Enculturing the Kingdom of God

(Preaching Outline)

1)      Discuss the idea of the culture of heaven.

a)      Pyramid vs. Garden

b)      Tower of Babel and the call of Abraham.

c)      In the church we often try to use the systems of this world to create the garden of God.

d)      What is at stake: The garden and the wilderness.

e)      Matthew 13:52 (NKJV) — 52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

2)      The Law works with the gospel.

a)      Fundamental questions

i)        What kind of person do I want to be and what kind of world do I want to participate in creating?

b)      Deuteronomy 6:4–7 (NKJV) — 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

i)        Why and how should we do this?

c)      Cicero

i)        On The Republic – the story

ii)      SCIPIO: Very well, Laelius; you can employ an argument based on your own self-awareness. LAELIUS: What awareness? SCIPIO: Whenever—or if ever—you are aware of being angry with someone. LAELIUS: I have had that experience more often that I could wish! SCIPIO: Ah. So, when you are angry, do you allow anger to take control of your mind? LAELIUS: Certainly not. I take my cue from Archytas of Tarentum. Once, on arriving at his country house, he found that all his instructions had been ignored. ‘Why, you worthless wretch!’ he said to his agent, ‘if I weren’t angry I would have beaten you to death on the spot!’ SCIPIO: Very good! So evidently Archytas rightly looked on anger (that is, when it was at variance with his judgement) as a kind of revolt within the mind, and he was anxious to quell it by rational reflection. Bring in greed, bring in lust, bring in the desire for power and glory; then you realize that if there is to be a ruling power in the human mind, it will be the sovereignty of a single element, namely reason (for that is the best part of the mind). As long as reason is supreme there is no room for lust, anger, or irresponsible behaviour.[1]

d)      Jewish Tradition

i)        Abba Chilkiah was a grandson of Choni the Circle Drawer [Onias], and whenever the world was in need of rain, the Rabbis sent a message to him. He prayed and rain fell. On one occasion, there was an urgent need for rain and the Rabbis sent to him a couple of scholars to ask him to pray for rain. . . . He said to his wife, I know the scholars have come on account of rain, let us go up to the roof and pray, perhaps the Holy One, Blessed be He, will have mercy and rain will fall, without having credit given to us. They went up to the roof. He stood in one corner and she in another. At first the clouds appeared over the corner where his wife stood. When he came down he said to the scholars, Why have you scholars come here? They replied: The Rabbis have sent us to you, Sir, to ask you to pray for rain. Thereupon he exclaimed, “Blessed be God, who has made you no longer dependent on Abba Chilkiah.” . . . Sir, why did the clouds appear first in the corner where your wife stood and then in your corner? He answered, Because a wife stays at home and gives bread to the poor which they can at once enjoy whilst I give them money which they cannot enjoy immediately. Or perhaps it may have to do with certain robbers in our neighborhood. I prayed that they might die, but she prayed that they might repent [and they did]![2]

e)      A 15-year-old in a dairy farming community.


g)      Hebrews 10:1–4 (NKJV) — 1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

3)      The power of the gospel

a)      Romans 7:15–17 (NKJV) — 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

b)      Romans 8:3–4 (NKJV) — 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

c)      Galatians 5:16–17 (NKJV) — 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

d)      John 7:37–39 (NKJV) — 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

4)      Enculturing the Kingdom of God

a)      The Law

b)      The Gospel


[1] Cicero. The Republic and The Laws (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 27). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.

[2] Young, Brad H.. Jesus the Jewish Theologian (Kindle Locations 958-967). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


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