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The last days began with Jesus’ arrival and at Pentecost“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” – Hebrews 1:1-2
- Implication of the Kingdom of God-This flies in the face of wacky theologies such as cessationism and dispensationalism. The Bible knows only two time zones: This Age, and The Age to Come.
- We live in the overlap of the ages.
Every intervention of God since then is a breakthrough of the coming future Age.
- Implication of the Kingdom of God -Revivals are moments of end of the world intervention.
- Gaps between revivals may be getting shorter and shorter.
- In each revival, people believe it is the End.
The Age to Come and This Age are separated by a torn veil.
- Implication of the Kingdom of God - The author of Hebrews compares the outer chamber of the Jewish tabernacle to This Age and the inner chamber to The Age to Come.
- When Jesus died on the Cross, the veil between the two chambers was torn in two. There is no longer a clear division between This Age and The Age to Come for those who live in the Spirit.
- A continual expectation of the any minute arrival of God in power.
- When the Holy Spirit falls, we experience more of God’s future presence now in power, which results in more healing, more justice and more revival.
The ministry of healing is to be understood in this context of the Kingdom of God.
- An implication of the Kingdom of God- This is part of the mystery of the Kingdom of God. When we pray for the sick and they are healed, it is because the Kingdom of God is breaking in. When we pray for the sick and they are not healed, it is because the Kingdom of God is not breaking in.
- • There is no formula (e.g., “We just need to pray more” or “You need to have more faith”).5.4.2. This is the framework for discerning utopianism versus pietistic withdrawal. Both views lead to wacky conclusions.
Christians are “Already, Not Yet” people.
An Implication of the kingdom of God- 5.5.1. This is more than a theology, this is a known experience. Our experience resonates with the Kingdom of God.5.5.2. We are here, almost here, delayed, and future people.5.5.3. We are saved (justified), being saved (sanctified), and will be saved (glorified).• This is the truth about the nature of life in the Kingdom of God. If we do not hear and are not taught this, we struggle and think there is something wrong with us.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit were only for the 1st century and no longer happen today.
History is divided into many time zones and the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for only a prior time zone. The early church is the peak and the world continues in a downward spiral until Jesus’ Second Coming.
What view is this?-The miraculous gifts of the Spirit (e.g., prophecy, healing, miracles, tongues, etc.) “were distinctly for the authentication of the apostles... as the authoritative agents of God in founding the church. Their function thus confined them to distinctively the Apostolic Church, and they necessarily passed away with it.” • This argument was popularized by Benjamin B. Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles (1918), claiming to build on Augustine; citation from pp. 235-236. • Warfield cites Augustine’s assertion in his De Vera Religione that the age of miracles has passed.• The purpose of miracles was to authenticate new Scripture as it was being given. The canon is now closed; therefore, there will be no more miracles today.
What View is this?- If people give prophecies today, the prophecies will supplant Scripture –prophecies will either add to the Bible or supplant the Bible’s authority with new revelation.Paul says prophecy and supernatural knowledge will pass away and tongues will cease (1 Cor. 13:8). • The Greek verb for “cease” is in the middle (reflexive) voice which means tongues will cease of themselves earlier on; and knowledge and prophecy will pass away or disappear “when the perfect comes” (13:10) – which must refer to “when the canon of Scripture is completed.”
What View is this? If the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were for the purpose of authenticating the Apostles, then why are they attributed to many others besides the Apostles, Furthermore, the miraculous gifts have occurred from the apostolic age until now, in varying degrees.
Empowered Evangelical View (e.g., Vineyard View)
What View is this? "It would be more accurate to claim that miracles authenticated Gospel preaching. •The NT gives other purposes for miracles, as well: as a testimony that the Kingdom of God has come ; out of God’s compassion to help those in need to glorify God"
Empowered Evangelical View
What view is this? - Even when Scripture was being written, it had authority over currently given non-canonical revelation. The Bible expresses God’s will for all people, everywhere, for all time. But the vast majority of revelatory words in the NT period were more parochial and did not make it into the canon. All these prophecies were to be evaluated, sifted (1 Cor. 14:29, 37-38; 1 Thess. 5:20-21), and judged. Paul promoted non-canonical prophecy (1 Cor. 14:1, 39).The same applies today.
Empowered Evangelical View
Recognize whether the supporting Biblical texts are Already, Not Yet, or Both Already/Not Yet types of texts. Once you are a Christian, your whole life changes."Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ, and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him." 2 Corinthians 2:14
Recognize whether the supporting Biblical texts are Already, Not Yet, or Both Already/Not Yet types of texts.• The Christian life is one, long moaning session. You cannot wait for the day when the Kingdom finally comes in fullness.• “Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:2-5• “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” – 2 Corinthians 4:11-12• “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” – Colossians 3:5
Recognize whether the supporting Biblical texts are Already, Not Yet, or Both Already/Not Yet types of texts.• “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing and yet possessing everything.” – 2 Corinthians 6:4-10• Paul speaks both of continual suffering and glory. Christians are the happiest, depressed people – overcoming losers and beaten-up winners!
Both already/not yet
Recognize the seven effects of the “already but not yet” nature of the Kingdom upon the Christian life.
- 7.1. The flesh/spirit and old self/new self language is not psychological language – it is Kingdom language.
- 7.2. It is the environment into which we are born.
- 7.3. While there are deliverance and inner healing, we need to get used to our Already/Not Yet state. It is not a passing phase until Jesus returns.
- 7.4. Do not panic, or fall into despair, or hate yourself.
- 7.5. It will get harder.
- 7.6. It will get better while it gets worse, and vice versa.
- 7.7. Do not postpone availability to God until you are “okay.”
Recognize how we can invite the Kingdom of God to come. Explain (in 3 paragraphs) how we can change our Kingdom expectation, how the Kingdom’s coming is a mystery, and the recommended ways to respond to its mystery
- 1.6. Expectation
- 1.6.1. To the extent that you have a Kingdom expectation, you can enter into the Kingdom.
- 1.6.2. Jesus came announcing the arrival of the Kingdom into a Jewish nation filled with expectation.
- 1.6.3. The problem with us: our perception of God is too small.
- • The Living God is not too small! Our theology or lack of experience may shrink God.
- 1.7. Prayer
- 1.7.1. To the extent that you have a biblical Kingdom expectation, you can pray the Kingdom Prayer (see Section 8.9).
- 1.8. Announcement of the Kingdom
- 1.8.1. To the extent that you have a Kingdom expectation and have prayed the Kingdom Prayer, you will make a valid announcement of the Kingdom.
- 1.9. The Kingdom announcement releases the demonstration of the Kingdom.
- • To the extent that you truly announce the Kingdom, the Kingdom will increasingly be demonstrated. As you do this more and more, the more you will experience it.
- 1.10. Mystery – This is not a formula!
- 1.10.1. There will be times when you’ve done all of the above and it appears that God does hardly anything.
- 1.10.2. There will be times when you’ve hardly done anything and God surprises you.
- 1.10.3. What God does or doesn’t do remains in the mystery of the Kingdom.
- • God is God; we cannot turn him on like a light switch.
- 1.11. How can we change our Kingdom Expectation, out of obedience to Jesus?
- 1.11.1. Scripture
- Read the Bible! Read about the Prophetic Promise of the coming Kingdom in Isaiah and Daniel. Read the New Testament fulfillment of this promise, particularly in the Gospels and Acts.
- • These passages show what it looks like when the Kingdom comes. We can conclude that we also can announce and demonstrate the Kingdom of God.
- 1.11.2. Read the history of revivals.
- • Revivals are times when the Kingdom breaks in with greater intensity and people’s expectations that it will indeed break in are increased. Revivals change people and society for the better. If we do not read about revivals, we will think that spiritually dead times are normal.
- 1.11.3. Christian experience
- Generally speaking, the more you see, the more you will expect and the more you expect, the more you will see. There is a virtual cycle of growing expectation that the Kingdom will break in. Get yourself somewhere where you are going to see such things. Start with tiny expectations. God will de-brainwash you from rationalism and cynicism and re-brainwash you with Kingdom expectation.
- 1.12. Kingdom Prayer
- “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ ” – Matthew 6:9-13
- • The most radical prayer you can pray is for the powers of the coming Age to break in now.
- 1.12.1. Hallowing the Divine Name
- • Remind God of his nature and character. Ask him to act according to his Name.
- 1.12.2. The “Come Holy Spirit” Prayer
- 1.12.3. The Apostles at prayer – when they were facing persecution from the authorities (Acts 4:23-31)
- • God liked their prayer; the Holy Spirit came, the room shook, and the disciples were empowered to evangelize. Their prayer is a good example for us. Study it.
- 1.13. Kingdom Announcement
- 1.13.1. The keryx in Greco-Roman society was the herald or heralder, announcement or announcer, proclamation or proclaimer.
- 1.13.2. In Roman law, as the word was spoken, it became an event and a binding reality.
- • The announcement was made in the town square, “Hail, hear ye, what the emperor says…”
- The words of Jesus
- The works of Jesus
- • The key is the link between the announcement and the demonstration.
- 1.13.3. The Sending of the Twelve and the Great Commission (Matthew 10:7-8; 28:18-20)
- • Jesus sent out the Twelve disciples, saying, “As you go, proclaim this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, and drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
- • In the Great Commission, Jesus told his disciples to go, make disciples, preach, teach and tell them to do all I have commanded you.
- • We are to do this too! The Kingdom of God is near. God is about to make his Presence known.
- 1.14. Kingdom Mystery
- At times God comes in great power…or some power…or no power. It is a mystery as to when and why he comes.
- 1.14.1. Do not get into manipulation. Let God be God.
- • This is very important!
- • Sometimes we get desperate and think that if he does not come, we need to help God (e.g., by praying more, pushing people down).
- • Do not pretend to have experienced something you have not. And do not stop something from happening that is happening.
- 1.14.2. Follow the initiative of God. Do what the Father is doing.
- • Focus on the announcement of the Kingdom and wait. Watch for what God is doing, announce what you see, and God does more.
- 1.14.3. Waiting on God
- • Waiting is very important. Quakers spent hours waiting. God is not instant!
- 1.14.4. The role of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
- • The Spirit’s gifts are like a spark jumping from This Age to the Coming Age.
- • The operation of prophetic gifts is very important.