The Kingdom of God is in Your Heart
(Luke 17:20-37)

Rev. Jim Bogle, given April 15, 2007
www.powhatanchurch.com

Today many are looking for the soon coming of the LORD Jesus Christ!

Mrs. Margaret Johnson and Brother Odell Carroll were both looking forward to the day when Christ would open the door and permit them to enter into His haven of rest. They both are present with Him now.

Many want to know when Christ is coming. When will He come to set up His eternal kingdom of peace, and joy, and happiness?

The Jews have always been looking forward to the coming of the Kingdom of God. They are looking for the promised Messiah; the one who will be like King David, and who will restore Israel to that place of glory and honor that she once enjoyed under the kingship of both David and his son, Solomon.

Every annual Passover celebration was an excited time for the Israelites to be reminded that their Messiah was going to come; but the truth of the matter was then, and even is today, that before anyone, Israelite or Gentile, enters the physical Kingdom of God, they must first receive that Kingdom in their hearts.

Luke 17:20-21

20: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

These Pharisees demanded for Christ to tell them when He expected Godís Kingdom to actually come upon the earth. But their hearts were not ready for the Kingdom of God.

This is the wonderful thing about the longsuffering of God. Many in this world would like to enter into the Kingdom of God physically, but their hearts are not ready for Godís Kingdom.

This was so true of the Jewish Leadership. Even if Christ had told them the very day, it would have profited them nothing because before a soul can ever see the physical Kingdom of God;

a kingdom of peace, and joy, and happiness,

a kingdom without hate and discontent,

a kingdom where suffering, pain, and death are obsolete,

that person must first receive the kingdom of God in his/her own heart.

John 3:3

Jesus said unto Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Jesus is not talking about physical rebirth! Jesus is talking about spiritual rebirth!

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

If I were to ask you, is there righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost in the Middle East today, your immediate response would be NO! But the people of the Middle East, everyday, are crying out for peace. Theyíre crying out for justice, and they long for the time when their streets will no longer be battlefields ó when death will no longer plague the day.

And that day will only come when the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ reigns upon this earth.

The Muslim faith is not a faith center upon the Lord Jesus Christ. The Muslim faith is a faith of Anti-Christ! Many Christians living in Muslim countries live there under the shadow of death.

No wonder there is no peace, or joy, or righteousness in the Middle East.

No wonder there is only hatred, vengeance and killing.

Itís because the Prince of Peace is rejected!

And the same may be true of your heart this morning. Youíre unhappy; youíre miserable, or youíre depressed, you may even be living in fear, and canít find any peace at all in your heart, even though youíre surrounded by every creature comfort known to man.

It may very well be that you too are Anti-Christ! You too, are rejecting the Prince of Peace!

The people of the Middle East would love to know the day that God is going to set up his kingdom upon this earth. But until they acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, as LORD and SAVIOR in their heart, they will never see Godís Kingdom.

The Pharisees wanted to know, but Christ told them that the physical kingdom that they longed for; i.e. the material kingdom where they expected to reign in great splendor and glory, was a kingdom that first had to come to the heart.

Luke 17:22

And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

There are times today that many long for Christís soon return!

People in rest homes, staring aimlessly out the windows, long for Christís soon return.

People living in loneliness, their families never coming to visit Ė or maybe their loved ones have since died and gone on Ė these people too long to see Christís soon return.

People confined to wheel chairs or hospital beds today long for the soon return of Jesus Christ.

People living in war torn countries, living in the very heartland of the once glorious Garden of Eden: Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, all long for peace someday in their land; but this will not come to pass until the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus, comes again.

People will be looking for someone to help them in their darkest hour. They will be deceived into believing that Christ is come in this false prophet or that false prophet. Jesus warns his disciples Ė Donít be caught up in chasing after signs or following false reports or even trying to figure out the time of my return; for my return will come quickly, and at a time, for many, completely unexpected.

Matthew 25:13

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Luke 17:23-30

23: And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

24: For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

When Christ comes, you wonít need someone to point out his coming. His coming will be like a burst of lightening that streaks across a night sky! Every eye shall behold His coming!

But Jesus tells his disciples, before the Kingdom of God comes, Christ must be rejected and suffer many things at the hands of those very people who long to know when the Kingdom of God is coming.

25: But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

The suffering Messiah, must first precede the glorified Messiah.

The suffering Messiah must first bear the burden of the sins of the entire world upon His own body.

And then Christ shares with his disciples what it will be like on earth just before His coming.

26: And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

27: They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Despite the earnest warnings of coming judgment preached by both Enoch and Noah, the people ignored every warning and were caught completely by surprise when the rain began to fall upon the earth for the very first time.

The flood came and washed them all away!

This is the very situation we live in today. The stock market is the most important news for people today, and then comes politics, and Hollywood.

Our Creator is pushed to the side in order that the world might enjoy, recklessly, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

28: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

29: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

30: Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

The saddest point about this picture is that Lot knew the God of his fathers. Yet he lived among a wicked and immoral people without breathing one word to them of coming judgment ó because he didnít know judgment was coming himself. He was so numbed to his wicked surroundings that nothing troubled him.

This might be a picture of you and me, if weíre Christians, and we too are caught up in the things of the world.

Genesis 19:15-16

15: And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

16: And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

Luke 17:31-33

31: In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

32: Remember Lot's wife.

33: Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

We may have all the material things the world offers today, but if they are more important to us than a personal relationship with Christ, they will be the very things that will be a witness against us in the Day of Judgment.

James 5:3

Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

We are trying to build a Kingdom of God for ourselves here on earth, failing to recognize that the true Kingdom of God; that Kingdom that will last for all eternity and will usher in the peace and contentment, the joy and happiness that the soul longs for, must first come to our hearts by way of the Holy Spirit that is given as a gift to every man, woman and child, when they receive Christ as their LORD and Savior!