Kingdom Come PT. 1 - The Story of God’s Kingdom

God's Story Is An Epic Love Story Aimed To Win All Of Our Hearts.

Tim Lundy
Sep 13, 2020    38m
Have you ever found yourself wondering what God's story is really about, and then, what is my part in it? This message of hope tells us His story from creation to eternity, and reminds us that it is the ultimate love story. It is the story of God's love for His people. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:00 Venture, this weekend we are launching a new sermon series entitled, Kingdom Come. And I'm excited because I think this is a topic we don't talk about enough. In fact, I don't even think we think about it. If you look through scripture, the Kingdom of God is described, it's all throughout the story of the Bible. But we often forget about the fact that we are citizens of the Kingdom of God first and foremost. Now, when I say that term, Kingdom of God, what do you think of? If somebody asked you, what is the Kingdom of God? What would be your answer? Now, I promise you over the next several weeks, we're going to answer it theologically, we're going to look at the implications of that.

Tim Lundy: 00:45 But this week, I want us to stop for a moment and look at the big picture. In fact, this message is going to be a little bit different than other ones, because I want to tell you a story, a story about the Kingdom of God. You know, life is described as a story. I love the way Daniel Taylor puts it, he says, "Our stories tell us who we are, why we're here, and what we're to do. They give us our best answers to all of life's big questions, and to most of the small ones as well. In fact, if you want to know someone, you have to know their story, you can't just know facts about them." And so when you think about life, what's the story of life that explains all of it? Now, some people would say, well, there really is no explanation. You know, like Shakespeare said through the character Macbeth, Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Tim Lundy: 01:48 In our culture today, we've almost reduced all of life down to the scientific explanation of it. And science by itself tells us, is there really any meaning in life? Neil Postman wrote these words years ago, I thought they were very precious though. He says, "In the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins, and our end, is to say the least unsatisfactory. So the question, how did it all begin? Science answers, probably by an accident. To the question, how does it all end? Science answers, probably by an accident. And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living."

Tim Lundy: 02:35 See, there's a story that explains all of life, in fact, I believe the Bible tells that story. But you know, the unfortunate fact is, even as Christians, we often miss the story, we often just go to parts of the story. And I think there's a place to step back, especially when you're thinking about the Kingdom of God, when you're thinking about what God has done, and just look at the whole story again.

Tim Lundy: 03:06 And so today, more than principles, more than observations, more than specific passages, I want you to walk with me through the story that God tells, and maybe see it with new eyes again. You know, I'm indebted to the way John Eldredge does this and the book Epic. In fact, I put the title of this book in your notes, this would be a great one to pick up. You can see it's a small little book, but I think he does a great job of not only weaving the story that God tells, but the stories that we love and how they fit with each other.

Tim Lundy: 03:40 If you were to go to the beginning of our story, in fact, how does the Bible begin? If you look at it there in Genesis 1:1, we begin our stories when we write them once upon a time because we have to pick a moment in time. But when God starts this story, notice what he says in it, he says, "In the beginning." Not once upon a time, not this moment in time,, but actually before there was time. Before there was anything, before there was any story to tell, or any person or anything that was there, "In the beginning." And who's the first character of the story, God, and this is important because we got to get this clear. Guys, this is God's story, God's the main actor in this story, God's the author of the story. Now, it's a story, the whole of the Bible is a story that tells us how God interacts with us, tells us what God did with us, tells us, and we'll walk through, it’s this unbelievable love story where God loved us, but it's God's story. And in the beginning before there was time or space or anything else, it was God. Now, I love the way God tells his story. I like movies that have backstories. I like books that it starts the book, but then you discover more about the character as the book goes, and there's these aha moments. And the Bible does the same thing, it says, "In the beginning God." And you looked at it and you go, okay, there's this God that's there. And then it tells us, what does he do? He creates heaven and earth. So we suddenly realize he's powerful. We suddenly realize he's outside of time and space. If he created all of it, he's greater than anything in the universe.

Tim Lundy: 05:43 And a few verses later, as he's creating this world and it's unfolding, he makes this declaration, he says, "Let us make man." And you stop for a moment and you say, wait a second, God just said, let us. God's a plural? And we learn as the story unfolds so much about God, that there's only one God, and he's the only God, but he exists in three persons. And even in that, it blows our mind, there's a mystery about this that we can't quite understand. But here's what it points to, and in a hope that we never miss this, when the whole story begins, it begins with the God who exists as Father, and Son, and Holy spirit. It exists as three in one, it exists in a perfect love relationship. It exists in a perfect family relationship, even as God describes himself as Father and Son, and so God is this perfect love and unity.

Tim Lundy: 06:54 That's where our story begins, that's what we all long for. When Ecclesiastes 3 says, "He set eternity in all of our hearts." All of us long for the kind of security and unity and love that's described in God. That's what every child longs for it in their home, that's why every child finds security when their parents love each other. That's why when we experience it in a marriage, in friendships, in relationships here, when we taste it, it's the echoes of eternity that existed first with God. And he loved so much that he shared it with us, and he created this universe. And the pinnacle of that creation, he says, let us make humanity. And let's do something different with them, let's make them in our image, let's make them like us. Let's make them with the ability to create, with the ability to love, with the ability to procreate, with the ability to rule. And it says, right in Genesis, he created male and female, both of them created in the image of God. And he wove in their hearts, he gives them this command to rule and reign over this creation, to procreate, to fill the earth with other image bearers. And it says in Genesis 1, it was good.

Tim Lundy: 08:33 Now there's only one prohibition in this story, and if you know the story, maybe you're like me, in the middle of the garden he places one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And he tells Adam and Eve, the first humans, all of this is yours, all of this is good, go rule, reign, enjoy experience all of life. But he puts one prohibition there, but don't eat of this tree, because the day you do you'll die, the day you do everything changes. Now, if we were writing the story, I'm tempted when I read through that part to go, I would have never put the tree there. But remember this is a love story, and he loved us so much that he wanted us to actually love him. And I don't understand all of it, but I do know this, love involves a choice. And if you have no choice, if you're forced to love someone because they're so powerful they make you love them, and they give you no choice. Can you really say it was love? And so there, in the middle of the garden, God places this choice. I've lavished you, I have loved you, and now I'm asking you to trust me, and follow me, and don't eat of this tree.

Tim Lundy: 10:01 You know every story has a villain, and this story is no different. Genesis 3, early on in the story, it just starts with this character. It says, "The serpent was more crafty than any other animal." And we recognize pretty quickly, this is not just an ordinary snake. In fact, as you read through the rest of the story, he shows up again and again. Sometimes he's described as the serpent, sometimes he's described as a dragon, he's always described as evil. And in fact, you have to read later that you get his backstory. That we realize the story before this story, where he didn't start evil, he started good. He was part of the highest part of creation, he was one of God's cherubim, one of his servants, one of his angels, powerful, beautiful, full of splendor. In fact, Ezekiel 28 says that he was glorious in every way, until evil was found in him, until he was jealous of God, until he wanted to make it his story and he rebelled. And so he comes into this story, and he starts whispering in the ear of Eve, and Adam hears it as well. And he says, do you really trust God? Do you really think he he's giving you what's best? He says, you know that tree, if you ate of the tree, then you get to be God, then you get to be like him. You see, Jesus described this serpent, Satan, as he's called. And said, here's what he always likes to do, he always likes to lie, he always likes to kill, and he always likes to destroy because he's the opposite of God. See, he lies, God always tells the truth. He kills, God always brings life. He destroys, God always restores. And in an act of betrayal, Adam and Eve, despite the fact that God loved them, despite the fact that God welcomed them into that family of his, they betray, and they eat, and all the world was changed. And in that moment, Satan is so happy because now, instead of being a part of his kingdom, you'll be a part of my kingdom, the kingdom of the fallen.

Tim Lundy: 12:36 And you'd think God would be done with them at that point, don't you? But remember I told you, it's a love story. And out of love, God goes and finds them, they're hiding from him. He finds them, and he questions them. Did you do the one thing I asked you not to do? And of course they did, it's so evident. In an act of love though, instead of giving final condemnation, God gives a promise. He says, there's more to the story. There's one that's going to come, and when this one comes and he looks at Satan at this point, because this is a love story with a battle. He says to Satan, when he comes, oh, you'll bruise him, you'll bruise his heel, but he'll crush your head.

Tim Lundy: 13:29 And as the story unfolds, the way that God overcomes, the way that God battles, is through a kingdom. That through Adam and Eve come a man, Abraham, and through Abraham comes a family, and through this family comes a nation. Now, again, it wasn't because these are great people. God takes an old barren couple, and he says, I'm going to give you a child. God takes the most dysfunctional family on the planet and says, I'm going to make you a great nation. God takes a people that are slaves, and he says, I'm going to rescue you. And through a Passover, through the shedding of blood, he rescues them. Through a baptism, through the red sea, he delivers them. And he takes them into a land and he sets up a kingdom, he sets up a nation like the world had never seen. It was a nation that was going to be different than any other nation. It was a nation that their law actually came from God. It was a nation with the temple where they could meet with God. It was a nation that was going to be governed with God as their King. And God says through you, the whole world will get to discover my kingdom.

Tim Lundy: 14:43 And yet, right out of the gate, they follow the same script as Adam and Eve. They look at God and they go, no, we don't want you to be King, we want an earthly king, that's what everybody else has. We really need a human King. And so when God gives him a king, those kings lead them into battles, the kingdom gets divided almost immediately out of the gate. They start portraying God over and over again in the same way that he told Adam and Eve choose life or choose death, he told them, hey, here's life obey me, trust me, or choose death. And over and over and over again, what did they choose? Over and over again, they failed to keep his law, over and over again, they chase after other gods, over and over again, they follow the script of betraying the one who loves them the most. And you would think God would be done with them, but he's not. Just like he made a promise to Adam and Eve, he makes a promise to them. That you as a nation, you as this kingdom, have failed to live out what I've called you to be. But I've not given up on you, I'm going to send you a Messiah. I'm going to send you a special gift, I'm going to send you one who will fulfill all the promises, one who will keep every law, one who that this whole system has been pointing to will one day fulfill everything I called you to be.

Tim Lundy: 16:18 And then in the New Testament, we have a hearkening back again. Remember the whole story, what started with in the beginning? Well, John tells us in John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." It's going back to that beginning story, when God said, let us make man. There was one there who was Jesus, and John tells us that the Word became flesh. Now, if you were seeing this story for the first time, if you were watching this movie, this would be the point that we would pause the tape and go, wait, what, I just got lost. Wait, the author of the story just stepped into the story? What, he just became a character here? I thought he was God outside of here, and now he's one of us? See, it's this radical move in the story, that Jesus came down.

Tim Lundy: 17:12 And we often celebrate it as the baby who's born in the manger. But I love the way Revelation 12 puts it, that it was a declaration of war. And the dragon was there, Satan was ready, he wanted to kill the baby right out of the gate because he knew this was declaration of war. He knew this was something new. He knew that now God is actually stepping into the story. God's not just on the defensive, he's taking off offensive territory, and the land and the kingdom that he thought was his, suddenly God is there. And so he goes back to his old script, and what does Satan like to do? He likes lie, and he likes to kill and destroy. And so he goes with temptation, temptation worked with Adam and Eve, temptation worked with the nation of Israel. And he goes to Jesus in his most vulnerable time when he's hungry after 40 days, and he says, hey, I've used this one before. Why don't you eat? The problem is Jesus is prepared, Jesus is unlike any other. And Jesus looks at him and says, you think I'm going to eat, you think I'm going to be tempted, man does not live by food alone. God's already told me how to answer you. He comes to Jesus and tempts him with identity. Are you really God's son? Throw yourself off. And Jesus says, I'm not testing God. He comes to Jesus and says, are you really going to do this the hard way? There's a shortcut, just about bow down to me, worship me, and I'll give you everything you came for. And Jesus looks at him and he says, you only worship the Lord your God. See, temptation didn't work with him.

Tim Lundy: 18:48 So then he had to go to plan two, destruction, and do everything he could to destroy Jesus, to get his followers, to betray, to get the religious leaders to hate him, to get the government to be afraid of him. And the whole time, what was Jesus doing? Remember when Jesus launched his ministry, what were the words that he declared? He said, "The Kingdom of heaven is here, the Kingdom of God is at hand." John the Baptist went before him and said, hey, you need to repent because the kingdom is about to be unleashed. He told his followers when you pray, pray thy kingdom come, it's time for this world to experience the Kingdom of God in all of its fullness.

Tim Lundy: 19:36 Guys, it's a love story of reclamation, but it's also a declaration of war against the evil one, and Satan knew it for what it was. And so in all of his mind, with all of his power, his whole plan is, I've got to destroy him, I've got to kill him. And I want to kill him in the most shameful way possible, I want to kill him on a cross because even God himself said, if you die on a tree, then you're cursed. And what he thought was going to be his victory, what he thought was going to be the death blow, was really just the bruising of the heel, just like God said. Because when Jesus died on a cross, it wasn't because Satan took his life, it wasn't because the authorities or anyone else, it's because Jesus laid down his life.

Tim Lundy: 20:25 And I think it had to be a moment that was really uncomfortable for Satan, because as much as he delighted with Jesus dying on the cross, I don't think he expected in that moment, what God was going to do. That it wasn't just his physical body dying, that God laid on him the sin of humanity. That the very wrath God's poured out, that in that moment, Jesus became our substitute. That in that moment, Jesus paid our ransom. In that moment, all the IOUs, all the debts, all the things that Satan loved hold over humanity, they were all paid for by Jesus Christ. And I think it was a nervous delight when Jesus declared those words, "It is finished." A nervous delight in the halls of Satan because he was thrilled that he was dead, but he knew that God was up to something. Because even as something as bad as the cross, what does Romans 8 tells us? God is able to make all things turn out for our good, even the cross.

Tim Lundy: 21:37 And when Jesus was placed in the grave, Satan knew he can never come out again. And so that's why he scattered his followers with fear, that's why he got the religious ruler so paranoid about it, that's why he had the government authorities, place as many soldiers outside the grave as he could. He wanted to do everything in his power that no one would get in, but the one thing he didn't have in his power was to keep Jesus from getting out. And three days later when he arose, when the victor stepped out, when the comeback happened...Guys, this is why we love this in every story. Why is it in every movie we love when the hero rises, we love when there's the comeback, we love when he faces the enemy finally. When Jesus stepped out, he's the paragon of that story, he's the epic story of all stories. As he came out, and he not only face Satan, he not only faced death, he also faced sin. He faced every enemy we had, and he looked at his followers...Remember his words at that point? He said, "All authority has been given to me now, I have conquered all." And his disciples what'd they ask him? They said, are you going to restore the kingdom? See, they're still thinking about the kingdom of Israel. Man, can we go back to the kingdom of Israel? He says, oh, no, no, no, it's much bigger than that. Remember, I didn't come just to restore the kingdom of Israel, I came because the Kingdom of God is being unleashed. And he ascended. Do you know why he ascended? Because he had a throne that he needed to sit on, to place all things under his feet.

Tim Lundy: 23:22 But before he ascended, what did he tell us? He said, "You be my witnesses." And it's no longer just in Israel, it's no longer just in Jerusalem, it's no longer just in Judea, it's no longer just in Samaria, it's in the whole planet. And as you read through this story, he sends us out in battle, he sends us out as emissaries. It says, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, we don't wrestle against other powers, we don't [inaudible] against other people. We fight other powers, the same powers he fought. He sends us out as witnesses. He sends us out as rescuers. He sends us out as the people of God bringing the Kingdom of God here and now. And that's where we live, and that's our story.

Tim Lundy: 24:14 But do you know the greatest thing I love about this story? We actually know how it ends. It started in the beginning with God, and read with me how it ends. Look at it in Revelation, as he says these words, "Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." What began in a garden is now ending in a city. Guys, we were never meant to just stay in a garden. Heaven's not this place of just clouds, notice how he describes it, the Kingdom of God is a new heaven, it's a newer earth. It's his people with new bodies. It's after we've been able to fight the final battle with him, it's after our enemy has been forever destroyed.

Tim Lundy: 25:12 And in the same way that it began in the beginning with God, in that perfect love, in that perfect relationship, in that perfect unity. Look how it finishes, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will live with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain,. All these things are gone forever." See, as it began, it finishes. But it began with God alone experiencing that, and it finishes with the people of God getting to experience it with him. It's an Epic story of a battle. It's an Epic love story.

Tim Lundy: 26:13 In fact, as we finish, just a few things I want you to take away, and we'll explain this more next week. We'll walk through, what does it mean, theologically? What does it mean for us in a political season? What does it mean as we deal with social issues? We're going to look at that over the next few weeks. Today, I just want you to grab the story. I just want you to look at the whole. Here's kind of three takeaways just quickly that I'd want you to take away in this.

Tim Lundy: 26:37 The first one that I would just say to you is, this story explains every story, especially yours. This story, it's the meta-narrative, it's the story above all stories. It's why we love, love stories. It's why we love the battle stories. It's why we love the comeback. It's why we love restoration. It's why we love these stories. You know why we love these stories? Because this story has been imprinted on all of us. This is the story, the meta-narrative, that explains every story, and it explains your story. In fact, I think a lot of people, I love the way that Eldredge describes it, "A lot of people feel like their life is a movie that you entered 45 minutes late, and you spend every day trying to figure out what is exactly going on, and who's that character, and what does this mean?" Because you don't have the story, you don't have the story above every story. And I know some of you, young people, you've been told there is no meta-narrative, you've been told there is no master story, you've been told there is no objective truth. You've been told that all of us are conditioned by our own stories, all of us are conditioned by our own truth, in fact, you're the creator of your story. And that is taught from the earliest age now, it's hammered home in the university. And so you're left going out in life, trying to define your story, or make your story, or come up with the story. And I'm telling you, it's failing you because that's not true. There is one story, it is the story, and until you discover it and embrace it, you'll never understand your story.

Tim Lundy: 28:26 The second truth about this, this is His story about His kingdom. And so for each one of us, we have to embrace our part. Guys, it's not our kingdom, and it's really not our story. Now, in his grace and his goodness, it's absolutely amazing, he lets us shape a part of it, he lets us interact with him, he lets us have chapters of the story, but it's His story. And see, I think so often we want to make it our story. I know I want to make it my kingdom, so I want to make it about the kingdom of Tim. Or sometimes we want to make about the kingdom of America, or sometimes we want to take parts of his story and kind of plot it into the story that we want. So we Christianize it, and we Christianize what's going on in our world, we Christianize our kingdom and all those parts. And we kind of mash it together and try to make it work, but it doesn't really work.

Tim Lundy: 29:24 You know, I was thinking about an example of this, you know, the classic story, Pride And Prejudice. There's many people who would say, this is the greatest love story. They love Austin, they love Pride And Prejudice. I'm not a fan so much, but I can respect it, it's a great love story. A few years ago, a guy came along and he said, do you know what Pride And Prejudice really needs? It needs zombies. Yeah, believe it or not, here's his book, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies. And if I'm honest, I'm a little more interested in this story. But the reality is this doesn't really work, does it? You can't take the original story of Pride and Prejudice and throw in some zombies, and create a classic again. I think, even as Christians, we're guilty of doing this with God's story. I think we often take parts, I think we immediately maybe go to the gospel, the story of salvation, and we don't care anything about the history that led up to it and what he was doing in his kingdom. I think we take part of Jesus' ethic, but we don't take the whole. I think we like visiting His kingdom, but we don't really choose to live there and really let him be King. Over the next several weeks we're going to talk about what does that mean to let it be his story, to embrace that it's his Kingdom.

Tim Lundy: 30:51 The final thing I just hope you take away, is if you noticed in this story, in every part of the story, there's always the choice. Will you trust and follow him? Adam and Eve, will you trust and follow him in the garden? Abraham, will you trust and follow him? Israel, his nation, will you trust and follow him? And now he looks at us and he says, will you trust and follow me? Will you trust in me for salvation, so you can experience the story, so you can be a part of the kingdom? And will you follow me as the King of the kingdom, who actually gets to be in control? It's what he invites us to over and over again.

Tim Lundy: 31:41 Even at the end of Revelation, at the end of the story, Jesus declares, "I'm the Alpha and the Omega, I'm the Beginning and I'm the End. And if anyone is thirsty, if anyone wants to drink, if anyone wants to partake, I freely give." Because remember he paid it all, but you have to trust and follow him. I'd encourage you today, have you embraced his story? Have you embraced his kingdom? If you trusted that he truly is the savior who died and rose again, but he's also the Lord who's the King of the kingdom, and invites you to follow him. And the beautiful thing is every time you make that choice, you get to experience that life with him, you get to experience that love that we long for. You get to experience what was in the beginning, where God was that perfect family, and he invites us in. And you don't have to wait until one day I die and go to heaven, you get to experience it now, it's his kingdom come.

Tim Lundy: 32:56 You know, I'll close with one of my favorite stories, it's one of my favorite movies is a true story, Antwone Fisher. It's a true story of a young man who grew up in a broken home, in and out of trouble, ends up in the military to stay out of trouble. And while he's in the military, he keeps acting out in these different ways, until he is assigned a Navy psychologist who meets with him to counsel with him. And I love the story, Denzel Washington plays a psychologist, and he finally pushes Antwone. He says, you know, you're never going to find wholeness until you find some forgiveness for your family, you need to go back and find them. And he discovers there's some of his father's family that's still around in Cleveland. His father died, he never knew him. And he flies to Cleveland and he meets an uncle he never met, and his uncle said, I found your mother, but you don't want to meet her. And he said, no, I've got to. In one of the most poignant scenes, he knocks on the door and his mother answers. And he tells her who he is, and you can tell she's still in the life of drugs, she's still in the stupor of it. And he just pleads before her, can you tell me why you didn't want me, why you would give me up? And she's got nothing for him, she just stares at him. And when he walks back to the car, the crushing loneliness you can feel of this young man who longed to have some roots, who longed for family, to belong somewhere. And his uncle drives him back to his house, and as you see Antwone there in that loneliness, as he steps up into the house, there's a different scene. Because on his father's side of the family, the word has spread, and he steps into a household of uncles and aunts and cousins, and everybody's excited to see him. And children are up the stairwell, and they've colored pictures, and they've colored signs that say welcome. And he comes into the dining room, and they're at the table is every kind of food you can think of, there's fried chicken, and mashed potatoes, and pancakes, because they prepared a feast for him. And as he sits down at the center of the table, everyone's cheering, until an elderly woman stands up. It's his grandmother, and she walks over to him and with a tear coming down her cheek, she puts her cheek next to his and she says, welcome.

Tim Lundy: 35:52 I'm telling you that scene gets me every time, because there's a part of all of us that longs for that kind of love, that longs for that kind of family, that longs for that kind of welcome. And the story of the Bible is a love story where God longs for you to experience it in his family. And he crossed eternity, and he crossed time and space, and he was willing to pay on a cross. everything that we did wrong when we betrayed him. So that one day when we stand before him face to face, do you know how he describes it, he describes it as a feast, he describes it as a celebration, he describes it as the day that we get to sit at the table and he says, welcome. Guys, that's the story, that's the kingdom, trust him and follow him.

Tim Lundy: 37:02 Let's pray. God, I thank you, I thank you that you loved us so much that you sent your son. I thank you that you loved us, you went to battle. I thank you that you loved us so much, that you didn't just control our lives in a way that we're just living out what you scripted, but you've given us the ability to interact with you, to live this story, to embrace it. Lord, I pray for anyone here that maybe they don't know that love, maybe they've never experienced it. Would today they trust you, that Jesus died for them. Would today they follow you, that He is their King. And, Lord, for those of us who know this story, may we live like we're citizens of your kingdom. May we stop acting like this current chapter we're in is all the story, and step back and realize we serve an awesome God, we have an awesome future. And no matter what else happens to us, one day we will be welcomed into your family and experienced that kind of love. And we pray this in Christ' name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
Read More
Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032