Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, October 12th. Sharing the truth of the gospel is the job of every believer in Jesus. Let's hear some practical instruction that will help us be effective in building bridges to the kingdom. Jesus said, And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations.
And then shall the end come. Then just chapter over in the 25th chapter of Matthew in verse 34, he said, Then the king will come to those and say on his right hand, Come, you who are blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. What is the kingdom of God? How do you get into the kingdom of God?
And what is their involvement as believers in the kingdom of God? When you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior, the Bible says that you entered into a relationship with God through his son, Jesus Christ. You didn't simply just become religious and join some local fellowship, but you entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and you became not only a part of a local church body, but the Bible says that you were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.
But more than that happened. Not only were you baptized into the body of Christ, which encompasses all believers everywhere around the world, but the Bible says also that you and I were transferred, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his dear son. That is Jesus Christ. Most people's idea of their relationship to God goes something like this.
Yes, I trust that Jesus Christ is my savior. And oh, yes, I belong to my church over here. And so their vision of their relationship is this. They receive Christ as their savior and they belong to their church. So they sort of see their environment and their spiritual responsibility to God and to their church. But the scripture says that every single believer around the world is as related to you and to me as believers as this arm is to this body. He says that we are all part of the body of Christ. But if my vision stops there, then my effectiveness is going to be diminished because he says not only are we a part of the body of Christ, but you and I have been translated by the Lord Jesus Christ into the kingdom of his dear son, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God.
That means we're a part of something even larger than the church. We're a part of the kingdom of God, which involves and includes what God has going on in heaven today, as well as what he has going on on earth here and now. Now, to understand what the kingdom is and its preparation, let's think about it for just a moment. Jesus speaks here of the coming of the kingdom as well as the presence of the kingdom. What is the kingdom of God? The word kingdom means rule. It involves the authority of God. It involves the rule of God in the heart of men. But it also involves a realm that is where God exercises his authority so that the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God is the rule and authority of God.
The kingdom of God is also the realm in which God is exercising his authority. When you and I receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal savior, the Bible says that you and I have become new creations. That is, the reason you and I become new creations is because what we were won't fit into the kingdom of God. What we were, we won't ever be again. What we are, we were not before. We have been translated because we've become new creations into the kingdom of God. We are now in a whole different spiritual realm. Christ Jesus is now our king.
Satan was because there is the kingdom of Satan. Now we're in the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. In the book of Matthew, primarily he uses the term kingdom of heaven.
In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John used primarily the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God used interchangeably. Over one hundred and twenty five times those phrases are used in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those phrases were a key part of the ministry of Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist came upon the scene, Matthew Chapter three, he came upon the scene and he had one subject as his sermon message. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand when Jesus Christ in Matthew Chapter four began his preaching ministry. What was the theme of his preaching?
Chapter four, verse 17. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand when Jesus Christ sent his apostles out to preach the gospel. What did he give them is their message. He said you to go and preach the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
That is, he spoke of the present. That is the presence of the kingdom in his day. Jesus Christ being the king had come upon the scene.
John the Baptist identified him as the lamb of God, which was slain before the foundation of the world. He says the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Christ Jesus, who is the king in the kingdom, is now in the world.
That's what John was saying. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus preached the same message and the apostles preach the same message. That is, the rule of God is now with us. And Jesus Christ, who is the king, has come to set up a kingdom. That kingdom, first of all, is to be set up within the lives of people in the hearts of men. He set up the kingdom of God. Does not he say in Matthew Chapter six, verse thirty three, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things should be added to you.
That is the authority and the rule of God. When we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, when we submit to the rule and the authority of God, then the character of God is going to be ours. So Jesus Christ came to set up his kingdom, not as the nation of Israel expected at first, but to set it up in the hearts and lives of men. The kingdom of God is a present kingdom.
That is, it is something that is going on here and now. It is a spiritual kingdom that one day shall be a physical kingdom. He says that the kingdom of God was present then as it is now. But he also spoke of a coming kingdom when you and I, for example, pray this prayer we find in Matthew Chapter six, our father, which art in heaven. Remember the phrase that says thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So he speaks of the coming of the kingdom in the 16th chapter of the Book of Matthew.
Again, Jesus, having just told his disciples he was going to die, said, I said to you there are some of you standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. So that there is the message of the presence of the kingdom and the coming of the kingdom of our God. You and I, who have been saved by the grace of God, are a part of the kingdom of God. God has already set up his kingdom in the hearts and lives of people. One of these days, that kingdom is going to be a physical reality in the new heavens and the new earth. And the kingdom of God shall reign forever and ever and ever. The kingdom is the rule of God.
There is the rule of God. There is the realm of his kingdom. There's the reality of this kingdom here and now, because you and I are the ones who people the kingdom of God. He came to establish that kingdom. The kingdom that came when Jesus came, the kingdom that is coming in the future. All of us who are believers are a part of that kingdom. Now, he says there is a message that relates to the kingdom, the proclamation of that kingdom. Chapter 24, back to verse 14.
Listen to what he says. He says in this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations. And then the end shall come.
What is he saying? A proclamation is a declaration of truth here. It is an announcement. And he says, we're living in the age of grace. He says, listen, the proclamation of the kingdom, the message of the kingdom is this.
And that is by the grace of God, salvation is offered to all men everywhere. That's the message of the kingdom. The message of the kingdom is that Christ Jesus, sacrificial, substitutionary, all sufficient atoning death at Calvary, has opened the door of opportunity for every man everywhere, every woman everywhere to be saved by the goodness and love and the mercy of God demonstrated upon that cross. So that the message that needs to be proclaimed to the world today is the message of freedom, liberty, forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, justification, glorification and the resurrection and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of this is a part of the proclamation of the gospel age. In those days in which John the Baptist, Jesus, the apostles preached, they preached repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And you and I are living in the church age, which began at Pentecost. We're living in the age of grace when the gospel is transforming the hearts and lives of men so that the message today that the world needs to hear is the message of grace.
God's loving acceptance of mankind, God's willingness to forgive you of your sin, God's willingness to take you right where you are, forgive you of your sin, transform your life, renew you and translate you into a brand new kingdom, having made you a brand new creature in Christ Jesus. That's the proclamation of the kingdom. But then there's something else interesting here, because he says in this twenty fifth chapter, if you'll go back there for a moment, he says there's something else about this particular kingdom that you and I need to understand. He says this king will say to those on his right, come, you who are blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Listen, this kingdom was prepared before the foundation of the world. This isn't something that God just decided to do in eternity past.
It was established and in eternity future it will last. He says, for example, in Luke, the first chapter, the kingdom of Christ shall know no end. He says in the first chapter, first Peter, he says that the kingdom of God is endless. And then in that 12th chapter of the book of Hebrews, he says that in a beautiful way in the twenty eighth verse, he says this kingdom, therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and all for our God is a consuming God.
What is he saying? That you and I are a part of an endless, eternal, unshakable kingdom. Jesus Christ is the king of the kingdom. You and I are a part of the kingdom of God.
Now, all of these things that I refer to up to this point is what God has done. He's the one who's prepared this eternal kingdom. He's the one who designated that the message of the kingdom is the message of grace. The word of the living God, but especially the message of grace. It is God who has said this this kingdom is permanent, that it is eternal. But here's the question. What is our involvement in the kingdom?
Here's the involvement. In Matthew, chapter twenty eight, if you'll turn there for just a moment. The twenty eighth chapter of Matthew. Jesus in verse 16 said the Bible says the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had designated. And when they saw him, they worshiped him.
But some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, all authority. He's the king. All authority has been given to me, delegated to me in heaven and in earth. King in the heavens, king on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even at the end of the age.
Now, I want you to think for just the moment what a solemn, awesome occasion that was. To those eleven, he gave the responsibility of populating the kingdom. How does a person get into the kingdom by being saved by the grace of God? Here's where you and I become a vital part of the kingdom of God. The mission of the church, your church, no matter which church you belong to.
The mission of the church is to share the word of God, to show the way to those who are willing to believe. It is God's responsibility to execute redemption, execute forgiveness, execute reconciliation, execute the writing of that person's name in the Lamb's Book of Life. But he says that all of us have a responsibility. He says that we're like bridges from the lost man to the kingdom of God. We're the ones who we're the ones who build the structure of their understanding of the grace of God. We're the ones who show them the truth. We're the ones who explain the truth to them. It is the grace of God. It is the power of God.
It is the king of kings. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring those people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But I want you to remember something. When he left those apostles, he left them with one plan.
Think about this if you'd have been standing there. Those men only had one plan. And that is share the gospel, show them the way and that God execute redemption in their life. That is the mission of the church. That is the ministry of the church. It is the mission of every single converted person.
It is the ministry of every single converted person. We can't convert people. We can't save them. But we can share the truth. We can show them the way, first of all, by our life and then by our lips. But as we live the life and show the truth and share the truth, Almighty God is going to execute salvation, redemption, reconciliation, justification, giving them the promise of life eternal and giving them the hope of it here and now. That is the work and the mission of the church. If the Lord Jesus Christ simply wanted to save us, if he wanted to populate his kingdom any other fashion, he could do it without us. But listen, he has the power to write across the midnight skies all over this globe out in space.
The gospel of Jesus Christ, he has the power to write that in every single language, every dialect and every tongue. He could write it in such a fashion in flaming letters all across the midnight sky that people from every tongue and every culture, every background could see the gospel, recognize the presence of God and be saved. But he didn't choose to do that. He's only got one plan. And this is his plan that people like you and me share what Jesus Christ is doing in our life, that we share the plan, show the way and let God do the saving. The only way he's going to populate his kingdom is for people like us to do the one thing he's called us to do. And that is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are multiplied ways of ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ, multiplied ways when you and I stand before him, we'll be able to look back and see that God used us to share in someone's life and get their name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. That is the work of the church. That is the work of ministry. That is the work of the kingdom of God. Listen, God, listen, we can't build the kingdom. The church is not the kingdom.
We can't build the kingdom. God builds his kingdom. But he has chosen to use individuals and the sharing of their faith and the witnessing of the gospel. What did we just read a few moments ago in this passage? He said, concerning this message, he said, and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations and then the end shall come.
If you have the idea that you want those little saved persons and this is your little world over here and all you want to do is just learn more gospel truth and you want to learn more principles and you want to go to more Bible studies and you want to soak up more truth, I want to tell you something. God says that not a single one of us has the right any longer to decide how we're going to live our lives. When you became a part of the kingdom, what does kingdom mean? Kingdom means rule and authority. It is a realm. It is a spiritual realm in which you and I chose voluntary to become a part. He says that you're not your own.
You're bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. You and I are a part of the kingdom of God today.
When you became a part of the kingdom of God, you gave up your rights. Your time, your talents, your treasure, all that you have belongs to the King of King and the Lord of Lords. All of us testify to the fact that Jesus Christ is our Lord. If he's my Lord, that means I'm submissive to him. If he's my Lord, I'm subject to him. If he's my Lord, I'm a servant to him. If he's my Lord, I just move as he says move.
Do what he says do. My responsibility in life is to fulfill the purpose of God. When you and I stand in the judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ, one of these days, we're going to have to give an account for our life. We're going to have to give an account for our life individually. We're going to have to give an account for those whom we could have influenced and did not. Those we did influence and influenced them for good.
Those we influenced for evil. We're going to have to give an account for our life. Can you tell me anything any more exciting, any more wonderful, any more rewarding than to be able to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord Jesus Christ? Just remind you in those moments that he has forgiven you of all of your sins, that you were redeemed by the blood of his son. Can you think of anything any more exciting for them to then say to you, I want to read you the names of the people who have entered the kingdom of God because of your witness, because of your faithfulness, because of your sharing. And he reads out not five, not ten, but hundreds, thousands of names of people who've been brought into the kingdom because you were faithful as a child of God to do the very thing that God called you to do. And that is to preach the gospel in your way where God has put you one on one, a one to two, a one to multitudes.
But what he's called you to do is to share the message of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God is at work in the heavens. The kingdom of God is at work here on earth. And the mission and the ministry and the motivation of the church should be to fulfill God's great kingdom purpose. While we are on this earth, we don't build it. We just are the vessels by which God populates his kingdom.
And he has no plan B, just plan A. That must be the minister of every fellowship that is going to be obedient to Almighty God. Thank you for listening to Building Bridges to the Kingdom. We would also like to invite you to join us in celebrating 45 years of God's faithfulness. Stop by InTouch.org slash 45 years to learn more. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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