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There's a new movie out called "The Kingdom."
There was another one out not long ago entitled, "The Kingdom of God."
I amazed how often God uses the stuff of earth as a reminder of His concerns.
He's often done this in the past as well. Start noticing. Maybe you've heard
many more teachings, as I have lately, pertaining to His Kingdom.
I was quite surprised when, not too long ago, an older Christian man asked me,
in all seriousness, to explain to him The Kingdom of God.
That subject was made so crystal clear to me several years ago - even though
I'd been in ministry for years. At that moment, it was like a blind man's eyes
being suddenly opened. BLING! Maybe I'm a bit slower than everyone else but,
instantly, it all made sense. These days, it's a favorite subject of mine. Perhaps
you will benefit from this simple explanation as well.
The word "Kingdom" comes from the Greek "basilea." It has nothing to do
with a place one can see, like the State Capital building, for example, for Jesus
said, "The Kingdom does not come with observation." He added,"nor will
people say, `Here it is,' or `There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within
you," (Luke 17:20-21). The word literally refers to the King's dominion. That
dominion goes wherever the King goes. His dominion is within YOU for
Romans 8;11 tell us that "the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead
dwells within you." As a result, where YOU go, so goes The Kingdom.
Believe it or not.
Jesus went about declaring the Gospel of the Kingdom. "Repent! For the
Kingdom of God is at hand!"He said. He told His disciples, "As you go, preach,
saying, 'The Kingdom of God is at hand!"(Matt 10:7). The Kingdom of God will
still "play in Peoria." It amounts to five simple things:
1) There is a King
2) He has a Kingdom
3) He wants you within it
4) He wants to care for you there
5) He wants to work WITH you and THROUGH you to bring others into that Kingdom.
We hear alot about "sonship" these days. How is this "sonship" manifested
in the Kingdom of God?
It's manifested through servanthood. (Matthew 20.28; John 13.13-17) - through
obedience - and by exercising our God-given authority over "the rulers, the
authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the
heavenly realms," (Ephesians 6.12).
Our sonship is to glorify ONLY our Father in such a way that unbelievers will
see our obedience and commitment to God to such a degree that they will glorify
Him, (Matthew 5.16). We are to make people jealous for what we've found in Jesus.
Is that happening?
THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN KINGDOM
The purpose of the Kingdom of God is for its citizens to do God's will on earth
as His will is done in Heaven. "Thy Kingdom come: Thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven," (Matt 6:10). Think of earth as a mirror of that which is going
on in the heavenlies. It became easier for me to do this when I remembered that
the moon glows only because of the son's reflection off the blue planet, earth.
Excuse me...that should read "the SUN's reflection." As I'm prone to saying,
as it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.
Yes, there is a spiritual counterpart for everything that we observe with our eyes;
by way of example, wars and fatherless children come readily to mind. As you grow
keen to this, you will see these parallels everywhere you look.
The Kingdom of God influences the world and the society in which the citizens of
the Kingdom reside. Jesus referred to us as "Salt and Light," after all, (Matt 5:13-16).
Salt heals, purifies, seasons, and is worthless when it loses its flavor. Light brings
exemplifies a new day, a promise of warmth and providence, clarity, hope and an
absence of darkness.
We influence society through our lifestyle and by manifesting the Light of Christ in
our hearts through our values and decision making. We cry out against injustice,
and bear witness to Jesus Christ as the only way to reconciliation with God, realizing
that the ONLY solution we offer to injustice and sin is this: Reconciliation with God
through Jesus Christ. We are witnesses of what we've experienced through our
relationship with God through Christ. Our witness is revealed through our Character
as well as our Testimony, i.e., we cannot experience Jesus without being changed.
Galatians 5:22 reminds us that there will be "fruit" from having Christ resident within
us. Our witness cannot be divided; we cannot talk it without walking it. We will find
ourselves making disciples as others will WANT to follow our example and learn
SPIRITUAL vs MATERIAL STUFF
As citizens of the Kingdom of God, what is our relationship to material
possessions, personal talents, and our relationships? Simply put, we are stewards,
not owners. We are so often bogged down with so much earthly "stuff" that we
limit ourselves to true Kingdom availability. Don't get me wrong; it's no sin to
have stuff. Too often, however, our stuff has us.
Far too often, we are downright handicapped by it.
KINGDOM of GOD vs KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
In the Gospel of John, the concepts of the Kingdom of God on earth are
referred to as "eternal life." In most of the Gospel of Matthew, the author
refers to the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of Heaven, out of respect to
the Jewish reverence for God's Name. He was being all things to all people in
an effort to win some. In Paul's writing he frequently refers to Kingdom Life
as being "in Christ."
It's all the same.
A simplified definition of the Kingdom of God might be: the rule of God in the
hearts and lives of those who have been born of His Spirit.
WHO CAN BE A CITIZEN OF THE KINGDOM?
What Jesus presented about the Kingdom, different from man's religious
understanding of the Kingdom up to His time, was that The Kingdom was
available to "whosoever will." This included the Gentiles and the poor. They
entered its gates, not by their own efforts, but by placing total faith in God's
provision - the Bloody sacrifice of Christ. They would fulfill its purposes
ONLY through life in the Spirit and by following the Spirit (following Jesus'
example) in all things.
Many Christians take issue with any insistence that discipleship and
Kingdom citizenship demands total, exclusive loyalty to King Jesus. Others will
argue that this precludes any political activity on the behalf of Kingdom Kids
(I'm reminded of 1 Samuel 8 when the Israelites demanded a king when they
ALREADY had one in Almighty God). Can we seek political solutions to life’s
problem that we face as believers? Sure, we can. But when we have the Power
and Presence of God resident within us, why would we not simply trust in
that truth? Selah. After all, there are no natural answers to spiritual problems.
Are we REALLY "salt and light"in our communities? Are we thermostats or
thermometers, setting the temperatures of our environments or merely reacting
to what's already been set by others in our midst? If that's the case, who is
influencing whom? The Christian social action program comes about through:
1) moral lifestyles in relationship with God
2) personal assistance of the poor and oppressed
3) prophetic resistance to societal ills (sin)
4) making disciples
POINTS TO PONDER
This is an interesting thought: The People of God (in the Old Testament) never
included ALL or ONLY the Israelites. Have you noticed? Look at Jesus'
genealogy and see how many Gentiles (non-Jews) are included. Also, see
how many Jews the Pharisees excluded from the Kingdom: the poor, the sick,
the debtors, etc. In fact, if you were one of them, or suffered natural disaster
and lost your crops one year, you were considered cursed according to
Deuteronomy 28. How contrary to what Jesus taught. How they must have
The first Church (ekklesia) of Jesus Christ was founded with 3,000 Jewish
members. It was not until Acts 10 that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon
Gentile believers. I always found it interesting that Lydia (Acts 16) was
perceived as "a worshiper of God" by Paul (Which god, by the way?). So, the Church
(the People of God) is clearly the representation of the presence of the
Kingdom of God on earth, through the immanent Presence of God by the
Holy Spirit who guides into all truth and corrects us in our Doctrine and
When the Kingdom of God is active in the heart of a Believer, the will of
God is done on earth BY that Believer. Remember the Lord's Prayer (the
"Our Father")? (Matthew 6:10).
When the Kingdom of God is the source of our citizenship and loyalty, we
will follow after peace, do Justice and love mercy, walking humbly before
When we do the work of the Kingdom, we will help the poor, helpless, sick
and disenfranchised. Not through a representative human government,
but with our own hands and resources.
When we realize that we are part of a victorious Kingdom on earth, we will
be about our Father's business.
In the Upside-Down Kingdom of God, you have to lose your life to find it.
You must give to receive. You must give all in order to find treasure. You
must be meek in order to be strong. And the last will be first.
There is no contest between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of
Light. Jesus already won the battle and the war. It is our job to take back the
territory which the devil has been holding and gaining by deception and fraud.
WE must advance the Kingdom and we've been given everything we would
ever need in order to accomplish the mission through the Holy Spirit within us.
A servant of God
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