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Kingdom Living for the World

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Kingdom Living for the World
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
2 June 2013
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Matthew 22:37-40
Luke 7:1-10
John 3:16
Galatians 1:1-12

Most Jewish people believe that the Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible were written for them and, similarly, most Christians believe that the whole Bible was written for them; however, they are only partially correct.
 
From the very beginning God’s message of kingdom living has always been for the whole world, and not just for certain people, but for all people to live in the heavenly will of God so they can protect the whole of creation (all other people,  all other animals, and the environment in which we all live) from harm.
 
We also need to remember what we are told in John 3:16 about why Jesus came to earth in bodily form.

16. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
NASB

Most people only think of this as saving believers from hell, but it really refers back to God’s creation intent of having us humans care for and protect the whole of creation; for only these children of God really live in the heavenly will of our Father and no longer contribute to the corruption of creation.
 
God loved what He created, and He wants all of us to protect it and help free it from its present corruption.
 
This is also why we question if most Christians are really saved, because we see the corrupt ways of the world reflected in their lifestyles, particularly when we see their indifference to the suffering of animals, and to those who care about them and don’t eat them.
 
When people are indifferent to the suffering of animals, it shows their hardness of heart.
 
People who are true believers have a soft heart that God can continually mold into the people he wants us to be.
 
In Luke 7:1-10, we see how Jesus applied kingdom living beyond the Jewish people to the whole world.

1. When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum.
 
2. There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die.
 
3. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.

This in itself is an act of faith by a non-Jew.

4. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this,
 
5. because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."
 
6. So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.
 
7. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.  
 
8. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
 
9. When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 

God had separated Israel from the people of the world so that they would become an example to the world of kingdom living, but they failed to follow God’s directions. They at least should have retained their faith in God, but they didn’t do that either.
 
This is why Jesus was so amazed that a Roman military officer would have more faith than the people of Israel.

10. Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
NIV

There is even more contained in this story:
 
Note specifically that we are told only that this Roman military officer was a friend of the Jewish people in the community, and nothing more.
 
He was not a Jew, and according to Jewish tradition, Jews were not to enter their homes, but Jesus was prepared to do just that, which shows us that this tradition was not in accordance with God’s heavenly will.
 
In Galatians 1:1-12, we see that Paul is also taking his ministry to a Roman province.

1. Paul, an apostle – sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead –
 
2. and all the brothers with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
 
3. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
 
4. who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
 
5. to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul realizes that God’s message of kingdom living is meant for the whole world, and not just for the Jews; thus he, a Jew, is writing to the people who are not in Israel.

6. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel –
 
7. which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

This goes back to why Paul wrote about being sent by God and not by humans, for some people are obviously leading the churches astray.
 
This is no different from what we see going on in most of the churches today.
 
When we hear of pastors and other church leaders promoting hunting and fishing ministries, or other functions that cause pain, suffering, and death, we know they are also leading their church astray, because they are promoting more corruption of creation, and not peace.
 
In addition, they are hardening the hearts of people instead of softening them, for in order for people to knowingly kill another living being, they must first harden their heart so as to become indifferent to the suffering of the victim and their desire to live the life that God gave them.
 
Paul does not tell us about the evil being taught, but he goes on and says:

8. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
 
9. As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
 
10. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
 
11. I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.
 
12. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
NIV

We need to understand that at this time there was only the Hebrew Bible, for the New Testament had not yet been written; but today we have it, and can easily see the ways in which Jesus is leading us back to kingdom living.
 
Today, we should all know that perfect love fulfills the whole of the Hebrew Bible, as Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40.

37. And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 
 
38. "This is the great and foremost commandment.
 
39. "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 
 
40. "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
NASB

This passage is telling us that if we love God this completely, we will naturally fulfill all the commandments and teachings in the entire Hebrew Bible, and we believe that we would also naturally fulfill all that Jesus teaches us in the New Testament.
 
Perfect love does no harm.
 
Perfect love is also kingdom living.
 
Perfect love is living in the heavenly will of God, which has no limits.
 
This is kingdom living for the world.
 
Amen.