A sermon idea based on Luke 10:1-20.
If you’re like me, you’ve been trained over these last few years to brace yourself when you pull up the latest news headlines. There’s just so much bad news coming at us.
If we’re not careful, we’ll become jaded and cynical toward good news and assume that all good news is just too good to be true.
Jesus encountered a culture like ours, where people living under Roman rule and difficult conditions were apprehensive of anyone coming with a promise of something better. His teachings concerning the kingdom of God were often perceived in this way. This becomes especially clear when Jesus sends out seventy of his disciples to invite others to embrace the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Before we dig into this passage of scripture, we need to understand what is meant in Luke’s gospel by the phrase, the kingdom of God. Dallas Willard describes the kingdom of God as “the range of his effective will, where what he wants done is done.” Willard continues…
Jesus came among us to show and teach the life for which we were made. He came very gently, opened access to the governance of God with him, and set afoot a conspiracy of freedom in truth among human beings. Having overcome death he remains among us. By relying on his word and presence we are enabled to reintegrate the little realm that makes up our life into the infinite rule of God. And that is the eternal kind of life. Caught up in this active rule, our deeds become an element in God’s eternal history. They are what God and we do together, making us part of his life and him part of ours.
Dallas Williard, The Divine Conspiracy
When Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God being “at hand” or “near,” he uses a verb form indicating that the kingdom has come. And that is his good news. That is the gospel – that the realm in which what God wants done is done is already here, and that the invitation is wide open to anyone who wants to join with God, inviting his rule, and partnering with him to bring his will to pass in and around us.
Amazingly, the seventy encountered skepticism and rejection, which Jesus obviously anticipated. Why is it that anyone would reject the possibility of a world restored by the grace of God and ruled by the will of God?
The reason the good news about God’s kingdom is perceived as bad news is that we already have our own kingdoms that are also already at hand. From my own stubborn, rebellious moments where I want to run my own life without God’s input to the oppressive and empirical systems that keep entire people groups down, there are a plethora of kingdoms competing for territory.
And so, in one city after another, the kingdom invitation offered by the seventy was rejected – not by all, but by some. And Jesus’ warning to those cities was stark. Rejecting the kingdom rule of God has consequences. Things continue to fall apart wherever human will is preferred over God’s will.
There is something about the broken human condition that chooses the misery of self-rule over the mystery of God’s Kingdom.
We see the carnage, all around us, of a world out from under the rule of God. And we also see examples of the kind of restoration and renewal that comes to the lives and communities of those willing to step into God’s kingdom by faith.
Therefore, we keep sharing the good news. We keep on going because someone else who is broken needs healing and some will receive the news we have to offer.
Let me give you # reasons to keep on living under, living out, and sharing the Kingdom of God with others…
1. The Kingdom of God is Here
That is, it’s close. It’s at hand. It’s all around us, like the air we breathe or the power we access when we flip a light switch. And the invitation is to anyone and everyone to enjoy it.
2. Our Sharing is Empowered
The seventy were able to confront the demonic and to work miracles, with which they were quite impressed. Jesus reminded them that these signs and wonders are merely a demonstration of the power of God’s kingdom at work. There is spiritual, supernatural power behind our sharing of the gospel.
3. Peace is the Result
The cities that welcomed the good news of the Kingdom enjoyed peace with God. That’s still possible for the world in which we live today. With all the war, all the conflict, the way of Jesus still plainly leads toward peace.
I still believe that living in the realm in which God’s will is done is the absolute best kind of life possible and I want everyone I know to enjoy that, too. Therefore, I keep going.