For quite some time now, I have been awakened to the experiential knowledge of the Kingdom of God. By that I mean that I have more than a head knowledge of what the Word says throughout the Book of Matthew about the Kingdom. And I have more than a heart knowledge that came from the Holy Spirit counseling me and teaching me the spiritual ramifications of the existence of the Kingdom here on earth. So, besides head and heart knowledge, I have knowledge that comes from actually "walking out" or experiencing what living in [and by] Kingdom principles actually does in my life, and how it affects the lives of others. I'd like to share a bigger picture of what this "Kingdom living" looks like.
To begin, when I first came to an understanding of the Kingdom of God, I "spiritualized" it. In other words, my spirit was overcome with the concept that when Jesus announced that "the Kingdom in near" or "the Kingdom is at hand", He was proclaiming that He came to bring the foundation of Heaven's belief and behavior system to earth; that "on earth, as it is in Heaven" was not just a part of a prayer, but a reality that He wanted to establish. The idea that we could participate [as followers of Jesus] in establishing Heaven on Earth was mind-blowing!
But then I began to understand just how that related to any other kingdom that has existed on earth. That the kingdoms of the earth are a mirror of the Kingdom of Heaven -- they have just developed within a corrupt "world system", rather than a righteous "heavenly system". Let me show you that picture...
• Just like any earthly kingdom, the Kingdom of God has a government that maintains order; has dominion or jurisdiction and control; has power and authority.
• The Kingdom of God has a constitution, which is the covenant He has made with us. This covenant regenerates God's people by his Holy Spirit and renews their hearts so that they obey Him.
• The Kingdom of God has law. The Word of Righteousness cannot be broken; not even by God. He established it; it is forever settled and never changes. It is the established foundation of the Kingdom. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether (Psalm 19:7-9). All this language pertains to the laws of the Kingdom of God.
• The Kingdom of God has citizens, and to become a citizen, there has to be an entrance system. In our nation there is an eligibility requirement and a naturalization process to becoming a citizen. In the Kingdom of God, Jesus is the entrance; the door to citizenship. Here's the thing, there is only one door into the Kingdom of God [through Jesus], but many doors into Religion (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, etc), but they don't lead you into the Kingdom. And before you think that just because you are a Christian, you are a citizen of the Kingdom, consider what Jesus said to the religious leaders whom He brought the Kingdom to .... But woe (judgment is coming) to you, [self-righteous] scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven in
front of people; for you do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow those
who are [in the process of] entering to do so (Matthew 23:13). So, as Christians, it is imperative that we ask ourselves, "Have I entered the door into the Kingdom, or have I entered the door to Religion"?
• The Kingdom has an economy. There is a shared loyalty among the citizens and a sharing of the wealth. In the world this is known as a "commonwealth". In both the world's kingdoms and the Kingdom of God, it is the King's responsibility to take care of its citizens. The economy of the Kingdom of God is the Good News of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and it is our responsibility to share the wealth of that Good News.
• The Kingdom of God has its own culture. When we are involved in "Kingdom living" it produces a unique environment by which we should live our lives, and it is not a religious or worldly culture. And it's our responsibility to learn how to live in that culture.
• The Kingdom of God has keys, or principles of how to live. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus tells us, I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven. Once again you see that the Kingdom has a foundation of laws that establish the principles of how we are to live.
I will tell you that once I understood that the Kingdom of God was relatable to a system [although a corrupt one] that I saw in the world, I could relate it to the characteristics and nature of God and see that I could actually live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God while on earth. And I suddenly understood that Jesus described what that would look like as He presented the Gospel of the Kingdom!
It looked like this: And He went throughout all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news (gospel) of the
kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness
among the people [demonstrating and revealing that He was indeed the
promised Messiah] (Matthew 4:23). You see, I believe that this verse is telling us there is no disease (such as cancer or diabetes) in Heaven, nor sickness (spiritual issues like depression, unworthiness, etc). Therefore as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, we have been given the keys (power and authority) to heal them just as He did when He represented the Kingdom while He was on earth. That's the Good News of the Gospel of the Kingdom!
And what did Paul tell us? In Galatians 1:7-8, he says he is aware that there are those who "want to distort the gospel of Christ". And he warns that we should not be seeking another gospel; in fact saying, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." I hope you see that it is very important to know what Gospel Jesus preached.
If you asked a handful of Christians about what Jesus preached, you would most likely hear "gospel of grace", or "gospel of salvation". While both would be technically correct, they are not strictly accurate. Look at what the inspired Word of God says in Mark 1:14-15: Later on, after John the Baptizer was
arrested, Jesus went back into the region of Galilee and preached the
wonderful gospel of God’s kingdom realm. His message was this: “At
last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of
God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to
God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” Jesus ALWAYS preached the Gospel of the Kingdom [of which grace and salvation are a part of the larger message).
It is important to us, [as the Body of Christ], who is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, that we understand that if we have not been taught [or are not teaching] within the context of the Kingdom of God, we are teaching another gospel. I know that sounds like an indictment of the Church, but here is what I see ... Everything has to fall under the umbrella of Kingdom Living and Kingdom Teaching because that's what Jesus did!
Lest there be any misunderstanding, I want to be perfectly clear .... If we are preaching/teaching grace and salvation, that is not wrong. It is just not an exact representation, nor the fullness, of what Jesus taught! Too many Christians are living saved lives, and offering grace and mercy to others, but are neglecting to teach all of what Jesus came to establish. And the result is that our culture, our nation, and the world, does not reflect Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven. The world certainly does not look like Heaven!
It's time that we understand the fullness of that verse, and start living it. It's not enough to know the Word, we must experience it; start living in it; and sharing it. It is apparent that too many are still living as citizens of this world, and not as citizens representing the Kingdom. I realize that my message might offend some of the religious Christians who read it. Jesus offended the religious people, too, as He tried to speak about the Kingdom. But it didn't stop Him. May I prove to be worthy to follow in His steps.
Luke 4:43 But He said, “I must preach [the good news of] the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because I was sent for this purpose.”