DEFINING KINGDOM – Where Is The Kingdom?

For with the heart man believes and it is with the mouth that he confesses that Jesus is Lord (see Romans 10:9). That’s the issue. The issue is, the reign of God is come and is now available for man in man. Up until Jesus Christ, starting from Adam, there never was a man or woman in whom God could enter or would enter their heart to reign, because it was an unclean, defiled vessel. It was a vessel that could not be made clean enough by the blood of goats and bulls (see Hebrews 10:4). It wasn’t until ‘The’ sacrifice came that cleansed the vessel that made it possible for God now to enter in and reign on the throne that was created right from the very beginning in the heart of man.

Man was made from the beginning with a throne on which he could not reign himself. He thought he took the reign for himself in the Garden but he didn’t. He really gave it to another, didn’t he? That’s why Satan is referred to as the god of this world, the prince of the air, because he has been reigning in the heart of man. He took over the throne in the heart of man. As soon as man submitted to the reign of Satan it was lost for man.

Let’s continue. We have two parts to this key that is the key to understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom, that is, the definition of the Gospel of the Kingdom. What did Jesus preach? The first is in the word itself. We’ve covered that and we’ll refer to it several times throughout the next few chapters.

But the second thing I want us to see is in Luke chapter 19. This is the defining text. In this text you will see Jesus, by the Spirit, defining the use of this word kingdom. The parable we will be looking at begins in verse 11 but we’re going to begin just two verses prior to the parable in verse 9 where Jesus is having an interaction with Zaccheus.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

We are seeing the purpose of the coming of Jesus in Luke chapter 4, verse 43:

But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

In this text His stated purpose was to preach the gospel of the kingdom.

But here is Luke 19:10 He says His purpose is, “…to seek and to save that which was lost.” My point is, and we’ll see it more clearly later in this chapter, the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom is all about salvation. It’s all about coming to seek and to save that which was lost.

There was a reason Jesus spent 3 ½ years preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and finding it not necessary to preach about His death, burial and resurrection which was coming. He did preach it before it came, within just a week of His passion. And it becomes a means whereby the kingdom can enter man. It was after His resurrection that He was able to breathe on His disciples and the Spirit enters His disciples. It was now possible because the sacrifice had been made – the vessel is now clean.

Supportive text would be Ezekiel 36: the promise from the Holy Spirit that a day is coming when God is going to cleanse the vessel. Then you’re going to take out of that vessel a heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh and He’s going to regenerate, He’s going to give that man a new spirit, a regenerated man. Then He adds, in Ezekiel 36, “And then I will put My Spirit within him” (see Ezekiel 36:27). This process is referred to as the coming of the reign of God into the heart of man. And when God’s on the throne, you’ll not need to teach each other the Law because He who is the writer of the Law, and the power to keep the Law, is within. He will cause you to keep My statutes (again refer to Ezekiel 36:27).

That’s the difference between the old covenant and the new. That’s the difference between the reign of God on the inside and the reign of God out here on the outside with Satan still ruling within. The sad commentary on the church of our age is that most have yet to find the reign of God in the heart. Another is still reigning. We are still fighting the same old battles over and over again because we’ve not understood the promise. And unless you understand the promise, you’ll not understand the Gospel – the necessity of the reign of God in the heart, the yielding of man to the reign of God in the heart. That’s the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The Promised Kingdom –

Let’s go to Luke 19:11:

While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.

There was this expectation and just following this He enters Jerusalem on the foal of an ass on “Palm Sunday”. He was hailed as king. It’s Palm Sunday and they’re expecting the reign that was promised, the kingdom of God. It was to be the kneeling of all of the kingdoms of the world to the throne of God; the submission of all the kingdoms of the world. It had been prophesied that every nation would bow before this king that was coming. And they saw Jesus coming to take power, and with His power and authority, He would establish His kingdom.

But He has something quite different in mind. Just turn back one page in your Bibles to Luke 17. In verses 20 and 21 we have this touched on again when the Pharisees are questioning Jesus.

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed.”

Now, they are saying “realm” and He is saying “reign.”

“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Many translations substitute, “within you” for “in your midst.” I believe that’s an accurate translation. You can say it either way. The end result of the promise is that it, the kingdom of God, is within. The reign of God is within. And that is what Jesus came to establish first. Now, when He returns, He will have the authority and the power to cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess. It will either be voluntarily or it will be by a breaking. But every knee will bend because He will have the power and the authority to reign over all the earth and over all the kingdoms of this world. At this time, during this age, and we are going to quote from John 18:36 a little later, we are going to see that it is only for a little time that the reign remains hidden in the hearts of his man.

Back To Eden –

By the way, this line of thought in this text has led me to go back to the Garden of Eden. Because almost all kingdom teaching in our day goes back just to Israel and you see an effort to establish a kingdom of men over men in the earth like Israel. That is not where the battle began with man. And Jesus makes it very clear in this text; the issue is the reign of God in the man. That cannot be seen, at least immediately. The results may be seen but you can’t observe Christ on the throne of a heart from without. But that’s the first work of Christ. That is the work Jesus came to do. And when you see that, when that becomes clear and you see the significance of that in the salvation experience, it will empower your witness. You will know what the issue is with your lost relative.

The issue with your lost relative is not just that they’ve sinned. You can cover the sin but unless you deal with the issue of the reign, the question remains, Who is reigning? Are the light bulbs starting to come on here?

Unless the issue of who is reigning over the heart is dealt with, there’s no salvation. Because, unless there is the reign of God in the heart of man, you are going to just have Adam repeating what Adam did in the Garden. You see, Adam was without sin. But as soon as God lost the reign in the heart, Adam fell. Christ is not just trying to return us to where Adam was before he fell, because Adam did not have the power not to sin. He was not bound to sin like the sinner is today; he didn’t have to sin. But as soon as God lost His place in the heart of Adam, it was lost to Adam. As soon as Adam came out from under the reign, the reign was lost to Adam. That’s why the issue of salvation is: Who is reigning? You can cover the sins and you can bring the blood to bear, which you must do. But if the issue of the reign is absent, you’ve got the very thing Jesus was trying not to do.

That’s why He hid it. He did not want a response that was just based upon not going to hell. A lot of people think they’re in the kingdom, that is, they think they are saved, but they have no desire whatsoever for God to reign over their lives. They do not love Him or His reign. That’s the issue.

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4 Responses to “DEFINING KINGDOM – Where Is The Kingdom?”

  1. cc Says:

    Jeraldd: I enjoyed your comments….love discussion our Lord. In reference to your mention of Eden…I wanted to share a recent insight God gave me in the ‘still’ hours of the early morning. To begin with, I knew from the time I was a small child…that the teachings by my sweet church mothers were lacking concerning the Fall of man. I always knew, deep in my heart and mind, that God never made a mistake….and never will. Soooooooo…why the hullabaloo in the garden with Adam and Eve. Just recently the Holy Spirit showed me the key to the mystery. In Genesis, God said, ‘let’s make man in our image….in our likeness.’ (gen 1:26) It was not until AFTER the whole thing with Adam, Eve, and the subtle deceiver…that God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…(gen 3:22). As I said, God is God. So, according to these verses, I was right! God purposed the fall of man. The two verses alone prove my point. Verse 1: make man in our likeness (spiritual, free will, righteous by choice). Verse 2: says that after Adam/Eve at of the Tree of Knowledge….now they are in the likeness of God…knowing both good and evil. And if Eve did not ‘know’ evil before the encounter with the deceiver….then she knew only GOOD….innocent….sinless….in full fellowship with God in His righteous Kingdom called Eden. new testament scripture says that Adam was not deceived..but Eve was in the transgression. She transgressed …..but she was purposed to do so. She said so when God called to them afterwards. She said, ‘ the serpent beguiled me and I did it.’ She told the truth. ‘He tricked me….he lied to me.” Beforehand…she knew nothing of deception, lying, and so forth. She was perfectly Good. Adam, too, was very truthful about what had happened. He said, ‘the woman thou gave me gave to me and I did eat.’ That was perfectly true. Since Adam knew, in his spirit, he was to stay with his bride……and become sin with her. He could go to her but she could not return to him until they were both redeemed.

    Why would God purpose the fall of man into Death? While with him in the garden, they experienced and came to ‘know’ (knowledge internalized, comprehended, understood) good (God). But knowing only one reality is not sufficient to choose since there is no other reality to compare or contrast with. They would also have to experience ‘evil’ to actually practice their free will…their power of choice. So, God purposed them into ‘death’ and then said, ‘now they know both good and evil. Now they can choose Life (God) or Death (Satan).

    As He says, we move from Death to Life. He said, “It’s appointed unto man once to die.” ‘Appointed’ means it was within God’s sovereign structural plans….as said in Job e.g that certain natural laws within the universe were ‘appointed’ by God.

    Food for though…huh?

  2. Jerald Says:

    Yes, CC, food for thought.
    Consider though that God chose to make man for a place to reign. Then, after the temptation, man (and woman if you choose) decided or choose to proceed to the “tree”. At the moment of decision, even before they took of the forbiden fruit, the reign of God in their heart was replaced by their reign. It wasn’t until Christ that there became a way for man’s reign to be replaced.

    Thanks for stopping by CC. If you’d care to read this whole thing from the first, simply go to “Pages” and start with 1st….., then 2nd…., and so on.
    Enjoy.

  3. timbob Says:

    Hello. These posts are so deep that I’ve started making copies as to be able to read them more thoroughly.

    Many things came to mind as I was reading here. One, which I have thought on much in the past, is how the disciples were expecting Jesus to set up his kingdom when he entered Jerusalem. They must have been thinking “Woo Hoo. This age is ended. No more Romans, no more profiting from wicked devices. No more injustice” In Matthew chap. 21 it tells how, after entering Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, one can almost feel the disciples excitement as their perceptions appeared to be in the making. “Heaven on earth is being established and we have a front row seat” it must have seemed.

    Imagine the emotional roller coaster when Jesus was nailed to a tree and it seemed that everything was lost. (When we consider these events as they must have appeared in real-time it’s astonishing.) I cannot imagine the sorrow that they must have felt in those hours. I remember a brother from my navy days who asked the Lord how Peter must have felt after denying the Lord. He told of how a despair came upon him,and remained for a time. A despair so complete and debilitating that he finally cried oput “Lord,please remove this. This is unbearable.”

    When Jesus rose from the dead and their sadness was changed into joy, what a undescribable joy it must have been. I’ve always loved the record of the two disciples in Luke chap 24 who were met by Jesus unawares and he opened to them the scriptures concerning himself. Their response, once their eyes were opened is awesome “Did not our heart burn within us as while he walked with us by the way, and while opened to us the scriptures?”

    My comment has drifted some, but it became real to them, the truth that the kingdom of God is within us and that this gospel must ber proclaimed into all the world before Jesus returns to set up the millenial reign on this world. I believe that, if the saints really understood this, many would be far less concerned about establishing temporary kingdoms in this world and filling them up with wood, hay, and stubble. May we all come to a place where, as the Apostle Paul stated, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

    Awesome post and an awesome series that you are engaged in here. (And despite having a van full of cranky kids, I really wish we could have stopped by and met all of you in December of 2007 as we were returning from Florida) Have a blessed day in Jesus.

    timbob

  4. Jerald Says:

    Timbob, you certainly have a way with words and an understanding of what the Reign (kingdom) of God is. You are a very good story teller.

    And I agree that Marie and I would loved to have met you and the family. Don’t forget that if you’re on your way to Florida, you usually have to go through Georgia and if you do, we’ll meet you somewhere.

    And an easy way to make copies is to go to the “Pages” and copy each one of these. Begin with 1st…, then 2nd…, and so on.

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