DEEPER DIVE: RE:orient - A Kingdom Perspective

posted by Bethel Communications | Nov 8, 2020

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Dave Dawson: Okay, welcome to the deeper dive. We've been at this for awhile. You guys are used to a myself, Dave, Jason, and Adam. Well, once again, we decided to beef this thing up. We're going to make it better. So today for the first time we have Brookes August.

Brookes August: Thanks for having me. 

Dave Dawson: Thanks there, Brookes. Glad you're here, man. So, Brookes, what are you going to be doing? 

Brookes August: I'm campus, pastor in Prosser. 

Dave Dawson: Okay, you're going to be a Valley guy 

Brookes August: A valley guy.

Dave Dawson: And that's a good thing. 

Brookes August: Okay, it’s not a Valley girl. 

Dave Dawson: Exactly. It's like, whatever. We're going to start off asking you kind of a serious question, right?

Brookes August: Ok

Dave Dawson: Okay. Just to get to know you a little bit here on the podcast. Brookes who have been some of the biggest. Influences in your life? 

Brookes August: Biggest influences. I like this question. I was thinking there's a couple of different ways you could go. I think people that I know, still living, there's one person that immediately jumps off the page for me, and that was actually the pastor that married me and my wife, his name's Steve Michles.  He's been doing ministry for a long time and that's why he's been an influence in my life. Just because he's been the example of what, longevity and faithfulness in ministry looks like, and it spills over into every relationship.

There's no difference between him at church and him and his family. I love that. So if I could embody that, 

Dave Dawson:  Such integrity, right?

Brookes August: Total Integrity

Dave Dawson: Integrity is you are who you are, wherever you go, very good. 

Brookes August: You know, and then there's some others, of course I can't discount the influence of my dad. Obviously a dad always imprints on onto his sons.

Then I have a best friend named Zach who’s my accountability partner. He keeps me aligned, keeps me straight. I can tell anything to him. That's awesome you know. 

Dave Dawson: Is Zach still back in Seattle. 

Brookes August: No, Zach’s actually over here. Is Yakima considered the valley? Is he a valley guy?

Jason Greene: Kind of the end of the valley. We'll throw them in there.

Brookes August: Okay.

Jason Greene: You can have a buddy in the Valley. 

Brookes August: Cool. Thanks. He's down here I guess. So we get to see each other quite a bit. Then there's some other people, some, influences of old dead guys, like Charles Spurgeon and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther. I love reading their writings and just their perspective on scripture and ministry in life. Influence.

Dave Dawson: That's pretty old school. That's going back aways.

Brookes August: Yeah. They're not around anymore. 

Dave Dawson: That's good. Great. Okay. Going onto our theme of the day. Hey Adam, give us a 20 second wrap up, with a quick summary of your message last week. 

Adam Phillips: It was John 18, Jesus really, it's the question of Jesus. Are you the King and in a roundabout way he answers. Yeah, I am the King, but My kingdom is not of this world. So if you're using worldly of categories to understand Me or know Me you're going to miss Me.

So Jesus, He invites us to receive Him as King, but also instructs us on what it means to live in that kingdom.

Dave Dawson: That's really good. As the three of us were talking this over with, I'm sorry, the four of us were talking this over. We really felt like this whole concept of the kingdom was just a perfect thing to do the deeper dive on.

The kingdom is just a huge topic and it's never really defined really well in the Bible. By the way, I do think this is one of those deeper dives we could probably take on for a month and not exhaust it. It's just beautiful, but let's go for it. Let's do a little parlay here and let's talk it out and see what we can learn from one another.

So start off with - Jason, what does, what is a definition of the kingdom? What is this biblical concept? The kingdom. 

Jason Greene: Well, Dave, you just said this, but what I found interesting in studying, leading up to this Sunday is you said kingdom, a big idea in scripture. And what I've discovered in studying this topic is that it is actually the number one thing that Jesus talks about in all of his teaching.

It is His kingdom. So that was a shock to me. I don't know, I think about the Gospel, I think about repent and believe. I think about all the other kind of life giving statements or truths that He was sharing and He talked about the kingdom more than anything else. So it's really interesting. I think we're going to talk about how He told stories about the kingdom. He gave analogies of the kingdom all over the place. So even as we're reading through the gospels together as a church, this fall, it would be interesting if you're doing that wherever you are in your reading, just start paying attention to where you see kingdom.

Dave Dawson: It’s almost like, Jason, you buy a certain car and then all the sudden your eyes are open. You start seeing this cars everywhere. 

Jason Greene: Yep. Exactly. So, I think people are going to see kingdom everywhere. So I think we need to give a definition to it.

As we were talking this out this week, I think a super simple definition of the kingdom is this, “the kingdom is God's reign through God's people over God's place”. “God's reign through God's people over God's place”. We can probably flesh each of those pieces out. 

Dave Dawson: So the whole thing about authority, the authority of the King is a, pretty big deal.

In fact, you think back how much of the Bible is devoted to the Kings, which is interesting, them exercising their authority, either bringing about something good or exercising their authority in an evil way, and just bringing about a really crummy society.

Jason Greene: I mean, just to start there, Dave, what you're talking about is when we talk about the kingdom of God, we have to start with God's reign.

As I'm thinking through this, myself, I'm thinking about how God's people bring about God's kingdom. So we talk about kingdom activity or kingdom values, those types of things. But those aren't first, what takes preeminence is the fact that it is His kingdom and therefore He is the King.

And so He needs to take preeminence. Anytime we have a conversation about the kingdom, we need to start with Christ Himself, who is the King, it's His story. It's His kingdom. And we have to start first with Him. 

Brookes August: That's really good. I think too, when I think of kingdom, in today's day and age, we think of the United Kingdom that comes to mind, or if you think about like the Queen of England or what not, she doesn't really have that much authority. She kind of comes off as a figurehead and that's really not what the kingdom of God is, that Jesus is the King who rules and reigns that he does have authority. He's not just getting up and giving a speech in front of people. He's actually actively ruling and reigning over his people. 

Jason Greene: So Jesus, isn't just the mascot of the kingdom. He is in fact, the kingdom that's good Brookes. 

Dave Dawson: I think of the Lord's prayer. Jesus taught us to pray. And we're to pray for his kingdom. Which is a petition really for his way, that the way in heaven to be done here on earth, the good way, the beautiful way, the spiritual way, the right way, the righteous way to be done here on earth, that will change people's lives.

I think we've kind of hit this one, but we've said who rules over the kingdom of God and that is God Himself more specifically Christ Himself as the King. So does anybody else rule over this kingdom?

Jason Greene: It’s Interesting, because, God is King, right?

That's what we just said. And he rules over his creation. And yet look around our world. So even in the kingdom, that is transcendent, that is the kingdom that is to come, but is the kingdom now. We live in a world that's marred by sin and His King ship is resisted by lots and lots of people.

And you know, the peace that He brings, this peace that He wants to have when His kingdom comes into fruition I think is absolutely shattered. So I would say He reigns, but, look around, it is hard sometimes to make sense of the tension that you see right in our world. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah. 

Adam Phillips: In a perfect world, there would be rulers, human rulers, but they would be submitting to the great King. Even in creation, God, the first three days creates three spaces and then the second half of creation week He fills that with things that inhabit and rule over those spaces, but it's all happening under the massive Kingship and Lordship of God. That perfect creational order that we've lost in the fall. And so you see rulers warned against God and really refusing to submit themselves to God as the true King.

Dave Dawson: Yeah Adam. I just think of us being His, we're told that we are His ambassadors. We are citizens of that kingdom. And we are to actually help bring about His rule utilizing His authority. It's part of the reason why we pray in the name of Jesus. To carry these things out.

Jason Greene: Which is cool too, because I mean, it's not just that God reigns over His people, His ambassadors, but you know, as we're unpacking the kingdom, he actually rules through his people as well. Back to Adam - what you're talking about just there's still that authority piece, right? 

Brookes August:  Then comparing it to the kingdoms of this world, it is natural for us to long for a kingdom and a ruler. But the fact that God's kingdom, and I have talked about this on Sunday, that God's kingdom is different than the kingdoms of this world, that is other worldly. That means the people, we, as followers of Jesus, ambassadors. God wants us to rule with Him and His kingdom. He wants us to do it in a different way than the world's standards. It's not through means of human hands, it’s not protected by human means, it’s not protected by human weapons.

It's a spiritual kingdom. As we are engaging in the kingdom, we do it by a different means, because it's not of this world, it’s other worldly.

Dave Dawson: in this, you think of the power there when Jesus was casting out demons and the religious rulers were all up in arms and Jesus said, “if I cast out demons by the power of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”.

So there's this power that we have access to. Brooks, we'll put you on the spot here. How about the when question? When does his kingdom come then? 

Brookes August: This is, I think, one of the most difficult things to understand, or get around in Scripture, is when you see the kingdom language all throughout Scripture.

We said earlier, the more you start thinking about it, the more you will see it from Genesis to Revelation. But getting your mind around when does this kingdom actually come and the words that we've used to describe this is, the kingdom is inaugurated, but it's not culminated yet.

So the kingdom is here, but it also is not yet here. It's really hard as believers. We live in this tension a little bit. We operate in this kingdom, it resides in our hearts and our spirit because we have been born again into the kingdom. That's what Jesus says, the only way to enter into the kingdom is to be born again.

But at the same time, we can't fully witness or see the kingdom around us. It's here in our hearts. Jesus is Lord, Jesus is King. That is 100% true. But yet we are also waiting for this culmination and that's where this great hope comes, there will be the fulfillment of the kingdom and we will all be in this physical kingdom to come. So it's a weird tension. It's now it's here, but it's also not yet. 

Jason Greene: So I've got a weird question for you guys. Are you guys listening to Christmas music at your house yet? 

Dave Dawson: Thank God. No. 

Brookes August: 100%. 

Jason Greene: 100%. 

Adam Phillips: Not Tell Thanksgiving, 

Jason Greene: My family's full blast on Christmas music. But there's a point here. You guys know this song, Joy to the World, right?

Brookes August: Love it. 

Jason Greene: So the line is joy to the world, the King is come. And what's interesting, I learned this a couple of years ago, is joy to the world is not a Christmas song. It is actually talking about the consummation of the kingdom, joy to the world, the King is come, which means, we look at it and we sing it at Christmas and say, hey, the King baby, Jesus is here,He has come now. But Brooks, what you're saying is for sure, He has come now and his kingdom we do have glimpses of it, through Christ, through his people, but the King is come in that,I forget the word that you used, the inauguration of that kingdom is come. 

Dave Dawson:  A couple of verses talk about that it's a present reality. And yet, would you say a not yet reality, a coming reality. In Colossians it tells us that we've been delivered from this kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of the Son, He loves. So that's already happened just like you were saying, Brookes. When we were born again. And then in Matthew 25, Jesus talks about this inheritance that is coming where He will say, these are beautiful words. Come inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. Now that is a great future. That is just something to look forward to.

We're following kind of a who, what, and when; what about, where, where's this kingdom found? That's an odd one. 

Adam Phillips: I think you find it wherever human beings are submitting to the King and living by faith. 

Dave Dawson: Yeah. 

Adam Phillips: As individuals in the community, we are exercising the Gospel in our life through forgiveness, through empowering each other to live with Christ the kingdom is showing up. When we're praying, the kingdom is alive and working. Theologians use this word or this phrase, ‘of the in breaking of the kingdom’, where the kingdom of God pierces through our atmosphere and comes in and makes itself known in our midst. And I think whenever we’re living by faith, praying and doing the work of Christ in our life. The kingdom is very tangible in here, although it's not yet. 

Dave Dawson: Well you just think about our small groups, Adam. We've all been in small groups where all of a sudden, bam, your heart's pounding. Something's been revealed to you, or the Lord just delivered somebody from something. It's just like heaven breaking into earth. 

Jason Greene: There's pockets all over the place, probably in all of our stories of where God's redemptive reign has broken through in the sinful resistance that we see in the world.

I know that I've seen that in missions. I've been in places in the world where you go in and you see just despair and poverty. I'm going to share a story on Sunday about, when I was in central America and I was there in the slums and you see just where sin has ravaged this area. And then we hear this singing and you walk into this little pocket of believers in the midst of this…

Dave Dawson: With joy on their face. 

Jason Greene: With joy on their face. Really nothing in their pocket, very little in their belly. And you can go into these little pockets in the world and it's like this is the kingdom come. This is like pulling back the curtain and just getting this glimpse, not a perfect glimpse, because we're not perfect. But just this glimpse of the kingdom come. Brookes, I'll put you on the spot here. You spent a good bit of your growing up years in Nicaragua. I'm just wondering, does that resonate with you? Have you seen, in a cross-cultural context, the kingdom of God coming? 

Brookes August: Yeah, absolutely. I could come up with numerous stories of what you just said too, of believers gathering together in the midst of hardship. But their hardship, and it's weird too, I would say their hardship and the situation around them actually, in some weird sense can actually illuminate the kingdom in their eyes, in a different way than when life is easy or there's comforts. So some of the most on fire and alive people in the kingdom that I've known have also been people that really don't have much to their name in their life, or they have gone through hardship or difficulty, that they could easily turn and blame God, but yet they are turning and, it's strange. It is like what we're talking about with this Kingdom. It is spiritual. So you almost can't even put your finger on it. It's like, what? Why? How do you have this joy? How do you have this contentment? How do you have, oh yeah, from a biblical standpoint it is because they're operating in a different realm. They're operating through a different reality. 

Dave Dawson: It's almost like when that happens, a rebuke to us and an encouragement at the same time. You know, we complain about so much. Jason - you talked about at the very beginning, giving us a definition. You talked about the kingdom being such a prominent theme throughout the entire Bible from the Old all the way into the new Testament.

We've actually quoted a verse from Revelation here a little bit ago. But one of the books in the New Testament really hits the Kingdom. It's maybe the Royal book, the book of Matthew. So what are some of the teachings about the kingdom and the book of Matthew?

Jason Greene: Yeah, I think you're right that it's definitely the Royal Gospel and maybe the big picture of Matthew is that Jesus is King. 

The book starts with the King of David being born in the city of Bethlehem along the way to King. And it ends with that King Jesus standing on a mountain saying literally every ounce of authority in heaven and on earth is now mine, it’s in my hands. And He's about to ascend to His throne. So it's this big picture of Jesus kingship, but in between, He's either declaring the kingdom through His teachings or He's demonstrating it through miracles or casting out demons and just in break outs of the kingdom all throughout Matthew.

Dave Dawson: Although I don't know how many parables there are.

Adam Phillips: In Matthew 13, there's a ton. And I was actually reading through that preparing for this podcast. And it's a great chapter to go read. There are two parables that I love that talk about the value of the kingdom. The guy who finds the treasure in the field and then right after that is the person who finds the pearl of great price.

This treasure they find, which stands for the kingdom, is so valuable that they go and sell literally everything they have to lay hold of this treasure. I think Jesus is saying my kingdom is more valuable and more worthwhile than anything you can own. Any job, any possession, any affiliation you have, so what’s holding you back from laying claim to it. And then there's no regrets when you do that. You're laying hold of the most important thing there is. 

Brookes August: I think that would be a good homework lesson or a personal study lesson if anybody wants to take the next step here. If you haven't just read through Matthew 13. Get a journal out and pick out those passages where Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God, and just write down the characteristics of it. What is He talking about here, all the characteristics. What do you see?  That would give you a good picture of what the kingdom of God is?

Adam Phillips: You were talking earlier about the already, not yet, of the kingdom. Jesus talks about the kingdom being a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds. So when you look at it, there's not a lot to see. 

Brookes August: Yeah. 

Adam Phillips: But what happens when that seed goes in the ground is you have this huge tree where birds find rest.

The yeast goes into a loaf, into a lot of flour, way bigger than the yeast and creates this giant loaf of bread. And the kingdom is a little deceiving, not in a bad way, but you look at it, and well, is it really that great? But what Jesus is doing is huge and it grows and it’s powerful. 

Dave Dawson: That is so encouraging Adam.

All right then. If somebody, people listening to this, to the thousands of people all over earth, listening to this podcast. So how do believers today live in the kingdom today? Wherever you live urban, rural, or whatever it is, how do we do that? 

Jason Greene: Adam, what you said, that’s such a great picture.

I appreciate you bringing that up with a mustard seed because it's interesting, because when the kingdom comes into your own life, doesn't it start out like that, or at least it seems insignificant. You place your faith and trust in Christ, just different people in different testimonies.

It breaks through in different ways, but it starts as that small seed of faith. And then it just grows into this tree and thinking about where the kingdom is. The kingdom is breaking into our lives. The kingdom is comprehensive. It wants to consume all of our lives. It's interesting, Adam, when you're talking about that parable I think sometimes we value things more in this world. We've put a higher value on our disobedience or our sin over that kingdom. We need to value that comprehensive kingdom breaking into our own lives. So I would say in our lives, that's what discipleship is, right? It is expanding. It's bringing every area of our life…

Dave Dawson: Like the yeast that goes out into the bread. 

Jason Greene: Exactly, under the kingship of Christ and having his kingdom come in our lives.

Adam Phillips: Even the Gospel is, I mean, it's the proclamation of a crucified King. The world looks at it and they're wondering, what are you doing submitting your life to this King who lost. But it's through death that resurrection comes a new life. So when we submit ourselves to Jesus and the Gospel he's doing an enormous work in us, and for us. That the world looks at and says that's pure foolishness.

Dave Dawson: So I always say, we as Christians go out. It takes faith because it's not something you readily see. Sometimes you'd look at the Taj Mahall or even Bethel church in Richland or a big building or whatever. But in faith, we go out into dark places, maybe our workplace, maybe you've just got a really bad boss or whatever, you know, you’ve got a toxic work environment.

But if you go in faith and you're an ambassador for the King. It doesn't matter that I'm out in Two East, out in the area, wherever it happens to be. I recognize him. I recognize his power. So going back to your definition, recognizing what does Jesus want to bring through me as a person into this place that I happen to be at. But it takes faith, other than just being overwhelmed by the immediate, it is like, look, Lord, I'm lifting up my eyes, I'm lifting my eyes to see what you want to do in this place. 

Jason Greene: That's a good summary, Dave, I think the whole story of the Bible is God taking His good creation and transforming it into His glorious kingdom.

And we get to be a part of that, it starts with Him, but it continues through us. 

Dave Dawson: That is awesome. Well, Hey, once again, we're just getting fired up here. This is great. This is beautiful. Let's wrap this up by bouncing back to you, Brookes. You've been here now for a whopping five days Awesome. So what are your initial observations of Bethel church.

Brookes August: My initial observations? I've been blown away with Bethel. I knew one thing coming in and I'm pleasantly surprised that I was accurate in my assessment. Bethel church loves Scripture. This community is amazing when it comes to engaging Scripture and the authority of Scripture and putting themselves under the authority of Scripture. I love it. If someone said you can never have too much Scripture in your sermons. That's a good thing for me. It's a great place to be if we are saturating ourselves in Scripture. So that was the first thing that jumps off the page to me about Bethel is just your love for Scripture, it is amazing.

The other thing that is awesome to experience is the community that Bethel has. When you are in Bethel church, when you're a part of this family, you really are family. It has not taken long for people to welcome us with open arms, wanting to get to know me wanting to get to know my wife and helping us get settled. And I can just tell that that is a hallmark of Bethel.

It's the community that exists in this place. That when you’re here, when you walk through these doors, if you enter into this church. You're part of a community, you're loved. You're part of family. I'm blown away. This is a great place to be. 

Dave Dawson: That's great. That's really encouraging.

We're glad you're here, glad your wife's here, that your little babies here. Speaking of encouraging, this is awesome today. Just the whole kingdom, what a great topic. Thanks everybody for just jumping in. All right, we'll see you next week on the, Deeper Dive.

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