7- The King in the Kingdom of God -
Part 3 - Christ's Purpose in Coming To Earth
In a nutshell, Jesus was sent from God to get us back what we lost through the fall of Adam and Eve and to restore us to the path of fulfilling the purpose God made us for. Salvation is that restoration to our God given position and purpose. We are saved to serve God here on earth, later in Heaven, and then once again on earth when we return with Jesus to populate a new Heaven and earth.
1. Remember in the Kingdom protocol that a messenger always precedes the king to prepare for his coming. John the Baptist was God's messenger to prepare the world for King Jesus to come. But King Jesus was also God's divine messenger.
John 7:29/ John 8:42 / John 10:36
2. Adam and Eve's original sin had set in motion a downward spiral that is often referred to as "the fall of man". Since then, every person born "in Adam" (i.e. all of us) have inherited a nature bent on living independent from God. God's Spirit can't indwell a man or woman with this nature. Jesus therefore needed to prepare our hearts so that man's spirit could be the dwelling place of God as was originally intended.
1 Corinthians 3:16
3. Jesus, in coming to earth was stepping into Satan's kingdom -- which should have been our kingdom. For that is one of the things man lost at the time of the fall and that Jesus had come to get back for us.
In going toe to toe with Satan, Jesus needed to prove that God's power and authority was greater than Satan's.
Because Jesus was both God and man he was the only one qualified to defeat him.
Hebrews 2:14 / 1 John 3:8
4. Defeating Satan's hold over man was absolutely necessary if Jesus was to penetrate the minds and hearts of the people and turn them back to God. Read these remarkable words that Jesus spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus as to what his mission would be.
Acts 26:14-18 (especially verse 18)
Satan and his forces work very hard to do what?
2 Corinthians 4:3-4
He is the mastermind behind everything that keeps us from a relationship with God and that's why Paul would later write these words to the Ephesian church.
I mentioned that Jesus came to get back what we lost at the time of Adam and Eve's sin and fall. Here the the four things that fell like dominoes.
A. We lost our righteousness -- or right-standing with God.
B. This caused us to lose our relationship with God.
C. No relationship means that we lost our rights as his children
D. And this meant losing our dominion over the earth - the very purpose God made us for.
Because Adam and Eve ate from the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" instead of eating from the "tree of life", they never had God's Spirit indwelling them as God intended for us. Now Jesus had to prepare man so that when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on the earth men and women could receive him. How was this to be done?
JESUS DEALS WITH OUR PAST
5. First, Jesus had to deal with our past sins -- everything that we have said and done against God and man and for which we feel helpless to make right.
In Old Testament times it was always the shedding of animal blood by the Jewish High Priest that would atone for the people's sins. It was called the Day of Atonement and had to be repeated yearly.
Leviticus 23:26-28 / Hebrews 9:7
Why did it need to be constantly repeated?
Hebrews 9: 9-10
But when Jesus came, He did so as the final High Priest who would offer his own blood one time, for all mankind and for all time (or generations).
Hebrews 2:17 / Hebrews 9:24-28
His shed blood would offer us three things:
(NOTE: For clarity here are those three things:
a. cleansed our conscience from sinful deeds
b. to set us free from the penalty of our past sins and
c. To be able to now receive our eternal inheritance)
So in this way Jesus deals with our past.
JESUS DEALS WITH OUR PRESENT
6. But it's our sin nature, inherited from Adam and Eve, that keep us sinning in the present. Therefore just forgiving past sins isn't enough. God had to do something to deal with our old nature -- like a factory that keeps producing sin. God did this through Jesus on the cross. In a cosmic miracle God reached down the centuries and took everyone of our old natures and crucified it in Jesus on the cross. Therefore what can you and I say today with confidence?
So when Jesus died we also died. We didn't die physically but that old operating system within us was rendered inoperative so that we could choose a new operating system.
In dealing with our sinful past and the nature that keeps us sinning in the present, Jesus brings us back to a place of neutrality - a place that Adam and Eve had once been in. This sets the stage for any of us who recognize what Jesus has done to walk into the future with Him.
JESUS PLANS FOR OUR FUTURE
7. Jesus was the first man on earth to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 4:1 / Colossians 1:19 / Colossians 2:9
You might say that Jesus was a prototype of how we were all meant to be. His purpose was to make His Spirit available to all of us who would choose to receive Him.
8. While Jesus was alive, His Spirit could only be wherever he was. bit if he physically died, then his Spirit could be released to indwell all men and women. That is what he meant by this example.
And so we can literally say that Jesus was born to die so that His Spirit could be released to man.
The Resurrection was the key to getting Christ's Holy Spirit into our own. Satan worked all throughout his life to destroy Him using the people of the times. And so when Jesus died on the cross it looked like the end of everyone's hope that He was the Messiah -- the one who would restore us to God. But with Christ's burial, God did his greatest work. He returned His life to Jesus so that He was the first man to ever return to earth from the dead and stay alive forever.
While Jesus was in the tomb no doubt Satan had been off celebrating. Man would finally be all his -- to use for his own evil purposes and then destroy. When Jesus started appearing to his followers we can only imagine their emotions -- incredulity, happiness, disbelief, belief -- all rolled into one. Jesus did all he could to show them he was back and he was real -- but not for long.
9. The Apostle Paul in describing the risen Jesus talks about Him as being "the last Adam" and "the second man".
1 Corinthians 15:45
10. What does this mean?
All of us are descendants of the first Adam -- and Adam who unfortunately started a race of fallen, sinful men. But the resurrected Jesus would not be the start of a new race of men -- a race restored to the way God originally intended and able to develop the universe with Him.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
There would be one difference. We had no choice in our inheritance from the first Adam -- i.e. that of a sinful nature. But we do have a choice as to whether we will be part of the new race of men -- a race after Jesus leading to life. Here's where you and I get to decide and I'll talk more about this decision in the study about becoming a citizen in the Kingdom of God.
11. But for now, it's important to realize that only God could have come up with such an incredible Messiah in Jesus and arranged his life and death so that any or all of us could start over without a violation of our free will. This is the one and only plan of God to restore us and that's why Jesus said....
12. Christianity today has made our restoration process -- salvation and the new birth -- the central focus of its teaching. It's as though God made us to fall so that He could save us! NO! The fall of man was a tragic dip in the plan of God. Jesus came as our Savior to get us back on track to serve in the Kingdom of God. And so throughout his three years of teaching and preaching, what did he talk about?
Mark 1:14-15 / Luke 4:43 / Luke 8:1
Even after his resurrection, in his appearances to his followers, what did he talk about?
13. Then to back up his preaching and teaching Jesus healed and did miracles to show that God's rule and authority had come back to earth through Him.
Matthew 9:4-7 / John 10:38 / Acts 10:38
14. Christ's life was the prototype for all Kingdom of God citizens and when he commissioned his disciples to go out to their own ministries he expected they would do the same.
Luke 9:1-2 / Acts 8:12 / Acts 28:23
Kingdom of God citizens have the power and authority of Jesus today to go out and do what he did. But, most of us are unaware of all that Jesus has done to restore us for our ministry as Kingdom of God citizens.
15. There was one more aspect of Christ's ministry little understood but that has great significance to all Kingdom of God citizens. When Moses went up the mountain to meet with God, God made a covenant -- or promise -- to the Israelites.
On the mountain God gave Moses the 10 commandments or his laws for the people to obey. The people determined many times throughout their history that they would obey these commands. Here are a few of those times!
Exodus 24:7 / Joshua 24:24 / 2 Kings 23:3 / 2 Chronicles 15:12 / Nehemiah 10:28-29
Yes, despite their determination what continually happened?
Isaiah 24:5 / Jeremiah 11:10
16. So this first covenant was based on man keeping his part in the bargain with God by obeying the law. But the fact was -- he couldn't do it.
We have all determined and solemnly promised God that we were not going to do such and such again. But three days later, a month later, maybe even a year later, we fall into the same sin trap. Trying to obey God based on our own will power and self-effort has never worked except to do one thing.
Romans 7:7, 21-23
17. It's this constant failure by man that is the reason a new and better covenant with God is needed -- one NOT based on man's efforts but on God's. That's what Paul meant when he cried out....
Jesus was the "who" (verse 24) that came to be the mediator of this new covenant with God.
Romans 7:25 / 1 Timothy 2:5 / Hebrews 8:6
18. We have already seen that under the Old Covenant the High Priest had to continually offer the blood of animals to God to atone for man's continual sinning and sins. But God's plan in sending Jesus was to have him be the final and perfect sacrifice for all of us. Write down what this would do for us.
Hebrews 9:13-15, 26b-28
19. The cleansing of our conscience by Christ's blood and the crucifixion of our old nature with Christ, opens the way for us to receive Christ's Spirit into our own. Christ's Spirit indwelling our human spirit communicates God's will to us and then gives us the power to obey it. So even someone who can't read or may never see a Bible can listen to God's own voice within them and know God. Amazing!
Christ's Spirit within you is able to perfectly obey God through you. It's what Paul meant when he wrote:
20. This new covenant is based on the fact that Jesus as the Son of God can and will obey God's perfect law and do it through us.
If you are a believer that only knows the forgiveness of your sins and haven't gone on to receive the promised Holy Spirit to indwell your life, then you'll continue to live a life of frustration and failure. You'll be in the same state that Paul was in -- a committed believer but unable to live the Christian life and do the good he wanted to do.
This leads us to our last part of "The King in the Kingdom of God". Let's look next at who the Holy Spirit is and why He is the key to live in God's Kingdom.