What Is The Kingdom of God and How Do We Experience It?
September 18, 2020God's presence, Heaven, Kingdom
The two phrases Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven appear in our New Testament 169 times. While Mark and Luke record Jesus saying the Kingdom of God, Matthew notes the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew quotes Jesus using both terms as one and the same. (a) [See end notes for Scriptures] While the writers of Scripture utilize slightly different wording, ultimately they speak of a unified meaning.
The Kingdom of God speaks of ‘God’s governing authority’ in this life. Our Bibles provide instructions and historical examples of life under God’s governance, which includes His oversight and our willing acceptance as individuals, peoples, and nations. Jesus stated; “All who ‘hear and do’ the will of God in this world are participants in the Kingdom.” (b) So, how do we partake?
God Still Speaks
Our Scriptures were written in the Hebrew and Greek languages over the course of several generations. They record many details about God’s interaction with mankind, especially with those gathered as “My People.”
The last writings, considered to be the “written Word of God” were penned by the generation that saw Jesus. A group of writings were collected in 397 AD and declared to be the “complete Word of God”, as if He had stopped speaking. Did He continue to speak and offer guidance? Of course He did! God’s presence remains a source of inspiration to everyone that is open to receive.
God’s governing presence continues to draw and encourage us to accept and partake of His guidance. His eternal perspective is available not only to individuals but to groups and nations. Kingdom life does not require any specific time factor or earthly location, just willing hearts. His governance helps us become better expressions of His Love and Light. May our hearts be more open to experience more fully life in the Kingdom of God!
God’s presence remains a source of inspiration to everyone that is open to receive Him.
Third Time’s a Charm
Some 1500 years after the Flood, God delivered a mixed multitude from Egyptian slavery to live as “My People.” While a homeland was included, personal fellowship with God was shunned. (c) Due to their continual disobedience, the national gathering was eventually dispersed. (d)
Around 1500 years after that first deliverance, a second call into Kingdom life came during the life of Jesus Christ. This second call focused on a personal relationship with God. The response was greatly received for several generations, but eventually slipped into a religious slavery.
Amazingly, around 1500 AD, God intervened a third time to release people from their spiritual and natural enslavement. People began to break away from the ruling classes of kings and priests who were regulating life, as mediators between God and man. Many found spiritual, mental, and emotional release from the restricting oversight of these secular and religious overlords. God continues to rescue and offer us the freedom of life in His Kingdom.
God continues to rescue and offer us the freedom of life in His Kingdom.
Revealing Calls into Relationship
This third supernatural call into Kingdom life was gradually unveiled and experienced in three distinct stages. The Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s revealed that faith was not restricted to one belief system. The freeing message repeated what God declared to the first two historical calls into Kingdom life: “Every believer is as a priest before God.” (e) This insight revealed that we can interact with God and be free to live as we discern Him leading.
The second stage came in the early 1700’s during The Great Awakening revivals. This time in history unveiled another insight; we can “feel” God’s presence and live as forgiven people. This revealing released multitudes from the relentless condemnation, to live as “born again” believers. This set the stage for the birth of a new and free nation, the United States of America.
A third unveiling happened during the 1900’s as baptisms in the presence of God’s Spirit. These immersion experiences invite us into a fellowship with God, as a child with a Father, to absorb (like a sponge) aspects of His character, attitude, and personality (CAP). Similar to the fellowship Jesus experienced with his heavenly Father, God wants us to interact with Him daily so we can be more mature images and likenesses of His CAP. (f)
We are free to interact with God and live as we discern Him leading.
Kingdom Life Improves Everything
Most believers today have experienced one or more of these invitations into Kingdom life:
- An insightful renewing faith in God.
- A repentant sense of God’s favor and blessing.
- An anointing presence and peace that passes understanding.
God actually invites us to live in close fellowship with Him, as people and nations. We can be free to live, worship, and prosper as inspiration and opportunity come our way. Under God’s governance, we can live a heavenly quality of life and mature into better expressions of His Love and Light.
The Kingdom of God is not a religious ‘or’ secular experience; it’s the active response of people following God’s guidance. Kingdom living improves our spiritual ‘and’ natural lives. It even has residual effects on the lives of the uncommitted, improving life for everyone.
Too often we think of the Kingdom of God as a future reality that will come someday. While an enlargement of God’s reign will eventually fill the earth, a future expectation should not negate its reality or our active participation today. Let us not miss out on the experience of Kingdom Living by waiting on an expected futuristic event.
Can the freedom to perceive and follow God’s leading, as revealed in Scripture and afresh during the last 500 years guide us today? Or will we repeat the decline of the first two historical calls into Kingdom life and slip into a dark slavery under man’s stifling rule? We are free to choose!
Kingdom living improves our spiritual and natural lives.
a) Matthew 19:23-24; b) Matthew 7:21; c) Deuteronomy 4:12; 5:1-4; 22-27; d) Ezekiel 20:22-24; e) Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9; f) John 14:3; 17:24