By Pastor Bill Snell
Once a foundation of grace is sufficiently established in our lives, we are best enabled to view, enter into, function in, and demonstrate the reality of the Kingdom of God.
As my father-in-law, Jack Taylor said recently, “If the kingdom of God is anything, it is EVERYTHING! To have everything and not have the kingdom is to have nothing. To have the kingdom and have nothing else is to have everything.”
“Seek first the kingdom and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)
The church today suffers from a false understanding of a “gospel” mixed with law and grace. Because of this, many Christians are doomed to immaturity and functional irrelevance. It is of little wonder that the culture of this present evil age seems to be winning the hearts of men and women, young and old, even though there is a church on virtually every corner.
Jesus preached and demonstrated the “gospel of the kingdom”. As He did, the world around Him took notice and was turned upside down. This was relevance personified!
The following statements and verses reveal three dimensional aspects of God’s rule and reign:
The Kingdom can draw near to men (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; etc.);
It can come (Matt. 6:10; Luke 17:20; etc.), arrive (Matt. 12:28), appear (Luke 19:11), be active (Matt. 11:12).
God can give the Kingdom to men (Matt. 21:43; Luke 12:32), but men do not give the Kingdom to one another.
Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
Men can enter the Kingdom (Matt. 5:20; 7:21; Mark 9:47; 10:23; etc.), but they are never said to erect it or to build it.
Men can receive the Kingdom (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17), inherit it (Matt. 25:34), and possess it (Matt. 5:4), but they are never said to establish it.
Men can reject the Kingdom, i.e., refuse to receive it (Luke 10:11) or enter it (Matt. 23:13), but they cannot destroy it.
Men can look for it (Luke 23:51), pray for its coming (Matt. 6:10), and seek it (Matt. 6:33; Luke 12:31), but they cannot bring it.
Men may be in the Kingdom (Matt. 5:19; 8:11; Luke 13:29; etc.), but we are not told that the Kingdom grows.
Men can do things for the sake of the Kingdom (Matt. 19:12; Luke 18:29) but they are not said to act upon the Kingdom itself.
Men can preach the Kingdom (Matt. 10:7; Luke 10:9), but only God can give it to men (Luke 12:32)
Synopsis – the Kingdom is a result of the work and person of God – not men! We can benefit from its purpose, and His Presence who rules over it, but we do not control nor dictate the operation of the Kingdom, only God does. It is He who rules and reigns over all.
The Gospel is the good news of the Kingdom. What will the church look like when she understands who she is in Christ, and begins to operate under His pleasure, rule, and reign? The world is desperate for the proclamation and demonstration of His character and power – “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
MORE: Click here for the podcast of the sermon audio which inspired this Grace2U post.