Paige Brown taught a session at TGC’s 2021 Women’s Conference titled “Kingdom Matters.” Many believers, she posited, focus their belief mainly on how we are saved (justification), while lessening the theological and practical importance of what we are saved to do. The kingdom, she proclaimed, is not only good for the future but is meant for today and should permeate every part of our world. And it is the role of every believer to proclaim the goodness of the kingdom.
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Paige Brown: Welcome, thank you for coming at the end of a long already very full day. As I mentioned, maybe just to save some time, have a finger in your Bible in Matthew chapter 25, which we’ll come to, after a while. Let me say as we begin, my name is Paige Brown, this is the kingdom matters seminar, which has that little double entendre, like matters of the kingdom and that the kingdom matters. So that’s where you are, I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband, and my three kids, and I’m home with them. And that’s what I am. I’m kind of a mom in Nashville. So I’m going to pray. And we are when I say dive in, we’re gonna dive in. So let’s get ready. Let’s pray. Father, I pray that you would meet us here according to all of the promises that go before us, or that we would not leave as we came in, not because of anything that I say, but because of the promises that you’ve attached to your word that they will accomplish your purposes and our heart. And so we come humbly, but we come expectedly excited about what you will do in our time together. And we thank you in advance, in Jesus name, amen. We love learning in our circles, it’s why you’ve come to Indianapolis in the rain and a pandemic, to come to this conference is that we love learning. And in most of our church in theological circles, really what we love learning is how we’re saved. We love justification. We love the doctrines of grace, we camp out in them a lot. And yet, as central, and as primary as those things are, they’re not the purpose of so much of the Scripture, and really where we never get so often. And we need to always be going in our Bible study is not how we are saved, but what we are saved for. What are we say for Old Testament Professor Richard Pratt says, we think that Jesus came to forgive our sin, to make ourselves sparkle just break us with peace and joy. So we can sprout wings when we die, grab a harp, and join the eternal choir. And so often, we are so self focused about our salvation. You know, it’s about my faith. It’s about my family. It’s about my children. It’s about my church, that we actually miss read much of the New Testament, where God’s concern as started with promises to Abraham, as Karen was talking about last night, or for the whole entire world, Jesus did not come and live and die and rise again to give us peace in hard times. Jesus came and lived and died and rose again, that justice and peace might be cosmic realities. The Bible insists, if we read it on its own terms, that our central question is not what does Jesus mean to me? But what has has Jesus done for me that I might be involved with? What does Jesus mean for the whole world? That’s the overriding question, what does Jesus mean for the whole world, he came to make everything new, he saved us to be part of a kingdom, and to establish His Kingdom in this world. And we use the language of Kingdom so often, and yet, we are really hard pressed to understand what is meant by that, but we need to get it right. And we need to get clarity on it because the kingdom of God is the hub, or the organizing principle or the central focus, really, of the entire Bible, but particularly the New Testament. Why? Because Jesus is the hub, and the central focus, and the organizing principle of the New Testament and Jesus is
what key. We love to focus on the priesthood of Christ of his substitutionary atonement for us. We love to focus on the prophethood of Jesus and the truth of his word and all of the things that he teaches us, but it’s his kingship that’s primary, and not his kingship over my heart, his kingship in the whole world, we are going to talk about five reality biblical realities of the kingdom, boom, boom, boom. And the fifth one will be the long one where we’re really doing miniature Bible study and that five realities about the kingdom in the Scripture, the first is the presence of the kingdom. And by the presence, I mean, when is it? When is the kingdom that is a major dividing point biblically and theologically among Christians, and yet it should be somewhat logical because Jesus reigns when now, then his kingdom is what now, okay, there is a noun as to the kingdom, but the kingdom is also Coming, because Jesus does not yet reign in a visible way in the fullness of his power and glory. So it is now and it is also coming. It has been inaugurated, it is a reality, but it will be consummated in the future. So we have right now, the presence of God’s kingdom, but we do not have its fullness. You almost cannot make sense of the teaching of Jesus without understanding this now, and not yet. The kingdom is not only present is also a feature. But it is not only future, it is also present. And so George lad who was the great kingdom theologian talks about the kingdom as the present of the future. That’s what it is that the future has already broken in and the first coming and then the present reign of Christ. So we are living in a present kingdom, working and leaning toward his fullness that is coming in the future. And the way we are made part of the present kingdom is that the king embraces us, okay, through his prophethood through his priesthood, he has subsume for us, but has claimed us not to just be his son or daughter, which is wonderful, but to be part
of his kingdom. And we know that our salvation is complete, that our justification is perfect. So why is the kingdom not complete? Why is it not the whole story? Why is it not fully here yet, because there is also a usurping kingdom of Satan in our world. We live in a world that has dual realities, okay of the kingdom of Satan, and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is also present. It is also now, when did it start it started in the garden, the fall was not just original sin that made us originally sinful, you have to have a bigger doctrine of the fall than that the fall was treason against the king. And it threw the doors open for the adversary, to come in and establish a rival kingdom and God’s perfect creation. And so Satan is now operating always in God’s rightful territory. Satan is only a parasite, he is not a creator. He can’t create any thing. As twisted as sexuality can be. He never could create it, he can only take something good and beautiful, and twist it. Okay, so Satan is always a parasite. He is a usurper. In that way, he has no rightful territory of his own, but his hostility, his parasite pneus is always increasing. And where Jesus is more, Satan is more. That’s why you see most satanic activity in the Scriptures, in the gospels when Jesus is fully present. And in Revelation when it’s explained the spiritual perspective of all of history. So before Jesus returned, and completely and finally, and irreversibly establishes his kingdom, he is gradually driving out the adversary, while he is patiently and lovingly claiming people for his own and using them in his purpose to renew all things. So you’ve got this gradualness here, and the present. That’s why all the parables talk about this kingdom that’s growing yeast and mustard seed and all of those pictures that there is a growth thing, but there is no neutral spiritual territory in this world, according to Jesus, we’re all in one spiritual camp or the other, the presence of the kingdom, when is it? It is both now it is also coming both present, and future. Secondly, what are the parameters of the kingdom? And by that, I mean, Where is it? Where is the kingdom? Really what we want to know, and some of the ways that we get tripped up our church and Kingdom the same thing? Our church and Kingdom interchangeable terms? And the answer is no. No, and that’s why we have such an anemic view of the kingdom because we use them so often, interchangeably. Let me tell you what the synonyms are. When you say church, when the scripture says church, it means people. The church is always talking about people, the instituted official community of believers. The church is huge. You can’t get anything more important than the chairman it is the people of God is the family of Gods the body and bride of Christ and nothing else can be and if you were talking about the citizenry of the kingdom, that is the church it is the people but when you say church, we mean people There are God given limitations on the church
nulla. When we say limit, we automatically think small, I don’t mean limit as small, limit as unique, there are specific and unique cannot be done any place else, responsibilities for the church, which is to gather and nurture God’s people, according to His Word. The church has the unique responsibility of the ongoing public proclamation of the Word of God, to both gather and nurture his people and everything in the church is to center around that we’re calling people according to the word we’re worshipping according to the word, we’re displaying people according to the word, we’re discipling people, according to the word, okay, so that’s the job of the church as God’s official people. A kingdom when this when this scripture talks about the kingdom, it’s not talking about people in the New Testament, it is talking about the Lord’s reign, our AIG in the Lord’s reign, in the present, and both coming more fully in the future. It is the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, not as the head of his church, that’s his body and his bride. This is as king over the entire world. And so from our human perspective, sometimes the Scripture is talking about the ultimate eternal, sovereign reign of God, He reigns over all the nations they are as a drop in the bucket, and all of that that is right now a reality that’s completely outside of creation. But also and more often, the Scripture is talking about a struggling, growing present Kingdom in this world, the Messianic Kingdom, the kingdom of the Messiah that is struggling and growing in this world, but it is even now a reality in the whole world is not just the inner reign of Jesus in your heart. The kingdom is never talking about just the reign of Jesus over your heart. So the real question, if they’re not interchangeable, and coterminous is what is then the relationship between the two, between the church and the kingdom. The church here may provide the impetus for the kingdom, the church provides the guidelines for the kingdom, okay, so it is the base camp. I mean, it’s just like, if you are in the military, you go out on excursions, but then you come back to base camp, that’s where you’re nourished. That’s where you’re bandaged up, that’s where you’re reminded of your orders, and then you go back out, but then you come back, and you’re nourished and you rest. And so we never outgrow the church into the kingdom is always the center of our nourishment and our training for Kingdom work. But in the church provides the impetus or the guidelines or the training for life in the kingdom, but the kingdom is the permeation of every part of our world. Notice I said permeation loving, gracious permit, not violent conquest, okay,
the loving, gracious permeation of our whole world to overcome every area of life for the sake of the kingship of Christ. That is what that is what is meant by there’s no limit to where it is. So the church is restrained in a right way, to the Ministry of the word. It has a unique mission in that way, but there is no limitation at all, on members of the kingdom for their kingdom or other than guidelines that we find in God’s word. So the gospel coalition officially comes from a complementarian standpoint, are there unique places for women to serve within the church? And the answer is yes. Are there unique places for women to serve in the world? And the answer is no. Not in the hospital, not in the White House, not in the clinic, not in the business, not in the what I mean, that is because we were Kingdom people, and we were called to go and make every thing new Abraham Kuyper about in about 1900 was Prime Minister of the Netherlands and he is very famously said, There is not one inch of the universe that Jesus does not point there and say that is mine. That is mine. And so we follow that. And we cannot leave one inch of our universe, our small worlds unchallenged, then for the Lord ship of Christ. So that’s the relationship you’ve got the community of believers, but the kingdom is then the Lord’s reign and the way he has chosen to reign is to renew his world through those believers. And so what does we know what church work looks like? It’s listed in your bulletin is what you do. But what does Kingdom work look like? It looks like disabled friends being valued and accepted. It looks like ESL programs. It looks like peace in the Middle East. It looks like the COVID vaccine. It looks like rebuilding New Orleans after a while Hurricane it looks like medical care in Haiti, it looks like aids medications. Going to Africa, it looks like the Americans with disabilities that it looks like the long overdue and before so far to go racial reckoning that is happening in our nation right now it looks like great public schools. Even in the worst part of our city, it looks like inner city orchestra and any Inner City Ballet. It looks like the parks board, it looks like little league sports. From the biggest to the smallest. Where is God calling us to renew things with beauty and righteousness, and justice and opportunity. In that way the church cannot exhaust the kingdom. So I’m going to show you these pictures. I am indebted to Dr. Palmer Robertson, for these pictures Old Testament Professor Paul Robertson. First let’s look at different ways people say this. First you have got, am I so tech, Oh, I love this. I’ve always had a whiteboard. The first is you have the conservative approach, or the conservative interpretation of the kingdom. I want you to look at this, you’ve got you can draw this full circle, obviously, at the center of this is all created reality in the circle, outside of creative reality is the eternal kingdom of God. He existed long before creation, and he was a happy God on his throne. But so outside of creative reality is the eternal kingdom of God. Within created reality, at the center of that created reality, you’ve got the church. And I want you to notice in this approach in in this interpretation, you have a really bold line around that church, okay. And then outside of the church, but still within created reality, there is a kingdom of Satan. Don’t conservatives know it, love to talk about it. It’s out there, and it’s scary. And then you kind of have things that aren’t really the kingdom of Satan is just this void. And what’s happening out there? Who cares? Who cares, according to the conservative approach, we are staying safe and huddled up, and we are trying every now and then we’ll even do some kind of like evangelistic guerrilla warfare, to just try and get them inside of the church with us. But what’s happening and all the other places in the world in education and media and justice, and business? And who cares? Because ultimately, we really think Satan is linked into all of it. And so basically, according to this view, secular and satanic are almost the same thing. They’re almost the same thing. That’s the conservative approach. And you heard conservative and you thought, that’s the right one, right? Wrong. Wrong. Okay, that is wrong. So if you don’t want to draw it, just don’t write them. The next thing is the liberal approach, and you’re so afraid of that word, you know, is wrong.
Okay. So you have got the liberal approach. And then the liberal approach, they’re still out there is this eternal kingdom of God, there is a better world and going to a happier place, and sometimes really spoken of as having having all over. And in the middle. You still when you’re growing, you have people talking about the kingdom, it still charges in the middle, but the church goes way out there. Because everything that God is doing, that just can be all be included in the church, there is a kingdom of Satan, it’s fairly small. And you have some Jags you have some friction with the outside world. But mostly, we just need to be more inclusive, and more loving, and the church needs to do it all. So in this local church, to have a literacy program, and to teach a Bible study or have a worship service are all the same thing. Because it’s all let love all God’s people And all God’s ways. And so that’s what you have going on there. Really when we have to understand so that we really get it is to see these two things side by side. Okay? Because they seem so different. And they’re actually more alike than they are different. And let me tell you how, in both of these approaches, church and Kingdom are the same thing. Okay, in the conservative approach, the church limits the kingdom and makes it this very small, exclusive thing. In the liberal approach, the church envelops the kingdom, the church exhausts the kingdom and it’s this big jellyfish, that is in no way exclusive. That includes everybody in every way. But in both places, God’s work his church work, really small, or really, really big. Either way, church equals Kingdom in both of the Things church work is the only real Christian work. And all Christian work is considered church work in the liberal approach. So what do you have over here? Let’s huddle up. Let’s stay safe and mainly keep our kids safe. Okay, safe from which they watch safe from who they associate with safe from the satanic secular school Safe, safe, safe, safe, safe, and huddle up until the Lord comes again. And so the point is, in this view, the kingdom is only future. We’re hanging on the churches now. But the kingdom is future. And that one day, that’s the way it’s going to be, but not now. In the liberal view, the church is only present, you have almost no talk of the future, because we are bringing this all to bear and bringing it to completion. Right now, in the conservative approach, you have no engagement and contact with the world for Christians. In the literature, you have no isolation and no differentiation from the world. Okay, so this is to isolationists. This is to accommodationist. Hear me clearly, that is no more right than that. It is not more correct to be to the right of God than to the left of God. Okay, Stan is always missing the mark on either side, on either side. And so that’s what you are seeing here, no contact with the world here. And no distinction from the world over there. isolationist. assimilationist. So you have a conservative approach that basically says, Who cares if people can can’t read or don’t have anything to eat unless, unless they’re saved? is all about them being saved? And over here, who cares if they’re saved, if they can’t read and they don’t have anything to eat? And what did Jesus care about?
All of it.
But if somebody was hungry, he did not share the gospel of him before he fed them. Okay, before he met their immediate needs, in that way, in both places, the church equals the kingdom. I wish we had more time talking about that, but they’re both wrong. So if you’re tired, don’t draw them at all. Okay. But now, get out your pants, because this is the transformational approach. Okay, are you lazy people with your cameras, okay. And so and so this is this is the transformational, or the redemptive approach, and I want you to see that everything about this matters, outside of created reality, is the eternal kingdom of God. That is true. Read the book of Daniel, that is true. Okay, inside of creating reality, at the center of everything that the Lord is doing in his world is the church. And around that church, you see this nice, dotted, porous line? Why? Because there’s constant coming and going. It’s the family. It’s the base camp, but what do you raise your children for, to go out and come back yet and receive nourishment and rest and be part of the family? That’s what it’s for. So the church is in the mill, outside of the church, there is our whole world. And in that world, there are conflicting realities of the kingdom of Satan, and the Messianic kingdom and the kingdom, the present kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what exists out there. Everything that you see in those categories, politics and policy and education and medicine, technology and business, and economics, and entertainment and education, they all are out there. And you know what, there’s not a nice curving line. There’s what a jagged line what happens when you bump up against something jagad you get cut. Kingdom service is suffering service. You have to know that that kingdom is not triumphalist, ik. It is service. And when you go serve along that jagged line, you will be cut but there is no area of the whole world that is left unchallenged for the Lord ship of Christ. We are not conservatives. We do not conserve nowhere in the scripture Are you told to maintain, hang on, conserve, keep things the way they are. We’re told to what renew, redeem, restore, revitalize all the rewards that means everything is broken, and what it all has got to be renewed. God Jesus came to make what how much new All things, all things new and all of those things need to be renewed not triumphalism, but suffering and service. And so you have got King Jesus ruling in his world. And let me just say, I wish we had more time to say is King Jesus is rolling through common grace as well. Common Grace is outside of the church. It’s saving grace that brings you into the church. But Jesus is not as small as huge as his saving grace is his reign is not as small as his saving grace. And it does he do amazing things through people that are made in His image and gifted by him but do not yet know him? And the answer is yes. Can we when He shines, were in all that spare? How many times have you sung it, He shines and all that spare, and we want to support all of the good things that are happening in the world, whether or not they know to name him and give him credit, or not, we know to do that. And Lord willing by our involvement and our commonality with that, we can give ultimate purpose and ultimate reason for the good things that they are doing without even knowing him. But it is such an anemic view to think that the Lord can only do things directly through his people, that kind of non Christians can’t have good marriages. That is just crazy.
And so think big, think the whole world Okay, we’re leaving that up there because I want this emblazoned and your head, that’s the parameters of the kingdom? Where is it all the way out? all the way out. Thirdly, here the purpose of the kingdom. So what do we do with this? If that’s when it is, if that’s where it is? What is the purpose of the kingdom history is linear. It is not circular. We are not part of Hegel’s dialectic, okay, that keeps spinning and spinning. We are his all history is headed somewhere towards a goal. And what is the goal of all history, a new heavens and a new earth. And so the goal of our personal redemption is the renewal of the of the heavens and the earth, the renewal of all things of the entire cosmos. And so the gospel, read the New Testament for the word that really says, it’s always proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. And so it salvation is at the center of that, but it is God’s intention to make all things right. And so we have got to understand that the word redemption, okay, is bigger than just forgiveness of sin. fallenness is bigger than sinfulness. You know that. It’s why there’s everything from earthquakes, to traffic accidents, to everything, they’re not intentional sin in that way. So fallenness is bigger than sinfulness. Therefore, redemption is bigger than forgiveness. redemption is overturning everywhere that the Fall is and where is the Fall is every wire from COVID to just cutting yourself shaving? I mean, all of that is part of the fall and redemption is going to make all of those things new forgiveness, justification, they accomplish absolutely irreversibly, our reconciliation to God to be part of his family, for the purpose of being part of his renewing all things. That’s why if you’re reading on the Witch and the Wardrobe, and aslin is on the move, the first way that you say as is on the move is he’s not like sneaking out from behind a bush and grabbing somebody. How do you know asons on the move, the snow starts melting. And everything starts blooming and bright and all the creatures are coming out of their holes. We sing in a Christmas he’s come to make his blessings flow how far, far as the curse is found. Far as the fall extend anywhere, so redemption is going everywhere that the Fall is we went what kingdom is redemption is going everywhere that the Fall is so theologians Oscar Coleman said it like this, that Christ’s first coming is like de de the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. And so that was the decisive victory in the decisive battle in World War Two. After D day, everybody knew that it was practically over. But the day the end of the war was not until more than a year later. So what were they doing for that year? They were bringing the realities of their victory to all of the bondage in oppressed places. They were mopping up they were finishing up. Coleman says that we are living between D day and VE Day Christ has already come. The victory is already won. It is absolutely assured In every way, that’s why Satan is going so crazy. So what are we we’re mopping up, we’re bringing all that reality of that victory to bear every way or Let’s finish this thing. Let’s get this completely done. And so you’ve got so many verses in the New Testament, that talk about it happening right now. Ephesians chapter one, this is the mystery of his will to bring all things right now to bring all things in heaven and on earth, under one head, even Christ Colossians chapter one, he is reconciling all things to himself because in him, all things hold together right now. But you also have these future verses First Corinthians 15, the end wilcom, when Christ hands over the kingdom, to God, the Father, after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power, he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. Revelation chapter 11, the kingdom of this world has become what the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ and He shall reign for. I mean, you just, it just feel the whole thing going out in that way. So what is the purpose, our purpose in the kingdom,
that line out. That’s the purpose, with all of the present victory in the present, right, and the present power of the Lord Jesus Christ, in our hearts and in the world, that we are pushing that line out, we are living urgently in the present and leaning towards the future in every area of our lives, because Jesus loves and cares about and reigns over the whole creation. Jesus was asked early in his ministry to preach in his home synagogue in Nazareth, he said, okay, and he asked for the scroll of Isaiah 61. And he read these words, and Luke for the spirit of the Lord’s army, because he has he has anointed me to proclaim goodness, the poor, he has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty, those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. But if you look at the passage, in Isaiah 61, he left the last phrase off, and the day of the judgment of our God, what he was saying, in doing that is there’s going to be a gap between my first and my second coming, and we are living in the day of the Lord’s favor, before it is the day of the judgment of our God. Now is the favor, now is the time over the division, now is the time to renew all things. And so we are to be pushing that line out. And if you want to know the priorities, in pushing that line out, what you will do is look at the Ministry and the miracles of Jesus. And what was he doing, he was relieving oppression, he was healing the sick, he was bringing justice, he was elevating the poor. In other words, the target nailed it the target audience in the kingdom are those with the greatest needs. See, we think push the line out, and we’re mainly thinking strategy, beauty, power influencers. When in the world did you see Jesus target an influencer? The way that the kingdom comes, is not in power, it’s in seeming weakness, that we go to the weak places, and bring the strength of the love and the reign of Christ to those places in weakness, the kingdom, the purpose, the purpose of the kingdom is to push that line out. So what is your purpose? stay at home mom, website, designer, blogger, school teacher, librarian, IT person, nurse, doctor? What is your purpose? Your purpose is to push that line out. How do we assess our day? How do we assess our week? Our semester, our year? It’s been a good day, it’s been a bad day. Do we ever think in terms of this? If somebody said, how’s your health? And I said, Well, I’m eating, they would just look at me, and why would they just look at me? That’s just assumed. That’s just part of living. And so for somebody say, Tell me about your kingdom life. You’re like, well, I’m attending church and Bible studies, and I’m reading my Bible. They should look at you like you’re crazy. It is necessary is eating that’s assumed for Christian. That is normative nourishment. That is the same for Christian. What are you doing with all you’ve learned at church and your Bible says what’s going on in your kingdom life? Or worship? If somebody says, tell me about your record, tell me about your marriage and what you know. I haven’t had sex with anybody else in the last year. They would look at me like I’m crazy. And why would they do that? It’s true. But okay, but but, but why would they look at me like I’m crazy because it’s true. What? That’s assumed. That’s what it means to be married. If somebody says, tell me about your relationship with the Lord, it’s like, I’m not drinking. I’m not cussing. I’m not sleeping around. My kids aren’t even drinking. They just like, that’s just, that’s what it means to be a Christian. Is that to abuse substances? Or are fornication I mean, that’s what, but it’s like, we cannot be defined by those things. The question is, are we pushing the lot, you will do not be content, for church attendance and Bible studies and taking notes to be the entirety of your Christian life. I mean, just don’t do not live. They are Jesus, I really want you to hear me Jesus did not come and live and die and rise again, just so you could get to heaven when you die.
He came to proclaim a kingdom, he came to accomplish that kingdom little flock, he came to include us in His Kingdom. And so you can’t say, here’s my kingdom purpose. And here’s my everyday life. It’s everything in your everyday life starts to go under your kingdom purpose. And that’s how you make decisions about where you spend your money. That’s how you make decisions about how you spend your time. And how you navigate relationships is what is happening out there. Love Johnny Erickson, tada, she’s my friend, she’s my hero. She wrote one time, she said, I think it’s so funny when people pray, Lord, use me as the Lord and ever said, he intended to do anything else. She said, our prayer should be Lord make me useful. Make me useful. When my husband was still young and single, his life was a lot simpler. He was yet single. And he was living in a city that was saturated with churches. He’s, he’s a businessman. And he called a spiritual mentor and just said, I’m young and single, I feel like I could go anywhere, and I work for this company, that would probably send me anywhere, but I don’t even know how I would go about thinking through that. And this mentor said to him, find out where the kingdom is weak, and go there and help make it strong. Find out where the kingdom is wait. And he did picked up and moved to San Francisco and helped with the church plant out there. The reason the Lord uses pictures of salt and light to describe us is you never focus on the salt or the light, they give and expand for the good of the mate for the good of whatever you’re you’re spreading your light on what are we saved for? My sister did a one year of violin when she was young, Suzuki violin, I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Suzuki method. You don’t learn to read music, you learn one thing? Do you know what that 10 is? Is Twinkle twinkle little star. And so you start off with the love is it’s a in the you learn in the go in it. And then you got it. You get it? Okay. You get it. It was it was a long, hard year. And but I will tell you this, the Lord gave me the long hard years that I wish I would have this picture of what the kingdom looks like, you know what the kingdom is? We’re all of us in here and all of us watching. It’s the same tune of the Lord’s loving glory in a million different versions. And that’s what it is. And that’s what our purpose is. Where are you? Where are you playing his team? Where are you expanding his kingdom? fourthly, perspective of the kingdom? In order to have Kingdom purpose? And to fulfill Kingdom purpose? We have to keep zeroed in with a kingdom perspective. And where does that perspective come from? It comes from seeing the king, all eyes on the king, if God is sovereign creator and ruler over everything, and that is just a true state. That’s our belief statement. That’s a true statement, then what? Then everything in his creative reality finds his identity and meaning in relationship to him and what he has for it. I mean, that’s just the equation. And so we’ve got to keep that perspective, not just your spiritual life, your work, and your recreational life, and your relationships and your families and your neighborhoods and all your activities that all find their meaning and relationship with him. We have this what does Jesus mean to me? What does Jesus mean for the whole world? We’ve got, we got to keep asking that perspective. And also, we always start with what he thinks we get so preoccupied with, what does this bestselling author think about Jesus? What is public education think about Jesus. And it’s not that we never need to ask that. But first, we have to ask, what does Jesus think about that bestselling author? What does Jesus think about public education in that way, the way we know the way we know what our perspective is one step. What do you pray for? If it’s just illness, and finances and traveling mercies and college decisions, those things are great. They should be prideful. That’s not enough. That’s not big enough. It’s not Big enough impiety, mystic religion, one desire to be a vessel of God, Lord filming, but in historically reformed religion, one desire to be an instrument of God, not how do I avoid? How do I engage? How do I engage? And how do I present? So we look with Kingdom as and when we look with Kingdom as what will we always see with the kingdom perspective, things are always getting better, and they are always getting worse. That’s why the line is jagad. I mean, how are they getting worse? We’re not going to waste time on that y’all think the whole world is terrible, okay. And so you know how they’re getting worse. We know how they’re getting worse. How are they getting better?
The number of Muslims in other words, the medical advances that we have the fact that I can read and vote as a woman charter schools, I mean, whatever, you can start naming the unbelievable things that are happening through the Lord’s people and through his common grace. In his world, things are always getting better. And they’re always getting worse. But a Christian perspective on the world is always primarily optimistic. Not because the world is okay. But because Jesus reigns. And if we have the Jesus perspective, you cannot ever believe that this world is going to hell in a handbasket. That is a cosmic impossibility. We should never think that way. And we should never talk that way. And when we get overwhelmed with the badness of the world, you know, what we do, we shrink back into this kind of pitiful Piatt ism that only cares about me and my Jesus. And we huddle up in Bible studies every single day of the week, because it’s only about Jesus and my personal life as though he is unrelated to world events. Davy Jones were my seminary professors said you have got to stay right here. He said, You cannot we cannot lag behind the king in some kind of unwarranted pessimism that Jesus is first coming and his present and brain do not matter. But we also cannot run ahead of the king in some kind of unwarranted triumphalism like we are going to establish some kind of utopia, before he comes again, we must do what we must keep in step with the king and what is he doing, he is marching forward in redemption. We are not about maintenance, we are about transformation that is spilling over from our own transformed heart, into our labs, open up to Matthew chapter 25. And we’re going to blow through this but this is this is where you get boots on the ground, so to speak. You have got the presence of the kingdom, the parameters of the kingdom, the purpose of the kingdom, the perspective of the kingdom, and finally fifthly here in Matthew 25, you have our participation in the kingdom, beginning of verse 14, I’m going to be heretical and tell you the parable instead of read it word for word. I think you’re familiar with it. In the midst of Jesus’s last week with his disciples, He pulled back to teach just them. And it’s called the all about discourse. This is in the midst of him teaching him about his return and the End Times and he begins to teach them. They’re like, Lord, when will you return? He goes, You will never know. And the only thing that matters is that you’re ready. readiness is all he is teaching them and the way you’re ready is if you’re working and it gives them this picture of what it means to be working in His Kingdom. while they wait for him to return a master calls in three servants he entrusts his property them to when he gives five talents of gold that was an amount of gold to one two talents and one one talent, he goes away. And it says for a long time when he returned he calls him into several accounts the man with five comes forward and says look master I’ve gained five more well done good and faithful servant you’ve been faithful with the little I will give you I will make you faithful over much coming to the joy of your master the woman to the Lord Look, I would I’ve made two more oh well done good and faithful servant coming to the joy of your master I will make you faithful over much the last one comes Lord I knew you were a hard man a buried your talent in the ground here is what belongs to you. And he says, If you knew I was a hard man, why would you not least put this on deposit with the bankers to make interest for me, You wicked, lazy servant, take it from him and give it to the man with 10 talents and throw him out where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is the picture of what it means to participate in the kingdom. Three sub points here right out of this parable, look back at it later for yourselves. The first this is a terror parable about resources, the resources for our participation are the resources for our work. What do the talents of gold signify? People say it’s the gospel or spiritual gifts or its its material gifts or means talents like we mean What is it? It means all of it is everything that the Lord has given us to be used for his sake. Spiritually, materially natural giftedness, whatever. It’s all of it but they are not gifts given to us. It says he called him in entrusted his property to them. We do not own, we steward. And so He never says this is now yours, it was always still his. And so everything This signifies is every privilege and responsibility and opportunity that we have by virtue of belonging to the Lord Jesus, because it all comes from him and his all to be used for him. But what bugs us about this parable is what? One guy got five, and one guy got two and one guy only got one. And everything in our Western sensibilities just can’t quite take that we’ve got to have equal footing in that way. And yet, what a real picture,
just in this room, much less everyone that’s watching, we do not have to have the same bank account. The same abilities, the same square footage, the same size churches, the same personality, the same looks the same spiritual background and you name it and is completely diversified in that way. The question is why? Why do we not all have the same? Is that fate? Is it Mother Nature? Real? Is it? Is it punishment for sin? It’s what is divine design? It’s God’s sovereign goodness in our life was verse 15. say he gave to each according to his ability. We are a package of God’s grace. We’re not just saved by His grace in the other stuff is outside of that realm. Do we feel like we’ve been slighted, or we’ve been cheated? Let me tell you the number one reason, the number one reason we will not be involved in what the Lord has called us to do in His Kingdom is resentment of what we don’t have or we don’t get to do. That’s what’s wrong with us. When I was still single, I would say, if I were married, and had a family, I would do this with my home, I would do this with my kids. I mean, I’m single, what can I do in the male’s mirror with kids? Why don’t those singles do more? If I had that kind of time, if I had that kind of flexibility, all the young people were like if I were old, and an empty nester, and I had that much knowledge and that much resources that much time. That’s what I’d be doing all the old people like if our young, and I had those relationships and those work. I mean, it’s so easy. If only I were anybody but me, I would be doing things. But because the Lord messed up with me, and has not given me what I really need to do anything meaningful. And that’s our number one excuse for doing nothing at all, is the discontent and the resentment. It is no slide that the search service only got one talent, it would have been wrong to give him more, it would have been wrong to give him more. God gave him exactly what he needed to do the Lord’s work. And how do we know that because there’s the same title and the same relationship to the master for all three servants. They are called in, they are entrusted by him with treasure to see what they do with it in his world. While he is gone, we do not own we steward. We don’t own our bodies. We don’t own our time. We don’t own our stuff, its own loan for him for Kingdom purposes. And so whatever you need for what God has called you to do, you have as john Newton famously said, everything is needful that he sends Nothing can be naval that he withholds. Everything is naval they send and nothing can be needful that he withholds. That’s the first thing, the resources for the work for the kingdom work. And there is this beautiful, wonderful, gracious, purposeful variety of the resources. But secondly, the responsibility to work. The responsibility is the same, the resources are varied, but the responsibility is the same that we do what we employ the Masters resources, the king’s resources for his sake, whatever resources you have, you’re pushing that line out with them. You’re doing that in your own home, you’re doing that and in a corporation of 1000s of people and everything in between. But your purpose with those resources, is to push that line out. He didn’t give us the resources so we can have them. We feel like gratitude is enough of a response. Let’s count our blessings. Being grateful is not enough of a response. It’s got to be useful. He didn’t give it to us so that we can have them but so that we can use them and listen to me, you know, they’re only ultimately is valuable. Your time your energy, your opportunities, your gifts, your abilities. Your Money is only as valuable as the kingdom work in which you use it. If you go to our school Carnival, you’re getting you’re given little tickets, right? And this rod calls to tickets and this this booth costs for tickets, and my daughter, who’s a hoarder and a saver kept holding on to her her thing, tickets and mean, there was only 30 minutes left of the carnival. And she was so proud of all of her tickets. So do you understand in 30 minutes, those are worthless. They can only be used here. You’ll want to take any of this stuff with us. It can only be used here. I’m one day closer to eternity a day than I was yesterday. And we’re going to be hoarding all this stuff when we either go home or the Lord comes again. And it’s like typical. I mean, that’s what it’s to be used for something else is to be used for something else
that you know, the theological danger and this passage, that we would read this and think that the Lord cannot do this without us. That there is some need on his part for anything that we bring to our day, he does not need our service. He does not need our obedience, he does not need our smart, he does not need our money. He does not need our homes, our church buildings or families or our children does not need anything to build a design anything from us to build his kingdom. But in his crazy loving sovereign purposes, he has not ordained to establish it
without us. This this is how he has ordained it to be as that we would be involved. Why? Because he’s egotistical. No, because He loves us so much that He is willing
to involve us it is not a question of the Lord making us work for him. It is a question of him allowing us to work for him. My mom is from a very small town in Mississippi. And when we go see my parents, my grandparents there, my grandfather would come in before anybody else was up, and he’d wake me up. And he wrapped me in his bath robe. And we would go into the kitchen and I would press the coffee pot and our press the toaster, we walk to the end of the driveway, let me down by my ankles and I’d pick up the newspaper, we’d come drop the newspaper on Ottoman, we go back to his bathroom, he let me put shaving cream all over his face and take the blade out. And let me shave his face and put on the aftershave and tighten his tie. And we’d go in and we pour the coffee and fix the coffee and butter toast and sit down with the breakfast in the newspaper. And by this time, I’m just exhausted. And you know what I’m thinking at age five, what? What does he do when I’m not here? Right? I mean, the man is helpless, right? I mean, do you know how long it took him to get to work on those days. Everything is slower. Everything was Messier. Everything was harder. So why did he do it? He wanted to involve me to show how important I am to him. He delights to have me part of it even when it messes it up. You’ll every single Kingdom thing that I’m involved with is Messier and slower and harder than if the Lord did not involve me. So why does he do it? He does it not because he needs me for the work because I need the work to know how valuable I am to him. To know that he delights to include me in his nearest and his dearest activities. Our view of grace is so small grace and bring us in the kingdom and the work is in the kingdom is all grace. Little flog the Lord loves to give you the kingdom and don’t just look at the at the requirement of work. You’re looking at the freedom and the responsibility here he calls them and he gives him his talent. And how many instructions does he give them? None. None. That is both a comfort and a challenge. The good news is that is nobody else can tell you how you must use what the Lord has given you in His Kingdom. And the challenge in that is nobody else can tell you exactly how to use what the Lord has given you in His Kingdom. We only want to look to each other and say I’m doing what she’s doing. I must be doing what I’m supposed to be doing. We can’t look to each other. We have got to look directly to the Lord individual callings, expressed with individuality of a number of people in my life that the Lord is put there just to make me understand it’s like this great caterer who hasn’t special needs done that wants to be able to give him a business employing nothing but special needs people changes it to sweet ability bakery, and it’s all done that way now, a doctor that treated every international student at covenant seminary for free because they were unable to get medical insurance with their visa. The man that stepped off our session for a while because he had a chance to run for the public school board. Another doctor that worked 51% of the time to keep his benefits so he could spend the rest of his time in mission work an older lady that wanted to be involved in a new inner city school but didn’t know what to do. And she said I love to sew if any of these little girls would like to sew in the sewing club was the biggest thing at school with a two year old Miss cookie. After school there are just so many things that we can do. You know what you got to do? You got to lay it all you go home, go home from here, and you your rent your friends, your roommate, your husband, whoever, lay it all out on the bed, your job description, a picture of your family, your calendar, your credit card bills, whatever it is, lay it all on the bed, kneel down and say Lord, this is all yours. Show me. Show me what to do with it. There can be no other checklists and then us Lord, show me We can’t say I’m doing what they’re doing or I’m not doing what they are doing. And we get so paralyzed by that, that you know, we do we attend one more Bible study. And we take more notes, because we don’t know what else we are supposed to do. And let me say, the easiest things to overlook are the things that the Lord puts right in front of us. We will raise money to go halfway around the world to do things we would never do in our own communities. Or in our own neighborhoods. Me Chuck Colson started a prison ministry because he had been in prison. And Johnny started a disability mission because she was disabled. And a friend that immediately went to go work as a counselor with Bethany Christian services because she had a baby out of wedlock and gave up a baby for adoption. I mean, what has the Lord called and equipped you to do? That’s right, that these men did not have planes, trains and automobiles, they they multiply their talent within walking distance of their lives, within walking distance of their lives. What am I saying? I’m saying, take your life, take your resources, take your time, take your abilities and do something. And you’re like, Oh, I went to the gospel coalition. This woman was up there, and she was talking about works. Okay. So I just want to be totally clear about what I’m talking about. I am talking about works.
That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Because that’s exactly what the scripture talks about. Not so that we will know the Lord because we do. Because we already
to the king is the urgency of this parable. Finally, is because I promise I’m gonna let you eat, okay? Is the reckoning of the work. Okay, you’ve got the resources, you’ve got the responsibility, but it’s going somewhere, but the the history is going somewhere that the master is coming back, and that will all stand to give an account. And you’ve got to notice carefully that the man that gained five and the man that gained two got the exact same commendation from the master. It was not about quantity, it was about quality of their work. Both those pictures five, gaining five to game just means they fully use their resources. There’s just a picture of the fullness of the resources, we have no idea what their work look like anybody else, but their audience of one soul. The man comes with one and he he and buries it and carries it. For him. Maybe he was the most popular acclaimed person in town, but it was not okay with the master Why’d he buried it, so that there was no possibility of loss. But there was also no possibility of what gain. There was no possibility of gain. He wasn’t mad. He had only one talent. He was mad, he had any. He did not want to have it. He did not want to use it. His disregard and his bitterness is not towards the talent. It’s towards the master. You are the hard man. And I was afraid of you. I want you to hear me. This made me we’ve got some really bad guys in the parables. You’ve got the unforgiving servant, and you’ve got the prodigal son, and they wasted and they’re in debt. This man does not do anything evil. He did nothing and that was evil. He did nothing and that was evil. And we hear it You wicked, lazy servant, throw him outside. What the master hates is not attempt and failure. It is the failure to attempt. Richard Baxter, Puritan said to do no harm is the price of a stone not a person to do no harm is the price of a stone, not a person. I’m asking you to be bold.
I’m asking you to be prayerful. I’m asking you to be risky because your kingdom service is tailor made for you. God is not surprised by our Sandy is not surprised by our failures. He is not surprised by our inabilities but on the other hand, no one else can do your kingdom work. No one else can do your kingdom work. God draws a straight line with cricket sticks. And there are lines that he will only use you to draw. Sir Thomas Moore said if you did not choose the kingdom of God, it will not matter at all in the end what you have chosen instead. If you do not choose the kingdom of God with everything you have, and everything that you are, it will not matter in the end at all, what you have chosen instead, the resources are there by His grace, and the responsibility is there by His grace. So we have got to dig in with grace. Ladies, we are finished. Please don’t sit in Bible studies until the Lord comes again. Only valves I would love for you to be involved. But don’t sit only in Bible studies until the Lord comes again. Take all those notes, take all of that learning and do something for His glory that pushes that lawn out. We know where we’re going. So let’s start running towards it. Amen. Let me pray. We’re going to dinner. Father, thank You that You choose To use us that you’re willing to use us that you delight to use us and Lord, I pray that we would feel delight in being used make us useful. Build your kingdom because we’ve been together in Indianapolis or online. I pray that that land would be closer to your coming Kingdom than it ever has been before. King Jesus, thank you that you rule and reign do not pass us by us as in your nearest and dearest work, and may we rejoice in it until we see you face to face. Amen.