The Kingdom of God
The Spirit of the Lord is working in the earth to bring the kingdom of God to bear in our lives and in the world. God’s kingdom is both a future state in its fulfilment, but also manifested now. The kingdom of God was the central theme in Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated God’s kingdom.
The kingdom of God refers to God’s sovereign rule, not a geographical realm nor a political reign.
Jesus’ ministry demonstrated the kingdom of God coming on earth with salvation, healing, wholeness, liberty and transformation. His church is meant to also demonstrate the kingdom of God. Jesus told us to pray for that: Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
These gospel passages indicate Jesus’ strong emphasis on the kingdom of God:
Mark 1:14‑15, the kingdom is near; repent and believe.
John 3:3‑5, be born again to see the kingdom.
Matthew 6:10, pray, your kingdom come.
Matthew 6:33, seek first the kingdom.
Matthew 12:28, the kingdom has already come.
Matthew 13:11, the secrets of the kingdom.
Matthew 16:19, the keys of the kingdom.
Matthew 19:14, the kingdom belongs to the childlike.
Matthew 19:24, difficulties of entering the kingdom.
Matthew 21:31, repentant sinners enter the kingdom.
Luke 6:20, the kingdom belongs to the poor.
Luke 9:2, 11, 60, demonstrating the kingdom.
Luke 12:32‑34, the Father gives the kingdom.
Luke 17:20‑21, the kingdom is within you.
These statements about the kingdom of God demonstrate the presence of the Spirit of the Lord in Jesus’ ministry. God’s Spirit, powerfully present in Jesus’ ministry, brought the kingdom to bear in the lives of people, saving, freeing, healing, and delivering from demonic oppression. Eventually it affected political decisions concerning justice and liberty, confronting and overcoming demonic oppression in people and in society. Society was transformed from within, just as individuals’ lives were transformed from within by the power of the Spirit of the Lord. Jesus declared this to be the work and evidence of the kingdom of God (Matthew 12:28).
The church proclaimed and demonstrated God’s kingdom.
The following passages tell a little of the emphasis of the early church on the kingdom of God:
Acts 1:3, Jesus continued to teach on the kingdom.
Acts 8:12, Philip preached and demonstrated the kingdom.
Acts 14:22, the kingdom involves us in trials.
Acts 19:8, Paul discussed the kingdom.
Acts 28:23, 31, Paul continued to preach the kingdom.
Romans 14:17, the kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 4:20, the kingdom is not just words but power.
1 Corinthians 6:9‑10, evil does not inherit the kingdom.
1Corinthians 15:24, 50, Jesus will hand the kingdom to the Father.
Galatians 5:21, kingdom life is pure and holy.
Ephesians 5:5, the kingdom belongs to the righteous.
Colossians 4:11, working together for the kingdom.
2 Thessalonians 1:5, suffering for the kingdom.
Revelation 12:10, the kingdom will triumph over all evil.
Note again the themes of right relationships with God and with one another in the power of the Spirit of the Lord. The power of God was seen in signs (of the kingdom), wonders (revealing the kingdom) and miracles (demonstrating the kingdom). See, for example, Mark 16:17, 20; John 20:30; Acts 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 8:6; 13; 14:3; 15:12; 19:11.
The early church, like Jesus, saw the work of the kingdom in terms of confronting evil in the power of the Spirit of the Lord, the demonstration of that power, and the freeing of people from the powers of evil oppression, to live in the love, joy and peace of God’s kingdom.
For this we can pray (your kingdom come) and work (Colossians 4:11), till in the end the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15; 12:10-11).
We proclaim and demonstrate God’s kingdom.
Response: How is the kingdom of God revealed among us now?
You could testify to the transforming power of God’s reign.
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14 NIV).
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 NIV).
“I was told by a distinguished rabbi about the ceremony when the Children of Israel presented lambs to the priest. The lamb would be impaled on a horizontal and vertical pole. Its back would be flayed to ensure it was a spotless lamb. None of its bones would be broken, and the blood would be drained from the lamb.
“Does that sound familiar? The lamb was roasted on two poles forming a cross. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was placed on a cross. His hands and feet were pierced, and none of His bones were broken. Jesus was crucified on the very day the Passover lambs were being offered up.”
Dr Michael Evans (Jerusalem Prayer Team)