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How to Live Until His Kingdom Comes - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2024 6:00 am

How to Live Until His Kingdom Comes - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 23, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shares a message encouraging you to be a responsible citizen of the world—and of heaven.

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Having dual citizenship however is tricky.

The tricky part is how do you live responsibly in both places so that you don't overemphasize one address over the other. That's always a balancing act for the believer. Some become so involved in this world, in this address with social causes and activism and all sorts of ways that are good, but they neglect the heavenly part.

Others get so theologically, heavenly, gazed and preoccupied they forget about responsibility here. Today on Connect with Skip Heitink, Pastor Skip shares a message encouraging you to be a responsible citizen of the world and of heaven. But first, here's more about this month's resource that helps you get to know God's character on a deeper level. Does God exist? And if He does, is it possible to know Him?

How you answer those questions shapes how you see the world and navigate life. And Skip Heitink knows how important it is to have an accurate view of God's character. I've noticed that almost every problem that a person has in their life stems from an inadequate view of God. In Skip Heitink's book, Biography of God, learn to recognize and remove the limits you may have placed on your idea of who God is. The truth is, I am a fellow traveler on this same road that you are on.

And we have access to the same information, the same documents, but I hope to offer a fresh perspective on God Himself. Biography of God is our way to thank you for supporting Connect with Skip Heitink as we reach a lost world with the gospel. Request your copy with a gift of $50 or more when you give securely online at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888.

That's connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. All right, we'll be in Acts 1 as we join Skip for today's teaching. You and I, as believers, have dual citizenship. We are citizens of earth, but we are also citizens of heaven.

Philippians 3 20, our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, who wrote Paul the Apostle. What that means is we have two addresses. We have an earthly address. You get your mail. You get the envelopes. People write cards to you. Companies send bills to you.

There's junk mail. At that address, on the envelopes, your name is written and your earthly address is written. But your name is also written in the Lamb's Book of Life because your future address physically will be in another place that we know is heaven. Having dual citizenship, however, is tricky.

The tricky part is how do you live responsibly in both places so that you don't overemphasize one address over the other? That's always a balancing act for the believer. Some become so involved in this world, in this address, with social causes and activism and all sorts of ways that are good, but they neglect the heavenly part. Others get so theologically heavenly, gazed and preoccupied, they forget about responsibility here. Sometimes Christians are accused of being so heavenly minded, they're no earthly good. But I've found people who are so earthly minded, they're no heavenly good. So how do we strike that balance?

That's what I want to talk to you about. That's the issue that the disciples are facing in Acts chapter one. They are expecting a coming kingdom, a messianic kingdom, what we now know from our last series as the millennial kingdom. But they have a kingdom task to do right here, right now, until that kingdom comes. So they're facing the struggle of dual citizenship. They're putting all their eggs in that future kingdom basket, that eschatological literal kingdom that is coming, but they're neglecting their earthly address.

And it's for one simple reason. The disciples are distracted. You might say they have a case of spiritual ADD. They get distracted easily in one direction, and you will see how Jesus brings them back on point.

I came across this little illustration this week. A man bought a new hunting dog. He was eager to see how the dog would perform, so he took him out to track a bear. No sooner had they gotten into the woods than the dog picked up the trail. Suddenly he stopped, sniffed the ground, and headed in a new direction. He had caught the scent of a deer that crossed the bear's path.

A few moments later, he stopped again, this time smelling a raccoon that crossed the path of the deer, then a turkey, a rabbit, and so on, till finally the breathless hunter caught up with his dog, only to find him barking triumphantly down the hole of a field mouse. That's our dilemma. Sometimes we find ourselves barking down the wrong hole. We bark down the hole of activism. We bark down the hole of intellectualism.

We bark down the hole of sensationalism. We bark down the hole of biblical futurism, when all the while we should be doing evangelism. Now what I want to do today in Acts chapter 1, and we're going to look principally at verses 4 through 8, this is a message called How to Live Until His Kingdom Comes.

The series is Kingdom City. The message is How to Live Until His Kingdom Comes, and there's three experiences while we wait. There's something we can do, something we should do, and something we must do. We begin with the first.

We can become preoccupied. Look at verse 4, and being assembled together with them, this is Jesus and his disciples, being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which he said, You have heard from me, for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?

Stop there. What the disciples asked sounds like an interruption. Jesus tells them about a task. He's leading up to that task. He's talking about the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and they pose a question to him that sounds like an interruption of what he's saying.

We would call it a non sequitur, a statement that really doesn't connect to the previous statement that was made. So he's telling them about the Holy Spirit, and they say, hey, let's set the date for your coming kingdom. Now, you should also know that the disciples were really good at this. They were really good at being distracted. You remember the time when our Lord was transfigured before them.

They were up in the northern part of Israel, and Moses and Elijah were also transfigured along with Jesus before the disciples. Instead of just drinking in the moment, Peter launches into a real estate plan. Hey, let's build three condominiums, one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah. I mean, it was so bad, the father had to interrupt Peter's interruption and say, this is my beloved son.

Listen to him. Another time when they were on their way to Jerusalem for the final leading up to the cross, our Lord informs his disciples of what is coming down in Jerusalem. I'm going to be arrested, boys.

I'm going to be beaten up, and I'm going to be killed on a cross. All they can think about is, am I going to sit on your right hand or left hand in the kingdom? And so they started arguing among themselves about who would be the greatest, and one of their moms comes to Jesus and says, I have a request for my two boys. Can one sit on your right hand and the other on your left hand in the kingdom?

So they're really good at being distracted and getting off point. Here, they are preoccupied with a kingdom. Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? So they're preoccupied with that heavenly future eschatological kingdom. Now, I want to be fair with the disciples. I don't want to pile up and beat up on them because it's in one sense understandable that they would ask about the kingdom because, go back to verse 3, to whom he also presented himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during 40 days and speaking of the things pertaining to the what?

Kingdom of God. So Jesus brought up the subject of the kingdom. He spoke often about his kingdom, and when he spent his final 40 days after the resurrection with them, he's speaking about the kingdom. So he places that on their minds. But what Jesus wants to do is shift their focus from being preoccupied with the future to being occupied in the present. Remember what Jesus said in Luke chapter 19.

He said, occupy until I come. Now, let me take you back in your minds to our last message we gave on this series called Thy Kingdom Come. In that message, I told you there's two aspects to the kingdom.

There's an internal aspect, there's an external aspect. An inward kingdom and outward kingdom. The kingdom of God where God reigns over your heart, but then there's the coming real kingdom where he rules over the world.

So there's two different aspects of the kingdom. And though Jesus in these 40 days may have been talking eschatology with them, I think primarily, given the context of what I read in chapter 1, I think he's speaking primarily of his dominion over the hearts of men. He is thinking of evangelism. He wants to save people.

He wants to move into their lives and be their king. That's what he is thinking of. But they are preoccupied. They're thinking of that future eschatological, literal kingdom of Jesus on the earth, what we now call the millennial kingdom. Okay, like the disciples, we also can become preoccupied.

Very easy to do so. We live in a world of distractions. Anybody agree with that? Do we get distracted quite easily in life? There are so many ways we get distracted, it seems harder and harder when you're with somebody to actually be with someone. Just a minute, I got a text here.

I got to get this. Right? I mean, we get so distracted. And if you don't think that's reality, just go look at the usage report on your own device.

And wow, I've been on it that many hours this week. It can be pretty staggering. So we get distracted quite easily. We can also become theologically distracted, where our focus is always on the future all the time. Our complete attention is spent on how things fit into Bible prophecy.

There's nothing wrong with that per se, by the way. I just did a whole 25 weeks on that. We looked at the end times in depth. But that can be imbalanced, where the first question we ask is, well, how does that fit into Bible prophecy? I mean, that's one of our first questions, right?

When this war hit this last week with Gaza and Israel is, is this the end? And I've been asked that question a lot in my ministry. And I get it.

I understand it. The Bible does speak about the future. But we can become imbalanced. Back in the Gulf of War in 1990, people said, is this the end? Y2K, the year 2000, is this the end? September 11th, 2001, is this the end?

The Iraq War, 2003, is this the end? And now this week, is this the end? And my answer is pretty basic. When someone says, is this the end? And now this week, is this the end?

And my answer is pretty basic. When somebody says, is this the end? I say, what if it is? What if it is the end? If it's the end, I'm not called to do anything different than I'm doing right now.

Nothing changes. The end is coming sometime. Might as well be now. If it's coming, I'm not changing my course in any way.

But imbalance comes when we let the future distract us from the present. I remember in the Jesus movement, we talked about the Lord's coming back a lot. And we expected that Jesus would come back like 1980s.

He's coming. And it got so talked about that some of my contemporaries became a little irresponsible. And this is how I know that. I announced to some of my friends that I was going to college. And they said, going to college? Why on earth would you go to college? Jesus will come back soon. Before you graduate from college, Jesus is going to show up. Why would you waste your time and go to college? I said, okay, if Jesus comes back, he'll find me a college. Because last time I checked, colleges need Jesus too.

In fact, I would say these days, it's the one place they really need Jesus. So we can become preoccupied. Let's move to the second experience, what we should do. We can become preoccupied. We should become productive.

We should become productive. So they're asking about the kingdom, and are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel? And verse 7, He said to them, look at His answer.

It's not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. You'll notice that their interruption is followed by Jesus' correction. They interrupt Him, He corrects them.

They get off point, He brings them back on point. He says, basically, don't worry about the kingdom that is coming, think more about the kingdom you should be spreading. You're thinking of people going to the kingdom, you should be bringing the kingdom to the people. You're worried about nationalism and futurism, I'm thinking evangelism. You're worried and concerned about when it's coming, I want you to think about what you should be doing until it comes. The Bible does predict the future, in depth, actually. There's incredible detail about the future, as we have noted for 25 weeks in our previous series. And though it gives us a lot of detail, there's a lot of detail it doesn't give us. And so we wonder, is this it?

Is this the time? And though the Bible does speak about the future kingdom and about the coming of Jesus Christ, it doesn't give us that information so we can sit on a hill, strum a guitar, and eat birdseed. We have a task at hand. Jesus gave a parable in Luke 19. I alluded to it a moment ago, Luke 19, He gave a parable. And the reason He gave the parable, it says, because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.

They're preoccupied with the kingdom. So Jesus launches into a parable about a nobleman going into a far country, and He calls His servants and says to them, Occupy until I come. Do business until I come. Be about my business until I come. So instead of being concerned about the when, we should be concerned about the what do we do until the when happens. So what is it? What are we to do?

How are we to be productive? Verse 8 has the answer. Right in the middle of the verse, you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. What does that mean, to be a witness? Well, a witness, martu reis, that's the Greek word, martu reis, that's the Greek term, martu reis. We get our word martyr from that word, by the way. And we think of a martyr as somebody who dies for their faith, but the idea of a martu reis, a martyr, a witness, is somebody who sees something and someone who says something. That's a martyr. That's a witness.

The reason it has been associated with martyrdom is because people who saw something and said something back in the second, third, and fourth centuries were getting killed for it. But the idea of a witness is somebody who sees something and then says something. That's a witness. So if you go to court as a witness, you'll be put on the stand and asked to testify. What did you see?

What did you hear? And you will tell what you saw and heard. You are being a witness. And so it is throughout the book of Acts. Peter, Philip, Paul, they were all witnesses. They saw something.

They said something. Acts chapter 2, Peter is at Pentecost. He gives a bold, clear, impassioned presentation, a witness for Jesus Christ. He has seen the risen Christ, and now he says something to the people. In Acts chapter 8, Philip was a witness to the Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot, which, by the way, he was in Gaza when he went and gave him that witness.

Very interesting. In chapter 14, Paul is at Lystra. He has seen the power of the Lord working in his own life, and he begins to say to the people what he has seen. He says, we preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God who made heaven and earth. Later on, he's in Athens. He stands on Mars Hill, the Areopagus, speaks to all the philosophers and the people. And Paul says, you know, I'm going through your town, and I see that you have a statue to the unknown God, the God that you worship without knowing Him I proclaim to you. What he saw, he said he was a witness. So we are to be witnesses, because that's what the early church did with the gospel message.

They were witnesses. I have a question for you. What if you were sent a message, but you never received the message? Or let me put it another way.

What if somebody sent to you the most important message of your life, but that message was never delivered? Do you know what actually happened? Back in 1949, a man named John Currier was convicted of murder. He claimed he didn't do it, but he was convicted of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison. Later on, he was paroled to a work farm somewhere down in the south. In 1968, so 19 years later, his sentence was terminated.

They got more information on the case. They terminated his sentence. He was a free man.

And so a letter was sent to where he was being incarcerated that he was a free man. He never got the letter. He never got the letter. He never saw the letter. He kept working for another 10 years. Even though the letter had been sent, it was never delivered. He never read it. He worked for another 10 years. So 29 years of John Currier's life were wasted years.

Finally, a state parole officer found the letter, got it to him, and he was a free man. What if the most important message the world has ever been given never got delivered? So we can become preoccupied, but we should become productive.

And we're productive by being witnesses, by delivering the mail that has been sent. That's Skip Heitig with a message from his series, Kingdom City, showing you how to live as a responsible citizen of the world while you await your heavenly home. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Your support helps keep Bible-based teaching by Pastor Skip on the air for people around the globe and around our nation.

And it helps provide a host of relevant resources to equip listeners like you through Connect with Skip Heitig. You can partner in this life-changing work today with a generous gift to help encourage other believers around the world. Just call 800-922-1888 to give. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate.

That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. And come back tomorrow as Pastor Skip shares how the Holy Spirit empowered the apostles and how he empowers you. I think it's mis-titled. It's really the Acts of the Holy Spirit through the disciples because 50 times in the book of Acts the Holy Spirit is mentioned.

50 times. And he is given the credit as one who convicts, one who saves, ones who identifies missionaries, the one who sends missionaries, the one who directs the affairs of his church. Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-23 07:22:32 / 2024-05-23 07:31:09 / 9

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