Kingdom of God
What it is & what it means
While Jesus was on the earth, the focus of His teaching and ministry was on the Kingdom of God. The phrases Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom occur more than ninety times in the Gospels, and the book of Acts is filled with accounts of works of the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught the Kingdom of God as a new way of living and thinking, not as a physical kingdom with walls and castle.
Because Jesus spent so much of His time teaching about the Kingdom of God, it is obviously an essential part of our understanding as Christians. Not only can we understand God’s Kingdom, but we can live in it and carry its message.
God’s kingdom is a heavenly kingdom of blessing, and those who live according to Kingdom principles will see blessing in their life. Blessing means to be happy, content and thriving. Many people think that God’s Kingdom is all about keeping rules, demands and unattainable expectations. But Jesus debunked that idea when He began to teach what are known as the Beatitudes or be-attitudes! You’ll find this teaching in Matthew 5:3-12. Jesus the King wants His citizens to be happy and blessed.
Let’s look at some of the things Jesus said about the Kingdom of God.
[Jesus] said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:43)
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus announced the arrival of the Kingdom on the earth. But it is through the transformed hearts of men and women that His Kingdom – His way of doing and being – that this Kingdom comes and is on the earth. Something to remember is that God and His Kingdom are “not of this world” (see John 18:36) and so they must be embraced by faith because they don’t resemble anything we know on earth.
What does this mean for you?
The Kingdom of God is not a physical kingdom. It is a transformation of heart and mind, a way of believing and living in preparation for eternity. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then your citizenship is no longer “of this world” – you are a citizen of heaven.
The kingdom of God refers to God’s reign on earth and consequently, in our hearts. It is about His kingship and our obedience to His rule. In His kingdom, the first shall be last, the broken are blessed, we look out for our neighbour and we rejoice when the lost are found. His kingdom comes as each of us bows the knee and confesses that He is king and live our lives as loyal citizens.
But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. (Philippians 3:20-21 MSG)
There can be no Kingdom of God in the world without the Kingdom of God in our hearts. – Albert Schweitzer
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