Presentation on theme: " “We know that we belong to God even though the whole world is under the rule of the Evil One.” (1 John 5:19 GNB) “And it [the lamb-like beast that."— Presentation transcript:
“We know that we belong to God even though the whole world is under the rule of the Evil One.” (1 John 5:19 GNB) “And it [the lamb-like beast that speaks like a dragon] deceived all the people living on earth by means of the miracles which it was allowed to perform in the presence of the first beast.” (Revelation 13:14 GNB)
“The man of sin will come with the power of Satan… He will use everything that God disapproves of to deceive those who are dying, those who refused to love the truth that would save them.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 GW) “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.” (Matthew 24:24 NLT)
What does God’s kingdom look like and where can it be found? What are its principles in contrast to the principles of the enemy? How did Jesus fight the war in the Cosmic Conflict? How are we involved in the cosmic conflict today?
The Nearness of the Kingdom “In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’” (Matthew 3:2 NLT)
“The devil took him to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant. The devil said to him, ‘I will give you all the power and glory of these kingdoms. All of it has been given to me, and I give it to anyone I please. So if you will worship me, all this will be yours.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” (Luke 4:5-8 GW)
“From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’” (Matthew 4:17 NLT) “Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And He healed every kind of disease and illness.” (Matthew 4:23 NLT)
The Upside-Down Kingdom “You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'carefull,' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world--your mind and heart--put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that--count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.” (Matthew 5:3-11 The Message)
According to Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven is like this… “But I tell you not to oppose an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn your other cheek to him as well.” (Matthew 5:39 GW) A farmer who throws living seeds indiscriminately upon the path, rocks, thorns, and good soil (Matt. 13:3-8) Fishermen throw out a net indiscriminately and catch good and bad fish (v. 47)
A Kingdom of Enemy-Love “But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.” “If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward?… Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that!” “That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48 GW)
Where is God’s Kingdom? “Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. His answer was, ‘The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!'; because the Kingdom of God is within you.’” (Luke 17:20,21 GNB) “You won't be able to say, 'Here it is!' or 'It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” (v. 21 NLT)
The Fundamental Difference
“Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. ‘What is your request?’ He asked. She replied, ‘In Your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to You, one on Your right and the other on Your left.’ But Jesus answered by saying to them, ‘You don't know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?’ ‘Oh yes,’ they replied, ‘we are able!’ Jesus told them, ‘You will indeed drink from My bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on My right or My left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones He has chosen.’
When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. But Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:20-28 NLT)
“They came to Capernaum, and after going indoors Jesus asked his disciples, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they would not answer him, because on the road they had been arguing among themselves about who was the greatest. Jesus sat down, called the twelve disciples, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.’” (Mark 9:33-35 GNB)
The Authority of the Kingdom “Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So… …he got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin.” (John 13:4,5) “I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet.
“The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death--- his death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 GNB)
The King of God’s Kingdom “For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds. I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King.” (Matthew 16:27,28 GNB) “So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Look! Here is the man!’” (John 19:5 GNB) “The notice of the accusation against him said: ‘The King of the Jews.’” (Mark 15:26 GNB)
The Ruler of the Kingdom of the World “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:12-14 NKJV)
“He must be mature in the faith, so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the Devil was.” (1 Timothy 3:6 GNB) “The beast forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, slave and free, to have a mark placed on their right hands or on their foreheads.” (Revelation 13:16 GNB) “Because you ruined your country and killed your own people, you will not be buried like other kings. None of your evil family will survive.” (Isaiah 14:20 GNB) “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44, KJV 2000)
The Principle of God’s Kingdom “Unselfishness, the principle of God’s kingdom, is the principle that Satan hates; its very existence he denies. From the beginning of the great controversy he has endeavored to prove God’s principles of action to be selfish, and he deals in the same way with all who serve God. To disprove Satan’s claim is the work of Christ and of all who bear His name. It was to give in His own life an illustration of unselfishness that Jesus came in the form of humanity. And all who accept this principle are to be workers together with Him in demonstrating it in practical life.” (E. G. White, Education 154)
“God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan's government. The Lord's principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God's government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power.
It was God's purpose to place things on an eternal basis of security, and in the councils of heaven it was decided that time must be given for Satan to develop the principles which were the foundation of his system of government. He had claimed that these were superior to God's principles. Time was given for the working of Satan's principles, that they might be seen by the heavenly universe." (Desire of Ages, pg. 759)
Two Contestants in the Conflict The dragon who deceives the whole world The slaughtered lamb in the center of the throne
The Issues in the Cosmic Conflict Is God trustworthy and what are His methods? What are Satan’s methods? “Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.’ Jesus answered, ‘For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:8,9) “I have finished the work you gave me to do... I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world.” (John 17:4,6)
The Cosmic Conflict The Kingdom of the World The Kingdom of God Dragon (Rev. 13:4) “You were determined to climb up to heaven and to place your throne above the highest stars.” (Is. 14:13, GNB) “From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth...” (John 8:44 GNB) Pride me-first, survival-of- the-fittest Fear, force, coercion, lies Secrecy, deception Slaughtered Lamb (Rev. 5:6) “Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant.” (Phil. 2:7) “I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep.” (John 10:11 GNB) Self-sacrificial, other- centered love Persuasion by truth, freedom Revelation, transparency
The Cosmic Conflict The Kingdom of the World vs. God’s Kingdom “Power-Over” vs. “Power-Under”Power-Over” vs. “Power-Under http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ApnyF8JyeA
Early Christianity “The group of believers was one in mind and heart. None of them said that any of their belongings were their own, but they all shared with one another everything they had... There was no one in the group who was in need. Those who owned fields or houses would sell them, bring the money received from the sale, and turn it over to the apostles; and the money was distributed according to the needs of the people.” (Acts 4:32,34,35 GNB)
A Change of Methods! Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225 AD) – “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Constantine the Great (272 – 337 AD): The Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D. “hoc signo victor eris” (“By this sign you will be victor.”) Chi-Rho Constantine legalized and then mandated Christianity The first time anyone ever associated the Christian faith with violence
Cross and Sword United! Charlemagne (742-814 AD): “If there is anyone of the Saxon people lurking among them unbaptized, and if he scorns to come to baptism…and stay a pagan, let him die.”
Torture and murder is justified to help avoid eternal pain.
The Church Today? Two views of Christianity Two pictures of God
“You’ve got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I’m for the president to chase them all over the world. If it takes ten years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” Rev. Jerry Falwell, CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, October 24, 2004.
“Those who use a sword will be killed by a sword.” Jesus (Matthew 26:52 GW)
“ Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Jesus (Mark 2:17 NLT)
“He wants His children to eat the best, He wants them to wear the best clothing, He wants them to drive the best cars, and He wants them to have the best of everything.” Kenneth Hagin (Quoted by D.L. McConnell, A Different Gospel, p.175)
“Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lie down and rest.” Jesus (Matthew 8:20 GNB)
“I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good...Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country.” Randall Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 8-16-93
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Jesus (Matthew 5:43,44)
A 2009 study showed that 62% of white evangelicals felt that torture "can often" or "sometimes" be justified.2009 study Interestingly, there’s a relationship between church attendance and support for torture: - 54% among those who attend religious services weekly - 51% among those who attend religious services monthly - 42% among those who seldom or never attend church http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/The-Religious- Dimensions-of-the-Torture-Debate.aspx
David Kinnaman’s book Un-Christian reveals extensive survey results of attitudes that the younger generation in this country have toward Christians. Of the 440 young people (age 16-29) who were “outsiders” (i.e. – not church goers) they perceived Christians to be: “hypocritical” (85%) “insensitive to others” (70%) “judgmental” (87%) “too involved in politics” (75%) “anti-homosexual” (91%)
Faithfulness vs. Effectiveness “This vision of ultimate good being determined by faithfulness and not results is the point where we modern men get off... Jesus was so faithful to the enemy-love of God that it cost him all his effectiveness; he gave up every handle on history...The choice that he made in rejecting the crown and accepting the cross was the commitment to such a degree of faithfulness to the character of divine love that he was willing for its sake to sacrifice ‘effectiveness.’” J.H. Yoder
Gandhi’s Understanding of Christianity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft4eT zhaUAc
The Church Today “At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God.” (Ephesians 2:2 GNB) “When God put them [his people] in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don't see it yet, don't see everything under human jurisdiction.” (Hebrews 2:8 MSG) Jesus defeated the Satan’s rule on earth in principle through his life, death, and resurrection. Satan is still “the god of this age” and “the principality and power of the air” who “controls the entire world” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19).
We take part in the Cosmic Conflict “Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.” (Ephesians 6:13 GNB) 2 cor 2 :14
God fights the war through his corporate body, the church “This is how we know what love (agape) is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (1 John 3:16). “Don't become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 GW) “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world.” (John 17:15-16)
God’s Upside-down Kingdom can be offensive “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” (Matthew 5:3 GW) “The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child.” (Matthew 18:4 GNB) “I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matthew 21:31 GN)
“And this Good News about the Kingdom will be preached through all the world for a witness to all people; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14 GNB)
God’s Upside-down Kingdom From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, "I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life." (Matthew 16:21 GNB) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 GNB)
The War and the Cross “And on that cross Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession.” (Colossians 2:15 GNB) “The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does.” (1 John 3:8 GW) “Because God's children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” (Hebrews 2:14 NLT)