INTRO: As the New Testament opens, the immediate message to which we are drawn is this: "The kingdom of God is at hand" (Mk 1:15). At bit later we are told, "...there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mk 9:1). The coming of the kingdom was indeed imminent. Beginning with Acts 2, the declaration is "The kingdom is here." The apostle Peter declared that Christ was raised up "to sit on his throne" (Acts 2:30). What is life in the kingdom like? How is life in the kingdom to be lived? Is there something about kingdom living which sets one apart from other citizenships?
I. ENTERING THE KINGDOM
A. From Acts 2
1. Acts 2:30 declares the enthronement of the King
2. Acts 2:36 declares that God has made Jesus "both Lord and Christ" - He is the anointed, supreme Ruler (1 Tim 6:14-16 - "the King of kings")
3. so, what were the listeners told to do relative to this King ... and their relationship to Him?
4. Acts 2:38 they were told to repent and to be baptized - in doing so they were added to the church, the kingdom (Acts 2:47 with Mt 16:18,19)
B. From Col 1:13,14
1. note the "us" translated into the kingdom of God's Son
2. there is an immediate connection with redemption, forgiveness as "kingdom blessings"
3. so, Col 2:12,13 explains when such blessings were given - when they were buried with Jesus in baptism
4. baptism is place at which citizenship is granted!
II. A LIFE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY (ROM 14:17)
A. "Righteousness" is simply "doing right" as God defines "right"
1. Titus 2:12 - through the medium of the word instruction is given
2. life in the kingdom means conforming in obedience to that instruction
3. such obedience will inevitably bring marked changes in ones life
B. "Peace" here is likely that of relationships
1. the context would certainly suggest that relationships are considered
2. so, life in the kingdom is a life in which one seeks to keep relationships in the kingdom free of conflict, bias, prejudice and such (Heb 12:14)
3. in a world in which relationships are full of conflict, here is a challenge
C. "Joy" is doubtless the consequence of righteousness and peace
1. still, so many are the reasons for joy in the kingdom
2. not the least of which are freedom from guilt and assurances in Christ
3. Gal 5:22 - "joy" must be a result of Spirit's influence in/over our lives
III. A LIFE HONORING JESUS, THE KING
A. By living under His dominion, His control
1. notice in Eph 6:1,2 how connected obeying and honoring are
2. little can speak more of ones honor for another than his obeying (Phil 2:12)
3. Mt 7:24"...these sayings of mine, and doeth them...
B. By mourning because of sin - how it must disappoint Him
1. I am not thinking of deliberate, rebellious sin - but of sin, nevertheless
2. only by realizing how important our relationship is can we realize how sin must hurt our King
3. Mt 26:75 - could this not be just such mourning? "I disappointed my King"
C. By anticipating eternity with Him
1. we honor those we love with a desire to be with them!
2. Phil 1:23 - here is the desire of one closely connected to the King
3. we all may have a common problem here ... we are very connected to our temporal lives ... our eternal anticipation is intellectual, but distant
D. By recognizing that our time here is a time of service
1. Phil 1:24 - anticipation was very intense - but he saw service to be given
2. since we do not get to choose the time of our departure, the time we have for a physical existence is time given to us to be servants of others
3. Gal 5:13 - notice "called" to "serve one another"
E. By living holy lives
1. we do not wear insignias, uniforms, distinctive marks of our citizenship
2. it is the lifestyle of purity, holiness which distinguishes kingdom citizens
3. 1 Thes 4:2,3a - set apart to be and live holy lives (1 Thes 4:7)
CLOSE: I recognize that I have hardly touched the "hem of the garment" as I have talked about kingdom living. However, I hope that we can begin to think seriously and personally about this need. If we are going to claim our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20), we must then accept the responsibilities of living as citizens of the kingdom should.
Cecil A. Hutson
01 October 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)