The message that Jesus preached and lived has been badly distorted by the Church over the centuries. His life, death, and new life introduced the Kingdom of God and this was the good news that He preached.
You would be hard pressed to find Jesus preaching a message of Salvation in the scriptures because this was only a part of what He taught. Yet, this diluted gospel is the one that is preached everywhere. The true message of Jesus’ teaching is His Kingdom. The Good News is not merely that we are saved from hell and will live in Heaven, but that we have been given the seed of Eternal life that He wants to expand in every area of our life starting today and continuing forever; That He has made us sons and as such wants to grow us in maturity so that we can represent Him in the areas He calls us to. That life in Heaven begins now and is available for those who seek and truly follow Him. The spiritual life of the early Apostles is the life that He calls us to (John 14:12) and to be satisfied with less is stale religion.
–In the Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry.
Matt. 4:17 [NIV]
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
–When Jesus first sent out His 12 disciples.
Matt. 10:7 [NIV]
As you (the disciples) go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’
–In the midst of the first wave of Christianity.
Acts 28:31 [NIV]
Boldly and without hindrance he (Paul) preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
–In the End Time.
Matt. 24:14 [NIV]
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
–The Essence of the Gospel
Eph. 1:3-14 [NIV]
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.
1 Cor. 15:20-28 [NIV]
20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
This post is _Part 6_ in a series on the Kingdom of God. To continue with this series, click on Part 7. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series and then read Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4 and Pt 5. Further questions will come tomorrow.
Photo credit: Ben on Holiday