Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

Kingdom of Heaven #1

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Sermon – Kingdom of Heaven

(#1 of the Kingdom of God series)


Scripture readingColossians 1:12–14: “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”


According to this text God has done 4 major things to make us true followers of Jesus:


1)      He has qualified us to be partakers of heavenly inheritance in light


2)      He has delivered us from the power of darkness


3)      Translated us into Christ’s kingdom of His love


4)      He has redeemed us through Christ’s shed blood (life)


Today I would like to focus on our experiencing the transition from point #2 to point #3. We have been translated from one reality to another – from the reality of living under the power of darkness to the reality of living under the reign of love and grace.


In 1 John 5:19 (NKJV) apostle John puts it this way: We know we are of God and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”


(In verse 18 he points out that “being of God” applies to those “born of God” believers.)


John the Baptist proclaimed that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” – Matthew 3:1.2:


“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”


Jesus carried similar message – Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (has drawn near)’.”


But Jesus went one step further:


Luke 11:20: “And if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”


Jesus commits the same message to His disciples – Luke 10:9: “And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, ‘the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you’.”


Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.”


Friend when the “kingdom of God message” is presented to you, do you press your way into it? Is that your priority to enter it?


Not everybody does. Many fight against it and some violently – Matthew 11:12:


Kingdom of God suffers violence from the days of John the Baptist and violent take it by force.”


Persecution and violence seems to be the lot of all who carry the message to others and/or are part of “the kingdom of grace”, the kingdom of the Son of His Father’s love.


Luke 17:20.21:  “Now when he was asked of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God does not come with observation: Nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or, ‘See there!’, ‘For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you’. (in your midst)


What is this kingdom of which John the Baptist, Jesus and apostles preached, spoke and wrote? NT speaks about it more than 100 times.


Jesus spoke about the future “kingdom of glory” to be entered into at His 2nd coming. But He mainly taught about entering His present kingdom in His time and from that time on.


Some call it “Christ’s kingdom of grace” or “Christ’s spiritual kingdom”.


In Colossians 1:13.14 Paul says that we have already been delivered from the power of darkness and have been translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”


We have our citizenship changed from the kingdom of darkness and its power to the kingdom of the Son – Jesus Christ, kingdom of His love, power, grace and truth.


We were redeemed and transferred from the life of unbelief, rebellion, self-serving, pride and disobedience to a life of faith, loyalty, humility, obedience and God’s service.


How? – Very simply: by accepting Jesus and His message and responding to it.


Religious and moral Nicodemus didn’t understand it and Jesus explained to him how it must take place in John chapter 3.


Through new birth by God’s Holy Spirit while looking in faith at Christ dying for our sins. It melts the heart, leads to repentance, faith and surrender and submission to Jesus.


This is where new birth takes place. Without it no one can enter the reality of Christ’s kingdom of grace.


Old man/woman “dies”, new one is “born”, we are delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13.14) Kingdom of grace with all it involves – and it involves a completely new life experience!


So how do we enter into this “kingdom”? Not by joining “the kingdom hall” as some good meaning folk would want you believe!


There are 3 steps:


1)      Believe and accept Christ’s death for you – we call it “justification by faith”, we are forgiven, cleared of our guilt and sins, reconciled to God and counted righteous to be brought into relationship with God through Jesus


2)      By looking in faith to Jesus dying on the cross for you and me we are “born again” (spiritual transformation, implantation of a “new nature” takes place). Now we are enabled to have relationship with God and start in our spiritual growth


3)      We enter in only through JesusJohn 10:7–9: “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”


There are no other doors, no other entries! Once you hear the message under Spirit’s conviction and understand it you’ll have to make a choice.


Dear friend don’t fool your-self! Not making a choice is a choice!


Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations and then the end will come.”


Jesus is extending His invitation to everybody to become a part of His kingdom.


Kingdom (Greek basileia) = royalty, rule, a realm


Gospel invites us to be translated into Christ’s kingdom; the rule and realm of love, grace and truth.


In His kingdom are different spiritual sets of principles and rules then those in society.


Religious Nicodemus in his natural state could not enter or even see (understand) it.


Jesus told him that he MUST be BORN again, BORN of the Spirit and the water.


He had to be cleansed and then transformed to experience the reality of new life!


This way only, both him and us can enter into the spiritual realms of Christ’s Lordship of Divine love.

In this kingdom of grace there are different principles at work:


-         God’s free grace does the saving and changing

-         God’s love is the motive and rule of action

-         Faith is ours to respond and exercise

-         Holy Spirit and God’s word are the agents of change and growth changing our tastes, desires, thoughts and feelings (fruit of the Spirit)

-         We’ll live by every word, promise and command that proceed from God’s mouth

-         We become part of God’s spiritual family

-         We live not by our resources and strength

-         We have a new focus, purpose and mission in life

-         We become God’s servants

-         John 10:10 – “Jesus gives us a new life that is more abundant”.


We become citizens of a complete new order, not the “new world order” you hear politicians talking about!


This is what the apostle Paul wrote to Christians of Colossae:


Colossians 1:12–14: “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”


Dear friend, are you sure that you have entered into Christ’s kingdom of grace and love?


Are you firmly at home in this new reality or are you still trying to live in both worlds (which is impossible)?


Where is your true “citizenship”? It is where your heart is!


Does your heart and life belong to Christ fully? Be honest with yourselves, examine often your spiritual estate!


2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that (or whether) Jesus Christ is in you? – Unless indeed you are disqualified.”


Let’s pray…


(In several next studies we will look at some of Christ’s “parables of the kingdom” and teachings through which He explained how to live as citizens of His kingdom and how this kingdom is extended to others.)