May 17, 2017

We Are Family
An Overview and a Summary

We have spent 16 weeks studying God’s purpose on the earth from the Flood (2345 B.C.) to today. The reason this is such an important study is because if you believe God is intentional and purposeful in the establishment of nations on this earth, then you can know He is intentional in establishing His Kingdom over all the nations of the earth (see Psalm 21:1, Isaiah 60:15, Romans 8:17, Matthew 5:5, Daniel 2:44).

  1. The Kingdom of Christ among the nations means Christ’s people learn to live life to its fullest now.
    Josephus (A.D. 37-100), the Jewish historian, describes in his autobiography how he went to a rebel involved in revolutionary activity. Josephus told the brigand he needed to “quit pursuing his own way of bringing about revolution” and he needed to follow Josephus' way. However, in the Greek, the words were literally, "repent and believe in me," exactly as Jesus’ words in the gospels (Mark 1:15).
    1. Repentance and faith in Christ mean far more than going to heaven.
      To be sure, repentance and following Jesus includes going to heaven, but the words that Jesus used in the first century were heard in a different way than we hear it today. Most Americans think in individualistic terms when it comes to “believe in Jesus,” and we think mainly in reference to what happens after death. Jesus came “so that we live life to the fullest” now (John 10:10).
    2. The Jews in Jesus day thought the Kingdom would come by force.
      They assumed that a Messiah would bring the Kingdom through military means. Jesus had a different agenda, but the difference was not in postponing the individual's possession of the kingdom of heaven until after they died. Rather, He described a different kind of Kingdom now!
       
  2. The Kingdom of Christ among the nations can be illustrated through participation and anticipation.
    Imagine that I want to visit the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. I have found a really good travel agent who already has access to some very good deals on airline and hotel tickets. I make the reservations and buy the tickets now (2017). If I do this, those tickets can never be taken away from me. My ID will be required to redeem the tickets in 2020, but I can never lose them. I anticipate going to Tokyo.
    1. Most people think of the Kingdom of Heaven as a place of anticipation.
      We talk about heaven, we can’t wait for heaven, we think about heaven – ready to go soon!
    2. But Jesus taught that the Kingdom He brings to the world is participation.
      For sake of illustration, suppose instead of buying tickets you meet someone who is a sports agent and he negotiates for you to have a spot on the U.S. Olympic basketball team in 2020! With this invitation you get to live, train, work, play and generally spend your life as an Olympic basketball player. In short, your whole life and identity are shaped by being a member of the team. Sure, Tokyo 2020 is the ultimate destination, but everything you do now is Olympic work!
       
  3. The Kingdom of Christ among the nations is the resurrection of life through death (like the Flood).
    Shem, Ham, and Japheth came off the ark and represent the human race in harmony as family. So God crucifies the old man you used to be and restores within you life as it was meant to be lived. R. C. Sproul puts it like this: faith = salvation + works, as opposed to salvation = faith - works. Christ enables us to become the people He has called us to be, to live life the way it’s to be lived. So “This Present Kingdom” is the belief that God is moving among the world with the Good News.
    1. How does an understanding that the Kingdom of God is now change your view of life?
    2. What difference will “The Kingdom Now” make when it comes to sharing Christ with the lost?
    3. If God was at work among the nations of old (the Flood), in what way is He at work today?
    4. How has this study on Noah and His Three Sons changed your view of the Bible? The Gospel?