01 Nov What on earth is the kingdom of heaven? – Nov 15
What on earth is the kingdom of heaven?
It is the kingdom of heaven, then what is it doing on earth? Now, the term is interchangeable with and can be understood as the “kingdom of God.” The term “kingdom of heaven” is a Semitic term, that out of reverence for God, the Jews substituted the word “God” for “heaven”.
The Gospels show how important the kingdom of God is. In fact, it is the central message of Jesus’ earthly ministry as Jesus Himself confessed, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)
So what is the kingdom of God?
The apostle Paul wrote, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 14:17)
Paul explained that kingdom of God is not a place, but rather the reign of God. Where the Holy Spirit brings righteousness, peace and joy, there the kingdom of God is being manifested. Jesus also said, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matt 12:28) This means where the Spirit of God is at work, there also is the kingdom of God.
Holy Spirit is clearly at work today. However, we must not be too quick to assume that the kingdom of God is fully established at this present day, as it will only be consummated when Jesus returns to rule in power and in His glory.
What must I do with the kingdom of God today?
The Bible states simple answer: Enter it!
When the Bible speaks of the kingdom of God, it never really speaks in terms of the ‘expansion’ of the kingdom. It is often in the context of a simple invitation for the hearers to enter it.
One of the most important aspects of entering the kingdom of God has to be repentance. Jesus proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 4:17)
Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell.” (Mark 9:47)
Once I have entered the kingdom of God, then what?
Like me, some of you may have heard someone talks about expanding the kingdom of God. Sometimes this term is used to explain how the congregations’ financial giving is used for the expansion of the “kingdom,” which really means the expansion of the physical church. This use of the term “expanding the kingdom” is misleading.
A better alternative would be to speak of the advancement of the kingdom of God, which means living out the work of the Holy Spirit, that is living in righteousness, peace and joy. The context of apostle Paul’s letter about the kingdom of God in Romans 14 is for Christians to walk in love. Paul said that if our lifestyle offends our brothers and sisters in Christ, then we are no longer walking in love, which means we are not in the kingdom of God. Therefore, walking in the Spirit is walking in love with our brothers and sisters, and it also means advancing the kingdom of God.