|Kingdom of God I (John 18:36-37)|
|Written by Rev Zackary Johnson|
|Sunday, 20 April 2008 10:45|
My brothers and sisters, what does the Kingdom of God mean? It means the sovereignty, reign and rule of God. The basic message of Jesus and his disciples in the first three gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke was that the Kingdom of God had come near. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for its coming. We find this in Matthew, Chapter 10:9-10, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Now all Kingdoms’ have at least 10 things:
1st, A King and Lord – a sovereign
The King. The king is the embodiment of the kingdom, representing its glory and nature. Authority flows from the king and the word of the king is supreme.
In John 18:36-37, Jesus said,
2nd, A Territory- a domain
The Territory is the domain over which the king exercises total authority. The territory and its resources and people are all personal property of the King. The King by right owns all and, therefore, is considered Lord over all. The word Lord denotes ownership by right. Lord is only given to one who is sovereign owner. This is why the scripture declare in Psalms 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein”.
3rd, A Constitution – a royal covenant
The Constitution is the covenant of a king for his citizens and the kingdom. It constitutes the intent of the sovereign for His people as well as containing the benefits and privileges of the kingdom. The constitution is the documented words of the King. The Bible contains the constitution of the Kingdom of God which detail His will and mind for His citizens.
In 2nd Timothy 3:16, Paul says,
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
4th, A Citizenry – community of subjects
The Citizenry is the people that live under the rule of the King. Citizenship in a kingdom is not a right, but a privilege, and is a result of the King’s choice.
The benefits and privileges of a kingdom are only accessible to citizens and, therefore, the favor of the King is always a privilege. Once one becomes a citizen of the kingdom, all the rights of citizenship are at the citizen’s pleasure. The king is obligated to care for and protect all of his citizens, and their welfare is a reflection on the King himself. The number one goal of a citizen in the kingdom is to submit to the king, seeking only to remain in right standing with him. This is called righteousness. This is why Jesus said the priority of all men is to seek His Kingdom. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.
5th, A Law – acceptable principles
The Law constitutes the standards and principles established by the king himself, by which his kingdom will function and be administered. The laws of a kingdom are to be obeyed by all, including foreigners residing in it. The laws of a kingdom are the way by which one is guaranteed access to the benefits of the king and the kingdom. Violations of kingdom law places one at odds with the king and thus interrupts the favorable position one enjoys with the king.
King David understood this principle of the royal word when he stated in Psalms 138:2-3. “I will bow toward Your holy temple and will praise Your name for Your love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your Word”.
6th, Privileges – rights and benefits
The Privileges are the benefits the King lavishes on his faithful citizens. This aspect of kingdom is very different from other forms of government. In a kingdom, citizenship is always desired by the people because, once you are in the kingdom, the king is personally responsible for you and all your needs. In addition, because the king owns everything within his kingdom, he can give to any citizen any or all of his wealth as he desires.
In Phil. 14:19, we find these words
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
7th, A Code of Ethics – acceptable lifestyle and conduct
A Code of Ethics is the acceptable conduct of the citizens in the kingdom and their representation of the kingdom. This code includes moral standards, social relationships, personal conduct, attitude, attire and manner of life.
In 2nd Peter 3:10-11
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be burned up
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives
8th, Army - security
The Army is the kingdom’s system of securing its territory and protecting its citizens. It is important to understand that in a kingdom the citizens do not fight in the army, but enjoy the protection of the Army. This is why we can say that “The battle is not our, but the Lord’s”. This is why, in the Kingdom of God, the angels are called the host of heaven. This word host means army and identifies the angels as the so-called military component of the Kingdom of Heaven. This kingdom concept presents a challenge to our religious thinking of the Church as an army. A careful study of the biblical constitution of the word will show that the Church, as Jesus established it, is not identified as an army, but rather a citizenship, a family of sons, daughters, and a nation.
In Psalms 78:49-50, the Psalmist says,
49 He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility— a band of destroying angels.
50 He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague.
And in Psalms 103:20-21
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
In Matthew 13:40-42
40 As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.
41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
9th, A Commonwealth – economic security
A Commonwealth is the economic system of a kingdom which guarantees each citizen equal access to financial security. In a kingdom, the term commonwealth is used because the king’s desire is that all his citizens share and benefit from the wealth of the kingdom. The kingdom’s glory is in the happiness and health of its citizens.
Consider carefully the word of the King of the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ,
In Luke 12:22-24 Jesus says “Do not worry”
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.
23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
And in Luke 12:31-32, He Said
31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
10th, A Social Culture – protocol and procedures
The Social Culture is the environment created by the life and manners of the king and his citizens. This is then cultural aspect that separates and distinguishes the kingdom from all others around it. It is the culture that expresses the nature of the king, through the lifestyle of his citizens. This distinction in Kingdom culture is evidenced in the words of the Lord Jesus, when he repeatedly said in the Book of Matthew, “you have heard it said…but I tell you.
In Matthew 20:25-26
25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
Kingdom social culture is supposed to be evident in our daily activities and encounters.
In conclusion, By brother and sisters, we had a bird nest inside of our garage. The sparrow managed to get inside of our garage, build a nest, lay her eggs, and hatch the 5 little Chiclets.
After feeding them for a couple of weeks, it was time for them to leave the nest.
But all they ever knew was the garage. They were birthed in the garage. They were nursed in the garage. They were comfortable in the garage. But the garage was never intended to be their permanent home. They were born for the wild, but I watched the mother on Friday spend almost all day trying to get them out of the garage. Even when she would get them out, they would fly back in, until finally it dawned on them that their destiny was the wild.
And my brothers and sisters, as I watched those birds, I thought about us, we were nurtured and born into this world. We were born into the Kingdom of darkness, but it was never intended to be our permanent home.
We were born for the Kingdom of God, and many who have not accepted him as Saviour, are not experiencing the beauty and the richness of the Kingdom. (the joy, the peace, the freedom of His Kingdom)
And even for some who have been born again, even after God has brought us out in the light, some want to slip back to the darkness of this world. And just like that mother bird, God is not going to leave us alone until we experience the richness of His kingdom.
Because Our Destiny, is to live in the Kingdom of God.
We were born for the Kingdom of God, to live under His rule and in His domain.