April 17, 2016
At the end of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter all receive a wonderful gift from Aslan. They receive the crowns and the thrones of the kingdom of Narnia. That is fiction. But this is real.
It is God’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. The kingdom of God is yours. Our salvation is a gift that is full of wonder. We have forgiveness of sin. We have resurrection life. We have unbreakable promises. We have Jesus Christ. But that is not all. We also have the kingdom!
But what is it? What is the kingdom of God?
The kingdom will be a real time in the future when Christ visibly rules over all things. The kingdom will fully arrive when Christ returns. We don’t know when that is, but it will be soon. It will be a real time. The kingdom of God will also a real place. God will destroy the heavens and the earth and make a new heavens and a new earth. No one knows exactly how that is going to happen, or what that is going to look like. But it is true. It will be a real place. Finally, the kingdom of God will also be a real people. Whoever repents and has faith in Christ will be saved from the final judgment and will be a part of this kingdom. It will be a real people, a real place, and a real time. This is what the kingdom is all about.
It is hard to grasp this because it is in the future. But believe it - it is real. Believe in its physical reality. You will have a land and a treasure and a home to call your own. Along with your spirit, you will have a resurrected body - one that will not perish again. In God's kingdom, you will be able to shake the hands of Abraham and King David. If your grandparents believed in Christ, then you will see them again in the kingdom. Most importantly, you will meet your Lord and Savior face to face. You will finally know what he looks like. You will be able to touch him and hug him. You will. And that is because the kingdom of God will be a physical reality, a people and a place, a new heavens and new earth. It is going to be amazing. It will be like nothing you have ever seen in this passing age, in this old era. And it will be all yours.
Let us praise the Lord! Praise God that he gives his kingdom to us. Praise God that we have it in Christ and through the Holy Spirit. We don’t earn it. We don’t build it. Instead, we just receive it. And we proclaim it and look forward to it in these last days on earth. Praise the Lord!
If the kingdom is yours, then do not be afraid. Notice the logic and the order of Jesus’s words. He says, “Fear not,” because the kingdom is yours. Notice also that this is a command from Christ our King. Since you have the kingdom, do not be afraid.
There are many things that can scare us. Wicked people can scare us. Going to college can be scary. We can be afraid of hearing our parents fight, or afraid of failing in life, or going through persecution or suffering, or cancer or death. Many things are scary.
But I want you to stop and be comforted right now about God’s promise of the kingdom. One day he will wipe away every tear from your eyes and he will end all your suffering and pain. When Jesus comes back, he will make all the bad people pay. When your body dies, he will bring it back to life. Have hope and peace and joy in Jesus’s comfort. He is with you. And the kingdom will be yours. So do not be afraid. This is Christ's first command here.
That brings me to Jesus's second and third commands. He says, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” In other words: live generously and focus on your treasure in heaven. Now, we don't know exactly what our treasure in heaven looks like. But that's not the point. The point is that we are to live generously and help people in need. So let's do that. Let us obey Christ and follow his commands.
Consider this. In the realm of sports, a player who has nothing to lose is usually unafraid. A team who has nothing to lose tends to take more chances and just play better. They don’t feel the pressure. That’s because they have nothing to lose.
If God gives you the kingdom, then you have nothing to lose. Your heavenly treasure will not grow old. It will not fail. It can't be stolen or destroyed. So you have nothing to lose. If you know that, then you will gladly obey Christ and live generously and give to the needy. You will not be afraid about money or about being happy with earthly things. You will be more hospitable because you know that you have nothing to lose.
You are going to have a problem with this if you think and act like an orphan. But if you think and act like an adopted son or daugther of God, then you’ll be okay. Generally speaking, orphans have had people or things taken away from them. Orphans have hurt in their hearts and worry about worldly things and about keeping their possessions. Orphans, generally speaking, have a negative view of the world and often a bitter melancholy. Orphans, in a sense, have much to lose.
But if you think and act like an adopted son or daugther of God, then you’ll be okay. The Bible tells us that as adopted children of God, we have treasure in heaven. We have an inheritance waiting for us. We have treasures in heaven and not here on earth. Therefore, you have something to look forward to. Your treasure is in heaven. And your heart should be there too. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Think about all the saints of the Old Testament whose hearts were in heaven. According to Hebrews 11, such believers had faith. They had an assurance and a conviction of an unseen kingdom that was to come. For example, consider Abraham. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
And all of this is true because their hearts were there.
Brothers and sisters, don’t be a fool and fall for this world. Don’t be worldly. Don’t be covetous. As royal sons and daugthers of God, be wise and laugh at this world because you see it for what it really is. You heart is not here. It is somewhere else. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Did you know that Jesus has a treasure too? When Jesus died on the cross, he humbled himself and laid down his glory and honor. He was the king. He was God. But he suffered and died. Why did he do it? He did it because his heart was somewhere. His heart was where his treasure was. “For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.” Well, what was his treasure? What was his beloved possession? Where was his heart? His treasure was you. His beloved possession was you. His heart was with you. His heart was where his treasure was, and his treasure was you.
Jesus loved you. And I hope that you love him too.
Brothers and sisters, if it is true that Jesus’ treasure is his people, then guess what. The people sitting next to you who confess the name of the King are more valuable than anything else in the world. It is time to see your church members differently. It is time to see the people next to you the same way that Christ sees them. For when Christ looks at the people next to you, he sees his treasure.
I’m going to close now. When Jesus rose again from the dead, he ascended into heaven and he now sits at the right hand of the Father. He’s on his throne. And one day, all evil and sin will be put underneath his feet. On that day, he will judge everything and finally bring his kingdom to fullness. And he will prepare a place for you. That is where you and I are going. It’s going to happen soon. And when Jesus brings forth his kingdom, we will see him face to face. It’s going to be the best day ever. So get ready and be patient during this last stage of history. And have faith in what I say today. Everything I said is true and real. Do not be afraid. You have nothing to lose. The kingdom is yours.