Kingdom of Heaven is fundamental to the Christian faith. It was central to
Jesus' message, which He taught His disciples. By understanding the
fundamentals of God's kingdom, believers have a foundation for growing and
developing in God's kingdom.
As I began to understand God's kingdom, I felt a renewed meaning to the Word of God. I found that it equipped me with the necessary knowledge to live more fully dedicated to God. It prepared me and will prepare believers to stand firm when the storms of life come.
For believers of the Christian faith who are serious about growing in their faith, a proper understanding of the kingdom is essential. Sometimes, Christians fail to understand what Jesus meant by the phrase, kingdom of God. A misunderstanding can lead to misinterpretations of some Scriptures or to not understanding them.
These terms are used interchangeably. Matthew used the kingdom of heaven thirty-two times. The other gospel writers used the kingdom of God. Matthew's primary audience was Jews, who would not speak God's name. They often substituted heaven when referring to God.
The kingdom is an inner experience in the believer who makes Christ King of his life and chooses to follow Christ. It is not a physical location but a profound manifestation of God's divine rule in believers' lives.
Understanding the Kingdom of God enables us, as believers, to live and experience life more abundantly. It teaches that the kingdom isn't simply a distant reality to be experienced after death. Instead, it is a present reality, a state of being that informs our daily lives, helps us surmount challenges, and enriches our experience substantially.
So what is the kingdom of God, then? Why should we seek first the kingdom of God? Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 4:20:
"For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God's power."
It is letting Christ rule in our hearts so that we become doers of God's Word. Seeking the kingdom of God allows the power of God to build in our hearts so that we "can do all things through Christ."
Jesus told His followers to "seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
The good news of the gospel guides individuals into the kingdom. And that is wonderful! But what do you do once you are in the kingdom? Living life is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What do you do with your 168 hours each week? Salvation is a magnificent event in one’s life, but what do you do after accepting Christ? These are some of the questions we will discuss along the way.
Jesus said to seek the kingdom, meaning it is an ongoing process. Seeking is not a one-time event. It is gathering pieces of knowledge each day. It's much like assembling a giant jigsaw puzzle. We work on it daily, and it comes together slowly—particularly at first—depending on the time we commit to it. After a little while, it starts to become clear in our minds, and we see a clearly defined path for our lives.
John the Baptist came before Jesus to pave the way for Jesus. He preached the message to all to repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 3:2).
Jesus began His ministry by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Immediately, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where the devil tempted him. Jesus defeated the devil by quoting the Word of God to him.
Verse 11 of Matthew 4 says, "Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him." Jesus departed from the wilderness and traveled to Capernaum to begin His ministry. "From that time, Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Matthew 4:17).
These are the first words Jesus spoke as he began to preach and teach. The kingdom was the central theme of Jesus' teaching ministry.
A misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God can stifle one's spiritual growth. Jesus did not teach that this kingdom is an after-death experience. He said His Kingdom is at hand. Jesus dedicated virtually all of his preaching ministry to teaching about this kingdom.
Though Jesus acknowledged that an after-death heaven existed, He devoted his time to preaching, not to that heaven, but to a kingdom of God that He said was here and now, near, "at hand" (Mark 1:15).
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