Howard Mooney - Glad Tidings of the Kingdom of God - Drouin I - 1980

This term "The Kingdom of God" is one of the many terms Jesus used to describe His glorious church, because no one term or illustration would cover the subject. Sometimes He likened His church to a sheepfold of which He is The Shepherd and we are the sheep, the Salvation of the church. Jesus said, "If any man will enter in, he shall be saved". Sometimes He likened it to the Father, the family and the children and we have a wonderful picture in this of fellowship and love.  

The fellowship of the church is a fellowship of love. Sometimes He likened it to a body of which Christ is the head and we are the members, and in that we have a wonderful picture of the life of the church, the body held together by an inward God-given miracle life. And sometimes He likened the church to a Kingdom and then you get a picture of the loyalty of the church: men and women who have made Jesus their king and they are loyal to His teachings. Whether we read of the fold of God, or the family of God, or the body with members, these terms are all synonymous terms, each one bringing out a special beauty of God's glorious church.  

My thoughts this evening are all found in the book of Luke, and maybe you would like to open your Bible to the 8th chapter, and we will read together from verse 1, "And it came to pass afterward, that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God: and the twelve were with Him." I would like to talk to you tonight about some of these glad tidings of the Kingdom of God as they are portrayed in the Book of Luke. I hope I can help you to understand how thankful we are that we have a message of glad tidings to share with this disconsolate world. There is no good news in the world. You know that this world, economically, politically, religiously, socially, and in every other way, is going through one of its darkest experiences that it has ever gone through, and I wish we could tell you how glad we are that we have a message of glad tidings to share with an otherwise disconsolate world. You may be interested to know that the world was in exactly the same condition when Jesus was in the world as it is tonight, and Jesus showed these glad tidings to the people, and this Gospel had just the same effect on the world then as it is having on the world tonight. Under the Roman rule in the days of Jesus, things in Judea had sunk to the lowest dregs, economically, politically, socially, religiously, and morally. Things had dropped to the greatest depth of degradation and sin, and when the world was so distressed over a condition like that, which was getting worse and worse with the passing of time, it was then that Jesus went forth with the message of glad tidings of the Gospel and He not only had something to talk about, but He could show the people He had those glad tidings to share with them, even though they were going through such a sad time in the world.  

I would like to talk to you now about the glad tidings of the King of this Kingdom. I would like to show you how wonderful the King is, and if you can understand how wonderful the King is, then it will not be hard for you to understand why the Kingdom is so wonderful. The status of a Kingdom is always dependent on the condition of the king. In Luke 22, we read a verse which gives us a wonderful glimpse of this king (Verse 27). He said to them, "For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat? But I am among you as he that serveth." Here was Jesus King of kings and Lord of lords, the greatest man who ever walked the face of the earth, making Himself a servant to His own disciples. That is understandable. The reason why He invited them into the Kingdom in the first place was to serve them. Their Salvation depended on His service. He was the only one who could take care of the sins of the past. He was the only one who could take care of their weaknesses of the present, and the only one who could give them a hope for the future, and He was the only one who could do for them what they could not do for themselves. He wanted them to be able to say as God's people have always said, "The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." We would like to assure you tonight that the only reason the Lord has invited you into His Kingdom is because He wants to do great things for you. He would like to take care of the guilt of your past that is plaguing you tonight, and He would like to take care of the weakness of the present that is worrying you tonight, and he would like to take care of your hopeless future that is distressing you tonight. The Lord is not interested in getting one thing out of you; He is not going to ask you for a dime; He isn't going to ask any favours of you but He is wanting to do for you what you cannot do for yourself, and He wants to do for you what He has done for God's people all down through the years so that we can say, "The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad." I do not know what the situation is like in your nation, but over across the seas in the country where I come from there is a lot of what you call "Do-it-yourself" teaching in their religious organizations and social groups. We have many varieties of what we call "Do-it-yourself" religion. They say, "Join the church, pay your dues and that will save you." When people ask us about it, we tell them the definition of the word "salvation" is when an outside agent comes to your rescue and does something for you which you cannot do for yourself. If it were something you could do for yourself, it would not be Salvation. It is very distressing to hear these various movements and they all talk about doing great things for the Lord; working for the Lord and doing great things for the world, but the people of God in the Bible days always talked about the Lord doing great things for them. We want to assure you the Lord is not interested in you or inviting you into His Kingdom because He wants to get something out of you, but He wants to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. He wants you to be able to say, "The Lord hath done great things for me," so He asked the question here, "Whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat or he that serveth? But I am among you as he that serveth." It is one of the glad tidings of the Kingdom in connection with the King Himself, because there has never been another king like Him, before or since.  

In that verse we read in Luke 8, we read another glad tiding connected with the King, "...preaching and showing the glad tidings." This was the good news. Here was a preacher who did what He was talking about. Jesus Himself had upbraided the other ministers of that day. He said, "They say and do not. Whatsoever they say unto thee, that observe and do, but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not." They don't have what they are talking about; they are doing something else, but this was a message of glad tidings, this was good news, because here was a preacher who did what He was talking about, not only talking about it, but showing them in His ministry and fellowship as He went throughout every city and village with those twelve disciples and He was showing it as well as talking about it. They could see the love He was talking about; it was so triumphant in His life. They could see the power He was talking about; it was also so evident, and they could see the fellowship He was talking about. In addition to the twelve, in the next few verses it tells us that there were a number of others with Him, and do you know why He took them with Him? He wanted the world to see what real fellowship was like. They had come from different backgrounds of life and spheres of living but they came to Jesus and were following Jesus, and He had changed their natures and their lives, and had brought them into a living fellowship with each other. He took those people along with Him so those who looked upon them could see what He was talking about. One reason we enjoy having strangers come to a gathering like this is because they have a wonderful opportunity of looking over the entire congregation and they can see the very thing we are talking about, these wonderful things that accompany the message of Jesus. They can see the power, the love, the fellowship He was talking about. He was not only teaching it but He was showing it, and that is good news.  

This was one thing that impressed my parents when they first heard The Truth. They were just as religious before they got saved as afterwards. My father was a deacon in the church and my mother was a deaconess and Sunday school superintendent. Neither of them had ever drank, smoked or played cards in their lives. They were living what the church called a sanctified life. In addition to that they were also living dedicated lives, up to their necks in church work; every penny they could spare, and some they couldn't spare, went into the church work, but in spite of their sanctification and their dedication, they were not getting what the preacher was talking about. They knew the preacher didn't have it and that they didn't have it either. On one occasion in particular they went to him and said, "Why is it you stand up and tell us about these wonderful promises of God from the Scripture, and what He will do for His people and why is it these promises are not being fulfilled then in your ministry, in our lives or in our home?" He said, "The nearest I can tell you is that we are living in a different age and times have changed and perhaps we could not expect the same things today." One of the things that perplexed my parents was that the Lord seemed to demand the same sanctification and dedication - the preacher told them that also, and they wondered, "If the Lord demands the same dedication and sanctification from His people today, why is He not prepared to give us the fulfillment of the wonderful promises He has made?" They began to pray desperately, and others in that community also began to pray desperately and God answered those prayers when two men came into that district a short time after who were very different to any others who had ever come into that district. They were preachers like Paul and Apollos, Silas, Peter and John, Paul and Timothy, men who had left everything for the Gospel, men who knew their Bibles and loved their Bibles and lived their Bibles. One of the things that impressed my folks, from the very first Meeting they went to, was that these men have what they are talking about. It was so evident a blind man could have seen it. They could see the love they were talking about because there was a divine love existing between them as companions. This is one of the reasons God planned that His ministers would go out two and two, so that it would give people a little glimpse of the love they were talking about. They could see the power they were talking about and the other virtues they were talking about. They were invited to those meetings and they continued attending those meetings and the time came when those wonderful golden promises for the first time were being fulfilled in their lives and in their home, and then they could also say, "The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." 

I hope you appreciate the fact as you acquaint yourself with the ministry of Jesus that wherever He went, in the cities and villages, He had what He was talking about, not only teaching but He was showing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God, and that was good news to a world that was surrounded by a ministry preaching wonderful sermons but nothing to back them up. In the world today there are hundreds preaching wonderful sermons from the Bible, but have nothing to back them up.  

So much about the glad tidings of the King Himself, and now shall I tell you a little about the glad tidings of the Kingdom itself? Let's turn to chapter 15 and verse 16 and the Lord will tell you; I won't have to. These are the words of Jesus, "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." Because in the Kingdom there is fulfillment of everything that was promised by the law and the prophets, it is no wonder that the people pressed into it. The Old Testament with its laws, it prophecies and its ceremonies were like a promissory note, and the New Testament is a fulfillment of that promissory note. The Old Testament with its sacrifices, tithing, Sabbaths and ceremonies and direct prophecies of the prophets and so on, were just pointing to the coming of Christ, and the glorious Kingdom He was bringing into the world and placing within the reach of His people, and when Jesus came He fulfilled what the law and the prophets had promised. People looking upon His life could see "this is the fulfillment of everything God has planned for His people from the beginning of time." Our brother spoke so helpfully of those words of Jesus, when He said to His disciples, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears that they hear, for verily I say unto you that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." Do you know who those prophets and righteous men were? They were Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other righteous men of the Old Testament. They had a most wonderful vision of the coming of Christ and they could see it portrayed, foreshadowed, and typified in the Old Testament ceremonies and promises. They had a wonderful vision of what it would be like when Christ came and brought these things to pass in the lives of His people, but they never lived to see that day themselves. But Jesus looking into the faces of His disciples said to them, "Do you realize how fortunate you are that your eyes are actually seeing in the midst of your fellowship a fulfillment of everything God had in mind for His people before the world began?" We would say to you tonight:  do you realize how fortunate you are in your fellowship right here and now, you have a fulfillment of everything God promised to His people from the beginning of time. He promised it and He fulfilled it in the life of Jesus and through His ministry, and He is still fulfilling it in the lives of His people tonight? I don't know of anything that will deepen your confidence in God or in the Bible tonight more than to read the promises away back in the Old Testament then turn to the New Testament and see it fulfilled to the very letter seven to eight hundred years later. I don't know of anything that should deepen your confidence in the Bible more than that.