In this sermon, Pastor Neil talks about the Kingdom of God, in a sermon entitled, “Until the Kingdom Comes.” Here are some excerpts:
In the Gospels, Jesus talked about the kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven, as Matthew usually referred to it) pretty much more than anything else. The word “kingdom” (basileia in Greek) occurs more than 120 times in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and most of the time it comes directly from the lips of Jesus.
The first announcement of the kingdom of God in the New Testament comes from John the Baptist who, as we noted last Sunday, called on people to repent of their sins and turn to God – why? “For the kingdom of heaven (God) has come near” (Matthew 3:2). Then, when Jesus went public with His ministry, He declared: “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15; cf. Matthew 4:17).
The kingdom of God, as longtime missionary E. Stanley Jones said, “was the center and circumference of all (Jesus) taught and did.” It is really the most important theme in the teaching of Jesus. When Jesus spoke to His disciples or the crowds in parables, He would say: “This is what the kingdom of God is like.” It is like a banquet or a wedding feast. Like treasure hidden in a field. Like a fishing net cast wide, a mustard seed, a fig tree, or yeast. Or a farmer who plants seeds in different kinds of soil, like wheat and weeds growing together, or laborers in a vineyard who all receive the same pay, like ten bridesmaids (five silly and five smart, as it says in The Message), and more.
In addition to His parables, Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God on other occasions. He said, for example, that it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-27). The truth, it is hard not just for those who are rich in things; it is hard for everyone, rich or poor. In one sense, it is impossible. It is impossible for any of us to enter the kingdom of God, except for the grace of God. Except for the saving work of Jesus the Son of God on the cross. The only way you or I or anyone can be saved and enter the kingdom of God, no matter how rich or poor we are in material things, is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
Pastor Neil has a lot more to say about this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the sermon in its entirety.