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(2)   "THE KINGDOM OF GOD"               STUDY NO. 2

READING:  LUKE 11/14-22

 

INTRODUCTION:   Sometimes valid truth struggles to live because we don't know where to put it!  In other words, we don't have a biblical framework or setting where it can fit and be part of the whole gospel message. The subject of healing is like that.  It's like a "hot potato" and very few want to take hold of it because they don't know what to do with it or how to explain it.  So they just keep passing it to someone else and hope it doesn't come back!

 

A balanced understanding of healing and wholeness requires a total framework or climate in which to function.   If all we can do is quote individual, isolated texts from Scripture to "prove our point", then healing will only ever be a gimmick or a novelty for those in favour and a point of debate and departure for those opposed.   However, if we can stand back and get an overview of the gospel "panorama" and understand where healing/wholeness fits into the total picture, we will be able to avoid the traps of (a) ignoring it altogether or (b) majoring on it to the point where it becomes the whole message.  

 

A biblical understanding of the Kingdom of God is the indispensable framework for a biblical understanding of healing and wholeness.  

 

I have become convinced of this truth over recent years. I believe that many (most?) of what I consider to be flawed and inadequate models of healing do not understand the nature of God's Kingdom.   What do we mean when we pray, "Your Kingdom come"? (Matt.6/10). The answer is found in the very next line of that prayer model that Jesus taught;  "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Wherever and whenever the will of God is being done, there is the Kingdom of God coming into that situation at that time. Remember that the word "kingdom" means "Kingship", "Authority", "sovereign rule or power" rather than geographical domain or territory  

 

[1]  THE SEQUENCE OF GOD'S KINGDOM

 

A.  THE KINGDOM IN THE PAST   (From Creation to The Fall)

 

The Garden of Eden was the ideal kingdom just as God intended. The authority of God was absolute and unchallenged. It was a Kingdom expressing harmony and perfection. Adam & Eve were to have dominion over this perfect creation (Gen.1/27) and administer God's Kingdom rule and authority. They were agents for that Kingdom, if you like.  

 

But that perfect scene was invaded by another "will" - fa foreign, destructive, malevolent power. (Genesis 3). Satan deceived Adam & Eve and, through their disobedience, they surrendered their dominion 'mandate' or 'authority' to God's arch enemy.  Read Luke 4/5-8.  Consider the concept that Satan's claim to have authority over the kingdom's of the world - a claim not refuted by Jesus - began back in Genesis 3.  

 

B.  THE KINGDOM IN THE PRESENT (from the Fall until Jesus' return at the end of time).

 

a. 1 John 3/8 - Jesus came to destroy works of the Devil and liberate world from death 

b. Through His death & resurrection, Jesus conquers Satan and rescues us - Col.1/13

c. The mission of God's people is the same as that of Jesus - to declare the Kingdom of God and to demonstrate the reality of that kingdom in and through our lives.

d. But the Kingdom of God is not now present and functional in all its fullness. What we have now is the vanguard of the Kingdom - the deposit of the fullness yet to come; the first-fruits of the entire harvest; the advance troops but not the whole army.

e. In the same way, we are saved NOW….but not fully, so God's Kingdom is here among us….but not fully.

 

C.  THE KINGDOM IN THE FUTURE (from Second Coming to eternity)

 

a. If God's Kingdom is here but not fully - then the battle is not over although victory is assured.

b. When Jesus returns, God's authority & rule will be fully experienced - wholeness. Nothing will remain that is not His perfect will. Read Rev.21/4

c. We now need to explore how this overall truth re the Kingdom of God shapes our understanding of healing.  

 

INTERACTION  

 

1.  Since the Kingdom is so central to our understanding of healing, let's try and get a handle on the "Kingdom of God". Read the following verses and write down what you learn about the 'Kingdom of God"(NB: Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are synonymous terms).  

 

a)  Matt. 3/12.........................................................................

b)  Matt. 4/17.........................................................................

c)  Matt. 6/10.........................................................................

d)  Matt. 6/33.........................................................................

e)  Matt. 9/5-8........................................................................

f)  Matt. 12/28........................................................................

g)  Matt. 18/1-5.......................................................................

h)  Matt. 24/14.......................................................................

i)  Matt. 28/18........................................................................    

 

2.The healing ministry and the Kingdom of God are always closely related in Scripture.  Check the following verses from Luke's gospel and see if you can identify the connection.  

 

a)  Luke 4/18,19......................................................................

b)  Luke 4/40-44......................................................................

c)  Luke 9/1,2,6.......................................................................

d)  Luke 9/10,11.....................................................................

e)  Luke 10/8,9......................................................................

f) Luke 11/14-20.....................................................................  

g)  Luke 13/10-17 and 13/18-21...................................................    

 

3.  It's worth looking back at the incident recorded in Luke 11/14-22 because it gives us a valuable insight into the way Jesus saw His healing ministry in the context of all He came to do.  As a group, consider the following.....  

 

a)  Jesus was accused by the religious leaders of doing the work of the devil (v.15)  The "ultimate ignorance" spirituallyis to attribute God's work to the devil.  

b)  Summarise Jesus' logic in vs. 17-19.  

c)  Jesus equated deliverance (healing) with the in-breaking of the Kingdom rule of God (v.20).  

d)  Read vs. 21,22 

Who is the "strong man"?............................................

Who is the "someone stronger"?..................................  

e)  Vs.21,22 are Jesus' explanation as to what was happening in v.14.  If that is so, what was happening when Jesus drove out the demon?    

 

4.   So, to recap, the Kingdom of God broke into our world in a new way with the coming of Jesus Christ on that first occasion. The Kingdom is now here but not in its full manifestation. George Ladd says that "....the Kingdom is now, but not yet"! We have the deposit or the foretaste of what will one day be complete. The Lord Jesus will come again to finally and fully establish the absolute authority of God and every power and principality that has opposed Him will be forever eliminated.  

 

It is then that the fulness of our salvation (healing & wholeness) will be revealed. Death & disease will be no more. We will be like our Lord Jesus. We will finally and forever be made whole spiritually, emotionally, relationally and physically (in that we will have a new body).  

 

Take time to bring this study to a close by reading the following verses.....  

a. 1 Cor. 15/20-26.         b.  2 Thess. 1/5-10          c.  Rev. 21/1-5

 

CONCLUSION:  Please don't be "put off" if the concept of the Kingdom of God and its relationship to the healing ministry doesn't take hold of you immediately.  Focus on those parts of the study and those Scriptures which do fit into place and continue to search out those that don't.

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