THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN
By Walter Guy
Luke 17:20-21 – Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. They asked this since Jesus was preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God, (Mark 1:14). However, they were asking him in a chiding way as they did not acknowledge Jesus as coming from God or representing God’s Kingdom. Jesus’ response was not what they expected as they assumed that God’s Kingdom would come as a show of force to vindicate Israel and dominate all other people under it for Israel’s benefit.
Jesus’ answer was that, at this point in time, the Kingdom of God was within the heart and mind of those who embraced the truth that Jesus was preaching and teaching. The Kingdom of God being within one’s heart and mind means that we acknowledge God’s Word and Will and submit ourselves to His dominion over our lives. Keep in mind that the word “kingdom” refers to the realm and the domain of the king; the Kingdom of God is where the King (God/Christ) has dominion. This means those who believe in Him, submit to Him and His will and obey Him – they live under His dominion; under His Lordship; where He is truly LORD.
This is done by faith; having accepted Jesus as the redeemer who brought God’s domain to mankind. His Kingdom being within means all that God is and provides is ours. That is why Jesus said , “the Kingdom of God is at hand”, or, “the Kingdom of God has come neigh unto you”, when He healed people and cast out demons. This means that sickness, disease, infirmity, sins and evil cannot remain where God has dominion. Again, this is a voluntary acceptance and acknowledgement of the gospel message – the gospel of the Kingdom (dominion) of God.
Matthew 9:35 – Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Consider just what the Kingdom of God consists of; what it is, and what it is not. First recognize that the foundation of God’s Kingdom is LOVE, because God is LOVE.
1 John 4:8-10 – He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The result of abiding in God’s love produces RIGHTEOUSNESS – right living, right thinking, right speaking, and all that is right, moral and proper in accordance with God’s will. We experience this when we obey Him and “walk in the Spirit (or in the Holy Ghost)”.
Romans 14:17 – for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The Kingdom of God within us deals with spiritual and moral conditions and not material things which Jesus said God will take care of if we have our priorities right. Obviously what IS NOT in the Kingdom of God is anything contrary to Him, His Word or His Will: sickness, disease, evil, and selfish, sinful, prideful thinking, speaking and living. The result of living in Kingdom Righteousness is PEACE: being at rest, living is a state of calm with no fear,
no worry or anxiety, even while in this vile terrifying world.
Isaiah 26:3 – Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on Thee, Because
He trusts in Thee.
The result of having this inner peace of His Kingdom in our hearts and minds is pure JOY: true happiness and bliss that comes from knowing God has everything concerning you in His hands. This is the blessing of salvation; the redemption from the curse and sin that Jesus brings to those who accept Him.
Even though we still live in this evil and perverse world that is under the influence of the god of this world (Satan), we need to recognize that the world with its evil and the workings of Satan in the lives of sinners no longer dominates the heart and mind of those who have been born again.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – but even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
John 8:44 – you are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
The kingdoms of this world are now external to the true believers in Christ while the Kingdom of God and His Christ is now internal – in our hearts and minds. Unfortunately many Christians don’t realize this truth and continue to allow themselves to be influenced, even dominated, by the kingdoms of this world because they lack the renewed mind that focuses on the Kingdom of God through prayer and the Word which produces Kingdom thinking.
Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
As a result, such Christians still live in fear, turmoil, compromise and are subject to those forces which produce disbelief, sickness, disease and sins of the lustful flesh.
Romans 13:11-14 – And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Galatians 5:16-17 – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Ephesians 5:6-10 – Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
Colossians 3:1-7 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
Jesus said if we seek first the Kingdom of God, He will take care of the material things we are so concerned about.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
This is why Jesus said in parables that seeking and desiring the Kingdom of God is so desirable that men sold all they had to purchase it since it is the most valuable treasure.
Matthew 13:44-46 –Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
The problem is that most Christians continue to see and live under the dominion of man’s world that is under the control of the devil rather than daily focusing on the Kingdom of God and His dominion over events in our lives. If the Kingdom of God is truly in your heart, as it says in Galatians 4:6, then let your heart direct your daily affairs in this life. After all, it is the Spirit of Christ that dwells in your heart making the Kingdom of God alive in you. Guided by the presence of Christ in your heart, He will direct your affairs.
Proverbs 4:20-23 – My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
It is true that we are still looking for that day that the Pharisees asked about; even Jesus’ own disciples asked the same question.
Acts 1:6 – Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
That is the day that the Kingdom of God comes in force and is imposed on an unbelieving world that has rejected Him.
Revelation 11:15 – Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
However, we as believers, have all the blessings of His Kingdom NOW; it is in our hearts and minds. It is imperative that we believers keep our focus on Him and not on the fearful things that are happening and are yet to happen in final days before His return.
Luke 21:34-36 – But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
It is time for Christians to begin living in the fullness of the TRUTH and realize all of the benefits of His Kingdom – where He has dominion, in our hearts and minds. It’s all about where you focus your attention – on the things of this vile world or in His Word, in His Love and in His Kingdom!
Keeping your focus on the Kingdom of God takes an exerted effort. This is because the kingdoms of this world are continually before us and have our daily attention. Since we live and function in this world, we are all exposed to it in our jobs, our schools and our communities. Then we are exposed to it even in our own homes on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, the internet and the world’s means of communication and social networking.
When and where do we have time to focus on the Kingdom of God? This requires that we make time for Him and shut out the world and its influences and shut ourselves in with the Lord, with His Word and in prayer. Don’t make it a “quickie” to feel like you have done your daily duty to acknowledge Him. This should be every believers priority and heart’s desire; after all, your spiritual quality of life, (righteousness, peace and joy), depends on it.
It is commonly known that people are a product of their environment. They conform to what they are exposed to over a prolonged period of time. They adopt to the mannerisms, language, customs, behavior, thinking and lifestyle of the environment they spend time in or those they associate with. Thus it becomes obvious who spends time in the Lord’s presence compared to those who spend time in the perversity of this world and its ungodly ways.
We believers in Christ are called to be separated from this world. This is called “holiness”, being sanctified or set apart. We are to be the King’s representatives in this evil world; representing His Kingdom and His way of living, thinking and speaking. We do this by focusing on Him, His Word – TRUTH: which represents His Kingdom.
John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Matthew 5:13-14 – You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
So which kingdom are you living in – His, or the world’s (Satan’s)? It all depends on what is in our heart and mind. The Kingdom of God is within. Does God have dominion in your life? Are you a representative of His Kingdom – or are you too much a part of the world’s ways to be identified as one of His?
Romans 8:12 -19 – Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.