Christianity 201

October 3, 2015

The Gospel’s Central Theme: The Kingdom

I know we just did a post from Chaplain Mike Mercer from Internet Monk, and I know we have a six-month rule, but I was really compelled to share this one from a few days ago there. (I promise this is the last one for awhile!) I remember someone asked me what the crux of the gospel was, and they said the answer, for them was, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That’s always stuck with me, and I often read passages through that lens. Click the link below to read this at source, and consider subscribing to Internet Monk.

If there is an overriding narrative theme in scripture, this is it . . .

If I were asked to summarize the primary narrative theme of the Bible with one brief verse, I would choose a line from the Lord’s Prayer:

“Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, CEB).

The story of the Bible is about God establishing his Kingdom in this world.

The Hebrew Bible begins with the story of a royal construction project, as the King of the universe prepares his holy Temple (Genesis 1). The word for “temple” in Hebrew means “palace,” and what God does on the days of “creation” is to set up the place of his reign. He appoints royal priests — human beings “in his image” — to represent him, subdue the evil in the world, have dominion and multiply his blessing throughout the earth. Then on the seventh day, he rests on his throne, taking up his rule.

Internet MonkThe story goes on to tell us that humans failed to carry out the King’s directives, leading to cycles of rebellion, divine judgment, and restoration (Genesis 2-11). Those early days of sin and salvation culminated in the establishment of the city of Babylon, where people gathered together to build their own temple and create their own kingdom. God scattered them over the face of the earth, and then chose one man and his family out of Babylon through which to restore his blessing to the world (Gen. 11-12:1-3).

The man’s name was Abram, and to him God said, “I will make you very fertile. I will produce nations from you, and kings will come from you” (Gen. 17:9, CEB). From that point on, the people through whom God would restore his blessing began to experience conflict with the kings and kingdoms of the world. Abraham, called to be the patriarch of kings, found himself in danger on several occasions, and ultimately his family, many generations later, found themselves in captivity under the rule of Egypt’s ruler, Pharaoh. In time, God delivered the Hebrews and led them to Mt. Sinai, where he entered into a suzerainty treaty with them. He became their King and they became his people, his chosen nation.

The story of God’s chosen nation is a narrative filled with battles, wars, and controversies involving the peoples and kings around them. At one point, Israel herself chose a king, and though her motives were bad at the time, God relented and made her into a kingdom. It wasn’t long before Israel had established God’s palace (temple) in Jerusalem, enjoying a season of prosperity and peace during David and Solomon’s reigns.

However, under the kings that followed, Israel split apart into two nations and eventually became exiled once more from their land. The kingdom was destroyed, the temple sacked, the people carried off into the diaspora. Though some returned to the land within a couple of generations, things were never the same. Israel never had another king again but lived under the domination of invading nations for centuries.

When Jesus was born, the emperor of Rome ruled the land. At the proper time, at the outset of his ministry, Jesus publicly announced, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” (Mark 1:15, CEB).

Jesus’ life and ministry led to his death, resurrection, and ascension, by which he took the throne and inaugurated God’s Kingdom in the world. Through his finished work, he did more than conquer the rulers of earth; he soundly defeated the spiritual rulers: the forces of sin, evil, and death that hold all people (not just Israel) captive. By the power of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on his followers, a mission was launched by which outposts of his Kingdom are being established throughout the world. His people are planting seeds for a harvest of righteousness and peace in the age to come.

So today we who trust and follow Jesus live in anticipation of the day when the Kingdom will be consummated and we will sing the Hallelujah Chorus together: “The kingdom of this world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign forever and always” (Rev. 11:15, CEB).

Until then, every day we pray, “Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven” (Matt. 6:10, CEB).


Preparing today’s devotional reminded me of this song by Hillsong. It fits today’s reading really well; play it loud, when you reach the chorus allow yourself to be caught up in the power of these lyrics.

March 1, 2011

At The Cross I Bow My Knee; There’s No Greater Love Than This

Seven million people have watched this.  With Easter coming, here is a song to ask your worship leader to include in a worship service this year.

May 11, 2010

I Will Be Still and Know You Are God

Can’t get this song off my mind this week.   Take 6 minutes and 11 seconds to enjoy:

Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

Chorus 1
When the oceans rise
And thunders roar
I will soar with You
Above the storm
Father You are King
Over the flood
I will be still and know
You are God

Verse 2

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

by Reuben Morgan © 2002 Hillsong Publishing (Admin. in U.S. & Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music)