Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Kingdom of God/Heaven Bible Study Notes, Part Two
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

The kingdom of God/heaven is one of the most noble of all Scripture themes. Both Jesus and John the Baptist began their public ministries preaching about it. Here is Part Two of my summary notes from a three-month study of this noble topic.

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Matthew 18:23-35  Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. [24] As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. [25] Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. [26] The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ [27] The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. [28] But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. [29] His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ [30] But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. [31] When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. [32] Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. [33] Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ [34] In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. [35] This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

•• The essential message of this kingdom parable is our forgiving the brother who is indebted to us, just as God has forgiven us our indebtedness.

Matthew 19:12  For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.

•• The previous context is celibacy versus marriage.

•• The renunciation of marriage — by those “to whom it has been given” (11) — is seen as a positive choice in seeking the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:14  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

•• “...belongs to such as these” — Little children are an example of traits expected in those to whom the kingdom “belongs.”

• What those traits are is the subject of much commentary. Some suggestions are: humility, simple faith, and teachableness.

Matthew 19:16-17, 21-26  Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” [17] “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” ... [21] Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” [22] When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. [23] Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. [24] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” [25] When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” [26] Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

•• Interesting ... Jesus answered, “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” The context was the rich man’s question: “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

•• In vs. 20, the man asked, “What do I still lack?” in the context of what he needed to do to enter life. That context is important, because neither his question nor Jesus’ answer (21) were speaking of Christian perfection, but of what he still lacked to enter life.

• Jesus (21) identified the rich young man’s specific problem as his unwillingness to part with his wealth.
 
• That may or may not be someone else’s “lack.”

•• (23) Jesus said, “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Not impossible, but hard.

• The reason probably lies in the truth of Jesus’ words elsewhere that one “cannot serve God and Mammon.” We can serve only one master — God or possessions — but not both.

•• An important insight is seen here. A careful reading of the contextual flow of verses 16-24 seems to show Jesus using the phrases “enter life” (17) and “enter the kingdom of heaven” (23) as meaning the SAME thing.

• To “enter life” in this Scripture portion means to “enter the kingdom of heaven.”

•• Verses 23-24 taken together are clear proof that the Bible terms “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” mean the same thing.

•• The question in verse 25 — “Who then can be saved?” — is asked in the context of “entering” the kingdom of heaven/God. The disciples (25) seemed to understand Jesus’ teaching to be indicating an equivalence between getting/entering eternal life (16-17), entering the kingdom (23-24), and being saved (25). That is, entering eternal life = entering the kingdom = being saved.

Matthew 20:1-16  “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. [2] He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. [3] About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. [4] He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ [5] So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. [6] About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ [7] ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ [8] When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ [9] The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. [10] So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. [11] When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. [12] ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ [13] But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? [14] Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. [15] Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ [16] So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

•• This kingdom parable reveals kingdom principles:

• We don’t “deserve” our rewards based on the amount of work we have done.
 
• The corollary idea is that the pay was distributed not by merit, but by free grace.
 
• Another kingdom principle clearly seen is the absolute sovereignty of the landowner (God).
 
• An overriding thought in this 16-verse parable is that rewards in the kingdom are not by works but by grace!

Matthew 20:20-23  Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. [21] “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” [22] “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. [23] Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

•• Vs. 22 says “...in your kingdom.” The parallel in Mark 10:37 reads “...in your glory.” This parable is clearly referring to the visible kingdom established at Christ’s Second Coming.

•• The disciples’ and their mother’s error was in their wrong belief that status and position mattered in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 21:28-32  “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ [29] ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. [30] Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. [31] Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. [32] For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

•• In this kingdom parable the key was doing what his father wanted, which required repentance.

•• In context this parable is spoken as a rebuke to the Jewish religious leaders (vs. 23).

Matthew 21:45  When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.
 
• The Jewish leaders professed to obey God (30), but did not.
 
• The harlots and publicans (31) at first (in their lives and conduct) did not obey God, but later repented.
 
• Result? The repentant ones entered the kingdom “ahead of” the disobedient leaders.

•• The required repentance (32) was related to “the way of righteousness.”

Matthew 21:33-45  Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. [34] When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. [35] The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. [36] Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. [37] Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. [38] But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ [39] So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. [40] Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” [41] “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” [42] Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? [43] Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. [44] He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” [45] When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.

•• Vs. 45 makes it clear that in this kingdom parable Jesus was talking about “the chief priests and the Pharisees.” In context, the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus.

•• The result of their rejection of Him? — “the kingdom of God will be taken away from [them]...”

• So in some sense they had had a claim to the kingdom in order for it to be “taken away” from them.
 
• One commentary (and perhaps others?) suggests that this taking away of the kingdom from them was God’s removing from them of their Old Covenant privilege of mediating God’s authority on earth among the chosen nation of Israel.

•• (43) “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

• Those to whom the kingdom is given are expected to produce fruit (“its” refers to “the kingdom”). So there will be discernible evidence in the lives of people in the kingdom of God.

Matthew 22:1-14  Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: [2] “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. [3] He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. [4] Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ [5] But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business. [6] The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. [7] The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. [8] Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. [9] Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ [10] So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. [11] But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. [12] ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. [13] Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ [14] For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

•• Very important! — This cannot refer to a wedding banquet either (1) in heaven or (2) after the Lord’s Second Coming. In those two scenarios there could not be:

• refusal to come (3)
 
• paying no attention and going off (5)
 
• those invited killing the master’s servants (6)

•• No, to the contrary, whatever this wedding banquet precisely is, it must occur while men and women are still on earth with the ability to refuse or to disregard the Lord, or to kill His servants.

• “(8) The wedding banquet IS ready ... (4) everything IS ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” This is a wedding contemporary with a time when men and women can still refuse and disregard the Lord.

•• The invitation of people “both good and bad” (9-10) to attend the banquet again places this banquet in a time frame when the “good and bad” are still mixed together — that is, the Church Age, not the Millennium or later.

Matthew 23:13  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

•• The Jewish leaders themselves were not entering the kingdom of heaven. And they were preventing others from entering. How?

• The answer probably lies in Matthew 22:41-46 in context with the woes of chapter 23 — that is, in their failure to see Jesus as the Christ.
 
• If so, the shutting out of and entering into the kingdom depend upon proper recognition of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah.

Matthew 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

•• The kingdom message is indeed “good news.”

Matthew 25:1-12  At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. [2] Five of them were foolish and five were wise. [3] The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. [4] The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. [5] The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. [6] At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ [7] Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. [8] The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ [9] ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ [10] But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. [11] Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ [12] But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

•• This kingdom parable has numerous interpretations among Bible scholars. Two themes stand out to me.

(1) “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.” (10) Those not ready did not go into the wedding banquet.
 
(2) The one major difference between the wise and the foolish was, respectively, an abundant or a minimal supply of oil. The required readiness seemed to be linked to their supply of oil. Oil in the Bible is often, if not universally, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. If oil = the Holy Spirit, note that all ten had oil. The difference was in the abundance of oil or scarcity thereof.

Matthew 25:31-46  When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. [32] All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. [33] He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. [34] Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. [35] For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, [36] I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ [37] Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? [38] When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? [39] When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ [40] The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ [41] Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. [42] For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, [43] I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ [44] They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ [45] He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ [46] Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

•• The time frame is Jesus’ Second Coming (31). At that time He makes a separation of the people of earth (32).

• Those whom He calls “cursed” He sends into “eternal fire” (41).
 
• Those whom He calls “blessed” are told to “take [their] inheritance, the kingdom” (34). The wording makes it clear that this is not the present, invisible “kingdom” that is “within” us (Luke 17:21). Rather, this is the visible, eternal kingdom, and here at the precise time of Christ’s Second Coming, the redeemed are told to “take your inheritance, the kingdom.”

•• Note that the “eternal fire” (41) punishment (46) of the lost, the “cursed,” the “goats,” is just as “eternal” as is the “eternal life” of the righteous (46). Both instances of “eternal” in this verse are the same Greek word.

• Those who inherit the kingdom inherit it eternally.
 
• Those who do not inherit the kingdom are excluded from it in punishment in fire that lasts eternally.
 
• Christ’s teaching here leaves no room for a temporary place of purging fire for the redeemed — such as the Catholic Purgatory — prior to entering the Lord’s presence for eternity. No, but rather Christ gives us only two alternatives:
 
1) eternal inheritance of the kingdom for the “sheep,” the “blessed,” “the righteous” (46), or...
 
2) eternal punishment (46) in eternal fire (41) for the “cursed,” the “goats.”

Matthew 26:27-29  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. [28] This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. [29] I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

•• The Lord’s Supper, among other truths, points ahead to the coming kingdom.

•• 1 Corinthians 11:26 declares: “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

• This verse, coupled with our Matthew text, tells us that we, Christ’s disciples, will celebrate communion throughout this Church Age, but Jesus will not celebrate it with us “until He comes.” His coming, then, seems to be equated (Matt. 26:29) with the visible establishment of His “Father’s kingdom.”

Mark 1:14-15  After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. [15] “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

•• In the Matthew 4:17 parallel the themes of repentance and the nearness of the kingdom are declared by Jesus.

• In Mark’s account Jesus is seen also to emphasize faith towards the kingdom message — “Repent and believe...”

Mark 4:10-13  When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. [11] He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables [12] so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” [13] Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?”

•• See notes on Matthew 13:10-16.

•• (13) “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?” This is interpreted by some as Jesus making this the key, central parable to understanding all others. Perhaps, but another quite plausible interpretation is offered in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: “There is a slight rebuke in Jesus’ statement. The implication is that the meaning of the parable of the sower was clear and understandable. If the disciples could not understand this clear parable, how could they understand more obscure ones?”

Mark 4:26-29  He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. [27] Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. [28] All by itself the soil produces grain — first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. [29] As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

•• Follow the agricultural process — first, the sowing of seed in the ground ... then a quiet, invisible period of no discernible growth ... then the seed sprouts and grows ... finally it matures and is harvested.

•• “This is what the kingdom of God is like” —

• It starts with the sowing of seed. Other parables show that “seed” can refer to:
 
• people, “the sons of the kingdom” (Matt. 13:38), or
 
• the “word of God” (Luke 8:11)
 
• So the kingdom of God involves God’s word and God’s people being “sown” in the world.

•• “This is what the kingdom of God is like” —

• It has quiet, invisible beginnings (like the seed in the earth), followed by growth unto maturity, leading to a harvest.

Mark 4:30-32  Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? [31] It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. [32] Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”

•• See comments on parallel in Matthew 13:31-32.

Mark 9:1 And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

•• See comments on the parallel in Matthew 16:27-28.

•• Note one difference — in the Matthew account it reads “will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” In Mark’s account it reads “will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

• So in both accounts it is made clear that some of them would not taste death before some powerful “coming” of Jesus and His kingdom. This kingdom “coming” must have already occurred from our perspective in time, since all His listeners are now dead. Diverse interpretations of this passage abound!

Mark 9:43-48  If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. [45] And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. [47] And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, [48] where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

•• A careful reading of the parallel verses 45 and 47 will show that the phrases “enter life” and “enter the kingdom of God” mean one and the same thing.

•• The opposite of entering life (45) is being “thrown into hell [Gehenna].” The opposite of entering the kingdom of God (47) is exactly the same — that is, being “thrown into hell [Gehenna].”

•• The parallelism of vss. 45, 47 leads to this conclusion:

• We will enter “life/the kingdom of God” OR we will be thrown into “hell/Gehenna.”
 
• Entering the kingdom and entering life mean the same thing. The alternative is being thrown into hell.
 
• We either enter eternal life [45] ( = entering the kingdom of God [47]) or we enter eternal punishment — (Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”).
 
Matthew 19:16-24 displays this same use of the phrases “enter life” and “enter the kingdom of heaven/God” as synonymous. To “ENTER” life is to “ENTER” the kingdom.

Mark 10:13-15  People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. [14] When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. [15] I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

•• See comments on the parallel in Matthew 19:14.

•• An interesting note: in the parallel passage in Luke 18:15, the “people were ... bringing babies...”

•• The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (p. 713) has an interesting comment: “The point of comparison is not so much the innocence and humility of children (for children are not invariably either innocent or humble): it is rather the fact that children are unselfconscious, receptive, and content to be dependent on others’ care and bounty; it is in such a spirit that the kingdom of God must be ‘received’ — it is a gift of God, and not an achievement on the part of man; it must be simply accepted, inasmuch as it can never be deserved.”

Mark 10:22-25  At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. [23] Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” [24] The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! [25] It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

•• See comments on the parallel in Matthew 19:16-24.

Mark 10:25-26  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” [26] The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

•• The disciples’ response is interesting — they equated entering the kingdom (25) with “being saved” (26).

Mark 12:32-34a  “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. [33] To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” [34] When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

•• The teacher of the Law had penetrated through the 600+ commands of the Law to discern the most important one — to love God with all that is in us.

• Jesus commended him for his insight by saying that he was “not far from the kingdom of God.”

Mark 14:24-25  “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. [25] “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”

•• Clearly referring to a future sense of the coming of the kingdom of God.

Mark 15:43  Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

•• Even honorable pre-new-birth Jews understood that there was a coming kingdom of God. They were anticipating it and “waiting for” it.

Luke 1:31-33  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. [32] He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, [33] and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.

•• It is “his [Christ’s] kingdom.”

•• It will be a never-ending kingdom.

•• The kingdom has to do with Jesus Christ reigning (vs. 33).

• The kingdom is not a physical place, but a realm of the sovereign rule of Christ.
 
• That the kingdom is not a physical place is clear in Jesus’ words: (Luke 17:20-21) “The kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
 
• This verse from Luke 20, along with the declaration in verse 33 above that Christ will “reign...[in] His kingdom” again affirm that the kingdom is a matter of reign, not of location.

This bible study, which began in Part One, is continued in Part Three.

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Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.