The Kingdom of God! A Location? A Label? Or something More?
If I asked you the question, "What did Jesus talk about the MOST while He was on this earth?" what would your answer be? I've heard answers like, Money, Love, Being Born again. Maybe you would answer with something similar, and in fact He absolutely did spend time talking about each one of those. However, it may or may not surprise you to find out that the subject Jesus talked about the MOST on this earth, was The Kingdom Of God!! In fact, that is what He went out to Preach. (Matt. 4:17, 9:35,Mark 1:13-14, Luke 4:43, 8:1) The Kingdom of God WAS His Message. He continually called the people to "Repent, for The Kingdom of God has come." When He sent out his disciples, He sent them out with the Same message, telling them to preach that the kingdom of God is at hand. (Matt. 10:7, Luke 9:2, 10:9) Jesus then gave US that same calling. Telling us that the gospel of the Kingdom Must be preached in the whole world and then the end will come! (Matt. 24:14) This was the focus of Jesus' ministry, It was the focus of His disciples ministry, and it should be the focus of our ministry, until the return of Jesus Christ! In knowing that, I want to ask the question today, what IS The Kingdom of God? Is it a Location we hope to enter? A Label we hope to posses? Or is it something more? To do that we will let Jesus answer us straight from his mouth.
"Once on being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, The coming of the Kingdom of God is NOT something that can be observed, nor will people say Here it is, or there it is, because the Kingdom Of God is WITHIN YOU!" - Luke 17:20-21
Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God in about 108 passages. He was not only concerned about us entering the Kingdom, but about us Understanding and LIVING in the Kingdom! That is what we want to spend just a little bit of time on today. The Word "Kingdom" is the Greek word "Bas-il-i-ah" and it means "Sovereignty, Royal Power, Dominion, Authority. In fact Strong's tells us that the fundamental principle of the word Kingdom in the New Testament is that "Wherever the KING IS, THERE is the Kingdom!" So even though Jesus talks about us entering the Kingdom, which sounds more like entering a country, this word for Kingdom has much more to do with RULE than REALM!! When Jesus speaks of the Kingdom, He is speaking about the Active Reign of God! Again to quote Strong's, "The Kingdom of God is the Sphere of God's Rule!" According to this, the Place where the King IS, and where His Rule and Authority are actively acknowledged is where the Kingdom of Heaven is Residing! That is SO Exciting because the KING is RESIDING IN ME!!! If Christ's Reign and Authority are Actively Acknowledged in my life than I carry the Kingdom of God WITH ME!!! You see, that is why when Jesus began His ministry and began preaching about the Kingdom, He began to heal the sick and cast out demons because the Kingdom of God had just become a Living Reality. He was testifying to the fact that His Sovereign Rule and Reign had just invaded Earth. You see The Kingdom had in fact arrived because The Rule of God had been brought to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and EVERYTHING was under His Authority! The Winds and waves obeyed Him, the human body obeyed Him, the demons obeyed Him. The Rule and Reign of God had come to Earth! The Kingdom was truly at hand! Some translations of our earlier verse in Luke says "The Kingdom is in your midst." Jesus was speaking about Himself! Do you see now the truth that the Kingdom of God is more about RULE than REALM!! The kingdom resides wherever the Rule, Power, and Dominion of Christ resides. This does not mean a building, but a People!! We are the Temple of the Most High God and as we live surrendered to His Reign in our lives we bring the Kingdom of God with us into every situation we face. We must take that seriously! If I am surrendered to The Rule of God in my life than when I step into a grocery store, or into a conversation, or into a temptation, the POWER of the KINGDOM of GOD Steps in there with me! Jesus said All Authority in Heaven and on Earth is His and He said I WILL BE WITH YOU TILL THE END OF THE AGE!!! There will be a time when He comes back again and will Forever take us into His Kingdom for all eternity. But what that tells us is that FINALLY we will enter into His Complete and Perfect Rule, Power, Dominion, and Reign that will Never end and that is free from any competition! The Kingdom He is talking about is all about RULE not REALM. That is why for those who have accepted His Kingship in their lives the Kingdom of God has indeed come, and yet we still wait for that Glorious day when we enter into His Perfect, Unending Reign, when we enter into His unending Kingdom!! But can I leave you with something so powerful and encouraging while we wait? With Jesus Christ and His Lordship Ruling your life, The Kingdom has just invaded Earth with Every Step you take. What would our daily lives, and conversations, and choices look like if we lived like we Know the POWER and Authority that walks with us?? I encourage you this week to meditate on this thought, to read and study the scriptures below and for a wealth of understanding replace the word "Kingdom" in these verses with "Rule or Reign" of God!! It helps make it even more clear and powerful!!
Refer to any of the above mentioned scripture, and these: Acts 1:3, 8:12, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, Matt. 11:12, Parables about the kingdom: Mark 4:30-32, Matt. 13:33, Matt. 16:28, Luke 11:20 (There are many more, but this is a good start :) )