When Heaven invaded the earth -The Inauguration of the Kingdom
In this study we will focus on the inauguration of the Kingdom through the Holy Spirit as described in the Book of Acts.
“To whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God:” Acts 1:3
“And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded the matter, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, none forbidding him.” Acts 28:23,24. (Acts 1:6 , 8:12, 14:22, 19:8, 20:25)
In Acts 1, God’s plan focuses on His kingdom. What is the kingdom of God? (Vv.3, 6.) Did you notice that God’s plan prepared the disciples for His mission through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit? (Acts 1; 5,8)
In Acts 2 the Spirit initiated a working model of the Kingdom. A new society was born in the midst of the old one. The “New” Jerusalem was born in “Old” Jerusalem. Amidst the religious pomp and ceremony of the old covenant the New Testament people came into being.
A new race of humanity was born, the Christian race, a royal priesthood. Jesus Himself was the firstborn of this new race. (Ro. 8:29) He was the firstborn of many brethren. Jesus founded a new humanity: twice-born men and women. Born by the will of God.
They are the redeemed community. They are new creations. Old things are passed away. All things are made new. They are the colony of heaven; they are now strangers to this world.
A. DEMONSTRATING THE KINGDOM
With Pentecost a new era begins, the age of the Holy Spirit. He is not merely a power, capacity, or attribute of God or a conscious ego of a will, but a Divine Super Personality:
? He speaks and calls Acts 13:2
? He commands, permits Acts 16:6,7
? He leads Rom. 8:14
? He instructs John 16:13
? He comforts John 14:26
? He intercedes, Rom. 8:26
? He bears witness Rom. 8:16
? He can be grieved Eph. 4:3
All these expressions can be used only of a living, personal Being.
B. CONFIRMING THE PRESENCE OF THE KINGDOM
Under the old Covenant the Spirit worked only to educate and to make capable for service: in the New Testament He works in manifold ways, mainly for the awakening of faith and obedience to Christ.
1. Seek to lead to salvation as the Spirit of Truth
“But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me” (Jn. 15:26) – for effecting the new birth.
2. Seek to lead the lost from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
“He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (Col 1:13)
3. Dispensing life as the Spirit of Sonship.
“For the Spirit which you have now received is not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage of fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption – the Spirit producing sonship in which we cry, ‘Abba Father’ (Ro. 8:15)
4. Educating as the Spirit of Holiness
“Do you not know that your body is the temple – the very sanctuary – of the Holy Spirit who lives within you, whom you have received as a gift from God. You are not your own.” (1 Co. 6:19)
5. Equipping as the Spirit of Power
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear – but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm, and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (2 Ti. 1:7)
6. Transfiguring as the Spirit of Glory
“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Pe. 1:14)
C. EQUIPPING THE KINGDOM DISCIPLES
Scripture emphasizes in 1 Corinthians 4 verse 20, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power”. All power belongs to God. (Rev 19:1) All members of the Trinity. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” represent this divine power. (2 Co 13:4, 1 Co 5:4, Gal 4:29) All supernatural power is imparted to man through the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16, Ro 15:9).
We are engage in Christian service, only through supernatural power which qualifies us to contribute significantly to the extension the Kingdom of God. We need divine unction for both holiness and ministry effectiveness.
It was the Pentecost experience, which transformed Simon Peter, setting him ablaze for God. After he was filled with the Holy Spirit, we observe in his ministry a new release of:
? Power in faith Acts 3:6, 9:34
? Power in prayer Acts 4:23-31
? Power in witnessing Acts 10:34-44
? Power in preaching Acts 2:14-41
? Power in teaching Acts 4:1-4
? Power in leadership Acts 5:1-ll
? Power to empower others Acts 8:14-17
? Power to perform miracles Acts 5:15.16, 9:36-41
How does your life compared with these 8 evidences of power in Peter’s life?
This evident anointing upon him made Simon Peter a leader who manifested God’s powerful presence in extraordinary ways. He became the channel for all generations to experience conviction of sin, salvation, spiritual progress, miraculous signs and wonders, even God’s judgment. Without this powerful equipping, neither Simon nor his friends would have been able to fulfill the commission the Master had given them. With this power, however, they became instrumental in first establishing the Early Church and then launching a worldwide movement of Christian witness, which, eventually, touched our lives (Acts1:8).
The Great Commission to reach this world for God is still valid today, so is the promise of the Holy Spirit’s power. Without doubt, Christians may attract, entertain, instruct, motivate, challenge and mobilize other people, but they cannot transform their hearts. This is divine work and this is what, in essence, Biblical evangelism and leadership development are all about. What is vital to understand, we can do no more in the church than that which Father by the holy Spirit is doing.
God’s work can be done in God’s way only by God’s power.
In answer to the question of how this endowment can be received today, various requirements have been put forth in the other “Kingdom Dynamics” teaching notes. Quite obviously, stopping short of fulfilling God’s conditions entails stopping short of receiving the fullness of God’s power.
Every Christian possesses a measure of the Spirit of Christ yet He earnestly desires to lead us to true consecration, and inspire us with the faith that is essential to our prevalence in prayer. Let us, then, not grieve or resist Him; but accept the commission, fully consecrate ourselves, with all we have, to the saving and discipling of souls as our great and our only life work. Let us get on to the altar with all we have and are, and lay there and persist in prayer till we receive this full endowment.
D. THE EXTEND OF THE KINGDOM THROUGH MULTIPLICATION
In the Parable of the Mustard Seed (see Mk 4:30-32) the Lord Jesus gave us a glimpse of His vision for the development of the Kingdom of God by highlighting the fact that the smallest seed grows up into the largest garden plant.
Through mentoring the nucleus of His followers the Master made a small initial investment, which in the future would expand into a large network of fruitful ministry connections. By securing their careful preparation as well as divine empowerment He laid the foundation for an unstoppable movement which would derive its dynamic not from any outward means but from the inner momentum of His permanent presence (cf. Mt 28:20) mediated through the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus longed to see a movement spreading like fire (cf. Luke 12:49), affecting all people groups (cf. Mt 28:19), carried forward by individuals strategically sown into the world (cf. Mt 13:37.38), some of them by their lives and ministries producing a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty. His extended prayer before His arrest further revealed His vision of multiplication. (John 17)
With respect to His global concern and vision Christ did not succeed alone. His unequalled success was sown in the effective leadership ever undertaken.
Drawing on their training experience with Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s power, His handful of disciples were enough to change the course of history; not because of their number but their quality was the key to their fruitfulness in establishing the Kingdom of God.
Over the centuries time and again remarkable multipliers have emerged among God’s people. God is able and desirous to use us today also as multipliers for His Kingdom rule. You and I can make unique contributions to Christ’s cause. The Master’s method has lost none of its inherent power.
? To see the Kingdom of God advance mightily in our day we do not need a new strategy, only more Christlike people to implement Christ’s strategy in divine power.
? Those who have died to themselves and follow Jesus all the way still bear much fruit (cf. John 12:24-26)
? While serving God, are we working with eternity in view? Do we feel dissatisfied with mere temporary results, rather seeking to occupy the time God entrusts to us in such a way that we produce eternal fruit?
? More specifically, as disciples of Jesus, we should pay careful attention to the challenge: Are you leaving your mark for eternity on those around you?
? Christ’s words exhort His followers to lay up treasures in heaven (cf. Mt 6:20) and to be rich before God (cf. Luke 12:21). Yet God alone can grant us lasting treasures and wealth, only what is undertaken in divine strength will pass the test of time and have eternal relevance.
Are we looking forward to the day when – with the Great Commission completed – people from the east and west, north and south will come and participate in the Kingdom feast. (Luke 13:29) When representatives of every nation, tribe, people and tongue will be gathered before the throne of God! (Rev 7:9)? Moreover, are we – by fulfilling our personal commission through holy living and Christ-like leadership practice – speeding the coming of the day when, at last, the Lord Jesus Christ will be fully rewarded for His sufferings? (Is. 53:10.11)
In summary, we conclude that Pentecost was the birthday of the Church and the inaugural day of the Kingdom of God in the full New Testament sense.
Heart searching questions:
? These early disciples focused on Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit testifies to their testimony in many ways. How does the Spirit testify in and through your life?
? They knew they were filled with the Holy Spirit. How do you know you are filled with the Spirit of Christ?
? The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to preach the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Christ. Do you expect from the Holy Spirit to lead you to another approach?
? Are you making Kingdom or Denominational disciples?
For a more in depth understanding of this chapter, go to “Kingdom Dynamics 2” under “Disciples of the Kingdom”