Kingdom Instructions for the Church
Entry Into the Kingdom
You need to understand the Kingdom of God to fully grasp what it means to be a Christian, to really know how you are to live on Earth, and to be genuinely excited about the future God has for you.
Jesus came to Earth as Savior, Lord, and King. He told the Jewish people: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15). But how could they be a part of His kingdom? Jesus told them how, for He was preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23).
The key to the kingdom is the Gospel, for it is the salvation message, the means by which people can enter God's kingdom. But people need to see their sin, and their need for Jesus to be their Savior. They need to repent ‚Ä¶ and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15), this good news that Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins, and then was raised from the dead.
Yes, some of the Jewish people repented and believed in Jesus. Most, however, didn't repent; they didn't want Jesus to be the King in their hearts, they just wanted Him to be King over their country. For their rejection of Him, Jesus had no choice but put His plans for them on hold. He couldn't be their King – at least at that time.
But Jesus gave His disciples hope about His coming kingdom. At the Passover meal, He told them: I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come ‚Ä¶ And I appoint unto you a kingdom ‚Ä¶ That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom (Luke 22:18, 29-30).
Jesus had already told the disciples, I will build my church (Matthew 16:18). The Church would be God's new plan to build His kingdom on Earth, and for the past 2,000 years this has been happening. People are being spiritually born again and entering into the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8). But God's kingdom during this Church Age is not physical and external; it is spiritual and internal, that which exists in the hearts of those who belong to Christ the King.
What is the purpose of the Christian on Earth? To work with Christ and the Church, and build the Kingdom of God – the most important, noble, and satisfying work in the world. But what specifically are we to do?
1. Seek the Kingdom of God
‚Ä¶ seek ye first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). This is to be your work, your purpose, your ambition, your life. You are not to be building your own little kingdom and worrying about what you will eat, drink, or wear. You are to spend your time, energy, and resources seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness, doing that which builds His church, and therefore, that which builds His kingdom.
2. Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom
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 (Matthew 24:14). Christ preached the gospel of the kingdom. Paul preached the gospel of the kingdom, for he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus (Acts 28:23). You too are to preach the gospel of the kingdom. It's important for you to see that your life is not just about building the Church – it's much bigger than that, for you are to work with Jesus in building God's kingdom, a kingdom that began way back with Adam and Eve, continues now, and goes on forever.
3. Preach the Word
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word ‚Ä¶ (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Yes, this is for pastors, but in a larger sense, it applies to all of us. In view of the fact that Christ will appear and rapture the Church, judge the unbelievers, and then set up His kingdom on Earth, we are to preach the Word of God. We must see that God's Word needs to be preached in the context of Christ's coming. Proper and powerful preaching must be connected and related to the fact that our Savior and King is returning to establish His kingdom on Earth.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10). You are to pray for Christ's kingdom to come, for Christ to come back and physically and spiritually rule over His kingdom on Earth. Of course, you should pray for people to be saved and for the Church to grow, but it's more than that – it's seeing the connection between the growth of the Church and the return of Christ to set up His kingdom on Earth. You don't want to be short-sighted, you need to see the Church in the context of the entire kingdom of God, and that the Church Age leads to Christ's coming and the Millennial Kingdom Age.
Just think, you are a royal priesthood, a kingdom and priests to our God (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10)! Understanding who you are and knowing the truth about the kingdom of God, and your part in it, will motivate you to live for the King, and to look forward to that time when you will see Him, and say, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).
Steven J. Hogan has been a pastor-teacher for the past 25 years and at Hope Bible Church of Tampa since 2003.