God's Kingdom and The Gospel
Jesus spent a great deal of his earthly ministry time teaching about the Kingdom of God. A few years back, I did a deep dive into studying the Kingdom and what exactly Jesus was talking about when he mentioned it. I found that the Kingdom is much, much bigger than I ever could have imagined.
A couple of Jesus’ teachings which most capture my attention about the Kingdom are found in Matthew 13. We find that Jesus likened the Kingdom of God to a treasure in a field. Upon stumbling across the treasure, a man sold every bit of his material goods to buy the field. Jesus also taught that the Kingdom is like businessman who found a special pearl of great value. The businessman sold all that he had to buy the pearl. The point of these stories obviously refers to the truth that God’s Kingdom is of tremendous value, so much so that our earthly possessions pale in comparison.
But what does all this have to do with the gospel of salvation? Consider these important points.
The Kingdom of God is intricately tied to our salvation. When we claim that Jesus is our Lord, this means that Jesus is our King. There can no be kingdom without a king! We cannot therefore enter his kingdom unless we surrender our lives to the leadership of the King and realize the value and importance of God’s Kingdom—his reign being realized on earth as it is in heaven. The Gospel that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead means that our King gave his life for us, has given us rescue from death and exile, and offers us the pure gift of salvation by grace through faith. Jesus Christ is therefore the only One deserving of total devotion. When Jesus calls your name, it’s like finding a treasure in a field. Drop everything, sell everything, and follow him. Turn totally to the King through repentance and faith.
The Kingdom of God has ambassadors. When we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, God gives us a calling—to be ambassadors! Ambassadors serve at the behest of the King and do the king’s bidding in the activities daily life. We are to represent the King in all dealing with others. Kingdom ambassadors will be known by their love, as well. They will walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).
The Kingdom of God is much different than other kingdoms. God’s kingdom often operates in extraordinarily different ways than kingdoms and realms in the world. For instance, God’s Kingdom does not require vast armies, political power, or money to thrive. There is no hierarchy in the Kingdom, too. No Christian will ever have to run for office in the Kingdom of God. The ground is made level for everyone at the foot of the cross. The Kingdom of God also moves forward through love and sacrifice. Ours is a Kingdom in which we pray for enemies instead of doing harm.
The Kingdom of God is breaking into our world now and will come to full fruition in the future. We are living in an “in-between” time right now. The cross and empty tomb make it clear that God’s Kingdom already has the last word, and victory for the Lord over the world is certain. There is no two ways about it—God is totally in charge. His way of doing things is breaking into this world now and continues through his church. However, the powers that be still run amok. Satan has been conquered but is not going down without inflicting as much damage as possible. Take heart! Jesus taught that the full coming of the Kingdom will be like a great banquet, and the table will be set by God himself. As ambassadors of the King, we give people a glimpse into what this banquet could be like!
How can you serve as an ambassador for the King today?