Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 4-8-2020
[This was a sermon I gave to the youth group at my local church when serving there as a youth leader. It was about 25 minutes and was focused on helping students understand the kingdom of God. This too was parallel to our church’s main series as well.]
For the last several weeks, we have been talking about our identity and role in the kingdom of God. This study has included life with Jesus, how to worship in the Spirit, and last week when Andrew taught about the works of the Father. This week we’ll talk about the laws of the kingdom of God and what it looks like to obey these laws in our own life.
In every kingdom, there is a set of laws. Every country, nation, and tribe has a list of rules that they live by and which make them distinct from all other places. In the movie Black Panther, also known as the Live-Action Lion King, the nation of Wakanda has a series of laws and rules that they live by as a country. One of those laws is that anyone that is in the bloodline of the royal family can challenge the current king for the throne. Another law is that they are an isolationist country, which means that they do not aid in foreign affairs and/or help other countries around the world. They choose to isolate themselves and avoid conflict.
Laws of the Kingdom
Just like Wakanda and every other nation, the kingdom of God has laws too. Unlike all of these other countries though, the kingdom of God only has two laws. Let’s turn to Matthew 22:36-39 to see what those laws are in the kingdom of God.
[After reading Matthew 22:36-39] So this lawyer guy shows up and is like, “Jesus, my dude. What is the most important law in the kingdom of God?” To which Jesus responds pretty point blank with to love God and to love others. The two laws of the kingdom of God are to love God with everything you’ve got (i.e. body, mind; soul) and to love others equally to the way that you treat yourself.
Reactive Love vs. Proactive Love
Another way to think about these two laws is that to love God is reactive, while to love others is proactive. When we know God, we know His love and this love is awesome. It gives us meaning, purpose, and value as one-of-a-kind creations made to change the world. This love of God is beautiful and life-changing. It’s amazing what God has given us! In response to this love of God, we can really only react with gratitude.
Like I said last time, God’s grace leads to our gratitude. This gratitude is evident when we react in prayer, reading the Bible, and worship. These are all ways that we react to God’s love. In response to God’s love, we react with loving gratitude.
To love others is proactive. We proactively love others. We do this by befriending our enemies, helping the homeless, serving at church, and so on. In short, God’s active love moves us to a reactive love, which then motivates us to a place of proactive love for others. We love God with our heart, mind, and soul because of His love for us.
Let’s recap what we just covered before we move onto the next idea. God’s active love moves us to reactive love, which then motivates us to a place of proactive love. We love God because he first loved us and just like the Golden Rule, we love others the way we want to be loved. How does this look in real life? What does love in action look like?
Love In Action
Back in 5th grade, I had a friend who was gay that was bullied constantly by our classmate Dennon. Now Dennon was a big kid and he was an angry one too who bullied all the kids at school, especially my friend for being gay. This bugged me a lot in 5th grade and I didn’t know how to help my friend. I remember that I asked God how I could help my friend and God told me to become Dennon’s friend. God told me to love my enemy.
So after a lot of hesitation, I made an attempt at school to be friends with Dennon. He pushed me away and made fun of me. I went back to God and asked for another way to help my bullied friend that night in prayer. God gave me the same response: love your enemy.
I tried again, but this time I did things differently. I sat next to him at lunch for the first time and the same thing happened. Dennon made fun of me and my bullied friend as soon as we got there at the lunch table. Back then, I had a shorter fuse and would blurt things out in a way to get back at people.
When Dennon bullied us, I responded back with a witty one-liner that was supposed to hurt his feelings. Instead, it did the opposite! He instantly started laughing so hard he started crying and before you knew it, everyone at that table was the best of friends. Even to this day, Dennon is one of my oldest friends and when we can find the time we hang out to this day. By choosing to love my enemy, I made a new friend. By following the laws of the kingdom, I saw what life is like in obedience to Jesus.
Still confused on how reactive love and proactive love works in your life? No worries! Let’s look at what Paul the Apostle writes in the book of Galatians. Here in Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes about how Christians bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit and how this is directly related to the laws of the kingdom of God. Basically, how we know that someone is a Christian versus someone who is not a Christian. We judge them by their fruit. That fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Now there’s two main ways to understand this fruit of the Holy Spirit as Christians. The first way is to think that because the fruit of the Spirit is singular and not plural, then the fruit of the Spirit should be thought of as an all-or-nothing sort of situation. You either have all of it or none of it. The other way we can understand the fruit of the Spirit is to think that everything listed is in chronological order or from first to last. So from God we get love. From love we get joy. From joy we get peace and on and on it goes down the line.
Either way, you will know if someone is Christian by their love. You will see the fruit of the Spirit in their life. To live by the laws of the kingdom is to love God and to love others. Let’s pray.
If you couldn’t tell or were unaware, this sermon was extremely rushed. When compared to the last sermon, Worship in the Spirit, this one was missing some key details. Not enough research was done during the prep stage, didn’t practice at all, and the message suffers from this lack on self control to get it done right.
Given the circumstances, it’s why the sermon is filled with a lot of stories, yet not a lot of Scripture and zero quotes from others. When doing the work of God, do it well and don’t waste the opportunity that God has given you to display the gifts you have to share for the benefit of others. They are and never were your gifts to waste in the first place. You represent God, so represent him with excellence. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.