Dedicated To The Men of God Who Preach the Word of God As It
Is To Men As They Are
"Preach The Word"
Living In Kingdom Come
Dr. Vance Havner
And have tasted . . . the powers of the world to
come (HEBREWS 6:5).
Years ago there appeared in a popular novel the
story of a shepherd boy who grew up in a mountain community
called Kingdom Come. I was fascinated by that
I am thinking now of a far more wonderful Kingdom come.
We are living at present in the kingdom of this world. It
began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but sin
entered and wrecked that kingdom. It is still a wreck, although
some of its beauty lingers. The loveliest natural scene
is deceptive because underneath there is bloodshed and terror.
The creatures creep about in fear; the birds look nervously in
all directions; the snake glides in the grass. The reign of tooth
and claw still prevails, and everything is under the curse. The
earth is rent by sin and strife, by wars, and rumors of wars.
We may send men to the moon, but we cannot solve the
problems of earth. The kingdom of this world is a failure
because the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked.
Science does not have the answer to sin. So-called civilization
carries the seeds of moral cancer in its heart. It will never
hold out morally and spiritually to do what it hopes to do
scientifically. Man is not evolving upward toward God. He
started with a knowledge of God, but denied Him, and has
been living in rebellion ever since. He tries to build heaven
without God but his towers of Babel come crashing around
his head for "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in
vain that build it . . ." (PSALMS 127:1). ". . . the whole
creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now"
(ROMANS 8:22). Any man who is a citizen of this world
only, is a citizen of a kingdom doomed to die.
The kingdom of this world is under the power of Satan, the
arch rebel who revolted against God and was cast out of
heaven. He is the prince of this world and it lies in wickedness.
He does not own it for "the earth is the Lord's and
the fulness thereof . . ." (PSALMS 24: I ) . But he does possess
it for the time being. He is a usurper, and will be thrown out
one day, for the kingdoms of this world shall become the
kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.
Long ago, God sent His Son to tell us about the Kingdom
of God. First of all, He came to deal with sin, for it was sin
that wrecked the first creation. He took our sins upon Him,
and died in our stead—as many as receive Him receive power
to become sons of God, members of the new race of which
He is the new Adam. Here is the greatest of all race issues:
whether we belong to the new race or to only the old race of
The kingdom came first in the person of the King Himself
when Jesus lived on earth. He said, ". . . the kingdom of
God is within you" (LUKE 17:21). The Kingdom was embodied
in the King, and when He was among us, He gave us
samples of what the visible Kingdom will be like when He
reigns on earth. His miracles were a foretaste, an "earnest,"
the firstfruits of what will be regular fare in the Kingdom to
come. Like the spies who brought back the fruit of the
promised land, our Lord gave us specimens from the age to
be. When I was a boy, book salesmen offered the jackets and
sample pages of certain volumes, and this prospectus was
calculated to awaken an appetite for the complete book. The
crumbs made you want the cake. So our Lord gave us a
prospectus of that which is to be. When lepers were healed,
when the blind saw, when Lazarus rose from the grave, when
the poor woman in the crowd touched my Lord and was made
whole—all these tasted of the powers of the world to come.
When He healed the sick, it proclaimed a day coming without
disease. When He raised the dead, He served notice that
one day death would cease to be. When He turned water into
wine, walked on water, and fed the multitude with a few
loaves and fishes, He announced His sovereignty over the
laws of nature. Things we now try to accomplish with tons
of paraphernalia will be routine one day without cumbersome
machinery. What costly equipment we must have to heal
the sick or travel in space! Our Lord could be anywhere in
the twinkling of an eye, and dispel disease with a touch
of the hand, or enter through doors without opening them. We
experiment, for instance, with devices for walking on water.
Our Lord simply got out there as He was and walked on the
water (not on the shore as skeptics now explain it).
So the King came and embodied the Kingdom in Himself
with a sample case of what to expect when God's Will is done
on earth, as in heaven.
Satan offered the kingdoms of this world to our Lord
in the third temptation, but Jesus refused the short cut and
took the way of the cross. If He had accepted Satan's offer,
he would have submitted to the devil. He took the Calvary
road by which Satan was defeated and will be dethroned.
God promised the kingdoms of this world to His Son (PSALMS
2) and my Lord doesn't have to bow to the devil to get them.
The devil offers the world to the Christian today, but the
faithful child of God takes the way of the cross with his
Lord now, and will reign with Him forever. The meek shall
inherit the earth. Some have said that is the only way we will
ever get it, but get it we will. It will be ours because it will
be His! If you want this world the way it now is, you are
welcome to it! I'll take the way of the cross and bid farewell
to the way of the world now. I'll wait until death is gone, and
disease and dictators and the devil, when Jesus Christ takes
over; then the world will belong to me and the rest of God's
people. I can afford to wait.
In the meantime the Kingdom is the reign of God in the
hearts of men who trust Christ as Saviour, and obey Him
as Lord. It is a spiritual Kingdom at present, and cometh not
with observation. It is not meat and drink, but righteousness,
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Mind you, the righteousness
comes before the peace and joy, and it is not a do-ityourself
proposition, but "in the Holy Ghost". Nobody knows
how many belong to the Kingdom. Statistics do not help here.
Plenty of church members do not belong; only the born again,
blood washed children of God. They are a despised minority,
aliens in a pagan land, pilgrims and strangers, whose citizenship
is in heaven. Nowadays, when so much of this world is in
the hands of the ungodly, it may not look as though we would
ever rule the earth, but long ago our Saviour said to a little
handful of disciples who looked like they didn't have a chance:
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to
give you the kingdom" (LUKE 12:32).
Kingdom Come is an invisible community now. Wherever
men know and serve Christ, there is the kingdom. In that
sense, the Kingdom has already come, but in another sense
it is a Coming Kingdom when our Lord returns, and then it
will be a visible Kingdom. It is both Kingdom Come and Kingdom
Coming. When we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," we
pray for its coming in the conversion of souls, but we also
pray for its final coming when our Saviour comes back to
earth. Some think the Kingdom is coming gradually in the
conversion of the world to Christianity, and they speak of
"bringing in the Kingdom," but the visible Kingdom will not
come until the King returns.
Not only are we now living in Kingdom Come, but it is
possible to enjoy in advance some of the blessings of the
Kingdom that is still to come. The writer to the Hebrews
speaks of those who have tasted the powers of the world to
come (HEBREWS 6:5). We taste these powers when we are
born again, in the assurance of salvation which Fanny Crosby
called "a foretaste of glory divine." We taste them in the
presence of the Holy Spirit which the Scriptures call ". . . the
earnest (or first instalment) of our inheritance . . ."
(EPHESIANS I :14). We taste these powers when we taste the
good word of God in our Bibles, when we pray, and when
we enjoy the fellowship of God's people. We taste them when
the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead quickens our
mortal bodies, even now before the resurrection.
The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.
The branches bend over the wall and we may sample some
of the fruits of the age to come before we get there!
The Scriptures indicate that all the world of nature is on
tiptoe, waiting for the day when the sons of God shall come
into their own in a redeemed creation.
When the beasts of the wild shall be led by a child,
There'll be peace in the valley for me.
I never hear a woodthrush chime his vespers at the end of
day, but I sense a wistful longing for a better day. Dr. A. T.
Roberston, dealing with Romans 8:19 wrote, "The mystical
sympathy of physical nature with the work of grace is beyond
the comprehension of most of us. But who can disprove it?"
Goethe wrote, "Often have I had the sensation as if Nature in
wailing sadness entreated something of me so that not to
understand what she longed for cut me to the heart." John
It was not then a poet's dream
An idle vaunt of song
Such as beneath the moon's soft beam
On vacant fancies throng,
Which bids me see in heaven or earth,
In all fair things around,
Strong yearnings for a blest new birth
With sinless glories crowned.
Dr. A. J. Gordon put it this way: "The age to come is the
resurrection age, the time of the redemption of the body. We
know the powers of that age not simply by prediction and
promise but by experience. Every miracle is a foretaste
thereof, a sign of its universal healing and restitution. The
driftwood and floating vegetation which met the eye of
Columbus as he was keeping lookout upon his ship assured
him of the proximity of the new world which he was seeking.
His study of geography had assured him of the existence of
that world. But now he tasted its powers, he saw and handled
its actual firstfruits. So it is with us voyagers to the world
to come, the millennial age, and the time of the restitution of
all things. As those who have known and credited our Lord's
miracles while on earth or have experienced the wonders of
recovery which He has wrought as He still stretches out His
hand to heal, we have tasted the powers of the coming age."
Not only does creation groan but we too long for that day
When we shall be where we would be,
When we shall be what we should be;
Things that are not now nor could be
Then shall be our own.
We can taste the powers of the Coming Kingdom while
living in Kingdom Come! We do not have to wait for that
blessed era to dawn in all its fulness. The thought of participating
in it now exhilirates me, and I write or preach about
it often. It will bear repeating! I propound no theories and
am interested in no fads, but I do feel that most of us
Christians are living on crackers and cheese when we might
feed on the powers of the world to come before we get there,
or it gets here, and to a far greater degree than we dare to
experience. This is not arrived at by a complex system of
thought that only scholars can comprehend, but by simple
faith, and the simpler the better; faith such as the poor sick
woman had when she touched my Lord in the crowd. I believe
there is available strength for the body, wisdom for the mind,
and power for the spirit, and that we can lay hold upon
enough of everything we shall need to do all that God wants
us to do, as long as He wants us to do it.
The Christian moves through the kingdom of this world as
a citizen of the Kingdom of God. He is not a citizen of earth
trying to get to heaven, but a citizen of heaven making his
way through this world. He belongs to what Peter calls "an
holy nation" (I PETER 2:9), the only Christian nation on
earth, a nation within the nations. He sees everything in the
light of Kingdom Come and the Kingdom Coming News reports
mean something entirely different from what they mean
to the man of this world. Issues that excite other people leave
him undisturbed. He knows there will be world peace only
when the Prince of Peace returns. Projects and reforms by
which unregenerate men try to legislate a better world into
being mean little to him. He does not ride every bandwagon
headed for the Promised Land. He pays his taxes, prays for
those in authority, and favors whatever makes for as much
peace and order as possible; but he does everything in the
light of Kingdom Come and Kingdom Coming. He is a puzzle
to this world; he seems detached from it and is a stranger to it.
I have read of a parade of boys in which everyone was in
step except one youngster. It was discovered that under his
coat he carried a transistor radio, and was marching to other
music from a thousand miles away! The Christian is in step
with the drumbeats of another world.
Secret orders have their passwords and codes known only
to the initiated. Christians belong to the greatest of secret
orders. It started with the post-resurrection appearances of
our Lord limited to only His own. To this day, only God
knows who belongs. He keeps the books. I invite you to join
this happy band, these members of Kingdom Come, awaiting
the Coming Kingdom.
"Thy kingdom come . . . For thine is the kingdom"!
(MATTHEW 6 : 10,13 ) .
SERMON BY DR. VANCE HAVNER
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