the church to

                the millennial kingdom promised to the Jews,

                Matthew would be a great place to look -

                because surely the Christian Jews or those

                Jews who were considering becoming Christians

                were wondering about that.

 

            3)  Matthew is not developed chronologically, but

                thematically.  That is different than our

                American way of thinking (this happened, then

                this happened etc.), so the question in

                studying Matthew that is especially important

                is, why did God organize these themes around

                one another?

 

    - with those thoughts in mind, let's talk about the

      concept of the millennial kingdom in the gospel of

      Matthew

 

    1.  Matt. 1:1 - "The book of the genealogy of Jesus

         Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham"

 

        - point - Matthew in the very first sentence clearly

          connects Christ with the Old Testament prophecies

          of the coming Kingdom - since those promises came

          primarily to Abraham and David

 

    2.  Matt. 3:2 - John's message - "Repent, for the kingdom

          of heaven is at hand"

 

        - what kingdom would the Jews have thought of when

          they heard that statement?  The kingdom the had

          been promised in the Old Testament.

 

    3.  Matt. 4:17 - Jesus' early public ministry - "Repent,

          for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"

 

        - same as John's message

 

    4.  Matt. 5-7 - Sermon on the Mount - which deals with

          the ethical aspects of the coming kingdom

           - blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the

             kingdom of God

           - being meek, hungering and thirsting after

             righteousness, merciful, pure in heart,

             reconciliation before sacrifice, guarding against

             lust, love of enemies, etc.

 

            - point we need to see - the more He taught about

              his kingdom, the more the opposition grows

 

            - the king is here, but he's not "towing the

              party line"

 

            - he's not talking about political deliverance

              from Rome

            - He's talking about believing on Him and having

              a changed life

                - we're going to have to love our enemies and

                  all of that - something is going wrong

    5.  Matt. 8-9 - miracles of cleansing and healing.

          9:35 - "And Jesus went about all the cities and

           villages, teaching in their synagogues, and

           preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing

           every sickness and every disease among the people"

 

        - so we have the same theme again.  The kingdom that

          was promised was at hand.  The King is here who has

          power over sin and death.

 

        - but again, something is wrong

        - the king is healing on the sabbath instead of

          siding with the established religion

 

        - the king is talking about the sacrifices of

          discipleship

        - a scribe came to him in chapter eight, v. 19  and

          said - Master, I'll follow you anywhere - I want to

          be part of your kingdom

        - Jesus said - "The foxes have holes and the birds

          have nests, but the son of man has nowhere no lay

          His head"

 

        - so the kingdom of heaven is at hand, but its not

          quite what they expected

        - it doesn't fit in with what they were wanting in a

          king

        - still the message is proclaimed

 

    6.  Matt. 10 - disciples sent out - (verses 5-7) - "Go

          not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city

          of the Samaritans enter not, but go rather, to the

          lost sheep of the house of Israel".  - "And as ye

          go, preach saying, the kingdom of heaven is at

          hand"

 

    Finally, the opposition is going to climax in the next

    two chapters:

 

    7.  Matt. 11 - John the Bpatist in prison.  This had

          actually happened earlier in Christ's ministry, but

          the Spirit of God inspired this in such a way as to

          make a point.  The people had rejected John the

          Baptist.  (verse 12) - "And from the days of John

          the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has

          suffered violence..."

 

    8.  Matt. 12 - The Pharisees commit the unpardonable sin.

         - Jesus exorcized a demon from a possessed man, and

           the Pharisees said, he does this by the power of

           Satan.  The Jews have now officially rejected the

           kingdom they had been offered.

         - Christ answers them in kingdom language when He

           says in verse 25 - "Every kingdom divided against

           itself shall fall"...verse 32 - "And whosoever

           speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall

           be forgiven him, but whosoever spoeaketh against

           the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him,

           neither in this age nor in the age to come"

 

    9.  Matt. 13 - parables of "delay" - tares among the

          wheat, sower/soils, leaven, all speaking of delay

   10.  Matt. 16 - Jesus explains that delay in Matt. 16 when

          He says to the disciples - Upon this Rock I shall

          build my church, and the gates of hell shall not

          prevail against it.  Next he begins to tell of his

          death.

 

    - I probably need to emphasize this - we've been talking

      about history from a human perspective.  All of this

      was in God's plan.  The cross was not an abortive act

      because the Jews wouldn't co-operate.

 

    - but humanly speaking, you have to explain why the

      church is experiencing the blessings of God and will

      one day take part in the millennial kingdom that was

      promised to the Jews.  The explanation is - The Jews

      rejected the King because He did not fit what they

      wanted in a leader.

 

    11.  Rom. 11:25 - "For I would not, brethren, that ye

          should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should

          be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in

          part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of

          the Gentiles be come in"

 

    B. Point - The Way The Church Operates Corporately And

         The Way Church Members Behave Individually Ought To

         Be An Example Of "Kingdom Conditions"

 

         - that’s what makes this study of the millennial

           kingdom relevant - the more I understand what the

           coming millennial kingdom will be like, the more I

           understand what I'm supposed to be like now

 

         - additional verses describing the relationship of

           the church to the coming millennial kingdom: Acts

           20:25, Col. 1:13, 4:11, II Thess. 1:5, II Tim.

           4:18, I Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:21, Eph. 5:5

 

    - now let's look at what the millennial kingdom will be

      like

 

III.  What Will The Millennial Kingdom Be Like?

 

    A.  Form of government will be monarchial

 

        read Isa. 9:6-7

 

        INPUT - now I don't want to get into a political

          discussion, but what are some of the weaknesses of

          having a government that is not monarchial?

 

        the Scripture makes it clear that in the millennium,

        we won't have to worry about branches of government

        fighting with one another, with personalities and

        hidden adgendas and all the rest--because Jesus

        Christ will be the sole ruler and everyone will

        gladly submit to his rule

 

        - while that's interesting to know - I'm more

          interested tonight in thinking about how that

          should affect us corporately as a church and

          individually as church members

        1.  affects how a church operates - Christ is the

            head

            - Eph. 1:22, 4:15

 

            - affects how a church makes decisions

 

              - The NT emphasizes in many places that a

                church ought to be one minded

              - that can only happen if everyone submits

                their ways of thinking to what?  (the mind of

                Christ)

 

              - that simplifies church government and church

                decisions

              - the question isn't - "How can I get my way?"

                but "How can we together promote Christ's

                way?"

 

              - I'm sure some of you could tell stories from

                other situations you've been in where you

                weren't sure everyone was going to come out

                of the church business meeting alive

 

              - the lost world looks at that and scoffs and

                rightly so

 

              - the point is that in the millennium, Christ

                will be the head and that’s the way it ought

                to be in the church now

 

         - by the way, that not only affects church

           government, it also affects who we promote and who

           we don't

 

         - did you notice, when the new room was built - we

           didn't call it "Pastor Dutton Memorial Sunday

           School Coliseum"

 

         - we won't call the new parking lot - John McKinnis

           Memorial Drive

 

         - some of you think I'm kidding but listen - I was

           talking to Pastor Dutton about this and he told me

           about a church in another part of the country

           where:

 

            - the labels for the tapes in the tape ministry

              have a little picture of the pastor and they're

              titled "Pastor so & so Speaks"

            - that’s also the title of the radio ministry

            - in the foyer of the church, there's a big

              picture of the pastor

 

            - the bulletin has his picture on each panel

            - someone went through the church newsletter and

              counted up the references to the pastor and

              then counted the reference to the Father, Son,

              or Holy Spirit

            - the trinity was mentioned 12 times, the pastor

              was mentioned 24!

 

            - the point is, that’s not the way it will be in

              the millennium, and that’s certainly not the way

              it should be in any church today

                  - the church isn't in the business of

                    promoting men, or women, or personalities

                  - the church ought to be in the business of

                    promoting Christ

 

        - by the way – that’s true individually as well

        - you ought to be living under a monarchial form of

          government - where Christ is in charge

 

        - your family ought to be governed that way as well -

          where Christ is the head of the home

 

        - those who know you ought to say - He isn't living

          for himself - he or she lives for the Savior

 

        - I know there are a number of folks who are working

          hard at that kind of lifestyle

              - we drove in from the conference Friday night

                - VBS sign was up

                - next day we, along with 5000 other

                  residents, received a mailing

                - # of folks worked putting landscaping rocks

                  around the building

                - all kinds of people serving around here all

                  the time

 

        - Why? - because they've chosen to life for someone

            other than themselves

 

        - like when Jesus said - He who loses his life for my

            sake shall find it

 

        - Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary to the Auka

          Indians said, "He is no fool who gives what he

          cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose"

 

        - that’s the way its going to be in the millennium,

          and that’s the way it ought to be for Christians now

 

    - a second characteristic of the millennium is that there

      will be:

 

    B.  A Perfect Blending of Severity and Tenderness

 

        - read Isa. 40:10-11

 

        - the passage says that when Christ is in charge, his

          rule will be both tough and tender

 

        - it will have just the right blend of grace and

          truth

 

        - perhaps the Psalmist said it best in Psalm 85:10 -

          "Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness

           and peace have kissed each other"

 

 

        - that’s the way it will be in the millennial kingdom,

          and God's desire is that you and I would be

          exemplifying that kingdom condition even today

 

        - let me ask you tonight, do you have trouble

          striking that balance

             - in the way you treat your spouse

             - in the way you bring up your kids

             - in the way you deal with employees?

 

        - I think most of us would say yes

 

        - some of us would say we error on the side of mercy

            - we let too many things go

            - we ignore things instead of dealing with them

            - we laugh when we know we really ought to be

              acting

 

        - some of the rest of us are on the other extreme

        - we error on the side of severity

            - everything is a calamity

            - we're not patient with people and their faults

            - we don't give those under us the right amount

              of freedom

            - the workers call you a tyrant behind your back

 

        - Hopefully it will be stimulating to us just to be

          reminded of how Christ's millennial rule will be a

          perfect blend of severity and tenderness

            - and next time we start to come down to hard, or

              ignore it instead of acting - we'll think -

              "That’s not the way it will be in the millennial

               kingdom, and that’s not the way it will be for

               me now"

 

    C.  Subjects include all nations

 

        - read Dan. 7:14

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video