One of the most offensive teachings of the gospel is its brutal honesty about all of humanity. Ever since the fall, mankind has sought to proclaim his own goodness through his fig leaves of self-righteousness (Gen 3:7). God paints a completely different picture of mankind, and it’s a picture of two kingdoms. There are citizens of the kingdom of light and citizens of the kingdom of darkness. We’re all born into the kingdom of darkness and have the imprint of this citizenship on us. God speaks of the citizens of the kingdom of darkness: their actions, their spiritual condition, their hostile relationship toward God, their thoughts and their destiny.
I. Actions of Citizens of the Kingdom of Darkness:
- Pursuing this earthly kingdom, not God’s kingdom (Luke 12:29-31)
- Living in and for fleshly passions and enslaved to them (Eph 2:1-5, Titus 3:3-4, 1 Pet 4:3-4, Rom 1:21-32, 6:19-21, 7:5, Rev 9:20-21).
- Practicing unrighteousness (1 Jn 3:8-10)
- Self-centered, hating others (1 Jn 3:10-15, Titus 3:3-4, 1 Pet 1:3-4, Rom 1:28-31, Rev 9:20-21)
- Idolaters- misplaced worship and affections (Rom 1:21-26, 1 Pet 4:3-4, Rev 9:20-21)
- Lawless- not living in harmony with God’s laws (Rom 6:19-21, 1 Pet 4:3-4)
II. Thoughts of Citizens of the Kingdom of Darkness:
Foolish thoughts, minds blinded to the truth of the gospel (Titus 3:3-4, 2 Cor 4:3-4)
III. Relationship With God:
- Separate from Christ (Eph 2:12)
- Without God (Eph 2:12)
- Hostile to God and haters of God (Rom 1:28-31, 8:7-8)
IV. Spiritual Condition of Citizens of the Kingdom of Darkness:
- Dead in their sin (Eph 2:1-5)
- Enslaved to sin (Jn 8:34-36, Rom 6:17)
V. Destiny of Citizens of the Kingdom of Darkness:
- Current condition: Perishing (2 Cor 4:3-4)
- Children of God’s Wrath (Eph 2:5, Rom 1:18)
- No hope (Eph 2:12)
2 Passages summarize well God’s perspective on all of us prior to being translated from the Kingdom of Darkness into Christ’s glorious kingdom:
“You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive…” (Eph 2:1-5)
“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit. The poison of snakes is under their lips, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in the ways; and the way of peace they have not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:10-19)
The relationship of the citizens of the kingdom of darkness to Satan their prince is shocking: they are “following the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:1), their father is the devil (Jn 8:34-44) and God considers them as anti-Christs (1 Jn 2:18, 22-23, 3:18, 4:3). There are two kingdoms and Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” (Matt 12:30) The sobering truth about Satan is that “authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation. All who dwell on earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev 13:7-8)- this is not some future prophecy, it is the reality of unbelievers throughout the ages, something the first century church that read Revelation clearly understood and saw around them every day- and that which we see today as well.
- As followers of Christ, we need to remind ourselves often where we came from and rejoice in so great a salvation!
- The horrendous slavery of the children of darkness compels us out of love on a mission of mercy, regardless of hidden dangers and tremendous sacrifices. We were born for this hour!
Evangelism must begin by compassionately appealing to and persuading (2 Cor 5:11) an unsaved person about their spiritual condition if they are unaware of it (and usually they aren’t- as the scriptures above point out, Satan has blinded them to their condition). Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick… for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matt 9:12). A doctor cannot treat an illness that the patient doesn’t realize he yet has- he must first persuade the patient of the illness! God has given evangelists a powerful tool to reveal the illness to unbelievers through the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8): God’s law. Paul summarized Romans 1:18-3:20 with these words, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom 3:19-20) The law stops the mouth from its self-justification that “I am a good person, I don’t need saving”. The law shows us we are sinners and guilty in court before the King and Judge of the Universe. “The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal 3:24) and this law is written on every heart (Rom 2:14-15)- as we review God’s law with people and have them take a moral inventory based on the Commandments, their conscience bears witness that they are guilty and “the law brings about wrath” (Rom 4:15). Once a person is convicted as a lawbreaker and realizes they deserve God’s judgment, then the good news of Jesus dying on the cross for their sins makes sense. If they are good soil, the seed of the gospel will take root and bear fruit unto repentance and salvation as they surrender to King Jesus.