Restoring God’s Heavenly Kingdom
A Sermon Delivered to
12 May 2013
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
This is Mother’s Day, and since we are also looking at ways of restoring God’s heavenly kingdom here on earth, it would be appropriate to look beyond our own mothers to “Mother Earth” or more correctly, the whole of God’s creation.
For it is only when we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s perfect love and compassion, that we can truly honor our own mothers and the whole of God’s creation.
The Bible, as we know it today, was compiled nearly 2,000 years ago, when the world functioned much differently than it does these days, particularly when it comes to technology.
Therefore, when we read Bible passages we must be able to apply the Biblical truths to the world today without changing their meaning and intent. This is how we can begin restoring God’s heavenly kingdom.
As an example, let’s take a look at Acts 1:6-11.
6. And so when they had come together, they were asking Him [Jesus, after his resurrection], saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
Common sense tells us that the answer to this question is a resounding “NO!”, for the world is still very corrupt and filled with violence against both humans and other animals, and there are no signs that the kingdom of God has been restored to any nation, including Israel; though, there are some glimpses of it, it we look with a loving and compassionate heart.
Thus, we need to listen and understand the way that Jesus answered the question.
7. He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
So anytime you hear someone say that they know when this will happen, you know that he or she is a false prophet, and that we shouldn’t believe anything they say.
We also know that until the time of God’s restoration, the world will still have corruption in it, for the devil and his minions will still be active; thus, we must take a stand against such evil, and not contribute to it.
8. but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
This is the role we are to play today, for true believers have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to live a kingdom life, free of violence and corruption, here on earth as a witness to the world around us.
9. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them;
11. and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Jesus left the earth in peace and He will return to restore lasting peace as it is in heaven by removing the last remnants of the devil and his minions.
But until that day, we are to be working on restoring as much of God’s heavenly kingdom here on earth as we possibly can, and to take a firm but peaceful stand against all those who continue to contribute to the corruption of the earth, whether to our fellow human beings, or the other animals, or to the environment in which we all live.
We are to be God’s witnesses against all who continue to kill and destroy any part of His beautiful creation.
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at another passage, Acts 16:16-34, and see how these truths apply to us today.
16. And it happened that as we [Paul and Silas] were going to the place of prayer, a certain slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortunetelling.
17. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”
It sure sounds like she is telling the truth, doesn’t it?
18. And she continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
Paul was annoyed because he knew the source of what the girl was saying. It was coming from the devil, who is totally opposed to having God’s heavenly will done here on earth as it is in heaven.
And, each and every one of us runs into people like this every day, and we hope and pray we recognize them for who they are.
These are the people who continue to promote ungodly and violent ways that have corrupted the world for thousands of years.
With God there is no compromise, no middle ground, and no fence walking; we are either for God or against God, which is exactly what He told the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16.
15. ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.
16. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
In other words, Jesus will vomit them out, because they are so disgusting to Him.
In recent days we’ve been hearing about a large animal welfare group that has joined together with the egg producers to introduce a bill that would keep chickens in their torturous cages all their adult lives, but give them a little more space.
This action is a compromise between human beings over the lives and wellbeing of chickens, and humans don’t have the right to compromise the lives of other living beings. To do so is to make a deal with the devil.
We have never heard of truly Godly people, or human and animal advocates, working for better cage conditions for animals, nor working for fewer beatings of animals and humans; instead they demand that the cages and abuse be ended…period.
There can never be a Godly compromise when it comes to the suffering of others, whether they are human beings or other animals.
We are to be God’s peacemaking children, who work to free the whole of creation from its present corruption.
But as we know, few people really listen to God, and they act much like the people who Paul and Silas encountered.
19. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities,
Remember that this is no different than taking a stand against animal farming and being vegan, for this also takes money out of the cruel people’s pockets.
20. and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews,
Notice that in their devious nature, they never mention their loss of money. They hide the real issue.
21. and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”
22. And the crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them, and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods.
23. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;
24. and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison, and fastened their feet in the stocks.
This is also the way our society treats farmed animals today.
Even after two thousand years, we haven’t learned to live as Jesus taught us to live.
However, Paul and Silas, who can speak for themselves, unlike the animals, continued to make their Godly message be heard.
25. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;
When we consistently live in God’s heavenly will, people do hear what we say, and see what we do, even if they don’t acknowledge it.
26. and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
27. And when the jailer had been roused out of sleep and had seen the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
When people live ungodly and violent lives, they most often think of violent ways to resolve their problems.
28. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!”
29. And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas,
30. and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31. And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”
32. And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.
33. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.
34. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
The truths that are told in this story were not just for that time; they are for today, too.
And it’s our job to apply this Christian witness to the world around us.
It’s more than telling people that they must be saved; it’s lovingly setting the example of how people can change their lives into being true children of God.
Every week we hear from people who tell us that our ministry has restored their faith, and/or that they have become vegan, and thus no longer contributing to the corruption of this world.
They are now an active part of restoring God’s heavenly kingdom, just as we all should be.
Happy Mother’s Day!