The Kingdom of God Today
1 and 2
"Most assuredly, I say to you,
unless one is born again,
he cannot see the Kingdom of God,"
The Kingdom of God is real. It's the greatest of all realities. Because it is past, present and future there is much that can be said about it.
However, the messages on this website focus on Christ's New Covenant Kingdom of God because of the primary place He, and the Apostles, gave to it.
The Kingdom teachings of the word of Christ ("the word of the Kingdom") are as crucial to Believers' understandings and experiences today as they were in the days of the first Called-Out Ones.
So these Kingdom Inheritance messages hold that:
1. The Good News of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God together are God's total message to mankind. This is the message that Jesus commanded to be preached and that preaching began on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came.
2. Disciples of Jesus are directed by the Father to "Hear Him!" exclusively. That's because He alone is The Way of God, The Truth of God and The Life of God and He is all of these things to His Called-Out Ones.
3. The scriptures of Acts 2'2 through to Revelation 3'22 present the primary Kingdom word of Christ. They present the Lord's teachings in regard to Believers' Kingdom life and godliness.
4. God used the culture of the people of Jesus' New Testament time, to provide the context for His Kingdom message as Galatians 4'4-5 implies:
"... when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
The Lord makes clear in the above words of John 3'3, that the ability to see the Kingdom of God comes only as the result of a spiritual experience: being born again.
And in Matthew 24'14 He speaks of "this Good News of the Kingdom". In using the word this, He shows He is referring to the Kingdom He is teaching about (which can only be seen by those who have been born again).
He completed His Kingdom teachings during the 40 days prior to His ascension. When the Holy Spirit came He began presenting the word of the Kingdom to the world through Peter, Paul, Luke and the other New Covenant Kingdom preachers and scribes.
The finalised collection of the scribes' work, the New Testament, carries the word of Christ to which today's disciples can go and receive wonderful Kingdom understandings.
When He came Jesus began preaching the "... glad tidings of the kingdom of God" (Luke 8'1). As well as being seen, His New Covenant Kingdom can be entered, it can be sought and it can be continually received.
And when an unbeliever repents and receives Christ Kingdom understandings and experiences become available to new born of God Believer:
For "... as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God," John 1'12-13.
M any wonderful Kingdom blessings await these "new creations".
However, the Lord explains that their new Kingdom life is basically all about their relationship with their heavenly Father.
While it is the relationship of a son or a daughter, it is also the greater relationship of brothers and sisters in God's family.
In Matthew 6'9-10,13 Jesus outlines the manner and desire that typify the family of God towards Him:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
"For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
The Father blesses His People with many great and powerful things at the time of their new birth. One is that He "delivers" them. Colossians 3'13 declares that:
"... He has delivered us from the power of darkness
and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love ...".
These are marvellous words to have deposited in our hearts. What a remarkable reality to be living in "the kingdom of the Son of His love"?
And it was when we were born again that our Kingdom inheritance was made immediately available to us.
JESUS IS LORD!
Although it might seem obvious, one thing is crucial when considering the Kingdom. That is, understanding that the King of the Kingdom is God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and not Jesus.
Believers know that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6'15, Revelation 17'14,19'16). But for His People in this age God has ordained Him to be known as Lord.
As the Paul apostle confirms:
“... no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 12'3.
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2'9-11.
The relationship of Jesus to the New Covenant Kingdom of God was that, not only is He its Author, but He was the Ambassador of it on earth.
He demonstrated it for about three and a half years and made it quite clear, especially to some crafty Pharisees by telling them that “The Kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17'21).
THIS GOOD NEWS
Jesus declared that "this Good News of the Kingdom":
"... will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come," Matthew 24'14.
As was said earlier, the word "this" focuses on the precise "good news". It is not any "good news" that will be preached.
This is important for Believers to be able to live in the power of Kingdom understandings. To establish this Good News in our thinking it's necessary to trace its its origins and history.
The Disciples' years with the Lord prior to His crucifixion were a time of orientation and preparation. They were all the time interacting with the Lord Himself and the Kingdom He preached.
As Luke 8'1 shows:
"He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him".
But, in the time between His resurrection and His ascension He lifted His teachings. He knew that for them to receive His teachings they needed the assistance of the Spirit.
That's why He "breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'," John 20'22.
Luke says that Jesus:
"... through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the Apostles whom He had chosen,
to whom He also presented Himself alive
after His suffering by many infallible proofs,
being seen by them during forty days
and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God," Acts 1'1-3.
The Anointed One concluded His time with them with these momentous words :
"... you shall receive power
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be witnesses to Me
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1'8).
Then He ascended.
And they waited for "the Promise of the Father" (Acts 1'4) - for 10 days!
THE "FULLEST" GOOD NEWS
The time was fulfilled, the Holy Spirit came - and with Him came the power Who completed Christ's Good News:
"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them," Acts 2'1-4.
And so the new life and ministry of the Disciples had begun. When the noisy reaction of his Jewish listeners had subsided Peter, starting with from Joel 2'28, raised his voice and explained:
"... this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh',"
These "Jews and devout men from every nation under heaven" were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. They had not expected anything like this!
When they heard Peter's message, that the crucified Jesus was Israel's Messiah, they were "pricked in their heart" and asked "what shall we do?".
He responded with these words:
“Repent, and let every one of you be immersed
in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is to you
and to your children
and to all who are afar off,
as many as the Lord our God will call," Acts 2'38-39.
The result was that those who "gladly received his word were immersed; and that day about three thousand souls were added.
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers," Acts 2'41-42.
As Peter pointed out, God was calling many - and many, many, more would believe.
The Holy Spirit had lit a powerful fire. And from its start among the people in Jerusalem it was taken to others:
Samaritans: "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were immersed" (Acts 8'12).
Gentiles: "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name" (Acts 15:14; 10'24-48).
Jews: "And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God" (Acts 19'8).
The rest: "... Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 28'30).
Remember, the promise is to you and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. That's everyone who receives Christ, everywhere. Hallelujah!
This Good News of the Kingdom is more than what is sometimes referred to as "the full gospel". It is, when it is truly preached and received, the fullest gospel!
THE KINGDOM AND YOU
The Lord urged His followers to "... seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6'33). Later He says: "... seek, and you will find", Matthew 7'7.
Romans 14'17-18 explains the basics of what it is. However, the setting for this explanation is important.
It's a discussion about the spiritual significance for some and not for others of eating foods and doing certain things as service to the Lord. And of judging each other.
While settling the "argument" Paul explains:
"... the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men".
The basic point is that the Kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit. And serving the Lord is in this context. It's about serving things of "righteousnesses, peace and joy". (Peter talks of "spiritual sacrifices," 1Pe.2'5.)
And Colossians 3'24 says:
"... knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ".
Having received Christ and been born again the New Believer is able to see the Kingdom and give:
"... thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love,
in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins".
It is a Kingdom fact that our Father "has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love". We are now "kept by the power of God" (1Pe.1'5).
This is where we stand! Never forget it and always give thanks for it and what it cost God to achieve it for us.
Know that you are in the Kingdom of the Son of His love and do not doubt!
It is from this sure spiritual footing that Believers can begin to follow the Lord's pathway of service and receive Christ's New Covenant Kingdom of God inheritance.
Let's look at Jesus. His desire was to "be about My Father’s business" (Luke 2'49). He wanted to hallow His Father's name, see His Kingdom come and see His will done on earth.
Philippians 2'5 says: "Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus". Disposition is everything.
The Lord submitted Himself to be immersed in water. He came from Galilee to the Jordan to be immersed by John:
"And John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I need to be immersed by You, and are You coming to me?'
But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him.
When He had been immersed, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'," Matthew 3'13-17.
His heavenly Father acknowledged Jesus' very significant first act of righteousness as an adult, expressing His desire to "fulfill all righteousness".
He knew that the Kingdom is about serving (Romans 14'17). He served the Father with acts of righteousness, acts of peace and acts of joy throughout His whole life.
As He came "up immediately from the water"; the Holy Spirit came upon Him, anointing Him for Kingdom ministry.
[If you have yet to follow Jesus in these ways, click on Your Kingdom Foundation on the Menu to find out more.)
ENTERING AND RECEIVING
From the position of being in the Kingdom of the Son of His love, Believers can enter and receive it. Jesus warned:
"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven," Matthew 18'3.
"Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it," Mark 10'15.
Note the sequence of what He says. Conversion is first. Then becoming as little children. Not the other way round.
The Lord's instruction is that conversion must be first. But this is sometimes misquoted. It seems that natural thinking requires a person to become as a child to be converted.
It isn't surprising that Jesus' way is the reverse. He calls Believers to have the kind of simple disposition towards receiving and experiencing things from their loving Father that little children have in order to enter His Kingdom.
In referring to receiving the Kingdom, the writer to the Hebrews says:
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
This is the Kingdom lifestyle of a daily two-way serving and receiving experience that arises from practising Romans 14'17-18.
HIS KINGDOM PURPOSE
When He came on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit signified that Christ had been glorified in heaven (John 7'39) as well as filling the Disciples.
Christ's glorification marked the acceptance of the work He had been sent to do. It was then He and the Father could send the Holy Spirit to His People.
In addition, God intended to make known His eternal purpose:
"... to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by Christ's Called-Out Ones to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord," Ephesians 3'10-12.
Note: With this in mind Believers can understand why Jesus rejected Satan's offer of "all the kingdoms of the world" and their glory (Luke 4'4-7). The Lord would take them all in time.
Through the Holy Spirit Christ lives in every one of His Called-Out People and He is "the wisdom of God" and He became the "wisdom from God" for them.
1 Corinthians 1'30 says:
"... of God you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God ...". That's why the enemy resists the building up of the Body of Christ, but "... the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Hallelujah!
"... this Good News of the Kingdom
will be preached in all the world
as a witness to all the nations,
and then the end will come,"
Prayer. Thank you, Father for the Good News of your Kingdom and the privilege of being able to see it, enter it and live in it continually receiving it.
Thank you, too, for providing the Holy Spirit's power for serving Christ with Kingdom acts of righteousness with peace and joy.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
The Kingdom of God Today - 2
"This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world
as a witness to all the nations,
and then the end will come,"
As referred to at the beginning of part 1 of this message, the Lord speaks of "this Good News of the Kingdom". It is the Kingdom Good News He began preaching right from the start of His earthly ministry.
It is not surprising, then, that Jesus Himself, His People and His Good News of the Kingdom have been the focus of the enemy's attacks ever since the Day of Pentecost.
Satan has and does attack, tries to deceive Believers and twists the Kingdom message at every opportunity. He will attempt to misrepresent Kingdom Believers to anyone who will listen as being dishonourable.
In Roman-occupied Thessalonica the accusers claimed that the Believers were dishonouring, even disobeying, the ruler of the land saying that they were:
"... all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king - Jesus".
Accusations against God's Kingdom people are likely to include anything!
The Lord warned:
"When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart," Matthew 13'19.
In this parable of the sower and the seed, the word of the Kingdom is the crucial seed for a Believer's spiritual growth, authority and power. And the enemy wants to snatch it away from unsuspecting Believers.
Beware of his trick. Don't ever say "I can't understand" or "I don't understand" when the Lord's word challenges your thinking.
Instead, keep open to God. Ask: "Father, help me to understand" or "Father, how can I understand?". This prevents the enemy from snatching away the understandings your heavenly Father wants you to have.
Simply "stand under" the word of the Kingdom. Hold it above yourself by believing it and submitting to it. (For more click Biblical Knowings on the Menu.)
But relax, be patient and let the Holy Spirit reveal the understanding to you in time.
The Holy Spirit says:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith ..," 1 Peter 5'8-9.
Satan's aim is to negate the authority of God's Word (as he did to Adam and Eve). He uses a variety of things which all amount to what he said then: "Has God indeed said?".
His major ploy is temptation. Jesus met the challenge with the Word when He said "It is written" (Luke 4'1-13).
He showed His followers how to negate Satan by taking "... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," Ephesians 6'17.
Praise God that the absolute victory the Lord won over our enemy is available to us, His People.
Pride is a common human tendency the enemy uses. It seems that in any group of people someone wants to be "the greatest".
Remember Satan himself? Isaiah 14'13 is a reminder to Believers that to have pride is to put ourselves in line with our his evil ambitions:
"For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation ...'".
On more than one occasion certain disciples reflected this:
"Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Matthew 18'1.
The Lord gave a very unexpected answer:
"... whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," Matthew 18'4.
Another instance of His radical thinking! However, He was The Example:
"Jesus . . rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.
After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. . ."
"So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you?
You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you," John 13'3-5,12-15.
Jesus made up His mind to humble Himself and calls His Disciples to do the same
As always though, doing the will of God brings blessing.
"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time," 1 Peter 5'5-6.
THE KINGDOM "MIS-READ"
Many presentations of Jesus' Kingdom of God teachings detract from, distort, contradict or misrepresent them. Two of these teachings are that "the church" is the Kingdom and the other that Jesus is the embodiment of the Kingdom.
Added to them are a few instances of mis-readings that lead to misrepresentation:
Example 1. The Kingdom of God is "within you" (Luke 17'20-21):
The truth is, the Kingdom of God is not "within" anybody! Never was, never will be!
Sadly, this saying is a common error brought about mainly because of misrepresentation and wrong thinking.
In context, the true rendering of the Greek word is "among" you, as follows:
"Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
nor will they say, "See here!" or "See there!"' For indeed, the kingdom of God is among you."
The point is that God was in Christ in the midst of these Pharisees. Therefore the Kingdom of God was among them, not within them.
It could be said that Jesus was the Kingdom's earthly ambassador.
Then there's the question: If a person has to be born again to be able to see or enter it, how can the Kingdom be within? More importantly if it is within, how can the Father convey us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love?
To repeat, the meaning of the Lord's words only makes sense when the Greek word is translated, "among".
Example 2. The kingdom of heaven suffers violence (Matthew 11'12).
Speaking to the multitudes one day, Jesus said:
"... from the days of John ... until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force".
It very clear. "Until now" means the time when Jesus superseded John. In any case, this mysterious saying is completely out of order today and it has no place in Jesus' New Covenant Kingdom teachings.
It is totally inapplicable, or even meaningful today.
Example 3. "... everyone is pressing into it" ( Luke 16'14-16).
The context is:
"Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.
And He said to them, 'You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it'".
The idea of "pressing into" the Kingdom could only have been for the time of the Lord's earthly ministry.
"Pressing into" it teaching is wrong because it contradicts the truth that everyone who repents, believes and receives Christ is conveyed into the Kingdom of God by the Father (Colossians 1'13).
Believers need to keep in mind that when the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost He brought Christ's complete New Covenant Kingdom teachings with Him as Jesus said:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in My name
He will teach you all things
and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you,"
And today most Believers have the Lord's New Covenant Kingdom of God scriptures readily available delivering to and through the Body of Christ the whole counsel of God.
Prayer. Thank you, Father, for the the Holy Spirit's presence and for the powerful Word of God freely given to your Saints, providing us with your truth.
Thank you, too for your Kingdom and the privilege of being able to see it, enter it and live in it.
In Jesus' name. Amen.