Message 21, Optional Session: The Kingdom of God:
Reformation is fueled by men and women who are confident that their true citizenship is in the kingdom of God. This confidence enables them to take bold stances for the gospel in the most difficult environments. This session considers our citizenship in the kingdom of God as foundational to serving Him in this world.
Good afternoon. I’m from Indonesia, and two men hold me up here because I’m 77 years old. And this is my sixtieth years of serving gospel of Jesus Christ. Praise God for that. I do not know why I was invited here, but I have been in United States 142 trips. This 143 trips, and had preaching in more than 130 cities in United States. But not often preaching in the English services of your churches.
Mostly I’m on a Chinese campaign, and the most biggest campaign I have in United States was in Madison Square Garden in New York with 6,500 people attended.
And, I praise God, this year we have worldwide Reformation 500. The biggest one in the West must be, this time, here. And the biggest one in East, must be in my church in November 14th to 21, and we are going to have about 4,500 people in that Reformation 500. We welcome you come to Indonesia and you pay yourself.
Today my topic is the ‘Kingdom of God.’ In the last 2,500 years, we see kingdom go, kingdom come, kingdom rise up, and kingdom fall down. Never on repeat above this. So from the West to the East, from the Mesopotamian to China, Japan, all kingdoms rise up and fall down again. When they rise up, it’s so glorious, when they go down, so miserable. And this is repeat and repeat again in the human history.
In the nineteenth century, there is a historian from Britain called Wells. He say every point of history direct contact with God. I think this is very good illustration even though he’s not a Christian, but he understand without God, no one can interpret of the special moment happen in the history. Just like, why Trump was chosen to be American President. It is very, very special interruption of God. Within three hours, everything changed. So our God is interrupting the history.
Since the day of Abraham and then until the day of today. We see God is always interrupting the history, and the kingdom are not in contingent. All kingdoms are raised up by the sinners and all the sinners who have obtained the power as a ruler of one regime, they all will think they are the most important people, and they used their own will to persecute the people of God. But we see, God never forsake His people.
The day of Abraham, the Mesopotamian is the most important kingdom in the world. In a day of Daniel, Babylon is the most important kingdom of this world. In the day of Moses, Egypt is the most important kingdom of this world. But when the people of God have done their work according to the will of God, that kingdom need not to exist anymore.
That is a reason when Abraham was left, he left Babylonia, that not to exist anymore. When Moses and all the Israelites exodus from Egypt, Egypt not need to exist anymore. When Daniel finish his work and Babylonian never exist anymore. And when Paul already had his work done, no emperor, is no more significant.
We see our importance and our significance in the will and the guidance of God is so obvious that so many Christians, so many Christian theologian they do not take note and take notice of all these great things. We praise God for God is working in human history, is entrapping human wisdom and human arrogance. That is the reason only the kingdom of God is forever and ever.
In all the hymns and all the Christian songs, one of the most important song is by Handel’s Messiah. He is King of kings, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah chorus, and Hallelujah chorus must be sung in England, not in German.
Why? Because at that time England is the greatest empire in the world. Germany is nothing at that time, and that is the reason God want the king of Germany move from Hannover to London. And then the greatest composer of that time, George Frideric Handel, also move from Germany to England. And then when the song was sung, the King of England, George II stood up, and all the audience stood up because their king stood up, they cannot sit down there at the place. And that is the reason Christ be glorified in the biggest kingdom of the day.
And we see all the rule of the kingdom of this world is controlled by our God, not by men. It’s because God is the only king who is deserved to be King of kings, and who is the only one who can control the destination and all the fate of human being. We praise God for that.
When Moses was on this Earth, Egypt is the biggest kingdom. When Daniel was in this earth, that Babylonia is the biggest kingdom, and Ahasuerus was in this world at the time Assyrian, and Persia was the greatest kingdom in this world. Some kind of this the rule comes to the history until now. We see God’s power in among human beings and His throne is above human throne. His policy and His power is more than all the human power. We praise God for that.
The only case exception is Alexander the Great. The greatest genius in military in all human life, he is also use by God as His servant. How can I say this, because Alexander the Great went to visit so many places, and he make it the greatest kingdom of his time by war against Persia. When people ask him, “How dare you fight against the Persian army, which is 500 times bigger than the Macedonian soldiers in our military power?” and he answered I dare to fight them because they war to create slaves.
I go to war with them to relieve the slaves, though my war should be blessed by God. His God is not our God. But our God is the one who truly God and truly control over the world. When Alexander had defeated so many places until close to India, and he bring the Greek and Greek civilization to overcome, to conquer some place, to prepare the people of everywhere in that world to accept the New Testament, which is written in Greek.
That is the way God used His servant, which is not the positive servant, it is passive servant, just like Darius is a passive servant, Mao Tse Tung is passive servant. All unconsciously used by God to be used by God, to do the will of God that is not understood by human being.
We praise the Lord, and when all these people left the places, that places is no more important at all. Likewise, we see American, United States is raised up by God, and by people who use one boat called ‘Mayflower.’ This is the difference between Canada and United States. Canada has not this kind of boat but Uniteds have this boat, and this boat is to determine the destination and the fate of United States.
United States is now eroded by the consumerism and the shopping mall-ism, and the secularism, but we should thank God, because the top political people are still influenced by the Augustine and his philosophy. Influenced by Calvin and his understanding of state, church and all kind of policy. And this is, by the grace of God, United States still become the leading country in the world.
But, according to my observation, the situation is changing, now United States is going down, and down, and down again; becomes a very rich country 100 years ago, now you have to borrow money from China, hundreds of billions and it is very, very miserable.
We pray God that United States will become, still the beloved country of God, and the kingdom here will be leading in the world because of three things. Treat God as God, treat men as men, and treat Christ and His gospel as the gospel, good news for all men. When these three things is done by any country, that country must be blessed by the Lord. Since the 1215, from a very small island country, Britain growing to become the biggest Empire in the world because Magna Carta.
When Magna Carta appears it limit the power of the king and try to treat men as men to treat God as God and England is blessed by the Lord. When was India started to be blessed? 1215. When England become decline? 1915.
Why? Because in first and the second — the first and the second World War, England is already tried to depart from God in the most glorious time of the Britain, that is the kingdom ruled by Queen Victoria. But in 1840, Opium War to China, 1860, the Second Opium war to China, in 1901, the eight country coalition invading China from Tianjin 55 days going to Beijing, they burned all the Chinese buildings and they rape all the Chinese beautiful woman, and it is against the will of God, and that start to decline, because any county who is not in the will of God will be interrupted by God.
Why Hitler have to be defeated? Why Hiroshima bomb in Japan? Why the only country who can produce the Atomic bomb is only in Germany. But those people who can do these great things, they are moved to United States, because Germany was by God gave them the way, and let them persecute the Jewish people. So, you know that is the reason everything will be changed, if God had angry to men, and the whole world will be changed.
We — I am studying history with trembling heart, and before God I make — I give glory to God when I’m fearfully see all the doing of God. I am trembling, I truly say “God, only you are God, and we are now the people in the kingdom of God.” The kingdom of God is the most important topic preached by Jesus when He was ministering in this world three and a half years.
But I want to ask you a question, Jesus keep preaching the kingdom of God with metaphor, with the illustrations, and with all kind of teachings, three and a half years, preaching the kingdom of God, kingdom of God, kingdom of God. But I want to ask you a question: Who among the listeners of Jesus truly understand the kingdom of God?
Not even one man, not even his students, not disciples Peter or John or Phillip, or other disciple, they don’t understand the kingdom of God. Human being are so stubborn, so stiff-necked, and so foolish to understand the will of God, and after three and a half years Jesus was crucified, after crucified, and He resurrected again, He give them another 40 days, they additional studied, because they cannot be decorated.
After three and half years studying theology, they do not understand the kingdom of God, so Christ give them another 40 days for additional study. After 40 days, no more time.
He should be ascended to heaven, and before He ascended to heaven, He asked — He answered question of His students, and the disciples they ask Him, “Is this the day you going to reconstruct and revive the kingdom of Israel?”
So, you see how he pities them, the people of Jesus, the student and the disciples of Jesus, they not even understand the kingdom of God, after three and half years of academic study, and in addition to that, another forty days to give them the theme of kingdom of God. Kingdom of God. Three and a half years plus 40 days of teaching they still do not understand.
They only know of the kingdom of Israel, kingdom of this world, so we see all the generations, Christians probably are most stupid in understanding the ways of God. Need to be educated more and more and more, and after that Jesus do not want to wait until they understand. He was ascended. Ten days after Holy Spirit come down, and they try to understand what they cannot understand before. But, in this period I think the only one who truly understands the kingdom of God you will be surprised.
I mention this name, he is the robber nailed on the cross beside Jesus Christ. When your kingdom return, you have your kingdom return again, please remember me. I read the Bible, I see the only man who understand the kingdom of God, is only the robber hung beside the probably right hand of Jesus Christ. He is the only one who know before Peter, before John, before other disciples know when they have the Holy Spirit.
The robber know, and the only man who understands Jesus is Son of God, is a centurion of the Roman empire who sees Jesus on the cross say, “Father, I put my soul in your hand,” and that time the centurion is the first man know He is the Son of God among all the pagan of the people in the world.
So, the first man who understands the kingdom of God is a robber. The first man among all the nations who understand Jesus is the Son of God, is the centurion. It is irony to Christianity, but we should admit that is the way. Gospel is not be monopolized by a nation. The gospel is for all the nations, amen?
And that is the reason we, American people, or Indonesia people, or Chinese people, can be accepted as the children of God, because kingdom of God is not belonging to one nation, but belong to all the nations in the world.
Since the day of Christ’s birth on earth, the angels say to the shepherds, “Today it is given to you, a Savior is the Lord Christ.” This is a message for all the nations, so the gospel is not for one tribe, one nation, it’s for all the world. It’s given to the whole world, all the nations, all the descendants of Adam. We praise God for that.
So, as a kingdom of God, we know it means the rule of God. It means the people of God. It means the power of God reign over His people, and the kingdom of God is the built upon two things. The first: blood of Jesus Christ. You are the Christ, and you are the one as a Lion of Judah, and becomes the Lamb of God, unblameable lamb of God.
The holy lamb of God, and you was crucified on the cross, with your blood, you purchase your people from all nations, all tongues, and all territory in the world to become the people of God, and present them to God. So, by the blood of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God is built upon.
Second thing, is the tears of the saints, the tears of the those who repent. When a man repent with a broken heart, they ask God to forgive his sins, and true repentance cause this man can become the inhabitant and the citizen of the kingdom of God. We thank God for this, blood of Jesus and the repentance of human being cause this kingdom of God exist in this world.
So, no kingdom in this world is bigger, is more important, is more real than the kingdom of God. Only the kingdom of God, is forever and ever, never will we vanished, never will be non-existent. Because the kingdom of God is by His eternal will even before the foundation of the world.
Christ is the Lamb of God slain before for foundation of the world. And human beings who repent to Jesus Christ are those tested by God. Reformed people are those people so important in this world. In all the universe, everything created by God, there’s only one focus point, and that focus point is the earth. In all the earth, there’s only one focus point, that is, human being.
And all human being, there’s only one focus point, that elected people. In among all the elected people, there’s only one focus point, those who truly study and understand the eternal will of God. This by the predestination of God, and this is by the grace of God. By grace alone, we are selected, we unconditionally elected, we are the people of God. We praise God that we become the people elected by God.
Somebody asked me “Why you become a Christian?” I do not want to answer as ordinary people. May somebody bring the gospel to me, somebody introduce me to the church, when I say what do you mean? By come be a Christian, what is the condition? They always give this kind of similar answer and I say, I have a better answer. And they say, “What is a better answer?” I am predestined to be a Reformed people. That is a true answer of become a Reformed people.
Not by the means or by the media or by the merit of human being — is all by the work of God. And God used Jesus Christ and shedding His blood to purchase us to the children of God. And by our tears, we come to Him to accept Him as a personal Savior. And Martin Luther say “What is faith?” Faith is the acceptance of acceptance. When I wrote on this, the first I do not understand. And I think it over and over.
Finally, I understand how deep is the definition of faith by Martin Luther. Faith is acceptance of acceptance. What does it mean? It means that I should accept one fact, and that fact is God already accept me as His children. That — God why accept me? I am no Mary, I have no condition, no qualification, no any kind of possibility, any kind of qualification to become the child of God. But because His love is more than our comprehension, His grace is more than what we can do.
All grace of God is more than merit of us, and all good work for us, is not worthy to be chosen by Him. He accepted me to be His child, this is an unacceptable, it’s illogical, it’s unreasonable, but I should accept. This is the fact, that He already accepted me and acceptance of acceptance of God, that is called faith.
We have to accept this before — because other than this, that no other answer why I can become a Christian, and I become one part of the kingdom of God, become the citizen of His kingdom. Just like the man, once he say, when I meet my God in the eternity, the first thing I want to ask to him, is why you love me? Why you have chosen me?
No other answer, just like what God revealed to Israel people, I have chosen you because I love you. Not because you are great nation. Among all the nations, you are the smallest, but because I love you so I chose you from the world to become my people.
We praise God. Soli gratia, sola Scriptura, sola fide, solus Christus, and also soli Deo gloria is the spirit of the Reformation. And if we forget all this, we are people who should be forsaken by God. If we truly lean on this kind of faith that Martin Luther told us, only by the Scripture we know all these things. Only by the grace, we can be saved.
Only by faith, we accept Jesus Christ. Only by Jesus Christ, His merit after sacrificing himself on the cross, we become the children of God. And only to glorify God in this earth, that our purpose of living to be His representative and His witness in this world.
May God bless us and give us the true understanding of the Reformed faith, and when we commemorate the 500 years of Martin Luther, let us truly submit our self, and once again we promise God that I am yours. I belong to you, and you have given me an unshakable kingdom, because we have already accepted and inherited this unshaken kingdom of God.
We should serve him, live for him, and glorify Him according to His will. Not according to our ambition. Not according to our mind or our planning. We should always glorify Him and serve Him and witness Him and preach gospel to all over the world. When Britain stopped to send a lot of missionary, Britain declined.
When Americans stop to send missionary, Americans declined. When you treat God as God, treat men as men, and you glorify God by preaching the gospel in the universe, you will surely be blessed by the Lord for ever and ever. This is the secret of the kingdom of God. Because we have already inherited the unshakable kingdom of God. We should serve Him with the devotion, with godly heart and with dedication because our God is a consuming fire.
May God bless us. Amen.