Acts 20:20-25 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, … Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.… that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. ….. among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.” Let’s get into God’s Word.
Notice Paul said he testified of the gospel of the grace of God, when he went preaching the Kingdom of God. Why is this important? Jesus and Paul did not preach different gospels. They both preached the gospel of the kingdom of God. Paul preached the Kingdom (Acts 28:30-31) and the grace of God (Act 13:43). The grace of God is within Kingdom preaching - not opposed to it. Philip preached Christ and the Kingdom of God (Act 8:5, 12). Paul preached the gospel and the Kingdom of God (Act 14:21-22). The salvation of God is in the Kingdom of God (Act 28:23, 28). The Kingdom of God is the message we are to preach!
Jesus told the Jews, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe” (Jn 4:48). Why would He say this? After all, didn’t the Old Testament says that the coming of Messiah would be accompanied with signs and wonders (Isa 42:1, 7; 61:1-3; Jn 7:31)? What was the problem? Simply this: most who saw the signs and wonders still did not believe! Jesus would do a sign or miracle, and they would simply want to see another. The signs and wonders accompanied the preaching of the Kingdom (Lk 9:1-2), and they were to lead the people to repentance (Mt 11:20-21). The signs of the Kingdom are supposed to follow the preaching of the Kingdom in order to show Christ’s authority, and to lead people to repentance and faith.
We are not to seek signs for the thrill of seeing signs. They have a purpose (Mk 16:20). It is the Lord confirming His Word. Just preach the Kingdom! Just preach the Gospel! Let God confirm His Word. He is more than able. We’ve got nothing to prove. Just be a seed sower. Make yourself available to God to use you as He sees fit.
The Kingdom of God teaches both justification and sanctification. It’s not either/or. It is both. Some Christians act as if fruit is the only thing that matters (proponents of the “social” gospel), and others seem to think fruit matters not at all (proponents of “greasy” grace). There is a balance. Good fruit is not all that matters, but it does matter! Right doctrine is important, but doctrine with no fruit profits nothing.
Do we possibly adhere to vain traditions, which make God’s Word to no effect (Mk 7:13)? I’m just asking. Consider this: We often speak of “getting saved” and receiving Jesus as “Personal Savior,” so you can become a Christian. It may shock you to know that the word “savior” is found 24 times in the New Testament. However, the word “king” or “kingdom” is found 285 times in the NT (3,274 times in the whole Bible). “Christ” (“anointed” to rule, a king) is used 571 times in the NT. “Lord” is used 728 times in the NT! While “Christian” is only found 3 times in the NT, “Disciple(s)” is found 272 times!
What does this mean? It means the terms the Bible uses least seem to be what we use the most! It seems the Bible stresses Lordship, Kingship, Christ, Kingdom, and Discipleship in preaching the Gospell and we usually stress Savior and Christian. Certainly Jesus is savior, and one becomes a Christian through the New Birth. However, are we not leaving out a big chunk of the Gospel message? Is our failure to preach the Kingdom of God the weak link in the church today? “Ask Jesus into your heart….receive Jesus as Personal savior….repeat this prayer after me…” - these sayings are found zero times in the NT. Don’t get mad at me. I’m not saying they are wrong or evil; I’m just saying they’re not there. I’m saying there is no example.
Now, what do we see? “What must I do to be saved!“ - no coaxing. “Repent, and be converted.” “Repent, and be baptized.” “Repent, and do works that show repentance.” “God commands all men everywhere to repent.“ “Turn from darkness to light, from the power of satan to the power of God. Confess from the heart the Lordship of Jesus Christ - His rightful rule - and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead.” “Receive the Holy Spirit”. If our gospel message is incomplete, there is a good chance conversions will not be real, and hence, no fruit will be produced. I am not looking down my nose at anyone. I am guilty myself of some of this. But the Word is Truth, and I must humble myself and let it correct me if I am off. I hope you do the same. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!