We hear the term, “The Kingdom of God” so often, so let’s look a little deeper at what the Kingdom of God is about.
If the gospel becomes a message of salvation that offers escape from hell and eternal life in heaven only, it is an inadequate message when compared to that proclaimed and taught in the New Testament. The gospel of the Bible is always the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of God.’ It was the focus of John’s message in Matthew 3:1-3 and the focus of Jesus’ message in Matthew 4:17, Luke 10:0-11, Matthew 10:5-7 and Matthew 6:33.
Jesus made the Kingdom of God the center, the heartbeat of His preaching and teaching. Since Jesus made the Kingdom of God the center of His message, we surely need to understand its meaning so that we can make it the center of our lives! It was also the focus of Paul and the early church (Acts 19:8; 20:35; 28:23, 31). Without the message of the Kingdom, we are left with insufficient truth to overcome the enemy. Our spiritual development can be limited and we can be exposed to the divisive workings of satan.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, is best understood as the “Good News” of the reign of God through King Jesus. The Kingdom of God is His rule, His authority, and His government. The Kingdom of God is good news because God’s government is the ONLY answer to every need of mankind. To receive the Kingdom of God is to accept God’s government – that is, His Rule – over our lives. It is how His people relate to, please, serve, and enjoy Him, the King, in this life while on earth.
When the Kingdom of God becomes a present reality and not only a future hope, we are able to enjoy the blessing of God’s rule. We can enter the more abundant and victorious life promised in Scripture. The Gospel of the Kingdom produces the quality of God’s life now in all who receive its reign over them.
Jesus’ whole life was submitted to the government of God the Father, through the Holy Spirit inside of Him. Once, having been asked by the Pharisees where the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is, ‘because the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
We can see from both the life of Jesus and from Scripture that the Kingdom of God is within you and me. His government is revealed in the voice of your conscience. A sensitive, Spirit -controlled conscience is never coercing or dominating, but gently prompting, leading, and guiding us, if we will surrender our pride and soulish desires. It enables us to live in God’s Kingdom, which is expressed through us as “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:27). The Kingdom of God comes wherever:
- A believer submits to God’s will.
- Someone is healed or delivered.
- Biblical purity is present.
- Financial prosperity is related in a biblical way
- God’s will overcomes satan’s will.
Finally, let’s look at some concepts contrasting the kingdom of the world with the Kingdom of God. For Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of (or out of) this world, but from above – from heaven.”
Kingdom of the World
Kingdom of Heaven
|The ruler, master, leader or teacher is greatest and receives the greatest honor.||The servant of others is the greatest honor.|
|Everything must be earned and paid for, everything has a price. More expensive means better.||The best is always free and given by God’s totally unmerited favor (grace can never be earned.)|
|It is very important to be rich in material possessions. Security, power, and influence lie in money.||Material riches or poverty are irrelevant. True riches consist of right standing with God, peace, and joy in the Holy spirit. Security is only in God. Power and influence over others is not to be sought after.|
|Get as much as possible, give as little as possible, and even then only from unwanted supplies.||Give joyfully and sacrificially. Act only as a steward, for God is the real owner of all we possess.|
|Outward appearances like clothes, sophisticated behavior, eloquent speech, and correct accent are of first importance. Concealed issues of the heart, are secondary.||Inward appliances of the heart are of first importance. Outward appearances are secondary.|
|To be well educated and well informed makes us superior to “lesser people.”||Human knowledge cannot be compared to knowing God and being conformed to His servant image.|
|University degrees after our names and titles before them confer status upon us (the Hon. Rev. Father, B.A., M.S., etc.)||All God’s children are given equal status and identity as sons and daughters; glory and honor are ascribed only to God.|
As this simple chart shows, these two kingdoms – though they exist side by side – are as radically different as day is from night. The Gospel of the Kingdom is “Good News.” Let us embrace every aspect of this Gospel which turns us from darkness to God’s light, from the pursuits that lead to death to soul-satisfying submission as subjects of our Lord and King, and happy citizens of His eternal Kingdom.