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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Secrets of the Kingdom Summary

This is a summary post for my series on the secrets of the kingdom. I will add to it as I study this topic further.

Luke 8:10 (NIV)
He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’"
Matthew 13:11 and Mark 4:11 have similar records.

I don't know why Jesus chose to speak this way. Maybe it's because we all love secrets, and we like to share those secrets with others.

So I'm examining different passages related to this kingdom message. Each of the following brief summaries links to larger posts on each passage. I welcome feedback on any of these posts.

Note: We don't need to be thinking castles and knights etc when we think kingdom of God. Thinking more along the lines of God's reign, rule, authority, and dominion may be helpful.
Change Your Way of Thinking - The message Jesus seemed to share was that the kingdom of God was near or here, and He called people to repent, to change their way of thinking and/or living. (Matt 3:1-2)

Greatest in the Kingdom - We all know who the greatest in kingdom of heaven are right? Jesus shares some weird upside-down thinking on this. What type of people does the kingdom belong to? (Matt 5:3, Matt 5:10, Matt 18:3-4, Matt 19:13-17)

Children of the Kingdom - I'm sorry, but if you want to be a king in the kingdom of God, it seems like there is no room in the kingdom for you. That position has already been filled. Children are welcome. (Mark 10:13-1)

Healing Kingdom - (similar post healing and the kingdom) Divine healing accompanied the message of God's reign, rule and authority. Jesus healed the sick as he preached about the kingdom. His disciples later did the same. When we teach about God's rule and authority, we should expect God's healing powers to be present. This is evidence that God's reign is present. (Matthew 4:23-25, Matt 9:35, Luke 9:1-2, Luke 10:9, Mark 16:15-18, Mark 5).

Kingdom For The Poor - There seems to be a strong connection between the good news of the kingdom of God and the poor. I pray for wisdom in this area. (Matthew 5:3, Luke 6:20, Matthew 11:5, Luke 4:18, Luke 7:22, James 2:5, Matthew 19:23, Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:23-24)

Kingdom Come God's Will Be Done - I am now recognizing that the kingdom of God is not just a distant future reality, but an active kingdom that God wants me to be part of right now. (Matt 6:9-13)

Kingdom or Stuff - Where are the desires of my heart? Kingdom focused or stuff focused? (Matthew 6:28-34)

Kingdom of Doers - To enter the kingdom of heaven you must be a doer. Talking the talk just doesn't cut it. (Matt 7:21 - 23)

Kingdom for all Races - Elements of racism have existed in society and the church from time to time throughout church history. But there is no place for racism in Christ's kingdom. (Matt 8:10-12)

Kingdom Confusion John and Forceful Men - A look at what Jesus may have meant when talking about John the Baptist being great, yet lesser than anyone in the kingdom. Also an explanation regarding the reference to forceful men and the kingdom? (Matthew 11:11-15)

Divided Kingdom (similar post Divided Kingdom Blasphemy) - If you see God at work, then the reign of God is present. If you think God's kingdom is divided... think again. (Matt 12:25 - 30, Mark 3:23-30, Luke 11:17-23).

Receiving the kingdom seed - Not everyone receives the message of the kingdom the same way. Which type of soil are we going to be? (Matt 13:3-9, Matt 13:18 - 23, Mark 4:4-20)

Kingdom and Weeds - The kingdom of heaven is also a present reality. I think this passage has something to say about our lack of ability to judging others. My God is a good judge, I`ll leave that to Him. (Matt 13:24 - 29)

Kingdom grows like a weeds (similar post Viral Kingdom ) - A less than desirable crowd was part of a growth that spread throughout the region and around the world. Many people haven't welcomed the growth, but many have taken shelter in it. (Matt 13:31-32, Mark 4:30 - 32).

Kingdom is like yeast - a similar point as the previous passage. The way the kingdom of heaven spreads in our lives and in the world is similar to how yeast spreads through flour. (Matt 13:33)

Kingdom like treasure - What will you sacrifice to seek this treasure? Your own selfish desires? Your pride? Religion? Wealth? Other? (Matt 13:44)

Kingdom like searching for Pearls - Do we recognize the value of the kingdom of heaven? Are we searching for it? Are we willing to give up all we have for God's reign? (Matt 13:45-46)

Kingdom like a net - There may be good fish and bad fish that seem to be part of the present kingdom of God. It is not the job of the good fish to dispose of the bad fish. (Mat 13:47-50)

Student of Scripture Instructed in the Kingdom - A full spiritual banquet can be prepared by properly mixing something old and something new. (Matt 13:51-52)

Gates of Hades and Keys of the Kingdom - What sort of keys could there be that can open the gates that separate the realm of death with the realm of life? (Matt 16:15-19)

Not Taste Death Until Kingdom - Some of the people listening will see and experience the reign and rule of God in their lives and in the world around them. They will follow Jesus and take up their cross. As a result they will not taste death but find life. (Matt 16:24-28)

Rock Star Christians - Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? (Matt 18:1-5)

Kingdom Mercy Pay It Forward - I think Jesus was saying the kingdom of heaven is like pay it forward with forgiveness and mercy. (Matt 18:21-35)

Eunuchs for the Kingdom - some are like eunuchs and won't have divided loyalties in kingdom. Others who can't go without family relations should get married. (Matt 19:8-12)

Asset or Liability in the Kingdom - It seems Jesus is saying that money and possessions are not assets in His kingdom. It seems that money and possessions are more like liabilities in the kingdom of God. (Matt 19:16-30)

That Is Not Fair! - A parable that gives an example how the last will be first, and the first last. (Matthew 20:1 - 16)

Kingdom Without Hierarchy - Hierarchy is common in earthly kingdoms or realms of influence. This kingdom doesn't work that way. It is not about climbing the ladder to gain positions of authority over others. In fact in this upside-down kingdom it is the opposite. (Matthew 20:20 - 28)

Entering the Kingdom of God I find the present tense of this passage interesting. Similar to Luke 16:16 it seems people were already entering this kingdom starting in those days. Living under the reign and rule of God is something that can take place in the present as well. And a few more observations from Matt 21:28 - 32.

Kingdom Taken Away - The religious leaders of Jesus day were given responsibility, and the task to produce fruit for the master.  But they claimed the kingdom as their own. Now a different type of people are given the responsibility of caring for the kingdom and producing fruit for the master. (Matt 21:33-46)

Invitation To Kingdom Banquet - It seems everyone is invited.  There were some who were first on the invitation list, but similar to the previous parable in Matt 21:33-46 we see the offer of the Kingdom is taken away and given to others.

Woe To You - if you shut the door of the kingdom for others. This is only 1 of 7 "woe to you" points as Jesus goes on a little rant towards the religious leaders of His day.

Playdough Scripture Matt 24:14 - And the gospel of ____ will be preached in the whole world.... (Matt 24:14)

Parable of the Ten Virgins - mentions kingdom "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins", but sorry I didn't make many firm conclusion on this one. (Matt 25:1-13)

Blood Covenant and Kingdom - This passage seems to be of a future time and place of God's rule. It also talks about a commitment or promise made. (Matt 26:27-29)

Kingdom Good News - Did Jesus preach the gospel? What was the good news that Jesus preached? (Mark 1:14 - 15)

Kingdom Of God Coming With Power - Have you experienced times in your own life where God's power felt near, and His reign felt close? (Mark 9:1)

Kingdom Like Seed Growing - We have a tendency to try to plan and control the service that we feel God leading us into. But we don't need to do all the work. (Mark 4:26-29)

What must I do to gain eternal life? "If God asked me to give it all up would I?  Do I trust God more than I trust my wealth?  To what degree am I OK with letting God alone reign in my life?"  These are questions of faith. Mark 10:17 - 27

More to come...

I pray for wisdom. I suspect if we seek God for clarity He will give us enough answers as needed as we study the kingdom secrets further.


Brian said...

First of all, I would like to thank you for your boldness with these articles. I am new to this blog and have enjoyed reading your thoughts on scripture. You have wrote about some touchy subjects that I have been struggling about for some time. I really don't have many people that I am able to discuss these things with, and I don't have many resources to read with these ideas.

Is there many people with these same beliefs and they are just not able to speak of them? Do you have other material (books, links, ect..) that I can read concerning the so called church of today.

Thanks again, wish we lived closer. I know we could have some great studies....

Jonathan said...

Hi Brian, thanks for commenting. I have a few people that I can discuss some of these topics with from time to time. I find at times it's best to keep quiet with my Christian friends on some of the tougher questions, the ones that are deconstructing my past religion. I thank God for my wife who tries to understand me and gives me some balance.

What types of questions are you struggling with? I may be able to suggest a book or blog.

I really respect Alan Knox at
http://www.alanknox.net/ and his studies on what church is and isn't.

For books "Pagan Christianity" if you are wanting to read about the roots of where the church is at.

Currently I'm enjoying reading a positive view of what the church can be in "Small is Big" by Dale and Barna.

It is a potentially dangerous journey... ask God to lead you one step at a time. He will guide you well. He is a good shepherd (pastor). God bless!

Al said...

Jon, I can't say that I have any really good ideas about why God seems to like mysteries--but he does. Maybe he wants us to spend more time searching and contemplating, and less time being arrogant and so sure of our own ideas. Too bad that doesn't seem to be working well! I too am coming to new understandings about what the kingdom is. It's amazing how much Jesus talked about it, and how it seems to be quite different from how the church has come to be.

Brian, welcome to the company of adventurers and seekers. We can be found in many places, and many of us are still struggling to figure out what from the past needs to be held on to, and what needs to be jettisoned. As you are already discovering, friends and good conversation are a great place to start. On-line connections serve where flesh and blood ones can't be found--but face to face is best. For myself, I am finding books by people like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Marcus Borg and others to be challenging, but yet comforting. I may not agree with everything any of them say, but they help me know that I am not alone in the questions I have been asking.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Al! Yes, sometimes I wish Jesus had just written a catechism for us to memorize and follow. But then when I think about it I'm glad He didn't. That would get dry and legalistic really fast. Even though our understanding is limited, following a living Father on the adventure of a lifetime is more interesting.

Robin Sampson said...


I found you looking for Dwight Pyror's teaching on the Kingdom. Thanks for sharing it (I miss Dwight). Then I read your post on hell. Amazing I just went through the same study and came to about the same conclusions. Great blog, Hope you can visit mine. I'm writing a book for children on the Beatitudes (Bee Attitudes). Oh, also do not even understand Calvin 5 sticky points???? Blessings.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Robin. You knew Dwight Pyror? I simply found that video as I was searching for meaning on the kingdom of Heaven. My old view was starting to crumble - that it simply meant some future place we go when we died. And I had never realized that Jesus really focused on this topic. That video by Dwight really helped.

I've subscribed to your blog too. Thanks! God bless!