The Kingdom of God: How to Deal With Delays

Listen to the message

Series: The Kingdom of God

Sunday 10 July 2016 – Kobus Swart

(Matthew 8:20); (Eph. 4:13); Matt. 24:42-51; Heb. 10:12-14, 39; Eph. 3:10; Rom. 16:20; Matt. 25:1-13; Rom. 14:17; (Matt. 6:10); John 3:5; Luke 9:57-62; Jude 5; Luke 16:16; Rom. 8:14; 2 Pet. 3:12

The word that came to my mind is the word “delay.” It is clear in the Scriptures that for some reason God delays things. When God is silent, He is not far away from you. Listen to the reading of Matt. 24 as if you have never heard it before. We believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ but there is something that has to precede that great ultimate event. There has to be a final unveiling, there has to be a full stature. Jesus said, The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20). He will not lay His head on anything that does not represent Him and that does not have the same DNA, and that can only be the full stature of Christ (Eph. 4:13).

Read Matt. 24:42-51. There is a different lesson here we need to hear, and what happens when there is a delay. Is there anything wrong with expecting the Lord? No. God encourages us to always be ready and always expect Him. God is looking for the heart that is hungry and thirsty after Him. What happens when there is a delay and people become discouraged? They lose their hunger and focus, and their activities show they have lost hope. They could pull back into a lifestyle that does not please God.

Who and what is causing the delay? But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Heb. 10:12-14). Who is going to bring His enemies to be a footstool under His feet? So that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Eph. 3:10). Is the Church fulfilling this mandate or are they busy with programs? The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet (Rom. 16:20). Our feet! Where is the delay? Who is playing church?

Jesus spoke in parables and you needed revelation to know what was behind the parable. Let us look at a typical kingdom parable. “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.” Why the delay? When will we see what the Bible promises? Jesus is seated at the right hand of God waiting! And the Church is waiting! “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matt. 25:1-13). The ten virgins were all born again Christians, but five were wise and five were foolish. Yet when the five came late the answer was, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’

The kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking, but in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). The Holy Spirit is God’s administrator. The oil in their lamps speaks of the Holy Spirit. We as kingdom citizens need the Holy Spirit and we need extra; we need to make provision for possible delays. Make more room for the Holy Spirit! Make sure your lamp is full and that you have extra. This is a kingdom parable and this is how we are to be equipped to handle delays. The truth is that there is a delay!

The kingdom of God is not a myth or some story. It is God’s plan. That is why Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come in the earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). How many here are wise, and how many foolish? Are we equipped for the delay? Have we lost our expectancy? There is a second coming busy happening; the Lord is busy filling His Church; there is a full stature busy taking place in the earth.

It will help us to look at our own born again experience (John 3:5). Unless one is born again you cannot see the kingdom of God. There has to be an authentic born again experience. If we are born of water and the Spirit, (the Word and the Spirit), then we can say we are kingdom citizens. But we have to make sure our lamps remain full and we have some to spare because the Bridegroom might delay His coming. It is sad to see somebody who was on fire for God become cold and ignorant of the things of God. People say they will follow the Lord and accept Him as Lord and Saviour, they raise their hand in an evangelistic meeting, but how genuine was that experience? (Luke 9:57-62). First things first! What comes first in this life? Family affairs? Business affairs? Kingdom first! Lot’s wife managed to get out of Sodom, but her heart was detached and she looked back. We need to keep our focus on what comes first. “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5). We need to stay believers! Do not lose the faith! Israel was miraculously saved out of Egypt but they lost their faith. During the forty years in the wilderness, God had to destroy a whole generation. “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul” (Heb. 10:39). When you withdraw you are setting yourself up for trouble. Withdrawal leads to destruction. “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it” (Luke 16:16). When the gospel of the kingdom is accurately preached, the response of God’s people is to force their way into it, not withdraw. I challenge you this morning, in spite of pressures, disappointments and challenges, rather than withdrawing, force your way into the kingdom! Press in! Come under His government! “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). We need to be led daily. Can you say, “Here is my heart Lord!”

“Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet. 3:12). This should be in every kingdom citizen’s heart. How do we hasten the day of His coming? By looking for it! It is a heart’s focus. It is a hunger and a thirst. Some are disillusioned and turn to other religions, but the Bridegroom will come. He is looking for a Bride without spot or wrinkle.