Our text for this sermon comes from Genesis 10. The title of this sermon is Advancing the Kingdom of God.
vs 1-5 Moses does not spend a lot of time discussing the family history of Japheth. Most likely it is because Japheth settled the farthest away and because Japheth becomes the father of the Gentiles. The Gentiles were not an important part of the story until Acts 10 when God sends Peter to the Gentiles.
vs 6-32 After Moses writes a brief description of Japheth, he turns his attention to the descendants of Ham and Shem. In Genesis chapter 9, Noah cursed Canaan. The curse starts with Ham and has a direct effect on all of his descendants. Every man that is born in the line of Ham is cursed. It does not matter if they start a tribe or a city, they are cursed. Their destiny is to be the enemies of Israel.
In vs 15 as Moses lays out the descendants of g, more names are recognizable than those listed that come after Ham. Cities are named for these men. The cities become thriving and prosperous. All of this takes place way before Israel actually becomes a nation.
You will recall from other parts of Scripture that many of these cities and tribes are destroyed, completely wiped from the planet. All because they were cursed.
This chapter ends with Moses giving the descendants of Shem and telling us how the earth was divided into which these cities and tribes would prosper and become nations.
That brings us back to the focus of this sermon. We are going to spend the remainder of our time together hanging out with Nimrod.
vs 8-14 Nimrod. Scripture calls him the first on the earth to be a mighty man. Keep in mind this is after the flood. He is labeled a mighty man and a mighty hunter. Nimrod had an insatiable appetite for violence. He built cities and what he could not build he conquered. He cast his vision and built an army. You do not become the leader of a kingdom by being passive. You do not ask permission and you definitely do not wait for someone to give it to you. You go out and take by force what is not part of the kingdom. The more you take – the further the kingdom advances.
*Alexander the Great
*The Roman Empire
Nimrod could not settle for just being the ruler of one city. His passion was driven by his desire for more. One city became four. Four became five and so on.
Nimrod was aggressive. He pushed and fought to advance his kingdom.
Nimrod had one major obstacle. He was cursed before he even started.
What can we learn from Nimrod?
First, we have to bring Nimrod’s story into context. We are not going out conquering cities by hostile takeover. We are called to advance the Kingdom of God.
A lot of people mistakenly take this to advance their own kingdom and they become incredibly selfish and build up their world with power, money, cars, things and then because they built their kingdom and not Jesus’ kingdom, it all comes crashing down.
We have been called to advance the Kingdom of God.
Nimrod was cursed. We are not.
Nimrod had an army.
Every person that has been redeemed by the spilled blood of Jesus. Every person that is striving to kill sin and intentionally be conformed to the image of Christ is on your team. You do not need to be distracted by fakes and flakes. You do not have time for that. Your mission is urgent. You are called to advance the Kingdom of God. The clock is ticking. You are at war. Distractions will kill you.
Nimrod equipped his army. He had to teach them to fight.
This is why you are a member of FaithPoint. You should come with expectation and anticipation that God is going to change you and conform you to the image of Jesus. You pray for your church. You pray for your pastor. You pick up your sword and use it. A warrior that does not know how to use his weapon is a dead warrior. You go to community groups and the time of fellowship and sermon reflection is getting you to think more in a biblical way and getting you to trust Scripture as your highest authority. All of this is designed to disciple you and point you to Jesus. You are being equipped to be sent out as missionaries as conquerors for Jesus.
Nimrod operated in his own power.
As Christians, we operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. Here is an example that we know Scripture but either reject it from disbelief or reject it because we do not want that particular Scripture applied to our lives.
How much power does it take to raise someone from the dead? How much power does it take to walk up to a dead person, no heartbeat, no brain activity, no blood flowing, all systems shut down, no eye twitching, no breath is in them, and restore that person to a fully functional life. When God raises the dead, He does not leave anything undone.
The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. That power is in us. Laying dormant. It lays behind skepticism, doubt, pride, idols, and fear. That power is untapped. How then do we unleash that power so that we are a force that operates in the name of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God?
First of all, we have to understand that we are not required to fight. God fights for us. However, this does not free us from responsibility. We are required to be obedient.
We are required to be obedient when it is easy.
We are required to be obedient when it is extremely difficult.
We are required to be obedient when it doesn’t make sense.
That is it.
All we are required to do is be obedient.
The church is the means…the vehicle that God has chosen to use to send out the message of the gospel and bring in the harvest.
Delayed obedience is still disobedience.
You are either obeying Jesus or you are not.
Nimrod advanced his kingdom by force.
We are called to advance the kingdom of God. What does that even mean?
We are called to go into the world and as agents of reconciliation – reconcile people and cities back to Jesus. So, we go in search of people that do not yet belong to Jesus and we make the introduction and allow Jesus to do the rest.
We need to be on the offensive without being offensive.
Andy Stanley says that the gospel is offensive. That does not mean that everything else about the church should be.
You are called to advance the kingdom of God.
Either you are or you’re not.