The Kingdom of God sermon is culmination of the BCD series. You’ll learn that heaven and hell are literal physical places, and you will spend eternity in one of them. The Kingdom of God is an amazing evidence of our perfect, holy, and loving God redeeming his people.
The big idea this week as we talk about Kingdom is this: Something has gone terribly wrong, the world is broken.
Despite many many years, dollars, wars, many leaders and many efforts, the world is still not the place that any of us wish.
That being said, the hope for transformation in the world doesn’t come from us.
We are all part of the problem and sometimes, when we make an effort to make change in the world for good, we end up doing evil, even if we didn’t mean to and contributing to the problems, not really bringing solutions.
Our hope then isn’t in ourselves, in our nation, in our culture, or in our people.
Ultimately, our hope has to be in God; that God is willing and able to change the world and to usher in the world that you and I deep down long for…
One of peace and love and justice and mercy and unity and kindness and compassion and health. And that being said, the hope of the Christian is the kingdom of God.
The Bible teaches that we are two parts – material and immaterial, body and soul, and that we live presently as a unified person, body and soul.
When we die, our body goes in the ground and our soul, if we are Christians, goes to be with the Lord.
And what will happen is that there will be a day for Christian and non when our soul reunites with our body and we will resurrect just like Jesus did.
He rose from death, setting the pattern for our resurrection. Jesus spoke of this in John 5:25-26. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
John 5:27-28 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice
John 5:29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
The book of Revelation is broken into 2 scenes, There are heavenly scenes and there are earthly scenes.
Growing up in the late 1900’s, there was a huge, big, almost crazy like groups of people wondering trying to figure out when is Jesus coming back?
They focused almost exclusively on the earthly scenes.
And so they’re freaking out over the mark of the beast
And the Antichrist
And these people have canned goods and live in fear, and read Lamentations.
Those kind of people. They’re very scared.
In addition, there is, however, Heavenly scenes in Revelation and my point is that the Heavenly scenes are what should dominate our study and our understanding because the Heavenly scenes are about Jesus ruling and reigning over Heaven and earth.
And we shouldn’t be afraid of what is going to happen on earth, providing we understand the Heavenly scenes of Jesus ruling and reigning.
And so, the Heavenly scenes throughout Revelation show Jesus seated on a throne. I love this. This is one of my favorite images of Scripture.
It shows Jesus seated on a throne, ruling and reigning over Heaven and earth, over all creation, over all created things and beings.
The throne appears 45 times in the Book of Revelation.
It appears in 17 of the 22 chapters.
So, the throne is the centerpiece and who is seated on the throne?
What proceeds from the throne?
All truth. All judgment.
What proceeds to the throne?
All worship. All praise. All glory. All adoration.
Jesus is revealed throughout Revelation as the king.
And so, the book opens up saying this, Revelation 1:1 The Revelation or the unveiling of Jesus Christ.
The book isn’t primarily about the rapture or the mark of the beast or getting a bar code put on your wrist and they scan you at HEB.
It’s not primarily about those things.
It’s about Jesus Christ as the King of Kings, ruling over Heaven and earth.
That’s what it’s about. Revelation is about Jesus.
Now, proceeding forward, here’s the next question.
What is the sign of the kingdom?
If he is the king, how do you know that his kingdom is present?
And for a kingdom to exist, you need two things – a king and his place of rule.
Jesus is the king and he rules and reigns over all and the question then is, what is the sign of the kingdom?
How do you know that Jesus’ kingdom is present?
We’ll go through the whole Book of Revelation. Ready?
What I want to show you is this thread, this theme of worship that goes through the whole Book of Revelation; that the sign of the kingdom is the worship of Jesus.
Rev 4:10a.“The 24 elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.”
Rev. 4:10b-11 They cast their crowns before the throne saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory, honor, power, for you created’.
The first thing we see is the spiritual leaders leading by worshiping Jesus and whatever achievements a spiritual leader may have, ultimately, our goal should be to get before Jesus and one day take the crown off of our head.
“God, here’s what we did. Here’s what we accomplished. Here’s how it went” and take that crown off and just lay it at the feet of Jesus and say…
“Thank you, Jesus. Everything that was done was by your grace and for your glory and our joy.”
One day I get to kneel before Jesus. This will be amazing. And to take the crown off my head and just lay it at the feet of Jesus.
Anyone who’s met Jesus, anyone who’s grown in Jesus, anything by God’s grace we’ve been able to accomplish, any churches that have been planted, anything we’ve done that wasn’t bad…
I’d love to just take that crown with all of its jewels and just lay it at the feet of Jesus and worship him and say, “Thank you” and celebrate his grace.
The sign of the kingdom is gratitude. It’s enthusiasm. It’s passion. It’s joy. And it’s worship for Jesus. And it starts with the spiritual leaders, but it doesn’t end there.
Chapter 5. We won’t read every verse today. We’ll move quickly, but Chapter 5:11. Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.
You’ll notice now that the spiritual leaders go first and now others are joining them. Creatures and angels, the chorus around the throne of Jesus is growing.
By the time the book has culminated, there will be billions of people and angels and creatures around the throne. Seated on it will be Jesus and there will be a party unlike none other. And here, the crowd grows.
Rev. 5:12 In a loud voice they were saying:“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
Rev. 5:13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
They come forward like The Lion King.
Chapter 7:11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
Revelation 15:2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God
These are Christians who are there with Jesus. They’d been tempted to sin. They’d been opposed by Satan.
Their life has not been easy, but they have held true and they love Jesus. And Jesus is the one handing out the instruments.
verse 3, and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.
Verse 4, Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.
The throne of Jesus is just seeing this parade of people – Christians who love Jesus, spiritual leaders, elders and pastors, creatures, angels, gathering around honoring Jesus, singing to Jesus, praising Jesus, worshiping Jesus.
Chapter 19:1After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
Verse 2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.
Verse 3-4 And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.” The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!”
Verse 5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!
And then, there is a great meal.
Most western stories are told beginning, middle, end.
Your Bible is put together beginning, middle, beginning.
We looked in the first few chapters of Genesis, “That in the beginning was God.”
In the beginning, God made a garden.
In the end, God will have a new Garden in the new Jerusalem.
In the beginning, God had a tree of life and we were banished from it in sin.
In the end, God will bring the tree of life back.
In the beginning, we ate a meal without God. We ate it with Satan.
In the end, we eat a meal with Jesus.
The point is, beginning, middle, beginning; that we sinned and that sin has infected, affected everyone and everything.
And God, through the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus has conquered sin and death and in the end, everything will be restored to God’s original intentions and taken even further.
See, in the beginning, there was a serpent and in the end, he will be imprisoned forever.
And in the beginning, there was, after sin entered the world, a curse. And in the end, that curse was lifted.
Your Bible is a beginning, middle, beginning story.
Revelation 19:6. Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns.
Verse 7 Let us rejoice and exalt and give him glory for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready.
Verse 8 It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
History reaches its apex with the worship of Jesus and that Jesus, unbelievably, steps off his throne and the table is set and we eat a meal with him as friends.
It’s called the wedding supper of the Lamb.
And at that meal, the church is called collectively as a bride and Jesus is presented as a loving groom who has passionately pursued his bride.
And that the kingdom is typified like a wedding day and that the church, though she is not without sin, including our own, she wears white.
Jesus died to cleanse us from sin and in Jesus, we are clean.
You and I have this wonderful opportunity to sit at the table of Jesus.
Isaiah 25:6 says that, On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.
Jesus Christ has set a table for his friends. The kingdom commences with the king throwing a party to feed his friends.
This is unbelievable. I can’t prove it, but there’s a prophet called…
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
I wonder if it’s on that day, after we’ve worshiped and praised and celebrated Jesus with the multitudes, that he sets the table and we are seated as his friends.
I wonder if, at that moment, Jesus stands and sing. And we’ll just enjoy the presence of Jesus and be absolutely overwhelmed.
That moves us onto the next question.
What is the relationship between the kingdom – Jesus’ kingdom – and the other kingdoms?
Other nations? Other cultures?
Other religions? Other dictators?
Other people who have their own following and their own way of doing things?
Thats answered in Revelation You ready?
For some, your picture of Jesus is far too small.
You see him as humble, marginalized, Galilean, hippie peasant with open-toed sandals…
Okay, let me submit to you that Jesus DID come in humility.
He got off his throne, came into human history in humility. He died, rose, in our place, for our sins, ascended back into Heaven.
Today, he’s seated on a throne.
And if you were you to see Jesus today, you would not see a humble, marginalized, Galilean peasant.
You would see a King of Kings, Lord of Lords. You would see the same Jesus that Isaiah saw in…
Isaiah 6. He says, “I saw the Lord high and exalted, seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple. And around him were angels crying out day and night, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Heaven and earth are full of his glory’.”
It absolutely devastates me when Jesus is portrayed as just a teacher, a simpleton, a nice guy, a Zen philosopher, the feeder of those who are hungry or the encourager of those who are hurting.
All of that is for sure true, but if you don’t understand Jesus as God…
As king, as Lord, as enthroned
As ruling and reigning, as centerpiece of history,
As centerpiece of scripture,
Then you’ve missed everything about Jesus.
Revelation 19:11,I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.
You know, Jesus will never take a beating again. That was a one shot deal for salvation. That is not an ongoing job for Jesus to take a beating.
Verse 12-13 His eyes are like a flame of fire and on his head are many crowns. And he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
Verse 14 and the armies of Heaven arrayed in fine linen, white and pure were following him on white horses.
Verse 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations and he will rule them with an iron rod. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
Verse 16 On his robe and on his thigh it says King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Do you see this picture? Tattooed up. King of Kings, Lord of Lords, white robe, sword of his mouth, on a horse, riding in to open a can, all of the armies of Heaven with him.
Verse 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God’.
See, God’s people feast at the wedding supper of the Lamb. God’s enemies are feasted upon by the birds of the air.
Awesome. “That doesn’t seem very pacifistic.” I know.
Verse 18 To eat the flesh of the kings, the flesh of the captains, the flesh of the mighty men, the flesh of the horses and the riders and the flesh of all men, both free and slaved, both small and great.
Verse 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.
Some people are against Jesus. Some nations are against Jesus. Some kings are against Jesus. Some religions are against Jesus.
And in the end, when he shows up, they’re gonna wanna fight him and they will lose .
Verse 20 And the beast was captured and with it, the false prophet who, in its presence, had done the signs by which he had deceived those who had received the mark of the beast, counterfeit signs, wonders and miracles, and those who has worshiped its image. These, too, were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur
Verse 21 and the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was on the horse” – that’s Jesus – “and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.”
Jesus deals with other kingdoms by crushing them.
Today, now, we live like Jesus did during his first coming – humbly, lovingly, simply, coming to serve, to turn the other cheek, to bless those who harm us and persecute us, to pray for our enemies. That’s how we live.
But, I am telling you that, upon his second coming, he will not come as humble, marginalized peasant.
He will come as King of Kings and he will put to an end all other kings and kingdoms who are opposed to him.
There is coming a day of peace and justice.
Some say, “No, no, no. Jesus shouldn’t do that. He should bring peace.”
He does bring peace…by crushing his enemies.
That leads to the next question. What is the kingdom of Hell?
Many believe falsely that Satan rules over Hell and Jesus rules over Heaven.
Jesus’ kingdom is over all.
The Bible shows his throne over all, that includes Heaven and Hell.
When Jesus is called Lord and sovereign over all, that includes Hell.
Hell is not apart from God. Hell is part of God’s dominion. I’ll show it to you.
Chapter 20:7-8a, the final sentencing to hell. “And when the thousand years are ended” – I skipped the millennial kingdom, but there is a reigning spoken of in the verses preceding of 1,000 years by Jesus – “Satan will be released from his prison and he will come out to deceive the nations.”
You know what? Satan never repents. Even after being crushed. Even after being imprisoned for 1,000 years, he never repents. He never relents.
After 1,000 years in prison Satan says, “I want no part of you Jesus. I’m not gonna worship him. I’m not gonna bow.”
You need to see the patience of God here, giving Satan a thousand years.
Verse 8 “And he will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea.”
Even after a thousand year reign of Jesus in perfect peace and harmony, unity and love and blessing, as soon as Satan and demons and sinners are allowed, they just declare war on Jesus again.
These are not innocent victims.
Verse 10 “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown in the lake of fire” – that’s Hell – “the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were and they will be tormented day and night”, for how long? “Forever and ever.”
Hell is this – conscious, eternal torment forever and ever.
Verse 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
Verse 12 And I saw the dead, great and small” – here’s the resurrection, right? The soul goes back into the body and everyone stands before Jesus, white throne, the day of final judgment. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened.
Then another book was opened which is the Book of Life and the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to what they had done.”
You need to know this.
God is so just that even when he judges people at the end, they are sentenced to Hell with a punishment that fits the depth of sin in their life, meaning, the punishment always fit the crime.
You need to really consider the fact that there awaits you a final, conscious, eternal torment.
You need to think about that and you need to prepare for that day of judgment when you stand before Jesus.
And I know, in this culture and in this day, I’m not supposed to say that, but I can’t stand before Jesus and be condemned as a liar.
Hell is real. Judgment is real. Sin is real and we really need to consider that.
He goes on. Verse 13 – “And the sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death in Hades gave up the dead who were in them and they were judged, each one of them according to what they had done.
And death and Hades that’s the holding place for those who die right now and their souls do not go to be in blessing, but rather, in prison are held until the resurrection day when their soul reenters the body and they stand before Jesus .
Verse 14 -15 Then death and Hades were thrown in the lake of fire. This is the second of death, the lake of fire and if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown” – chucked, cast – “into the lake of fire.” Hell – that’s where you go.
Now, that leads to the next question. What are the primary objections to Hell?
Some of you would say, “If God sends people to Hell, that makes him cruel.”
Here’s the truth.
Hell is self-selected. Jesus welcomes anyone…
He is willing to embrace the worst of people, who have done the worst of deeds.
If anyone goes to Hell, that is self-selected.
People chose to go there.
You choose to rebel against God.
You choose not to love Jesus.
You choose not to repent.
You choose not to worship Him.
You choose not to change.
It doesn’t make God cruel.
It makes him, actually, very kind to allow you to choose what you want to do.
He allows you a choice today.
God’s not cruel. We’re just evil.
Number two, somebody will say, “Hell makes God intolerant.”
Many look at it as good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, but the Bible says that no one is good, we are all sinners by nature and by choice and it is only the saving grace of Jesus that gets us into heaven, it is a choice all of creation has.
Some say, “Hell makes God unloving.” That’s just, “God is love”, right? You know one verse.
“God is love and that’s not loving.”
A few things I would say…
First, God defines what love is because that’s what he is LOVE.
We don’t get to define love and then judge God by our definition of love.
Next, the love of God is demonstrated at the cross of Jesus.
Jesus went to the cross and there is God suffering and dying in our place, for our sins and the wrath of God is poured out on the Son of God and you know what?
We don’t need to experience the wrath of God.
We don’t need to be sentenced to Hell.
We don’t need to die and be separated from God.
God punishes himself to give us love. And if we reject that, there’s nothing left for us.
God is very loving. He’s very – he’s incredibly – more loving than you and more loving than me.
Last question – what is the kingdom of Heaven?
Revelation 21:1 – “Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more.”
No more division and separation between people. Here is the kingdom of Heaven.
It’s not just an immaterial soul going to live on a cloud and play a harp.
It’s a new earth.
When sin came into the earth, it effected creation.
Romans 8 says that creation is longing for liberation from the curse and the effects of sin.
Heaven is a physical life on a new earth, with new resurrected, glorified bodies, with everything that we enjoy, and there will be no sin, no death, no injustice and no evil,
How beautiful is that?
Verse 2 I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Verse 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with the people. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be their God.
Heaven is a new creation and God is with us and Heaven and earth come together and we’re with God, forever living in a perfect city.
Verse 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. (You’ve been abused. You’ve been abandoned. You’ve been betrayed. You’ve suffered. You’ve wept. Jesus is gonna be wiping tears from eyes.
There’ll be no more mourning, no more sin because he says there will be no more death.) And death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Verse 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’.” He also said – write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true “
Verse 6 And he said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty, I will give from the spring of water of life without repayment.
Verse 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Verse 8 But, as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death’.”
If you jump over to verse 22-23, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God, the Almighty and the Lamb.” – that’s Jesus. “The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives its light and the lamp is the Lamb.”
It’s always sunny in Heaven because the glory of Jesus bursts forth.
Verse 27 “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
Chapter 22, we’ll just read some Bible. Eden restored
Verse 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Verse 2 Through the middle of the street of the city, also on either side of the river, the tree of life with 12 kinds of fruit yielding its fruit each month, the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Verse 3-4 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Verse 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Verse 14 – “Blessed are those who wash their robes” – those of you who repent of sin, tell God you’re sorry and ask Jesus to forgive you – “so that they may have the right to eat of the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Verse 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Verse 16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.
Verse 17a The Spirit and the bride, the Holy Spirit and the church, say ‘Come’.”
This is love. This is tolerance. This is diversity. Everyone is welcome to come to Jesus.
Verse 17b And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
There’s enough grace for everyone to be satisfied. He closes with these words….
Verse 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
Verse 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Verse 20 -21 “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely, I am coming soon’.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.
In Genesis 1:1, we read, “In the beginning, God”; in the end, we read, “The Lord Jesus is that God” and the final word of the Bible is grace.
It’s grace. Unmerited favor. Undeserved love.
And as we wait to see him face to face, you need to understand that we are citizens of his kingdom. He is our king and how we live our life is for his glory.
It’s an act of worship, so that one day we might take off our crown and lay it at his feet.
We do money and sex and power and marriage and relationship differently because we do it out of love for our King.
And we do it for the day when we will see him face to face.
And we do it in the cultures of the earth to invite others to come and meet Jesus and have a new life that begins the moment that they meet him and continues forever.