A. In light of the coming Messianic Kingdom, the Church’s primary role is acknowledge and worship God in his present benevolent sovereignty over all things in the heavens and on the earth, and to wait, hope and pray for the Day of the Lord and the coming of His Messiah.
B. Secondarily, the Church is called to prepare for its inheritance in that kingdom. It is called to holiness and blamelessness that we might receive a rich welcome into the coming kingdom. This is the context of discipleship and sanctification, training to reign in love and righteousness.
A. The tertiary role of the Church is to be a witness of that Kingdom—and the judgment and restoration therein—to all the nations.
This is what I told you while I was still with you:Everything must be fulfilledthat is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (before the establishment of the Kingdom, cf. v.26)…46This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,47andrepentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations(before “everything” is fulfilled), beginning at Jerusalem.48You arewitnesses(Gk. martus) of these things (i.e. suffering before the glory). (NIVLuke 24:44-48)
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going torestore the kingdom to Israel(cf. “the kingdom of God” v.3)?”7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; andyou will be my witnesses(Gk. martus) in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIVActs 1:6-8)
B. This witness primary consists of the proclamation of the gospel/good news of the Kingdom. The essential constitution of the gospel is the Resurrection and the Kingdom.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaimingthe gospel of God,15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, andthe kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (ESVMark 1:14-15)
Now, brothers, I want toremind you of the gospelI preached to you…2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christdiedfor our sins according to the Scriptures,4that he wasburied, that he wasraisedon the third day according to the Scriptures…17if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins…20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,the firstfruitsof those who have fallen asleep…22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.23But each in his own turn: Christ,the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.24Then the end will come, when he hands overthe kingdomto God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26The last enemy to be destroyed is death…32If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (NIV1 Corinthians 15:1-57)
1. Humanity’s ultimate problem is death/suffering/sickness and its root of wickedness and rebellion (i.e. bad news). The biblical gospel (i.e. good news) boldly declares to the sick and dying the overturning and conquering of death in the resurrection of the body. Moreover, it declares to the poor and oppressed the uprooting and destruction of wickedness in the judgment of the Day of the Lord.
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom andhealing every disease and every affliction. (ESVMatthew 9:35)
The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed meto preach good news to the poor.” (NIVLuke 4:17)
2. On the other hand, the Christonaturalistic gospel essentially acquiesces and concedes to death, incorporating it into the core of its good news. Oxymoronically, death is the means of escaping death, which itself is immortalized when the material heavens and earth are destroyed.
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.17And if Christ has not been raised,your faith is futile…19If only for this life we have hope in Christ,we are to be pitied more than all men…30And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?31I die every day– I mean that, brothers– just as surely asI glory over youin Christ Jesus our Lord…32If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”33Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”34Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning;for there are some who are ignorant of God– I say this to your shame. (NIV1 Corinthians 15:16-34)
3. This Christonaturalistic gospel is proclaimed throughout the earth in sermon, song and lifestyle. Though a retarded hope, it is the only thing available to the modern church.
“Some glad morning when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away. To a home on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, Oh Glory; I’ll fly away. When I die, Hallelujah, by and by; I’ll fly away… Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away. To a land where joy shall never end, I’ll fly away.”
4. Though the “heavenly destiny” of the modern church is the core of the modern gospel, it is surprisingly little addressed. The enemy desires to destroy all hope to humanity, even a retarded heavenly destiny.
John Calvin, the great expositor, never wrote a commentary on Revelation and never dealt with the eternal state at any length. Though he encourages meditation on Heaven in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, his theology of Heave seems strikingly weak compared to his theology of God, Christ, salvation, Scripture, and the church… A great deal has been written about eschatology—the study of the end times—but comparatively little about Heaven… Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote an in-depth two-volume set titled The Nature and Destiny of Man. Remarkably, he had nothing to say about Heaven. William Shedd’s three-volume Dogmatic Theology contains eighty-seven pages on eternal punishment, but only two on Heaven. In his nine-hundred-page theology, Great Doctrines of the Bible, Martyn Lloyd-Jones devotes less than two pages to the eternal state and the New Earth. Louis Berkof’s classic Systematic Theology devotes thirty-eight pages to creation, forty pages to baptism and communion, and fifteen pages to what theologians call “the intermediate state”… Yet it contains only two pages on Hell and one page on the eternal state. When all that’s said about the eternal Heaven is limited to page 737 of a 737-page systematic theology like Berkof’s, it raises a question: Does Scripture really have so little to say? Are there so few theological implications to this subject? The biblical answer, I believe, is an emphatic no! In The Eclipse of Heaven, theology professor A. J. Conyers writes, ‘Even to one without religious commitment and theological convictions, it should be an unsettling thought that this world is attempting to chart its way through some of the most perilous waters in history, having now decided it ignore what was for nearly two millennia its fixed point of reference—its North Star. The certainty of judgment, the longing for heaven, the dread of hell: these are not prominent considerations in our modern discourse about the important matters of life. But they once were.’”
At this point, The Christian’s Pilgrim by Jonathan Edwards is highlighted in the audio teaching, which can be downloaded with 3b’s audio teaching.
Tim Warner articles that John Harrigan references can be downloaded here (Tim Warner’s websitehttp://www.answersinrevelation.org/):
Millennial Week Eschatologyhttp://www.oasischristianchurch.org/air/chiliasm.pdf
Chronology of the Whole Biblehttp://www.oasischristianchurch.org/air/chronology.pdf
C. The good news of the Kingdom also inherently consists of bad news toward the wicked and unrepentant. Thus, the good news is consistently accompanied by a call to repentance unto the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mt. 3:2; 4:17; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 3:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 10:43; 11:18; 13:38; 14:3; 17:30; 20:21; 26:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 2:13; Tit. 2:11; etc.).
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”…5Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan,confessing their sins. (ESVMatthew 3:1-6)
Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd…17“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…20The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming ofthe great and glorious day of the Lord.21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’…36Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus,whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ forthe forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NIVActs 2:14-38)
Nowrepent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.20Then times of refreshment (Gk. anapsuxis) will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. (NLTActs 3:19-20)
Albert E. Brumley, “I’ll Fly Away” (1929), public domain.
Randy Alcorn, Heaven (Tyndale House Publishers, 2004), 8-9.
A. This witness of the Kingdom is primarily accomplished through a bold proclamation of the word.
They lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,25who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit…29And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue tospeak your word with all boldness,30while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”31And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued tospeak the word of God with boldness. (ESVActs 4:24-31)
Those who had been scatteredpreached the wordwherever they went.5Philip went down to a city in Samaria andproclaimed the Christthere…12when they believed Philip as hepreached the good news of the kingdom of Godand the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women…14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them…25When they hadtestified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem,preaching the gospelin many Samaritan villages. (NIVActs 8:4-25)
“He commanded us to preach to the people and to testifythat he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”44While Peter was stillspeaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. (NIVActs 10:42-44)
The two of them (Paul and Barnabas), sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.5When they arrived at Salamis, theyproclaimed the word of Godin the Jewish synagogues…14:1At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There theyspoke so effectivelythat a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed…3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there,speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. (NIVActs 13:4-14:3)
And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days hereasoned with them from the Scriptures,3explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus,whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” …13When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul waspreaching the wordof God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. (ESVActs 17:2-13)
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth…4Every Sabbath hereasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.5When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Pauldevoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. (NIVActs 18:1-5)
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus…8Paul entered the synagogue andspoke boldlythere for three months,arguing persuasivelyabout the kingdom of God. (NIVActs 19:1-8)
I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.25Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone aboutpreaching the kingdomwill ever see me again…27I have not hesitatedto proclaim to youthe whole will of God. (NIVActs 20:24-27)
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of Godand taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. (NIVActs 28:30-31)
B. Ministry of the Word (i.e. evangelism and proclamation of the Kingdom) was considered the culmination of the purpose of the apostles before the return of Christ.
The twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give uppreaching the word of Godto serve tables.3Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.4But we will devote ourselvesto prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (ESVActs 6:2-4)
C. Paul’s primary charge to his main disciple, Timothy, was the proclamation of the Kingdom.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, andin view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage– with great patience andcareful instruction.3For the time will come when men will not put up withsound doctrine(concerning the Kingdom). Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them agreat number of teachersto say what their itching ears want to hear.4They will turn their ears away from the truth andturn aside to myths.5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship,do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry (“fulfill your ministry” NASB/ESV/NKJ). (NIV2 Timothy 4:1-5)
“Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”– St. Francis
And whatever you do,in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESVColossians 3:17)
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,17encourage your hearts and strengthen you in everygood deed and word. (NIV2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?18Little children,let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV1 John 3:16-18)
A. The Church’s witness of the Kingdom is not only by word, but also by deed. The Church witnesses to the righteousness and holiness of the coming Kingdom by walking in righteousness and holiness in this age. This is the thrust of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7; Lk. 6)
You arethe light of the world(cf. “the Day”). A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.16In the same way,let your light shine before others, so that they maysee your good worksand give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESVMatthew 5:14-16)
B. By their lifestyle, the Church witnesses to the world concerning what kind of behavior will be acceptable in the age to come.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, thatthose who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness and self-control (implying that those who live like this will inherit the Kingdom). (NIVGalatians 5:19-23)
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children2andlive a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for usas a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.3But among you there must not be even a hint ofsexual immorality, or of any kind ofimpurity, or ofgreed, because these are improper for God’s holy people…5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person– such a man is an idolater– has anyinheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (NIVEphesians 5:1-5)
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (NIVColossians 3:4-6)
Only let your manner of life beworthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,28and not frightened in anything by your opponents.This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. (NIVPhilippians 1:27-28)
C. Walking in the righteousness of the age to come is meant confirm the message of the Church to an unbelieving world.
I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone whocalls himself a brotherbut is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?Are you not to judge those inside(as a reflection of the age to come)?13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” (cf. Deut. 13:5; 17:7; 21:21; etc.)6:1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?2Do you not know thatthe saints will judge the world? (cf. Is. 24:21ff; Dan. 7:27; Ps. 149:6ff; etc.)…6But instead, one brother goes to law against another– andthis in front of unbelievers! (NIV1 Corinthians 5:9-6:6)
Though often quoted as from St. Francis, this catchy phrase is not actually in his writings or in the earliest biographies about him. However, in Chapter XVII of his Rule of 1221, Francis told the friars not to preach unless they had received the proper permission to do so. Then he added, “Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds.” This is where the popular quote found its origin.