We now continue our message series, “Kingdom Come” where we learn what God’s Kingdom is like and how we bring it here on the earth.
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is:
in your midst – NIV
within you – KJV
within you and among you and surrounding you – AMP
The intersection of where the Kingdom of Heaven meets earth is right here at the tip of our toes.
This morning, we’re going to learn about how God’s Kingdom is a kingdom of power!
Paul became aware that the church in Corinth was having some problems, one of those problems being that they were incredibly blessed, but acting like spoiled brats instead of grateful children. They were becoming a bit puffed up in pride forgetting that all that they had, God had freely given them; they had done nothing to earn it. They lost sight and had forgotten who they were before they gave their lives to Christ. As Paul reminded them that he would rather visit them in love with a gentle spirit rather than with a rod of discipline, he also reminded them:
1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
And a few chapters before this:
1 Corinthians 1:26-31;2:1-5
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
How many of us here can relate to the Corinthians? How many here aren’t wise by human standards, not very influential, not born into nobility? That’s right, most all of us. Yet in Jesus, we freely receive a never ending, abundant supply of wisdom, the power and ability to be influential, and adopted into a family of supreme nobility!
We may not have the largest vocabulary or be able to understand complicated concepts. Instruction manuals may only be opened if there are a lot of pictures. A GED or high school diploma might be our highest completed education and that may have only been by the skin of our teeth. That’s OK, we can still be used by God in powerful ways!
Paul was a very highly educated and cultured individual. However, when he visited Corinth, he resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Can any of us here testify that we know that much?
When Paul came to present the good news about Jesus to those living in Corinth, he did it in weakness and fear and trembling. Can any of us here agree that going into a new town and telling strangers about Jesus would cause us to feel a bit weak, fearful and maybe even cause us to do some trembling?
He preached, as we’re all called to do, but he didn’t use wise and persuasive words. Instead, he did a bit of show and tell about the Kingdom of God. He came with a demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power. Now how many of us have been able to demonstrate the power of God to a stranger? Don’t worry, soon, we’ll all be able to shout, “YES!” to that. That is, if we’re willing…
God’s desire is to bring revival in this region with a mighty move of His Holy Spirit. He desires that everyone living here would not perish, but come to know Jesus and receive eternal life. God desires to perform signs, wonders, and miracles to accompany us as we share the good news of the gospel with others. It is clearly His will revealed through the scriptures and confirmed by the prophetic. We are about to experience an awesome work of God, but there is something critical that we need to understand about such a work of God.
That thing is this. God does the work, but we are the vessels. God gives the word, we speak it out. God heals the sick, we pray and lay hands on them. God delivers those bound by demons, we command them out. God restores hearing and sight, we pray for them. God reveals mysteries, we shout them from the rooftops. God does the work, but we are the vessels.
Most everyone is ready to experience the presence of God coming in power. However, what we mean by that is that we are ready to be blessed and receive the benefits of that move. What we mean is that we can’t wait to sit back and watch what God does. We can’t wait for God to fill these seats. We can’t wait for God to save the lost. We can’t wait for God to heal the sick. We can’t wait for God to reveal His mysteries. We can’t wait for God to do these things. God has always been ready, able, and willing to do these things. He is the constant, we are the variable.
If we came last week eagerly expecting and desiring to receive a prophetic word for ourselves, that is awesome! However, we should be equally excited to hear from God ourselves and to give a prophetic word to a stranger. We should be eagerly expecting and seeking after God to be used to seek and save the lost using the gifts of the Spirit with more of a desire and urgency than to receive ministry ourselves.
The prophetic words given to the church are not for the pastor and the church’s leaders. The prophetic words given to the church are given to you, personally, for you are the church. You are going to jump on this wave at just the right time and ride that adventure until Jesus returns. You are going to lead many to Jesus. You are going to lay hands on the sick and see them healed. You are going to hear a word and share it with a stranger to transform their lives. You are going to make the demons shriek and flee. You are going to bring the Kingdom of God here on the earth. You are missionaries commissioned and given the authority to establish the Kingdom of God wherever you go! You are the vessel through which the power of God is going to flow through! God does the work, but we are the vessels.
We’re not going to just talk and sing about following Jesus, we’re going to take up our cross and do it! We’re not going to prophecy about what God is going to do here in this region, we’re going to bring it!
1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
This might be a brand new experience for many of us, but it must become our normal experience. The supernatural is going to become the natural because that is simply who we are. We are adopted children of God, members of His noble family. We bring the Kingdom of God with us wherever we go because that is who we are, members of His Kingdom. Our prayer and heart’s cry is the one that Jesus taught us, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven!” Don’t take my word for it, take the words of Jesus!
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Who here believes in Jesus? Then you WILL DO the works that He did and even greater things! Why? Because Jesus went back to our Heavenly Father and sent us the Holy Spirit who does all of these things through us!
15 Jesus says to us, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Who believes in the name of Jesus here this morning? Then in the name of Jesus, you will drive out demons, speak in new tongues, pickup snakes, drink deadly poison and live to tell about it, place your hands on sick people and they will get well.
When Jesus says that these things will happen, they will happen. We don’t have to sit around and discuss whether or not it is the will of God because He plainly said that it is. We don’t have to wonder if it is God’s will for sick people to get well. We don’t have to wonder if speaking in tongues is from God. We don’t have to wonder if demons are still a problem in our culture today for us to address. God’s will has been clearly spoken and revealed!
Again, we are the only variable in these scenarios. Are we willing to speak in the new tongues that the Holy Spirit gives us? Are we willing to command the demons to flee? Are we willing to lay hands on the sick? Are we willing to lay down our titles and programs within the church so that we can go outside of these four walls and actually be the church?
If we command the demons to flee and they don’t, if we lay hands on the sick and they do not get better, will we be willing to accept our failure, learn from it, and continue doing it believing whole-heartedly that it is His will?
We’ll close with this account in scripture reminding us that it’s OK to fail, but it’s never acceptable to stop believing and acting upon that belief:
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
First of all, we’re not told what the disciples, teachers of the law, and the crowd were arguing about specifically. We know that it was regarding their inability to drive out this one demon despite their successful ministry until this point. I believe that God is saying this morning that we don’t have to defend ourselves, Jesus is our defender. If we’re unable to do the will of God, it just means that we need to learn more and become better equipped. We need not argue and fight, we need to spend more time seeking after God for answers and solutions. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of the kingdom of darkness. It is God’s will to heal, deliver, and save. It is God’s will that His Kingdom comes and His will is done here on the earth even as it is in Heaven and we must believe this whole-heartedly.
19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
I almost imagine Jesus crossing his arms with a bewildered look in His face while He observes the boy and leans over to the father at this point.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Next, I believe that God is reminding us that it is OK for us to be like this father. We believe, but we struggle with unbelief. Our hearts are fully convinced, but our minds are not. We know God’s will and His truth, but the facts are in opposition to them. That is what creates an opportunity for God’s Kingdom to be established here on the earth through hope and faith. Seeing through the eyes of faith into the heavenly realms and bringing that truth into reality here and now are what miracles are all about; being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
Jesus will give us everything that we need to do His will. Even when we fail, He will reveal to us how we missed it and how to be successful the next time. Living life as a follower of Jesus is a life full of adventure. That means there will be opposition, we will make mistakes, but there will be even greater successes and victories that outweigh them all!
If you are willing to be a vessel to be used by God, if you sense a powerful stirring in your spirit to begin this adventure, if you are willing to be one who carries the presence of God and brings the Kingdom of God here on the earth, please come forward.