The Kingdom of God Revealed.
Key Scripture: Matt 6:31-33.
Other Scriptures: Ps. 103:19, Ro. 5:12, Gen. 12:2, Dan. 2:44a, Isa. 9:6, Matt. 3:1-2, Lk. 17:20-21, Jn. 3:3b, 2Cor. 5:14-15, Matt. 13:19, Lk. 19:11-27,
‘Jesus is Lord’ is almost synonymous in the epistles with ‘The King has come’.
This morning I would like to take you on a journey through scripture and I pray that through His Word, God will reveal the mystery of his Kingdom to you. I know that once you receive this, your relationship with Jesus will change forever.
I have spent many hours pondering over this scripture, trying to understand it. However, like many of God’s promises there is a condition to it. I believe the answer lies with God, and like the cross, it is the Holy Spirit who reveals truth to those who seek it. Matt 6: 31-33.
Firstly, the Bible almost always refers to God’s kingdom as God’s reign. This is important, God’s kingdom is not a realm or a people, although it creates a realm and people. Rather, it means God’s action, his lordship and his sovereign governance.
We may therefore conclude that God, from his throne in heaven, rules and reigns over His universe. This includes all that happens in this world. Ps. 103:19.
Although God still reigns over His universe, because of man’s rebellion, God has handed his creation on earth to the dominion of rebellion, and man/woman is separated from an eternal relationship with his/her creator. Ro. 5:12.
God’s purpose has always been redemptive. Right from the call of Abraham, we see a golden thread of redemption. This continues through the raising up of the Nation of Israel, the coming of the Messiah, and the establishment of a people who will be with him eternally in a transformed world. Gen 12:2.
The Old Testament prophets spoke of the coming kingdom on earth. Dan. 2:44a
And finally, the king prophesied by Isaiah arrives, but he is not what the Jews expected, and many were to reject his Kingship. Isa. 9:6
John not only baptised Jesus, he was used by God to introduce Jesus as the promised Messiah and the long-awaited King of the Jews. Matt. 3:1-2.
The heart of Jesus’ teaching was centred around the Kingdom of God. The kingdom is referred to 85 times in the Synoptic Gospels and twice in John’s Gospel. Here Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, and if I may be permitted to paraphrase, “Because I am here, the kingdom is here, I will not be overthrowing the Romans and I will not be setting up an earthly kingdom”. Lk 17:20-21.
Nicodemus a Pharisee and ruler in the Jewish council comes to Jesus at night, confirming Jesus as a prophet from God, the answer Jesus gave would however remain unclear until much later. Jn. 3:3b.
Finally, the curse is broken, and the kingdom becomes available to all who believe, yet many misunderstand and miss the full blessing of God. 2Cor. 5:14-45.
Many of Jesus’ teachings refer to the kingdom as having come. The parable of the sower gives an example of how the Gospel message impacts on those who hear it. Matt. 13:1-23.
The resurrection of Jesus is pivotal to understanding the kingdom of God. God has revealed His kingdom in a crucified and risen king. If you have responded to the Gospel, then the kingdom has come to you.
There are many passages in the Bible that teach that the Kingdom of God is in the future and that it is not yet present. In this parable of Jesus, “A nobleman went to a far-off country to receive a kingdom and then returned”. In other words, Jesus is going back to heaven and will be gone for some time before he returns to establish his kingdom in power and glory. Lk. 19: 11-27.
The kingdom has come according to the Parable of the Sower and many other teachings of Jesus, yet it is still to come according to the Parable of the Ten Minas and many other teachings of Jesus, this is known as the Mystery or Secret of the kingdom. It may also be said that the kingdom of God is in Heaven, it has arrived in part with the coming of the Lord Jesus, and it will be completed in a New Heaven and a New Earth with the second coming of Jesus.
There are those that teach that if you have enough faith you will receive whatever you ask for, this is an incorrect interpretation of scripture and is known as the “Word of Faith” theology. There is another teaching which goes like this, with the ascension of Jesus believers become like Jesus and will live a perfect life, as Jesus did, this too is a false theology and is known as the “Kingdom Now” theology. Remember, we are being made more into the likeness of Jesus and that things will only be perfect at his second coming.
If you are Born Again, you have Spirit of Jesus and God has brought you into His kingdom. You are equipped to lead the life God has planned for you, only believe and ask God for the courage to do this.
If we have truly understood the mystery of the kingdom the words of Jesus reverberate in our innermost being. “Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink? or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”