“Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For the kingdom of God is among you.”
Luke 17:20-21 NRSV
The kingdom of God is among or within you is the master thought of Jesus. The key in this series is to explore what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God. First, we have to know who Christ is and who he was talking to, this helps contextualized his teachings When we do not understand Christ’s identity, his mission, his practice, and his death then we do not understand who Jesus was, what he did, or why he died if we do not understand what he meant when he uttered the phrase ‘the kingdom of God.’
The Kingdom of God being within us means that we don't go looking for the revelation of God from the outside. Kingdom thinking is to be embodied by kingdom people as visible witnesses to the world of the ways of the kingdom.
Both Jesus and the apostles made the charter of Christian living as loving God and loving others, so kingdom-thinking churches are known for being an ocean of love for God and one another and all their neighbours.
The depth of this kind of love is a rugged commitment of presence, advocacy and direction toward Christlikeness. God loves by making a commitment (covenant) to be with us, to be for us and to transform us, and so our love is to be God-like and Christ-like.
Kingdom thinking is to be at the heartbeat of the church. There can be a clash then between how we moderise to reach the community around us. I don't believe this is done by compromising biblical standards. Some modern churches are given the licence to follow their conscience rather than submitting to king Jesus and the apostle's teachings. The traditional Christ-like Christian worldview is under attack, however, this is not just from the external secular world around us. In an attempt to modernise the church has taken a secular catechism or doctrine into the heart of the Church and is in danger of destroying itself. Once the church gives up the traditional wisdom and values the very thing that makes the kingdom of God different then we become like everyone else and lose the voice we have in opposition to the secular world order which is under the control. of the evil one. We need to wake up and not follow the woke agenda being forced upon us.
Point 1: Image beares made to rule.
“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
1 Corinthians 15:49 NRSV
Paul teaches “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Cor 15:45) he teaches this that in the resurrection we will be restored to our rightful role.
Human beings are made by and are meant to live within the kingdom and rule of God. (Gen1.27-28) The authority given to humans, in the beginning, was a delegated authority, not given to us by other humans in a democratic way but given to us by divine command. If we are to have a legitimate rule it's in submission to that Devine command.
Humans are essentially image-bearers of God and there is today a satanic attack on our identity. Form the beginning we have been sold the lie of self-centred satisfaction which has broken the connection to who we are in God’s divine order. Today we have been sold us a lie that at the core of our being is our human identity and that our carnal nature is the thing that drives us and defines us.
Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is among us or within us. That the very dwelling place of God is among humans, as originally intended.
Humans are meant to be temples of the Spirit of God. Therefore we embody the kingdom of God within us to demonstrate to creation who these image-bearers (children) are. Paul wrote Creation is longing for the time the children of God will be revealed.
God's Heavenly kingdom is now becoming an Earthly reality in and through Jesus
Jesus viewed the temple in his day instead of being the meeting place of Heaven and Earth Jesus said it was now a den of Thieves and Robbers so he claimed to replace it and rebuild the Temple in the form of his own resurrected body and then the community of his followers who will become the new meeting place of Heaven and earth so it's with Jesus that this idea of the new temple being not a building like the prophets described in their poetry but a community of people who are the reality to which the building always pointed to “A community of Jesus as a community of living stones who are built as a spiritual house with Jesus himself as the Cornerstone.”
In Paul's letter to the Ephesians he says that Jesus's followers are God's house built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets Jesus is the Cornerstone and altogether it becomes the dwelling place where God lives by his Spirit in this image of Jesus as the Cornerstone
Point 2: The church challenges the “lordless lords” of our culture.
Kingdom thinking has to challenge the world around us, Jesus said we do not belong to the world but we belong to Christ and that we're our allegiance lies.
“If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.”
John 15:19 NRSV
Final point: embody the kingdom
The church embodies or seeks to embody, the kingdom realities about which Jesus and the Bible speak.
In Mark.12 Jesus is approached by a scribe seeking perhaps to test him asking him to which is the most important thing in the kingdom
God is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one's neighbour as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
“When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.”
Mark 12:34 NRSV