David Pawson: The Kingdom of God, Part 2
Thoughtful Thoughts 21.7.17 ; “The Kingdom of God”, Part 2.
Catch up...Last time we presented Part 1 of David Pawson’s video on the ‘Kingdom of God’.
The blog had snippets of Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom of God, but there’s much more.
This week in Part 2, we’ll start by looking at Jesus teaching in “The Parable of the Sower” in Mark 4:1-20. In v. 13 Jesus was so surprised that they didn’t understand the parable of the sower, that He explains it line by line. (We provide references for Jesus’ sermons listed below, for further study.)
Over-view...1. The Kingdom of God is NOW.
- The parable of the sower explains that the Kingdom is growing. It is like seed sown by a farmer. Where the seed falls into good soil, there is sustained growth. In this sense the Kingdom of God is a happening thing - it is growing on the earth right now.
- Also, the Kingdom of God exists in heaven now. Jesus said, (John 18:36), “My Kingdom is not of this world”. His Kingdom exists NOW in heaven.
- There will be a harvest later on. It’s a harvest of bringing in those wanting to be in the Kingdom of God NOW, choosing right now to join His Kingdom, and then live for that day which it is “not yet”. We have another message already on the return of Jesus and so we can’t go into that again now.
- Jesus also taught us to pray to God as Father, “...Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven…” The Kingdom of God already exists in heaven, and Jesus taught us to pray that it will come on earth too. In that sense also, it is NOT YET with us on earth, as Jesus taught us to pray for it to come.
Let’s take a deeper look at that summary.
1) It is NOW…
a) In the parable of the sower, the Kingdom of God is made up of gradual but continual growth now, like a wheat field growing. The Kingdom is about those people who choose to live under God’s rule, right now, so that they will be allowed to live under His rule later. Only those who consent to live under His rule now, will be allowed to live under His rule later. In or out. It’s about present day living in obedience now to Jesus. We live over the present day circumstances in which we find themselves; (Peter famously said to religious leaders, ‘We must obey God rather than men’.)
The job of those in the Kingdom now, which is the real church, is to plant and water seeds. Jesus said (in Mark 4:14), the ‘seeds’ represent the word of God. Paul said, (1 Cor. 3:5-8), that whilst he planted, others watered - and it was God who provided the growth. Watering means “tending” or looking after the seedlings that have been sown. Jesus said the soil represents our hearts, (Mk.4:15-20).
My sister Ruth is a qualified horticulturalist. She can grow just about anything. The main reason she is so successful at growing plants is that she prepares good soil beforehand. Then she ‘tends’ the seedlings afterwards by watering them daily, and she gets great results. In the same way in this parable, the good soil (our hearts) allows the seed (the word of God) to come to fruition. The state of our hearts affects whether the word of God is ignored or not. (ie Whether the word is allowed to have its effect in us and bear fruit, or not. Statistically, the older we get, the fewer respond to the word of God. Our hearts become harder.)
So, in this sense, the Kingdom of God is growing NOW. The growing stage of the seed means something is happening. The parable tells us that the word of God is able to have its full effect on those whose hearts are receptive.
b) At the same time that the Kingdom is growing, Jesus said His presence on earth is replaced by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is not living here during this time, as He tells us that He’s gone back to the Father. But, until He comes back He said that the person that replaces Him on the earth is the Holy Spirit. You would have thought that this would have eliminated religious leaders giving themselves the title “in the place of Christ on earth”, as Jesus said that that’s the Holy Spirit’s job and title. The Kingdom of God will be brought to completion by the return of the King. This Kingdom is not the church institution, as it once claimed to be - under the banner of “Christendom”. That is a man-made empire. That church is not the same church Jesus meant when He said “I will build my church”, talking about His people. One of the most shameful spiritual abuses is church organisation employees claiming that they replace the Holy Spirit. Living in the Kingdom of God now, is only possible with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul says, we can only proclaim Jesus as Lord with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to live by God’s rules now and Jesus taught us what they are. Matthew records five sermons preached by Jesus on the Kingdom of God. (In Matthew it’s called the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’). Jesus called the Holy Spirit a “Helper”. He does many things, but one of them is to help us to live by God’s rules. What are they? Well, Jesus tells us here...a) The lifestyle of citizens of the kingdom; (Mt. 5; ie “The Sermon on the Mount).
b) The mission of the kingdom (Mt 10)
c) The growth of the kingdom (Mt 13)
d) The community of the kingdom (Mt 18)
e) The future of the kingdom (Mt. 24 & 25)
2) Also, it is NOT YET.
In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to pray to God as Father, “...Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven…”. It has not yet fully come on earth, (as it already is, in heaven). In that sense is “not yet” here. The King is still to return.
At the end, Jesus will return ‘suddenly’ and unexpectedly, like being caught out by a thief coming (1 Thess.5:2-4), but believers will not be caught by surprise by it as they will be expecting it and be ready. This will happen at the end of time, in an instant. When the King Jesus returns, He will be visible to all. Everyone will see Jesus as being the King that He really is; - and it’s called His “parousia” in Greek.) Also, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 Paul tells us that when the Lord returns it will be with a ‘SHOUT’ and ‘TRUMPETS’ and the dead in Christ will rise up. It won’t be a secret sneaky coming. No. It will be so noisy and public that everyone will hear and see His arrival - and see Him as He really is. It will be so noisy that the dead in Christ will rise first and meet Him in the air. These people will be followed on immediately by those who are still alive, (v. 17). Those who died in Christ, will rise first and will be at the front! Paul says in v.16 that everyone will know about it. There’s nothing secret about His second coming, as it will happen with a bang. Also, there is nothing about any ‘third coming’ either. (For more, see the links to David Pawson’s MP4s “The Return of Christ”, and “When Jesus Returns”, below.)
So, to summarise, the Kingdom of God has been inaugurated and is growing, and in that sense, “IS NOW”.
God’s Kingdom has rules and Jesus taught them in His sermons mentioned earlier. We are not lawless just because we are no longer under the Law of Moses. In fact, without the Holy Spirit the standards of Jesus would be impossible to keep, as they include the heart. The result of allowing the word of God to grow in us, by His Holy Spirit, is the “fruit” mentioned by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23.
It is all to be consummated in a harvest, when the King returns, and in that sense, “IS NOT YET”.
The question is; “will our hearts allow God’s word and His Holy Spirit to bear fruit in us, while we wait for the return of our King?”
I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.