Sabbath, April 27, 2019

Lesson 17 – Gospel of the Kingdom

“Jesus said, ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.’ Matthew 24:14. His kingdom will not come until the good tidings of His grace have been carried to all the earth. Hence, as we give ourselves to God, and win other souls to Him, we hasten the coming of His kingdom. Only those who devote themselves to His service … pray in sincerity, ‘Thy kingdom come.’…” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 348.

Preaching and healing
1. How extensive was Jesus’ ministry? What is written about His preaching in the synagogues of Galilee?
Luke 4:43, 44 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. 44And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

“Would that all who have the light of truth would follow the example set by Christ, and not expend their God-given time and ability and means in one or two places, when the light of truth is to go to all the world. The wonderful display of grace shown in the gospel message is to be carried to all places.” –This Day with God, p. 107.

2. In every city and village, what message did He present? What other great work was directly connected with the message?
Luke 9:11; 7:22 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing…. 7:22Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

“Christ ‘went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness.’ He preached in the synagogues because thus He could reach the many who gathered there. Then He went out and taught by the seaside and in the great thoroughfares of travel. The precious truths that He had to proclaim were not to be confined to synagogues….” –Evangelism, p. 54.

The apostles preached the same message
3. Who else was commissioned to present the same amazing message? Again, what was directly connected with their preaching activities?
Matthew 10:7, 8 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Luke 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Acts 8:12 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.

“When Jesus sent forth the Twelve on their first mission of mercy, He commissioned them ‘to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.’ Luke 9:2…. The fulfillment of the Saviour’s commission by the disciples made their message the power of God unto salvation, and through their efforts many were brought to a knowledge of the Messiah.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 465.

“… Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. [Matthew 10:7, 8 quoted.]” –Counsels on Health, p. 497.

4. What message held the first priority in the Redeemer’s ministry, and why? What else do the Scriptures call that message?
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.

“As Jesus travelled through Galilee, teaching and healing, multitudes flocked to Him from the cities and villages. Many came even from Judea and the adjoining provinces. Often He was obliged to hide Himself from the people. The enthusiasm ran so high that it was necessary to take precautions lest the Roman authorities should be aroused to fear an insurrection. Never before had there been such a period as this for the world. Heaven was brought down to men. Hungering and thirsting souls that had waited long for the redemption of Israel now feasted upon the grace of a merciful Saviour….” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 12.

The kingdom was the good news
5. What is the meaning of the word “gospel”? Therefore, what does it mean to preach “the gospel of the kingdom”?
Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 
Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him.

“The gospel of Christ is the Good News of grace, or favor, by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin and enabled to render obedience to the law of God. The gospel points to the moral code as a rule of life. That law, by its demands for undeviating obedience, is continually pointing the sinner to the gospel for pardon and peace.” –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 563.

“The good news of a Saviour–Christ dying as our sacrifice upon Calvary, Christ pleading as our High Priest and Intercessor before God, Christ our King and Deliverer, coming to redeem His children–this is the message to be carried to all the world, to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” – The Home Missionary, November 1, 1890.

6. Years later, in his fruitful ministry, how did the apostle Paul proclaim the same eternal message to the world?
Acts 20:25; 28:31 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more…. 28:31Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. 

“Since they themselves desired it, Paul bade them set a day when he could present to them the truths of the gospel. At the time appointed, many came together, ‘to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.’ He related his own experience, and presented arguments from the Old Testament Scriptures with simplicity, sincerity, and power.

“The apostle showed that religion does not consist in rites and ceremonies, creeds and theories. If it did, the natural man could understand it by investigation, as he understands worldly things. Paul taught that religion is a practical, saving energy, a principle wholly from God, a personal experience of God’s renewing power upon the soul.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 451.

A universal message
7. Therefore, how favored is Christ’s church to be entrusted with the gospel of the kingdom in times past, now, and in the future?
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

“His kingdom will not come until the good tidings of His grace shall have been carried to all the earth.” –In Heavenly Places, p. 340.

“There is a day that God hath appointed for the close of this world’s history: ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ Prophecy is fast fulfilling. More, much more, should be said about these tremendously important subjects. The day is at hand when the destiny of souls will be fixed forever….” –Latter Day Events, p. 16.

For additional study
“Christ tells us when the day of His kingdom will be ushered in. He does not say that all the world will be converted, but that ‘this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ Matthew 24:14. By giving the gospel to the world, it is in our power to hasten the coming of the day of God. Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to the earth in power and great glory.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 353.


* * *
Missionary Report from the North American/Caribbean Division

To be read on Sabbath, April 27, 2019

The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered on Sabbath, May 4, 2019

“Give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the islands.” Isaiah 42:12.

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
The General Conference delegates who met in Italy in September 2017 decided to create a new division–the North American/Caribbean Division–in a territory that was overseen in the past by the General Conference. This area needed a major push, because there are many islands in the Caribbean region that have not heard the message of present truth.
The North American/Caribbean Division is composed of the American Union, including the Puerto Rican Field, and eight fields that are not under a union–Canada, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Aruba, Curacao, and Suriname. This large territory was discovered in an expedition led by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492, and is where the Millerite and Adventist movements were born in 1831. The Division covers 19,591,840 square kilometers (7,564,451 square miles) with a population of 405 million people. The United States and Canada occupy the continent, and there is a vast territory of islands in the Caribbean Sea–more than 109 islands and hundreds of cays, small islands of sand formed by coral with vegetation that is part of different countries. There are currently 28 dependent countries and territories in the Sea. Some islands have achieved independence, others are in process, and others are linked to England, Holland, France, the U.S.A., etc. These islands are the destination of thousands of tourists who seek a warm climate, lovely beaches with beautiful, transparent water and abundant marine life, and paradisaical panoramas with tropical vegetation.

The standard of living in most of the islands is quite high, for they are small tourist areas and dependent territories. The languages spoken include Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Creole, and additional native languages.

The Reform Movement has members in seven of the 28 main Caribbean islands and maintains contacts with interested individuals in several other islands. There are still many places where people have not had the opportunity to hear the present truth. Although the North American/Caribbean Division has a great challenge to reach these areas with the message, there is a great
desire to fulfill this mission. Finances, the many languages, and necessary personnel are the primary difficulties.

In 2017, several Caribbean islands and cities along the coast of the United States were severely impacted by eighteen storms and hurricanes, leaving more than a thousand people dead, although there is no exact number of human losses, and causing considerable property damage of approximately $281.14 billion. The believers also suffered property damage in these storms; several church buildings were damaged and their roofs destroyed. In some places, about six months after the storms, electricity and drinking water have not been fully restored to homes. But in spite of the heavy rains and winds that caused severe flooding, the hand of God and His fatherly care were seen protecting the lives of His faithful children.

In addition to the storms, large fires in the western United States destroyed lives and caused severe damage. What are all these catastrophes telling us? The Lord urges His children to proclaim the message of warning to the world and to call people in the great cities to repentance. He is speaking and giving an opportunity for His church to finish the work of Heaven especially in the areas that have been affected by the invisible messengers. We appeal to every believer around the world to give generously to finance missionaries who can be sent to different Caribbean islands. Let us
work together to reach the territories that are still in darkness and to support the repair of the churches that have been damaged in catastrophes. Thank you in advance for all the support you give to the North American/ Caribbean Division with your offerings and constant prayers.

–Pablo Hunger
North American/Caribbean Division President