The Inaugurated Kingdom Empowers Missional Living

Jon Nagle: I’ll always remember two of the most incredible moments of my life. The days that my wife and I discovered she was pregnant with our two boys were breath-taking experiences. With our firstborn, I was sitting in the bedroom of our first apartment; and with our second-born, I was sitting in the master bedroom of our current house. In both instances, my wife decided to sneak away into the bathroom to take a pregnancy test without telling me. And in both instances she exited the bathroom to surprise me with that infamous blue plus-sign. Tears of joy flowed, and the same life-altering thought that struck me the first time—”Wow, I’m a father!”—also struck me the second time, “Wow, I’m a father … again!” Indeed, in those very moments, though there were still many months of pregnancy and growth ahead of us, I was already a father. And although my newborn sons were yet to be seen in their

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God’s expected reign has come in Jesus

“In summary, the Old Testament should be seen as preparation for and anticipation of the King’s coming. The New Testament should be seen as the proclamation that God’s expected reign has come in Jesus, with the cosmic and ethical implications of this fact worked out in many new contexts. The New Testament’s thrust is: now that God has established his kingdom, what are the implications of this gospel (good news)? That’s why each book of the new Testament doesn’t simply rehearse or rehash the barest essentials of the story — Christ died, Christ was raised, Christ will come again (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3). No, rather than playing the exact same melody again and again, the New Testament writers transpose it and arrange it for new contexts and audiences. But the narrative anchor point is always Jesus and his kingdom, and the subsequent pouring out of the Spirit upon the church at Pentecost.” — Michael R. Emlet CrossTalk: Where Life and

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Kingdom

By Jim Hamilton: What is the kingdom of God? The answer cannot be reduced to a word study of the term kingdom. That would be a helpful exercise, but the Bible describes the kingdom even when the word is not used. Any kingdom will consist of a king, his realm, its citizens, and the law that regulates their lives. This is true of God’s kingdom as well. What follows is a short overview of the Bible’s presentation of God’s rule over God’s people in God’s place according to God’s law. God’s Rule Adam is not called a king, but God gives him dominion (Gen. 1:26–28). From the garden forward, God exercises His authority through human rulers, whom He calls to act as His vice-regents. Satan sought to usurp God’s throne, and Adam betrayed the Ruler of the world (3:1–7). God spoke judgement on the Serpent, however, and in the word of judgement came also a promise of redemption (v. 15). This pattern seen in the

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If Christ is Lord, Everything Matters

By Jake Belder: It is common to hear Christians talk about “living in the light of eternity.” Not too long ago, there was a popular video going around in which Francis Chan talked about this very thing, using a long rope as an illustration. The Bible, of course, speaks of this too—Paul says that “we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For…what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). And the glorious vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 gives us great hope for an eternal life in the new creation. While such a perspective is clearly biblical, it needs to be understood properly. When people begin to think in these categories, a common temptation is to view life as split into two areas: spiritual things that matter and that have eternal significance, and everything else, which does not. This perspective is not true to Scripture, and doesn’t honour the confession that most

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“Who is occupying the throne today?”

“In our vision of ultimate reality, who is occupying the throne today? Are we authentic New Testament Christians, whose vision is filled with Christ crucified, risen and reigning? Is guilt still reigning, and death? Or is grace reigning, and life? To be sure, sin and Satan may seem to be reigning still, since many continue to bow down to them. But their reign is an illusion, a bluff. For at the cross they were decisively defeated, dethroned and disarmed. Now Christ reigns, exalted to the Father’s right hand, with all things under his feet, welcoming the nations, and waiting for his remaining enemies to be made his footstool.” —John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 162 (HT: Of First Importance)

The Practical Value of Revelation

“…the churches are to read and reread the book in their assembly so that they may continually be reminded of God’s real, new world, which stands in opposition to the old, fallen system in which they presently live. Such a continual reminder will cause them to realize that their home is not in this old world but in the new world portrayed parabolically in the heavenly visions. Continued reading of the book will encourage genuine saints to realize that what they believe is not strange and odd, but truly normal from God’s perspective. They will not be discouraged by outside worldliness, including what has crept into the churches, which is always making godly standards appear odd and sinful values seem normal. John refers to true unbelievers in the book as ‘earth-dwellers’ because their ultimate home is on this transient earth. They cannot trust in anything except what their eyes see and their physical senses perceive; they are permanently earthbound, trusting

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Ralph D. Winter (1925-2009)

Justin taylor posts: Missiologist Dr. Ralph D. Winter, founder of the US Center for World Mission and William Carey International University, has gone to be with the Lord. It is difficult to think of people more influential and strategic in the task of reaching unreached peoples for Christ. John Piper pays personal tribute here. Piper also links to this video:

The highest of all missionary motives

“If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess Him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ for the honor of His name—troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honor and glory which are due to it. The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God), but rather zeal—burning and passionate zeal—for the glory of Jesus Christ. Only one imperialism is Christian, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.” —John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill:

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The Lordship of Christ & the Kingdoms of this World

“Jesus Christ is Lord. That is the first and final assertion Christians make about all of reality, including politics. Believers now assert by faith what one day will be manifest to the sight of all: every earthly sovereignty is subordinate to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. The Church is the bearer of that claim. Because the Church is pledged to the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus, it must maintain a critical distance from all the kingdoms of the world, whether actual or proposed. Christians betray their Lord if, in theory or practice, they equate the Kingdom of God with any political, social or economic order of this passing time. At best, such orders permit the proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom and approximate, in small part, the freedom, peace, and justice for which we hope.” ~ Richard John Neuhaus, quoted by D. A. Carson in Christ & Culture Revisited (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2008), 203. (HT: The Big Picture)

The Kingdom

[T]he Kingdom of God is the redemptive reign of God dynamically active to establish his rule among men, and that this Kingdom, which will appear as an apocalyptic act at the end of the age, has already come into human history in the person and mission of Jesus to overcome evil, to deliver men from its power, and to bring them into the blessings of God’s reign. The Kingdom of God involves two great moments: fulfillment within history, and consummation at the end of history. ~ George Ladd, The Presence of the Future (HT: Rick Ianniello)

Blessed are the Disciples!

From Stand To Reason blog: The Beatitudes (Matthew 5) are often taken as generalizations that apply to everyone.  Consequently, there are some interesting and questionable applications. Yesterday on the radio show, Greg talked about the reasons he thinks that Jesus was referring to His followers.  The people who are “blessed” are His disciples.  The audience He’s addressing is a large group of those who have been following Him.  And the last Beatitude, the specific announcement of blessing, is about those who receive persecution for His sake.  And is immediately followed by statements that seem like an expansion on that idea with no textual indication of a break in his theme or audience. Only Jesus’ followers would be persecuted on His account, and the encouragement about salt and light seem to be a exhortation to continue being His witnesses despite the persecution and difficulty.  We often treat this passage as though there’s a break between verses 12 and 13, as though

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An Amillennial Eschatology Chart!

I like this! Check out the references for your self. Click Here for larger image R. Scott Clark recently posted this. This chart illustrates the concurrent events associated with the Second Advent of Christ. i.e. that the resurrection of the just (and unjust) dead, the judgment of all mankind, and the renewal of the entire cosmos will all occur at a point in time: the time of Jesus’ return; the day of the Lord. Could it be so simple and straightforward??? (HT: Reformation Theology)

The presence of the future

Here’s a taster of some sumptuous stuff you can find at Rick Ianniello’s blog on the book of Revelation. Great stuff Rick! Christians can enjoy fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and blessings in this present age while at the same time look forward to a final and glorious fulfillment. Because of the First Coming of Jesus Christ, we now possess the complete fulfillment and blessings of the promises concerning the messianic age. At the same time this age brings a new series of promises to be fulfilled at the end of the age. The fulfilled promises give us greater hope and anticipation of the glory yet to come. With his first advent, the Kingdom of God and the “last days” arrived indicating that Old Testament expectation had turned to New Testament fulfillment. Kim Riddlebarger describes three basic elements of New Testament eschatology in A Case for Amillennialism. The first of these is that the Old Testament promise of a coming

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