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

The Weekend Wanderer: 28 September 2019

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like.

 

BRAZIL-LGBT-EVANGELICAL-CHURCHEvangelical Has Lost Its Meaning” – Ever since the last presidential election, there have been debates about the meaning of the word ‘evangelical.’ Books have been written not merely about the history of the movement and meaning of the word, but, more recently, whether the word has any continue relevance (watch for the forthcoming book edited by historians Mark Noll, David Bebbington, and George Marsden, Evangelicals: Who They Have Been, Are Now, and Could Be). I think, in many ways, the central question is whether the word ‘evangelical’ has any shared meaning that communicates broadly, as it did in the past. I doubt that it does, and here is Alan Jacobs to make a much more convincing case than I could about that as he reviews Thomas S. Kidd’s recent book, Who Is an Evangelical? The History of a Movement in Crisis. You may also enjoy Christianity Today‘s recent “Quick to Listen” podcast with editor Mark Galli, “So, What’s an Evangelical?” and The Englewood Review of Books booklist “Evangelicalism – Ten Books for Assessing its Present and Future.”

 

Bible translation“Why it matters if your Bible was translated by a racially diverse group”Esau McCaulley, New Testament professor at Wheaton College, engages with whether the make-up of Bible translation committees is important or not. “As a New Testament scholar, I’ve discovered that people of color and women have rarely led or participated in Bible translation. On one hand, this doesn’t trouble me much. It is hard to mess up the story of the Exodus, distort the message of the prophets or dismantle the story of Jesus. It is all there in every English translation. On the other, I believe it matters who translates the Bible, and that more diverse translation committees could inspire fresh confidence among Christians of color. Such a translation would allow black Christians and others to ‘know with certainty the things that you have been taught’ (Luke 1:4).”

 

1_0rZWywtB3AYoRJVH08RUbQ“Black Christians Deserve Better Than Companies (And Churches) Like Relevant Media Group” – When I read this article I was simultaneously disappointed and not surprised. These issues are so very difficult to navigate, and few are doing it well. Every majority culture leader/pastor needs to pay attention to what Andre Henry is saying as he recounts his negative experiences as an editor at Relevant. “RELEVANT remains without excuse for the patterns of tokenization of black people and fetishization of racial justice efforts that characterize their work, and the harm it has caused to Black people within and outside of the organization. As long as they refuse to acknowledge this about their praxis, they’ll remain an unsafe environment for Black people and a collaborator in the racist status quo while giving themselves credit for being an ally.” You can also read Relevant‘s response here and a summary of related news gathered by Religion News Service.

 

Visual Commentary on ScriptureVisual Commentary on Scripture – I was talking after our worship services this past weekend with an artist within our church about some of the images I use while preaching, which are often taken from paintings on themes somewhat related to the passage from which I am preaching. Not too long ago, I came across The Visual Commentary on Scripture, which is a fascinating resource “that provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art. It helps its users to (re)discover the Bible in new ways through the illuminating interaction of artworks, scriptural texts, and commissioned commentaries.” Maybe you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

 

5YQEW5F6EBGR7L5MJG7QRUYI4A“Wheaton College students sue city, say rights to free speech, religious liberty were violated by guards booting them from Millennium Park, restricting access” – When I was an undergrad at Wheaton College, I decided to join in with a team of students sharing their faith in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. This team was led by a group of students with a passion to share Christ in a loving yet clear way with others. One of them was my wife, Kelly, who challenged me then (and still does today) to let the passion I had for Christ make its way out of my mouth through spiritual conversations. With all the conversation about the loss of evangelistic zeal in the North American church today, I was surprised on several fronts to read this Chicago Tribune story of Wheaton College students sharing their faith at Millennium Park in Chicago and also the free speech lawsuit that has arisen around them being asked to not share in the park. This isn’t just about religious groups, but also pertains to political groups and the like. It does raise the question of the nature of free speech in contemporary democratic societies. I also can’t help but think of the fascinating tradition of Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park.

 

2019-09-19-hui-crackdown-efeng-04_custom-008e193490d162aa9422f4172aaf25de549fbd52-s1400-c85“‘Afraid We Will Become The Next Xinjiang’: China’s Hui Muslims Face Crackdown” – Religious freedom in democratic societies seems lightweight compared to what happens in non-democratic societies. If you have not paid attention to the intensification of pressure on religious minorities in China, let me urge you to start paying attention. This latest NPR piece focuses on minority Hui Muslims, and is an echo of the efforts brought against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and Christians throughout the country.

 

18.large“Seeing the Beauty of Dappled Things: Gerard Manley Hopkins” – Confession: my favorite poet of all time is Gerard Manley Hopkins. I appreciate the poetry of so many other poets that I hate to mention them by name here, but I find myself returning to Hopkins again and again. Perhaps that’s because my first reading of his poetry in high school startled me awake to literature and faith with such vibrant metaphors, skipping rhythms, and striking imagery. I hope that you enjoy as much as I did reading this 2017 article by physician Raymond C. Barfield on how Hopkins’ poetry enabled him to see the beauty of God’s world with fresh eyes.

 

songbird-domain“North America Has Lost More Than 1 in 4 Birds in Last 50 Years, New Study Says” – John Stott, the renowned Bible teacher and author, enjoyed birds for their own sake and as teachers of theological truths. In his most unique book, The Birds, Our Teachers: Essays in Orni-theology, Stott takes the reader on an adventure inside his own wonder and theological reflection over the variegated beauty of birds. In his own inimical way, Stott was attempting to live out what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Consider the birds of the air…” (Matthew 6:26). But today we have to consider this startling news:  a recent study records a drastic decrease in bird population in North America. As stewards of the earth, we should be concerned. As those who enjoy this world charged with God’s grandeur, we should be grieved.

 

Music: Charlie Parker, “Ornithology,” from the original motion picture soundtrack for Bird.

[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]

Fasting: A View from the New Testament

Here is an unedited list of references to fasting from the New Testament with brief comments about what we can learn about fasting from these references. This list is a companion to my earlier list from the Old Testament found here.

  • Matthew 4:1-3 – “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him.” – Before Jesus launched into His public ministry He went to the desert for 40 days to pray and fast. This reminds us of Moses’ 40 days on the mountain with God, as well as the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before arriving in the Promised Land of Canaan.
  • Matthew 6:16-17 – “When you fast…”—It is worth noting that Jesus takes for granted that His followers will fast, just as they will give and pray (6:2, 5). He does not say, ‘if’ you fast or you ‘must’ fast. It seems that the fasting is included with giving and prayer under the heading ‘acts of righteousness’ (6:1). These are practices we should live by, but not in a legalistic way like the Pharisee, whose aim was recognition by others for these things.
  • Matthew 9:14-15 – “Then John’s disciples came and asked him [Jesus], ‘How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ Jesus answered, ‘How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.’” – Jesus is not saying that His followers should not fast, but that the timing is not right for fasting while He is on earth. When He leaves, fasting will be appropriate.
  • Acts 9:9 – “For three days he [Paul] was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” – Again, an example of an absolute fast in the face of cataclysmic circumstances. Paul (then ‘Saul’) had just encountered the glorified Jesus on the road to Damascus; his life was never the same.
  • Acts 13:2 – “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” – The leaders of the church in Antioch were gathered in worship. Fasting here is not clearly a response to anything, other than possibly a report by Barnabas and Saul to the church in Jerusalem. Perhaps it is a response to the need for clarity on next steps.
  • Acts 14:23 – “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” – As with the example from Antioch, the church and its leadership was established in prayer and fasting.