Jesus starts his ministry by saying:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15, ESV)
Throughout the four gospels, Jesus would make mention of the kingdom more than 100 times. Many of the parables told were about the kingdom. The kingdom is important. But what is the kingdom?
Think about what a kingdom is. A kingdom is where the reign of a king extends. It is all the territory which is under his authority. The Kingdom of God then is all the places and the people that submit to God’s reign.
The kingdom is not something to be experienced after we die. The kingdom is something Jesus came to establish in the here and now for eternity. The kingdom is not something we wait for, but something to take hold of now.
The benefits of living in the kingdom are God’s peace, joy, and love. It also affords his protection and help. When we are part of the kingdom, there is both hope and confidence that come by faith. There is blessing and healing with the kingdom. God wants a great eternity for you, but he also wants you to experience a greater life on earth.
The kingdom is about a lifestyle. It is about a way of living. The kingdom changes our attitudes and our priorities. It shifts us from fretting about temporary things to making investments in eternal things. When we live kingdom-minded, many of the things that once matter, no longer matter.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for God’s kingdom to come. We pray that his rule and reign would be established in our hearts. We also pray that others would know the benefits of living in the kingdom. Essentially, we pray for God’s kingdom to be extended wherever it will.
Unfortunately, there is sin. To sin is to reject God’s authority. Sin is rebellion against God’s reign. It is a choice to separate ourselves from his kingdom. So many of us in this world are living for and working to build a different kingdom, so we step out from under God’s reign. But what happens when we live outside God’s kingdom, we miss out on the benefits that it brings.
The mission of Jesus was to bring the kingdom of God into our lives. It is to restore the kingdom where there is brokenness, sorrow, hurt, and pain. God is bringing people back to himself. And as we enter into the kingdom, we join Jesus on his mission in extending that kingdom into the lives of others.