First the Kingdom Part 20 – Kingdom People
If you haven’t already noticed, Jesus was first focused upon the will of His Heavenly Father, and secondly upon people who are the object of His Father’s love. These two priorities come together in the Good News of the Kingdom of God. His entire life was devoted to bringing the Kingdom of God to people and to bringing them into the Kingdom of God. Even after His resurrection He continued to speak of things related to the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
His Kingdom is not of this world system. His people are in the world system but not of it. But make no mistake, His Kingdom is more than an experience or a state of mind, as some would teach! To be born from above and to enter into the Kingdom of God is most definitely a life-changing experience, but it is also one that impacts the world around us. Rather than looking to escape this world and its ways, we are to pray as Jesus taught for the Kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done in earth as in heaven!
The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of heaven after all. These terms are interchangeable in the Gospels. Those of us who have truly repented and believed in Christ as our Lord and Savior have already tasted of heaven in a measure. There are those who believe that most of what is prophesied in the Bible concerning the Kingdom is in the future, and there are also those who believe it has fully come now. I would ask, Why not simply take the words of Jesus and His apostles and the prophets as they were given?
Throughout the Gospels there are plain statements that the time for the Kingdom of God had come. Jesus declared that His power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse the lepers was evidence that the Kingdom of God had come upon the people. (Matthew 10:8, Luke 9:2, 10:9, 11:20) Paul wrote to the church at Colossae that “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love..” (Colossians 1:13) NKJV
On the other hand, many statements are made relating to future aspects of the Kingdom. In Hebrews 6:4-5 we are told that those who have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. It should not be difficult to see that the Kingdom of God has broken forth into the earth through the life, the work and person of the Lord Jesus Christ! This world will never be the same! And yet He has taught His followers to pray for the Kingdom to continue to come. I for one am thrilled to know that there is more to come even in this earth, but I am equally grateful to know that we can be Kingdom people, living in God’s presence, enjoying many of the privileges of the Kingdom of heaven now!
Paul said he was an ambassador of Christ. An ambassador is one who represents another. Christians should think of themselves as ambassadors who represent Christ and His kingdom to the world. I found an interesting illustration for this upon my first visit to India. In order to get a visa to enter the country I had to contact the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C.. Even though the office of the Embassy of India is in the USA, it is actually a part of India. That office had the authority given by the Indian government to give me permission to enter the country. The Indian Ambassador represents his country and possesses certain powers granted by his government.
Can you see where I am headed with this? Believers in Christ are in this world, but we are ambassadors, representatives of another world, that is the Kingdom of Heaven. We are given special privileges as citizens of heaven. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have a new nature by the New Birth, and are given the authority and ability to represent His Kingdom in this world!
Without Christ we can do nothing of eternal value. But in Christ, and in His mission we have been granted the power of the Holy Spirit! Our local gatherings are like outposts that create the environment of heaven here on earth. We are the light of the world, a city set on a hill, a real and significant demonstration to the world of what the Kingdom of God is like!
Sadly, some today believe the authority of the Kingdom of God is for serving our own purposes. They confess faith, make claims and hope to obtain the things they want for themselves. Guess what, this often works for them. Why? Because human beings do have great potential in themselves. They can do great things, have great accomplishments and build empires from sheer willpower and determination.
We however are talking about a kingdom that cannot be threatened, shakened or moved. This kingdom might not even look like much from the outside, but it is precious in the sight of God and those who love Him. It is realm of total dependence upon the supernatural power of a Holy God. In it there is no place for greed or selfishness, and yet there is prosperity of heart, soul, mind and body.
The Kingdom of God is demonstrated through a people who acknowledge and worship Jesus Christ as their Lord. He is the motivating force of their lives, the very reason for the beating of their hearts. They depend upon His power for their next breath, but by His power they are breaking down the very gates of hell today! He is their King and they are in His Kingdom now, but they also look to the time when “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ!” (Revelation 11:15)