INTRODUCTION – “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:14
Gospel = good news. Feel like you are getting a grip on the good news of the kingdom of God? I want to give you a tip…. One of the ways to determine what the good news of the kingdom is (along of course with studying your bible) is discovering the things our culture and society get obsessed with. Because the enemy has always known to some extent what the good news of the kingdom is – – so one of the things he lives to do is corrupt and exploit and pervert the great and wonderful things God offers in the realm and kingdom He governs and rules.
For instance – – our culture and society is obsessed with sex of all kinds, and now has created a new obsession with gender issues. Engagement and participation in all of these things of course never delivers and results in all kinds of heart break and abuse and stds and unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, etc.
Well the good news of the kingdom of God is that sex is a wonderful gift designed and created by God for a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage that serves as a much needed bonding exercise, not to mention the unique and miraculous vehicle of bringing little Jubilees and Thorins and Benjamins into the world!
Here’s another one. Blood! Whether it be the texas chainsaw massacre series or more recently the various vampire series and now a t.v. series that is actually titled, “True Blood” – – the enemy of our souls – – through the world system or kingdom of darkness that he controls has sought desperately to pervert and corrupt and get our eyes off of the life and righteousness and healing and deliverance that comes only from and through the blood of Christ. This morning = the good news of the cleansing and deliverance and healing and power that King Jesus brings to us through His shed blood on the cross. When you are new to the faith or perhaps haven’t lived too many years on this planet and especially if you grew up in a Christian family, the blood of Jesus might not yet be that precious to you. But there is no advancement in the kingdom of God apart from it. All life in the kingdom is rooted in and flows out of the blood of Christ.
Our theme verse for this series on the kingdom of God – “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Col. 1:13 Well how did He do that?
First He satisfied the justice of God by making an acceptable sacrifice Romans 3:21-26 Then He satisified His wrath by making an acceptable sacrifice Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Paul in Ephesians and elsewhere speaks of how we have been redeemed through His blood. Eph. 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespassess…” The word redeem means “to buy out.” The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. The application of this term to Christ’s death on the cross is quite telling. If we are “redeemed,” then our prior condition was one of slavery. God has purchased our freedom, and we are no longer in bondage to sin or to the Old Testament law. This metaphorical use of “redemption” is the teaching of Galatians 3:13 and 4:5.
So that’s a little bit about how the blood of Christ gave us the ability to enter the kingdom of God and become a child of God and enter into a relationship with God.
But here’s where I want us to focus our meditations and testimonies today before we partake of the blood and the body of Christ: What role does the blood of Christ play in our day to day kingdom life? Well first of all His blood – cleanses us from all of the generational relational sin – we are born in and begin to walk out – – that manifests itself in attitudes and thought patterns and communication patterns that damage and hinder relationship building instead of enhancing it. In other words – His blood as it cleanses us from the old and infuses us with the new – enables us to begin to develop healthy God pleasing relationships with other members of the body of Christ. It enables us to become a contributing part of a people among whom He is pleased to dwell.
Ephesians 2:14-16 “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall., by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” Testimonies of such?
Secondly, His blood enables and empowers us to resist sin and lawlessness and unrighteousness, and embrace and walk in righteousness and truth I John 1:7-9 “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The clear expectation in this passage is that this cleansing by the blood of Jesus enables us to not sin, and/or to live righteously. Testimonies of such? Not perfect or arrived, but progress and real change. “Because He was once emptied I am each day refilled; my spirit-arteries pulse with the vital red of love; poured out, it is His life that now pumps through my own heart’s core. He bled, and died, and I have been transfused.” Lucy Shaw
And third, His blood enables us to overcome the constant attacks and accusations of the enemy of our souls – – specifically in this passage – the accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” So how does the blood of Christ help when the accuser of the brethren is breathing down your neck – throwing accusations at you?
Can any of you share how His blood has enabled you to overcome feelings of condemnation and failure and unworthiness?
Can you imagine having devoted your life and career to the slave trade – treating them like animals – – profiting from their slavery and oppression – – and then coming to Christ and discovering they were made in the image of God ever much as you were? That’s what happened to John Newton – – the author of the great hymn – Amazing Grace. “This is faith: a renouncing of everything we are apt to call our own and relying wholly upon the blood, righteousness, and intercession of Jesus.”