The parable of the good samaritan




Luke 10V25-37.



THEME: Eternal life is a gift from God and neighbourly love must characterise this eternal / kingdom life in attitudes and actions.




It is true to say that the parable of the Good Samaritan together with the parable of the Prodigal son are two of the most well known of the parables that Jesus told. It is also true to say that they are probably they most widely misunderstood.


Considereing that one before us – the Good Samaritan – we will always miss the true meaning if we ignore the context of the parable and focus just on the parable. Because the parable takes up such a large part of the dialogue between Jesus and the lawyer we tend to focus on the story – this inevitably leads to misinterpretation.


When we focus exclusively on the parable we end up with a nice moral / ethical story about reaching out to those in need. So we have organisations like “Samaritans” that do just that. This is part of the teaching of the parable and a very necessary part – but it is only a part and not the whole story!!


The setting is Jesus in dialogue with a group of people one of who is an expert in the Jewish law. This lawyer, it would seem, is intent on tripping Jesus up as well as trying to justify his own position before the watching crowd.


The lawyer asks two questions:


1) “What must I do to inherit etrnal life?” [v25]

2) “Who is my neighbour?” [v29]


Jesus answers both questions with a question. In this way getting the lawyer and the crowd to rethink their preconcieved ideas.


We, too, have many preconcieved ideas – Our homes, our education, the media all play their part in molding the way we think and act – many of the things we learn are not in line with the way of life in the kingdon of God. That is why Paul talked about the word of God renewing our minds so that we begin to think like citizens of God’s kingdom and not like secularists.




The question is “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?”  On the surface it seems like a silly questions – only legal heirs inherit and not beause of what they do but because of who they are related to.


If we look at the OT – we see how Israel’s idea of inheritance was that God gave them the Promised Land. This was interpreted by the rabbis to mean that salvation in the age to come was included – and this was achieved by adherence to the law. This was the common understanding of the people at the time of Jesus – the sinners inherited punishment in Sheol but the righteous, BY KEEPING THE LAW, inherited eternal life.


The idea in the mind of the Lawyer was that eternal life needed to be worked for and what he wanted from Jesus was a list of things that were necessary to achieve this.

This is still the idea in the minds of many people – “If I live a ‘good’ life then God must accept me!!”


Jesus’ answer could have been very short and he could have insisted that the OT was clear that Eternal Life was an inheritance. That would have sparked a useless debate about the Rabbis interpretation of the OT.


Instead Jesus asks a question -“What is written in the law? How do you read it?”


The lawyer’s answer is very good. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all strength” [quoted from Dt.6v5] “and with all your mind” This last bit is added probably because of the Greek influence as an explanatory note. “Heart”  in Hebrew is the centre of the intellect whereas in Greek thought it is the mind.

‘And love your neighbour as yourself.”

This is a brilliant summary of the law of God – our duty to God and to people!!


This Lawyer is absolutely right. His understanding of God’s requirements is excellent BUT the question is: “Is he willing to put this into action?”  — “Is he able to put this into action?


Jesus’ answer is: “You answered correctly. Do this and you will live!”


We tend to see Jesus’ answer in terms of life after death because we think of eternal life in terms of life after death. Eternal life in scripture is not ONLY after death but something we can have now in this present age. [Lit, eternal life = life of the age].


John 3v36 “Whoever believes in the son HAS eternal life!”


Firstly, this verse is lit. saying, “Do this and you will come alive” OR “Do this and you are living”


Secondly, the lawyer had asked about eternal life but Jesus widens the discussion to include all of life.  The lawyer wanted a limited set of requirements but Jesus commands an open-ended life-style with unlimited and unqualified love for God and people.


The law which the lawyer quotes sets a standard way beyond anything anyone can possibliy reach.   In Luke 18 in a parallel passage the people responded “Who then can be saved?” The answer is NO ONE!!


Jesus answer is very simple “You want eternal life then continually and totally show unlimited love to God and people” It is that simple!!

Complete obedience to the law of God is the way to be right with God — Jesus and Paul and the Jewish teaches agree — but experience shows that this is an ineffective way because of people’s inability to give complete obedience to God. {100% – there’s no 50% pass mark}


So eternal life is a gift — it has to be — it can’t be earned!!

BUT the lawyer has not yet given up hope that he can earn entrance into eternal life. This prompts his second question: “Who is my neighbour?”







It is difficult to know exactly what the lawyer was thinking — but it would seem that he was hoping that Jesus would answer “Your family / relatives and friends” then he could say : “I have fully done that” and then go on his way satisfied that he will have eternal life.


You see NEIGHBOUR – by the definition of the Jews at the time was one’s brother – a fellow Jew  — this may include prosyletes [one who is a Jew by conversion not birth] but definitely not gentiles.


Listen to what the Midrash – commentary on the Jewish law – says – :

The gentiles amongst whom and us there is no war,

and so those that are keepers of sheep among the Israelites,

and the like, we are not to contrive their death; but if they

are in any danger of death we are not bound to deliver them:

e.g. if any of them fall into the sea you shall not need to take them out:

for it is said:” Thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy neighbour”,

but such a one is not thy neighbour.

[Lightfoot in Bailey “Through Peasant eyes p.40]


The lawyer was pressing Jesus to answer giving a limited definition like other rabbis BUT instead Jesus tells a parable:


a. The robbers.


A Traveller is set upon by robbers and left for dead.

The 17 mile journey from Jerusalem to Jericho was notorious for bandits — I have travelled down that road — It is very rugged coutryside and easy to see why bandits could hide there so easily. Throughout history it has been famous for robbers. Jesus hearers would have been very familiar with it.


The audience is Jewish and so the traveller is assumed to be Jewish. He is stripped and left unconscious  – there is no way of knowing his identity.  The normal way of a traveller being identified was by the way he spoke and dressed  –  both these means now not available.


The traveller is simply a human being in need.

b. The Priest.


The priests of the time were among the upper classes. It would be assumed that the priest was riding. The upper class would certainly not take a 17 mile hike through the desert – only the poor walked.


Later in the story we know that the Samaritan was riding so it is reasonable to assume the Priest was also – The assumption inf the story is that all the passers – by had equal opportunity to help.


It is quite probable that the Priest was travelling home after having completed his two week tour of duty at the temple. He was travelling away from Jerusalem so this is a safe assumption.


The book of Sirach 12v1-7 { part of the inter-testamental writings} gives us an insight into the thinking of the priest:


If you do a good turn then know to whom you are doing it,

and your good deed will not go to waste.

Do good to a devout man, and you will receive a reward,

if not from him, then certainly from the Most High …

Give to a devout man,

do not go to the help of a sinner,

Do good to a humble man,

give nothing to a godless one,

Refuse him bread, do not give him any,

it might make him stronger than you are;

then you would be repaid evil twice over

for all the good you have done him.

For the most high himself detests sinners,

and will repay the wicked with avengeance.

Give to the good man,

and do not go to the help of a sinner.


How often do we only help those who we think will be of use to us in the future.

How much of Britian’s aid goes to countries where there is the prospect of a return in the furture. How often is our help given with strings attached??

How often are we willing to help our own kind but not others – the root of Racial/ class distinction. E.G. Apartheid in RSA.

The priest riding down the road sees this traveller lying at the side of the road. Is he a Jew? — no way of knowing!! Is he a sinner? – no way of knowing. Is he dead or alive? The only way to find out is to go and touch him BUT if he is dead then the Priest will be defiled – ritually unclean. In fact if he goes within four cubits [2 metres / 6’6″]  of a dead man he will be unclean.


If he becomes unclean then he is faced with a lengthy ritual process of cleansing – he would also have to immmediately rend his garments which would conflict with the obligation not to destroy valuable things.


He had just finished his two weeks serving as a priest in the Temple – he would have been leading the worship; if he became unclean he would have to go through ritual purification at the temple -this involved the expense of having to buy and sacrifice a heifer – this also involved having to stand at the East gate during certain ceremonies with all the unclean!! What a humiliation for a priest!!


Helping this traveller would cause him to loose face – it would damage his status.

He was a victim to a list of “DOs and DON’Ts” and a slave to his status. Not prepared to jeopardize his position he passes by. It was not concenient!! Must we only help those in need when it is convenient!!!


c. The Levite.


A levite was also a religious leader – he also served in the Temple – his position is not as high as the priest. The requirements of the law were not as strict on him. He was only required to observe ritual purity during the course of his duties. If he touched the dead man he would still be unclean but the implications for him were not as serious.

This is borne out by the fact that he at least comes and sees “.. he came to the place..”


Why didn’t the Levite help? Probably because he knew that the priest hadn’t! BUT the story doesn’t say that. In those days and in that part of the world it was always the case that a traveller would ask as he left the city gate who else was travelling that road. Sometimes your life could depend on knowing who you fellow traveller’s were. Also the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was such that it was possible to see a long way ahead and who was travelling.


Why then should a levite help a poor traveller when his superior had not? If he helped it would be a criticism of the priest. BUT whatever his reasons nothing in his religious consciousness moves him to help this man!!


d. The Samaritan.


The order of hierarchy in the Temple was Priest, Levite and laymen so it would be expected that the next person to come on the scene would be a layman BUT no!! A Samaritan  – A hated, despised half-breed. They were the traditional enemy of the Jews.


ILLUS.: That is why when Jesus spoke to the Samaritam woman in John 4 she was so astounded – In fact she was surprised that Jesus was there as Jews would often not travel through Samaria because of the hatred between them.


A Samaritan is NOT a Gentile – they, like the Jews, followed the law of Moses and so this Samaritan was bound by the same Religious laws as the Priest and the Levite.

What is more he is travelling in Jewish country and so this wounded man is most likely to be a Jew. He too risks contamination if the man is dead. The robbers might respect a Priest or Levite but not a  “hated” Samaritan.


He too would know that the Priest and Levite had passed by so why should he help this wounded Jew when his fellow Jews hadn’t.


BUT  “… he took pity …”  [Lit. compassion – pity in action]

He binds up his wounds and pours on oil and wine [first aid remedies] BUT also sacrificial elements used in worship at the Temple. The Priest and Levite would have been pouring out these very elements in their worship at the Temple.


“Pouring out” –   is a term used of worship before God.


Paul uses the same word in Phil. 2v17 ” … I am being poured out like a drink offering in sacrifice and service….. ”

The same idea is in Romans 12v1 speaking to Christians Paul says we are to be ” … a living sacrifice …”


The Priest and the Levite poured out oil and wine on the altar before God but failed miserably in their ability to be a “living sacrifice” to this wounded man.

It is easy to perform all the right religious rituals and say the right things but when it come to sacrificial acts for others where do we stand??  Singing and prayer and Bible study are important and necessary BUT of little value if they done lead to love toward people.


Then the Samaritan puts the man on his donkey and takes him to an inn.

The social distinction  between rider and leaders of riding animal in the ME is very important – if you lead then you are a servant.  BUT this Samaritan takes the role of a servant.


When he gets to the inn [ not the Ritz – inns were pretty basic and often dangerous places themselves] he cares for him – as a servant would – but also pays – and then offers to settle up on his return. If the wounded man was not able to pay he would be place in a debtors prison until he was able to pay.


The Samaritan risks his life – the avenging of blood by a family is very posible – by getting involved he is a target for vengance.


ILLUS.:  {Bailey} A Red Indian Riding into Dodge City with a scalped cowboy and booking into the local saloon.


This Samaritan is an unknown stranger yet inspite of the cost to himself in time. in effort, in money and personal danger he FREELY demonsrates unexpected love to the one in need.


Isn’t this a dramatic demostration of the kind of love that God has shown us through Jesus Christ.


3. THE QUESTION: “who is my neighbour?” REDEFINED.


ILLUS.: OHP – Member to Pastor “I’d like to see you love my neighbour?”

MY RESPONSE – “I can’t” He’s your neighbour not mine!! You can’t hire someone else to love your neighbour!


Jesus has reshaped the Lawyer’s question – not “Who is my neighbour ?”  BUT “who was neighbour to the one who fell among the robbers?”


Jesus tells him to be like the Samaritan!!!


“Who is my Neighbour?” asks for a list of kinds of people!!

“To whom must I become a neighbour?” – this is the real questions –  Unless you show this kind of love to ALL humanity you can’t expect to receive eternal life?

BUT who can do this ???  NO ONE!!!!


YOU SEE – I must become a neighbour to everyone in need. To fulfill God’s requirements I must reach out in costly compassion to all people, even to my enemies. The standard remains even though I can never reach it. I can’t justify myself and earn eternal life> [Bailey p.55]


Self justification before God is hopeless – eternal life is only received as a gift.

BUT I still must strive after the standard even if I can’t attain to it.  In the same way and God commands his people to “Be holy even as I am holy”

This is our goal -not to gain salvation but in response to having reeived it as a gift!


There are two types of sinners in this parable – the robbers who hurt the man by violence and the Priest and Levite who hurt the man by neglect. They are all guilty. Omitting to do good when we have the opportunity is just as sinful as actively doing harm.


We have been talking about the kingdom of God over the last few months – this is the kind of kingdom living the God requires.


Being a good neighbour is not like the theme song of the soap opera “Neighbours”  – it is not a cosy little huddle on Ramsey Street in a nice middle class suburb –


“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours,

with a little understanding

we’ll find a perfect blend.

Neighbours should be there for one another,

that’s when good neighbours become good friends.”


Being a neighbour is being like Christ – a willingness to demonstrate costly undeserved love on any one in need.


The robber’s philosophy was “What’s yours is mine if I am strong enough to take it away from you!”


The Priest/Levite’s philosophy was “What’s mine is mine and I’ll selfishly keep it to myself  because I don’t want to get involved!”


The Samaritan’s philosophy and that of every citizen of God’s kingdom is “What’s mine is yours if you have need and I have the ablity to do something about it!”


May God help us all to be good neighbours!!


The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Israel



1 Samuel 8; 1 Samuel 12; 2 Samuel 7.



An overview of God’s development of a people for himself:-

In our first message on the Roots of the Kingdom of God we looked at four things that Israel believed about their God:

– Israel believed in one supreme God.

– Israel believed in a God who rules the nations.

– Israel believed in a God who had chosen her.

– Israel believed in a God of Hope.

As we look through the history of Israel from the time they entered Canaan we see a cycle of disobedience toward God, God’s punishment, Repentance, Deliverance by a Charismatic type leader (Gideon, Deborah and Samson). This cycle repeated itself over and over again.

We take up the story of the nation of Israel at the time when Eli was priest and leader of Israel. Things were again not going to well. The Philistines were a constant threat and had captured the Ark of the Covenant in which were the Ten Commandments  – the symbol of the Lord’s presence with Israel. Eli’s two sons had been killed. Eli dies when he hears the news of the death of his sons and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant – he fell backwards off his chair and broke his neck.

Samuel then takes over the leadership of Israel as priest and judge. The Ark of the Covenant is returned – God caused the Philistines many problems for as long as they kept the Ark – and then under the leadership of Samuel the Israelites defeat the Philistines but that is by no means the end of the Philistine threat. As Samuel got older  he appointed his sons as judges but the were corrupt and did not have the confidence of the people of Israel who then thought it would be a good idea to have a king.

The people’s cry to Samuel was :- “But everybody has one”

1. “Going our own way!”

From a human perspective we can understand why Israel wanted a king –

– their national neighbours the Philistines and Ammonites were a constant threat.

– Samuel’s two sons certainly did not inspire confidence in the people.

But 1 Sam.8v5&19 give us their reason:-

They said to him, “You are old and

your sons do not walk in your ways,

now appoint a king to lead us such

as all the other nations have”

“Then we will be like all the other nations,

with a king to lead us and to go out

before us and fight our battles.”

There is an element in their reasoning that hints at the fact that they are passing-the-buck.  “…he can go before us and fight our battles…” If we have a king then he will be responsible – as if that would somehow let them off the hook – that they would not therefore be as responsible to God as the king. It seems to be an inbred instinct that we inherited from Adam and Eve “I am not responsible!!

ILLUS.: Do you have this in your family when something goes wrong -“Its not my fault, I just…!

Having a king would not in any way make the individual Israelite less responsible to God.  Everyone of us is responsible to God – Everyone one of us will one day have to stand before God and give an account of our life. Saying -“But I had bad leaders” will be no excuse!!

The only way you and I can stand before God is on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done by dying for us! “Where do you stand in your relationship to Jesus Christ?” “You can’t sit on the fence – make up your mind

There was another reason why Israel wanted a king – to their minds probably the most important “…. then we will be like the other nations …”.

Peer pressure is not a new idea – it is not only individuals that suffer from peer pressure; groups of people can also suffer from it.

Israel’s argument was “But everyone has a king and we also want one!!”

Israel was missing the point of why God had called them and brought them into the Promised Land. God did not put them there so that they could be like the nations BUT so that the nations could see how God was with them and be drawn to God.

How often has it been in the history of God’s people that instead of influencing the people around them for God they have been influenced and drawn away from God.

That danger is still with us today. It is much easier to go along with what everyone else is doing – to be carried along with the crowd. It is much more difficult to go against the tide of popular opinion. How often have you done something that you know is not right but you were too embarrassed or too ashamed or too afraid to be different.

There are some who always want to be different just to be different and draw attention to themselves – God wants us to be different so that we can draw attention to him.

That is what God want for Israel BUT they wanted to be like everyone else.

So when Samuel gets angry and complains to God – God says to give them what they want – after all it was God they were rejecting not Samuel.

And the Lord told him [Samuel].

“Listen to all that the people are saying to you,

it is not you they have rejected,

it is me they have rejected as their King [1 Sam.8v7]

Ultimately Israel’s problem was that they had taken their eyes off God – they lost sight of who God is – “Maybe God need a king to help him cope with the threat from the neighbouring nations” They failed to see that God was their King and that they did not need an earthly king –

What would this earthly king be like? [We read 1 Samuel 8v11-18 [Moses warned of this in Dt.17]

This king would tax them and take their sons and daughters to be his soldiers and servants. BUT in spite of all the warnings of what an earthly king would be like they still insisted on having one. So God gives them what they want.

How often do we behave like that – like a spoilt child who whinges and begs in order to get whet they want –

ILLUS.: Have you every wanted something so badly but when you actually get it you find that it is not what you really wanted after all but it is too late to change your mind.  How many have gone into marriage like that? Or a particular job? Or made a decision that you later regret??

We have all done it in one way or another.

But you know, Disobedience, even willful disobedience, is not the unforgivable sin.

2. Willful disobedience is not unforgiveable.

Israel got their king and Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. In Samuel’s farewell speech he reminds the nation of God’s dealings with them in the past – how God rescued them from slavery in Egypt and brought them through the desert into the Promised Land and how their forefathers were disobedient. Then he goes on:-

READ 1Samuel 12v12-25

In spite of the evil they had done Samuel encourages them NOT to turn away from God. God has not turned away from you but you have turned away from him. Turn back BECAUSE contrary to what you might think God is not like other people who when rejected go off and sulk. NO God wants you to return and to obey and love him.

We are his chosen people – will he reject us??

It does not matter what you have done? No matter how gross a sin you may have committed – no matter what mistakes or wrong decisions you may have made in your life- Don’t allow the devil to convince you that you are too far gone and no good to God.

And notice Samuel’s reaction to Israel’s sin “Well you blew it so I hope you get what you deserve!!!”  NO!! NO!! Samuel exhibits the character of the God he serves –

He says “…… I will pray for you and teach you the way that is good and right.”

It is easy to condemn – to see faults and sin in others – sin is what everyone else does!!! There is no room for gloating when we see others fall. There is no room for one-up-manship. We are all sinners. The only reason that anyone is accepted by God is because of his grace – We need Samuel’s attitude towards each other.  “I WILL PRAY FOR YOU AND TEACH YOU WHAT IS GOOD AND RIGHT”

3. Our best is always imperfect.

The first three kings of Israel were Saul, David and Solomon.

SAUL – got off to a good start but it wasn’t long before he failed to obey the instruction given him by Samuel. Saul was willful and impatient – he was irreverent and presumptuous when he offered sacrifices, which was the priest’s job and not his. He became deceitful and suspicious – finally he ended up consulting a witch and took his own life on the Battle field.

DAVID was the greatest king Israel ever had. To this day the Davidic Dynasty is heralded as the Golden Age of Jewish history. God chose David to be king. David startedas a shepherd, was chosen by God and anointed by Samuel.

Later he was kept on the run from Saul who wanted to kill him – he surrounded himself with a small band of followers and after Saul’s death he was proclaimed king by the people.

David was a great king and a great warrior – he united the nation behind him. He dealt decisively with the Philistine threat and subdued all Israel’s neighbours.

Until this time the centre of Jewish worship was Shiloh where the Tabernacle was BUT David moved it to Jerusalem. He also made Jerusalem his capital. This was the height of Israel’s power.

BUT in the midst of this prosperity and success David drifted from God – He started to take it easy. The success went to his head and he went to bed with his neighbour’s wife, Bethsheba. Then when she became pregnant he tried to cover up by having Urriah, Bethsheba’s husband, murdered.

Before we judge David to harshly we need to consider the times in which He lived. The king’s of that day could take anything or anyone they wanted – David simply did what any king of that time would have done.

Success doesn’t always breed success. Here we see how success breeds failure!! David’s success had made him comfortable and careless.

It is very tempting after we have been successful in some way to think that we have made it – we are strong, we can handle it. We don’t really need God’s help on this one we can manage!!

Paul warns in 1 Co.10v12:-

.. If you think you are standing firm,

be careful that you don’t fall!

For a moment David forgot that he was only the vice-regent – God was still KING over his people. David learned that bitter lesson after God sent Nathan the prophet to rebuke him.

[Read David’s confession in Pss. 32 & 51 later]

David’s sin had serious consequences for his kingship and the kingdom of Israel. From this point on David’s life is a catalogue of one tragedy after another. God forgave David but he had to live with the consequences of his sin. The sad fact about sin is that we usually have to live  with the consequences.

[Come back to David in a moment]

SOLOMON – David established the Kingdom over which Solomon reigned. Solomon is famous for his wisdom, his wealth and his wives. He built the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem BUT he did what Moses had warned a future king of Israel never to do:-

..he must not take many wives,

or his heart will be led astray.

He must not accumulate large

amounts of silver and gold….

….. (he must not consider) himself

better than his brother and

turn from the law [Dt.17v17&20]

Under Solomon the rich got richer and the poor poorer and his many foreign wives turn his heart to worship false gods.

This kingdom of Israel reached great heights – it was very impressive BUT it was imperfect and so too, were its kings.

These first three kings have one thing in common – they started well BUT ended badly. After Solomon the Kingdom split.

BUT is this the end – is it a story of doom and gloom?

Back to David for a moment!

4. God can use our errors for his glory.

The people had rejected God by asking for a king. The kings they got were far from perfect. It did not please God BUT he had chosen them and they were his people. And God in his foreknowledge and wisdom knew and he made provision. God’s plan to have a people for himself was not going to be thwarted by this incident.

God had made covenants in the past that could not be broken.

Adam – Gen.3v15 – the promise of one would come and destroy sin and Satan

Abraham – Gen.12v2 – the promise of a great nation and a descendent who would

bring blessing to the whole world.

Joseph – about Judah – Gen. 49v10 – a king would come from the tribe of Judah.

NOW ANOTHER COVENANT – David [tribe of Judah] 2 Sam.7v11b-17 READ!!

God’s promise to David was that one of his descendent would rule God’s people forever. It was from that adulterous relationship with Bethsheba that ultimately Jesus the promised Messiah came. The one who would rule on the throne of his father David forever.

God has a plan and he is sovereign and in control – and nothing is going to stop God from fulfilling his purposes for his people.

Christ is building his church and nothing , not even the forces of hell, can prevents her advance.

This gives great hope to the church as God’s people BUT it also give great hope to us as individuals. God does not approve of our sin or condone it but he can take us with all our sinful ways and out of the mess of our lives can make something beautiful for his glory.

It you have never come to God because you think you are not good enough – you are right – you are not good enough and you never will be!  There is no point sitting on the fence because the fence is outside the kingdom of God. And outside the kingdom of God there is no hope and the future is bleak.

For those who are Christians God has this promise:-

Romans 8v28:-

God is at work in every detail of our lives

for our good….

Israel turned away from God by wanting a king BUT that willful disobedience was not unforgiveable. The best king they had were imperfect [Our best is always imperfect] BUT God can use our errors for his glory.

God’s message to Israel throughout her checked history was “return to me and obey me and I will bless you”.

That’s God’s message to us today – God can take our failures and weaknesses, our sinful desires and our bad decision and he can make something out of our lives that will bring glory to his name!!!


1. Israel believed in one supreme God.

2. Israel believed in a God who rules the nations.

3. Israel believed in a God who had chosen her.

4. Israel believed in a God of Hope.


What is the Gospel of the Kingdom?



MATTHEW 4v17&23; MARK 1v15.




ILLUS.: We live in a most amazing world – and in an age of great achievement. A century ago no one could have foreseen  the comfort and prosperity in which we live – [ in the West that is!!].


When my Grandmother sailed to RSA as a child it took ±6 weeks – now under 12 hours in a great silver bird.


100 years ago life expectancy was much lower than today – the advances in medical science have been phenomenal in the last century..


Because of the car and modern areoplanes we can travel to see places that our grandparents only read about in story books.

Not to mention TV, Video, computers, microwave ovens, virtual reality – the age of the micro chip …..


It is truly an astounding age we live in – incredible advances in science and technology YET people still ask the basic questions? At least if they take the time to stop and think!! Many don’t take time to think – many live in a philosophical blackout never thinking about life or death or the meaning of life in general.  But there comes a time in life when things go wrong – a loved one dies!! Your dreams or goals collapse in a heap of ashes THEN the questions arise!!

What does it all mean? Where are we going? It there a goal toward which history is moving? Does mankind have a destiny? OR as one writer put it {G E Ladd}  ‘ do we jerk across the stage of time like wooden puppets, only to find the stage, the actors, and the theatre itself destroyed by fire, leaving a pile of ashes and the smell of smoke?”

The ancients longed for an ideal society – Plato talked of an ideal society organised along philosphical principles but he himself realised it was too idealistic to ever come true.

Virgil sang of a deliverer who would remove suffering from the earth and start time again!!

The Jewish and Christian faiths express themselves in terms of the Kingdom of God. It is the very heart of revealed religion – the biblical idea of the Kingdom of God is deeply rooted in the OT – it is not man’s idea but is an essential element of  God’s revelation.

Thus the prophets announced a time when men would live together in peace -a time when God shall:-

..shall judge between the nations

and shall decide for many peoples;

and they shall beat their swords into plough shears

and their spears into purning hooks;

nation will  not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war any more [Isa.2v4]

Not only will the problems of society be solved but the abuse of the physical enviroment will also come to an end.

The wolf will live with the lamb,

the leopard will lie down with the goat,

the calf and the lion and the yearling together,

and a little child will lead them.

The cow will feed with the bear,

their young will lie down together

and the lion will eat straw like an ox.

The infant will play near the hole of a cobra

and the young child put his hand into a viper’s nest.

They will neither harm not destroy on all my holy mountain,

for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea. [Isa..11v6-9]

Sounds idealic – peace, safety, security – all promised for the happy future.

The Jewish nation was oppressed by the Roman – they were smarting under foreign rule. They had a hope of a future glorious kingdom under Messiah’s rule – an idealic kingdom that would last forever.

Most saw it as going back to a golden age as they had experienced under King David.  A sovereign nation in charge of its own destiny, free from foreign domination.

It is against such a background of expectation and hope that the words of Jesus ring out – and it is hardly surprising that they caused a stir:-

The time has come.

The Kingdom of God is near.

Repent and believe the good news [Mark 1v15]

This theme of the coming Kingdom of God was central to Christ’s mission.

What we are doing this morning is taking a bird’s eye view of the NT teaching of the Kingdom of God – over the coming weeks we will return to many of these things in more details.




The Kingdom of God has many aspects to it. One of the dangers that the people of God have faced  is that of concentrating on one aspects to the exclusion of others.


Some have seen it as being a very subjective relationship that an individual has with God.


Some see the church as the kingdom of God. Thus as the Church grows the kingdom of God grows so we must get involved in missions and evangelism in order to establish God’s kingdom. Some go so far as to say that the mission of the Church is to win the whole world for Christ thus transforming it into God’s kingdom.


Still others see that kingdom of God to be essentially an ideal human society. It was this kind of thinking that was behind the “Social Gospel”.  People build the kingdom of God as the work for an ideal society. They are not primarily concerned with individual salvation or with the future but with the social problems of the present. People build the KoG as they work for the ideal social order – trying to solve the problems of poverty, sickness, labour relations, social inequalities and race relations.

There is a bewildering diversity of interpretations about what the kingdom of God is.

All those we have mentioned above – individual; Church = kingdom; ideal social order; and others like the kingdom of God is only future….. – They all tell us some important aspect about the kingdom of God. BUT when we focus on one aspect of the kingdom of God to the exclusion of others we get a distorted view of God’s kingdom.

All these thoughts about the KoG are all very interesting but what does the Bible say -“Let’s get back to the Bible!!”

Well the central theme of Christ’s preaching and teaching was the KoG.

His teaching was designed to show people how they could enter the KoG

Unless your righteousness surpasses that

of the Pharisees and the teachers

of the law you will certainly NOT enter the

Kingdom of heaven [Matt.5v20

Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord!”

will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but

he who does the will of my father who is

in heaven [Matthew 7v21]

Jesus went about performing many miracles and mighty deeds to prove that the Kingdom of God had come upon them.

…if I [Jesus] drive out demons by the Spirit of God

then the kingdom of God has come upon you. [Matt.12v28]

The parables showed to his disciples truths about the Kingdom of God – truths that they could see which others, who were not Christ’s disciples couldn’t see. [Matt13v11].

When Jesus taught his disciple to pray – the heart of the prayer was this:-

“Your kingdom come. your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.”

Then at the last supper Jesus reassured his disciples that they would eat again with Him in his kingdom.

So what does all this lead to …….

> the KoG is a present spiritual reality.

You don’t have to wait until you die before you enter God’s Kingdom NOR is the KoG a physical place that you must travel to.

Paul says in Romans:-

For the kingdom of God is not eating or drinking

but righteousness, and peace and joy

in the Holy Spirit [Romans 14v17]

Righteousness and peace and joy are fruits of the Spirit which God gives to those who yield their lives to the rule of the Holy Spirit. These things have to do with the deep things of spiritual life and these aspects says Paul are the Kingdom of God as a present reality.


> the kingdom of God is an inheritence that God will give to His people when Christ comes again in glory.

Then the king will say to those on his right hand,

“Come O blesed of my Father, inherit the kingdom

prepared for you from the foundation of the world”

[Matthew 25v34]

How can it be something we have now and yet will inherit in the furture?


> it is something which the follower’s of Jesus have entered now

God … has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness

and transferred us to the kingdom

of his beloved son [Col.1v13]

This makes it clear that the christian is already in the kingdom of God.

SUMMARY>  Because of the diversity of Biblical teaching on the KoG it is easy to see why so many different interpretations have arisen.

– it is a present reality YET it is a future blessing.

– it is an inner, spiritual individual salvation, which can be entered into

ONLY by being born again by the Spirit of God YET it will have to do

with the government of the nations of the world.

– it is a realm which people enter now YET it is a realm which they will

enter tomorrow.

– it is a gift that God will bestow in the furure YET something which is

received in the present.



We need to ask a fundamental question – “What does KINGDOM mean?”

ILLUS.: The United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland are the group of countries that recognise Queen Elizabeth as their sovereign

In other words the REALM over which she rules.

A second meaning of kingdom is the people belonging to that particular realm.

The United Kingdom may be thought of as the citizens over which the Queen exercises her rule.

We tend to transfer these concepts to the spiritual realm – there is a body of people who are worshippers of God [ we limit this to the church usually] and Christ is the head. This makes God’s kingship dependent upon having a people to rule over???

NO! The KoG in scripture always emphasises to God’s reign, rule, sovereignty and NOT the realm over which it is exercised.     (Although it includes that, but it is not the emphasis.)     This is vital to the understanding of the kingdom of God. If we don’t grasp this principle we will never understand the KoG.

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

his kingdom rules over all.  [Ps. 103v19]

Not he rules BUT his KINGDOM rules!!

Daniel in speaking of the coming Messiah says:-

You O King, the king of kings, to whom God has given

the kingdom, the power, the might and the glory. [Dan. 2v37]

Notice the synonyms used for kingdom – power, might, glory. All expressions of authority.

ILLUS.: Also in Daniel we read of Belshazzar, the Babylonian King:-

God has numbered the days of your kingdom

and brought it to an end. [Daniel 5v26]

The Babylonian realm and people were not brought to an end – they were transferred to another ruler.  It was the rule of the king that was terminated and given to king Darius the Mede.

In Luke 19 we are given a very clear inside into the meaning of kingdom in the NT.

A nobleman went into a distant country

to have himself appointed king and then return [NIV – luke 19v12]

BUT [lit.]

A certain nobleman went to a far country

 to receive for himself a KINGDOM.

He did not go there to collect a few people and a piece of land to bring back.

The territory over which he was to rule was the place he left – The problem for this nobleman was that he was not a king. He needed authority, the right to rule.

He went to get a “kingdom” ie. Kingship, authority.

The kingdom of God is his kingship, his rule, his authority.

The meaning of the KoG in the NT becomes evident when we grasp this principle.

Jesus said we must receive the KoG as ‘little children’  [Mk.10v15]

What do we receive? The church? Heaven ? What is received is God’s rule!! God’s authority over our lives.

In order to receive the Kingdom of God you must submit to God’s rule in the here and now.

It is because God is King and because he rules that he has created for himself a realm and a people over which to rule.

The Good news [gospel] which Jesus came preaching was that God’s rule had come in the person of Christ.

He showed his sovereignty by exercising power over nature, demons, disease, death and people. The right to forgive sin.

That is why he could say “The KoG is among you” because the king had come!!

That is why he taught us to pray

“Your kingdom come your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven”

We want God to manifest his kingly authority and put to flight all enemies of righteousness, that he alone will be God and king over all the world.

This prayer gives us confidence that God’s kingdom will come in its fullest sense. He will wrap up history – knowing this helps us kept a sense of balance and sanity in this mad world in which we live. A world full of confusion, suffering and injustice. Thank God that his Kingdom has come and is coming and will fill all the earth.

When we pray this pray “Your kingdom come”  we are also asking God’s will to be done here and now, today. We want to meet the kingdom of God now in love and mercy rather than at the judgement. May more people turn to your Kingdom like little children –

We are praying “Your kingdom come, your will be done” in my church as it is in heaven. The life and fellowship of the church ought to be a fellowship of people among whom God’s will is done – a bit of heaven on earth!!

As a church at Binscombe we need to be constantly praying for God’s will to be done – we do – but we must continue!! It is all to easy to have the machinery of organisation up and running and think we are okay and to miss God’s will!

“Your kingdom come, your will be done” in my life as it is in heaven.

Is the agenda for your life – God’s agenda?

ILLUS.: You can be a British citizen and hold a British passport but live outside the commonwealth and have nothing what ever to do with the Queen or Britian.

Not so with God’s Kingdom – being a Christian is not a passport to heaven!! It is a daily living in the presence of the king who loves you but who also expects, demands submission and obedience to his kingly rule.

Jesus said:-

“The time has come! The kingdom of God is near.

Repent and believe the good news”

Repent and believe the good news!! Have you???

If you have, can you pray meaning to obey  “Your will be done”  IN MY LIFE  “as it is in heaven” ?