The Realm of Righteousness
A Sermon on Romans 14:17
17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Why do Christians find themselves consumed with less important matters? They often make partial truth encompass truth and the things of less importance are taken out of balance. The church at Rome did this with eating and drinking. The contemporary church does this in doctrine as well as with its various movements – the ecumenical movement, holiness movement, or evangelistic movements. What is the corrective? In this sermon on Romans 14:17 titled “The Realm of Righteousness,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s answer is to point back to the center. As the center is established, every part must align with it. What is the great center of Scripture? The apostle Paul in Romans 14:17 provides the answer: the kingdom of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones traces the kingdom of God throughout the biblical narrative, noting the emphasis Christ gives to the kingdom. Dr. Lloyd-Jones works from a comprehensive definition of the kingdom, noting the general reign of God in the visible church, in addition to the reign of Christ in the hearts of His people. The day is coming when the saints will reign visibly with the king. In light of this, why are Christians consumed with small things like eating and drinking? Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges this fascination with matters much smaller than the kingdom.
- The kingdom of God is the central theme of the Bible. It refers to God's rule and reign.
- In the Old Testament, the kingdom of God was seen in the nation of Israel. In the New Testament, it is seen in the Christian church. Ultimately, it will be fully established when Christ returns.
- We must never forget the kingdom of God. When we do, we get distracted by minor issues and divide the church.
- Parts of truth and parts of ourselves must not be isolated from the whole. They only have meaning in relation to the kingdom of God.
- We must compare Scripture with Scripture and ensure our interpretations do not contradict the whole.
- We must not make any part of truth central in place of the kingdom of God. Parts are not meant to be at the center.
- Our minds alone, hearts alone or wills alone should not be engaged with the truth. Our whole selves must be involved. A theoretical, emotional or dutiful Christianity is imbalanced.
- To correct imbalance, we must remember the kingdom of God. We must start with centralities, not parts. We must see parts in light of the whole.
- The kingdom of God is within us because Christ is within us. But we will also reign with Christ in the kingdom. We have an exalted future place in the kingdom.
- We must view all matters in light of our identity as citizens of the kingdom of God with an exalted future. Otherwise, we make peripheral issues central and harm the kingdom.
The Book of Romans
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.