Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The universal kingdom of God

My apologies for getting off track the last couple months with our "Doing the Word" blog posts. June was one of the busiest months of my life, and the first half of July was our family road trip to Colorado, so things are just now settling down to some level of normalcy.

Last week, we looked briefly at John 18:28-40 (Jesus’ civil trial before Pilate) before launching into a multi-week series on the kingdom of God. We noted that there are two main ways the “kingdom” theme is used in the Bible.

  1. The first is in a general sense – that God is creator and ruler of the entire universe. We can call this His “universal kingdom.” On Sunday, we looked at just two examples of this. (A) In 1 Chronicles 29, when David was an old man, he gathered the people of Israel together and took an offering for the temple. The people gave generously and joyfully, and David expressed His praise to the Lord. He declared “Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all…You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might.” (B) In Daniel 4, when Nebuchadnezzar became puffed up over His achievements, God humbled Him by making him walk on all fours and graze in the field. His hair grew like feathers and his nails like bird claws. Finally, the king humbled himself and confessed, “For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation… Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just.”
  2. The second way is in a more local sense – that since the time of Abraham, God has chosen to call out a people for Himself, and to rule over them through appointed men called “mediators.” This began with Moses, the judges, kings, and ultimately Jesus. We can call this His “mediatorial kingdom,” and we will look more in-depth at this aspect of God’s kingdom beginning next week.
A few application questions:
  • In what areas does a king have authority?
  • When you consider that God is a king, how does this make you feel?
  • Read 1 Timothy 1:17. What attributes of God are mentioned here? How should we act toward our King?
  • The universal kingdom of God is a great remedy for pride. What gifts or personal accomplishments tempt you to become proud? What is the biblical response?
  • The universal kingdom of God is also a great remedy for anxiety. What makes you afraid? What fears does your mind drift toward? What is the biblical response?
(Sunday’s sermon will be uploaded soon to our podcast site and will be available for free download or to listen online.)

May God help us apply His Word this week in our hearts, in our words, and in our actions.

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