Friday, November 13, 2020

The Kingdom of God

What is the kingdom of God? I am glad the Bible tells us clearly through parable and story as well as from Christ’s own words. As the Apostle Paul is talking of doing good to a brother even with appropriate food he says, “Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:16-17). This passage identifies that the kingdom of God is within us through the Holy Spirit as we serve God. It is in serving Christ through the power that He has given to us through His life, death and resurrection. A little earlier, regarding “peace” he says, “If it is possible, as much as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). He does not want us to be stumbling blocks but joyful peacemakers even though others may choose not to be at peace with us.

Jesus in His teaching of the disciples in the Sermon of the Mount tells them not to be worried but with peace and joy to pursue the kingdom. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). He had been talking about all those things, of which we are worried, like what we are going to eat or wear. He says a little later that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Even though the rich man knew the commandments, he could not give up his riches for God. This takes faith and risk, with benefits that are eternal. Jesus spoke of bearing fruit through Him to enter the kingdom. Just repent and believe the good news and the kingdom is yours’ He tells His disciples. In Mark 4 we hear the parable of the sower and the kingdom of God. The seed sown grows in faith like a tiny mustard seed, or even as the faith of a little child. Jesus spoke in parables of the kingdom of God being in Himself for the believer who is willing to be last not first. Our treasure is in heaven not here. He is the kingdom and His word will not pass away but bring us peace and joy of the already, not yet kingdom until His soon return.

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God(Ephesians 5:5). We are all impure, but with repentance and faith in Christ we will inherit the kingdom. Do not let your heart become hardened. “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?” James 2:5).  Be rich in things other than the worldly. This includes being rich in spiritual things and not greedy in worldly ones.

Be patiently enduring brothers and sisters because He is coming soon as the final Book of Revelation tells us, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” (Revelation 12:10). Rejoice and know that the Kingdom of God is near. He is in our hearts and will soon be ruling on earth as well as heaven.

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