This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
In our previous two sessions I’ve explained that we’re living in a period of restoration which centers in God’s people. And right at the heart of that restoration is the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ to its God given inheritance in Christ. I suggested to you three main aspects of that restoration. First of all, the spiritual gifts that are spoken of in 1Corinthians 12. Second, the body building ministries that are spoken of in Ephesians 4. And third, which is the theme of my studies with you here, the restoration of the message which I believe is essential to the total process of restoration. I explained to you that the message as presented in the New Testament, right from the beginning, is the good news of the kingdom of God. It’s not normally called just the good news or the gospel, it’s not normally called the gospel of salvation, although that phrase is used, but the main theme is the good news of the kingdom of God; the good news that God is willing to take over the government of the human race. This is the only real, permanent, practical solution to human problems whether it’s an individual’s problem, the problem of a nation or the problems of all humanity. The only ultimate solution is the government of God.
God’s government is no democracy. That’s a shocking statement to most Americans but it just happens to be true. God’s government is a kingdom. And there’s not even going to be any voting for the king, the king has already been appointed and approved and his name is Jesus.
We saw that not only did Jesus himself proclaim this message but the forerunner who went before him, John the Baptist, proclaimed the same message. Their words were identical: repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. We saw how Jesus proclaimed this message and also demonstrated it. He demonstrated it very specifically in the healing of all sickness, the deliverance of all who were oppressed and the driving out of evil spirits. These really cannot be disassociated from the good news of the kingdom. They are the evidence that the kingdom has come.
Also, to view it from the other point of view, I believe more and more that if we really desire to see the sick healed and the oppressed delivered, it’s got to be in terms of the good news of the kingdom. We’ve got to bring the message that God desires to confirm supernaturally.
In our second study, the last one yesterday, we had got to a very crucial point in Matthew 12, and we’re going to read that again beginning at verse 22. A man was brought to Jesus who was mute; he couldn’t speak, he was blind; he couldn’t see. And Jesus dealt with this as the result of an evil spirit in the man. He didn’t deal with it as a physical problem but as a spiritual problem. And his remedy was to cast out the evil spirit out of the man and when the evil spirit went out the man could both speak and see. The common people said could this really be the son of David, the Messiah? And that upset the Pharisees and they began to criticize Jesus and they began to suggest that his success in dealing with evil spirits was due to the fact that he was in league with Satan. Now Jesus knew what they were thinking and he met them with this reply.
“But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan he is divided against himself, how then will his kingdom stand?”
Notice that Jesus very clearly states that Satan has a kingdom and it’s an undivided kingdom. He is in supreme and absolute control of his kingdom.
“And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
That, I believe, is a turning point, that verse. That incident brought out into the open the existence of two invisible, spiritual kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. It brought out the fact that there is total opposition between these two kingdoms. Where one prevails the other must yield. And in particular, the fact that Jesus was able to drive out evil spirits by his God given authority demonstrated two things. The kingdom of God had come into that situation and that the kingdom of God was more powerful than the kingdom of Satan.
Now this is a very interesting turning point in the ministry of Jesus. If you analyze Matthew’s gospel you’ll find that basically, up to this point, Jesus had been popular, he had been acclaimed, vast multitudes had followed him, many had suggested that he really was the Messiah. But from this point onwards the opposition builds, the hatred grows, the plans multiply. Ultimately, all that ends in his betrayal and crucifixion. I believe that this is a very significant turning point because it underscores the lesson that Satan will do as much harm as he can to anybody at any time. He opposes any kind of goodness. But the thing that he is really concerned about is maintaining his kingdom. When his kingdom is threatened then he will react and respond with all the wickedness, all the malice, all the power that he has at his command. I think it’s important for us to understand this in the service of the Lord. Satan regrets every soul that he loses, every soul that is saved. He would oppose the opening of any church that really presents the truth and proclaims Jesus. But, an infinite number of souls can be saved and his kingdom still stands. Endless churches can be opened and his kingdom still stands. But when we get into an area where we actually threaten the continuing existence of his kingdom, then he will do everything he can. The opposition will be just almost unbelievable because his one supreme aim is not to give up his kingdom.
I have to say honestly I think a lot of Christian activity doesn’t really threaten Satan’s kingdom the least bit. It could go on for centuries and his kingdom would still stand. Let anyone get a vision of what it will take to overthrow his kingdom and believe me, the opposition will be on a totally different scale. It will be something astonishing. If you are out to assail Satan’s kingdom you had better be prepared for kinds of opposition and attack that the average Christian doesn’t have to face.
Now I would just like to give you some beautiful scriptures about the power of the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed. There’s just two scriptures I love. 1 Corinthians 4:20. I don’t have to turn there because it’s written on my heart.
“For the kingdom of God is not in words, but in power.”
How important that we understand that! It isn’t a matter of theology. It isn’t even a matter of doctrine. Doctrine is important but you can have all the doctrine in the world and all the theology without the kingdom. The kingdom is in power as I believe the scripture clearly indicates, and maybe later on we’ll go into that in more greater detail. The ultimate conflict as this age closes is not between doctrines or theologies, it’s between powers. Satan is certainly building his power. It remains to be seen whether the church is availing itself of God’s power. But it’s not going to be a clash of theologies.
For me, the picture is Moses coming to Pharaoh’s court with a message from the Lord to deliver Israel. Pharaoh was somewhat cynical. He said, “Who is the Lord? How do I know this message is from him?” And the Lord told Moses to do what he had practiced in the desert—and incidentally, it’s a good thing to have a little private practice about some things. When I got into the ministry of public deliverance I was so glad I had just a little private practice beforehand.
The Lord said, “Throw your rod down.” He threw his rod down and it became a snake. You would have thought that would have convinced Pharaoh but it didn’t. He said to his magicians, “What can you people do?” They said, “We can do the same.” They threw their rods down and they became snakes. You read that, it’s very clear. Satan has supernatural power. But there was one difference. You know what it was? Moses snake ate up the snakes of the Egyptians. I don’t know whether you’ve ever pictured the close of that situation but Moses walked away with a rod that was thicker and stronger than it had ever been before and the magicians had no rods left!
However, that wasn’t the end. Pharaoh said, “My magicians can do what you do. What else can you do?”
He said, “I can turn water into blood.” He did.
Pharaoh turned to his magicians and said, “What can you people do?”
They said, “We can do the same.” They did.
Pharaoh said to Moses, “What next?”
He said, “I can bring up the frogs out of the river.” And he did.
Pharaoh turned to his magicians, “What about you people?” “We can do the same.” They did. The first three supernatural miracles that Moses performed the magicians could perform also. Then Moses turned the dust on the bodies of the Egyptians into lice. The magicians tried to do the same and they couldn’t. They said, “This is the finger of God.” You understand, they were pragmatic. They said, “This is on a higher level than our magic can achieve.” They weren’t going to bow to anything that wasn’t more powerful than what they had. Why should they?
Let me give you a scripture, I didn’t intend to turn there. It’s in 2Timothy 3. This tells us that the beginning, in the first verse:
“Know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. [Then it says] Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money [and finally] lovers of pleasure.”
It lists the overall degeneration of human character that will mark the close of this age, most of which we see very manifestly in contemporary culture. But then it goes on in verse 8:
“Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses [apparently those were the names of the Egyptian magicians.] so these also [the practitioners of the occult] resist the truth. Men with corrupt minds disapproved concerning the faith. But they will progress no further for their folly will be made manifest to all as theirs.”
That’s the folly of the Egyptian magicians was manifest. So you understand that this age is going to close not with theological argument but with the demonstration of supernatural power. And the people of God have got to come out with a power that is greater than that of the practitioners of the occult. And dear brothers and sisters, at this moment most of God’s people don’t have any supernatural power at all let along power that’s greater than that of the practitioners of Satan. So that’s one principle. Let’s hold on to it.
Our brother would talk humbly about confessing his pride. I think if we measure ourselves by some passages of scripture we won’t have much pride left, you know! I think the problem is we’re measuring ourselves by something that isn’t realistic. The kingdom of God is not in word but in power. Let’s not start boasting till we’ve got something to boast about. It’s not just words, it’s not just doctrine. It’s not just a ritual or a ceremony or a performance. It’s power that makes the difference.
Then there’s a scripture that I love in Ecclesiastes. How many of you spend a lot of time in Ecclesiastes? I’m not sure I would recommend too much time but it’s a rewarding book in many ways. Ecclesiastes 8:4:
“Where the word of a king is there is power. And who may say to him what are you doing?”
So this is the word of a king. This is the message of a kingdom. There is power with it. And who can withstand it? That’s the proclamation we have, that’s the message.
Going on into the book of Acts for a moment, just to get a kind of overall picture of the presentation of Jesus and the early disciples. Into Acts 17, I want to read a passage there. It’s something that happened in the city of Thessalonica. Paul had been into the synagogue and preached and there had been a response. But when there was a response from Gentiles to the message then the Jews became envious and stirred up trouble and started a riot. And this is what then happened. Acts 17:5.
“But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace and gathering a mob set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason and sought to bring them out to the people. [“Them” was Paul and Silas.] But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city crying out, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.’“
Would they be saying that about you and me? That we have turned the world upside down? What does the NIV say? Who has got an NIV? “These who have caused trouble all over the world have come here also.” Would you regard that as a compliment? Are you worthy of the compliment? Does anybody even know you’re there? I remember a fellow missionary in East Africa years ago planned to open a church in a new city and I heard him say that he was a Canadian. He said, “Let’s make them mad or let’s make them glad, but let’s let them know we’re there.” And those are my sentiments. Let them be mad or glad but let them know we’re there. The worst thing that can happen is to be ignored.
We haven’t finished this passage.
“These who have turned the world upside down [or stirred up trouble all over the world] have come here too. Jason has harbored [or welcomed] them. And these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, Jesus.”
Now that was their impression of the message that the apostles had brought. They didn’t talk about forgiveness of sins or salvation or eternal life. What they got out of the message is there’s another king.
It wasn’t a complete summation of the message, but what our critics have to say about us is very significant. You see? Most (quote) gospel preachers who would go into any city and preach the gospel today, their critics wouldn’t even think of saying bad about them. It isn’t in the message. I want to try to point out to you how different the message was. It was a message of a king. And you’ll find that the early Christians never apologized for their message. They never had the attitude, “Well, we’re a small minority and these people could eat us up.” They always had the attitude, “We’re representing an omnipotent king. We are his ambassadors. We’ve come with his message.” And it made an impact. It’s stirred things up. The status quo, the existing authorities, will usually be very disturbed when you say there’s another authority, a higher authority, a more powerful king. Just as Herod was when the news first came: the king of the Jews has been born.
Then I would like to point out to you—and this is a scripture I’ll return to again and again—that Jesus made provision for his servants to go on proclaiming this message right through to the end of the present age. In Matthew 24:3 is disciples asked him:
“What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
If you study his answer in the verses that follow, he gives a number of signs that he hasn’t answered the question because the question was, What will be THE sign? But when he gets to verse 14 he answers a specific question with a specific answer.
“This gospel of the kingdom...”
Notice he says let it never be changed, let it never be watered down, let there be no adjustment. It’s the same good news of the kingdom.
“...will be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.”
What is THE sign of the end of the age? The proclaiming of the good news of the kingdom in all the world to all the nations. That’s right to the end of the age. I want you to see that Jesus never anticipated that the message would be changed or watered down or edited out. It’s always the same message, the good news of the kingdom of God, that God is going to take over the government of the human race.
And in the light of that, what should people do? What’s the key word? Repent.
Now we come to one of the great tragedies of history. The tragedy of Israel. We have to understand as I pointed out but I will just return to that for a moment, the first offer of the kingdom was exclusively to Israel. It wasn’t offered to any other nation or any other group of people. Because Israel was the nation that God had brought into being to become the kingdom nation. If you turn to Matthew 4 where we read before but we’ll go back because it’s important we see it. Matthew 4:12–13. This is the beginning of the proclamation.
Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphthali: [verse 17:] From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
To whom was he speaking? To the Jewish people. He was a Jew speaking to Jews about a promise that had been given to the Jews. It had not been given to any other nation up to that time.
And then when he sent his first disciples out—we’ve looked at this but we’ll look again in Matthew 10—these were his instructions. Verses 5–7.
“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them saying, Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and into a city of the Samaritans, do not enter.”
Don’t take the message there, it’s not for them.
“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and as you go preach saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
To whom was the kingdom offered exclusively? To Israel. Let’s see that. It doesn’t suit Gentile pride always to acknowledge that fact. But the first initial offer was solely to the Jewish people.
Now, what happened? The Jewish people made the greatest mistake any nation has ever made in history. What did they do? They rejected the king. They still wanted the kingdom, bear that in mind, but they rejected the king. But brothers and sisters, when you reject the king, whether you’re Jew or Gentile, you cannot have the kingdom. There is no kingdom without the king.
Let’s look at this tragic incident in John 19:14–16. This is the scene where Pilate has been trying Jesus to ascertain if he’s guilty of the charges against him. He’s come to the conclusion that he’s not guilty and he doesn’t want to be responsible for his condemnation and death. So he brings him out to the Jewish people and this is what he says:
“Now it was the preparation day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour [that’s midday]. And he said to the Jews, Behold your king.”
There’s a certain irony in the fact that it had to be a Gentile to tell them who he was. And of course, they were not glad to hear that news, least of all, from a Gentile.
“But they cried out, Away with him, away with him. Crucify him. Pilate said to them, Shall I crucify your king?”
Notice how very clear he made the issue.
“The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar. So they delivered him to them to be crucified.”
If you know the Orthodox Jewish mind at all, that was one of the most amazing statements, “We have no king but Caesar.” It was contrary to everything they really stood for. But in the heat of malice and hatred and jealousy they settled their destiny. Do you realize that? They rejected their own king and they said we have no king but Caesar. You know that Caesar is the word that gives us in German Kaiser. It stands for the emperors of this world. And for nineteen centuries and more, Gentile emperors have oppressed and persecuted and despised the Jewish people. Culminating, in a certain sense, in Adolf Hitler. If you’re a little aware of the background—I happen to have been a philosopher—there was a book of philosophy written by a man named ?Auschwatz Spengler? called the Decline of the West. His theme was western civilization was all corrupt and going down. He said we need a new Caesar. That philosophy really brought forth Hitler and Hitler was the Caesar placed over the Jewish people. We don’t really need to go into all the horrible details of that history.
The other thing they did was they made a choice. Pilate said, “Whom shall I release to you? Jesus or Barabbas?” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary, a violent man. They chose Barabbas. I’m telling you this because I want you to see what we choose is what we get. They rejected the king of God and the kingdom of God, they said we have no king but Caesar, the Gentile emperors of this world and in place of Jesus, a man of peace, they chose Barabbas, a man of violence. And in essence, you could sum up Jewish history by saying the Caesars have put the Barabbases over the Jewish people for nineteen centuries. What a solemn thought.
Now my purpose is not so much to focus on Israel at this time but it’s to seek to convince every one of you, myself included, that when we make decisions in the light of God we get what we choose. If we reject, we have settled our destiny.
Now Jesus had already predicted this before his death. If you’ll turn to Matthew 21. This is a discussion between Jesus and the religious leaders. Matthew 21:42–43.
“Jesus said to them, [the religious leaders] Did you ever read in the scriptures the stone which the builder rejected has become the chief cornerstone? [That refers, of course, to himself.] This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes. Therefore I say to you the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”
That was a prediction of what was to happen. Because Israel rejected the king and therefore the kingdom, the offer was taken from them and was given to any nation bringing forth the fruit of the kingdom. What’s the essence of having the kingdom? What’s the acid test? The fruit. It’s not enough to say, you have to produce the fruit.
So right at the end of Matthew’s gospel, just before his ascension, Jesus gave them their new orders in the light of what Israel had opened up. You see, Paul says in Romans 11, the fall of Israel was the riches of the Gentiles. Because Israel rejected, the offer was extended to all other nations. Reading in Matthew 28:18–20:
“Then Jesus came and spoke to them saying, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”
Notice these instructions are to continue to the end of this present age. And they were instructed to go out to all nations and make disciples of them, bringing them into the kingdom of God.
Now, together with that I would like you to turn for a moment to 1Peter 2:9 just to clarify this matter of the use of the word nation. Jesus said the kingdom will be given to a nation that produces the fruit. And there are those who have suggested that this is some specific Gentile nation such as Great Britain or the United States, Scandinavia and so on. The name of that teaching traditionally has been British Israel. I’m not here to attack that teaching, I just want to disassociate myself from it and say this is not what I am saying. If you look in 1Peter 2:9 you see Peter writing to believers in Jesus.
“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people.”
So I believe the nation to whom the kingdom of God has been transferred is the believing nation, the nation which is the church. Remember, the church is, amongst other things, a nation.
Now, for this reason the age cannot close until all nations have been presented with the good news. Once Israel turned it down then God decreed it must be offered to all nations. So no matter how much we preach the gospel in America or Canada or South Africa or New Zealand or Australia, we are not bringing the kingdom of God one fraction nearer until we reach the nations that have not heard it. The age cannot close. The devil will oppose any kind of evangelistic ministry but it doesn’t matter how much you do in the streets of Sydney or Auckland or London or Boston, you’re not going to bring the age any nearer its end. It cannot close until God’s decree has been fulfilled that all nations must hear. The moment you start to bring the gospel to a nation that hasn’t heard, believe me, all hell will break loose. So, Satan sees his kingdom being threatened.
Matthew 24:14, before we close this series of teachings, you’re going to know that verse, this gospel of the kingdom—let’s put it in modern English.
“This good news of the Kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world for a witness to all nations and then the end will come.”
But not before. I love the word proclaim. God has called me to be a teacher of the scriptures very specifically. Teaching is expounding and explaining. But in the last few years, maybe 7 or 8 years, God has given me a passionate desire to proclaim the gospel. I think that’s why he’s given me my radio ministry. As a young preacher I used to believe I had to explain the gospel to everybody. Because of my philosophic background I thought it had to be explained. You know what I discovered? You can’t explain the gospel. The only person who can explain the gospel is the Holy Spirit. Our job is to proclaim it. It’s his job to explain it. But if we don’t proclaim it, he has nothing to explain. I am 101 percent in favor of proclaiming the good news to all nations. I have to thank God—you’re probably aware, most of you, that my five-day-a-week Bible teaching ministry is now reaching the whole of Communist China in Mandarin Chinese. I think because God saw my heart that I wanted this proclamation to reach all nations. If you don’t reach the Chinese you’re simply deceiving yourself if you think you’re reaching the world. One in every four persons is Chinese. One out of every three unreached persons on earth today is Chinese. We can be as busy as we like about all sorts of things, but if we ignore China we’ll never bring about the end of the age. It has to happen. Of course, you know the problem with some Christians is they really don’t believe the age is ever going to end. And some of them don’t want it to end! I believe it’s not going to last much longer. That’s my personal opinion. I’m not teaching that as a doctrine. I’ll be happy when it ends because it will end uncountable suffering by uncountable millions.
Acts 1:6–8. This is a final conversation between Jesus and his apostles just before he ascended. I think these are the last words he ever spoke on earth.
“Therefore, when they had come together they [the disciples] asked him saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
They had a one track mind. All they were still concerned about was the kingdom. Why? Because that’s what Jesus had taught. They got the message, their timing was wrong. Some people say the kingdom will never be restored to Israel. I think if that were so Jesus would have said that. He would have said, “No, you’re completely mistaken. Israel has forfeited the kingdom, they’ll never be restored.” But he didn’t. He said it isn’t the time. He said something else has got to happen first. And it isn’t up to you to know the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. But, in the meanwhile, you have a job to do. So he said:
“It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father put in his own authority. But [what’s your job?] you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”
So what’s the job that he gave them? To testify to the kingdom of God in every area of the earth, starting in Jerusalem and going as far as Christchurch, New Zealand, which is basically the outermost part of the earth so far as the inhabited earth is concerned. Ruth and I on this present journey started in Jerusalem and we got to Christchurch. We really had a good biblical basis for what we were doing. But unfortunately there has been a lot of areas missed out between Jerusalem and Christchurch. You see, the message is once Israel refused, then in God’s eternal counsel every other nation on earth had to be presented with the offer. And the age cannot close until that has been done.
The Lord talked to us this morning before I began to teach about sharing his heart. I think this, as clearly as anything in the Bible, indicates the heart of the Lord. What were the last words they heard from his lips? The ends of the earth, the ends of the earth. That’s where he was concerned. They didn’t understand it for a long while. It took a long while for them really to absorb this message. But that was the Lord’s concern and I personally believe that if you will allow the Lord to put his concerns in your heart you will be concerned about all nations and every area of the earth until ever nation has heard.
Now I have a special call on my life to the Jewish people but I don’t believe in anyone being called to the Jews who isn’t passionately concerned for all nations. I tell you the other side of it is if you’re called to the nations you better be concerned about the Jews too. It will make a lot of difference to your ministry.
The kingdom that is now being proclaimed into which all nations are being invited is not an external visible kingdom. I think we understand that. It doesn’t have an earthly capital. Its capital is not Rome nor Springfield, Missouri, nor even Jerusalem. It’s an inward kingdom. Let’s look in Luke 17. It does have a capital, do you know where its capital is? The capital is in heaven. Its capital is where its head is. You can’t a head in one place and a capital in another. Luke 17:20–21.
“Now when he [Jesus] was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God does not come with observation.”
The NIV says the kingdom of God does not come visibly. It’s not something that you’ll observe coming.
“...nor will they say see here or see there, for indeed the kingdom of God is within you [or among you].”
And I believe both are appropriate. The kingdom now that we’re talking about is not an external kingdom with an earthly capital and an earthly government. Its capital I believe is in heaven and its government is in heaven. If you are asked where your headquarters are, the answer is they should be where your head is. I can’t understand that anybody can have headquarters in one place and head in another. And I don’t believe our head is inactive or simply retired. I believe he’s very active and I believe that’s where we should get our direction from.
But, the kingdom that we have is within us or among us. I like the word among as well because it’s not merely in me individually but it’s in our relationships with one another. Where we come together in the Spirit of God, the kingdom of God is among us.
We need to also consider for a moment how you get into the kingdom. I think the clearest single statement is in Colossians 1:12–14.
“Giving thanks to the Father [it’s in the middle of a sentence, but that doesn’t matter] who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
That, in itself, is good news, isn’t it? God has qualified us. We are not inadequate, we are not incapable, God has qualified us. Do not talk about being unqualified or incapable because that’s a denial of what God has done. God has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. It’s in the light, there’s no darkness in it whatever.
“He [God] has delivered us from the power of darkness.”
Where were we? We were in the power of darkness. The Greek word is exousia, which is normally translated authority. One thing you have to know is that Satan has God given authority. If you don’t understand that you’ll be confused about a lot of things. Satan has a kingdom. It’s a kingdom of darkness. I think one of the translations is God has delivered us from the domain of darkness.
“And translated us [or transferred us or carried us over] into the kingdom of the Son of his love.”
We were all in the domain of darkness, the kingdom of Satan, but by a supernatural intervention God delivered us from the domain of darkness and carried us over into another kingdom. The kingdom of the Son of his love.
“In whom we have redemption.”
What’s the decisive word there? Redemption. We are redeemed out of one kingdom and carried over into another kingdom. It’s redemption that takes us out of Satan’s kingdom and into the kingdom of God.
You will find also that the New Testament speaks about this as a birth. And later in my teaching if God wills and we live, and I keep my mind on the track, we’ll see that there is no way into the kingdom but by a birth. Whether it’s an individual, a nation, humanity or all creation, the way into the kingdom is by a birth. But here the term we’re using is redemption. You know what to redeem means? It means to buy back. We were slaves, exposed in Satan’s slave market for sale. This is such a vivid picture, I must give it to you. Paul says I am carnal, sold unto sin. Because in Latin, in the Roman culture of the day, to sell somebody as a slave was to sell them under a spear. They stood on a block, there was a spear stretched out over their head and when you saw the person standing on the block with the spear over his head you knew he was being sold as a slave. Paul says, “My sin is the spear over my head which has caused me to be sold as a slave in the slave market.” So there we were, all of us. But one day Jesus walked into the market and said, “I’ll buy them.” What’s the price we are redeemed with? The blood of Jesus. So we were bought out of Satan’s kingdom, brought into God’s kingdom. You know that’s such a picture because in slavery the slave has no auction as to what job he’ll perform. One woman may be made a cook, another woman may be made a prostitute. It’s not her choice. It’s the slave owner’s choice. That’s how we were. You may have been a respectable slave but you’re no better than the ones that weren’t so respectable, you understand? We were all slaves. Don’t you despise the prostitutes and the alcoholics and people like that. It was the slave owner’s decision that made them what they were, not theirs. So we have been bought back, what good news.
I was speaking to a group of Maoris in New Zealand recently and I told them this little story which to me is so vivid. The Maoris are great carvers of wood so I thought it was appropriate for them. There was a boy who lived in a town on the seaside and he was a very clever carver. He carved himself a little wooden boat and he put sails on it and it really sailed. Then he took it down one day to the shore and he was sailing it on the edge of the sea but the tide and the wind changed and carried his boat out to sea and he couldn’t recover it. So he went home without his boat. Well, the next tide and the change of wind brought the boat back again. And a man walking along the seashore found the boat, picked it up and saw it was a beautiful piece of work, took it to a local shop in the town and sold it to the man in the shop. The shop owner cleaned it up, put it in his shop window and put a price on it. Let’s say $35, whatever you want to say.
A little while later the boy walking past the shop looked into the window and he saw his boat and he knew immediately it was his boat. He saw the price on it. And he knew that he had no way to prove that it was his boat, you understand? So if he wanted his boat back there was only one thing he could do which was buy it back.
So he set to work to earn $35. He did all sorts of things, he watched cars, he mowed lawns and so on. One day he got together $35, he walked into the shop and he said to the shopkeeper, “Now you see that boat in the window, I want to buy it.” And the man said it’s $35. He said, “Here’s $35.” So when he got the boat in his hands he walked outside the shop and then he stopped on the sidewalk and he held the boat to his breast and he said, “Now you’re mine. I made you and I bought you.” That’s redemption.
First of all, the Lord made us but we got sold in Satan’s slave market. Then he bought us. Now we are doubly his. Can you see how valuable you are to the Lord? As we close this session I’d like you to think of yourself as that boat for a moment. You may feel so inadequate, so worthless, you wonder whether God ever really cares. Just try to believe that you’re that boat in that boy’s arms. But it’s the Lord’s arms and he’s saying to you, “Now you’re mine, I made you and I bought you. I own you, you’re fully mine.” Amen, may God bless you.