What is God’s Kingdom?
Last month we studied and discussed Why the Kingdom is so important to our walk and serving Jesus through business and life. We observed that the Kingdom of God message was taught 115 times in the gospels alone. We discovered that the Kingdom of God was a continuing and comprehensive theme of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus taught Kingdom from the beginning of His ministry to His death on the cross and Acts 1:3 tells us that He continued to teach His disciples about the Kingdom for 40 days after His resurrection from the dead.
In order to fulfill our own purpose and to obey Jesus’s directives on the Kingdom such as seeking first the kingdom and praying for the Father’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done, it is helpful to step back and explore What is the Kingdom of God.
Why is Seeking and Understanding the Kingdom so Important.
Kingdom gives us purpose for living in righteousness and holiness.
Unless we understand that salvation is just the beginning of our relationship and God’s purpose for our lives we can get stuck in self focused and ongoing cycles of sin and confession.
Salvation opens the door to the kingdom. Jesus said unless a man is born again he can’t see the kingdom, he can’t be a part of the Kingdom. If we don’t understand how the kingdom works sin and unrighteous living can become a constant battle. It’s something we easily fall into because we have no purpose beyond ourselves. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that “without a vision the people perish.”
Understanding God’s kingdom and how it works gives us purpose beyond ourselves. Our lives now have the purpose of advancing God’s kingdom by partnering with the Holy Spirit to bring forth His will on earth as it is in heaven.
One of the leaders of a large church I know had a favorite saying she would use when she was making a decision about something she wanted to do. She would say to go ahead and do what she wanted because it is easier to get forgiveness than permission. In other words her will was more important to her than God’s will. This attitude is what comes from only understanding salvation.
Yes, forgiveness and grace are readily available to us but the kingdom doesn’t get advanced no matter how good the work is.
What the Kingdom is not.
God’s Kingdom is not a democracy.
As Americans most of us have a hard time relating to living in a kingdom under the sovereign rein of a king.
The reason for this is we have grown up in a democracy and we have been taught a world view of government that says government equates to a democracy.
Democracy was designed to give the power to rule to the majority of the citizens. Living in a democracy we have developed a belief system that basically says if I don’t like what the government is doing I can vote in new government leaders.
Kingdom living requires that we submit to the King and obey His laws and commands.
Our choice is to obey and receive the Kings provision and blessing or rebel and be denied His blessing.
We don’t have the option of trying to change the way that the King rules His Kingdom to the way we want things to be. There is no voting to determine right or wrong in the Kingdom.
Characteristics of a King
- A king is never voted into power
- A king is king by birthright. He cannot be voted out of power.
- A king’s authority is absolute. His word is law.
- The king is responsible for the well-being of his citizens that obey his commands.
- A king personally owns everything in his domain.
- The King’s sovereignty (supreme power and authority) is absolute. He is completely self-determining.
Because of the world view (stronghold) that equates kingdom with democracy, once we start to learn about the Kingdom, it is hard to think and reason from a kingdom perspective. It is hard to change from seeing kingdom as a great concept to an actual way of life.
Another hurdle (stronghold) we as believers have to overcome is accepting that Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion or church as we know it today. Most believers when reading Jesus words about the Kingdom or are asked about the Kingdom immediately equate Jesus words about the kingdom to church.
So the question is did Jesus come to start a church while He was here? Did He tell His followers to build a church building and tell everyone to come to their church building so they could hear about Jesus? No!!
As a Believer, religious beliefs and traditions are such a part of the way we have been taught to relate to God, it is difficult to separate the Kingdom from religion if we’ve never been taught about the Kingdom.
- Religion tries to prepare man for heaven; Kingdom empowers man to advance the Fathers kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
- Religion is reaching up to God; Kingdom is God coming down to man.
- Religion wants to escape earth; the Kingdom impacts, influences and changes earth.
With religion comes different doctrines, interpretations of scriptures and different denominations. Dominations produce different denominational laws and traditions that cause divisions in the body of Christ.
Jesus said “A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.”