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We are living in a very unique period of history – between the resurrection of Jesus and the restoration of all things through Him. There is an unseen dimension of this world that is actually more real than what is seen. In this invisible realm the ascended Christ is now ruling over all things making God’s invisible Kingdom more visible on earth – and in our lives.
Vision for the Kingdom of God
In our last session we discovered from Scripture the answer to the ancient question, “What is God’s purpose for the world?”
We learned that God’s purpose for creating humanity and world is to glorify His name among all the nations of the earth.
In this session we’re discovering from Scripture the answer to the question, “How has God chosen to glorify His name?”
Jesus answers this question for us, in what has been called the Lord’s Prayer. After he instructs his disciples to pray, “Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed by your name,” then He tells them to pray next, “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).
We learn here from the teaching of Jesus on prayer that God’s purpose for the world is to glorify His name through the coming of His kingdom in such a way that causes His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God designed the world to be an eternal, cosmic display of His glory as He ruled over everything as Creator King through His image bearers. So, as God’s image bearers, we learn in the early chapters of Genesis, that we are created to multiply, to fill the earth, and to rule over it in a way that carries out God’s perfect will on the earth.
But evil entered the world through a real villain, Satan—who enticed humanity to sin. Then something horrible happened. God’s paradise on earth was lost.
God’s image bearers came under the just curse of God’s wrath. And their hearts became corrupt and idolatrous.
Man’s broken relationship with God, then caused all of mankind’s other vital relationships for life and joy to be broken–with self, with others, and with creation.
This is why things are not the way they’re supposed to be. The Shalom of God, ultimate peace and joy on earth, has been shattered.
This is why there is so much brokenness in the world, not just spiritually—but socially, culturally, economically, even politically. This is why there is so much violence, poverty, disease, and injustice.
So as we’re now faced with a very ancient question: “What is the ultimate solution to all the world’s problems?” Let’s pursue the Bible’s answer.
Believing there could even be an ultimate solution is normally seen as being naïve and foolish. Everyone agrees we must keep striving for things like:
- Quality education,
- Just governments,
- Stable economies,
- Affordable health care,
- Cures for diseases,
- Global collaboration of governments and service organizations,
- and a host of other things.
Now these are all good solutions. But they are not the ultimate solution to all our global problems of broken humanity on this runaway planet.
According to Scripture, the only ultimate solution is found in a very foolish-sounding story called the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It’s the Good News that about 2000 years ago God’s kingdom entered our world in a new way through the person and work of Jesus to restore God’s fallen humanity and creation—as far as the curse is found.
This is the Good News that the Father’s creation, ruined by humanity’s sin, is now being redeemed by Christ and renewed by His Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of God.
This is the Good News that through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus God has given Him authority to form a New Humanity, made up of His people from every tribe, tongue, and nation who repent, believe in, and follow Jesus Christ.
And God promises His New Humanity in Christ–the Forgiveness of sin, a New Standing before God, the Gift of His Holy Spirit, a New Heart, and a New World when Jesus returns.
In this new world God promises to restore His Shalom, His Peace—everything that was lost in the Fall—including not only our broken relationship with God but also our broken relationships with ourselves, with others, and with all of creation.
The Good News of the Kingdom is not only that one day, when Jesus returns, God’s Kingdom is coming to earth to make all things new. The Good News is also that God’s Kingdom has already come to earth to make all things new through the resurrection and ascension of Christ.
When God raised Jesus from the dead He was not only proclaiming His ultimate victory over death and evil—He was also inaugurating His new rule on earth as the “first born from the dead” (Rom 8:29b), referring to the many who would follow Him by their resurrection in the New Age to come.
Through the many miracles and ultimately through the resurrection of Jesus, God demonstrated that His Kingdom has already been launched on earth. And when Jesus ascended to the right hand of God the Father in Heaven, He and the Father poured out His Holy Spirit as a magisterial display that He is enthroned on High as our Redeemer King carrying out God’s cosmic rescue mission to restore fallen humanity and creation as far as the curse is found.
This is the Good News of Jesus Christ that our broken world desperately needs to hear and to see in our day. It’s the Good News that “Our God Reigns!” over all things through Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit.
As the former prime minister of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper, used to say, it’s the good news that… “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”
There is an unseen dimension of this world that is actually more real than what is seen. In this invisible realm the ascended Christ is now ruling over all things making God’s invisible Kingdom more visible on earth.
Jesus is now answering the very prayer He taught his disciples to pray.
He is now bringing glory to the Father’s name among the nations (Hallowed by Thy Name), by causing God’s Kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God’s purpose for the world is not merely the rebirth of human souls but the rebirth of all fallen creation. In Col 1:20 Paul writes, “For God was pleased…through (Christ) to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
God’s ultimate purpose for the world includes the restoration of the entire cosmos and the creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth.
This is why the ultimate Christian hope is not merely that one day when we die, we will go to heaven to worship Jesus forever. No matter what so many Christian hymns say, heaven is not our eternal home.
Everyone who goes to heaven is making a round trip. Heaven is a glorious, mysterious, intermediate paradise where the dead in Christ will temporarily be with Him as disembodied souls. But our ultimate hope is in another day when Jesus will return, and bring heaven back down to earth as it was at creation, and unite our souls with our resurrected bodies–so we will not only worship and enjoy Him forever—but do so by ruling and reigning with Him forever over a new earth.
This is what Jesus mean when He taught His followers, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
It’s been well said that our ultimate hope is “…not going BACK to Eden, or UP to Heaven—but going FORWARD to the New Jerusalem–which God promises will one day come DOWN from heaven to earth as our final home.”
In the meantime we are living in a very unique period of redemptive history—between the resurrection of Jesus and the restoration of all things through Him.
God takes pleasure in manifesting His presence and pouring out His power on those who will dare to radically align their life purpose with His and God’s purpose for the world is that His name be glorified by His invisible kingdom becoming more visible not only in human hearts, but in every sphere of life, including:
- Government: Where injustice and evil is either restrained or endorsed
- Education: Where truths or lies about God and his creation are taught
- Media: Where information is interpreted through the lens of good or evil
- Arts & Entertainment: Where values and virtue are celebrated or distorted
- Religion: Where people truly worship God or settle for a religious ritual
- Family: Where blessing or curse is passed on to successive generations
- Business: Where people work for the glory of God or the glory of man
This is what it means to have a vision for the Kingdom of God.
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