Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Things Jesus Began To Do and Teach

In Acts 1:1 Luke reminds Theophilus that he had written him about everything Jesus began to do and teach. My next few articles will examine why Jesus came, for that is the foundation upon which all equipping is built and from which it must proceed.
Part One 4-27-05
I am convinced that if we want to find out about anything in the Bible, that we need to see if Jesus said or did anything that relates to the issue we are exploring. If we want to understand what is at the heart of or what the foundation of the exhortation to equip God’s people is, we will need to examine "the things that Jesus began to do and teach".
There is one concept that seems to be the focal point of all that Jesus did and taught. The "Kingdom of Heaven" or "Kingdom of God" is at the very heart of all Jesus did and said. In fact, you could say that His teaching was the proclamation and His actions or works were the doing or demonstration of the Kingdom of God. I shall use the term ‘Kingdom of God’ to refer to the both of these kingdoms, from this point on, unless there is a need to specify a unique quality the kingdom of heaven has. When we read the Gospels and the New Testament, we repeatedly see the terms "Kingdom of Heaven" used 32 times in Matthew and "Kingdom of God" used 70 times from Matthew to II Thessalonians.

This concept, more than any other, depicts the impact and purpose of Jesus’ coming. The Jewish people longed for Messiah to come and to restore Israel as an independent state with God ruling over His people. Throughout the period between the Old and New Testaments leaders rose up who had as their primary purpose to see Israel a free nation again. God, however, had another plan.

This plan was revealed in the Old Testament, but its true meaning was hidden from most. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.
In Acts 28:23-30 Paul teaches about the Kingdom of God and Jesus from the five books of Moses and the prophets. We know that the Old Testament law, sacrifices, and prophecies are but a shadow of what Jesus the Messiah (or the Christ) came to do and teach. This Kingdom of God that Jesus came to proclaim was not what many expected; it was instead the completion or fulfillment of what they expected, and because of this, it was even greater than their expectations. Let’s look at few key verses in order to understand more about this Kingdom of God.

1. In Mk 1:15 we see Jesus telling us the time is fulfilled (there is no more waiting needed); the kingdom of God is near; turn from your sins and believe the good news (gospel).

2. In I Cor. 15:50 Paul tells those to whom he is writing that flesh and blood cannot inherit this kingdom because the flesh does not last forever.

3. In Acts 28:23-30 it says that if the people hear and obey the good news, they would be cured by God. He would cause them to be well again. This would be healing for the whole person; this would include the body, the soul, and the spirit. It is from this healing and cure concept that we see that the good news is about more than the forgiveness of sins, or as I like to say, "The Gospel is more than asbestos underwear for the soul."
It is about the restoration and freedom of people under the rule or reign of God as their savior and king or lord.

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