Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Expanding The Kingdom Of God

Father has been talking to us for some time now about being the church in each of our individual spheres of influence. In being the Church, we are enlarging the Kingdom of God on earth. We are kings, priests, and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.

I just sense that God wants to give us a little refresher on what that looks like.

A side note just to clarify: there is no distinction in meaning between the two expressions “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven”. They were used interchangeably in scripture. One example would be Mt. 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [1] compared to Lk. 6:20, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” [2]

According to the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke), the central theme of Jesus’ preaching was the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God. Scripture tells us that after His 40 days of temptation He began to preach and say repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Jesus expressed or manifested the kingdom of God through His life, His words, and His works.

Later when John the Baptizer sent his disciples to question whether or not Jesus was truly the messiah, Jesus said go tell John what you see and hear; the healings, deliverances, and miracles that are taking place and the gospel being preached.

Jesus passed on that same power to His disciples and sent them out to express the kingdom in the same way. Let’s look at Matthew chapter 10:

Mt 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.

6 “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

8 “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

9 “Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts,

10 “nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

11 “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.

12 “And when you go into a household, greet it.

13 “If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.

14 “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.

15 “Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

17 “But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.

18 “You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

19 “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;

20 “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

22 “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

23 “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

25 “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!

26 “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.

28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.

30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.

33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

35 “For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;

36 “and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

41 “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

42 “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”  (NKJV)

Give; freely you have received, freely give. As children of God, we are givers. God gives to us what He can give through us.

We believe and teach “Body Ministry”. Each of us has received gifts from the Lord and a call to use those gifts in each of our respective fields or areas of expertise. God did not call you to pay Kathy and me to do the work of the ministry. He did, however, call Kathy and me to equip you for the work of the ministry. This ministry is not just to one another here in the body of Christ but to our neighbors that God has seen fit to put within our spheres of influence.

Last week we talked about love, loving God, and loving our neighbor. We are probably all familiar with the idiom, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

As we saw last week, 1Cor. 12 kind of says the same thing when it tells us that without love, the gifts are meaningless. As we show the fruit of the Spirit through our lives, God will open doors to show His gifts.

There are numerous places throughout the gospels where it is said that Jesus had compassion upon individuals or upon the multitudes and therefore would heal or perform miracles.

We learned last week that as we grow in our relationship with God, we will naturally reflect His love to others. Let’s put a good scriptural foundation under that and hopefully tie all of this together.

In Exodus 33:18 Moses asked God to show him His glory. In Exodus 34:5-7 we read that God revealed the content of His glory which might be called His seven hidden attributes: 5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord.       6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness (mercy) and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness (faithfulness) for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin;[3]

5  And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

6  And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord! the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth,

7  Keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin[4]

When we see God’s glory we are seeing a manifestation of His attributes.

God continues in the following verses: The Covenant Renewed

10 And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods. [5]

As the rest of the story goes, Moses had to cover his face with a veil because it shown from his meeting with God.

Now let’s look at 2 Cor. 3:6 and following 6  [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive. [Jer. 31:31.]

7  Now if the dispensation of death engraved in letters on stone [the ministration of the Law], was inaugurated with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its brilliance, [a glory] that was to fade and pass away, [Exod. 34:29-35.]

8  Why should not the dispensation of the Spirit [this spiritual ministry whose task it is to cause men to obtain and be governed by the Holy Spirit] be attended with much greater and more splendid glory?

9  For if the service that condemns [the ministration of doom] had glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]!

10  Indeed, in view of this fact, what once had splendor [the glory of the Law in the face of Moses] has come to have no splendor at all, because of the overwhelming glory that exceeds and excels it [the glory of the Gospel in the face of Jesus Christ].

11  For if that which was but passing and fading away came with splendor, how much more must that which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor!

12  Since we have such [glorious] hope (such joyful and confident expectation), we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly.

13  Nor [do we act] like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze upon the finish of the vanishing [splendor which had been upon it].

14  In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused [they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding]; for until this present day, when the Old Testament (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies [on their hearts], not being lifted [to reveal] that in Christ it is made void and done away.

15  Yes, down to this [very] day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts.

16  But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.

17  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). [Isa. 61:1, 2.]

18  And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

Chapter 4

THEREFORE, SINCE we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion.

2  We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience.

3  But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost.

4  For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God. [6]

Just as we are changed from glory to glory, so are those who see God’s glory reflected in our lives. Scripture is clear that not all will see. There are those who are blinded. All we can do is let our lights shine before everyone and trust God to bring revelation to whomsoever He will.

Sometimes our light might plant a seed, sometimes it may water. It is up to God to give the increase. We can rest confidently in knowing that God’s Word, Jesus, who is the express image of God (Glory in the flesh, so to speak) always accomplishes His purpose.

This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine!

Pastor Bob Haught

[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mt 5:3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 6:20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ex 34:5–7). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[4] The amplified Bible, containing the amplified Old Testament and the amplified New Testament. 1987 (Ex 34:5–7). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[5] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ex 34:10–16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[6] The amplified Bible, containing the amplified Old Testament and the amplified New Testament. 1987 (2 Co 3:6–4:4). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.