Now and Later

Luke 17:20-21

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

John Piper, in the introduction to the sermon, “Is the Kingdom Present or Future?”

Is the kingdom of God a future reality to be hoped for or a present reality to experience now? That’s today’s question. The answer is that it is partly present and partly future. Many of its blessings are here to be enjoyed now; but many of them are not yet here. Some of its power is available now but not all of it. Some of the curse and misery of this old age can be overcome now by the presence of the kingdom. But some of it cannot be. The decisive battle against sin and Satan and sickness and death has been fought and won by the King in his death and resurrection, but the war is not over. Sin must be fought, Satan must be resisted, sickness must be prayed over and groaned under (Romans 8:23), and death must be endured until the second coming of the King and the consummation of the kingdom.

Now I want you to see this clearly in the New Testament because it is extremely important for your faith. It will inspire you with hope that there is a great and glorious future yet in store for all believers. It will deepen your confidence that the glory of your future in the kingdom is secured by precious past down payments of that very kingdom (Romans 8:32!). It will give you a handle on why so much amazing kingdom power is being unleashed in the world, and yet why so much of sin and Satan and sickness and suffering remains. If you get a handle on the presence and the future of the kingdom of God, you will find yourself on a pathway of spiritual power, which might include the power to perform signs, and will definitely include the equally remarkable power to suffer patiently the cross of grief and pain (Colossians 1:11).

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