The Gospel of the Kingdom of God
Few, if any of the saints, can give a clear definition of what the kingdom of God is, much less why it is good news. It is actually very simple but has been obscured into oblivion by man’s thinking, his ways, his ego, and his traditions. While the definition is simple, it is the foundation of all of scripture, all we know of God, all that Jesus is.
It is expressed in its essence here
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings [gospel],
that publisheth peace;
that bringeth good tidings of good,
that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion,
Thy God reigneth! Isaiah 52:7
That is it! Just three words, OUR GOD REIGNS
He reigns over all, over sin and death, over kings and rulers, over the good and evil. He defeated principalites and powers in heavenly places singlehandedly because HE REIGNS. He is our savior because HE REIGNS. He can give man His authority and power because HE REIGNS.
That truth is the foundation of all of scripture. The entire bible shouts of God’s reign and supremacy. He reigned over creation and all creatures. He reigned over blessing His people when they walked in obedience and He reigned over their consequences when they sinned. He reigned over their restitution and restoration. He reigns over all future events, and the outcome is assured and insured because HE REIGNS. We have peace, safety, and assurance only because HE REIGNS.
Jesus said the entire Bible speaks of Him. John 1:1-4 we find out that Jesus was the creator spoken of in Genesis 1. He has always reigned.
In the Old Testament it foretold of a coming King – One who would politically save them They looked for a King, not a Savior who would save them from their sins and the powers of darkness (though some prophets spoke of it darkly).
Matthew’s genealogy establishes that that King was Jesus. He did not destroy the political structure by force, rather He destroyed the principalities and powers that are in charge of politics and the
Jesus always presented the kingdom. It was the reality of His kingdom that was the attraction. He spoke of the people of His kingdom, of the king, and demonstrated the power and authority of the kingdom. He and His disciples presented a place one desired to be part of so they could participate in its glories. Now, our gospel is about self-interests, saving our skin with little thought of the King of His kingdom or His mission to set the captives free.
The new testament, with very few exceptions, always mentions Jesus as Lord when it mentions Him as savior. Jesus is seldom preached as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS. Even though that is one of the last images scripture gives of Him
Jesus is presented as the victim who carried our sins. Not the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS Who reigns overall. We view the cross as something that defeated Him, even if temporarily. Rather. it was the weapon He used to sever man from the rule of demons and powers. It brought forth the power of His resurrection. The cross has usurped the place of Jesus Christ in many places. It has become like the staff that lifted up the serpent in the wilderness or Gideon’s ephod. It has been often preached instead of Jesus as King and overcomer.
Jesus spoke of entering into and being a part of the kingdom. He spoke about the character and nature of those in the kingdom. He spoke many parables about kings and masers and servants and sons.
Yet that is not part of our gospel. It is not that our gospel is wrong, it is just a part of the whole and therefore incomplete, failing to make us partakers of His fullness. Because we do not proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom with the gospel of salvation as only part of it, fewer and fewer are entering the Kingdom, which is the entire point of the Gospel of the Kingdom and the gospel of salvation.
The Messiah that we preach only is a shadow of the one proclaimed in the Old Testament. They knew Him primarily as King, as Peter demonstrates in Acts 2. They repented because they had killed the KING.
Almost everything Jesus spoke, He related it to the Kingdom, He taught about and presented the kingdom of God. That is not done today. Our messages are not about the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS, it is about US and our need and all but dismisses the provision of the King and His great desire to give us His kingdom. Lu 12:32
Our redemption is only one small part of all the provision He desires for us. Our current gospel cheats us and God out of all He meant for us to have and reveal that He may be glorified.
This was the mission God gave Jesus
- Lu 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
- Ac 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
- Lu 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
He said this as proof that He was the sent one. He did not even give the faithfulness and commitment that His disciples had as proof.
Nor did He speak of any fruits of the Spirit in his proof to John the Baptist.
We are taught that Jesus is our life, that in Him we live and move and have our being, that He is the head of the church, that He changes not. Yet, they teach He DOES change because He nor His body is meant to do any supernatural works. They are not to actually overcome and see the proof that they have overcome.
I can not imagine any supernatural being not doing supernatural works. It is part of their nature. Though in the flesh, God has made us supernatural beings by the new birth.
Although our bodies will be changed, who we are in Christ will not change when in eternity.
- Joh 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
- Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
- Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
- 1Jo 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
- Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
- Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
- Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
- Re 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
- Though our rule will take on wider realities in the future than at present, we do rule with Him (as His body) in oneness with Him, now.
Delivering man for the penalties of sin and death was only the beginning, not the end or the be-all of His mission (as the verse goes on to prove). While it is easy to spiritualize everything, Jesus did the practical and made spiritual reality in this present world. He brought to naught the things that are seen, so the things not seen and not yet real in this world would become real.
- 1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are:
- Mat_4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
- Mat_9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
- Mat_24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
- Mar_1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
- Mar_1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
And Jesus not only preached the kingdom of God, He demonstrated it. Just as Paul did
- 1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
No apostle was shown to simply speak words without signs following. That is how God confirms His word.
- Mr 16:20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with [them], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
I find nowhere in scripture where Jesus or the apostles said that only words were enough to effect complete salvation.
Yes, we do make some headway and soothe saints and sinners when we speak His truth. But He meant His truth to conquer, not just to fix and patch up. Truth has power and authority because God confirms it by signs. Where are His signs confirming our words today? Even when we speak His truth today, it does not come forth in power. It may cause one to feel blessed, or inspired, or challenged. God’s word was meant to CHANGE people and not a little bit. He has said His word does not return void, but preachers have been preaching void words for centuries.
SIGNS, WONDERS, MIRACLES, GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
When someone talks much about the supernatural power and authority we have with Christ, they are accused of seeking power. Rather, it is the desire to be like Christ and do the works He has given us to do, producing the kind of disciples He commanded us to produce. That power comes with a price few are willing to pay: the price of being a disciple as Jesus defined it. First, it destroys our ego and agendas, and we only want what He wants and only want to think what He thinks.
- Mr 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Note that these promises are to those who believe. He did not limit it to the first century or to any time frame. It was to be proof and demonstration that His saints represented His kingdom. Proof that principalities and power had been totally defeated.
These are either despised or disregarded by the church of today. And there are far too many believing and practicing them are under the influence of satan producing counterfeit works.
But notice how God worked in Acts 2.
God got everyone’s attention by pouring out the Holy Spirit by the one gift that is highly despised, ridiculed, and marginalized by the church of today. They spoke in other tongues.
And then, Peter does not tell them that Jesus is the messiah, rather he points to” a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs,” using those signs as proof of being supernatural.
Then he spoke of His death and resurrection, not mentioning to them that they could be saved or partake of His death and resurrection. In verse 33, he again refers to the supernatural gifts God has given to man.
It was not until Peter arrived at verse 36
- 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
That Jesus was shown to be the Messiah: both Lord and Christ
They realized they had not just killed an innocent man, but they had killed the Messiah, the King of Kings. Most Christians see Jesus only as the Lamb of God. But He was the lamb who always is and always was the King. That is primarily how all Jews thought about Him: As the King who would Deliver them from this present evil world. Not sometime in eternity, but in the present at His coming. They were not wrong. He delivered them from the powers that gave men earthly rule.
Today, our gospel demeans His Kingship, His power, His authority, His death, His position, and the glory and benefits bestowed on us at His resurrection. And we don’t participate in His resurrection benefits because we do not believe them and we don’t believe them because they are not taught or are taught against as not valid for this present life. The here and now.
We also have no desire to make disciples, only converts who think they are safe from Hell and now they only have to wait for death and try to be as good as they can be. They hang around the door of salvation, never knowing that Jesus came to bring us life more abundantly, and looking for some rapture so that they can avoid and suffering.
A DISCIPLE IS
Jesus specifically defined what a disciple was like and the proof required.
- Joh_8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
- Joh_13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
- Joh_15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
- Luk_14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
- Luk_14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
- Luk_14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
I have heard no American church teach those things except in passing, always missing the heart and personal applications that Jesus made.
- Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
And where is this included as part of the gospel requirements other than by legalists?
We are no longer under the law to obey the law, we are in Christ to obey Him. and obeying the law is the natural outflow of loving and obeying Him. Just as a parent does not give his child a list of rules and do’s and don’ts for the day, neither does our Father. He expects us to walk and talk with Him each day and continually defer all our actions and choices to Him. More and more with each deference, His nature and will becomes ours and we find ourselves responding to Jesus as our Head, just as our hand responds to our head,
The true gospel of the kingdom tells us that we have all He has when we use it according to His will and purposes. And rather than telling people that we can know His will, it is taught, “who can know His will?”
How can we do His will if we can’t know it?
- Mr 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
- 1Pe 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
That does not sound like God hides His will from us. Yet, many are in darkness about His will because they do not obey what is clearly revealed. Why should He tell them more?
God does not want us to be frustrated in ignorance. He says His sheep hear His voice (which most evangelicals say is not needed since we have the bible. If you are taught you can’t hear His voice, then you will have no faith to hear His voice as He promised). Take God at His word and you will hear Him speak (unless we are in disobedience to His revealed will).
When Jesus taught, “thy will be done on earth as in heaven” He was not saying that we did not know what we were praying for. Rather, we are to know His will by communion with Him and pray His will to be done on earth, now, as it has been done in heaven. To know what His will is all we have to do is to look at what Jesus and His disciples did.
To be continued