Recently we have discussed the idea that yes indeed the kingdom of God is here on earth today. We have also discussed the mandate from Jesus to “Seek ye First the kingdom of God…” (Matt 6:33) and now let’s discuss the benefits of His kingdom. I suggested in my last post that we read Matthew chapters 6 and 13 to begin to understand the depths of the kingdom and what it means to be a part. Let’s skip to John 3:1-8 for a moment to set the stage. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about being born again. Nicodemus is trying to understand this concept and Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Jesus is talking about us being born into the kingdom. As we are born in the Spirit we become natural citizens of the kingdom of God. What does this mean? What are the benefits of citizenship? What are the responsibilities?
The definition of a citizen is a native member of a nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection and privileges. Our benefits of belonging to the kingdom of God is that we are provided protection and privileges which I believe are the promises of God. If we read His word we find His promises to us. Promises that we are taken care of more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Matthew 6). Promises of peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Promises of “my yoke is easy and my burden is light…” (Matt 11:13). In Deuteronomy 8:18 it says, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” Promises of our inheritance and the power in us is the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Eph 1). These are tremendous promises and benefits and there are so many more!
The responsibility part says we owe allegiance to His government. The government of God is the kingdom of God. A true kingdom operated according to true kingdom principles where the people are not oppressed but the people rejoice. I believe our responsiblity of allegiance is our responsibility of sharing the good news, of spreading the kingdom and bringing new citizens into the kingdom. Our responsibility is to carry the culture of the kingdom wherever we go so others can experience the kingdom, see the benefits and become a part of something greater than themselves. I didn’t coin this phrase but I love the imagery of “bringing the culture of heaven to earth”.
Think about that what is the culture of heaven and how do we bring it to earth? I believe the culture of heaven is about worship and as we become true worshippers I believe we establish heaven’s culture here on earth. As we become worshippers we establish the righteousness of God throughout our sphere of influence and as the righteousness of God spreads through the land the rest will be taken care of. When the righteousness of God is in the land people will respond to it.
When the culture of heaven is truly visible and manifested here on earth the kingdom of God will advance and the problems of our world will be resolved and the citizens of the kingdom will benefit and “everyone will be forcing his way into it”. Luke 16:16 says “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.” Why aren’t we seeing this readily throughout our nation? Because I believe the message of the kingdom has gotten lost! God called me several years ago to begin to study and understand His kingdom, His government and I believe it’s for a time such as this that we need to escalate and proclaim what God called us to in Luke which is to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.
Let’s begin to share the benefits of citizenship in His kingdom and bring hope to the hopeless and be the salt and light we have been called to be. Some might be wondering if they are really a part of His kingdom so next week we will discuss how we get into the kingdom and understand how to invite others into it.