The Kingdom of God
We will look at the biblical definition of what is meant by the Kingdom of God. We will see that God has been working throughout human history to establish His kingdom here on earth. We will also learn how a person can become a part of God’s kingdom.
God has always intended to establish “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” In other words, His desire is for a community devoted to Him. Unfortunately, Israel did not obey Him fully and keep His covenant.
Isaiah prophesied in the 8th Century BC about the coming of God’s kingdom. Some of the things predicted were: a) God’s Kingdom (mountain) would be established on Earth at some point in the future; b) All nations will be a part of it (stream to it); c) It will begin in Jerusalem; d) It will be a peaceful kingdom.
Here he tells of the Messiah (Jesus). Characteristics of Jesus’ Kingdom: a) Jesus is King.; b) peace, justice righteousness; c) eternal.
The book of Daniel takes place in the 6th Century BC. The following explains what the different levels of the statue in Nebuchadnessar’s dream meant: a) Head -Gold-Babylonian Empire (Kingdom); b) Chest and arms-Silver-Persian Empire (Kingdom; c) Belly and thighs-Bronze-Greek Empire (Kingdom); d) Legs-Iron (feet of iron and clay)-Roman Empire (Kingdom). Daniel says God’s Kingdom will be established in the time of the Roman Empire.
Matthew 4:17, 23
Jesus came teaching about God’s Kingdom. He emphasized it as good news for those who would repent.
Jesus announced himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy’s…as King! Imagine the excitement of the audience over this claim. But, they were expecting the establishment of a physical Kingdom.
Here Jesus reveals that the Church will represent God’s Kingdom on Earth. This will be a Spiritual rather than physical Kingdom. Jesus will build His Church on faith in Him as the Son of God. He gives Peter the keys of the kingdom. He’ll explain the way to open the door and enter the Kingdom.
Jesus teaches how to enter and be a part of God’s Kingdom; how to become a citizen. He says we must be born of water and the Spirit.
Jesus emphasizes Himself as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. He summarizes many of these prophecies and sets the stage for the long-awaited establishment of God’s Kingdom.
Acts 2:1-16; 36-41
We see in these passages the fulfillment of the prophecies we’ve studied. Peter, having the keys, opens the door to God’s Kingdom. He explains for the first time how to enter God’s Kingdom under the terms of the New Testament (Covenant) which began with Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection. He teaches that to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom a person must: a) believe that Jesus is God’s son who was raised (Matthew 16); b) Repent, surrendering control to Jesus as Lord/King (Matthew 4 and Luke 4). c) be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit (born of water and the spirit, John 3)
Remember that God’s intent from the beginning was to establish a community of people devoted to Him. This is realized in the New Testament Church. (1Peter 2:9-10). This is what the church is supposed to look like today: a) Based on the Apostle’s teaching (New Testament); b) Fellowship (relationships and the gatherings of the community); c) The breaking of bread (the Lord’s Supper). d) Prayer. They were devoted to these things
What’s the difference between being committed and being devoted? Desire! Have you been devoted to these things? Will you be?
Matthew 6:9-10; 33
As citizens of God’s Kingdom, our prayer life should reflect a desire to live according to His desire for us and to see His Kingdom come in our lives and in the lives of others. In verse 33, Jesus tells us that if we will put God, His Kingdom, and His Church first in our lives, He will take care of us. Do you believe Him? This is what it means to walk by faith! Are you willing to seek first the Kingdom of God? What changes do you need to make in order for that to happen?