The Coming Kingdom

The Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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November 18, 1978 was the single highest deaths of Americans from a non-natural cause until 9/11.
This event was the “Jonestown Massacre’ in which over 900 followers of a man named Jim Jones, led a mass poisoning of his followers in Venezuela
This group was not a fringe group either, in the 70’s they had thousands of people in membership and it was so big that local San Francisco politicians like Harvey Milk, who was a rising progressive in San Fran, tried to get their help
In fact Jones was so much in the San Francisco landscape that he helped get George Moscone elected as Mayor, and then afterwards appointed Jones to the San Francisco Housing Authority, which was used to help line Jones’ pocket and helping his people instead of the people of San Fran
This passage reminds and warns us directly to not flock and trust in people that are not Jesus, no matter how charismatic their leadership might be!
So how are we to treat the kingdom of God and our returning Messiah? Well, we start with those that are unaware of the basics of this kingdom, that is is both already here, but not yet here!

The Pharisees Can’t See It (v.20-21)

When Jesus is asked about the kingdom of God by the Pharisees we have to ask if they really want to know
Jesus had been doing ministry for several years at this point, and the kingdom has been part of what Jesus is doing now
We first see this all the way back in Luke 4:17-19 in which Jesus speaks to his purpose
Luke 4:17–19 (CSB)
17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
This is Jesus’ statement of what he has come to do, and even says in Lk 4:21 “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”!
Jesus is all about the kingdom of God, and a major part of his ministry is to bring that Kingdom about
In fact in Lk 9:2, we see that Jesus empowers his disciples to proclaim The Kingdom of God and heal the sick as a sign of the kingdom being there already
Luke 9:2 CSB
2 Then he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
So if this was true why would Jesus point to the fact that ‘the kingdom of God is not coming with something observable?”
Exalting Jesus in Luke The Pharisees Can’t See It (17:20–21)

The Pharisees expected a literal physical kingdom on earth. They wanted an earthly ruler. They didn’t understand the nature of God’s kingdom.

If Jesus was the Messiah, he was not living up to the primary view of a Messiah, one that would come and overthrow Rome
This is why Jesus points to the Kingdom of God in your midst!
The healings, the demon’s being cast out, the multitudes fed, are evidence enough of the Kingdom of God come among the people
Yet, this is also before the founding of the church and the full revealing of the New Covenant, they are in a state of partial revelation
The reason that I bring that up is that for you and I, we don’t have to look for far off places of the Kingdom of God, it is in our midst
It is in fact in our very being, the Spirit of God dwells within us, part of Jesus’ promise to never leave us or forsake us
If you want to be a part of that Kingdom, you can as well
You just need to come to Jesus, confess your sins and realize what Jesus in dying for you on the cross
If you do this, you become part of God’s kingdom rather than an onlooker

The Disciples Can’t Miss It (v.22-25)

Jesus turns from the Pharisees who cannot see the kingdom of God in their midst, to the Disciples, the ones who are helping Jesus bring about this kingdom in their midst
Yet, you see Jesus expands and shows the twofold meaning of the kingdom of God
There will be a time that in which Jesus will return, not on a colt of a donkey, but on the clouds in victory
You see when Jesus says, “days of the Son of Man”, he is invoking a clear call back to the prophet Daniel 7:13-14
Daniel 7:13–14 (CSB)
13 I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man
was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days
and was escorted before him. 14 He was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away,
and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.
So Jesus does two things
First he corrects the Pharisees on their misunderstanding of God’s kingdom
Then he corrects and elaborates the Disciples’ understanding of the Son of Man
Why does Jesus say ‘You won’t see it?”
Well the clearest answer is that none of the Disciples would be alive when it happens.
Because the point is found in what Jesus is telling them about
People will claim that Jesus has returned! Look He’s here! Look he’s there!
Yet Jesus is saying, there is no missing His return!
It will be flashes across the sky, no one will miss it
Yet, that will happen after Jesus is rejected and killed by the religious leaders
This is much of the same message Paul writes to those in Thessaloniki
In Pauls 2 Letter to them, he says this in 2 Thess. 2:1-3
2 Thessalonians 2:1–3 (CSB)
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a prophecy or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.
This is also a great and difficult reminder to us in engaging in cults, and their false promises
Exalting Jesus in Luke The Disciples Can’t Miss It (17:22–25)

Think of how many cult tragedies would never have happened if people would take seriously these two verses. There would be no Jim Jones at Jonestown. There would be no David Koresh and the Branch Davidians in Waco. There’d be no Heaven’s Gate cult massacre. All of these people died because they listened to someone say, “The kingdom is over there!” or “Look! There’s the messiah!” If someone tells you they know the secret path to the kingdom, point to Luke 17:22 and refuse to believe them or give them a hearing.

Yet, these things move us to the next section

The World Won’t Expect It (v.26-30)

So continues to elaborate and goes into stories from the Old Testament to show how God has worked before
The first story we have is Noah
In the days of Noah, people did not change or repent
Noah recieved the command to make the Ark, and there were 120 years of Noah calling people to turn back, yet they did not
We see this in both Hebrews 11:7
Hebrews 11:7 CSB
7 By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Also in 2 Peter 2:5
2 Peter 2:5 CSB
5 and if he didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when he brought the flood on the world of the ungodly;
So wee see that Noah was a prophet, who was obeying God in building that Ark
What is the point of Noah’s mention?
Even though people could see the building of the ark, they did not care what crazy old Noah was doing
They went on with their life as if life would continue on indefinitely!
The second story is that of Lot, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis 19
In this story, God destroys Sodom for their wickedness
Wickedness so great that when the Angels come into the town to meet with Lot, they attempt to sexually assault them
Instead of hospitality, they are seeking to use them for their own evil, perverse desires
These were not good people by any stretch of the imagination!
God called down fire and sulphur (brimstone is burning sulphur)
What happens when the Son of Man comes?
It will be like the days of Noah when people continued on with life
It will be like the destruction of Sodom, in which people were suddenly destroyed
I suspect this was part of the teaching that moved Peter to write this in 2 Peter 3:3-7
2 Peter 3:3–7 CSB
3 Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, 4 saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” 5 They deliberately overlook this: By the word of God the heavens came into being long ago and the earth was brought about from water and through water. 6 Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded. 7 By the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
Do you see the parallels in this passage to what Jesus is saying?
People following their evil desires- much like Sodom and Gomorrah
Where is the coming? Nothing has changed since my grandparents!- Much like Noah
From Water, Through Water, Flooded World- Noah
And then Peter points to the second coming, and the parallels with Sodom- This world will be judged by fire in it’s totality
So it is a reminder to us, we cannot become complacent in what has not happened, we don’t want to be caught with our guard down!
So push on, keeping up the faith until we can hear good and faithful servant!
Just as the author of Hebrews reminds us in Heb. 10:24-25
Hebrews 10:24–25 CSB
24 And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.
We have time, and we decide how to use it, so let us use it wisely, encouraging one another, gathering together, all the more as we know the day of Christ’s return is closer each day that passes in our life!

Only the Self-Denying Will Find It (v.31-33)

Jesus continues on talking about how sudden this second coming will be!
The Jews had square houses with flat roofs that would be another living space many times
So someone will be on the roof, and remember things are in the house, but they should not come down to get them
Similarly, if you are not at home, but at the field, you should not turn back and run!
Verse 33 reminds us what it is about, if we want to lose our life, we find it in Jesus, but if we seek to keep our life, we lose it
Let me put in another way
Exalting Jesus in Luke Only the Self-Denying Will Find It (17:31–33)

We can’t live for God until we die to ourselves.

If you are part of God’s family, you have God’s spirit in you
The Spirit tells us how to follow Jesus and when our lives are going against God
Is there something you need to die to yourself over?
When we are advancing our own kingdom, we are at odds of advancing God’s kingdom
So what happens if we don’t want to surrender our lives to Jesus?
That moves us to the final part of the impact of the second coming

Those Who Miss It Will Perish (v.34-37)

Jesus points to the suddenness of this second coming
Just as people would run away from their homes like being besieged by an enemy, it will come when no one is expecting it
There will be two in one bed, and suddenly one will be gone, and one left
Two woman will be grinding grain, and suddenly one taken and one left
So the question becomes, is the one taken the lucky one or the one left?
Well within context, it seems that the ones taken out of the world like Noah and Lot are the ones that are saved
Then that leads us to the odd final statement
The Disciples ask Jesus, where?
Jesus had mentioned this ‘take/left’ motif several times, so it is natural to ask why
Jesus then says, where the corpse is, there will also be the vultures that gather to eat them
So instead of a particular place where this is all happening, Jesus’ point was that this judgment and sudden taking away of people (the rapture), will happen wherever it is needed
The judgement of God is coming as a thief in the night per 1 Thess. 5:2 and Rev. 16:15 remind us of this fact
So it seems that those that trust in God are taken away from this earth, but those left will have a mass amount of death descend upon them
It looks like Jesus is ultimately pointing to Revelation 19:17-21
Revelation 19:17–21 CSB
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he called out in a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying high overhead, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of military commanders, the flesh of the mighty, the flesh of horses and of their riders, and the flesh of everyone, both free and slave, small and great.” 19 Then I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and against his army. 20 But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with it the false prophet, who had performed the signs in its presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds ate their fill of their flesh.
What a terrible time of judgement for those not in Christ!
Again, I appeal to you to come to Christ, so you don’t have to go through the terrible suffering that will come upon this earth
Jesus is coming to judge the living and the dead, those who are his, and his enemies! Who’s side do you want to be on?


So this passage is about the future coming of Jesus!
We have to keep our eyes on Jesus and live lives that glorify him!
Here is the key take away for us
The second coming of Jesus is not about figuring out the exact time, or signs or how to interpret Revelations into modern politics!
So What should we do?
We should look to see how God is moving in people’s hearts!
America might look bleak from a growth perspective, or maybe you might get discouraged at the lack of our growth at this church (I do at times!)
Yet, God is working, and bringing his people to himself!
Lives are being changed and renewed
Doreen Virtue
Until five years ago, Doreen Virtue was a top-selling New Age author, speaking at seminars around the world and appearing on shows like Oprah and The View. She had her own brand of “angel cards” and published books about New Age practices like card reading, energy healing, hypnosis, and chakras. Virtue’s life took a dramatic turn in 2017, when she decided to read through the entire Bible for the first time. She read Deuteronomy 18:10-12 and was stunned by God’s warning to the Israelites not to follow the occult practices of the surrounding nations.
“I remember reading through the list of the things that the Canaanites did and realizing it was the same things that I was doing,” she recalls. “Then I got to the part where it says, ‘Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.’”
Virtue was shocked. For most of her life she had believed she was a Christian. Her mother was a Christian Scientist and raised her as an “open-minded” Christian. In fact, she was somewhat unique among New Age teachers for the way she blended Christian vocabulary with New Age philosophy.
“New age seemed like it was the answer. I heard the gospel all the time, but I had a heart of stone.”
For much of her life, she believed she was following the “real Jesus”, focusing on the “loving parts” that appealed to her in the gospels. But like other New Agers, she also believed that all paths led to God and that concepts like sin and the devil were made up to control people.
Reading God’s Word opened her eyes to see that her New Age beliefs and practices were in fact a deception.
“The veil was lifted by the Holy Spirit and I finally understood that I was a sinner,” she recalls.
At 59 years of age, the New Age guru fell to her knees and committed her life to Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
You can look at the incredible ministry spreading among Muslim’s as well, and even close to our own hearts, the underground church in China is thriving!
We can see that God is moving, and people are being baptized, but we ultimately need to check our own hearts!
In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, Paul says some very important things!
1 Corinthians 3:11–15 CSB
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious. For the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will experience loss, but he himself will be saved—but only as through fire.
We can’t hold on to what others have done, but we must build up our lives as faithful followers of Jesus
Jesus is coming, and we don’t want to be caught unaware, or unready!
What do you need to do to draw closer to Jesus today?
Perhaps you can think of our theme,
Make Disciples: At All Times, In All Places, At All Times
This not only applies to reaching out to your friends, family and coworkers, but to yourself as well
How are you deepening your relationship with Jesus?
This is why prayer, bible reading are so important as they help us know who Jesus is and what he desires from our living!
So don’t get caught up in the details of when and what, but remember Jesus is coming
This means we watch for the Kingdom to Grow among us, and through us
But that we also live our lives expectantly waiting for Jesus to return like a thief in the night!
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