What is the Kingdom of God?
A few years back, if you asked me the question “What is the Kingdom of God and what does it mean to be a kingdom person?” I probably would have answered, “Well, I guess that it’s where we all go as Christians when we die – it’s heaven.” And I think that a lot of Christians still think that way. We really don’t know exactly what the kingdom of God is. Actually, I think that most Christians think that it’s a great topic to have a spiritual conversation with someone.
About 1 years ago, while I was going through my master’s Studies in the UK, I grew an urge to know my purpose. And God began to change the way that I view what the kingdom of God is and He also began to give me a passion for the kingdom of God and growing it here and now.
The word kingdom is mentioned 126 times in the New testament.
The first sermon in the New Testament was from John the Baptist, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt. 3:2). Matthew 6:33 (HCSB) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
The beginning of the ministry of Jesus was characterized by preaching this message. “From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!’” (Matt. 4:17).
And it ended the same way. “After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
Paul continued this emphasis, “Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things related to the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8).
James said, “Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5).
John spoke of it in the Gospel and concluded Revelation with this emphasis, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15). And again, “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come, because the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out: the one who accuses them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10).
This was the central theme of the ministry of the Lord Jesus.
According to the gospel of Matthew, the “kingdom” is mentioned (55 times), but very little from Acts and into epistles.
“ ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs’ ” (Matt. 5:3).
“ ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ ” (Matt. 6:33).
You can find a lot more verses on how Jesus taught about the kingdom of God.
“ ‘If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you’ ” (Matt. 12:28).
“ ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God’ ” (Matt. 19:24).
“The secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them” (Matt. 13:11).
“ ‘I assure you: I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in a new way in the kingdom of God’ ” (Mark 14:25).
“When the crowds tried to keep Jesus from going to other cities, He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose’ ” (Luke 4:43).
“When He sent the 70 out, twice he told them to declare that “the kingdom of God has come near you” (Luke 10:9,11).
II. Understanding the kingdom of God
So, what is the kingdom of God? I had the privilege of living in England for 1 year – Kingdom of England. Est. in 927. Closer home we have the Egyptians Kingdom of Kush – famous for the pyramids; the kingdom of Ghana… dated about 300 AD.
ONE important characteristic for all these political kingdoms is that the people who lived under them were SUBJECTS.
Characteristics of a Kingdom.
All kingdoms have:
a. A King and Lord-- a sovereign
b. A Territory-- a domain
c. A Constitution-- a royal covenant
d. A Citizenry-- a community of subjects
e. The Law—acceptable principles
f. Privileges-- rights and benefits
g. A Code of Ethics-- acceptable lifestyles and conducts
h. An Army-- security
i. A Commonwealth-- economic security, and
j. A Social Culture-- protocol and procedures
Let us look closely at the first 4 characteristics in the light of the kingdom that Jesus was talking about.
- The King is the embodiment of the kingdom, representing its glory and nature. Authority flows from the king and the word of the king is supreme. Psalms 103:19. The basic meaning of the word kingdom is RULE. He REIGNS
- The Territory is the domain over which the king exercises total authority. This is why the Scripture declares in Psalm 24:1 "The Earth is the Lord's and all it's fullness, the world and these who dwell therein.". The territory and its resources and people are all personal property of the king. The king by right owns all and, therefore, is considered lord over all. Keep in mind, the word Lord denotes ownership by right. Lord is only given to one who is sovereign owner.
- The Constitution is the covenant of a king with his citizenry and express the mind and will of the king for his citizens and the kingdom. The constitution is the documented words of the king. The Bible contains the constitution of the Kingdom of God, which details his will and mind for his citizens.
- The Citizenry is the people that live under the rule of the king. Citizenship in a kingdom is not a right, but a privilege, and is a result of the king's choice. The benefits and privileges of a kingdom are only accessible to citizens and therefore the favor of the king is always a privilege. Once one becomes a citizen of the kingdom, all the rights of citizenship are at the citizen's pleasure. The king is obligated to care for and protect all of his citizens; and their welfare is a reflection on the king himself. The number one goal of a citizen in a kingdom is to be subject to the king, seeking only to remain in right-standing with him. This is called righteousness. This is why Jesus said the priority of all men is to seek His Kingdom. (Matthew 6:33)
In summary, the Kingdom of God is Gods reign – his sovereign action in the world to redeem and deliver people. So then, if we are subjects in the kingdom of God, then God is the ruler of our lives – He is our King and the kingdom of God is in the world now. What then does it mean to us…
It describes obedience to the will of God in the individual and in the corporate body of the church.
There are no limits geographically, politically, culturally, or socially. – We are international
We are to be instruments God can use to extend His kingdom everywhere and all the time.
Simply put, a kingdom enterprise is where the power of God is evident, the presence of God is experienced, and the purposes of God are realized.
But the best thing about all of this is: The kingdom of God is God’s gift to us.
III. A KINGDOM PERSON: 7 Mountains of the Kingdom
As Christians, subjects and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God we are called to have dominion – 2 Corinthians 5:20. An ambassador represents all the interests of his/her country in the foreign land he is in. 1 Chronicles 29:15 reminds us the we are sojourners, this is not our home. But we are here to represent our home, which has been established by our God, Father and King in heaven.
Being a kingdom person therefore, we need to change our way of thinking and have dominion in all areas of life – Theologians call these, the 7 mountains of the Kingdom. These 7 areas/mountains are business, government, media, entertainment, family, education and religion.
Unfortunately, the church and all the kingdom ambassadors have narrowed their mandate to only the religion mountain. We need to influence all of them, not just religion – (Sermon for another day)
Think about it, we try to secure our own lives by building our own little kingdoms - The things that are important to us, more than anything else are our careers, our homes, our families, our comfort... Then later, too late to change anything.... we discover the thing we needed most is the reign of God and that we can only sit back as helpless recipients while He gives it to us.
That’s why the Gospel Message is so offensive to people. They don’t want to be put under the reign of a King. They want to see life in their own ways and approach life on their own terms. And if God won’t have things their way, then they don’t want anything to do with a God like that.
But, at the doorstep of glory stands the pleading figure of all the ages, the Lord Jesus Christ. In His hands is His kingdom, which He is handing out as a gift.
From CEOs to janitors, soldiers to civilians, PhDs to dropouts, black or white, East or West, dictators or democrats, He, and He alone, offers His kingdom as a gift. It is our only hope for living with meaning.
The kingdom of God is about Jesus, giving us His kingdom as a gift so that we can live a life that has true meaning, a life that makes a difference, a life that works for the King to spread the Good News of what Jesus has don
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.