Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The King's Manifesto for Kingdom Living
NEEDED: a bold orthodoxy; and a humble eschatology

In light of the recent blogosphere eruption to Dr. MacArthur's provocative message against Amillennialism last week at the Shepherd's Conference, I thought this would be a good opportunity to gently remind us all of our present duty to kingdom living from this previous post from 19 months ago.

Eschatology is a worthy study, but it should not divide true believers needlessly or be used as a weapon to bludgeon others. IMHO, it seems both the speaker and the hearer missed a great opportunity for clarity and study. In the aftermath, both sides could have demonstrated a more Christlike demeanor, exercised godly wisdom, displayed the self-control of verbal restraint, and mostly, shown charity for one another for the purpose of bringing glory to the Lord and to encourage each other to further examination of God's Word in this important theological arena. IOW, we need a bold orthodoxy, but a humble eschatology. I will write further about this in the days ahead.

Until then, I would encourage you to read through this week Matthew chapters 5-7; for it is without question, the greatest sermon ever preached - The Sermon on the Mount.


As the Day Draws Near,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5


The Sermon on the Mount
"The King's Manifesto of the Character and
Standard of True Righteousness"

Matthew 5-7

Kingdom Living in a Fallen World

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20)


Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords and where the King rules, is the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36). It is not governmental; nor is it meant to be something that Christianizes the planet so that Jesus can come back for His church as our mislead, confused and aberrant theonomist/reconstructionist/dominion theology brothers suppose. However, the kingdom of God is "already and not yet." It is here now, for our Lord reigns over His people and His creation. It is not yet, for we wait for the new heaven and new earth in which at the consummation of the ages all things will be placed in subjection under Him who has been given all rule and authority (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). God's kingdom is not “a strikingly political reality...”; nor is it a “reign [that] would not be otherworldly, but would mean the transformation of this present cosmos into the dwelling-place of God, with the creation restored to its primeval glory with its rightful kings and queens—human beings—ruling over it.” The kingdom of God is not for the purpose of returning society to O.T. civil law and its codes. Nor is His kingdom to achieve some sort of political societal utopia of peace and moral rightness upon the planet. If His kingdom were of this world..."His disciples would be fighting"

Here are some key references pertaining to the kingdom of God for your encouragement:
Matthew 3:2
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Matthew 5:3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 6:10
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 7:21
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 8:11
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,

Matthew 11:11
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 13:11
And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

Matthew 13:24
[ The Parable of the Weeds ] He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,

Matthew 13:31
[ The Mustard Seed and the Leaven ] He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.

Matthew 13:33
He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened."

Matthew 13:44
[ The Parable of the Hidden Treasure ] "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Matthew 13:45
[ The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value ] "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,

Matthew 13:47
[ The Parable of the Net ] "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind.

Matthew 16:19
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Matthew 18:3
and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:23
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.

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

Matthew 19:23
And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 20:1
[ Laborers in the Vineyard ] "For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

Matthew 22:2
"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,

Matthew 23:13
"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Matthew 25:1
[ The Parable of the Ten Virgins ] "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

Mark 1:15
and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Mark 4:30-31
And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,

Luke 16:16
"The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.

John 3:3-5
Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Acts 14:22
strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:24
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

1 Corinthians 15:50
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

1 Thessalonians 2:12
we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

2 Timothy 4:1
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:9-10
And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

Revelation 11:15
[ The Seventh Trumpet ] Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."

Revelation 12:10
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God."

It is abundantly clear from the Scriptures mentioned above, that the kingdom of heaven and God is already a spiritual reality for those who know the Lord.


In this great sermon called: "The Sermon on the Mount" our Lord Jesus Christ describes what a "better righteousness than the Scribes and the Pharisees" is and acts like. It is first the product of regeneration, salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. It is the new life lived in the righteousness of Christ as He has prescribed in His Word. This new life is evident in every area of our lives touching everything from the family to the public square. This is God's work of grace in our sanctification; it is inseparable from our salvation, yet distinct. This is the fruit of Christlikeness born in and through His people.

In this sermon The Two Great Commandments and The Great Commission unfold the richness of their truth. This is what it means to love our God with every fiber of our being and then love our neighbor as ourselves. This is not a how to manual to Christianize the earth; or to whitewash society with the veneer of moral values upon an unregenerate world absent of the gospel. This is what it means to engage our world with the gospel and the fruit of holy living. This is what it means to be changed by "transforming grace" which evidents itself as "those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people." (Titus 3:8).

I present to you an adapted outline of this great sermon that I trust will help unpack specifics from this great text. This is, if you please, the pro-active positive side of the debate on evangelical co-belligerence. This is what ECB would look like if it was operating and functioning biblically. I have coined this as: Evangelical Biblical Engagement (EBE) - calling the church to be the church once again. This is what it means to live in a pagan world, biblically. This is how the church should be acting in and to a lost world. This is how the church should be addressing the culture wars and societal moral decline. This is what the church should be known for among those who don’t know the Lord.

This is grace “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:12-14).

This is kingdom living in a fallen world.

This is an impactful message greater than any government or political strategery known to man. This is the most powerful transforming truth ever given to sinful people. This is the hope for the family, the victory over abortion, and the solution to the most severe moral depravity in our nation. This is The King's Manifesto of the Character and Standard of True Righteousness. And it begins with the gospel (Matthew 5:1-12) and ends with the gospel (Matthew 7:13ff).

May these words encourage us to live unto God and His glory by the grace of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit according to His infallible Word each day; so as to be a faithful witness to our neighbor and impact our lost world for Christ.
1. Righteousness and The Beatitude-Attitudes (5:1-12)
a. Blessed are the poor in spirit
b. Blessed are those who mourn
c. Blessed are the meek
d. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
e. Blessed are the merciful
f. Blessed are the pure in heart
g. Blessed are the peacemakers
h. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake

2. Righteousness and The Effective Witness (5:13-16)
a. The salt of the earth
b. The light of the world

3. Righteousness and the Law of God (5:17-20)
a. Christ came to fulfill the Law
b. Christ's command to keep the Law
c. Christ's condemnation of a lesser righteousness than the Law

4. Righteousness and Moral Integrity (5:21-48)
a. Murder
b. Adultery
c. Divorce
d. Oaths
e. Justice
f. Love

5. Righteousness and Genuine Unfeigned Worship (6:1-8; 14-18)
a. Giving
b. Prayer
c. Forgiveness
d. Fasting

6. Righteousness and The Disciples Prayer (6:9-13)
a. Praise
b. Promise
c. Provision
d. Pardon
e. Protection
f. Preeminence

7. Righteousness and Living Between Two Worlds (6:19-34)
a. Treasures on earth; treasures in heaven
b. Serving two masters
c. Guard against anxious living
d. Seek first His kingdom

8. Righteousness and a Matter-of-Fact Theology (7:1-12)
a. Playing God
b. The 2x4 Hypocrite
c. Pearls and swine
d. Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven's Door

9. Righteousness and The Gospel According To Jesus (7:13-29)
a. Two gates
b. Two ways
c. Two destinies
d. Two crowds
e. Two fruits
f. Two trees
g. Two confessions
h. Two foundations
i. Two men
j. Two futures
Grace and peace,
Steve
1 Corinthians 15:58

12 comments:

Breuss Wane said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Breuss Wane said...

Great post Steve!

In one statement Christ indicted today's church: "Put your sword into its sheath". The church hasn't learned that the organized "power" of the vote is symptomatic of its love for the sword out of its sheath.

Bhedr said...

Jus are you out there? Do you need a syllabus. I hope you will be attending these classes with me. This will be a lecture and there will be no discussion on this matter:-)

Hope to see you there while at the same time learn a few things. This is all testable material so take notes and listen closely.

2Tal said...

Excellent,
I would only add the biblical mandate to defend the rights of the weak, to rescue the weak from the slaughter, to love justice, and to do justice. If you want scripture just ask!

Bhedr said...

2tal,

I hear you and never mean to dispute this. Abortion grieves my heart as well. The other day I was delivering floor trusses in D.C(fairfax area) and I saw this sign when passing an abortion clinic that read, "Babies killed here!"

Now I ask you brother is that what Yeshua did. Point an accusing finger to elevate himself above them or did he personally involve himself in men and womens lives(i.e-the woman at the well)

Are these methods being used today driving men to more evil? Should we not in our neighborhoods engadge ourselves personaly and one on one with people making these choices first and then if we want to go soul winning show up at a clinic and spread the gospel?

My question to you is: Whose scope are we looking through, Yeshua's or the republican party? Can we not defend without using polotics?

If Dobson had just stood against this sin without looking to earthly might; he may then be just in what he is doing or even Colson in his prison ministries; but clearly they have exceeded the boundery and are causing other men and women to embrace the mother of Harlots for their aid.

2Tal said...

Brain,
I don't mean to minimize the Beatitudes or the importance of evangelizing. But I also want to be clear that one can take a stand for righteousness in humility without sinning. Our approach to stop abortion and other travestries of justice should be biblical ones. But many who never respond to the gospel will nonetheless respond to.. lets say.. education on why abortion is wrong. Even non-Christians are opposed to murder. To say no good can apart from regeneration is simply not true. Of course no eternal good can come apart from regeneration and therefore I agree that should be the focus. But to say anything outside of preaching the gospel is completely futile, I think, is going too far. Otherwise legislation and the American concept of a government by the people and for the people is simply a farce.

Bhedr said...

Hey 2tal tks but I am no Einstein,
Joseph became a head of government yet he did not manipulate his way up.
From our perspective we had freedom yet for black Americans this was not so;Native Americans as well. Was Manifest Destiny soul winning brother?
Quakers helped hide slaves. They stood for righteousness but not politics; had they done so they probably wouldn't have hid them or they may have hid a few and sold some others out.
Early in our nations history Baptists were never given the same rights as the denominational churches. They appealed but were given negotiations and compromises. They rejected them and chose hardship instead. Did you know that they didn't even believe in fighting? Talk to the Mennonites. They are a direct representation of who they used to be.
The North and the South both felt God was on their side. Yeshua said, "My Kingdom is not of this world." and "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."
I guess it depends on what perspective we come from: My past was immersed in Fundyism as well as strong political activism. They even preached the republican candidate from the pulpit. The same churches I grew up in did not allow blacks into their churches until the 60's. What were they trusting in? The gospel or political laws? Most evangelical churches followed the same politics.
Dr Dobson said, a few years ago, " The Pope is the only one standing against abortion!"
He may as well have said,"Rome is our only hope!" Today, it is for all the co-be's and if you stand in opposition to these politics you are branded as a coward. One day we will find out I am afraid. I just wish that some of us would wake up and smell the Romans.

Ricky Rickard, Jr. said...

Is there an audio copy of MacArthur's message available? I have not been able to find one and am very curious to see what he had to say. Not only that, but his tone and approach to those that held an opposing view.

Thanks,

Ricky

SJ Camp said...

You can find the sermon by clicking on the link below and then ordering (I think it is 2 or 3 bucks) General Session One:

https://www.gracechurch.org/sc/MediaAudio.asp?ministry_id=26&dlyear=2007

Grace and peace,
Steve

cyd said...

Thank you Steve. This is very helpful. Looking forward to your upcoming posts on "humble eschatology".<--(That's gold!)

Marcia said...

Mr. Camp,


Thank you again for the time you put in here to minister to us.

bhedr said: "Whose scope are we looking through, Yeshua's or the republican party? "

I so wish many, many more people would ask themselves that question.

Carla Rolfe said...

Loved the bulleted outline, excellent format for anyone to do a study on this. It's the way I like to study, point by point. It's neat and orderly. :-)

As for humble eschatology... that seems to be a rather rare trait. I gave up (years ago) discussing it publicly online, because the vast majority of people eager to discuss it were about as humble as a bull in a china shop, if you didn't see their viewpoint.

I'm not sure what it is about this subject that compels people to lose sight of humility, but it seems to happen with great frequency. It's not an easy subject to study without preconceived ideas & teaching clouding up one's thinking, and the last thing anyone needs (who is looking for clarity on it) is the kind of "in your face" declarations that so many seem to want to make. (And then write you off if you still don't see their view as clearly as they think you should).

Just to be clear, I'm not referring to Pastor John MacArthur on this (I haven't heard his message but I hope to soon), I'm referring to the countless times in the past I've become involved in this conversation online.

Just thinking outloud...