LUKE 17:30: “Yes, it will be ‘business as usual, right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Will the world get better? Will America be the guiding light that leads the world to peace and prosperity? Will the church usher in the Kingdom of God on earth through its ministry and presence?
The disciples were asking many of these same questions. At this point in their walk with Jesus, they were looking for the Messiah who would restore Israel’s political dominance in the world and usher in a wave of lasting peace. The Pharisees also were looking for this physical kingdom. When they asked Jesus about the kingdom, Jesus replied,
- “…The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” Luke 17:20-21 NLT
How could the Kingdom of God already be among them when the Romans remained in power and ruled Jerusalem with an iron hand? This did not seem to be a sufficient answer to their question. The disciples themselves were confused. And, many in the church today are struggling with the same misunderstandings.
If we truly understood the Kingdom of God and the promise of Jesus Christ’s return, then we would not be so discouraged when we see the world around us continue to spiral downward in social and moral decay. As a Christian, and as an American, I need to realize that the Kingdom of God will never be established by a government. The Kingdom of God will only be established when Jesus Christ returns.
Many were shocked by a performance at this year’s Grammy Awards. A singer and dancer exhibited a performance that made many rush to turn off their TV or quickly change the channel. How could our culture have fallen so low? How could millions celebrate and applaud such vulgarity on prime-time airwaves?
The reality is that the world will continue on its course of decay and destruction until Jesus returns. Jesus used two examples when He spoke to His disciples about this. He used the example of the days of Noah and the days of Lot.
- “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all. “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26-29 NLT
What do both of these examples have in common? Those who had no faith in God went on with their lives. They had no concept that anything was wrong. Life went on as usual. And, there was no social transformation. Things continued to decay until the final day of judgment was revealed.
As believers, this should not shock us. How can this world’s governments and societies improve without Jesus Christ? As God has been taken out of the public forum, the workplace, and the schools, do we expect anything more than a continued slow and steady slide downward? This may sound like words of surrender and defeatism. They are not. They are simply words of reality.
The enemy would love the church to be preoccupied with trying to establish the Kingdom through government and social change. Why is this? It is because when the church is preoccupied with this it is not engaged in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our mission was never to transform governments. Our call was to make disciples of all nations. Our call is to reach the one who is lost and bring them to Christ.
When the church focuses on its true mission wonderful things happen. The early church turned their world upside down. They impacted culture. However, it was not through electing believers into public office. It was by reaching sinners with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every position of life. Changed lives changed their world. Only changed lives can impact ours.
So, as the world turns, as it continues to spiral downward, let’s not focus on transforming world systems. Let’s recapture the call and mandate that Jesus Christ Himself gave us. Let’s make disciples. Let’s preach the Gospel. Let’s pray for the sick. Let’s be filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God that is within us, and the Kingdom of God that is to come!
- “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come. ”. Luke 4:18-19 NLT
- “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End…He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:12-13, 20 NLT
Come, Lord Jesus!
In Jesus Name!