Just as the angel’s announcement to Joseph declared Jesus’ primary purpose to be to save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:21), so the first announcement of the kingdom (delivered by John the Baptist) is associated with repentance and confession of sin (Mt. 3:6).
The coming of God’s reign either demands repentance or brings judgment.
The kingdom of heaven is worth infinitely more than the cost of discipleship, and those who know where the treasure lies joyfully abandon everything else to secure it.
Humans do not bring in God’s reign, build God’s kingdom, hasten its final consummation, or hinder its advance. Jesus’ preaching announces that God is in action and that one’s ultimate well-being is tied to what God is doing, not what they are doing. They can only receive it and enter it or reject it and be swept away in judgment.
God has to take our eyes off our kingdom before He can build His.
As the messiahship of Christ involved two phases, a coming in humility to suffer and die, and a coming in power and glory to reign, so the kingdom is to be manifested in two realms: the present realm of righteousness or salvation when men may accept or reject the kingdom, and the future realm when the powers of the kingdom shall be manifested in visible glory. The former was inaugurated in insignificant beginnings without outward display, and those who accept it are to live intermingled with those who reject it until the consummation. Then the kingdom will be disclosed in a mighty manifestation of power and glory. God’s kingdom will come; and the ultimate state will witness the perfect realization of the will of God everywhere and forever.
The kingdom was lost to us at the fall and pictured for us as a shadow in the history of Israel. But now, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the kingdom of God has been inaugurated anew. Sin has been defeated. The church lives out the life of the kingdom by the power of the Spirit. And we look forward to the day when the king returns and consummates His reign, a reign that will have no end.
I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time or eternity.
It is a kingdom which is to come, yes. But it is also a kingdom which has come. “The kingdom of God is among you” and “within you.” The kingdom of God is in every true Christian. He reigns in the Church when she acknowledges Him truly. The kingdom has come, the kingdom is coming, the kingdom is yet to come. Now we must always bear that in mind. Whenever Christ is enthroned as King, the kingdom of God is come, so that, while we cannot say that He is ruling over all in the world at the present time, He is certainly ruling in that way in the hearts and lives of all His people
What we’re asking people to do is to come into a kingdom and submit their lives entirely to a King, an absolute monarch who has the right to determine everything without our consultation and who has revealed His will to us in the pages of the Word of God and calls on us to live in absolute submission and obedience to that revelation.
Responses to the Kingdom: Peace or Punishment. Sermon originally appeared (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-135/responses-to-the-kingdompeace-or-punishment) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.
If you’re not in the kingdom of God, that doesn’t mean you’re free, you’re just in the kingdom of darkness and you’re under another sovereign, and that sovereign is Satan and you’re a slave to sin. Everybody lives in a kingdom. You just live in the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light, the kingdom of Satan, or the kingdom of the Savior. You live in a kingdom. You are subject to the authority and the power of the enemy of your soul, or you are subject to the authority and power of the Savior of your soul. You are either in the kingdom that ends up in hell, or the kingdom that ends up in heaven. You’re either a slave to sin, or a servant of righteousness. Don’t be under any illusion that somehow coming into the kingdom of God takes away all your freedom. You really have no freedom except the freedom to sin. You can choose your poison, that’s all.
A kingdom is a domain ruled by a single monarch who has absolute sovereignty, who functions with unilateral authority, whose will is non-contradictable, authoritative, absolute. It is not representative, it is not democratic. The will of the people does not rule. The will of the people virtually has no impact. The duty of the people is to submit. The duty of the people is to obey. The duty of the people is to fall under the standards and commands that are determined by the king and do whatever it is he asks. This is true of the kingdom of God… The kingdom of God has come and those of us who know Christ are in it. We are in it and the Lord Jesus Christ is our King.
Responses to the Kingdom: Peace or Punishment. Sermon originally appeared (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-135/responses-to-the-kingdompeace-or-punishment) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.|Responses to the Kingdom: Peace or Punishment. Sermon originally appeared (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-135/responses-to-the-kingdompeace-or-punishment) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.
The kingdom of God is for the spiritually sick who want to be healed, the spiritually corrupt who want to be cleansed, the spiritually poor who want to be rich, the spiritually hungry who want to be fed, the spiritually dead who want to be made alive. It is for ungodly outcasts who long to become God’s own beloved children.
According to Scripture, a mystery form of the kingdom of God – incorporating all the elements of heaven itself – is the spiritual sphere in which all true Christians live even now. The kingdom of heaven invades and begins to govern the life of every believer in Christ. Spiritually, the Christian becomes a part of heaven with full rights of citizenship here and now in this life.
We should understand "kingdom" as meaning "rule" rather than "realm"; that is to say, the expression is dynamic: It points us to God as doing something, as actively ruling, rather than to an area or group of people over whom He is sovereign. The kingdom is something that happens rather than something that exists.
God is our greatest treasure, and our lives will count on earth only when we invest them in His kingdom for eternity.
The whole of the preaching of Jesus Christ and His apostles is concerned with the kingdom of God.
Some Christians misunderstand God’s plan for His kingdom. They want to establish it their own way rather than waiting for God to do it His way. God’s way of establishing the kingdom is primarily through the preaching of the cross. But that does not seem very effective to most people. They would prefer to use force, which is the kind of thinking that leads to bloody crusades. Or they would rather entertain people into the kingdom, which is the kind of thinking that leads to man-centered worship.
If you wish to come into God’s kingdom, therefore, you must ask God to rescue you “from the dominion of darkness” and bring you “into the kingdom of the Son He loves” (Col. 1:13) You must renounce your deal with the devil and swear allegiance to Christ the King. You must say, in the beautiful words of hymnwriter Frances Havergal, “Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.”
The reason the church tries so many other things besides preaching Christ is because it suspects the kingdom can be established some other way. But there is no other way. People will not come into the kingdom because they like the minister, support the children’s program, or enjoy the music. They may come into a church that way, but not into the kingdom. The only way people ever come into God’s kingdom is by hearing His heralds proclaim a crucified King.
When you hear the glad news that Christ is King, the thing to do is to submit to His rule. When you repent for your sins and believe in Jesus Christ, God establishes His rule in your heart. This is part of what Jesus meant when He said, “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Anyone who has ever entered that kingdom has done so by praying to God, “Your kingdom come” or words to that effect. That is the way the kingdom comes to you and the way you come into the kingdom. To become a Christian is simply to ask God to set up His throne as the supreme King of your heart.
The coming of the kingdom has often been compared to the way the Allies defeated Germany in 1944. For all intents and purposes, World War II was over on D-Day, when British and American troops established a beachhead in France. There were still battles to be fought, of course, and lives to be won and lost. But from that point on, the Germans were fighting a losing battle. All that remained was for the Allies to liberate Europe. As far as the kingdom of God is concerned, D-Day was Good Friday. That was Satan’s last mad attempt to defeat God’s King and have Him betrayed, tried, and nailed to the cross. But Satan was only able to wound Him. By dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus actually struck a death-blow to sin, death, and the devil. Now the outcome of the battle between the two kingdoms is certain. All that remains is for God to liberate the captives of Satan’s kingdom and bring them into the kingdom of His Son.
Theologians sometimes describe this delay as the “already” and the “not yet.” God’s kingdom has already come, but it is not yet here in all its glory. Christ has already come, but He has not yet come again. The Puritans described the same truth in a different way. They made a distinction between the “kingdom of grace” and the “kingdom of glory.” These are not two different kingdoms, but one kingdom in two installments.
God’s plan is to establish His kingdom through the preaching of the cross. His purpose is to rule in the hearts of His people. The progress of this spiritual kingdom will be steady, but slow. In one sense, the kingdom has already come with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It continues to grow as His cross and His empty tomb are preached in all the world. There is another sense, however, in which we are still looking for the kingdom, waiting for the King to come again. We live in the kingdom of grace, where Christ rules by faith, but we wait for the kingdom of glory, when Christ will reign supreme over all.
On one hand we have to say that the kingdom has already arrived. Didn’t both Jesus and John the Baptist say, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17)? If the kingdom represents God’s reign, it has indeed arrived. God told us in Colossians 1:13 that He has already, “Rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son?” I would like to believe that Jesus is reigning on the throne of each heart of each person that has received Him as their Lord. As Christians it’s His will over our self-will. It’s His lordship over our self-governance. It’s ultimate submission to Him as King over our self-reliance. It’s an invisible reign that is manifested in our loyalty to King Jesus. It’s the tiny mustard seed, as Jesus said, that will grow to be a massive plant. The King as a spiritual kingdom. Yet as Jesus reigns in our hearts we desire to see Him reign over the entire world – a physical kingdom. We long for the day when sin is not in, but rather when righteousness prevails. We long for the day when, Philippians 2, “Every knee will bow…and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11).
There are no specific churches or denominations in God’s kingdom. If you are saved, you are on God’s team. God’s children are your teammates. Support each other. Encourage each other. Rejoice when God is working, even if it’s not under the banner of your ministry or your church or your country. The prideful competitive spirit often sees the enemy not as demonic forces, but rather other believers because they can steal your fanfare. The humble God-honor spirit sees those who do not oppose as being with us and (as Jesus said) “for us” (Luke 9:50).
How would we feel if we pray on Wednesday nights for revival, but it comes to a church down the road? How would we feel if another church is baptizing more converts? How would we feel if the decrease in our ministry might be needed for great success elsewhere in the church? I can provide countless examples, but the point is clear. Are we in this for ourselves – Grace Bible Church, our family our own identity, own kingdom – or are we solely about the Lord’s glory and ultimately His kingdom? Pride is all about me and my circles. Humility is all about Christ and being content if He receives all the glory, even if that means my actions are unappreciated or overlooked.
While Christ presently reigns over human governments, we see how even the best men and women in leadership fail to provide the perfect kingdom. We are primarily citizens of Christ’s kingdom, Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven.” But for the time being, we also dwell in a lesser sense, as citizens among this world too. So we long for the day when Christ will overthrow all these puny human leaders and rightly take to Himself what is rightfully His and reign over His kingdom that is without end (Dan. 2:44) where and when “EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11; cf. Rev. 7:9-10).
Greatness in the kingdom of God is measured in terms of obedience.
You are not in a holding pattern waiting for eternity. This life has meaning and purpose. There is a kingdom you have been called to be a part of. It’s called the Kingdom of God and God wants you you to invest in His kingdom.
Once in a while, God advances His kingdom with a big splash on the stage of history, but, more often than not, He increases His glory through the quiet, persistent deeds of gratitude and kindness that never make the newspaper.
Nothing is ever wasted in the kingdom of God. Not one tear, not all our pain, not the unanswered question or the seemingly unanswered prayers. Nothing will be wasted if we give our lives to God. And if we are willing to be patient until the grace of God is made manifest, whether it takes nine years or ninety, it will be worth the wait.