"Christ's Kingdom Comes!" Luke 17:20-30

Series: Trinity Season Gospel Sermons

November 12, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

The Last Sundays of the Church year focus our eyes on "Last Things!" We are mortal and will fade away as a shadow. Christ returns to call our bodies back from the grave raising them without sin to live in this world reclaimed by His righteousness. While we wait we rejoice for "Christ's Kingdom Comes!" Sermon text: Luke 17:20-30. Preached for Trinity 25 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

Third Last Sunday In The Church Year (Trinity 25)   12-November-2023
Sermon Text: Luke 17:20-30
Sermon Theme: “Christ’s Kingdom Comes!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert
 I. Now! (Vs.20-21) 
II. Not Yet! (Vs.22-23). 
III. Now Concealed In The Cross! (Vs.25, 26, 27a,28)
IV. NOT YET - Suddenly Appearing - Destroying All Evil.(vs.24,27b,29,30).

I.N.R.I. Darkness increases as our days grow shorter. Nature reminds us that another church year is ending. Our Scripture readings now deal with last things - the fragility of human life - our life passes as a shadow and continues not. We grieve our brothers and sisters in Christ whose bodies sleep in the cemetery awaiting Christ’s return. We wait for the Kingdom of God.
    What is the Kingdom of God? “The kingdom of God is His ruling as king over the whole universe (kingdom of power), the church on earth (kingdom of grace), and the church and angels in heaven (kingdom of glory).” David teaches us the hymn, “Psa 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” The Father spoke His Word, the Son created all things through the Spirit in the first six 24 days of the existence of all things six millennia ago. The Holy Spirit confesses that Jesus, the Father’s only-begotten Son, upholds “all things through the Word of His power.”(Heb.1:3) If the Triune God removed His life giving Word for a millisecond our physical creation would cease to exist.
    Our God’s Kingdom of Grace is the One Holy and Apostolic Christian Church on earth. Jesus instructed good Nicodemus that unless he was born from above he could not see the Kingdom of God. How is such birth given? Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
    The Triune God’s Kingdom of Glory is the Church and Holy Angels in heaven. The saints await the resurrection of their bodies and the life of the world to come. Creation groans awaiting its release from our sin and restoration of righteousness. St. Paul preparing for martyrdom confessed, 2Ti 4:18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
    Jesus teaches us to pray, “Father, Thy Kingdom Come!” We confess, “The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.” Listen to the voice of King Jesus - take heart! “Christ’s Kingdom Comes!” I. Now! (Vs.20-21) II. Not Yet! (Vs.22-23). III. Now Concealed In The Cross! (Vs.25, 26, 27a,28) IV. Suddenly Destroying All Evil.(vs.24,27b,29,30).
I.   A wild man from the wilderness came preaching Mat 3:2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" He calls us to turn from sin, the breaking of God’s Ten Commandments by what we think, say, do, or neglect to do. The Pharisees go out to hear John the Baptizer, but they refuse to enter Christ’s Kingdom of grace. History records, Luk 7:29-30 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. (30) But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” The Pharisees dreamed of a physical kingdom filled with worldly glory, before the resurrection of the dead. They longed for Israel being reestablished to rule the world while the ungodly where everywhere suppressed. (Lk.17:20a) They want to know “when” the Kingdom of God will come.
      Condemning the Pharisees for asking “when” - we condemn ourselves. The old Pharisee within us wants to know when the Kingdom of God is coming. Some following millennialist fantasies are certain that Israel’s war marks the coming of God’s Kingdom. They had the same dream in the 40's when Zionists established the state of Israel, and again in the 60's and 70's when wars broke out in the middle east. That might not be us, but we want to see God’s Kingdom come. We fool ourselves that the USA is the new Israel, if only we elect a moral majority then God’s Kingdom will come. In congregations we want to see results, numbers, when is it coming - why are pews empty?
      Listen to the King! (Lk. 17:20b-21) The Kingdom of God is now present in their midst. The King of Creation dwells with men in the flesh and blood of Jesus. He is present to rescue them from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. He casts out demons with the finger of God - speaking His Word. He restores the sick, raises the dead, forgives repentant sinners. The Kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation. We don’t set a goal for God, grade, evaluate, and quantify His work. We don’t send people on pilgrimages to “see here” or “see there.” God’s Kingdom comes when He gives us His Holy Spirit that we believe His Word.  
        King Jesus promises His presence through His Word in His Church the gathering of two or three. His kingdom isn’t found with our eyes, but with our ears. His sheep hear His voice and He gives them eternal life through His sacrifice for our sins. We don’t make His Kingdom come - He comes through His Word of forgiveness sent forth among us. St. Paul teaches, Rom 10:6-10 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, 'WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?' " (that is, to bring Christ down from above) (7) or, " 'WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). (8) But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): (9) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.. Where the Gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments are rightly administered Christ’s Kingdom comes now - breaking forth into our time, our space, our lives, our hearts - rebirthing us from above.
II.   King Jesus instructs His disciples - those who hear His Word - the other paradoxical truth - His Kingdom is not yet! Listen. (Lk.17:22) Disciples of Jesus long to see the days of the Son of Man - Christ’s Kingdom come. They wouldn’t see it. In Acts 1, Luke tells us that for forty days the Crucified and Risen King Jesus showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs and taught His disciples of the Kingdom of God. They still ask, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" They wanted to see - Jesus told them it was not yet - it wasn’t for them to know the times and seasons God the Father put in His authority. They were to wait the gift of the Holy Spirit and then preach Christ crucified for sinners and raised to reconcile us to our God and Father.
    Beware of false preachers - not called or sent by Jesus through the Holy Spirit by His Church. (Lk. 17:23) False Christ’s, false prophets will come turning you away from gathering together around Jesus in His Word within His Church - they will direct you to trust in what you see and where they lead you. Don’t foolishly follow them. False kingdom builders have promised utopias and led many away from Jesus. In America false prophets like Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel, Jim Jones, Sun Yung Moon, and a myriad of others led people from Jesus’ clear word to trust their lying deceptions of kingdom building - only to lead them captive to Satan and hell.
    Christ’s Kingdom is NOT YET! 2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
III. Christ’s Kingdom of grace is NOW - hidden under the cross! (Lk.17:25) King Jesus journeyed to His Jerusalem. He would be rejected. Betrayed by one of His own disciples - Judas Iscariot. Condemned by the Sanhedrin and handed over to Pilate. Pilate found King Jesus innocent - His kingdom was not of this world. It wasn’t a threat to Roman rule and order - He was born a King to speak the Truth - those of the Truth hear His voice. What is truth? Pilate to please the mob scourged Jesus. Roman soldiers mocking Jesus placed a scarlet robe on His torn flesh and a crown of thorns upon His head. The King was enthroned upon the cross between two thieves. Pilate confessed Jesus the King of the Jews.
    Christ’s Kingdom is hidden under the cross. A dying thief sees it through his ears hearing Jesus pray and preach from the cross. The death and hell he had earned was coming - “Lord, remember me when You come into your Kingdom!” “Today,” King Jesus assures that unworthy sinner, “you shall be with me in Paradise!”
      Christ’s Kingdom is now present, but hidden under the cross (Lk 17:26-27a) Noah, the tenth from Adam, lived in wicked world. Of all the descendants of Seth, only his family remained faithful to God’s Word of promise in Christ. The Church had shrank down to only 8 people of the estimated 11 to 14 billion people inhabiting our earth at that time. For 120 years Noah preached repent - turn from your evil ways - as he and his sons built the ark. The world laughed at Noah and his doomsday predictions. They went about living their lives eating, drinking, marrying many wives, and being given in marriage. They didn’t need Noah’s preaching or the Church’s saving ark! Christ’s Kingdom was present under the cross. Another historical example?(Lk.17:28) Lot and family lived in the wicked city of Sodom. His righteous soul was troubled by what he saw and heard. He protected travelers from the wicked perversion of those cities. They hated him for his pious life. They will not turn from sin, but go about their business following their own desires. The Church in those descendants of Noah was down to four - and then down to three. Christ’s Kingdom is NOW -present under the cross.
IV. Christ’s Kingdom is NOT YET - but it shall come suddenly destroying all evil. Listen! (Lk.17:24). We are not called to calculate when Jesus will return - trust His Word - as lightening flashes across the sky - He will return with power and great glory visibly to judge all. Prepare my soul to meet Him! Daily repent - turn from sin! Daily be clothed with His perfect life cloaked upon in baptism.
      God the Father graciously waits for all the elect to be gathered into Christ’s Church and then the end will come. (Lk. 17:27) Noah warned all of God’s judgment and called them to join them in God’s rescue. They refused. Once the Lord shut the doors of the Ark - judgment fell - and all the wicked perished. Once the Lord’s holy angels took Lot and his family from Sodom fire and brimstone fell from heaven - there was no escape, no second chance for the wicked. (Lk. 17:30) So it will be - we live in the tension of Christ’s Kingdom of Grace which is here NOW and His coming Kingdom of Glory here on earth which is NOT YET.
    Death may claim our bodies, but he day of resurrection is coming - we will see the Lord - we will be reunited with all who have fallen asleep in Jesus - encourage each other with these words. Amen.

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