Interactive Sermon

"Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured" ~Old Russian Proverb

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Kingdom Is Here

"The Kingdom of God is at hand." Think with me for a moment about how ridiculous those words must have sounded to Jesus' original hearers. They looked around and saw Roman injustice, religious corruption, poverty, disease and suffering. Kingdom of God?

Do those words sound any less far fetched to our day and age? The Kingdom is here? Really? Where?

What do you think when you ponder the words of our Savior, "The Kingdom of God is at hand"? What would you say to someone who asked you to interpret Matthew 4:17 or Mark 1:15 for them?

On the topic, my notes and the audio file of this past weekend's study are available to you in the right hand panel. Give them a look/listen. What do you think about this Kingdom language?

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  • The ancient Hebrew concept of Shalom is connected to the meaning of God's kingdom. Shalom is more than merely some Jewish bidding of farwell.

    Shalom means the existance of right relationships between God and people and people with one another. The term is not used as it should be in our generation since it meant a sense of wholeness, well being, security and harmony existing among God and people and one another.

    Shalom is an intricate part of God's purpose for justice and that may explain how Rome hijacked any concept of justice. Believe it or not, western democracies (kingdoms) still live out a kingdom mentality in our justice systems since we live under "state-centered justice."
    When people commit crimes our "system"
    - the government, declares that offenders break the king's peace. "The state vs. John/Jane Doe" is common in any criminal trial. Our American system of jurisprudence took ideas of justice from England and we did not fully realize our independence in 1776.

    Criminal offenders in our nation have offended the king better known as "the state." The state pushes aside victims and uses them as "states witness" ignoring the true injury caused by offenders to victims. The "State" punishes punitively as if it is the offended party.

    Our "kingdom" in the USA is really no different than that of Rome as regards justice. But Christians today have so little knowledge of Shalom, and God's justice that we don't have any expectations about peace, justice and shalom like some of the oppressed jews of Jesus day. That may be one reason we find "kingdom" concepts difficult. First, God's justice means we are "justified" by faith in Jesus our savior who paid our restitution for the peace in Christ we enjoy.

    Addtionally, Biblical principles of real "kingdom" import include keeping true victims in the center of a process to seek restoration between victims and offenders, seek reparations, follow due process, includes swift and certain punishment, restitution, aplogies, and forgiveness.

    Finally, ponder this idea - the real purpose of punishment "discipline" is to restore! Think about that. God punished his son to restore us to himself. Now, perhaps we might make the invisible kingdom of God visible by acting justly in all our relationships to experience Shalom. Shalom, Barry Nilson

    By Barry Nilson, at 1/10/2007 10:58 PM  

  • Great and thought provoking thoughts Barry. Thanks. The challenge of understanding kingdom in all of its venues will be fun for us in 2007.

    By Darin, at 1/13/2007 8:52 AM  

  • Great new book by Rick McKinley called "This Beautiful Mess." In it, McKinley describes the kingdom of God as being both here and future. The church (corporately and individually) are active participants in the kingdom to bring about its progress and its culimation.
    The book takes the theological and makes it practical examples of how this is done.

    By Anonymous, at 1/13/2007 6:54 PM  

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