Intro: The phrase “Kingdom of God” is repeated 110 times in the New Testament counting the occurrences in Matthew which use the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven”. It is specifically used 7 time is Acts, from which we are spring-boarding this subject.
Briefly let me explain that Matthew uses the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” in deference to the Jews to whom we understand he directed his gospel. The Jews traditionally felt that to say “God” too often was disrespectful by way of treating the name too casually. So in reference to the Kingdom of God they preferred to say Kingdom of Heaven, heaven being the throne of God and therefore referring really to God or the rule of God. Much in the same way the press might say we have news from the White House when they mean we have news from the President. It would meaningless to say from the White House if there was no president.
The point is since Kingdom of God is mentioned so often, it must have some significance. What is it? Is it another way of referring to the Church. Can it be defined and limited to the work of God in our hearts? Whatever it is it is called the gospel as the apostle, Philip, preached the “good news (gospel) of the kingdom of God” in Acts 8:12.
To begin this morning let me read the other verses in Acts where the phrase “Kingdom of God occurs.
Acts 1:3 (Jesus after his resurrection and before his ascension)
... spoke about the kingdom of God.
Acts 8:6, 12 (in a city in Samaria)
... good news of the kingdom of God...
Acts 14:21-22 (Paul and Barnabas in Derbe)
... "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.
Acts 20:25 (Paul in Miletus)
... I have gone about preaching the kingdom ...
A. Acts begins and ends with it
1. 1st Chap. Jesus “spoke about the Kingdom”
2. Last chap. Paul
a) “explained and declared the Kingdom of God”
B. K of God concluding subject of Peter’s first sermon with 8 points
1. O.T. prophecy fulfilled in life and death of Jesus
2. You crucified Jesus, God’s promised Messiah
3. God resurrected him from the dead
4. We are eyewitnesses of the resurrection
5. You may now receive the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus
6. All who repent, believe the message, and are baptized will be saved.
7. Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven
a) Acts 3:21 ... he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
- which brings us to…
A. Limited remarks today for a later consideration
1. K of God message of Prophets “Through his holy prophets”
2. Phrase K of G itself not found
3. Clearly taught in many ways & other language.
4. Clear Example:
a) Daniel’s image of nations up to the K of God
b) Daniel 2:44 ... God of heaven will set up a kingdom (K of God?)...
c) Harmonize with Rev. 11:15 ... the kingdoms of our Lord,(God. K of God?) and of his Christ; (Jesus) and he shall reign for ever and ever.
A. The coming age or age to come
1. Synonymous with K of God
2. Ephes. 1:21 (Christ exalted )... in the one to come.
B. “Everlasting” (eternal) life
1. From Gk aion, aionios or age.
2. Some consider “Everlasting or eternal” as a mistranslation
3. When the bible speaks of eternal life it is referring to age-life or life in the coming age or life pertaining to the coming age
4. A life in the coming age that takes on the quality of the coming age.
5. It may be eternal as part of its quality as in
1 Tim. 6:19 ... for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.(“eternal life” KJV)
6. “Ordinary readers have thus not been permitted to see the prominence which the N. T. writers give to the all-important subject of the ‘Coming age’”. - Buzzard
C. “Glory, honor, immortality
1. Romans 2:7 ... he will give eternal life (life in the coming age or coming age life).
2. Life in the coming age will equal “glory, honor, immortality”
A. Christ Return and Earthly Reign (K of God)
1. Largely Lost. Dr. Whitby
“…the reign of Christ of the saints on earth for a 1000 years is now rejected by all Roman Catholics and by the greatest part of Protestants, and yet it passed among the best of Christians for 250 years for an apostolic tradition, and as such is believed by many fathers of the second and third centuries.”
2. Early Baptist Faith
Presented to Charles II in March 1660 announcing that they were resolved to suffer persecution to the loss of goods, or life itself, rather than abandon their belief, they wrote:
We believe that the same Lord Jesus, who showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3) who was taken up from his disciples and carried up into heaven (Lk. 24:51) shall so come in like manner as he was seen to go into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). And when Christ who is our life shall appear we shall also appear with him in glory (Col. 3:4). For then shall he be King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16), for the Kingdom is his and he is the governor among the nations (Ps.22:28), and King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9), and we shall reign with him on earth (Rev. 5:10). The Kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ (Rev. 11:15). For unto the saints shall be given the Kingdom and the greatness of the Kingdom under (mark that) the whole heaven (Dan. 7:27). Though alas now many men be scarce content that the saints should have so much as a being among them; but when Christ shall appear, then shall be their day, then shall be given them power over the nations, to rule them with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:26-27). Then shall they receive a crown of life which no shall take away from them…”
3. TRIUMPH OF THE CRUCIFIED by Erich Sauer 1952
“The kingly rule of God is the final goal of salvation’s history. The kingdom is therefore the real basic theme of the Bible.
Belief in a visible kingdom of God on the old earth was originally the common spiritual property of all Christians. Only with the start of growing Catholicism was it lost, as by Clement, Origen (250AD) and Augustine (400).
a) In his Chapter THE GLORY OF THE K OF G ON EARTH. “The coming K.of God is the time of world-wide “regeneration” (Matt. 19:18). The whole earthly creation has part in its visible glory…” (Rom. 8:19-26)
Conclusion: The message of the kingdom of God is more than a biblical interpretation, a view. It is classified as the “gospel of the Kingdom of God” As such is the same classification as the gospel of Jesus, his death burial and resurrection. It is the message to be preached and the message to be believed in regard to our salvation.