Sunday, 23 February 2014 00:00

Heaven on Earth

Luke 1:18-25 (NASB)

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Gabriel & Mary
Rock not hewn with human hands

There is no phrase more frequently used in the New Testament than 'the kingdom of heaven,' or 'the kingdom of God.' The reader of the Bible meets with it everywhere -- in the beginning, the middle, and the end of Scripture. The kingdom is the first thing mentioned in Matthew and the last thing mentioned in Revelation. The Gospel itself is called 'the gospel of the kingdom'; the disciples are the 'heirs of the kingdom'; the great object of hope and expectation is 'the coming of the kingdom.' It is from this that Christ Himself receives the title of 'King.' The kingdom of God is the very kernel of the New Testament. When Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus to Mary, he says, "and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Jesus' Kingdom is the reign of Jesus over individuals, then over groups of people, then over the world!

  1. The Kingdom of Jesus was planned by God from the beginning of Creation.
    "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth." You read of Gabriel in Daniel, the gospels of the New Testament, and in the book of Revelation. I like to call Gabriel "Good News Gabriel" because he is always sent to talk about the King of Kings.
    1. Gabriel tells Daniel when the King would come (Daniel 2:44; Daniel 9:27)
      The prophecy of Daniel is so precise that the "Magi" from the East came to Jerusalem asking "where is he who is born King of the Jews?" The Magi were long familiar with Daniel's scroll.
    2. God sends Gabriel to Mary in the fullness of time (Luke 1:26).
      From the time of Daniel in 500 B.C. until the coming of Christ, half a millennium passed by in time. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans all ruled the world, but the Rock was coming!
    3. God sends a messenger to you to receive the Kingdom of Jesus.
      Every time there is a call to receive Jesus Christ as Lord (King), it's a celebration of Christmas! "Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom is here!" (Matthew 4:17).
  2. The Kingdom of Jesus is for sinners who see the favor of God in Jesus.
    "And he (Gabriel) said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you" Mary is never called "The Virgin Mary" in Scripture. It is true, she is called "a virgin." Her virginity is mentioned repeatedly in the Scriptures, not so much to honor her as it is declared the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world as the woman's Seed, by miraculous, divine intervention. The body of our Savior was prepared in Mary's virgin womb by God to be without Adam's imputed sin nature in the flesh. Mary was a sinner herself in need of divine favor (lit. 'gracious acceptance'). How do we know this?
    1. Mary's name indicates her nature—Mary means "bitter rebel."
      It is the same name as Moses' sister, Miriam, and the name Naomi applied to herself, Mara.
    2. The Lord was with Mary just as he's near every sinner in need of grace.
      "God is not far from any one of us" (Acts 17:27) - Paul's speech before the Athenians at Mars Hill.
    3. The Lord blessed Mary and it was not Mary who blessed the Lord.
      God did not find favor in Mary's eyes. Mary found favor in God's eyes. The phrase in v.30 is exactly the same as in v.28. When you experience eternal favor, you drive out earthly fears.
  3. The Kingdom of Jesus will never end and that's good news for those who love Jesus.
    All the kingdoms of this world have been and are designed of God only for the building of the kingdom of our God in Jesus Christ. The kingdoms of this world are only the scaffolding by which our God builds his kingdom. Nineveh, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, not to mention Russia, China, the United States and every other nation shall come to an end and shall be made to bow before the only King who shall reign forever. Everybody likes a winner. Are you in the Kingdom that shall not end?

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