There is nothing as exciting as finding something of value among things that you already own –
Something of value, but you didn’t realize that you possessed it.
As most of you know I am a stamp collector – a philatelist.
As most of you don’t realize, philately is a fascinating hobby for a great many reasons.
A great many stamps have some sort of relationship to history – so I’m a history buff.
And then there is the fact that each stamp is an investment, although most stamps aren’t worth more than a few pennies.
Or maybe as I was looking at them one evening I learned that what I thought was a common stamp, was actually a special variety worth ten times the catalogue price.
I knew that it was a common subject of the Lord Jesus, and that was just my problem, I considered it a common subject.
But then through a book that was given to me, I was awakened to value of this particular subject.
I find it in the Gospels, in the Book of Revelation, in Paul’s epistles, and here in the Book of Acts.
After all, it is a treasure in every one of our collections, but very few realize its value.
The former treatise, the Book of Luke, closed with Luke’s description of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.
Then 72 hours following his burial, Christ extricated Himself from both death and the tomb.
For about 40 days after that He visited with the Apostles, the church and many of the rest of His disciples.
He instructed them about things that they hadn’t grasped earlier and gave them further commands about their various responsibilities.
And then after visiting with the Apostles in Galilee, He commanded them to return to Jerusalem and to wait there for the fulfilment of the Father’s promise in regard to the Holy Spirit.
The thing that I’d like you to recognize is the term that Luke used to summarize all the instructions that the Lord Jesus had given them during that 5½ week period.
He was “speaking of the things pertaining to THE KINGDOM OF GOD.“
I used to think that this reference to the “kingdom of God” meant that the Lord was talking about the days after His second coming when He establishes His Millennial Kingdom.
I’d venture to guess that many of us still think that way.
But, even though the Kingdom of God does include that thousand year reign of Christ on earth, the Bible very clearly shows that it is much, much more than that.
The Kingdom of God is a huge subject taking up a large portion of the New Testament.
I believe that this is called a “gross” – a dozen dozen references.
The word “ecclesia” or “church” doesn’t have that many references in the Bible.
In his epistles – to the CHURCHES – Paul speaks of the Kingdom of God more than 10 times.
The point is, you cannot see Jesus Christ in the Bible without running head-on into the Kingdom of Christ.
And if we misunderstand the Kingdom of Christ, then we will misunderstand the Christ of the Kingdom.
It is a very important Biblical subject which is almost thoroughly ignored by the average saint of God.
It’s very likely that as you listened you didn’t catch the references to the Kingdom of God.
Notice once again Acts 28:23 – “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.”
Remember that Paul was in bonds and unable to get out of his house without a guard.
In other words he had no guarantee that he’d ever be able to preach the gospel to these people again.
Do you think that he failed to tell them about the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus?
Do you think that he only told them things about the second coming and the establishment of the future kingdom?
To “persuade” is to teach with passion and enthusiasm, in order to convince others.
Perhaps he took some verses out of the Psalms which prophesied about the sacrifice of the Saviour.
Maybe he referred to the Old testament sacrifices and types just as he did in the Book of Hebrews.
I think that you can be sure that Paul preached rousing gospel messages.
He could talk about aspects of the Kingdom of God which he had already experienced.
“And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”
I have come to see that we are terribly mistaken if we sever the gospel of Christ from Kingdom of Christ.
Turn to Acts 19 where we have a description of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus.
Are we to believe that Paul didn’t preach the gospel to those people?
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.”
It was to “testify of the gospel of the grace of God.”
He had gone everywhere “preaching the kingdom of God.”
Verse 12 says, “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
Are people supposed to be baptized as some sort of sign of their SPECIAL PARTICIPATION in the coming Kingdom of Christ?
These were later published in book form, and it is well worth the time and work to read and study.
Bro. Keener meticulously described about two dozen points which help to define that Kingdom.
Unfortunately, we don’t have time to prove each of these facts right now.
And that Kingdom is a common New Testament theme.
It is the message of virtually everyone of the New Testament writers and preachers.
It is past, present and future.
It is both spiritual, physical and mysterious
And it is, at this time, a mixture of good and bad.
In other words, there is a mixture of both citizens and mere servants in this kingdom.
The true citizens become citizens by way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
And they are characterized by the principles of the Sermon on the Mount;
In other words they love the Lord and the Word of the Lord.
This kingdom is to be preached throughout the whole world.
And it is an everlasting kingdom,
BUT those who are not willing citizens, regenerated citizens, shall be cast out.
Because this kingdom is WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT.
I’m not talking about the day when Jesus Christ returns to earth, overthrows Satan’s minions, and sits down on David’s throne in the New Jerusalem.
Although both of these things will one day be a part of this kingdom.
Then here in Acts 1:6 they asked if these aspects of the Kingdom were going to take place now.
And the Lord answered by saying, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
Yes, when everything is said and done there will be mansions in Heaven and streets of gold.
Yes, there will some day be a time when the lamb shall lay down in peace with the lion, and the child shall play above the nest of the asp.
Yes, Satan will be bound and then locked away for a thousand years and finally to be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.
These and a hundred other things about the Kingdom are not only important, but they are wonderful,
But infinitely more important is your personal relationship to the King of all kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And this is the crux of the matter.
There is a Kingdom, and Jesus Christ is the King.
The rule in this kingdom is righteous; perfect and complete.
There are moral laws which have been laid upon the subject of this Kingdom,
And there will be judgment enacted upon the lawbreakers.
To be more specific: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
He has said that if something was ONCE sin in the sight of God, then it is still sin.
The kingdom that I am talking about is not temporary, and it is not relative.
Christ is not the King only if we want Him to be King; He is King – period.
If we choose not to bow before Him then we shall suffer the consequences of our rebellion.
And this is where the gospel – the good news – comes in.
The good news is as much the gospel of the Kingdom as it is the gospel of salvation.
We are ALL law-breakers by nature and the proof is abundantly clear by our personal history.
There is a posse out looking for us and it will find us on the day of our death.
It is this aspect of the kingdom for which the apostles would be empowered.
It is to this aspect of the kingdom that the apostles and their children are supposed to be “witnesses in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
And it’s this aspect of the Kingdom that I want to lay before you this morning.
If you are not living in direct submission and service to the King of Kings;
If you have not and are not continually kissing the Son because you love Him and want to Honour Him;
Then these things are proof of your continued rebellion and your lost condition.
You need a new heart; you need to be born again.
Kneel before the cross of Christ and pledge Him your heart, your soul and your life.
Repent and put your trust in the King.