OceanSide church of Christ
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CHRIST’S KINGDOM IS ESTABLISHED
Victor M. Eskew
A. The church is one of the most misunderstood Bible topics.
1. We are told that the church is not important.
2. We are told that one church is just as good as another church.
3. We are told that the church has nothing to do with salvation.
B. We are also told that the church and the kingdom are not the same thing.
1. The Premillennialists are the ones who propagate this doctrine.
2. Their teaching is as follows:
a. Jesus came to earth the first time to establish an earthly kingdom.
b. The Jews rejected both the Christ and His kingdom.
c. The kingdom, therefore, was postponed and the church was established as a temporary expedient in the plan of God.
d. When Jesus returns, He will establish His kingdom and rule from Jerusalem upon the throne of David for 1000 years.
C. Note that they say the kingdom has not been established.
1. The title of our lesson is: “Christ’s Kingdom Is Established.”
2. This is another lesson that reminds us of our theme for the year: “Make Christ Your King in 2013.”
I. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND
A. In the early part of the first century, inspired men were announcing to the world: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
1. John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-2)
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
2. Jesus (Matt. 4:17)
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3. The apostles (Matt. 10:7)
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
B. The definition of “at hand”
1. Strong (1448): to make near, that is, (reflexively) approach
2. Thayer: to bring near, to draw or come near, be (come, draw) nigh
C. Did these inspired men get it wrong? Were they mistaken? Remember, one of these was none other than Jesus Christ Himself.
1. The Premillennialists must say: “Yes, these inspired men were wrong.” Somehow, even Jesus, did not know that the Jews would reject Him and His kingdom.
2. My friends, this is a direct assault upon deity in two ways.
a. It says that divine knowledge did not know the Jews would reject the kingdom.
b. It says that divine power could not stop the Jews from postponing the kingdom.
II. THE KINGDOM HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED
A. Four verses prove the kingdom is now in existence.
1. Jesus said the kingdom would come with power in the days of some of those who were living in the first century (Mark 9:1).
And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
a. The kingdom would come in the days of some of those living back then. If it did not,
1) There are either some very old people on the earth, or,
2) Jesus did not speak the truth.
b. Jesus said the kingdom would come with power.
2. Jesus taught His disciples that the power would come when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8).
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the utter-most part of the earth.
a. The kingdom would come with power.
b. The power would come when the Holy Ghost came.
c. Question: Do we know when the Holy Spirit came?
3. The Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost following our Lord’s resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God (Acts 2:1-4).
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
a. The Holy Spirit came.
b. It is evident that the power came because the apostles began to speak in tongues.
c. If the power came, the kingdom also came. Did it come?
4. In Colossians 1:13, Paul told the Colossians that they had been delivered out of the power of darkness and had been translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
a. It is hard to put someone into something that does not exist.
b. Paul said that the kingdom did exist. He said the Colossians were in it.
c. It was established on Pentecost with power just as Jesus Christ said it would be.
B. When one understands that the church and the kingdom are one and the same, the picture becomes clear.
1. The kingdom is just a figure for the church that helps us to understand something of the nature of the church.
2. In Acts 2, the church clearly came into existence on Pentecost day when individuals obeyed the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:47).
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
III. IF THE KINGDOM HAS NOT BE ESTABLISHED
A. The kingdom parables do not make sense.
1. Jesus spoke many parables preparing individuals for coming events.
a. One group of parables is called the kingdom parables. They begin with words such as: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto…”
b. If the kingdom has not been established, these parables do not make sense at all.
2. Example: Seven parables about the kingdom in Matthew 13.
a. Wheat and tares (Matt. 13:24)
b. Mustard seed (Matt 13:33)
c. Leaven (Matt. 13:35)
d. Hidden treasure (Matt. 13:44)
e. Pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45)
f. Drag net (Matt. 13:47)
g. Householder (Matt. 13:52)
3. If these involve a future kingdom as taught by the Premillennialists, their message makes no sense.
a. The kingdom will be so exposed that there is no way for it to be a hidden treasure or a pearl of great price that one finds.
b. The kingdom will overthrow all nations and subject them. It will not involve a growth like a mustard seed or leaven in meal.
B. There are other verses that make no sense if the kingdom does not presently exist.
1. Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
a. How does one seek something that is not in existence?
b. If the kingdom is future, this promise cannot apply at the present time.
2. Matthew 16:19
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
a. Peter was given a promise about his role in the kingdom.
b. If the kingdom was not established at any time during Peter’s lifetime, how could he use the keys the Lord gave him to open the kingdom?
c. If the kingdom is the church, the promise was fulfilled.
1) Peter opened the doors of the kingdom, the church, to the Jews on Pentecost Day (Acts 2:22, 37).
2) Peter also opened the doors of the kingdom, the church, to the Gentiles (Acts 10:21-23).
3. Matthew 21:43
Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
a. If the kingdom is future, there are problems with this verse.
1) Premillennialism teaches that the kingdom Jesus will come to establish will be a revitalization of Judaism and all of its components.
2) If such is the case, how will the kingdom be taken from the Jews and given to another nation?
b. If the kingdom is the church, this makes perfect sense.
1) Christianity involves a spiritual kingdom instead of a physical kingdom (John 18:36).
2) The Jews for the most part rejected this kingdom. The apostles and others then turned to the Gentiles and gave the kingdom to them (Acts 13:46).
4. Matthew 26:29
But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
a. If the kingdom is future, then the Lord will not partake of it until that time.
b. Presently, however, we are partaking of it and will do so until He comes again (I Cor. 11:26).
c. In essence, we are partaking of the Lord’s Supper without the Christ and when He comes, He will partake of it without us. That is, if the Premillennialists are right.
5. I Corinthians 5:22-24
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.
a. The future kingdom advocates tell us that when Jesus returns He will establish His kingdom.
b. Paul tells us just the opposite. When Jesus comes and resurrects the dead, He will deliver the kingdom back to the Father.
1) This means that the kingdom must presently be in existence.
2) Look at I Corinthians 15:26-27.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
a) Jesus is reigning in His kingdom now.
b) He will do so until He returns and death is destroyed by the resurrection.
A. The kingdom of God has been established and is in existence right now.
1. The Scriptures teach this.
2. If it does not exist, many passages of the Bible cannot be properly understood.
B. All can be members of this kingdom by means of the new birth (John 3:3, 5).