Sermon:  The Rule of God (part 3)

1.  Saw last time God reestablishes his rule after man failed, still yet to come too
2.  If it has already come, what does it look like today?
3.  Problem:  	Concept of Kingdom has been colored by culture over the centuries
	a.  For instance, middle ages, saw our job to "expand" the kingdom
		-  Conquests were seen as expanding the kingdom
		-  That a notion from Christendom, Constantine paradigm
	b.  Jesus never speaks of us "expanding" the kingdom
		-  What God does:  God "gives" the kingdom - Lk 12:32; 
		-  What we do:  We receive & enter Lk 18:17,  or belong Mk 10:14
		-  Kingdom is a gift granted by God and a realm in which we live
		- God expands it, we participate in his reign
2.  Remember what the Kingdom is
	a.  Lk 17:20-21 - Reign of God is not here or there, but in you, not a 
	     institutional entity, but a people
	b.  Lk 11:20- If I cast out demons by finger of God, Reign come upon you
	c.  2 Pet 1:10-11 - Entrance to eternal kingdom will be abundantly supplied
	d.  Kingdom in the future or the present?  YES
		- Reign of God has already erupted into this world
		- Came with power when Jesus began an assault on evil in all its 
		   forms, whether demonized, sickness, oppression, sin, etc.
		- Full consummation not until the final trumpet sounds and the 
		   kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of 
		   his Christ and he will reign forever and ever - Rev 11:15 
4.  What is the nature of the Reign of God here and now?
	a.  It is not simply an institution
	b.  It is eschatological - Forward movement toward consummation
	c.  How do we characterize what that means?
	d.  (Matt 4:23-25)

I.  The Reign of God has a King
	A.  We pledge allegiance to the Lamb, the King
	B.  Do we understand what that means?
		1.  Some people confuse American citizenship with Christianity
			-  Jn 18:36 - Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this Realm"
		2.  Phil 3:20 - Our citizenship is in Heaven - Radical words
			a.  Paul did not identify himself as Roman, but as a Christian
			b.  Paul's identity was wrapped up in Christ, not civics
		3.  Our Kingdom identity trumps everything else
			a.  Acts 5:29 - We must obey God rather than men
			b.  We are Ambassadors sent as Kingdom people 
	C.   Ambassadors of Christ do not have an "American" agenda, but a 
	      Kingdom one
		1.  First and foremost in all my decisions is the mission of my king
		2.  As his subject, I do nothing that will conflict with his mission
		3.  Doesn't matter if it is my job, my political affiliation, my 
		     nationality, etc.
		4.  My ultimate identity is a Christian, My King identifies my agenda
	D.  Jesus is not president, not a congressman, mayor, etc.
		1.  Jesus is Lord, He is King -- we don’t vote, we obey
		2.  We pledge our allegiance to Him as our King
		3.  **Brings us to our next point…

II.  The Reign of God is revolutionary
	A.  The Reign of God is a radical challenge to the present order
	B.  Many words associated with the Reign of God are politically loaded
		1.  Examples:
			a.  King, Kingdom, Reign - Obvious this is politically loaded
			b.  Gospel (eu*aggeVlion; eu*aggeliVzw; rcb) - Official decrees or 
			      announcements of long hoped for fulfillment of peace.  
			           eg: announcement of birth of Augustus - brought new 
			           order, or age of peace (Pax Romana)  
			           O.T. - "Glad Tidings" reference to God establish era peace
			c. Announce, Herald, Preach (khruVssw; khruVx; khruVgma) 
			     Used of public, authoritative announcements (usually from a 
			     king or other ruling official).  Interesting choice of word for   
			     preach, since were other words not as politically loaded
			d.  Proclaiming "Gospel of the Kingdom" politically loaded
		2.  Means the Gospel of the Kingdom is engaged with here & now
			a.  Not just about religious rituals on Sunday or the hereafter
			b.  It is about Kingdom living in the here and now
		3.  Some misunderstood how this was to take shape
			a.  Jn 6:15 - Going to take him by force and make him King
				- Fed 5,000.  They would make a nice army
				- They were ready for a revolution
			b.  But Jesus never aligned with the Zealots
			c.  They had a worldly paradigm for Kingdom
		4.  So, how does this challenge the present structure?
			a.  Jesus redefines power, greatness, revolution, etc
			b.  (Mt 5) Blessed are poor in spirit - theirs is the Kingdom
			c.  (Phil 2:3-11) - Humbled then exalted
			d.  Jesus demonstrated a different kind of revolution
				- Jesus conquered, but not power as world defines it
	C.  ILL:  Operation Auca in the 1950's - Group of Missionaries to Equador
		1.  Nate Saint was pilot, son asked him if he would protect himself 
		     and shoot them if they attacked
			a.  Answer:  We can't shoot the Waodani, they are not ready 
			     for God, we are
			b.  Four men were speared to death by them at the river
			c.  Wives didn't give up, didn't retaliate, still reached out
		2.  The tribe was perplexed as to why these missionaries didn't 
		      shoot at them and why they never retaliated, or went home
			 -  Ambassadors of Christ do not kill those they are 
			     reaching out to
		3.  Eventually, one of the tribe, Kimo, breaks his spears and vowed 
		     never to kill again
			a.  He devoted himself to follow the man-maker's "carvings"
				(man-maker=God;  "carvings"= Bible)
			b.  Eventually, the tribe is converted, killings stop
				- When faced with enemy tribe, they said, "Even if you 
				   spear us, we will not spear you"
				- Their whole character changed
			c.  No longer "Auca" (savage) but their true name, "Waodani"
		4.  They now "brethren" of those who killed close family members
			a.  Steve Saint met the man who speared his Father
				- According to Waodani tradition, supposed to avenge
				- The man worried about this
			b.  Steve extends mercy to the man
				- "No one took my Father's life, he gave it"
	D.  This is the kind of Revolution Jesus brings
		1.  Jesus revolutionized revolution
		2.  Jesus topples the current order
		3.  Not a revolution of the sword, but the heart 
		4.  This is the Reign of God

III.  The Reign of God is an assault on evil
	A.  Not just spiritualize it away, it was a true practical revolution
	B.  (Matt 4:23-25) - Proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom - A new Order
		1.  In doing so, he launches an assault on evil in all its forms
			a.  Sickness, death, demonization
			b.  Also against oppression, arrogance, dehumanization
			c.  Ultimately against sin and evil in every form
		2.  Demonstrates the Kingdom is a challenge to current realities
			a.  Ethnic, political, social realities
			b.  The Rein of God transcends these things
			c.  If they are ungodly or oppressive, Reign challenges them
		3.  Reign of God is a city set on a Hill in the midst of the World
			a.  Turns the world upside down
			b.  Examples:
				- Return kindness for insults, forgiveness not revenge
				- Give things away to the poor to become rich
				- Greatest are least, bestow more honor on the least
				- Power is found in weakness, wisdom in foolishness
				- Master and Slave became brothers
				- Instead of hating enemies, you love enemies
			c.  In the Reign of God is an alternate reality - City on a Hill
		4.  (Mt 13:33) - Kingdom is like Leaven
			a.  Hidden away, leavens the whole lump
			b.  Changed from the inside out
			c.  Not by beating it up, but by inner transformation
	C.  ILL:  How kingdom people launched an assault of compassion
		1.  A group of people ministering to homeless in Denver
			a.  Provide a place for them to connect, shower, eat, etc.
			b.  Some say, "I like it here, treat me like real person"
		2.  Some involved in drugs, some in and out of trouble
		3.  Some change, become Christians, and begin to minister 
		     selflessly to others - The assault was winning
		4.  Many looking forward, they have hope
			a.  Reign of God is forward looking
			b.  Will not "fix" everything here
			c.  We do what we can as a witness to the heart of God
			d.  We offer a foretaste in the Reign here
			e.  Eventually Jesus will come and consummate his reign
	D.  We may not be able to launch an assault with miracles as Jesus did
		1.  But we have other resources, our possessions
		2.  We also have love and compassion
		3.  Greatest kind of assault is an assault of compassion and love
		4.  Greatest Revolution is the revolution of the heart - This is the 
		     Reign of God

1.  The Reign of God is a different order - not of this world, yet in this world
2.  If God has given you the Kingdom, you are a part of his "pilgrim" people
	a.  By "pilgrim" it means you are moving toward the consummation
		- Kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of his Christ
	b.  In the meantime, the we continue to live under the Reign of God
	c.  Kingdom concerns are what order your life
		- They will be upside down values
		- Different set of rules
		- Will reorder your life
	d.  Our allegiance is to the King, and we are his ambassadors
3.  We have been given resources to participate in his Reign
	a.  Since He is King, it all belongs to him
	b.  We participate in his Revolution of Hearts
	c.  We participate in his Assault on all forms of evil
4.  This is the Reign of God
	a.  Can we pray, "Your Kingdom Come?"
	b.  Yes, we can.  
	c.  It comes every time every time a person is "converted" and changed
	d.  This is the Reign of God