Forward-Back Living – Gospel in Life
Sermon

Forward-Back Living

Tim Keller |  May 18, 2003

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Topics:
  • Stewardship, Generosity and Money
  • Christian Living and Obedience
  • Understanding the Gospel
Duration:
41:56
Scripture:
Luke 12:32-46
SKU:
RS 158-4

Overview

Today’s teaching is the last part of a series on the life of Jesus in the gospel of Luke. When you believe in Jesus it doesn’t just give you some kind of inner peace, but it completely changes your life. Jesus rearranges our lives upside down — he changes our attitude to our wealth and recognition and power. Jesus rearranges our lives inside out — he satisfies our need to get approval. He gives us self-esteem, worth, honor and dignity.

Now we’re going to see one more way in which Jesus rearranges your life through the kingdom of God. He doesn’t just have you live upside down and inside out, but also forward back. What does that mean? Let’s take a look and see what he teaches us about 1) the power of the kingdom; 2) the practices of the kingdom; and 3) the provision of the kingdom.

Luke 12:32–46

From the words of Jesus in Luke, we learn that a relationship with Him brings inner calm and transforms our whole life. This change, brought on by being part of God’s kingdom, changes how we think about our social standing, our emotions, and our time. It shifts our view on things like money, fame, power, and self-worth. Understanding the strength, actions, and gifts of this kingdom shows us a different way to live.

1. The strength of the kingdom

The idea of the kingdom, explained in Matthew 19:28, is a deep belief in the constant renewal of everything, a cycle of breaking down and being remade. This renewal means a key moment when everything is fixed, healed, and perfected under the fair rule of the true King, turning sadness into happiness. The life-changing strength of this kingdom, bringing unexpected newness, is open to anyone who believes in Jesus, promising big changes no matter your past mistakes or weaknesses.

2. The actions of the kingdom

The strength of the kingdom motivates us to be extremely generous, giving more than just the usual ten percent and even from our savings, with fear being the opposite of this kind of giving. God’s kingdom turns society’s rules upside down, promoting helping each other and breaking down the idea of ranks and importance. It also highlights the need for spiritual alertness and looking forward to future happiness and fairness, motivating a life of service, sacrifice, forgiveness, not fighting back, and peace, with faith in the coming kingdom.

3. The gifts of the kingdom

God’s kingdom is given as a gift, not earned, and is received by being prepared and serving others. The best satisfaction comes from a relationship with God, which is better than any worldly enjoyment, mirroring C.S. Lewis’ idea of the river of pleasure. The promise to Abraham, shown by the cutting of animals, hints at Jesus’ sacrifice, showing God’s commitment to people and asking for faith, happiness, forgiveness, and generosity.

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