DECLARING THE KINGDOM OF GOD
by W. G. Guy
Scripture shows us that the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, as begun in the New Testament, was not done within the established, traditional religious institutions. The declaration of God’s Kingdom had to be done outside the temple and synagogues. For example: the preaching of John the Baptist was not introduced in the temple or any synagogue; it was way outside – in the wilderness.
Matthew 3:1-2 – “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The same happened when Jesus sent out his twelve:
Matthew 10:1, 7-8 – “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. … And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
Note that they were not allowed to charge money or make profit from their testimony. In Mark 6:7- 13 it says that Jesus sent out his disciples two by two and that they preached repentance, cast out demons and healed the sick. This same account in Luke states:
Luke 9:2 – “And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick”.
Then later on Jesus sends out another group to do the same thing, but this time it’s not the twelve disciples but seventy other of his followers that he sends out, two by two, or thirty-five ministry teams.
Luke 10:1 – “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (His advance team, preparing the way).
Luke 10:9 - And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”
Check out the results these seventy reported:
Luke 10:17 – “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
Jesus then gives a very powerful statement that we need to remember and apply in these days:
Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (Satan’s forces): and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
As significant as this statement is, Jesus redirected their attention to what was even more important:
Luke 10:20 – “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
Jesus wanted them to focus not on the power and authority they now have in his name that produces miraculous results, but he wanted them to remain focused on their citizenship in the kingdom of God and what that means to them.
Now let’s consider something else! Jesus sent out these people to preach the kingdom of God; he called this the gospel in Luke 9:6. The gospel? …but Jesus had not died yet, ...so how is it the gospel (good news)? The gospel of the kingdom of God is inclusive of the message of Christ’s death and resurrection; but it also includes the plan, purpose and will of God for every person so that they will find their place of service and life with Christ in His kingdom, as part of His government; not only in the future, but here and now in this life. The Kingdom of God has come to man and he is invited into it – that’s the good news. – the gospel, and it was also revealed in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapter 5 through 7.
“THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NIGH UNTO YOU” – means it is here now; and by faith it is within you so you can live it now. We are not to wait to die and go to be with the Lord before living in the kingdom and according it God’s will – it’s here and now. Everything of the kingdom is for us here and now. This is what Jesus’ disciples were told to testify to; thus the healing, casting out demons and raising the dead. This is just part of the benefits and the privilege of being in kingdom of God. (Note: they did not preach success and prosperity because such things are based on the material things of this world rather than the things of God’s Kingdom.
Today this message has to be declared anew; and again, it must begin outside of our established and traditional religious institutions. Why?
It appears that man always establishes traditional lines of doctrine, approved recognized positions of leadership (credentials), and approved methods of operation. Although the origin was sound and received from God, man always adds his own influence for the sake of control. And, as was the case with the priests, scribes and Pharisees of Jesus time, so it is with the established, institutional church of today. What this means is that anything that is new, that God wants to do or declare, has to be done outside the established church that is man controlled. Why?
It appears that anything that is a new or further revelation of scripture about God’s plan and purpose cannot be accepted within the established institution because is does not fit in with their traditional doctrines – and they can’t, or refuse to change. Why? Because they will no longer be in control of what is being taught, and they seem to remain un-teachable themselves.
For example: you can’t preach the gospel of the kingdom of God inside the established, institutional church as Jesus disciples did because it included healing, casting out devils and raising the dead and other supernatural manifestations of the kingdom. Such things just are not accepted doctrine, neither in Jesus time, nor now; in fact, most established churches teach against such things. Why? ….because these things are beyond mans ability to control or even understand.
It is interesting to note that Jesus described those who he used to declare the kingdom of God as babes in knowledge and understanding:
Luke 10:21 – In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them into babes; even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
Why did he choose the less educated or intellectual of the world? ….. because those who depend on human knowledge and understanding, those who have to be able to humanly figure things out, are not able to live and act on faith – they fail to believe what God has both done and said. History and the Old Testament prove this.
The established, institutional church is the same way; they rely on human knowledge and understanding and reject what they can’t understand or control. The things of the kingdom of God are beyond man’s ability to understand and figure out. Please understand that God’s abilities far exceed our ability to even think, reason or figure things out:
Ephesians 3:20 – “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (of the kingdom and his name) that worketh in us”….
Why is so important that we understand that declaring the kingdom of God will be done outside of the established, institutional church? …. because the end of the church age is rapidly approaching. The age of the kingdom will replace it. Before the kingdom of God actually manifests, it MUST AGAIN BE DECLARED by those whom he calls and sends out. They will not have the opportunity to declare it in the established institutional churches so it must be done where the people of the world are: in the wilderness of this vile world – at work, in schools, at sporting events and anywhere the Lord leads.
The gospel of the kingdom may be accompanied by the signs and wonders like those that originally got peoples attention when Jesus sent out his disciples; but those signs and wonders are not to be the main focus as is done by some today. Such are to be the byproduct and evidence of the truth of the gospel declared. The main message of the kingdom is, and has always been – Christ crucified and risen, and our response is to REPENT, change the way you live and conform to the image of Christ so you can be seen as a citizen of God’s kingdom – one of His sons.
This preaching of the kingdom is so important that just before the kingdom of God is established and imposed on the enemies of God, he will send two special prophets to declare the kingdom of God as recorded in Revelation 11:3-12.
Then after the climax of the work of these two prophets comes the declaration from heaven that He is finally taking over and establishing his kingdom’s rule over the earth; even to the opposition of those non repentant souls that hate God. The Bible even tells us at what time this will occur:
Revelation 11:14-15 – “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
Please recognize that the Kingdom of God is not a place or a location; it is a domain… where the king has dominion as the sovereign. Thus KINGDOM = the King’s DOMINION over His DOMAIN; His domain is that which is submitted and committed to Him as LORD! Whenever Jesus ministered by the grace of God to the people for healing He brought God’s domain to them saying, “the kingdom of God (or domain of God) is nigh unto you”. This domain is entered into by FAITH as mentioned previously.
All in the kingdom are subjects of the king. Enemies, or those who are not willing subjects are not allowed. This also applies to those who do things that are not allowed in the kingdom as listed in Galatians 5:19-20; this applies to those who consider themselves to be Christians if they have not repented and continue to do such things.
What are these works and ways of the flesh? … it comprises the basic selfish lusts and pride that results in sin when enticed, (1 John 2:15-16). Those who have not repented and changed continue to engage and justify these human frailties:
Galatians 5:19-21 – “Now the works of the flesh (self ) are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such the like: of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Why would God require such things not be in his kingdom? … just imagine what heaven would be like if people there continued to live as they do now; it wouldn’t be heaven would it? Why is it that Christians have the idea that they will change their behavior and lifestyle after they die and go to heaven? That’s false doctrine! The change must occur here and now; thus the need to preach repentance – the first message that Jesus preached of the kingdom of God.
At the declaration from heaven that the earth has now become the kingdom of God means that God has taken over and those on earth that resist him will be dealt with harshly as his enemies. Thus we have the final events on earth that result in the destruction of those who refuse the kingdom of God and his Christ.
Now perhaps you see why it is so important to declare the kingdom of God and the repentance it requires. Even many in the established, institutional church need to hear the gospel of the kingdom, but they will have to go outside their respective churches to hear it.
Again, the message of the kingdom is: First and foremost, God’s love has made provision for all mankind to enter into his kingdom and that provision is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s son. His death is for our sins; his resurrection provides our new and eternal righteous life.
Second, the requirement of repentance – forsaking the works and ways of the flesh – selfishness and pride, which is the root cause of all sin.
Third, requires conformity to the image of Christ which requires the Fruit of the Spirit to grow and be produced in your life. The Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is:
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, longsuffering, goodness, gentleness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (restrictions).”
And the REPENTANCE that is required is the application of:
Galatians 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh (died to selfishness and pride) with the affections and lusts.”
This fruit is actually the character and nature of God that was lost by mankind when sin entered the world back in the Garden in Eden. This is the fruit that God is looking for to ripen for the harvest as listed in John 15. This is the fruit that is produced by the seed that is the Word of God that is we hear in declaring the kingdom and is thus sown into our hearts as listed in Matthew 13:18-23.
The Spirit of God is moving on His servants to prepare them to declare His Kingdom and was done when Christ first came; it is to prepare mankind for the second time Christ comes, but this time he is coming with his kingdom set up and intact to be established on the earth; just as it now exists in heaven and in the hearts of true believers. And be aware that there are enemies that will oppose this gospel as foretold; especially from the established religious institutions who have not conformed to the requirements of Christ to be recognized as sons of God.