Kingdom of God
Steve Gregg 8 part lecture
Studying and understanding Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God or Heaven is very important. It is virtually what He spent His entire ministry preaching and proclaiming and even after His resurrection that was His topic of conversation and teaching (Acts 1:3.) There are numerous scriptures after Jesus’ ascension that shows the apostles continued to preach the Gospel or Good News of the Kingdom.
- Jesus was sent by God to proclaim the Kingdom.
Luke 4:43 But he said to them, “I must preach the Good News about the Kingdom of God in other towns also, because that is what God sent me to do.“ TEV
- Jesus told us to seek the Kingdom before all else.
Matt 6:33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. TEV
- Jesus taught us to pray for the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven.
Matt 6:9-10 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. NLT
- Jesus said the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the earth then He
will return to earth.
Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. NIV
In Acts 14:22 Paul and Barnabas taught that we might expect many difficulties as Christians; “22 They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God, “TEV
The Kingdom is about relationship between the King and His subjects. The subjects must submit and obey the Kingly rule.
In Exodus 19 God made His first covenant with Israel which they were to obey;
Ex 19:5-6, “5 Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6 And you will be to me a kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ Give this message to the Israelites.” NLT
Well, Israel did not obey, and when Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God the Israelites rejected Him as Messiah and Jesus said the Kingdom would be taken away from them and given to another nation;
“43 What I mean is that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit.” NLT
At this time Jesus is talking about the Kingdom being given to all nations aside from Israel. Jesus had the authority to do this and to charge His disciples to continue the project of continuing to make disciples and to teach them to be obedient.
18 Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, then, to all people everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus talked about the requirements and attributes of His disciples in Luke 14;
For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great.” TEV
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors — for they will invite you back, and in this way you will be paid for what you did. 13 When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; 14 and you will be blessed, because they are not able to pay you back. God will repay you on the day the good people rise from death.” TEV
15 When one of the men sitting at the table heard this, he said to Jesus, “How happy are those who will sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus said to him, “There was once a man who was giving a great feast to which he invited many people. 17 When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell his guests, ‘Come, everything is ready!’ 18 But they all began, one after another, to make excuses. The first one told the servant, ‘I have bought a field and must go and look at it; please accept my apologies.’ 19 Another one said, ‘I have bought five pairs of oxen and am on my way to try them out; please accept my apologies.’ 20 Another one said, ‘I have just gotten married, and for that reason I cannot come.’…… 24 I tell you all that none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner!’ ” TEV
26 “Whoever comes to me cannot be my disciple unless he loves me more than he loves his father and his mother, his wife and his children, his brothers and his sisters, and himself as well. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. TEV
33 In the same way,” concluded Jesus, “none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up everything he has. TEV
Jesus is Lord. Real disciples take Jesus seriously and will do what He says. We need to have a Lordship relationship.
21 “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. NIV
There is both a present and future aspect to the Kingdom. The present aspect is the blessed hope that when Jesus comes back, which may be a long time yet, we will rise to reign and live with Him eternally. However, focusing primarily on that future aspect we might miss the fact that there are things that we are supposed to be doing in and for the Kingdom right now.
The present aspect of the Kingdom was established by Jesus coming to earth. By becoming a disciple of Christ we are entering a Kingdom that is a sort of counter culture, an alternate society to that of the world. As we live out lives as subjects of God’s Kingdom on earth it is our mission, our purpose, to proclaim and promote the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Many people think that the Gospel teaching is primarily to get individual people saved and safe eternally. However, the Kingdom is what saved people are saved into and live in now on this earth and their purpose is to strengthen and enlarge the Kingdom.
Our citizenship is now in Heaven and we serve as ambassadors of the Kingdom here on earth. Loyalty to people, places and thing here on earth are transferred to our total loyalty to our Lord Jesus. Total loyalty to Christ is why so many Christians died at the hands of the Romans. The Roman rulers knew that as Christian loyalties were transferred to Jesus they were removed from the Romans. The Christian community was not recognized as just a group of people that when they die wanted to go to heaven and avoid hell. Rather they were seen as a group of people who had transferred their loyalty from one King to another and lived a life that showed that.
Satan and his army resists and fights against the Kingdom of god, the Rule of God, but Christ delivers us from his power. If we are in the Kingdom we are at war.
2 Tim 2:3-4
3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer.
We do not make Jesus our Lord. God made Him our Lord. We can surrender our autonomy to Him and accept and submit to Him. We then become loyal to the Kingdom. When we become citizens of the Kingdom we are taught that we cannot serve two masters. We are strangers here just traveling through.
Part of our purpose while here is to be taking ground for the Kingdom. Our weapons as described in 2 Cor. 10: 4 & 5; 3. We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. 5 With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ. NLT We are to be fighting a battle here, taking territory for the Kingdom. Wherever we live and go we are to be planting the flag of the Kingdom and calling people to submission to Christ and to join the Kingdom. God has delivered us from the power of darkness and has conveyed us into the Kingdom ruled over by Christ. Col. 1: 13
Repentance will not come about by passing Christian laws, but by the power of the Word of God presented by subjects of the Kingdom in spiritual warfare. We need spiritual weapons to expand the Kingdom. The expansion of the Kingdom is not brought about by good laws such as anti-abortion, but by the devotion of its subjects.
The parables of the mustard seed and leaven, etc represent the progress/growth of the Kingdom. It started with one seed Jesus and there are now in excess of one billion people who profess Christ. Yeast is alive and is added to other ingredients which are dead.
All people on the planet are influenced by and benefit from God’s rule and blessing, even though they might be atheists. As Christians add salt and light in the world, showing kindness and love, all things improve and society is uplifted.
The Kingdom of Priests concept. To have a Kingdom you have to have a King and submitted subjects. The King has come , he has subjects, therefore there is a kingdom.
Priest means mediator between God and man. Israel was to be a Kingdom of Priests. Priests to whom? The rest of the world. With Israel as Priests God would be able to have some relationship with all people on earth thru them. Matt. 21:43 says the Kingdom of God was taken from Israel because of their disobedience and given to a nation (gentiles) that will bring forth the appropriate fruit.
We can tell who our head is by how we are living. If Christ is our head we will be living in obedience to Him, His commands. There is the world calling and Jesus calling. We can have the world and not have Jesus. We can have Jesus and not have the world. Having the world means the spirit of the world, lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes; pride of life which John says is all that is in the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with god. Seek first the kingdom. If it doesn’t please the king don’t do it. Doing his will makes us closer to god. We have the privilege of being a friend to the king.
Responsibilities of a priest.
1. To be Holy. Holy means to be set apart to God. It does not mean a way of behaving – it means to be set apart to God. That will automatically filter down to behavior. But our behavior does not make us Holy. Separating ourselves to God will change our behavior. 1 Peter 1:13-16 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” NKJV
God said He will be regarded as Holy to those who approach Him. (Look at 1 Peter 1: 13-….)
2. Teach God’s Word. Tell people what God is about. What God’s word says. They don’t know. Teach others what God has commanded. Be prepared when the opportunity arises to tell people about God, the Kingdom and Jesus. It should be my understanding that one of my purposes in life to teach all that Jesus commanded.
3. Priests are to offer up sacrifices. 1 Peter 2:5 to offer up spiritual sacrifices. First sacrifice is to present your bodies a living sacrifice, Romans 12: 1. Important witness for people to see. When we are on the altar we are Holy, our bodies belong to God. Bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. I did not make me, I do not own me and Jesus paid the price for me.
4. Offer up all we own to God.
5.We are to offer sacrifices of praise and Thanksgiving – even when things don’t appear good to us we still have plenty to be thankful being in God’s Kingdom. Prayer and petitions with thanksgiving.
The cost or the value of the Kingdom. Matthew Chapter 13: 44-46. Parables of the pearl of great price and the buried treasure in a field. In both, a person sells everything to get the pearl or treasure. Both underscore the value of the Kingdom.
Steve Gregg sees the parable of the person selling all he has to buy the field where the great treasure was buried as God giving His Son (the greatest price) to provide life/eternal life to all on earth that hear the gospel of the Kingdom and submit to Him and become His subjects. God pays the greatest price so that He can have the treasure, His subjects, for His Kingdom.
We cannot earn salvation as it is a gift. We do have to qualify for the free gift. We have to hear the word, and believe and repent. Repent and faith. This saving faith means that I submit to Christ as Lord of my life. Faith without works is dead. Gal 5:6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, it makes no difference to God whether we are circumcised or not circumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. NLT We have faith in the lordship of Christ. Christ being Lord means that I am a slave/servant. Jesus said to his disciples that after you have done all you were told to do, we say we are still unprofitable servants. Luke 17:10 So you (the Apostles) also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” NIV
Pearls are developed or come into existence because an irritant gets into the oyster and the oyster then secrets a milky substance to smooth over it and that process of irritation and healing or protection eventually creates a pearl. Pearls don’t exist unless the oyster suffers. The Kingdom of God is of great value but it exists because someone suffered, that is Jesus. In Revelations the twelve gates into heaven are made of pearl. Perhaps such huge pearls are because of such great suffering. Acts 14:22 where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that they must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations. NLT
If Jesus paid everything for us how can we expect to pay less for him?
It is a good investment to give up what you cant keep for that which you can keep.
How do we enter the Kingdom? There are two aspects of the Kingdom; the present phase (or age) and the future phase (or age.) In this current phase there are things we are expected to do.
Jesus said to strive to enter the kingdom, for many will try and be unable to. If it would help it would be better to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye to enter the kingdom, than not to make it. (however sin resides in the heart not in the hand) Anything that draws you from God must be given up; hobbies, ambition, possessions, money, etc. We are to take up our cross and follow Jesus. If we try to save this life here we will lose our lives in the Kingdom. I am to deny myself.
The unrighteous will not enter the Kingdom. 1 Cor 6:9-11 Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, 10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers — none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. 11 There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. NLT If Christians stumble they repent. True Christians always repent. If you are not striving to quit unrighteousness you are not cleansed. If you are practicing sin you are not going into the Kingdom.
If you have riches it will be difficult for you to enter the Kingdom. The more we have the more difficult it will be to enter. Matt 19:23-24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I say it again — it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” NLT Riches are a danger – where you’re your treasure is so will your heart be.
The Religious will have a hard time getting into the Kingdom. Matt 21:31-32
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I assure you (the religious leaders), corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the way to life, and you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to turn from your sins and believe him. NLT
What does it take to enter the Kingdom? Accept Jesus into your heart? Nope, that is not in the bible. Say the sinner’s prayer? Nope, not in the Bible. You have to be born again to see the kingdom of God. Have to be born of water and spirit. Mark 1:14-15 Later on, after John was arrested by Herod Antipas, Jesus went to Galilee to preach God’s Good News. 15 “At last the time has come!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!” NLT We are justified by faith in Christ. Baptism is a command of Christ’s. He was baptized and the Holy Spirit came upon Him at that time. He commanded that we preach the Gospel and baptize people. In th Bible not a person waited even a day to get Baptized. In fact they were told to get in the water.
So to enter the Kingdom in this age and phase we need to believe, repent, be baptize and receive the Holy Spirit.
How do we enter the future phase of the Kingdom? If w enter in this phase won’t we automatically be in the Kingdom in the net phase? Jesus tells people that not everyone who says Lord Lord will enter into the Kingdom – if they do not do what he says.
Luke 19:11-24 11 The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away. 12 He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. 13 Before he left, he called together ten servants and gave them ten pounds of silver to invest for him while he was gone. 14 But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say they did not want him to be their king.
15 “When he returned, the king called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what they had done with the money and what their profits were. 16 The first servant reported a tremendous gain — ten times as much as the original amount! 17’well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’
18 “The next servant also reported a good gain — five times the original amount. 19’well done!’ the king said. ‘You can be governor over five cities.’
20 “But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘I hid it and kept it safe. 21 I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’
22 ” ‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Hard, am I? If you knew so much about me and how tough I am, 23 why didn’t you deposit the money in the bank so I could at least get some interest on it?’ 24 Then turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who earned the most.’
25 ” ‘But, master,’ they said, ‘that servant has enough already!’
26 ” ‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘but to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away. 27 And now about these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king — bring them in and execute them right here in my presence.’ “NLT
We need to be managing in His kingdom, building, expanding, taking territory and planting a flag for his kingdom. We need to be “investing” to improve his return when he returns.
We need to do the will of the Father in heaven. Doing the will of the Father needs to be the way of my life. The last thought at night, first thought in morning and in all I do all day to be doing the will of God. It is what my life should be for, be about, be my purpose. If my life is about what God wants then I will be a part of the future phase of the kingdom. Jesus will someday ask us what we did for the Kingdom.
45 “Who is a faithful, sensible servant, to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his household and feeding his family? 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I assure you, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 48 But if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and begins oppressing the other servants, partying, and getting drunk — 50 well, the master will return unannounced and unexpected. 51 He will tear the servant apart and banish him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. NLT
We are to bring forth fruits for his kingdom. Do good deeds from the heart. Tend to the Brethren, help the sick and the poor. Matt 25:31-36 31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 34 Then the King will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ NLT
Kingdom of Grace?? How Grace is compatible or functional with obedience. How are they synonymous as indicated in Acts 20: 24-25?
4 But I reckon my own life to be worth nothing to me; I only want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do, which is to declare the Good News about the grace of God. 25 “I have gone about among all of you, preaching the Kingdom of God. And now I know that none of you will ever see me again. TEV
Grace and truth came thru Jesus. We continue receiving grace thru Christ – our connection in Him. Once sin reigned now grace reigns. I was a servant of sin – I now am a servant of Christ under grace. Under grace we are obedient to Christ and righteousness. We are to present our members as slaves of righteousness for holiness and everlasting life. The one we receive our directions from which result in our behavior, is our master. We obey sin or grace.
There is a supernatural power in the Kingdom. The Spirit of God, the spirit of Grace empowers us to do what otherwise we are unable to. Do good things as fruit of the Spirit. Titus 2:11-13 11 For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all mankind. 12 That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world. TEV The grace of god has appeared teaching us how to live. We have received a teacher. Does he teach us that we can get away with stuff? No, He teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.. We should live soberly, righteously and Godly. If we are not being taught this by the teacher then he is not there – you are not under grace. If you continue to live a sinful life then you are not a Christian. If there is no indication of change then the Spirit of God is not in me teaching me. Too many times the Church affirms that people are Christians when they are not
Grace means favor. In the Christian words it is said unmerited favor – it is not a matter of works. If we try to make ourselves do things that are not of or by grace then they are works. But being a subject of God’s Kingdom I have certain responsibilities expected of how I am to live as loyal subject. God is Gracious but not lenient. He is very concerned about right and wrong. God wants us to change as He gives us grace to do so. 2 Cor 3:4-6
5 There is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work. The capacity we have comes from God; 6 it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant, which consists not of a written law but of the Spirit. TEV
2 Cor 9:8
8 And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause. TEV
We have to draw on God’s Grace constantly and there are conditions to this.
6 But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” TEV
1 Peter 5:5-7
5 In the same way you younger men must submit yourselves to the older men. And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. 7 Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. TEV
2 Peter 3:18
18 But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever! Amen. TEV
29 Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. 30 And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. 32 Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. TEV
My speech should impart grace to those I speak to. I should impart grace.