Word and Spirit: The Kingdom

Timmy Brister on the instrumentality of the Word and agency of the Holy Spirit as it relates to the kingdom of God.

Jesus inaugurates the kingdom by His coming to earth as the Word made flesh (John 1:14).  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18), anointed (Matt. 3:16; 12:18; Luke 4:18) and empowered by the Holy Spirit, through which He gave commands (words) to His disciples (Acts 1:1-2).  The kingdom has come precise because of the mighty works performed by Spirit-anointed Messiah (Matt. 12:28) who utters the words of God as one who has received the Spirit without measure (John 3:34).

Jesus establishes His kingdom in the hearts of men as people are born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3-8) and brought to faith through hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:22-25).  It is the Spirit who gives life (John 6:63), and it is the Word which is able to make one wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 3;15).  Sinners are delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13) and therefore experience the reign and rule of King Jesus through submission to His Word, illumining our paths (Psalm 119:105), as well as submission to His Spirit, who leads us in ways that are pleasing to the King (Gal. 5:18-25).

Jesus advances His kingdom as He empowers His people with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) to proclaim the word of God.  The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), and the Spirit who applies this gospel word to the hearts of men brings resurrection life (Rom. 8:11) to those dead in their trespasses and sins.  When God’s people are filled with the Spirit, there is gospel utterance (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31). Those who are set apart and sent by the Spirit (Acts 13:2-4) continue in what Jesus said and did (Acts 1:2) as His representatives on earth.

Jesus displays His kingdom on earth through a new community formed by the Word of God and animated by the Spirit of God.  As the Word works, the Spirit yields His fruit (Gal. 5:22-23); as the community abides in the Word (John 15:1-8), the Spirit works to conform us to the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18) and reflect the character of God.

Jesus consummates His kingdom as the Spirit brings the gospel word through citizens of the kingdom unto all the peoples of the earth (Matt. 24:14) so that His church would be built, His name worshiped, and His glory manifested among every nation, tongue, and tribe (Rev. 5:9).  As the Word goes out and does not return void (Isaiah 55:10-11), the Spirit goes out to gather in the Bride, who together call out to the King, “Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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