By Pastor J.D. Link
I encourage you to read Mt. 24:3-14. Verse 14 says, “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.”
In the Mount of Olives discourse, Jesus was explaining to His disciples what the signs of the end of the age would be. Here in verse 14 he makes a very clear statement: this Gospel of The Kingdom shall be preached in all the world… then shall the end come. When will the end come? When the same message Jesus preached, was preached in all the world.
The Kingdom of God is THE message Jesus preached. In everything He taught, it was the central message. It is the message we have been commissioned by Him to preach. It is the message to be preached until the end of the age (second coming of Jesus). It is the message the church – above all else – is to communicate. The Law and Prophets were until John (the Baptist): since that time, the Kingdom of God is preached…(Lk 16:16).
Do we (the church) preach the Kingdom of God? John the Baptist preached it (Mt 3:1-2). Jesus preached it (Mk 1:14-15). The 12 Apostles preached it (Lk 9:1-2). The seventy disciples preached it (Lk 10:1, 9). Phillip preached it (Act 8:12). Paul preached it (Act 14:22, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 31, Rom 14:17, 1Cor 4:20, 6:9, 15:24, 50, Gal 5:21, Eph 5:5, Col 1:13, 4:11, 1Thess 2:12, 2Thess 1:5, 2Tim 4:1, 18, Heb 12:28). James preached it (Jam 2:5). Peter preached it (2Pt 1:11). John preached it (Rev 1:9). Do we preach it?
The message – from John the Baptist and Jesus, all the way to Paul and St. John, was the Kingdom. Jesus and Paul did not preach to different Gospels. There is one Gospel. The Gospel of the Kingdom. The Gospel of salvation. The Gospel of eternal life. The Gospel of peace. The Gospel of grace. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are all the same Gospel; and often they are used interchangeably in the same story (See “Eternal life” and “Kingdom of God” and “saved” in Lk 18:18-25, as well as “Gospel of the grace of God” and “Kingdom of God” in Acts 20:24-25). It is obvious this is the same Gospel.
So, is the Kingdom of God the primary message of the Church? Perhaps we do not hear much about the Kingdom of God in the church, because we do not hear much about Jesus being King. Jesus is King – not just Savior. We say to receive Jesus as “Lord and Savior“, but we often do not define what “Lord” means. Most of us can understand savior pretty easily. However, “Lord” is a strange word to our modern English vocabulary. The Jews understood “King”; for they lived under kings. The Romans understood “Lord”, for Caesar was declared Lord. King and Lord meant the same thing – ruler, master, sovereign, boss, deity.
Perhaps we don’t comprehend this very well, because our form of government is different from a monarchy. With us, everything is up for debate, elections, reps, majority votes, vetoes, etc. So, when we tell someone to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, most people have no idea what Lord even means in reality. We just stress “Savior”. Get saved! Get forgiven of sins! However, this is incomplete.
The idea that one can receive the benefits of Jesus, without receiving His person and Lordship, is entirely foreign to the New Testament. Many want the benefit of salvation, without the inconvenience of coming under the authority of The King. However, the Bible does not separate the benefits of Jesus from His Lordship. He is both Savior and Lord – not “or” Lord. We cannot divide the Person of Jesus up into what we like and what we don’t. Many prefer to “shack up”, spiritually speaking, with Jesus. They want the benefits and blessings of covenant relationship, without the responsibility of the covenant and commitment. However, God is no fornicator. Your deceiving yourself if you think you’re in the Kingdom, but aren’t submitted to the King.
Jesus is King. To be in the Kingdom of God, means to come under the authority and rule of the King of that Kingdom – Jesus Christ. Lord (Roman) = King (Jewish) – Ruler, Master, Sovereign, Boss. Jesus – God is Salvation or God is Savior. Christ (Greek) = Messiah (Hebrew) – The anointed “One”. This is what Lord Jesus Christ means.
Jesus commissioned Paul to “open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power (mastery, authority, jurisdiction) of Satan unto (the mastery, authority, jurisdiction) God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Him.” (Act 26:18). Why did Jesus die and rise again? To be Lord of both the dead and the living (Rom 14:7-9).
Three things make up a kingdom: A king, his authority, and his subjects. King-dom: king – the absolute rule, and dom – the domain of his rule, that is, it’s subjects. In Greek, “Kingdom” is “basileia”, God’s reign, His rule, His kingship, His authority, His sovereignty (see Lk 19:12); also His realm and His subjects. So, the Kingdom of God is the rightful rule and authority of God over His people.
In the great commission, Jesus said all power (mastery, authority, jurisdiction) is given unto Him in heaven and in earth; and He delegates that authority to us as His ambassadors (2Cor 5:20-21) in this present evil age to make disciples, and teach all He commanded (Mt 28:18-20). In this age, we receive the Kingdom (God’s rule and authority) as little children (Mk 10:15). It is not forced upon us. It is offered as a gift. In this age, we are to seek God’s rule and authority (Mat 6:33), and press into it forcefully (energetically), because it is violently opposed (Mt 11:12). There is much more to say on this, but until next time, rejoice in the Lord! Selah.
By Pastor J.D. Link
I encourage you to read Mt 6:9-13. This section of the Sermon on the Mount is known as The Lord’s Prayer, when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. As we continue to study the Kingdom of God today, we will look at the fact that the Kingdom of God is a reality in not only the age to come, but also in this present age. Obviously the fullness of the blessings of it will come in the future when Jesus returns to this earth; but we can taste of the powers and blessings of it now in this time.
Notice in the Lord’s prayer, we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This is future. How do we know this? Because when His Kingdom comes, His will will be done perfectly on this earth, just as it is in Heaven. That is not the case in this present evil age, when man, by his free will, does many things contrary to God’s will. This is because the Kingdom is offered to us as a gift to be received in this age. It is not forced upon us. Me must receive it with faith like a child, and we must press into it.
Then we pray, “For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, now and forever, Amen.” This is now. For Thine IS the Kingdom. The Kingdom is here now (Mt 12:28), in an invisible form. It is spiritual. Of course, there are some outward manifestations of it; but Jesus is at this time ruling as King in the hearts of His people. In the age to come, He will be absolute Sovereign over all the universe.
The fullness on the Kingdom is future. Flesh and blood cannot inherit it. Our mortal bodies must be changed into glorified, immortal bodies, such as Jesus has Himself (1Cor 15:50, Philp 3:20-21). Then we will sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Mt 8:11). Only true, born-again Christians will enter into that future Kingdom (Mt 7:21-23); but it must be entered into by faith now (Mt 21:31). It must be received now (Mk 10:15). In this present evil age, we must forsake all and follow Jesus. We must be willing to sell everything to get it (Mt 13:44-46).
There are no “do-over’s”. Man dies once, and then the judgment (Heb 9:27). The Kingdom must be entered into now – in this age – by faith, in order to be enjoyed for eternity in the age to come. We must enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation in this present age (Act 14:22); but the glory of the age to come is well worth it (Mt 25:23, 34; Rom 8:18). Though we will have trials and tribulation as Christians in this present age, we will also enjoy many blessings and benefits from God as well (Mk 10:28-30). We can taste of the powers of the age to come right now in this time (Heb 6:4-5).
Right now, we as Christians long for the future age (Rom 8:18-23) described by Isaiah (11:6-9). Our spirits groan within us for the redemption of our bodies, and of the whole creation. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are in this world, but not of this world. We belong to heaven. The Kingdom of God is within us (Lk 17:21), because the King is within us (Col 1:27, Eph 3:17). We belong to the age to come, though we are currently in this present evil age as ambassadors for Christ.
We are to be salt and light, and represent heaven here in this foreign land. Ambassadors don’t speak for themselves, they speak for the Kingdom they are from. They unapologetically say what their Kingdom says. They do not do or say their own thing, for they know they would not be an ambassador very long if they did. In this present evil age, we declare the age to come. We declare King Jesus, and His Kingdom. We offer the gift of eternal life and entrance into the heavenly Kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ and submission to His lordship. We are to proclaim, “Be reconciled to God, for He has reconciled Himself to you through the cross of Christ Jesus the King. Believe it and receive it.” (2Cor 5:17-21). Selah.
By Pastor J.D. Link
Mar 10:29-30 And Jesus answered and said, “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world (age) to come eternal life.” Today we continue our study on the Kingdom of God. Notice in these verses, Jesus mentions the present world (now in this time), and the world to come. There are two distinct ages: the present age, and the age to come – or Kingdom age.
Also notice, while the blessings for forsaking all and following Jesus are numerous, they do come with persecutions. Why? Because this present age is evil (Gal 1:4). If we walk according to this present age, we walk according to the prince of the power of the air (aka Satan), the demonic spirit that works in the children of the world (Eph 2:2). Satan is called the god of this present age, who blinds the minds of them who do not believe (2Cor 4:4). The whole world lies in wickedness, and Jesus came to open our eyes to this and give us understanding, because He is God, and He is Truth (1Jn 5:19-20).
This is why we receive God’s blessings as citizens of Heaven, and at the same time, receive persecutions as foreigners in this world. We are in this age, but we (as Christians) are not of this age. So, how should we respond to this present evil age? We are not to be conformed to it (poured into it’s mold – Rom 12:2). We are not to love it, or the things in it (1Jn 2:15-17). We are not to be friends with it – James 4:4 says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity (hostility, opposition, hatred) with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy (hostile towards; adversary and hater) of God.” No, we exalt what God says – not the world.
Jesus said this present generation (age of time – the period or the persons) is faithless and perverse (Lk 9:41); wicked (Mt 12:45); and evil (Lk 11:29). Praise God there is an age to come (Mt 12:32, Eph 1:21, Heb 2:5); and this age to come is where righteousness dwells (2Pt 3:13). Isa 65:17 says, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” In the age to come, this present age will not even be remembered. Any affliction, trial or tribulation the saints of God must endure in this present evil age, is nothing to be compared to the glory of the age to come – the Kingdom age.
In the age to come, there will be no more death, sorrows, tears, pain, or suffering. All sin, darkness and evil will be vanquished. There will only dwell peace, light, love, holiness and righteousness. There will be no sin – nor sinners – in the age to come. All the cowardly and unbelievers; those that practice abominations; murderers, fornicators, those that practice witchcraft, idolaters and all liars, shall have their place in the lake which burns with fire (Rev 21:1-8, 22-27).
A true Christian longs for the age to come. He hates the evil around him, and longs for the will of the Father to be “done on earth, just as it is in Heaven”. His heart’s desire is to depart and be with Christ (Philp 1:23). He acknowledges that he is a stranger and pilgrim on this earth, and he looks for the heavenly city to come (Hebrews 11:12-16, 13:12-14). He does this, because he belongs to that Kingdom age. He is a citizen of heaven. He is here in this foreign land, this present evil age, as an ambassador of heaven – and ambassador for Christ.
The Kingdom must be entered into now (spiritually) through the new birth, in order to be entered into literally on the day of the Lord. If we do not declare and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior now, in this present evil age; we will have no part of His Kingdom when He comes in power and glory. Those who reject the King now, will be rejected by the King then – and will spend their eternity in the Lake of Fire. If you are currently a born-again Believer, submitted and committed to Jesus your King; this truth should cause you great joy, peace and comfort. If you have not bowed before Jesus and submitted to Him as your King, I hope this would – quite literally – scare the Hell out of you. If you suddenly died today – have you bowed the knee to Jesus The King? Selah.
By Pastor J.D. Link
Mark 4:11 says, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” The Kingdom of God was a mystery. A Biblical “mystery”, was a divine purpose, which God kept hidden in times past, but has now disclosed or revealed. Now, we know the Jews knew about the Kingdom of God, because it was often mentioned in the Old Testament. So, why did Jesus say the Kingdom of God was a mystery? Let’s get into God’s Word.
The mystery of the Kingdom of God, was that it had come without observation (Lk 17:20-21). Jesus brought it. The Kingdom was in their midst. The Kingdom would be within those who would accept it. To the Jews, this was a completely foreign idea of what the Kingdom of God was. They saw only the physical aspect of it. What we know to be the second coming of Christ, they think to be the first coming of Messiah.
Messiah would be a mighty, conquering King, who would tread underfoot all the enemies of God. He would rule with a rod of iron. The earth would have peace and rest. The wolf would lie down with the lamb (Isa 11:6-8). The nations would beat their weapons into farm equipment (Isa 2:4). That sounds like the second coming and millennial reign of Christ.
However, when Jesus came the first time, He didn’t come in that way. He came quietly; secretly; humbly – without observation (to most). He came as the Lamb of God the first time. He’ll come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah the second time. He came to give Himself as a sacrifice for our sins the first time. He will come the second time, to take His rightful place on the throne of David and reign sovereign for a thousand years.
John the Baptist even had some doubts, because Jesus wasn’t taking His place as King; like they believed He would based on the Scriptures (Lk 7:19-28). This was the mystery of the Kingdom. It came quietly. It didn’t do away with the present evil age; it came while this present evil age is still in existence. Men must enter into this invisible Kingdom now, in order to enter into the visible Kingdom to come.
However, in this current age, the Kingdom comes with persuasion, and not compulsion. Our commission is to plead with men to be reconciled to God (2Cor 5:19-20), but we are in no way, shape, or form, to try and make people receive Jesus. We simply sow seed (speak the Word of God) – Mt 13:3-9. People can accept it or reject it. That’s not our problem or responsibility. God won’t violate our free will and make anyone get saved; why would we try to?
We speak the Word, because we love Jesus and love people. If you love someone, you want to see them saved. Only the truth sets people free (Jn 8:31-36). Many will hate you for speaking the truth, but some will receive it and be saved, and will be eternally grateful that you cared enough about them to sow the Word into their life. Don’t reject Christ for someone by not standing for the truth. Speak the truth, and let them accept it or reject it.
Christians often get accused of “judging” people, when they simply say what God’s Word says. Unfortunately, many have shrunk back from speaking the truth because it is not “politically correct.” However, political correctness hardly matters. What does matter, is if what we are speaking is Biblically correct. Too many seem concerned that they might be offending someone, but don’t seemed concerned at all about offending God. The Christian has One that they are to please, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He we will stand before on Judgment Day.
The Christian is simply a seed sower. God is the one who chose the “foolishness of preaching” to save those who believe (1Cor 1:21). We simply say what God says. We speak the Word of truth. People will accept it or reject it. That’s not our concern. We don’t build the Kingdom, God does. We don’t build the Church, Jesus does (Mt 16:18). We are ambassadors from Heaven. We speak what our King tells us. It is He we represent. We don’t change it or compromise it. We scatter the seed, fall where it may. Next week we will get a clearer understanding of the Kingdom through the Kingdom parables. Until next time, rejoice in the Lord!
By Pastor J.D. Link
Mark 4:26-29 says, “And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knows not how. For the earth brings forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”
Last week, we briefly looked at the chief Kingdom parable (Mk 4:13), about the sower and the four types of soil. The sower sows the Word of God, and the heart condition of the hearer determines the harvest. In the above verses, we see another Kingdom parable. Notice, we sow the Word of God, and it springs forth – but we don’t know how. We don’t have to understand the supernatural workings of God’s Word within the right heart; we only have to know that it works. The transformed life of millions throughout the last 2,000 years shows it’s power and effect. Though a farmer may not fully understand how, contained within one kernel of corn, is a huge stalk of corn with multiple ears full of multiple kernels; he simply knows that it’s made to do this, and if he cooperates with the process, he will have a harvest.
Then, there is the wheat and weeds Kingdom parable (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43). In the field of the world, the righteous (wheat) and unrighteous (weeds) are allowed to grow up together. God, in His great mercy and love, allows this; that as many men as possible will come to repentance (2Pt 3:9). However, it will not always be so. One day, harvest time will come, and the unbelievers will be separated and gathered together to be put in the furnace, while the believers will be gathered into everlasting heaven.
We see this same principle in the Kingdom parable of the dragnet (Mt 13:47-50). The preaching of the Kingdom is like a big dragnet, gathering in all kinds. However, not all receive the message and repent, and right now God allows us to accept it or reject. At the end of the age, the net will be drawn in, and the good (believers) will be separated from the bad (unbelievers). These Kingdom parables speak plainly of the impending judgment of all mankind. It is without question that one day Jesus will return, and all mankind will be separated into two categories. One is either a weed; a bad fish; a goat – or one is wheat; a good fish; a sheep (Mt 25:31-46). Faith, acceptance and submission to Jesus as Lord, God, King and Savior will determine which group one finds themselves in.
Lk 19:11-127 is also a Kingdom parable. Jesus is the Christ – the Anointed One of God to rule as King. He has gone to a far country (Heaven), and entrusted us with gifts and talents to use for His glory while He is away. One day He will return, and we will give an account of how we used our gifts and talents. Those that accepted His lordship and used their gifts and talents for His glory, will be rewarded in the Kingdom to come. Those who refused his lordship, will be slain and cast out (Mt 25:30).
The Kingdom parables of the mustard seed (Mt 13:31-32) and the leaven (Mt 13:33) show another aspect of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is small and obscure right now, like a mustard seed. It seems insignificant; but one day, it will grow into a huge tree. One day God’s Kingdom will fill this earth, though it started out small. And like leaven sprinkled in dough, you can’t really see it working, but it is quietly permeating throughout. God’s Word is spreading throughout the world, and many are coming into the Kingdom daily without news reporting and fanfare. There are massive revivals going on world-wide many of us never hear about. Don’t be discouraged! Jesus is building His Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it! Just keep being salt and light! Just keep spreading the incorruptible seed of God’s Word!
The Kingdom parables of the hid treasure and pearl of great price (Mt 13:44-46) show how precious God’s Kingdom is, and how we must be willing to give up everything to get it (Lk 9:23-26, 14:26-35). We cannot purchase the Kingdom, nor work for it; for salvation is a gift. However, there is one requirement: We must be willing to give up everything to enter into it. We must try and comprehend the value of the Kingdom, and forsake whatever is necessary to enter it.
I encourage you to look up these Kingdom parable references. Jesus taught quite simply on the Kingdom, and a child can have understanding of it (Lk 18:16-17). Elaborate man-made religions and philosophies have muddied the water, but Jesus speaks plainly and simply – if one has ears to hear. Selah.
By Pastor J.D. Link
1Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”. We (Christians) are a chosen (picked out, select, favored) family; we are a royal (kingly, regal) priesthood (order of priests); we are a holy (sacred, pure, consecrated) nation (race, tribe, people); we are a peculiar (purchased, preserved) people. This is who and what we are in Christ. Not who or what we will become, but who and what we are – present tense – in Christ Jesus. This is Kingdom privilege.
We will finish our series on the Kingdom this week. So far, we have covered that: 1. The Kingdom is the message Jesus and the Apostles preached – and it is the message we are to preach. 2. The Kingdom is not only God’s dominion, but His right to rule. 3. The Kingdom is both now and in the future. 5. This present Age is evil, and the Age to come is glorious. 6. The Kingdom Age (age to come), is now here in this present evil Age – spiritually present within Disciples of Christ. The Kingdom is within us, because the King is within us. 7. We must enter the Kingdom now in this Age through faith in Jesus Christ, to be able to enter the Kingdom Age to come at His second coming. 8. The Kingdom parables describe how the Kingdom functions and what it is like.
Today, we will finish by speaking of the privileges of being in the Kingdom of God now. As pointed out in 1Pt 2:9 and confirmed in Titus 2:14, we (Disciples of Christ) are a peculiar (purchased and preserved) people. We are the Temple of the Living God, His habitation (2Cor 6:16-18). We are kings and priests unto our God (Rev 1:6). We are royalty. We are of royal lineage now. We have changed citizenship. We are citizens of Heaven. God is our Father. Heaven is our home. This is Kingdom privilege. He has taken us from the gutter most to the utter most. Rags to riches. Hell to Heaven. Darkness to Light! Praise be to God!
Part of Kingdom privilege is Kingdom prosperity (3Jn2, Ps 1:1-3). The Bible says God owns the universe, a cattle on a thousand hills, all the silver and gold, etc. He is our Father and provider. We should expect to prosper in all things. Not to be greedy or lustful, but to be blessed. God teaches us to profit. God takes pleasure in our prosperity (Ps 35:27). This does not mean every Christian is promised a yacht; but it does mean those who believe and receive can prosper in what they do. Like all things pertaining to the Kingdom now, you can believe it or reject it.
Another part of Kingdom privilege is Kingdom protection (Lk 10:19, Rom 8:31-39). We have authority to tread on the enemy. We can believe God for His protection. Besides numerous Biblical accounts, I have heard dozens of stories of His preserving hand upon Believers. Immediately someone says, “But what about those that didn’t make it through?”. My answer: What about all those that did? God’s Word is truth, period. Just because we have some unanswered questions, doesn’t mean God has ceased being God. Live according to what you know, and not according to what you don’t know (Dt 29:29).
Kingdom peace is another awesome privilege (Rom 5:1, Eph 2:14-17). Why are you anxious and stressed out? Jesus came to give us His peace that passes understanding. It’s Kingdom privilege to be at perfect peace. You need to take advantage of it. Don’t go through life wasting the precious gifts of God. Press in. Receive the promise. Expect good.
Kingdom provision is another blessing of Kingdom citizenship (Rom 8:32, 1Cor 2:12, 1Cor 3:21-23, Ps 84:11). Beyond prosperity, Kingdom provision – all things in Christ – covers every area of our lives. God is Jehovah Jireh. He is El Shaddai. He is all sufficient, The Almighty. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. He is a God of abundance. He meets every need above and beyond what is required or desired.
Finally, Kingdom power is part of Kingdom privilege (Lk 10:19, Mk 16:17-20). The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells inside of us. The same Power that spoke forth the universe, inhabits these earthen vessels. The same Force that parted the Red Sea, abides in you and me. Through the baptism with the Holy Spirit, we have Kingdom power. Power over demons. Power over the flesh. Power over sin. Power to do anything God has called and anointed us to do. We just need to believe it and receive it. What do you do with gifts? You receive them. Thank You, Lord! Whatever you have for me, I will receive it gladly for Your glory! I pray you have been blessed by this series. Selah.