Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence…
Our historical record of the great apostle closes with a picture of him fully and earnestly engaged in the loved work of his life, even under the limitations of captivity, and there is peculiar significance in the terms which Luke uses. The apostle is said to have been engaged in "preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus, with all confidence. Illustration may be given of St. Paul's restless activity and consuming zeal in preaching Christ. He could say, Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel!" He must have held and cherished the holiest convictions; he is the first and noblest instance of absorbing, inspiring enthusiasm for Christ. He was now a prisoner, but he would preach Christ with the guard beside him. He could not preach Christ in temple, church, or large room, so he would preach Christ in his own house. He could not gather the many, so he would preach Christ to the few who came to see him. Compare Adolphe Monod, who lay for months on a sick-bed, and could conduct no public services, so spoke of Christ from his bed every Sunday afternoon to the friends that gathered round him, as long as he was able. Two things are especially noted by Luke in these his closing words.
I. ST. PAUL PREACHED THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Under the figure of a Divine kingdom Messiah's times had been prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 2:44; 7:14, 27). John the Baptist stood forth as a prophet to proclaim, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Our Lord gave the same words to his apostles when he sent them forth upon their trial mission; it was the message which they were everywhere to deliver. The figure was not a new one. It was not a fresh thing for God to claim the rule of souls. The government of ancient Israel had been a theocracy, or direct rule of Jehovah. The new thing was for God to set up this government on earth in the person of his Son, the Son or man and Son of God. He came to help us more clearly and more fully to see that the kingdom of God is the rule of his loving, holy, and fatherly will; and that will may be made known in two ways.
1. By definite and express commands. In this way it had been made known to Israel.
2. By the immediate and living authority of Jesus Christ, who gives us God's will directly, putting it into close relation with all our circumstance and need. To be in the kingdom of God now is to be directly dependent, day by day, upon the guiding, teaching, leading, of the living Lord Jesus Christ.
II. ST. PAUL PREACHED THE THINGS CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST. Those things include:
1. Trying to make the history and teachings of the Lord Jesus known, so that men might have a solid foundation whereon to rest their eternal hopes.
2. Trying to make Christ himself known, because his will is the reflection and expression of himself.
3. Trying to make the fullness and freeness of Christ's grace known, so that men's confidence might be won to him.
4. Trying to make Christ's offices and relations known; because he is
(1) the Dispenser of pardon;
(2) he has the bestowment of the Spirit;
(3) he stands in the place of our High Priest; and
(4) he is to be our final Judge. The kingdom of God is come for all hearts that are fully consecrated to Christ. It will have come for the world when "every knee shall bow to him, and every tongue confess to him." God will reign when Jesus shall be acknowledged "King of kings, and Lord of lords." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.