Some might say I have become “hung-up”, maybe even “excessive” when it comes to talking, writing, and preaching about the Kingdom of God. So be it I suppose….yet I am in good company.
- The word kingdom is recorded some 160 times in the New Testament (NASB95) and is referenced many times more, without actually saying “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven”.
- John the Baptist came preaching the kingdom. Matt. 3:2
- Jesus came preaching the kingdom. Luke 4:43
- Jesus told others to preach the kingdom. Luke 9:60
- Philip preached the kingdom. Acts 8:12
- Paul preached the kingdom. Acts 19:8
- The last verse of the Book of Acts talks about the kingdom and has no “amen” at the end, signifying the book itself is not closed. Acts 28:31
What’s even more incredible is in all the teachings of Jesus, we have Him mentioning being born-again only once, and even that is in a secret meeting with a religious leader. We must likewise acknowledge, it is also in the context of the larger theme of the kingdom of God.
John 3:3–7 (NASB95)
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
Does this negate the preaching of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Jesus said you MUST be born-again. Even so, we miss the reason for being born-again if we ignore the rest of the context. If we focus on being born-again alone, we make the means an end unto itself. We must understand we enter our purpose and destiny through the born-again experience. It is not the end unto itself, it is the beginning, the initiation into something greater…the Kingdom of God!
In relationship to the kingdom, the born-again experience does two things:
- It allows us to “see” the kingdom of God.
- It allows us to “enter” the kingdom of God NOW!
One of the first things I “saw” after being filled with the Spirit (I was born-again as a child) was the spiritual kingdom of God. I “saw” a spiritual realm that had different laws and principles than the world in which I lived. I saw a “supernatural” aspect to living that I desperately wanted to enter into. So, I went to Bible college to help me enter this kingdom more fully. Sadly, I was taught the Kingdom was for another people and in another time period. I bought into that hook, line, and sinker for about 25 years. Then about 5 years ago I took “another look”. Since then I’ve been “exploring” the things of the kingdom that are for us now.
…I’ve made a decision, this will be the year I choose not just to explore, but rather to live in the kingdom. Why? Because I have found a treasure hidden in a field, in my fifties, that I have given up everything to have. As Paul said, this is not a kingdom to be had without some trials and tribulation (Acts 14:22 ), but it is a kingdom worth it all.
What kind of year are you going to have?