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  • Writer's pictureZack DeBruyne

The Kingdom of God: What is It?

The Kingdom of God

What have you heard about the Kingdom of God?

How we summarize how Jesus taught and lived tells us a lot about how we see and understand Jesus to be. How we understand our role as Christians in the world today.

And yet, if we really want to understand the message of Jesus, the entirety of His ministry, the purpose behind His death and resurrection, we need to grapple with what in the world He was talking about with the whole Kingdom of God thing.

Kingdom of God vs. Kingdom of Heaven

  • To the Jews, would never use the name for God, so they would instead refer to it as the Kingdom of Heaven

  • While to the Greeks and Gentiles, the monotheistic Christian God would have been a new idea and there was no requirement to not use the term God.

Read Matthew 13:24-35, 44-52

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

What is Jesus teaching about the Kingdom of God in this parable?

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[b] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 3

What is Jesus teaching about the Kingdom of God in this parable?

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

What is Jesus teaching about the Kingdom of God in this parable?

If we want to understand the message of Jesus, not to mention his whole ministry, including his death and resurrection, then we must grapple with what he says about the kingdom of God.

“You cannot know anything about Jesus, anything, if you miss the kingdom of God . . . . You are zero on Jesus if you don’t understand this term. I’m sorry to say it that strongly, but this is the great failure of evangelical Christianity. We have had Jesus without the kingdom of God, and therefore have literally done Jesus in.”

What would you summarize as the main teaching of what Jesus ever taught or said?

“Repent for the Kingdom of God is here.”

  • From the Gospel’s account, the moral teachings of Jesus, are not the essence of Jesus’ message but are subordinate to a more important idea.

  • Those behaviours only make sense in light of a bigger idea – that the Kingdom of God is here.

  • We primarily think of Jesus as a moral teaching, but the Gospels portray Jesus as the Prophet announcing alongside Israel’s prophets God’s great day of judgment.

  • Jesus was counter and cross-cultural, and so too, was the Kingdom which he was bringing.

So What is it?

  • Dominion, Reign, Rule: It is the active, kingly role and reign of Christ over all creation. It began with the life of Jesus, continues with us as Holy Spirit filled followers, and will come to it’s fulfilment when Christ comes again with the new Heavens and New Earth.

Cool, cool, cool, but what does that even mean? What is it actually?

What Does that Actually Mean?

  1. God is In Control - First, that God is the King. He has control over all of Creation.

  2. We are Co-Labourers - As followers of Christ, we too are a part of this Godly Kingdom here on Earth. The Church is the sign-post, signalling to the world the grace, love, and purpose that God has for all of creation.

    1. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation,” 2 Cor. 5:19

  3. Everything we Do Has Purpose - As forgiven, Spirit-filled players in this Kingdom, we actually have a role to play. Everything that we say, do, and contribute to the world around us participates in the renewal or redemption of the brokenness of the world before Christ.

  4. It is Here, but Not in Its Fullest - Already/Not Yet - It has begun, we as God’s people, are active agents of reconciliation. We are active participants in Kingdom bringing, yet we await for the new heavens and new Earth.

    1. The Church is the communal expression of the Kingdom of God in this already/not yet age.

  5. Purpose is Salvation: God’s will is done in Heaven, His Kingdom comes to bear His salvation Earth. The Kingdom is a Kingdom of salvation. An ‘upside down’ Kingdom that we see in the Beatitudes. The Church is a manifestation of God’s salvation on Earth.

    1. It’s purpose is not political upheaval, societal power, relational influence. But instead sacrificial, faithful submission to the will of God for the good of all creation.

  6. We are Called to More - If this is all true, that means that as Christians we are called to more than just fulfilling what society says is important for success, happiness. But instead, that we are called to be people that prioritize that which the Kingdom of God sees as value:

    1. Care for the Poor: It is essential to the spiritual mission of the church, a distinct expression of the spiritual kingdom of Christ represented through the diaconate, and is a requirement of nature’s law of equity

    2. Sharing the Gospel News: The purpose or goal of the gospel is not to establish the church for the church’s sake, but to use the church as an instrument and witness to the work of the Kingdom of God

      1. “God so loved the world… this does not mean that the church is not essential to God’s work of salvation - it is, but it is essential only inasmuch as they are God’s chosen people, or those who are ‘blessed to be a blessing.’”

    3. All of Life Has Purpose: Col. 1:15-20 - Christ’s Kingdom reconciles all things, breaking into the present age through Word and Spirit, and redeems every expression of life.

      1. “There is not a square inch over all creation that God does not declare, ‘Mine!’,” Abraham Kuyper.

  7. It Changes Everything:

    1. First, it means that even in a broken world, where it feels like Satan has control, that God is King and is actively working toward the renewing of this broken world.

    2. Second, it means that we actually have an active, daily role to play in this redemption. First, by accepting the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts, and second by seeing all that we do as contributing to the work of God’s Kingdom here and now.

    3. Third, it gives us hope. Hope that this is not the end, hope that Jesus will come again and fulfill all of the Kingdom promises He has made.

    4. Fourth, it means we are ALL called. Not just Pastors or Elders, all of us are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a world that needs Him desperately. We are all given the ministry of reconciliation to a world in desperate need of it.

      1. No matter if we are in the classroom, coffee shop, or church.

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