In this article we continue our series on the Gospel of Luke by looking at Luke 9:1-9.

Do you want to be king or do you want to be in the kingdom? Those are your options. They're the only two options there are. Let me ask that question another way. Do you want to be free to do as you please, what you please, when you please, where you please, or do you want the freedom that only God can give, a freedom that comes at the price of renouncing the pursuit of doing what you please, when you please, where you please? Or I could ask the question still another way. Do you want to be independent? Do you want to be the arbiter, the decider of what the standard of truth and love and goodness and beauty are, or do you want to be dependent, utterly dependent, dependent on God and settled that He is the only arbiter of truth and love and goodness and beauty? That's really what this passage is about because it's a passage about the kingdom of God and there are only two kingdoms - the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this passing age, and you may not belong to both. You may only belong to one or the other, and Jesus is sending His disciples out to proclaim a message about that. There's so much in this passage but I am going to constrain myself to draw your attention to three things.

I. Who Is The King?

Who is the King? We know Luke wants us to ask that question because he lets us know that the pagan, Herod the tetrarch, is asking that question. You see him ask it at the end of the passage - "Who is this about whom I hear such things?" If a pagan is asking it, He sure wants His disciples to be asking that question. And of course He's already answered the question in the first two verses because Jesus calls the twelve together and gives them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases and sends them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal and everyone in Luke's first audience of hearers and readers would have remembered those.

Who is it in the Old Testament that calls and gives and sends? God alone calls Israel out of Egypt and gives to Israel promises and sends Israel into Egypt.

God alone called Abram out of a pagan, idol worshipping family in Ur of the Chaldeans and gave to him enormous privileges and promises and sent him into the land of promise. And so Luke is telling you that Jesus calls "the twelve."

He calls them and gives them and sends them. This is God in the flesh. The King is here. Jesus is the King.

II. What Is The Kingdom? The second thing we need to ask ourselves is - What exactly is the kingdom? The kingdom does not refer to a territory that's protected by walls, but in the Bible, it refers to the authority of God to rule and to His exercise of authority in the lives of people. And it is that message which Jesus commissions His disciples to go out and to proclaim.

Now what is vital to understand about this kingdom is that we do not bring this kingdom. This kingdom is entirely of God's doing. We may receive the kingdom, but we cannot establish the kingdom.

We may reject the kingdom or refuse to enter into the kingdom, but we cannot destroy the kingdom. It is of God's making and building.

The kingdom acts upon us because it is the rule of God. We may inherit the kingdom but we cannot bestow the kingdom. It is God's gift alone to give, and that is part of the message that Jesus commissions His disciples to preach.

III. What Is The Message Of The Kingdom?

Why was that message good news? Because in the Fall, Satan had tempted us to believe that there was a kingdom better than God's and that if we would pursue our own joy, our own satisfaction, our own fulfillment, our own hope, and our own love apart from God, we would find more than we find with God. We would find true liberty, true satisfaction, true joy. If we just do it our way, it would be better than God ever gave. And we did it. And you know what happened? We were utterly ruined by our own choices.

And the good news of the kingdom that Jesus has sent His disciples out to proclaim is that God, in His grace and mercy, has not left us to our own self destruction, but that He Himself has come in the flesh to rescue us from the dominion of darkness and the kingdom of Satan and the bondage of this passing age, and to welcome us in by grace to the everlasting kingdom of life and joy and light and love and hope and happiness. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of God's liberation of us so that we may enjoy Him.

That's why I asked you - Do you want to be king or do you want to be in the kingdom? Do you want to be God, do you want to do it your way, or do you want to enjoy Him forever? You can't do both.

And you see in this proclamation of the kingdom the word is this - you can either seek freedom and joy and satisfaction your way and you may even think you have it for a while, but in the end you'll lose everything. You'll die.

Or you can seek God, you can seek His kingdom, and you can find as Jesus will say elsewhere, that "all these things will be added to you." That's what the kingdom is about.

You want to be king or do you want to be in the kingdom? You want the satisfaction that the world can offer you or do you want to enjoy God forever? That's what the King, the only King, is asking you today and your answer is of permanent significance.