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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Gospel Of The Kingdom

This morning I want to talk about the gospel of the kingdom. Last night when we were coming home we were talking a little and one of the brothers mentioned a bible verse in Luke 16; it really went along with what I am thinking about. There is a whole passage here that all goes together, but I want to bring out one point from it.
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 

And then it says in vs 16 – and this is the point I want to bring out:

16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

A lot of people do not understand that we are not under the Jewish covenant. The bible says that the law and the prophets were until John. The law (Moses’ law) and the prophets (the men who instructed and came to warn the children of Israel to return to the law) they were until John and after John the kingdom of heaven is preached and men press into it. I think one of the things that is missing in today’s message of the gospel is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It is now! It’s not sometime in the future during the millennial reign or 1,000 year reign, the kingdom of heaven is now! And whenever the only hope that you are saved now is that someday you will be a part of the kingdom of heaven whenever Jesus comes back, you’ll miss it! The kingdom of heaven is now! That’s why the first words Jesus preached were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” When something is at hand, it’s right there. It’s not way off in the future a thousand years from now … it’s now. 
It just blessed me how that up until John the prophets and the law were preached, but now that is not our message anymore. Our message is the kingdom of God and we are to press into it. We are to get into it. The kingdom of God – the gospel of the kingdom of God – is not just something that we imagine or something that we pretend or just believe with our minds or even believe with our hearts. We can believe something very seriously; we can be thoroughly convinced of something and still not have it. There are a lot of people who do a lot of right things because they are convinced they are the right things, but whenever Jesus talked about his kingdom, he told us to get into it (his kingdom). We don’t make up our own kingdom; we don’t follow a denomination or a group or a church that’s not following the teachings of Christ. 
Last night when we were on the streets a woman asked us what denomination we were. We told her we were not a denomination. She said, “Well what group are you?” We said, “We are the church.” There is no denomination. There is only one church, and that church is only made up of people who have pressed in to the kingdom and are following the teachings of Christ and no other. It does not matter what kind of experience you’ve had or what kind of healing you’ve been involved in or what you’ve been healed from; even if you’ve turned away from your sins. If you are not pressed in to the kingdom, you are on the outside.

Let’s turn to Luke 6. These are the words of Jesus. Last night we talked until after midnight with some people who were following the teachings of Paul. They are following and teaching that if you do not understand what Paul taught, you cannot be saved. That is a lie. Paul did not come into this world to deliver us from our sin. I believe Paul, he is our brother and God used him, but if we get Paul ahead of Jesus, we miss it. We put glasses on our eyes that make things look completely different instead of taking those things off and seeing Jesus and then being able to look at Paul through Jesus. Jesus is our God! Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” He did not say, “Don’t worry about following. Just believe that you are a sinner and believe that Jesus died for you and you’ll be saved.” That’s not his message! He told us as much as anyone to follow Christ. If we believe that Christ is God, he is the one we need to hear. If we disregard what he says because we have some doctrine taken out of context by looking at what Paul said only through Paul’s teachings instead of Christ’s, then it clouds what Jesus taught. The gospel of the kingdom is what is to be preached. 
The bible says (in Titus) that Christ died so that we could be redeemed from all iniquity. That we could be redeemed from that iniquity; I want to bring out that point here when we start reading in Luke 6:

6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

A great multitude – a company of his disciples and a great multitude of people came out of all Judaea and Jerusalem. They came from everywhere! Everyone that heard about him and could get there came to hear about this man. And why did they come? The bible says they came to be healed of all their diseases. They came for some help. I think that is one thing that is very important and can be easily neglected – that Christ came into this world to heal people and to help people; to set people free from their sin. He came to deliver us from the bondage of Satan. He came too set us free from those things. But the mistake is, after you have been set free from those things, that does not make you a Christian. You may have had an encounter with Christ, but that does not make you a Christian. Paul was walking along the way when he saw a bright light and fell on his back. He could not see anything. He had an experience with God, but that did not make him a Christian. He became a Christian when he said, “Lord, what will you have me to DO?” What am I to do? That is when he yielded himself and started to be a disciple of Christ. It was not his experience that made him a Christian. It was not him turning away from being a Pharisee that made him a Christian. It wasn’t turning away from all his religious teachings and all the things that he had learned all of his life. That did not make him a Christian. He became a Christian when he began to follow the teachings of Christ. That is so simple, but yet it has become so muddled and cloudy in this world: the idea that you become a Christian whenever you have an experience or start going to church.

We talked to one girl the other night and she listened to us for a long time. She read the signs about divorce and remarriage and all the sudden her face lit up and she said, “I get it! It means that you are supposed to be married for life!!” And then she began reading all the other signs and tried to figure out what they said. “I get it! I get it!” She lived on the streets and had gotten robbed; they took everything she had so we helped her a little bit. Then last night we saw her again. I heard her telling some other people, “These Christians helped me when I needed help and I understand what they are doing! And this morning I woke up and I decided I’m going to be a Christian!” She was still smoking, still running around boys, still doing all those other things that she had been doing the night before. Was she a Christian because she said, “I’m going to be a Christian today,”? Did that make her a Christian? Did it? She had an experience. She said, ‘Everything is going to be wonderful today because now I know God is going to take care of me and everything that I do.’ But does that make her one?

We become a Christian when we have been set free from this world and then decide to follow Christ. Not just the Christ of our own imagination or the Christ of a denomination, but the Christ of the bible; the Christ that gives us instructions of how to be a Christian. If I’m going to be a plumber and I decide, “I’m going to be a plumber today!” and then you call me to fix your drain and I just make a big ole’ mess all over the floor because I don’t know what I’m doing, am I a plumber? No! I’m not a plumber until I’ve learned what a plumber does and have learned how to do it myself. Once I’ve studied and learned under someone of what it actually means to be a plumber, and then put that into practice – then I’m a plumber! That is not that difficult. Jesus’ disciples forsook everything and followed him. For three years they followed him. What were they doing? They were learning how to be a Christian the way Jesus was. They were learning. They had started on the journey and began putting into practice the teachings of Christ. That is when we believe. 
Jesus was preaching and his disciples were with him. A multitude of people came around him and said they wanted to be healed and he healed them. God is good! He will heal us! He will deliver us! He will save us from our bondages! But that does not make us a Christian!

6:18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed those who became Christians. No! It does not say that! He healed them all! God is good!! To the just, to the unjust. People can call on the Lord today and be healed even if they are living in the worst sin in the world, and He is good! People can call on the Lord and he will deliver them from something because he is good! That’s what it means when the bible says “God so loved the world that he gave his only son” His only son came into this wicked, corrupt world and he loved it and set us free! That does not mean that we become a disciple. You do not become a disciple because he loves you. God’s love is not on trial! He can love you more than anything that you can ever imagine, but if you stay outside of his realm, you are on the Devil’s territory and God cannot – will not – do anything but call you to come home. He has already given his Son and his son “healed them all.” I don’t know of a time in the bible where Jesus rejected anyone from being healed or being delivered from their sin. Blind eyes were opened. Deaf ears were opened. Dumb mouths could speak. Cripples could walk. He healed people.

6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Ok! He got their attention and healed them all … and then he began to preach to them. He began to bless some of them and curse some of them. He gave an outline; he drew a picture, of the kingdom of God and the people that are in it. He told them how this world would turn their backs on them and hate them just like they did Him. He gave us a glimpse of the kingdom of God in these words, and these words will stand. Heaven and earth will pass away, but these words will stand. We ought to pattern our lives after these words. Woe unto you that are rich! You have all you are going to get when you die. Woe unto you when men speak well of you! You have your reward – the applause of men.

6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Love your enemies and do good to those that hate you. I don’t know why that is so hard to understand. People who profess to be Christians and then when the government says to go kill your enemies, they sign up and go kill their enemies yet call themselves Christians. Jesus is the one who will determine who is a Christian or not. If you cannot justify your life by the teachings of the gospel of the kingdom, you are not a Christian either. We are not a Christian until this book (the bible) says we are a Christian. It’s not about your experience. I don’t care how much joy and peace you feel in your heart. If this book says something different, you are a liar and are deceiving yourself. You will be among those who say, “Lord, Lord, didn’t I call upon your name?” and he’ll say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” 
Jesus looks upon this world and recognizes those who are his. Why? Because they are doing the things that he said. They are following his teachings, and he recognizes that. Maybe you say a quote sometime or you think of an idea and tell it to a few people. Later on you hear someone that heard it telling it to someone else. You think, “Hey, I recognize that! I’m in agreement with that. That’s what I said!” That is the way Jesus will recognize his disciples. Those who follow him and put his ways into practice, he can spot that. And that is who he is looking for. 
6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

Those things are pretty easy to say, but when someone badmouths you, and I’m not talking about standing on the street and someone drives by and cusses at you, I’m talking about maybe someone in your family that badmouths you. It’s not as easy to take then, is it? Maybe one of the brethren says something bad about you. Boy, it just makes the hairs stand up on your head when you hear someone has said something bad about you, doesn’t it? That is when it counts. Whenever those that love you tell you something and you do not like what they say, they might even be saying something bad about you. It’s wrong. It’s wrong for them to be doing that, but what are you going to do about it? Set it straight? Get ahold of them and tell them what’s right? Or are you going to bless them? 
We are so quick to want to correct everybody. We just want to set everything right. But a disciple does what Jesus would have done. Do you think Jesus had to fix everything bad that others said about him? No. He just kept his mouth shut and went right on. I think that is what causes more problems in churches – whenever people start saying bad things about other people and then the person hears about it and has to go set it straight and defend himself. That causes a battle. Do like Christ did. Do like Jesus taught. We don’t have to correct everything! I have a big enough cross of my own! I don’t have to try and fix every little problem that everyone else has, I have a big enough cross of my own! And whenever I diligently take up my cross, deny myself, and follow Christ, then I’m an example.

You know the bible says in 1 Peter 3 that a woman by her meek and quiet, holy conversation will win her husband without words. Without words. You know what that means? I’ll put it in really simple English: shut up and live holy. Keep your mouth shut and follow Christ. That will do more than all your words of preaching will ever do. Follow Christ. Jesus said that we are going to give an account of the words that have come out of our mouths; if we should have kept quiet when we opened our mouths, that is what we are going to be judged by. Men, you have an obligation to preach. You do have an obligation to tell people, but if they cannot tell what you are doing by the way you are living, keep your mouth shut. It is disciples who are putting in to practice the teachings of Jesus that are Christians.

6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

It’s getting a little harder, isn’t it? If someone takes something away from you, hunt him down and take it back, right? No. Ask them if they need something else and give it to them. I think if people followed this and the next few verses, it would settle most covetous problems. Covetousness is not because you have something. Covetousness is what you are doing with what you have. 
6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

You know if we lived that our money would not be so hard to let go of. It would not get such deep roots in our lives. The problem with money is, once you get some you want to keep it. That is the heart of covetousness. And Jesus has the perfect answer to that: if someone comes along and needs something, give it to them. I think that’s what it means. In John Jesus talked about how if you see a brother that is hungry and cold, feed them and warm them. Don’t just say “be warmed and filled” – give it to them! Whenever we help everyone in their needs (and I think this is talking about needs) and freely give to the people who ask us, that is when we are obeying this teaching. Sometimes when someone asks for something some are tempted to say, “Well, what are you going to do with it?” You know when someone asks us for something, if they say they are hungry and we give them some money and they take that out and buy beer with it, we have done what we were supposed to do and what they do with it is on them. Jesus did not say to quiz them and see what they are going to do with it. He said if they ask, give. 
Sometimes we just don’t want to give it because we don’t want to be without it. And if we have to wait till every situation is just perfect before we give, we will not end up giving very much. But if someone asks, just give! What is it? It’s a piece of paper! And people put value on that piece of paper. That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God. In the Didache (the early Christian writings) it says, “Let your money burn in your hand.” You know when I first read that under the teachings I was under, I thought it meant to hold on to it till you see the perfect cause to give it to. I look at it a little different now. If something is in your hand burning, what do you want to do with it? You want to get rid of it. So if that money is in your hand, you better consider like it is on fire! John Wesley [basically] said, ‘If I have more than 10 pounds on me when I die, consider me a liar of everything that I’ve taught.’ And he did not want to be caught with anything more than that. 
6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

If we would live this way, we could be a disciple of Jesus. Consider what you do when you are around other people. Is what you do causing other people problems? Consider one another! Do you like to have someone that is obnoxious bothering you all the time? Do you like that? Then don’t be that way! Do you like someone taking advantage of you all the time? Don’t be that way. Be generous. Be kind. Be affectionate one towards another. You be like you would want someone else to be to you. And you know when people start acting that way, instead of having a bunch of takers everyone is giving. Instead of having a bunch of obnoxious people, everyone is kind and generous. Do you know how hard a person like that is to get along with? Not hard at all! Now if there is someone else obnoxious or hard to get along with or contrary or whatever, learn to be patient with them. Learn to love them. The church is made up of people with weaknesses – if it weren’t, we’d all get as soft as marshmallows. If we think we are strong yet are not able to tolerate the weaknesses of others like the bible commands, then we, the ‘strong’, are pretty weak.

6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

Do you want to be perfect? You know, that word is so misconceived. We think of perfect as some little statue or robot that never makes a mistake, but that is not what he is talking about. We live. We are of flesh and blood. God created us as humans and we are not perfect in the same sense the world thinks of perfectness. But when our judgments and our actions are centered on these things (whenever we are merciful, forgiving, giving, etc.) and our attitude is not to tear down good; if our heart is to be merciful and kind and generous and faithful, then we are perfect in God’s eyes because he has his stamp upon us. “The disciple is not above his master: but everyone that is perfect shall be as his master.” Is the goal of your life to be as your master? He reproved sin. He preached about wrong and told people to press into the kingdom of God. We should do the same. But when we do it, we should do it not by being exalted above them. That’s what they already think about us because we are living holy and doing differently than they. They already think we are looking at people and saying, “Oh, I’m more righteous than you are and you are just going to be lost because you are not doing things my way.” But that is not what he is talking about. What we are called to do is be perfect, live righteous, live holy, and call others into that way of life; call others into the kingdom of heaven. We have to show them what it is. 
6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

What’s in our heart will come out. If we have faith that Jesus is who he said he was, we will hear his teachings and put them in to practice. That is the gospel. That is when we truly believe Christ. When we believe him, we will do what he asks us to do. And in verse 46 – right here is what determines who is a Christian and who is not. We do not become Christians because we’ve had an encounter with God. We become Christians because we have put into practice his teachings. That is the gospel. That is very, very difficult to understand for those who have been taught that all they have to do is meet Jesus and begin a ‘personal relationship’ with him. That is not said anywhere in the bible. Nowhere. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is our king. Jesus is the one who died for us, and he said, (vs 46) “Why would you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?” If we would just examine ourselves under that verse: Why would you call me Lord and you don’t do what I tell you to do? We shudder at the idea of having a king or a lord. In America we do not know what it means to have a lord or a king over us. A lord was obeyed or you died. If you went against the king in a kingdom, you were either killed or driven out into the forest to hide. And if you had a different king other than the king that was reigning, that king would think you were a traitor. That is the kingdom of God – whenever our king, who is not on the throne here in this world and we’ve rebelled against this world, this world will seek us out as traitors. They won’t understand; they crucified Christ. Whenever you have a king or a lord, you seek to please him and you live your life to please him. You search out everything you can about what he said and his laws and rules and you give your life to those things and follow them and put them into practice. 
Does everyone that you do good to become a Christian? Does everyone that you meet become a Christian? Does everyone that you live with day to day become a Christian? Does everyone that you have a personal relationship with become a Christian? Hopefully some might, but a relationship, a fellowship, someone you do good to, someone you meet … they are not Christians. Just like with Jesus. Jesus walked on the earth, he met people, he had relationships with them, he had fellowships. His own mother, whenever he was teaching the kingdom, thought he had gone crazy! She went out knocking on the door and said, ‘tell him his family is out here’. Jesus looked around and said, ‘my friends and my family are those who hear what I am saying and do it.’ He had a personal relationship with Mary at that time, but that did not count for being a Christian or a disciple. He said those who have a relationship with him are those who hear his words and do them. 
We cannot know anything about anyone until we know what they are, what they live, what they love, what they hate – and then if we will submit to them and allow them to be our lord, we pattern our lives after that. Everyone that is a disciple seeks to be like he is. He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. He was tempted and tried but he kept getting back up and kept following. That is what a disciple is. Christ has a road and a path. He is the way. As long as we stay on that way and follow him, we are a Christian and not anything else besides that. All of these other things – men were healed, men were delivered, eyes were opened, but that does not make them a Christian. We need to make that very clear: a Christian is one who follows Jesus. 
“Why do you call me Lord and do not the things that I say?” He couldn’t understand that. He gave that as a question. Why are these people saying that they love God but they ignore his teachings? Why are these people doing all kinds of religious things, saying that God was their Lord, God was king, God was over all, but they do not do what he says? That is the gospel, and that is just as much living by faith as anything in the world. In fact, to truly believe something, it takes faith. It takes faith to believe that what He said is what he wanted and expected.

This world has divorced Jesus’ teachings from Jesus and has become the system of the anti-Christ. Anything that is against God is anti-Christ. Religion has taken on the role of the anti-Christ – calling Jesus Lord and not doing what he said. This is the gospel. You know, if this evangelical teaching of just pretending that Jesus died and saved you from your sin were just a small little group somewhere, what do you think would happen with that little group? People would think that was the biggest heresy in the world. But because it is world-wide, it is highly esteemed among men and it is an abomination in God’s eyes. Those teachings that the world is teaching: that you just be a Christian (without obeying and follow Jesus) and go out and preach to people and go do things – that is not what Jesus taught. Jesus taught us to be righteous and holy and live for him and follow his teachings. 

- David Keeling, 10-21-12 


  1. I agree on this post, what i do not understand is How come like I got into a talk about us covering,and one person said I needed to pray because NO one covers any more,since this is our century, I said we are in GODS century,it is still all about God.
    Some are blinded ,and do not think so ,and do not think we have to live by Gods rules,but we NEED to, that is why most of the world is LOST, they think all because jesus is no longer on earth in body that the scripture does not need to be obeyed, but they I feel are the LOST ones.
    Oh they say they believe in the Bible but to me it is like they believe in hat they want to ,and Not ALL of it...
    Joanne e-mail me ,and I can tell you more of what that person,and i was talking about.
    I was being I feel attacked But GOD was by my side,and i spoke what I feel I needed to ,and should of. :)

  2. What a blessing to know and live the Way.
    Thanks for sharing this, Joanne.
    God bless you.

  3. Dear Joann:
    My dad had a comment for you as well. He is using my name, in case you were curious.

    Dear Joann,
    My daughter and wife were reading your blog and alarmed at some of your statements. You state that in your blog with the title The Gospel of the Kingdom that “We become Christians because we have put into practice his teachings. That is the gospel.” Do you mean that obedience to the commands of the Christ makes one a Christian? How does this square with Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law will no flesh be justified in his sight ….” This is also confirmed in Isaiah 64:6 where God likens our very best efforts to justify ourselves before him as filthy rags. According to the Bible, the gospel message is that our sin has made us enemies of God, but God provided a way to be reconciled back to him. It is only by believing in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection from the dead as God’s payment for our sin. It is when we believe this by faith that God imputes to our account Christ’s righteousness in place of our sinful unrighteousness. With regards to obedience to Christ’s commands, yes we are to be obedient. It is our duty as a love offering to our Savior. But I remind you what Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailor when he asked them how to be saved. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ was their answer. He did not tell them to obey, or put into practice Christ’s teachings. Believing means to trust only in his finished, perfect work, on our behalf. That jailor did not have Christ’s words as recorded in the gospels or the other New Testament epistles, these few words are all he had! It was sufficient then and has to still sufficient today! I write this hoping you will see that your “good works”, while they may be many, will not earn you favor with God with regards to being saved or keeping yourself saved, and I hope you will not continue to tell others to the contrary.
    Ron Hopkins

  4. Dear Ron - First, just letting you know that I am going to respond to your daughter's comment on the other post separately, on that post. ( )

    Real faith obeys. Thanks for the theology lesson, but I will continue to believe Jesus.

    Filthy Rags? …

  5. Dear Joann,
    Thank you for your response and for being willing to publish my post. My intent was not to give you "a theology lesson", but rather I do have a genuine concern for you. The gospel is the most precious thing I know of and I feel very compelled, as do you, to protect and uphold it. I know we differ in our understandings, but I do not doubt your love for Christ nor you commitment. And as for Isaiah 64:6, I did not say we could not have good works, in fact we must, but they can not appease God's wrath towards us, only Christ's blood can. Paul addresses adding works (obedience to the law) to the gospel in his letter to the Galations, and anyone who does such a thing is accursed. Your response was such that I feel you felt I was condescending to you. That was not my intent, but rather only for you to compare what you are stating to what the Bible teaches when it talks about salvation. It is always "believe" and nothing else.

  6. Ron - your idea of believe is much different than my idea of believe: you believe Jesus died on the cross; I believe Jesus.

    David Keeling is the one who preached the message that I shared in this post. You are welcome to call and speak to him if you would like. 4I7 693 I358


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