(Original radio broadcast from April 10,1998)
In these past few weeks we have been underscoring the fact that the great emphasis of Jesus in His earthly ministry was the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
It is interesting to note that in the New Testament, the phrase “Kingdom of God” is found 69 times, while the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” occurs 32 times and all in the Gospel according to Matthew.
While neither of these phrases are found in the Old Testament, there are numerous references to the subject. In fact, the prophecies in Daniel are very important in showing how both phrases developed.
Consider Dan 2:44: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
Here we see the fact of the one Kingdom. It is the Kingdom of God, for He alone reigns over it. It is the Kingdom of Heaven, for Heaven is the location of His throne, and the sphere in which all of His subjects actually dwell! In Ephesians 2:6 we read how we who were dead in trespasses and sins, have been made alive in Christ, and even now are seated in heavenly places in Him!
When Jesus prayed, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” He knew that God was calling His children unto a heavenly life, which would actually have profound affects on the earthly plane. This is the nature of Kingdom authority. In one sense it is the ability to manifest heaven on earth!
This is in stark contrast with worldly authority, which is a forcing of one’s will over another. Jesus exemplified this authority that was of a heavenly nature, and He also instructed his disciples to follow suit. No mistake can be made concerning His attitude towards human authority, in favor of the power of the Life-giving Word of God!
Mat 20:25-28: “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, “You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.'”
Luke 22:24-27: “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But you shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that does serve. For whether is greater, he that sits at the table, or he that serves? is not he that sits at the table? but I am among you as he that serves.'”
Kingdom authority is the ability to serve and give life, but never to control or coerce!
An example of this is found in the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John. This was a point in time when many of His followers left Him. They said His teachings were just too hard. And so Jesus put to the twelve who remained:
“Will you also go away?”
Then Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life?”(John 6:68).
Jesus never violated anyone’s freedom of choice, but He did wield an authority such as no man has ever known! His authority was in the life that He possessed, and in His ability to share it with others!
To Peter and the others, no other choice would have been reasonable. There was nowhere else to go to satisfy that hunger for true divine, abundant and eternal life!
Reigning with Christ
It is important that we fully understand Biblical rulership. It is based on one’s inner light. Remember when in Genesis the greater light was to rule the day, and the lesser light the night? How does light rule? By giving illumination of course!
Oh how we on earth depend on the sun to give us the light and warmth we need to sustain us! And oh how we need the illumination of the Word and Spirit of God to survive spiritually!
And furthermore, Jesus offered this same Kingdom authority to anyone who received Him and became His disciple. In other words, we too can hold the words of eternal life, and also impart the same life to anyone who will receive them! But we first must humble ourselves to be trained and instructed for servanthood. Your degree of authority in God’s Kingdom will only be equal to your submission unto Him, and your willingness to serve others.
Oh the depth of the wisdom of God! It is so amazing in its simplicity, and wonderful in its working. What mystery revealed! What power released to heal and mend, to deliver and save! No wonder Jesus could go about doing good, healing all those who were sick and oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him! He possessed the authority of a King, but the heart of a servant!
He is the Light of the world, and we are His sons of Light! As we live together under His reign of righteousness, peace and joy, we also become the Light of the world, a city set on a hill that cannot be hid!
Micah 4:1-5: “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.”
Can you see how liberating this truth can actually be in your every day experience? No longer do we need to control or pressure others to our will. We merely yield to the wonderful will of our Heavenly Father, and become His Light bearers! Yes, some will resist and reject the Light we offer, but those who run into it will receive grace and wisdom and freedom in Christ!
Believe it! Trust Him! He is giving to you and me the keys to the Kingdom of heaven! You can receive a Word of Life from the Lord to pass on to others! They too can enter into His Kingdom, and know of heavenly places in Christ! You and I can know the joy of serving others — this is Kingdom authority!
But let us never forget: any giving, any sacrifice, any time spent in helping people is not to place them under obligation unto you or the Lord. Some selfless acts will be disregarded and unappreciated, but both you and the Lord will honor that person’s right to choose. Your reward will be found in the gratitude of your Heavenly Father, Who will never forget your love and devotion unto Him.
Your seeds of faith are not limited to financial donations! Every kindness done in the Love of God has kingdom potential! These produce the authority of Kingdom life in others, and work to expand His glorious reign in the earth!
Phil 2:14-16: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain”.
Do you really want to rule and reign with Christ? Then you must accept the life of humility and service that Jesus offers! Herein is found the power to change the world! And while we have the promise of seeing the fullness of His Kingdom in the days ahead, our reign with Him can begin today, as we understand and apply the principles of His Kingdom authority in our every circumstance even now.
Heavenly Father, often we feel so helpless and powerless to deal with even the kingdoms that war within our own souls. Our fears, our pride, our selfishness often cloud our view of your power and Lordship in our circumstances, preventing us from fully reigning in Life by Christ Jesus.
Forgive us, and grant us the faith and confidence we need to commit our lives and our future into your capable Hands. Give us a fresh vision of your glory, and your purpose in this earth. And then may we trust you to empower us in every battle against sin and unrighteousness, together as one in your Spirit.
Give us the strength to rise up in the earth and shine for you! That others will see our good works and glorify your Name!
Let our every thought word and deed become an expression of this wonderful truth:
Jesus Christ is Lord!