September 15, 2014
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” (Luke 4:42-44)
I left you hanging last Monday with this: “Two Gospels; both powerful; both sourced in God the Revealer. One brings life from death; the other brings meaning to life. We Evangelicals tend to replay one of them, constantly; are you as clear about the Gospel of the Kingdom as you are the Gospel of Salvation? One brings forgiveness; the other brings greatness. Are you one gospel short of greatness?”
For nearly two decades, Jesus was living in relative obscurity in Nazareth, working in the trade that Joseph had practiced. He was known for his way with wood, not his way with words. His Calling released him from the tools of his trade and unleashed him with a message that would motivate.
The Gospel of the Kingdom was the good news He came to proclaim. For His audience – the Jews of the First Century – the conditions of life had become the seedbed of despair. The Rabbi from Judea was talking about life on an entirely different plane, and His descriptions were powerful enough to cause grown-ups with responsibilities to do an about-face in life, and join the movement He was leading.
Dr. Bill Bright summarized the Gospel of Salvation into the Four Spiritual Laws. If there were Four Kingdom Laws – for the Gospel of the Kingdom – they could be:
1. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, both here and in His Eternal Kingdom.
2. You are now in Christ, and are called to participate in His plan, which we call the Great Commission.
3. His plan for you – within His greater plan – is for you to fulfill the unique destiny for which He made you: your Kingdom Calling.
4. Your Kingdom work in fulfilling His plan will please Him as you produce enduring value, for which you’ll be recognized and rewarded.
The Gospel of Salvation gets you into the Kingdom; what you do following your conversion establishes your position in that Kingdom. That’s the promise of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Jesus spoke incessantly about the place He was preparing for us to occupy; the place where He would reign. In this world, He would experience rejection and would occupy a cross. In the world to come, He would experience affirmation and accolades, and would occupy a throne. “My Kingdom is not of this world” was an interpretive guide: all of what He promised would happen, just not here and now.
“Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19-20)
“Saved” is better than “Lost,” for sure. But, once saved, “Great” is better than “Least.” The Four Spiritual Laws will get you to the Kingdom, and the Four Kingdom Laws will impact your experience, upon arrival… and, forever.
Jesus offered forgiveness; you accepted. He also offers greatness; have you accepted that offer?