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A Tale of Two Kingdoms

• Greg Boyd
Guest Panelists: Shawna Boren, Paul Eddy

In the midst of a divided and polarized world, how does the church respond in a way that reflects God’s kingdom? To answer this question, we must understand the nature of God’s kingdom and how it stands in contrast to the kingdoms of this world.

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We are ambassadors in a foreign land as our true citizenship is in heaven, not in the land in which we live on Earth. We are on assignment for the kingdom of God in the midst of the kingdoms of this world. Because of this, we must have our pulse on what is transpiring in the land where we are stationed.

It does not take much effort to understand that we live in a land that is deeply divided. How, then, do we as kingdom ambassadors conduct ourselves during this time in the midst of this division? To answer this question well, we must address the nature of the two kingdoms that exist alongside each other.

God’s kingdom is based in God’s dream for humanity. Humans were to exercise loving dominion over Earth and animals, not over each other. Because humans are made in the image of God, we are all equal and therefore we are not to dominate or control others by playing the power-over game.

However, when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they adopted a stance of judgment. To eat from this tree is to put oneself in the place of a king, as if you can decide what is good and what is evil. Instead of loving others, we become accusers of others, thus establishing the kingdom of the world. We see this in Genesis 3 when Adam blames God and then blames Eve, followed by Eve blaming the serpent.

In Genesis 3:16 we read how the woman would seek to “manipulate” her husband and he would seek to “tyrannize” his wife. God is basically saying that because our relationship is damaged, his plan for marriage to be a beautiful “one flesh” relationship among equals will turn into a power struggle, with the man tending to get the upper hand because of physical strength.

This is the impulse that gives rise to governmental systems, or what the Bible often refers to as kingdoms. A kingdom is a domain over which someone is king, where someone somehow managed to gain power to rule over others, and each kingdom is a manifestation of rebellion against God’s dream for the world.

In this world of rebellious kingdoms, Yahweh raised up Israel, his “chosen nation,” to be a sort of missionary nation, a “royal priesthood.” God wanted to use Israel to reach all the kingdoms of the world and reunite them under Yahweh’s lordship. God wanted Israel to model for the other nations what it looks like for a people to have God alone as their king.

During the days of the Old Testament, the little nation of Israel was surrounded by powerful kingdoms who ruled the world by the sword. As a result, the Israelites began to fret and asked God for a king to rule over them so that they could be protected from the rule of other nations. They announced that they wanted a king like other nations so that they could fight like other nations.

When Yahweh heard this, he said to Samuel that by trusting a human king, the Israelites were rejecting God as king. As God’s ambassadors, we have to know that all systems that involve some people having power over others are predicated on rebellion against God’s leadership in our lives. Even more, we learn in the New Testament that kingdoms are under the corrupting influence of the principalities and powers. We read about this in Luke 4:5-7, where the devil tells Jesus that he can give him the kingdoms of the world. God’s ambassador people have to remain aware that there are powerful forces of evil at work in all worldly systems of power, including the land in which we have been stationed.

In the midst of the kingdom of the world, Jesus brings the kingdom of God, where power-under is the way of life, in contrast to power-over. Jesus reintroduces God as direct King. To call Jesus “Lord,” “Savior,” and King” in the first century is to say that Caesar is not these things. This is the reason that Christians were seen as a subversive movement, undermining the power of the state.

Here is a summary of the contrasts between the two kingdoms:

Kingdom of the World             Kingdom of God

Mistrust God                                     Trust God
Caesar is Lord                                  Jesus is Lord
Power Over                                       Power Under
Exact Vengeance                             No Vengeance
Effectiveness                                    Faithfulness

In the end, the whole world will become the kingdom of the Lord and his Messiah. All who have aligned their hearts with his dreams for the world will be his bride and will reign with Christ on a renewed and redeemed Earth forever. But that time is not yet here. Right now, God’s ambassadors are called to keep the kingdom holy, set apart from the kingdom of the world. We are to represent the character of the King in all that we do, resisting the power-over structures and offering power-under love.

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Topics: Non-Violence, Spiritual Warfare

Sermon Series: A House Divided

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The MuseCast : October 6

Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 20:25-28

    Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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21 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Kingdoms

  1. Susan says:

    I am a Christian saved by God’s grace alone.
    I am voting for Donald Trump, and I believe he has done more for our black brothers and sisters than Joe Biden or Barrack Obama did when they were given the opportunity. He has worked hard for prison reform; Alice Johnson is a woman who has benefitted from this . Trump also wants school choice which will give all parents the right to choose their children’s school.
    Pastor Boyd, you mentioned the debate. You mentioned how you heard what Trump said about white supremacists. I just watched the clip from the debate again. What I heard was Trump blowing off the idea that he is racist, and Trump being amazed that Joe Biden isn’t asked to call out antifa. Joe Biden calls antifa an idea, and Trump says that an idea doesn’t hit you over the head with a board. Antifa has caused so much destruction.
    As Christians we know we come from so many different backgrounds with different perspectives. It is good to try to see the good another Christian can see in a situation. It’s awesome that we, you and I,can see things completely differently, but because we have Christ, there is no division between us. We will probably just vote for different people to the Glory of God.

    1. Mike says:

      I wish we could get past the polemics. The problem is the rift taking place in the church. It raises fresh questions regarding Paul’s doctrine on the church. “The manifold wisdom of God will be revealed through the church.” Honestly, I don’t see the compatibility between that scripture and the mutual animosity among the church in America. I believe the Bible is authoritative, and I have for over 40 years. But I confess that I don’t understand how Paul’s doctrine of the church squares with what is going on among professing believers right now in this country, any more than I understand what happened between the Confessing Church and the Deutsche Christen Church during Nazi Germany. Maybe Paul’s doctrine of the church needs some fresh insight. Maybe I need to take a deep dive into Bonhoeffer to get a better understanding of the church.

      1. Susan says:

        Did you see this as a strong attack? I did not mean it that way.
        The church is made up of people, sinful forgiven people. People who come from everywhere. Some are educated some are not, but we are one.
        We don’t have to agree about everything, but we need to be kind.
        I think it is a good thing to bring up areas we disagree about, ” iron sharpens iron”. I have a perspective you don’t have and you have one I don’t. So long as we can be humble and neither of us think we have arrived we can both learn a thing or 2 from each other.

        Thanks for your thoughts. I like Bonehoffoer too! The little I know of him.

  2. Kevin says:

    That documentary is a Must See; thanks for the recommend. Here’s another similar doc that’s free to watch now on youtube. It’s called ‘the creepy line’ and it brings in more history and context. It’s also worth a watch


  3. Susan says:

    I do not think Pastor Boyd was right to bring up the white supremacists issue regarding President Trump. He left me with the impression that Trump was a white supremacists and had a militia of white supremacists standing by. This is not true about Donald Trump.
    Many, many times Trump has condemned white supremacists. Which of course is 100% right to do.
    President Trump has worked hard for all people in this country. He has worked for prison reform and it’s inequity towards black people. He has worked with Ben Carson to create opportunity zones in black and low income neighborhoods. He is for school choice which gives all children an opportunity to escape failing schools.
    Welfare will never create equality for all Americans. A good job, a good education, and of course Christ is what everyone needs. President Trump has done a lot to work to keep our freedom of worship in this country.
    If we really care about being united as the Bible says then each of us should be careful when speaking about someone we disagree with. We should not paint a false picture of our opponent. That is not Biblical.

  4. Susan says:


    President Trump denouncing white supremacists, KKK, neo Nazis groups.
    It is important to represent others as they are. This is Biblical.

  5. Kevin says:

    Why then did he not flat out say the same thing during the debate? Just curious

    1. Susan says:

      My take is all I can give you, but it is based on knowing how he stands for all Americans.
      He knows he’s not a racist. He knows he’s not a white supremacists. He has denounced these groups many times. But, again he is asked about this. He says “What.do you want me to say?” “Then he says stand down and stand by”. Truly a dumb thing to say,” stand by” but knowing his actions and all he has accomplished for black Americans and for Israel, I have no concern that that comment meant anything. He, then launches into amazement that Biden is never asked to denounce Antifa.
      That is how I saw it. I did not isolate the comment, so it would represent the man or his Presidency. I look to his almost 4 years of service doing, prison reform, opportunity zones, school choice, black unemployment pre Covid, and I let that define him as our President.

  6. Anabella Hoppe says:

    Please, explain what is “antifa” origin, purpose, and motive.
    We need to be educated in love.

    1. Paige Slighter says:

      Hey Anabella,
      Here is some more helpful information about Antifa.
      “Antifa” is short for “anti-fascism.” Antifa began in the 1930s as an opposition movement to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. It then spread across Europe to other leftist resistance movements. It lost prominence after World War II but grew again in the 80s and 90s in reaction to neo-Nazi groups. After that, the Antifa movement was mostly dormant until Trump’s presidency when their activism spiked in response to a rise in white supremacist activity. Antifa then gained nationwide attention during the events of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Antifa is not centralized or formalized, but consists of a loose collective of small local cells across the country that generally hold views from the extreme political left and identify themselves as anti-neo-Nazi, anti-white supremacy and anti-authoritarianism. Some in Antifa have expanded their definition of “fascism” to include conservatives in general. While they use many forms of direct action they have received notoriety for use of violent tactics including arson, harassment and physical assault. They claim that right-wing violence or violent rhetoric justifies violence in response. Recently, some leaders have pushed for the FBI to declare Antifa a domestic terrorist organization. In response, FBI director Christopher Wray claimed that while the FBI has “investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists,” Antifa is “not a group or an organization. It’s a movement or an ideology.” However, Antifa has received condemnation from across the political spectrum because whether left or right, whether a formal group or informal movement, violence is unacceptable.
      – The Communication Team

      1. Anabella says:

        Thank you Comunication Team.
        As a life long educator I noted that if what we call seeking justice through racial reconciliation , have mercy with love, be humble under our God , no humble under American idols. If this is not transforming me, my friends and relatives, churches and USA then it is merely sociology with a little golden jesus sprinkled on top because the majority do not want the God of the bible they want the generic god that they control, better known in scripture as
        idolatry the god that you conveniently manipulate depending on political, social, economical, and religious motives.
        All in all, for us is essencial to think and meditate in Gods Word as Dr. Boyd teaches us.

  7. Kevin says:

    good answer; thanks

  8. Susan says:

    “Antifa” is a political movement using violence and destruction to promote their message.
    Where Martin Luther King Jr chose peaceful resistance to promote equality in America, and he accomplished so much good for all of us! Praise the Lord! Antifa” uses violence and chaos and accomplishes destruction and division.
    Martin Luther King Jr used our Lord’s recommended ways to promote good!

  9. Susan says:

    When Greg called our President a white supremacist I turned my computer off. I need and want to hear the Word of a God not anyone’s political opinion, especially one that isn’t true. He has condemned those groups many times over. How come no one mentions which side is pro life. If this church is so concerned over social injustice what about all the babies being slaughtered each day in this country. How about the side that puts sin on a pedestal and demands everyone bow down to it. To me it’s an easy call. What’s hard is the fact I’ve been going to this church for 27 years, but in the last year I am often convicted to look for a new church home. I believe a Woodland Hills is going not in God’s direction, but Greg’s.

    1. Steven says:

      When I hear someone , often good Christian friends, talk about pro life as being anti-abortion it puzzles me. Even though I see abortion as a very sad action that never works out well for any society, no political party has a monopoly on pro life. When we support policies that leads to the suffering or death of any human being in this country or any country we are not being pro life. Unfortunately at some point in the last 50 years it was decided that abortion should be equated with pro life, taking care of a child after its birth so that this child and its mother does not have to turn to an abusive relationship to survive , or policies that undermine stability across the globe and promote the militarization of leaders who turn those weapon on their populations are also pro life issues. Has the church been manipulated to narrow what it means to be pro life. God have mercy on us.

    2. Peter says:

      I had a similar reaction to those statements. I tuned in to the sermon on purpose because I know that Greg Boyd has different political opinions than I do, and I want to practice listening to other voices and not encapsulate myself into my bubble. When I hit that part I had a Raging Elephant moment (the 10/11 sermon is excellent) and had to pause the sermon and come back to it the next day. I prayed, God, please help me to love, and I tried to see things from the other side’s perspective. I realized that if all of their assumptions were true (I believe they are not), the statements that I was triggered by are logical and reasonable conclusions to make. This relates so well to the 10/11 sermon that if you haven’t watched it yet, I urge you to go do so.

  10. Jerry says:

    Con·serv·a·tive definition – holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.

    Lib-er-al definition – open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.

    So concerning the Tale of Two Kingdoms which is which?

    Lording over one another – following one another – putting self first – another words creating hell for one another

    Being a servant to one another – following Jesus – putting others first – another words ushering the kingdom of heaven

    Jesus came to save us from hell NOT send us there https://reknew.org/2020/10/i-dont-fit-in-here-why-should-i-think-i-will-fit-in-there-podcast/

    Given the data above I’m pretty sure Jesus is NOT traditional but a tree hugging liberal.

    In general premise Jesus looks like a democrat, however when you look at the underlying principles of both parties Jesus looks more like a republican.

    Both parties lord it over each other, just cannot ever seem to speak the truth in love and I’m not convinced, with either party, what they express from their party platform is what is really in their hearts.

    So which flavor of hell in better?

    From Paul’s perspective, Romans 13:4, the one that best bears the sword however I believe it’s our job as Jesus followers, ambassadors of the new kingdom, after the flurry to work with the wounded speaking the truth in love, that’s a lot about telling them about our victories in dealing with our own planks, so as to win hearts to this new kingdom. (a separation of church and state)

    I guess I’m a little disappointed in Greg too in that he voted at all.

    1. Susan says:

      God’s Kingdom is made up of Republicans, Democrats, and undecideds.
      We are, Christians, growing into the image of God.
      We do need to be careful that our emotions don’t have the final say on our behavior, but Christ does.
      I believe voting for our leaders is a gift from God to us, and we should be good stewards of what we have been given.

  11. Carl says:

    Unfortunately our President fits all the protacol for being a “sociopath”. If you’ve studied his and his family’s history you will find it to be quite true. The Southern Poverty Law Center which has fought racism in this country for decades, has called out and won law suites against many racist groups in this country. They have been investigating Donald Trump since 2015 and have found many Trump racist associates from the recent past. Unlike the fake persona he likes to portray, he is neither a great businessman (5 bankruptcies putting other businesses out of business and their employees not being paid for the work they did for him) or a patriot (escaped the draft by supposed bone spurs in his ankles). Donald Trump loves to live like a king without paying the price. We definately have to pray for him and our country.

    1. Susan says:

      I look at the President’s record to see if he deserves my vote again and I believe he does.
      He has been nominated for 3 Nobel Peace Prize awards.
      He has worked tirelessly to deal with the Corona virus, and 2 democratic govoners praised him for his help when the Covid crisis was at it’s worst for their state, Govener Newsome, and Govener Cumo.
      There is Prison reform, the help he has given to Black colleges with 10 years of financing, and religious freedoms the President has worked for.
      It is his record in foreign policy too. He has brought about peace where there were wars and brought tyrants to account for their actions, like Iran.
      I know many will disagree with me, but we can still be willing to listen to each other.

  12. Susan says:

    God’s Kingdom is made up of Republicans, Democrats, and undecideds.
    We are, Christians, growing into the image of God.
    We do need to be careful that our emotions don’t have the final say on our behavior, but Christ does.
    I believe voting for our leaders is a gift from God to us, and we should be good stewards of what we have been given.

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