Here and Now

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William Miller, Harold Camping, James Harmston. What do all of these men have in common? They all thought they knew the exact day that Jesus coming back. Many of us grew up hearing that Jesus was coming “soon,” yet here we are, living life. So what was it that Jesus meant when he said that “The kingdom of heaven is at hand?”

1) Read Matthew 4:17

Jesus makes a bold claim and command: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17, NLT). I wonder if the people of that time had heard that before as we have? If you knew that Jesus was coming to tomorrow would there be anything you would do differently? What would it be? Let us know here at Message on Social Media using #MessageMag.

2) Read Matthew 4:17, 1 John 1:9

Why would Jesus begin this statement with a call to repent? I’ve made some mistakes in my life but I’m not a bad person and I bet you feel the same, right? If the Kingdom is at hand, does that really mean I have to say sorry for all I’ve done? What do you think? Let us know online using #MessageMag.

3) Read Matthew 4:17, Matthew 6:33

Not long after He declared that “the kingdom of God is at hand,” (KJV), Jesus went up on a mountain and preached a sermon. In the midst of that sermon He elaborated on the concept of His “Kingdom.” He also said that His Kingdom and “His” righteousness should be the priority in our searching and seeking. Why would He call a place a “he”? Give us your thoughts online using #MessageMag.

4) Read Matthew 4:17, Luke 2:36-38

Is it possible that the Kingdom that Jesus spoke of wasn’t a place, but rather a Person? Even before Jesus started His ministry and preached about the Kingdom the Holy Spirit led several seekers to the Kingdom and the grace for which they had been waiting. What could this mean? How could people look at a child and see the Kingdom of God? Share with us your opinions using #MessageMag on Social Media.

5) Read Matthew 4:17, Matthew 2:1-5

How sad it would be for the Kingdom to have shown up and yet the people who were waiting for it, miss it. It seems that’s what happened when Magi came to Herod. They were looking for a King and Kingdom but no one else was. The King had come and no one knew but a select few. How could this happen? Is it possible it could happen again? What do you think? Let us know using #MessageMag.

6) Read Matthew 4:17, Luke 17:20-21

Jesus implied  several times that the Kingdom of Heaven is not just on its way, but rather it is already here. He said this in or around AD 30. It is now 2018. What is going on? Did we miss it? Were we not ready? Has God forgotten about us? What answers can you give us? Share using #MessageMag.

7) Read Matthew 3:1-2, Mark 1:14-15, Mark 14:25, John 14:1-3

The Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus. Yes, there will be a place where that He has prepared for us, and will take us, but His Kingdom is available to us now, in Him. Let us not be like the people of old who were so focused on the Kingdom coming that we miss out on the Jesus that is right in front of us here and now. 

Call us if you find you have questions, want to talk, or want to pray with someone: 1-855-463-2273, or, 1-855-God Cares.

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Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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This article is part of our 2018 September/October Issue
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