Stetzer calls for Kingdom people to love the World and serve the King

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Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence, spoke in Binkley Chapel on Thursday. Entitled, “The Subversive Kingdom,” Stetzer preached from Matthew 4 and the necessity of God’s people to be kingdom ambassadors and revolutionaries. 

Drawing from Matthew 4:12-17, Stetzer opened, “The Jewish people somewhat knew what the King and kingdom would look like. God had been promising to build a kingdom throughout the Old Testament, and as it develops, we get a fuller and fuller picture of the kingdom. 

“Yet, in the New Testament, the kingdom comes in a way most didn’t expect. They anticipated a governmental overthrow of the Romans, a full establishment of peace in a time of evil. In verse 23, Jesus comes to establish the kingdom through healing and the bringing of miracles. The kingdom came when the King came.”

Stetzer said that when the church sees God as sovereign ruler over all things, they have a good understanding of the reign of God. Showing how the world is in rebellion in Ephesians 2, Stetzer said that God has always ruled from heaven’s throne despite this rebellion. 

Stetzer said, “Inaugurated eschatology is the word we use to describe that something has begun but isn’t completely finished. Jesus says, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come’ and the Bible teaches that the ‘kingdom is here’ (Matt 12:28; Rom 14:17), yet the kingdom is not fully here. 

“This is the reason why we pray, ‘Your will be done on earth as it is heaven’ and ‘come, Lord God!’”
Stetzer noted that the church is to live as ambassadors of the King and the kingdom. “In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul reminds us that we’re representatives of the kingdom not of this world. So, don’t be surprised when lost people act like lost people. In the midst of worldly rebellion, the church is the Rebellion against the rebellion.”

In closing, Stetzer said that Jesus begins this passage in Matthew 4 with a call to repentance. This is not just for unbelievers, said Stetzer. It is also a call for believers in Christ. “We repent because we have been in rebellion. We repent and keep repenting. Repentance calls us to the King and the kingdom. We are to show the love of Jesus to the hurting and to share the gospel with the lost. I know Jesus wins because I’ve read the end of the book. But many, many people are hurting and lost, so what will we do?”

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