Intro. Paul has returned to Ephesus as promised, for a period of three months. He has been going to the synagogue and disputing and persuading the Jews concerning the kingdom of God. The word translated disputing is the word from which our English word dialog comes from (Dialego).
I. JESUS WAS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
A. The kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven are synonymous terms, and they refer to the kingdom where God reigns.
1. There are two kingdoms in the universe.
a. The kingdom of darkness, ruled by Satan.
b. The kingdom of light, ruled by God.
2. We are, each of us, in one or the other.
3. At the present time the kingdom of darkness is ruling over this world. Paul wrote to the Ephesians declaring that in times past they walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, that even now works in the children of disobedience.
a. Do you ever feel that you are out of step with this world? Good, that means that you are a child of God.
b. If you feel comfortable and at home in this world, you are on dangerous ground.
c. Sometimes I feel like screaming at the newscasters, "You blind, stupid, idiots."
4. Jesus told His disciples that they should pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth even as it is in heaven."
5. How I long for the kingdom of God to come.
B. Paul had been dialoging with the Jews about the kingdom of God.
1. Many of the passages of the Old Testament speak of the conditions on the earth when the kingdom of God comes.
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, [and] the excellency of our God.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then shall the lame [man] leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, [shall be] grass with reeds and rushes.
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it [shall be] for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err [therein].
No lion shall be there, nor [any] ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk [there]:
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy [shall be] upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; [and] sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
I, am He that comforts you: who are you, that you should be afraid of man [that] shall die, and you forget the LORD your maker, that has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; why do you live in constant fear of the oppressor as though he were going destroy you?
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it].
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.
2. When I read these passages, my heart cries out within me, "Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. Establish your kingdom on earth. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
3. This is the kingdom all the Jews were longing for and looking for.
4. You cannot have the kingdom without a king, so they were looking for the Messiah to come and set up this kingdom.
C. There were many passages that spoke of the coming Messiah and His Kingdom.
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his Messiah.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
D. No wonder the cross was a stumbling block to the Jew.
1. The cross was totally inconsistent with their concept of the reigning Messiah.
E. However there were other prophecies concerning the Messiah such as:
The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious,
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
I may tell all my bones: they look [and] stare upon me.
They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. neither turned away back.
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for [that] which had not been told them shall they see; and [that] which they had not heard shall they consider.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth.
Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
II. PAUL WAS SEEKING TO POINT OUT TO THEM THE OTHER PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE MESSIAH.
A. the prophecies of the scriptures were fulfilled in Him.
1. He was the stone that was rejected by the builders.
2. He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief.
3. He was wounded for our transgressions.
4. He was cut off from the land of the living.
B. Many of the Jews became hardened, and would not believe, and began to speak evil of that Way.
1. The term the Way was a term that often was used in describing the Christians before the term Christian began to be commonly used to describe the followers of Jesus.
a. Jesus had said, "I am the Way," so the believers in Jesus began to use the term the Way to refer to the followers of Jesus Christ.
b. As a result, Paul left the synagogue and began to daily teach in the school of Tyrannus. The word disputing should again be translated dialoging.
2. In that culture they usually had a three-hour siesta from one to four in the afternoon during the heat of the day.
a. During these hours the school of Tyrannus would be closed so Paul probably rented it so as to teach daily those who would come.
b. This went on for a period of two years.
C. The outcome of this was that the whole area heard the gospel, both the Jews and Greeks.
1. From Ephesus, the gospel spread through the whole region.
2. We know from the book of Revelation that Jesus addressed seven of the churches in Asia, which no doubt got their start from Paul's ministry.
3. In Paul's letter to the Colossians he makes mention of the church in Hierapolis. It would thus seem that the whole area became saturated with the gospel.
D. Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus and it is interesting to note that he said to them:
But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.
For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and [there are] many adversaries.