Current Message‎ > ‎

Sunday, November 6, 2017

posted Nov 5, 2017, 3:50 PM by Site Administrator


THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU

 

Luke 17:20-37

Key Verses 17:20,21  

 

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation,  21   nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

 

First, "The kingdom of God is within you" (20-25).Look at verses 20 and 21. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the kingdom of God come?" Under the Roman rule, their life was harsh – they suffered from poverty, oppression and depression. They were sorrowful. But they had hope that, when the kingdom of God came, everything would change, and their life would become meaningful and fulfilling. Because of this hope, they could bear all injustice and suffering; because of this hope, they did not give up; because of this hope, they remained as the Jews. Now everyone acknowledged Jesus as a great man of God. Jesus taught people God’s words; he was an excellent Bible teacher. So, the Pharisees asked him this very important question, "When will the kingdom of God come?" At this, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor people will say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you." 

 

By saying, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation," Jesus pointed out their problem. They thought that the kingdom of God would come when Israel was liberated from the Roman rule and established as a super power nation like David’s kingdom so that they would rule others. So, with careful observation, they tried to understand the prophecies in the Bible and see any sign so that they might not miss the kingdom rising. But Jesus taught them that the kingdom of God is not about outward things or changing the circumstances, but about their hearts. Jesus said to them, "The kingdom of God is within you." The kingdom of God Jesus talks about is God’s rule – the real essence of the kingdom of God. Wherever the rule of God is found, there is the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not about beautiful environment; it is not about abundance in material; it is not about perfect democracy or welfare system; it is not about just doing nothing but singing all the time in the beautiful environment. The Garden of Eden was perfect outwardly – beautiful, abundant and free, but when Adam and Eve lost God’s rule in their hearts and lives, the Garden of Eden was not the Garden of Delight any longer; it was not a fun place any longer – in the Garden of Eden, they were fearful and shameful; they were dying like sick chicken. The kingdom of God in essence is God’s rule. When you receive God’s rule in your heart, meaning you know God and obey his words, when you live according to his will and purpose, the kingdom of God is right there in your heart – you have the complete confidence of what you are doing, and where you are going; you have the complete confidence of God’s good will upon you, and you rejoice; you enjoy peace no matter what – when God’s rule is there in your heart, you enjoy the essential qualities of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is within you.

 

By this, Jesus wanted to correct the mistake of the Pharisees. What they should do was not to try to find the kingdom of God by improving their outward environment, especially, political environment, liberation from the Roman rule, but to find the kingdom of God within them. What they really needed was to receive God’s rule in their hearts first, by repenting of their sins and turning to God. Their hearts were ruled by anger, hatred against the Romans, and jealousy against Jesus, and as a result, the kingdom of hell was growing in them, and they were becoming children of the devil. In that way, they would never enter the kingdom of God even if it came down from heaven. What they needed was to receive God’s rule in their hearts. By saying, "The kingdom of God is within you," Jesus wanted them to check out their own heart’s condition first, and realize their lost condition and turn to God so that they would have the real kingdom of God – God’s rule that comes with such peace and confidence.

 

Many people have this question, "When will the kingdom of God come?" All people pay attention to the day and hour very closely; they analyze the Bible and try to find some secret code in the Bible, thinking that in that way, they can find the time when the kingdom of God comes. The time of Jesus’ coming has been an exciting topic all the time – it has been an attention grabber. With this, many big churches have risen, and also many people have gone astray. Even today, on the Christian radio stations, this is a big topic – people carefully study the book of Revelation, and preach about it, saying all the signs are appearing. This topic is very appealing. It touches our sense of curiosity, and at the same time, it gives us a sense of fulfillment making us think that we know something secretive. With this topic, there have been so many people who said that they knew the time of Jesus’ second coming. Strangely, many people accepted their teaching, even though Jesus clearly said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32)  

 

But Jesus says, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation,...because the kingdom of God is within you." People think that they are ready and prepared for the coming of the kingdom of God through their careful observation about the Bible, the prophecies and signs. But Jesus says that in that way, the kingdom of God does not come to them. In Jesus’ eyes, they are very strange, because while they themselves are ruled by all kinds of ill-emotions, while they are ruled by the terrible sin of lust, while they are ruled by the poisonous sin of the love of money, they try to find the time of the coming of the kingdom of God – in his eyes, even if it comes down from heaven, they would never enjoy it. They must check out their hearts first to see if they receive God’s rule within them or not. What they need is not to find the time of his coming, but to have the kingdom of God within them now by repenting of their sins and turning to God wholeheartedly. The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation,… because the kingdom of God is within you.

 

Look at verse 22. It reads: "Then he said to his disciples, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it." Here, "the time" refers to the time between Jesus' ascension and his second coming. During this time, believers know Jesus' grace and love him so much; their burning desire is to have fellowship with him, and they envy those early disciples who walked together with Jesus on earth - they had Bible study with Jesus, heard his message and ate dinner together with him. What a glorious moment it will be if we have a chance to study the Bible with him - we would record the whole Bible study; what about Jesus delivering the Sunday message at our church? We would come to him, shake hands with him and hug him; then, we would ask him for his autograph on our Bible and take selfie with him. We long to see even just one day of the Son of God. That's all believers' dream. But Jesus says, "But you will not see it." That's the reality; we cannot have that kind of physical encounter with Jesus; so, we have to wait for his second coming. The reason why Jesus talked about this was because, just as the Old Testament believers waited for his first coming, the New Testament believers would be waiting for his second coming - and there was possibility that they too would make the same mistake as the Old Testament believers did; So, he gives us some instructions and warnings in this passage.

 

Look at verses 23 and 24. Let's read these verses together:

 

23   Men will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them.  24   For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 

 

Because the believers long to see even one of the days of Jesus, but cannot see it, when some people say, "There he is!" or "Here he is!" they may be greatly attracted. But Jesus gives us a clear direction, saying, "Do not go running off after them." Why? Jesus says, "For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other." This is the universal nature of Jesus' second coming. On that day, everyone will see him coming down from heaven, riding on a white horse. So, if someone says that Jesus has come, but you still haven't seen him yet, then that person is lying. So, don't be deceived. His coming will not be secretive.

 

Look at verse 25. Let’s read this verse together:

 

But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

 

Jesus’ second coming will be glorious; he will come as the King of kings and Lord of lords, to judge all creatures. Jesus knew this very well. But before this glorious second coming, there was the mission he must complete, that was, to die on the cross as a ransom for many. "But first he must suffer…" Jesus one time said, "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" (Luke 24:26) People talk about glory they will enjoy in heaven, saying, "We will reign with Jesus." I hope that their wish may come true. But before entering glory, before receiving such glory in the kingdom of God, there is God’s mission we must fulfill, and in many cases, we first must suffer. Having a great vision of receiving glory in the kingdom of God is very good, but at the same time, we must stand firm in reality; we must do what we ought to do to receive glory we so desire. The Bible says, "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him." (2 Tim 2:11-12)

 

Second, "Remember Lot's wife!" (26-37). Look at verses 26 through 30. Jesus says, "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man." He also says, "It was the same in the days of Lot... It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed." Here, Jesus shows that his coming will be in the same pattern of the two events in the past - God's judgment in Noah's time and God's judgment in the days of Lot. In Noah’s time, people were eating, drinking and marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. In those days, people lived up to about 1,000 years. How many children did each person have? Really many! As of that time since the creation, there must have been so many, maybe, many billion people. There must have been many scholars, many doctors, many artists and musicians; many businessmen and engineers; there must have been many people who had achieved remarkable things in their area. Yet, in describing all these peoples’ life, Jesus simply says, "People were eating, drinking,and marrying and being given in marriage," because all other things they had done were peripheral, but these three activities were what they had really pursued. Even in describing one person, Abraham’s life, God spent so many words in many chapters in Genesis. But in describing all these several billion peoples’ life, Jesus used these simple expressions – eating, drinking, and marrying. Eating, drinking, marrying are most basic thins of human life. Even flies live for such things; even cockroaches live for them. If anyone's life is described this way, then what is the difference between that person's life and the life of cockroachIn God’s eyes, their life did not carry any value to mention about, because they were not like humans who were created in God’s image and likeness, but rather they were like animals and insects. When they lived this way to the end, God simply destroyed them. What do you think if God describes your entire life as, "eating, drinking, and marrying?" That’s really terrible. That’s why we should not live for such things; instead, we must pursue noble, and glorious and immortal things as Christians, as humans. 

 

Jesus describes the life of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, saying, "People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building." The first two things are the same – eating and drinking. But Jesus does not mention about marrying and being given in marriage. Why? It’s because, when they became all homosexuals, they were no longer concerned about marriage; instead, they just lived a pleasure-seeking life. In that way, the concept of marriage and family was destroyed by their corruption. Then, when they were no longer concerned about marriage, what did they do? They were buying and selling, planting and building. They were lonely and empty; they were not fulfilled. Then, in order to fill their void, they focused on buying the goods, always on Amazon.com, or on EBay, clicking and clicking, purchasing things endlessly, and filling their rooms with all kinds of goods, and even unopened boxes. They were buying and selling, planting and building – these activities are all about money, goods, their businesses and real estate properties. Their hearts went to such things. There must have been many who had climbed up the ladder of success in all these things; there must have been many people who had achieved remarkable things. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all, because, in God’s eyes, their life carried no value just like animals or insects. 

 

Jesus says, "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed." Sadly, this is how people today live their life – eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, buying and selling, planting and building. People anxiously choose their major, study and work hard sincerely pursuing their career all so that eventually, they may eat well and drink well, and marry well, buy well and build well. Once their basic desires are met, they work harder so that they can eat better, drink better, buy better things and build better things. That’s all peoples’ struggle today just in the same way the people of Noah did, just in the same way the people of Sodom and Gomorrah did. Jesus compares the time of his second coming to these two events of God's judgment, showing that his coming is the day of God's judgment, because when people live for such things, they deserve God's judgment.

 

Look at verses 31 through 33. Let's read these verses together:

 

On that day no one who is on the roof of the house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

 

In these verses, Jesus issues a warning for his disciples. You are on the roof, and your valuable things are in your house. So, it will take only few minutes for you to go down and get them and come up to the roof; it is within your reach. But Jesus instructs us not to do that - simply, don't value such things or don't try to secure them at all. You are in the field, and your valuable things are in your house; surely, you can run and grab them and come out within a few minutes - very easy and quick. But Jesus instructs us not to do that; don't try to secure them; just let them go, and be willing to lose them. Jesus says, "Remember Lot’s wife!" We know very well what happened to Lot’s wife – on the day God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, by God’s grace she was fleeing from God’s judgment. But, at the sound of destruction, she looked back, and became a pillar of salt. She looked back because her treasures were in Sodom. Her diamond was her life; her mansion was her life; all the buildings she had was her life. She looked back, yearning for her treasures in Sodom, and thereby, was destroyed. Don't look back; don't value things of this world, which are all about eating well, drinking well, and marrying well. Those who look back at the things they left will be destroyed. When we look back at those things, and yearn for them, we gradually lose our spirituality and become dead in spirit. We should not look back, or we will surely die. Remember Lot's wife! About this, Jesus conclusively says, "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." This is Jesus' warning for us, and instruction for us, and this illustrates Jesus' faith in God's provision also. Those who try to keep what they desire and value highly will lose their life, but those who are willing to lose their dreams and desires for the sake of Jesus and his gospel will save their life - their life will be truly fulfilling and meaningful, and they will enjoy a happy life; they are the ones who save this one life to eternity. This is the way we must live our life as Jesus' disciples. Let's say, "Don't go down!" "Don't go back!" "Don't look back!" Then, we keep everything, because God provides us with everything we need.

 

Look at verses 34 and 35. Jesus says, "I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left." When Jesus comes again, those who have been prepared, will be taken up, and will meet Jesus in the air – we call this, "rapture." "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." (1Thes 4:16-17) At the last trumpet, we all, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, will be changed, and this perishable body will be clothed with the imperishable body, and the mortal with immortality. Then, the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory. No more death, no more fear, and we will live forever with the Lord. (1Cor 15:51-58) At Jesus’ second coming, everything will become clear – who is right and who is wrong; who wins and who loses; who are true believers and who are not. On that day, not all people who call Jesus, 'Lord, Lord,' will be raptured, but only those who are worthy. Two people sleeping in one bed talk about husband and wife; both of them are supposed to be raptured, but one will be taken, and the other left. Two women working together to grind the grain are supposed to be taken together, but only one will be raptured and the other left, showing the personal nature of rapture, or salvation. On that day, those who have the kingdom of God within them through repentance and submitting themselves to God's purpose will be raptured, but those who have developed only knowledge with their careful observation will be left; on that day, those who have lost their life for Jesus and the gospel will be taken, but those who tried to keep their life will be left. Everyone says that they are waiting for Jesus' second coming, thinking that automatically they will be raptured, because they say, "I believe in Jesus." But only those who have the kingdom of God within them will be raptured. So, we must make all possible efforts to secure God's rule in our hearts and life

 

Look at verse 37. At Jesus’ message, the disciples asked, "Where, Lord?" Jesus replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather." What Jesus says is something that happens very naturally – where there is a dead body, there the vultures gather. In the same way, things happens very naturally as the time of his coming approaches. There are dead people in spirit, so there come predators. There are many people who say, "There he is!" or "Here he is!" There are many people who say that they have found secret code in the Bible that show the time of Jesus' second coming. Why such people come up? Simply because there are dead bodies for these predators to devour. We are living in the Post Modern Generation – people deny the truth and anything absolute. This relativistic and humanistic views and ideas have invaded into Christian churches; as a result, many Christians do not show any submission or absoluteness even to God; then, naturally, at Jesus’ second coming, some people will be taken, while others will be left.  

Most people agree that now is the last day of the last days. Jesus can come any time, any moment. We are living in the last days – the last phase of human history. Jesus’ second coming is near. We must have the kingdom of God within us first by turning to God in repentance and obeying His command absolutely. May God bless us that we may be found ready and faithful when he comes back.

 

One Word:The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

 

 

Comments