Romans 14:17-19: The Kingdom of God
This sermon forms a part two of this morning’s sermon on Romans 14:17-19. We promised to do a deeper look into the idea of the kingdom of God and that is what we are going to do. You will notice that I am using the whiteboard, and this is because it is often easier to illustrate it than explain it.
The kingdom of God is a very important and misunderstood concept, and in Christianity you will find different brands and explanations of it. The three main millennial positions all have a different view on the kingdom of God for example. Postmills believe that the kingdom will come in an upswing in Christendom before Jesus returns so that Christianity can expect to have a worldwide effect impacting all the major institutions of society. This leads to a politicised approach, the culture wars becoming a battleground, and the great commission including all sorts of other things other than planting churches. There are Charismatic versions of this which like Bill Johnson see this as an age for miracles as an expression of the kingdom among us. Dispensationalists have traditionally seen the kingdom of God as the kingdom of Israel where the Davidic king would sit on the throne in Jerusalem and rule over all the nations of the world. The older schools of thought taught that Jesus came to set up this kingdom but Israel rejected Him so this plan was put on hold, while the age of the Gentiles goes on, and then in the Millennium we will see a fruition of the various prophesies that pointed to this kingdom coming to pass literally. The Amill position like the Historic Premill sees the kingdom come in an already-not yet fashion. We believe in a case of inaugurated but not consummated eschatology so that we live in the overlap of this age and the age to come. This two part coming of the kingdom results in a kingdom of grace between Christ’s comings, and a kingdom of glory, not in a millennium but a new creation when He comes again.
This teaching is very important and does impact upon so much. Your view of political involvement, your understanding of the state of Israel, your view of present suffering and blessing, your view of sanctification, the nature of missions, your ecclesiology and much more is impacted by what you believe about the kingdom.
So let’s get to it beginning with a definition. What is the kingdom of God? It is the new creation reign of God. This is a very deliberate definition. Notice we did not simply say the reign of God. God is always reigning, and the kingdom of God as it is described in the bible is not merely describing God’s sovereign rule over His creation but that particular type of rule in the new creation where all enemies are vanquished, all sin gone and all things are perfect. The Messiah, the promised Seed of Gen. 3:15 was going to come to bring in this kingdom.
I have put up three figures on the whiteboard that should help with a visual explanation of this.