Intro. Paul is on his way to Jerusalem with an offering from the Gentile churches to help the financially-plagued church in Jerusalem. He is uncertain as to what the future holds for him. He only know that the Holy Spirit has been warning him of the bonds and afflictions that he is to endure. Paul does not know if that means possible death. Still he moves forward with a resolute purpose, for he does not hold his life dear to himself.
I. "I KNOW THAT YOU WILL NOT SEE MY FACE AGAIN."
A. Paul felt that this was his final farewell to these brothers.
1. The word know here in the Greek is oida. It is a strong feeling; I feel that you will not see my face again.
2. It is quite possible that they did see his face again.
B. According to the writings of many of the early church fathers, such as Clement, Chrysostom, Jerome, and the historian Eusebius.
1. Clement was a disciple of Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:3
and he became the bishop of Rome. He wrote an epistle to the church in Corinth and mentioned that Paul had gone to the extremity of the West before his martyrdom. The extremity of the West was often a term for Spain, and many believe that Paul was able to make that journey to Spain that he mentioned that he desired to do.
2. Eusebius the early church historian wrote concerning Paul, "After defending himself successfully, it is currently reported that the apostle again went forth to proclaim the gospel, and afterward came to Rome the second time and was martyred under Nero."
3. Chrysostom wrote, "St. Paul after his residence in Rome departed to Spain."
4. Jerome wrote: "Paul was dismissed by Nero, that he might preach Christ's gospel in the West."
C. Trying to put all of the accounts together, it would seem that Paul was acquitted in his first trial before Nero. That when released, he went back to Corinth, Macedonia and returned to Ephesus, where he left Timothy in charge of the church. From there he went to Spain where he spent two years, was arrested and brought again to Rome, where in prison he wrote his second letter to Timothy and to Titus.
1. Paul mentioned that at his first hearing, no one stood with him, nevertheless, the Lord stood with him and he was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
2. It is thought that this was a reference to the first hearing before Nero who Paul calls the lion, from which he had been exonerated.
3. This would mean that first Timothy was written in Paul's first imprisonment, and some three years later his second letter to Timothy was written when he had been sentenced to death by Nero.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:
II. PAUL DECLARED THAT HE HAD BEEN PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
A. Jesus preached the kingdom of God:
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom.
1. Jesus said that we were to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
2. The gospel of the kingdom was to be preached to all the world.
3. Mark tells us:
Now after that, John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
4. When Jesus told a man to follow Him, the man replied, "Let me first go and bury my father.
Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
5. When Jesus rose from the dead and was with the disciples for some 40 days it seems that His main subject was the kingdom of God.
To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
6. When Philip went to Samaria we read:
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
B. The phrase, "The gospel of the kingdom of God." What is the gospel of the kingdom of God?
1. The word gospel means good news.
2. Look around at the world today. Look at how much we are being harassed, smothered by the bureaucracy set up by the politicians. Look at all of the corruption among the bureaucrats. As someone once said, the Democrats are a bunch of robbers stealing us blind. The Republicans are also a bunch of robbers, but they do it with more finesse.
3. Look at the oppression that always follows when man seeks to rule over man. Those in power seem always to become corrupt. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
4. The good news of the kingdom of God is that man's corrupt governments are coming to an end. The kingdoms of this world shall become, the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and he shall reign forever and ever.
5. It will be a reign of righteousness.
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this
C. What is the kingdom of God?
1. It is the kingdom where God reigns.
2. This world is ruled presently by Satan. The day is coming when he will be overthrown and Jesus shall reign.
3. Jesus told us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven."
4. The day is soon coming when that shall be a reality, the will of God will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.
5. If God reigns in your life, then you have entered the kingdom.
6. One day when Jesus was asked concerning the Kingdom of God he replied:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. When Jesus reigns in your life, the King has come, and you are in His kingdom.
D. How does one come into the Kingdom of God?
1. By being born again.
a. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."
b. Nicodemus responded with the question of how a person could be born again.
c. The answer of Jesus was a person is born again by believing in Him.
d. By confessing and believing that Jesus is Lord, I have entered into the kingdom of God. For Jesus rules as King of my life.
2. We sing: "King of my life, I crown thee now, Thine shall the glory be."
3. When I make Jesus the Lord of my life, I am in the kingdom.
E. This is the message of the gospel, this is the heart of the gospel. It is interesting, how few sermons we hear preached on the kingdom of God, when we think of the prominence of the teaching on the kingdom of God in the New Testament.
F. Are you living in the kingdom of God?
1. Does Jesus reign in your life?
2. If not, you are living in the kingdom of darkness.
3. Two kingdoms, you are living in one or the other.
4. If Jesus does not reign in your life, then you cannot see the kingdom of heaven but are living in the kingdom of darkness.
5. Paul spoke of those whose eyes were blinded by the god of this world so they could not see the truth.
6. Paul was commissioned by the Lord to go to the Gentiles:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Me.