The Gospel and the Kingdom

Dear Brethren,

There are two fundamental questions to which we must understand the answers.  What is the Gospel?  And, what is the kingdom of God?

Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  (Mark 1:14-15)

What is the gospel?  Gospel simply means "good news."  Jesus proclaimed the good news, and told us to believe it.  But what is this good news that we must believe?  It is the good news of the kingdom of God.  Jesus taught that God’s kingdom would replace the kingdom of Satan.  Jesus also taught what the kingdom of God would be like, and how we must change in order to qualify for it.  We must come out of the kingdom of Satan (Luke 11:18, Acts 26:18).

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like unto... a tree (Matthew 13:31-32).  In the Garden of Eden, the two trees represented the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan (Genesis 2:9).  To have a part in the kingdom of God, we must have God's Spirit - which places us in the Family of God, makes us Children of God, and Children of the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:38, 1John 3:2).  God's intention was that Adam would take of the "Tree of Life," which represented His Spirit, and that Adam's family would grow into a great nation and kingdom of God.

Adam's pedigree, or family tree, would have begun with God (Luke 3:38).  But, by taking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam chose Satan as his father, and the kingdom of Satan for all of his children (John 8:44).  As a result of that wrong choice, the death penalty was incurred for Adam's family (Genesis 2:17).  That death penalty was Bad News for mankind!  The Good News that is able to supplant the bad news, is the Gospel message.  Man can find life and salvation in the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ (2Peter 1:4, 11).

The significance of the gospel message is combined so closely with its objective, the kingdom of God, that the two terms, "gospel" and "kingdom," are practically synonymous in the scriptures.  They are used interchangeably to the extent that they become one and the same – inseparable.  The gospel is merely the proclamation and promise of the kingdom of God.

The good news is this:  This present evil world of Satan's will soon be superseded.  Mankind is blind to the good news of the glorious kingdom of God because Satan is now the God of this world, and the world is his kingdom (Ephesians 2:2).  The gospel is hidden to those who are lost.  The god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  (2 Corinthians 4:4)

God's plan will soon be put back on track when the kingdom of Satan is displaced.  Jesus Christ, the prophesied Messiah, will establish the kingdom of God in all the earth!  The good news for the Church of God is this:  We live according to the rules, customs and way of life of the kingdom of God - now!

What is the kingdom of God?  First of all let’s understand that a kingdom has four elements: A king, subjects, laws and territory.  When God is the sovereign ruler in our lives, we are children of the Kingdom – even now.  The faithful members of the Church of God are in the kingdom of God in embryo (1 Corinthians 15:50, John 3:5-6).

Picture the world in which we live today, with all of its adultery, idolatry, hatred, wrath, strife, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, and such ... (Galatians 5:20-21).  That is Satan's kingdom, and it is in exact opposition to God’s kingdom (Matthew 13:38).  We can see the consequences of Satan’s kingdom in the lying, killing, stealing, hate and fear so prevalent in the world around us. 

On the other hand, the kingdom of God is the actuality of God’s perfect way of love, truth, peace, enlightenment, law and life.  God’s kingdom is more powerful than Satan’s.  Jesus told His disciples, If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”  (Matthew 12:28)

Our entering into the Kingdom of God is what the Gospel is all about.  All hope was lost when Adam and Eve rejected the way to eternal life.  The promise that life eternal would be available to mankind, once again, is what the Gospel is all about (Genesis 3:15).  Life eternal can take place only in the kingdom of God.  That is why Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. We are converting... better yet, we are being converted from the ways of this world, to the way of the kingdom of God.

The gospel was preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8, Hebrews11:10).  Moses preached the Gospel to the Israelites (Hebrews 4:1-2).  Daniel and the prophets were inspired to write about the Gospel (Daniel 2:44, Romans 1:1-2).

Paul clearly shows that converted Christians have come out of Satan’s kingdom and have been transferred into the kingdom of God.  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:12-13).

The spiritual laws of the kingdom of God rule in the lives of true Christians, even now.  But, we will not be fully in the kingdom of God until our resurrection as spirit-born children of God.  This I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”  (1Corinthians 15:50)  Jesus clearly shows that the children of the kingdom must endure until the end (Matthew 8:12, 21:43, 24:13).  To enter into the kingdom of God is to enter into life itself (Mark 9:45,47).

The kingdom of God is the same as the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  (Matthew 4:17)  Most men have not yet submitted to God’s authority, doctrine and rule over their lives.  They do not believe the gospel.  The kingdom of God is not a church, organization, location or a period of time relegated to the future.  Right now, God’s kingdom is extant – it is spiritual in nature. 

The true saints of God are those who are in compliance with the laws of the kingdom of God.  They will reign and rule in the kingdom of God with Jesus Christ in the millennium (1Corinthians 6:2, Revelation 5:10, 20:6).  The saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.”  (Daniel 7:18)

Too many of the brethren of the Church of God have believed that the kingdom of God is something that is off in the future that we are waiting for.  Jesus said that the kingdom of God was at hand.”  By that He taught that it is for those who will believe the Gospel, even here and now.  Jesus taught the disciples that the true kingdom of God was spiritual in nature.  Jesus will yet return as an earthly ruler from God, but it will be to establish God’s perfect law of love that has been missing.

Keep in mind that the people of Jesus' day had a concept of a "Christ" or Messiah that would usher in an earthly empire of power.  The transition in their thinking began to come about as Peter explained:  "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and [Messiah].”  (Acts 2:36)

In the kingdom of God on earth, there will no longer be nations warring against each other.  Men will not live a way of life that includes selfishness, greed, pride and rebellion.  The kingdom of God will be a way of giving, helping, sharing, sacrificing, serving and caring.  We are to choose this way now – and be children of the kingdom – lights to this corrupt world.

The question we should be asking ourselves is this:  Am I a good representative of the kingdom of God, now?  While on earth, Jesus was the perfect representative of the kingdom.  We are to follow in His steps and be representatives and ambassadors of the gospel as well.  Paul gave his job description this way:  I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.”  (Ephesians 6:19-20)

All the days of His life, Jesus never departed from the kingdom of God.  Had He sinned, even once, He would have left it.  The rules of the Kingdom bring about perfect peace, unity, and order to the Family of God.  When Christ establishes the millennial kingdom of the Father over all the earth at His return, He will administer the laws of the kingdom with perfect justice and righteousness.  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”  (1Corinthians 6:9)

The gospel of the kingdom of God was not a new concept that originated at the time of Jesus' ministry (Luke 23:51).  As the God of the Old Testament, Jesus had foretold the eventuality of the kingdom of God from the foundation of the world.  "[God] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."  (Acts 3:20-21)

Adam and Eve's sin initiated the "foundation of the world."  With God's plan subverted, the foundation of this world, in which we live, was established.  From that very moment it became necessary for mankind to be delivered from the clutches of Satan.

The gospel of Christ is the message of the kingdom that Jesus Christ preached.  He did not come only to proclaim the true gospel, but He came in order to conquer Satan’s kingdom, making possible the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.  His atoning sacrifice  - paying for the sin of the world – makes the fulfillment of the kingdom of God possible.  "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."  (Matthew 13:35)

The life and miracles of Jesus are not the gospel.  But, we must understand that Jesus' life, death and resurrection are central to the fulfillment of the gospel and our being in the kingdom of God.  We have been disqualified from the kingdom by our own sins. There is no way that we can work our way back into God's good graces to be able to inherit the Kingdom of God (Acts 20:24).  Once disqualified from the kingdom of God, we are worthy of death.

Jesus had to pay the penalty for our sins and apply His sacrifice to us in order for our debt to be paid. His sacrifice only pays our debt; it does not grant us eternal life.  We know that we can have eternal life because Jesus lives.  God the Father raised Him from the dead and gave Him Life. That same gift of eternal life is good news promised to us, if we repent of sin (not serve sin), and look to Jesus as our Savior.  The good news that Jesus preached comes to fruition because of His life, death and resurrection. Because of Jesus, we can have eternal life in the kingdom of God.

Jesus is our Savior.  From the foundation of the world it was God’s plan that Jesus make the fulfillment of the gospel possible by redeeming sinful mankind.  Jesus hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."  (2Timothy 1: 9-10)

Satan’s kingdom will be abolished, and the glorious good news of the gospel will come to fruition in the kingdom of God.  The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him [Christ, the Messiah].”  (Daniel 7:27)


Sermon:  "The Gospel and the Kingdom