Kingdom Uprising

Reclaiming Jesus' Hope, Gospel, and Way

Tag: kingdom

Don’t You Know That the Saints Will Judge the World? (1 Corinthians 6.1-11)

My future determines my present. As I write these words I’m in training; I run almost every day. Each week I log over 50 miles on the road, in the woods, or in the park. October is pulling me forward like a magnet, determining my daily activities in June. This is because on October 13th, I intend to run a marathon. Running 26.2 miles is not something I can just go out and do. It requires months of intense and consistent training. Day after day, I put my shoes on and run countless hours so that on that one day, for about three hours, I will achieve my peak performance. Like someone whose signed up for a marathon, the coming kingdom should affect how we live in the present. This is what Paul is getting at when he writes the following.

1 Corinthians 6.1-11
1 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud– even your own brothers! 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul was bewildered that Christians were taking each other to court. He could barely believe that something so absurd could even happen. Of course, from an old covenant perspective, there is nothing wrong with taking one’s neighbor to court if there was a just cause. In fact, extensive provision was made for exactly such a scenario under the Mosaic Law. So, what was so shocking here? Why was Paul beside himself? There were two offenses: (1) they were taking their fellow Christians to court and (2) they were going to court before non-Christians. His core driving thought was expressed by the question: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” Since the Corinthians disciples were destined to rule the world, could they not figure out how to do community without appealing to outsiders to settle matters? Was there not even one wise man among them before whom the two could go? In fact, Paul argues, it would be better to be defrauded than go before unbelievers since that would testify to the opposite of the kingdom message. Besides, the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom. Notice how the people’s future role as kingdom citizens was to affect how they lived. The first question is, “How will it be in the kingdom.” The next is, “How can I embody kingdom living now in this situation?”

Note how many times Paul mentions the future kingdom when he’s reproving the Corinthians. Over and again he brings their focus to their destiny. Look, you are going to rule the world one day, so I’m sure you can figure out this insignificant matter without having to go to unbelievers. The kingdom does not only give us hope for the future. It is not restricted to our gospel message. It also needs to affect what we do now. If we are the kingdom people, then we need to act like it.

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History in the Making (Psalm 110)

Time for a little trivia! What Old Testament scripture is the most frequently quoted scripture in the New Testament?

In case you hadn’t already figured it out from the subject of the article, Psalm 110 is the most quoted scripture in the New Testament, and it can be found a total of 33 times! That sure says something about the importance that the New Testament writers placed on this biblical passage!

Let’s take a look at this popular text:

Psalm 110 [NASB]
 1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

2 The LORD will stretch forth
Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.

4 The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
6 He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He will lift up His head.

In the New Testament, the first verse of this psalm is regularly applied to Jesus. In this way, the writers of the New Testament are identifying Jesus as the Davidic ruler to whom this psalm ultimately points, the one who is currently seated at the right hand of God in heaven and waiting for Yahweh, the LORD, to subdue his enemies before him.

The psalm goes on to say that Yahweh will extend the power of this Davidic ruler out from Zion, Jerusalem, and give him the authority to reign “in the midst of his enemies” and to crush opposing rulers and nations of the earth “in the day of his wrath.” Sure sounds like this Davidic ruler will be reigning over (and on) the earth, doesn’t it?

Well, that’s because he will be. In fact, that’s the good news that Jesus went around proclaiming: namely, that God, through his appointed agent Jesus, would establish God’s kingdom on the earth, and with it bring the justice and peace of God’s government into the created realm once again.

So, as you have probably figured out, we have yet to see this psalm brought to complete fulfillment because we are waiting on Yahweh to send back his son from heaven. When he returns, he will destroy those who oppose God and establish God’s just government.

Come, Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

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Pray for Renewal, not Removal (Matthew 6:9-10)

Time and again, Jesus proclaimed in words and actions the reality that one day, “God is going to make everything wrong in the world right.”

That in itself, the message and enactment of the coming kingdom of God, is incredible.

But what is even more amazing is that God allows us to join him in the process!

Consider Matthew 6:9-10 (NASB):

“Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.”

Through prayer, we can participate in what God is now doing, and will do, here on the earth.

Let’s break down what Jesus is saying.

First, he is telling us to petition our Father in heaven to make his name, all that he is and stands for, be set apart, holy. How do we do that? Well, when we pray that God would be honored as holy, he changes hearts and our perspectives to help us to live in a way that glorifies him.

Second, Jesus is telling us to petition God establish his kingdom and enact his will here on planet earth. This prayer has both a present and future component: when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are praying for God’s reign, his will, to manifest in our lives today, and we are also praying for the establishment of the physical, earthly kingdom which shall come to fruition at the return of King Jesus, which he himself so often spoke of and demonstrated.

There is one thing that I would really like you to notice here: namely that God is concerned about the present and future state of the earth, and that his desire is to transform the misery and corruption that is our current experience. His plan is for the renewal of the earth, through you and I (and ultimately Jesus), not our removal from the earth after death.

That’s some great news, right?

So let’s make an earnest effort to follow in the teachings of Jesus and to participate, through prayer and action, in the restoration of all things!

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All Nations Look to Jerusalem for Guidance (Isaiah 2.1-4)

Isaiah 2.1-4 [ESV]
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3 and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

All the nations will flow to God’s mountain where he will teach them how to live. A word like “nations” may seem nebulous until we start thinking of specific examples. Just imagine people from Brazil, China, Russia, and Canada traveling to Jerusalem to learn how God wants them to live.

Furthermore during these “latter days” God will settle the disputes between nations rather than leaving it to the armies of the world to use their weapons to do the job. God will make war so obsolete that even the weapons will find better use as tools for agriculture and the academies training soldiers will simply close down never to reopen.

Note that everything described in this prophecy assumes our earth as the arena of redemption.

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