The Holy Spirit in Us: Living in the Kingdom of God Now

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our series, “The Kingdom of God.” This first two weeks of the series I explored the theme of the kingdom of God through the Old Testament and New Testament. This week , I walked through three main aspects of living in the kingdom of God: personally living in the kingdom, living as the community of God in the kingdom, and joining God’s kingdom work in the world.

You can view the message video and outline for the message is below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, 
but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’” (Romans 14:17)

I: Life in God’s Kingdom by the Spirit

  • Life in the Spirit (Romans 14:17-18)
  • The surprisingly blessed life  (Matthew 5:2-12)
  • The obedient and fruitful life (Galatians 5:13-26)

We: Life Together in God’s Kingdom by the Spirit

  • The community that takes on Christ’s kingly character (Ephesians 4:14-16)
  • The community that takes on Christ’s servant character (Philippians 2:1-11)

They: Kingdom Mission with the Spirit

  • Word: The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)
  • Deed: The Great Commandment  (Matthew 22:34-40)

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the theme of living in the kingdom of God in one or more of the following ways:

Jesus is Lord: Tracing the Kingdom of God in the New Testament

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our series, “The Kingdom of God.” This first weekend I explored the theme of the kingdom of God through the Old Testament, and this week I took a similar journey through the New Testament.

You can view the message video and outline for the message is below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15)

Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom (Luke 4:16-21; Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 4:23; 9:35)

  • Fulfilling the promise
  • Proclaiming the kingdom
  • Calling for repentance
  • Bringing healing and salvation
  • Telling stories of the kingdom

Jesus, the Kingdom, the Cross, and the Resurrection

  • The King crucified: representative and sacrifice (Mark 15:22-24; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
  • The King and the powers: conflict and victory (John 18:33-38; Colossians 2:13-15)
  • The King resurrected: the first step of total renewal (Mark 16:1-8; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24)

The Church and the Kingdom

  • The church witnesses to the kingdom by the Holy Spirit’s power (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 8:12; 19:8)
  • The church lives in the kingdom of God as both now and not yet (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9; James 2:5)

The Fullness of the Kingdom Yet to Come

  • Living for the kingdom yet to come (Hebrews 11:10, 13, 14)
  • Two visions of the eternal kingdom (Revelation 7:9-10; 21:1-6)

Key themes of the kingdom of God in the New Testament

  • Jesus is King and God’s kingdom has arrived
  • In His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus brings salvation, healing, and victory in God’s kingdom
  • God’s people play a part as witnesses to God’s kingdom before the nations
  • God’s kingdom has come, yet its fullness is yet to come

God is King: Tracing the Kingdom of God through the Old Testament

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we began a new series, “The Kingdom of God.” This first weekend I explored the theme of the kingdom of God through the Old Testament, touching on the creation in Genesis, Abraham’s calling, the Exodus with Moses and Joshua, the entrance of the kings, exile, and two prophets, Isaiah and Daniel. It was a lot in a short time, but was my attempt to help us gain clarity on the big themes of God’s kingdom in the Hebrew Scriptures. Next week we will take a similar journey through the New Testament.

You can view the message video and outline for the message is below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty.” (Psalm 24:8)

God is King over all (Genesis 1-2)

  • He has made and rules over everything
  • Humanity is made in God’s image and serves as God’s representative upon earth

God is King and His people play a part (Genesis, Exodus, Joshua)

  • God promises Abraham to raise up a new people (Genesis 12:1-3)
  • God delivers Israel at the Exodus and brings them to the Promised Land (Exodus 6:1-8)
  • God’s kingdom is different; He’s on His own “side” (Joshua 5:13-15)

God is King but Israel wanted another king  (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings)

  • Samuel and Israel’s rejection of God (1 Samuel 8)
  • Saul the first and faulty king (1 Samuel 9)
  • David the new, but imperfect, king (1 Samuel 16; 2 Samuel 5)
  • Solomon and the decline of the kingship toward exile (1 Kings 11)

God is King and His kingdom is coming (Isaiah)

  • A day will come when the nations will stream to Jerusalem (Isaiah 2)
  • A messianic king will reign on David’s throne and bring God’s kingdom (Isaiah 9 & 11)
  • He will restore Zion’s glory, rebuild the exiled ruins, and bless the nations (Isaiah 60 & 61)

God is King and no other kingdom will endure (Daniel)

  • God’s kingdom will overwhelm and supplant the kingdoms of earth (Daniel 2:29-45)
  • God’s kingdom will break through the beastly kingdoms of earth when the Son of Man appears (Daniel 7:1-28)

Key themes of the kingdom of God in the Old Testament

  • God is King
  • God’s kingdom is different than and superior to all other kingdoms
  • God’s kingdom will come when the Messiah arrives
  • God’s people play a part in His kingdom
  • God’s kingdom brings blessing to the nations

Encountering the Overwhelming Presence of God

85262

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Lord, awesome God, who reveals with great power who You are and Your ways, I come to You in awe and humility today. If the might of storms and hurricanes show forth power, how much greater are You, the God who made those storms and hurricanes? “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) and “clouds and thick darkness surround him” (97:2). Your power and majesty are overwhelming and unyielding. No wonder the Israelites trembled with fear after the Exodus while at Mount Sinai, begging Moses not to go up the mountain but to wait at a safe distance. You are not a God who by any means is safe. So “who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?” (24:3). The question is not only who may but who would want to do something so bold? As it says elsewhere, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Yet here is an equally overpowering and awe-inspiring series of truths. “We have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God” (4:14). “Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant….he is able to save completely those who come to God through him” (7:22, 25). “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (9:14). “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (4:16). This seems almost as a different world from those overwhelming words of distance earlier. On our own we could perchance try to ascend Your hill, but the revelation of our own inabilities and insignificance would lead us to falter, even hinder us entirely. Who can ascend? The One who is blameless, even Jesus the Messiah, who then makes a way for us to draw near to Your throne? of grace, finding there not fear-filled judgment but even awesome and undeserved mercy and grace in the presence of You, the holy God.

Thank You, Lord, for this greatest of gifts and the wonderful opportunity to know You and the responsibility to serve You upon earth. May we live in response to Your grace today!

Preaching the Psalms of Ascent: A Soundtrack for the Pilgrimage of Faith

Psalms of Ascent PT

An article I wrote for Preaching Today on preaching the Psalms of Ascent came out last week. This article came to life through my own journey of preaching the Psalms of Ascent at Eastbrook Church in late 2017 through a series entitled “Ascend: The Psalms of Ascent.” Thanks to Andrew Finch and Matt Woodley at PT, who have been a great encouragement to me and continue to provide me opportunities to write. I’m including an excerpt of the article below, as well as a link here to one of the sermons I preached from that series, entitled “Our Journey with God,” that PT is including on their website as well.

Since our kids have been young, one of the highlights of our road trips has been listening to music. In the “old days,” everyone would bring a favorite CD or two on the trip so we could take turns listening to music. These days, we create playlists or switch out smartphones, letting everyone have a turn at picking a song to share with everyone else. We learn a lot about one another through the music, even as we enjoy the travel experiences, and the beauty of God’s creation matched by the soundtrack for the journey.

Now, one of the most cliché phrases about human existence is that “life is a journey.” Like many such phrases, however, it is so overused because it seems so resoundingly true. That concept is woven throughout Scripture about our lives as human beings: we are on a journey, or pilgrimage, through our days. Ideally, that pilgrimage is with God but, regardless, journey is an accurate description of the human way of experiencing life.

One portion of Scripture where this is particularly clear is in a grouping of psalms known as the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134). While there are different ideas about what “ascent” is a reference to, the most widely supported idea is that these psalms were sung and prayed by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. These pilgrims traveled to the Temple in celebration of the three main festivals of the Hebrew people: Passover, Pentecost, and Booths (Exodus 23:14-17). No matter where they were, they would ascend toward Jerusalem because it was on the topographical heights, but also because it symbolized the spiritual high point where God dwells with human beings.

These journey prayers provided a soundtrack for the people of God, a spiritual soundtrack for the pilgrimage of faith. The Psalms of Ascent returned the Hebrew people to their nomadic faith roots in Abraham and the liberation journey of the Exodus with Moses. They served as a reminder that God’s people were a pilgrim people on the way with God.