Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven are used interchangeably. Even though Jesus teaches so little on the church (mentions it twice), he spends lots of time teaching about the Kingdom. Today the Kingdom concept has escaped our notice, even though Jesus places so much emphasis on it.
It’s not that the Kingdom has been rejected, but reduced. In general we reduce the Kingdom of God to our particular flavor of the faith we have embraced. There’s a sense that what we have embraced is the right way and therefore we must carry our particular form of faith and system of beliefs to the rest of the world. The Kingdom is so much greater than the particular faith or system you have embraced. Jesus is referring to the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of the Catholics or protestants or the Moslems or the Buddhists.
The way Jesus teaches it, the Kingdom is greater than anything that has ever existed on earth. Jesus makes it clear that the Kingdom is near, here and within reach now, and there seems to be a time in the future when the Kingdom will be fully experienced on earth.
NOW, take the same three characteristics of Jesus and apply them to the Kingdom-where the King is.
FIRST: The character of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the only moral authority with any kind of power to change society. The Church is not capable of it. The Church changes from time to time. Sometimes it is effective and sometimes it’s not. Leaders are morally good and leaders become morally flawed. So, at any given time, the Church will not be able to deliver a moral authority to the community. The Kingdom is constant. It’s power and effectiveness depend upon its leader-Jesus. Therefore living in the Kingdom and inviting others to share in it is the only solution to transforming a broken culture.
SECOND: The powerful Kingdom teachings and principles of Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate standard and the Kingdom is the lifestyle of living this out in society. The lifestyle of Kingdom living is where ultimate fulfillment and meaning reside. They are the laws of the universe. You cannot break the laws of the Kingdom, but they can break you. For instance, one of the laws of the Kingdom is to forgive those who have hurt you. If you refuse to live out this Kingdom principle, you will pay dearly for it. You will be bound by your lack of forgiveness. You will be eaten up with this unforgiving heart.
THIRD: God’s presence may be felt. Where better to discover a personal relationship with the God of gods than where He lives in His Kingdom. Follow King Jesus and you’ll discover the Kingdom; embrace the Kingdom lifestyle and you’ll discover the King. The Kingdom is the only thing Jesus calls the gospel-the good news. When you are more conversant with the Kingdom, you will come to know that this is not only the good news; it is the BEST NEWS ever!