October 8, 2019
The Five Stepping Stones of the Kingdom
The first stone is Salvation. There is absolutely nothing you can do to earn it. It is a free gift for all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ as the resurrected Son of God. It is an essential and necessary element of your Kingdom citizenship. Jesus says in John 3:1-5 that you cannot "see the Kingdom" until you are Saved. In other words, you cannot perceive it, understand it, recognize it, appreciate it, or fathom it unless you are "Born Again", or Saved.
The Lord also says you cannot "enter the Kingdom" unless you receive Salvation. Again, you cannot engage in the Kingdom, participate in it, submit to it, or set foot in it without being "born of water and the Spirit". That my friends, is what it means to get Saved. So Salvation is the first crucial step of our Kingdom experience.
The second stone is Getting Free. Once you have received the free gift of Salvation, it is incumbent upon you to get free of the bondages and torment from the Enemy. The devil knows that Christ has defeated his most powerful weapon [Death] and that Salvation [which brings Eternal Life] is the first step towards our freedom. He knows if we Christians ever break free of his deceptions and lies, we will be unstoppable in knowing our power and authority to defeat his kingdom of darkness on the earth.
If he can get us to stop at Salvation and not seek Freedom in Christ, then he can influence our spiritual walk and impede our advancement in the Kingdom. If he can keep us limited to Salvation alone then we will never seek more of the Kingdom, leaving his [Satan's] kingdom in full force. And that leads me to Mark's third stone ...
This stone is Understanding the Kingdom of God as a concept. This means we need to understand that, unlike Salvation, our citizenship in the Kingdom of God on earth is not a free gift. We actually have to do something to receive it. We have to seek it! That means we have to understand what it is -- the re-establishment of God's government on the earth, "as it is in heaven" -- and we have to earnestly covet it and strive after it; yearn to possess it; struggle or fight vigorously for it. It is worth that much!
We have to recognize that we do not belong to this world; that our citizenship is in Heaven and we have to dive deep into the Word to see what it says about who we are and what our responsibilities are. To be effective citizens and ambassadors of Heaven, we must understand the Principles and the Keys to the Kingdom. We cannot hope to achieve the fullness of the stature of Christ without understanding the concept of the Kingdom of God and all it encompasses. And that takes us to the next stone.
This is the stone of Kingdom execution. Once we understand the Kingdom concept and one of its most important components -- that Jesus came to restore our power and authority that were given to Adam and Eve in the Garden, but which was usurped by Satan -- then it is time to walk in our identity.
Jesus spent three years training 12 men to be our role models. They were simple men whom He chose so that we would not think we had to meet the world's standards in order to serve in His Kingdom. His instructions are clear and straightforward for those who are willing to carry them out: GO; make disciples and baptize in His Name; heal the sick; cast out demons; cleanse the lepers [those who are physically and spiritually unclean]; raise the dead; spread the Gospel of the Kingdom; and "do the things that He has done, only greater". That includes loving the Father and others, sowing righteousness and justice, and bearing fruit for the Kingdom; which leads us to the last stone in Mark's model of our Kingdom experience.
This fifth and final stone depends on how you progress and advance through the first four. It is the stone of Inheritance. We have found that this is largely an unknown benefit of our Kingdom citizenship, and Christians are hard-pressed to grasp the fullness of it. Oh, we know we inherit eternal life, but often that's all we're able to perceive. The thought that we might receive rewards for our work here on earth often violates denominational doctrine that warns against seeking to earn your salvation.
But that is a wrong interpretation! We are not talking about Salvation here, and it is quite true that you cannot work to earn that. We are talking about rewards and inheritance in the Kingdom of God for our service to our King. In Revelation 19, we are introduced to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, in which we read that the Lamb's Bride "has made herself ready". And here is a truth we need to see, understand, and receive: " She [the Bride] has been permitted to dress in fine linen, dazzling white and clean—for the fine linen signifies the righteous acts of the saints".
Then there is Colossians 3:23-24, which says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." When we stand before the Lord, we will answer for what we did for His Kingdom after we received Salvation; how we spent our time on earth as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We will receive the reward of crowns, which we will lay at His feet, recognizing our unworthiness in light of His sacrifice.
As you can see, our understanding of the Kingdom of God will greatly impact how we live our lives as Believers. We can rightly rejoice in our Salvation, but it is how we progress beyond that point that will determine if we enter into the Kingdom and reach our full potential as Kingdom citizens on the earth. Should we never recognize the Kingdom, we will still receive eternal life in Heaven, but we may never be free of the torment of Satan's kingdom on earth, and we will most certainly limit our rewards in Heaven.
I'm happy to see an awakening among the Body of Christ to the reality of the Kingdom, but I am praying that "Kingdom" will become more than the latest Christian buzzword, and a reality and pursuit of all Believers. The sooner we seek, find, and enter the Kingdom, the sooner we can expect to see our Lord coming on the clouds with great power and glory!
Daniel 2:44 "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,"