Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kingdom of God



I can't read the gospels without noticing the how frequently Jesus talked about the kingdom of God, or kingdom of heaven. From a simple search I counted 109 references to Jesus talking about His kingdom in the gospels. So lets take a look at a few of them.

The Kingdom of God is within His people:
"nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21 NIV)
The kingdom of God started in the days of Jesus:
"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. (Luke 16:16 NIV)

"I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. "(Matt 21:32 NIV)
I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Matt 16:28 NIV)

The kingdom of God continues into eternity:
"I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 8:11 NIV)
(See also Parable of weeds Matt 13:24-43)
Understanding the greatest commandment (loving God and loving others) brings one near (but not quite into) the kingdom:

"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." (Mark 12:32-34)
It must be received like a child:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:17 NIV)

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
We must have a second spiritual birth:

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5 NIV)
We must do God's will:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt 7:21 NIV)

A little goes a long way:

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." (Matt 13:31-32 NIV)
Regarding wealth:

"I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 19:23 NIV)
"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20 NIV)
Worries of this life and deceitfulness of wealth can choke our faith:

"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." (Matt 13:18-23 NIV)
On keeping the 'Law':
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:17 - 20 NIV)
We should pray for the kingdom to come. Does this mean we are praying for a future heaven to come? Or are we praying for God's will to be done here on earth, in His current kingdom here?
"your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt 6:10 NIV)

No comments: