Is God’s Kingdom More Than A Spiritual Reality, Today?
November 16, 2020God's presence, Kingdom, Spiritual Intimacy
Scripture recounts two distinct times in history when people lived as the Kingdom of God. Each time, they experienced problems and variables that resulted in countless blessings and misfortune. God’s Kingdom (governing influence) in the earth is not a picture of perfection. Is God’s Kingdom more than a spiritual reality, today?
The Old Testament relates how people focused mainly on natural life and the New Testament shares how the renewed call focused primarily on spiritual life, matters of the heart. (a) [See end notes for Scriptures] Is God’s purpose in our lives actually focused on one ‘or’ the other? Kingdom living involves a spiritual response that affects our natural lives. Are we in the Kingdom of God today or is it yet to come? Is it more than a spiritual experience?
The call to believe and have faith in God is first an appeal to every individual. Thankfully, we are all invited to personally have faith in God, to receive His insightful guidance, and to be faithful to His way of life. While our response to God begins as a spiritual experience, it is also intended to influence natural life. Kingdom living always involves our spiritual and natural life.
God’s influence adjusts our spiritual perceptions and our natural activity.
God also invites us to assemble and function together as “My People Israel.” This plural term speaks of an enlarged response to His guidance. Jesus said we, as interacting believers, would do “greater works” than what was seen in his life. (b) The Scriptural body of Christ (God’s anointed ones) (c) involves the interactive function of believers in this world, as God’s Kingdom. (d)
At the end of his physical ministry, Jesus gave what is known as The Great Commission: “Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” as though the Gospel is for every person. (e) Matthew however records The Commission as: “Go and make disciples of all the nations.” (f) When we see each as a part of the whole council of God, it is evident that our witness is to every person ‘and’ as a people, to all nations.
The function of believers as fellowships, communities and nations are greater witnesses of life under God’s guidance. As bodies of people responding to the Spirit of God, we are the body of Christ in the earth, the visible Kingdom of God. His influence adjusts our spiritual perceptions and our natural activity. As we respond to God’s guidance, we are spiritual ‘and’ natural people.
Together, we are the body of Christ in the earth, the visible Kingdom of God.
Calls Into Kingdom Life
Abraham is called the “father of the faithful,” so in God’s eyes every believer is a child of Abraham. (g) The “child of promise” is a spiritual truth that became a physical reality in the life of Isaac. (h) The Spirit of Life was also revealed in the physical life of Jesus Christ. Real truth in this world is not just a spiritual or natural reality, it includes both.
The Old Testament called the first gathering of faith “My People,” God’s Kingdom in the earth. These people were a mixed multitude, likely, most of the slaves in Egypt. There were so many people, that if we were to assign each man on foot (600,000) a wife and 2 children, there were at least 2 ½ million people. (i) For that day, this was a major call into Kingdom living!
God actually commissioned this “motley crew” to function under His guidance as “kings and priests,” a “kingdom of priests.” (j) They were to be responsive spiritually and naturally. When the people refused to personally interact with God’s presence, (k) their focus remained primarily on the natural issues of life. Similar to the error of Adam and Eve, they ignored God as their primary source of wisdom and turned to the wisdom gained from this world’s ‘good and evil’ experiences. (l)
Mercifully, following their refusal, God designed a natural place to remind them of His presence among them (m) and ‘then’ set aside a priesthood that was devoted to ministering to Him. (n) As a nation, Israel functioned in one location for the first 500 years without a two-class system, no king or ruling class. They were a ‘middle class’ type of society, electing elders and judges to settle disputes and correct destructive behavior. Kingdom living was much like today’s republics.
Real truth in this world is a combination of both spiritual and natural realities.
When the first experience of God’s Kingdom was in decline, a renewing call was prophesied. (o) Daniel declared this second intervention would begin in a future day and would undercut man’s oppressive rule. This Kingdom experience would endure, and never cease to be available. (p) When was this reality to begin?
Daniel also saw in a vision, “One like a son of man coming” who was “given God’s Kingdom dominion” and it was given “to the saints of the Highest One to possess.” (q) The New Testament clarifies Jesus Christ was the ‘One coming’. This Kingdom experience would never cease to be available and emphasized what the first experience rejected: personal response to God’s guiding and anointing presence.
The invitation to live as “kings and priests” was repeated. (r) God was renewing His call to live as Kingdom people by writing His ways on their hearts. Natural people would learn to live their natural lives as the Spirit of God would lead and guide. (s) Jesus said this Kingdom reality actually began with John the Baptist and people energetically entered into its experience. (t)
God renews His call to live as Kingdom people by writing His way of life on our hearts.
Newness in Christ
We must remember the newness that began with Jesus Christ, was to maintain an ongoing reality for the rest of time. Jesus even said his influencing presence would ‘always’ be with us. (u) Our New Testament tells us that we can partake of a fresh sense of his coming every day.
For 2000 years now, the Kingdom of God as the presence of Christ among us, has infused spiritual life into natural lives. All who “seek and knock” find this life-enriching experience with God. (v) Much of Scriptures clarity is hidden in our Bibles, yet Paul emphasizes this reality:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify (cleanse and make uncommon) you entirely (within and without); and may your spirit (spiritual life) and soul (consciousness) and body (natural life) be preserved complete (not one or the other), without blame at the coming (in the presence) of our Lord Jesus Christ. (w)
Scripture says we must be born again before we see and experience the Kingdom of heaven – of God. Our spiritual rebirth ‘raises us up’ from our ‘deathly spiritual inactivity,’ and enables us to see and partake of God’s Kingdom reign in our lives today.
Is your spirit alive, interacting with our heavenly Father, and improving your natural life?
All who seek and knock find life-enriching experience with God.
a) Hebrews 10:16; b) John 14:12; 5:20; c) Ephesians 4:12-16; 1 Corinthians 10:16; d) Matthew 19:23-24, 26; e) Mark 16:14-18; f) Matthew 24:18-20; g) Romans 4:9-13, 16; h) Romans 9:6-9; i) Exodus 12:33-38; j) Exodus 19:5-6; k) Deuteronomy 4:12; 5:1-4, 22-27; Exodus 20:19; l) Genesis 3:6; 1 John 2:16; 2 Corinthians 11:3; m) Exodus 25:8; n) Exodus 28: 1; o) Isaiah 9:1-7; p) Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45; q) Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 22; r) 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10; 1:6; s) Galatians 5:16, 13-14, 22-25; t) Luke 16:16; u) Matthew 28:20; v) Luke 11:9-13; Matthew 7:7-11; w) 1 Thessalonians 5:23