Acts 1:1-11

Countryside Bible Church 3-19-00

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RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL

 

Intro:  Following his resurrection and for a period of 40 days Jesus, the bible says, “spoke to them about the Kingdom of God”.

In response to this the apostles asked Jesus, what many people must consider a strange and irrelevant question.  Notice it says “they”.  This question apparently was uppermost in the minds of virtually all the apostles.  They asked Jesus -.

Acts 1:6

 "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

Was the question irrelevant?  Did Jesus say or imply that they had it all wrong? Were they living falsely with the O. T. notion about an earthly Kingdom in which Israel would be the head of the nations?  Was their question the same as asking when God’s Kingdom would come?

Nowhere in our text does Jesus seem to say or imply that they were asking the wrong question.  For forty days his subject had been the Kingdom of God and at some point they asked what appears to be a related question. 

"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

Did not Jesus validate the relevance of their question by saying that the “time” they had asked about was known only by God and that it would not be revealed to them? 

Yet we might ask.  If their question was valid and the Kingdom would one day be restored to Israel then what provision, it any, is made for Gentile believers?  And if the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel fulfills the promise of the prophets of Israel regarding the future Kingdom of God, what does the “gospel of the Kingdom of God” mean for Gentile Christians? 

The O. T. is completely silent about any alternative future hope for the people of God other than a future hope of a resurrection and a future hope in the age to come the age referred to as the Kingdom of God. 

In Christian circles today this tends to be a mystery.  Did you know that one popular view is that the faithful among national Israel will inherit God’s Future Kingdom on earth while Christian saints will inherit a home in heaven?

Well, I can tell you unequivocally this morning what many may speak of, as a mystery was a mystery.  It was a great mystery.  A mystery for generations.  But it is a mystery no longer.  It is a mystery revealed.

 

I.                HEIRS TOGETHER WITH WHOM?  Eph. 3:1-6

A. Mystery for Generations

1.   Now Revealed

2.   By God’s Spirit

3.   To God’s Holy Apostles

B.  Mystery is (was) –

1.   “Gentiles are heirs together with Israel

2.   “”Members … of one body”

3.   “Sharers  … in the promise”

II.                 GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM ONLY FOR ISRAEL?

A.     To be preached to all nations

1.       Matt 24:14

“this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations,”

2.      gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all nations,  ”you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Acts 1:8

III.               NEW GENTILE STANDING IN CHRIST Eph. 2:11-18

A.     Gentiles Formerly

1.      “separate from Christ”

2.      “excluded from from citizenship in Israel”(?)

3.      “foreigners (aliens) to the covenants of the promise”

4.      “without hope”

5.      “without Christ”

6.      “far away”

B.     Gentiles Now throught the blood of Christ are

1.      Can deduce all the above has been reversed plus

2.      “brought near”

3.      one with Israel (“made the two one … one new man”) v. 14

4.      reconciled (with the faithful in Israel) to God v. 16

5.      have peace with God v. 17 (with Israel)

6.      “no longer foreigners”

7.      “fellow citizens with God’s people” (Israel)

 

IV.              GOD HAS ONLY ONE PEOPLE  Eph. 2:19-22

A.     Only one foundation

1.      Consisting of –

a)      “the apostles”

b)       “prophets”

c)      “Jesus Christ”

B.     One “Temple” 

1.      dwelling in which God lives” v. 22

2.      Is Church bride of Christ while Israel is bride of God?

3.      Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. Acts 15:14-15

C.     NO distinction

1.      “His purpose was to create in himself one new man” Eph 2:15

2.      “He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” Acts 15:9

D.     Jews found it offensive

1.      (Paul) "Then the Lord said to me, `Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"

The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!" Acts 22:21-22

2.      Some Christians may find it so today.

  1.  Israel of God

1.      Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. Gal 6:16

2.      For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. … it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. Rom 9:6-8

 

Conclusion:  It is true that when the apostles asked Jesus, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” they did not understand all this.  As Paul said, it had long been a mystery.  God’s inclusion of the Gentiles through Christ to be heirs together with Israel of his promised Kingdom was made plain shortly after this question was asked as by Peter’s vision and Paul’s call to go to the Gentiles.

In Christ God has called us into His eternal purpose and Kingdom.  It is the reason we are inspired to walk the walk and talk the talk.  It is the reason Paul gave the Corinthians to live a life approved by God.

1 Cor 6:9-11

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? ... But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.