Power For What Kingdom

Why did Matthew mention the Kingdom of Heaven and Luke the Kingdom of God? When Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit giving the disciples “power” was that for the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God?

The differences in the gospel accounts serve a purpose as we mentioned in Shedding This Body Part 2 of 2 but it is necessary to remind people so we understand the “power” God gives all believers. So to remind our readers:

In Matthew you have Jesus being presented to the Jews as their long awaited Messiah. The Lion of the tribe of Judah. So you read details about prophecies being fulfilled like Jesus being born in Bethlehem, Jesus mentions things of the law, traces Jesus “family tree” back proving he was from the tribe of Judah and in Matthew 5:17 Jesus says he is come to fulfill the law. Matthew contains Jewish backgrounds and Jewish references and mentions the tribulation. Had the Jews believed and received Jesus as their Messiah, the Kingdom of Heaven would have come. The Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah so God gave the Gentiles an opportunity to get saved. Paul explains this in Romans. Look at Romans chapters 10 & 11 – in part

Romans 11:11 KJV
I say then, Have they (Jews is context) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Mark shows Jesus as a servant, as an ox. An ox serves the owner. You read a lot about Jesus healing, a lot of interactions with people. Jesus cast out many devils that indwelt people. Mark is where Jesus gives power to his disciples to heal, cast out devils – Mark concludes with Jesus telling his disciples to go and to those who believe (not just the disciples but those who believe) will cast out devils and speak with a “new” tongue, not an unknown tongue.

Luke shows Jesus as a man. You read about his boyhood, and a vivid explanation of his crucifixion is in Matthew 27 that was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies especially in Isaiah 53 – but Luke shows how Jesus handled it as a man. Luke shows Jesus’ walk on earth. Parables are in Matthew and Luke only and Luke,  the focus is on Jesus the man so you read about the Good Samaritan, the sower, the prodigal son, Pharisees, publicans, sadducees  and signs preceding the last days. You learn what the Kingdom of God is in the book of Luke. You see Jesus speak to Jews and Gentiles in Luke. We learn unlike the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God is not earthly, not  something we can see.

Luke 17:20-21 KJV
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
[21] Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

John – John is different than the other three Gospels. John focuses in on Jesus Christ as Lord – the Son of God – the Redeemer. John deals with eternity issues, spirit and spiritual things – that’s why being born again is in this book. The Holy Ghost is mentioned many times and John is more spiritual mattered. In John we learn the power of prayer, the promise of the Holy Spirit – and John deals with Jesus’ resurrected body.

John tells us in John 20:11-17  when Jesus rose from the dead Mary Magdalena and Mary saw 2 angels and then they saw Jesus. They didn’t recognize Jesus until Jesus called Mary by her name. Mary knew then it was Jesus. First thing Jesus said next, “don’t touch me”. Why? I am Not Yet ascended to My Father.

Paul, a Jew who knew the word of God very well, a super “religious” person, a Pharisee who knew the law very well, explains all of this in the book of Hebrews chapters 9 and 10. Paul was a Jew who loved the Jewish people. But God called Paul to go to the Gentiles. So Paul obeys and in all of Paul’s letters in the New Testament they’re all written to the Gentiles except one, the book of Hebrews. He writes a letter/book to Jews, book of Hebrews. Hebrews explains things of the law and how Christ fulfilled the law.

Let me say at this time, there is a false teaching going around that the church is the NT Israel, replacing Israel. That is a false teaching, false doctrine. The church is made up of believers, both Jew and Gentile. Paul says in Romans;

Romans 11:1-5 KJV
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
[2] God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
[3] Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
[4] But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
[5] Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

As Romans 11:11 says, God made it that Gentiles could be saved to provoke Jews to jealousy. Here you have a group of people, Jews, who witnessed miraculous things from God Almighty, God gave them the scriptures,  God blessed and prospered them, protected them, increased them. The Jews knew the scriptures and that one day Messiah would come. And when Messiah came, the religious leaders rejected him but many everyday Jews believed and we’re saved.

When the religious Jews rejected Jesus  Christ as their Messiah, God turned to saving Gentiles to make the Jews jealous. Gentiles were considered dogs by Jews. Now their God was going to allow Gentile dogs to know him? Serve him? Worship him? Praise him? Be blessed by him? Saved? That was the purpose for God showing Peter unclean foods to eat in Acts.

So if Jesus gave his disciples and “others” (see Luke 10:1-24) power and authority over things in this world, is it unusual when he sent the Holy Spirit to believers, they should have some type of power? Look at the power of prayer. There is clearly a switch from the “physical” person to the “spiritual” man (mankind). Luke wrote the book of Acts. Remember Luke’s gospel was on Jesus the man. It was Luke who explained the boyhood of Jesus. Is it a wonder that God would have Luke write about the childhood of the church and Paul tells the church at Galatia, he is laboring with birth pains with them in Galatians 4:19?

Friends, God didn’t remove his power from the church, he manifests his power through the church. Spiritual gifts aren’t for building a ministry on, we build on Jesus the chief cornerstone. Spiritual gifts are not medals of honor but tools for the job God has called you to do for him (1 Corinthians 12:1,2). The church has power, believers have power, but making a ministry on tongues and healing is not scriptural. So what power do we have? We will pick it up next time.

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