The Kingdom of God
The relationship between the Church
and the Kingdom of God is often misunderstood. Christians often
speak as if the Kingdom of God was just another name for the church.
In fact they are something quite different; and the Kingdom of God
is much more important. The main thing that Jesus came to do was to
establish the Kingdom of God. This is clear from the basic message
that he proclaimed:
time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent
and believe the good news. Mark 1:15
The gospels tell us that Jesus was
constantly teaching about the Kingdom of God. The good news that he
proclaimed was the gospel of the Kingdom. The twelve disciples were
also sent out to proclaim the same message (Luke 9:1,2). In contrast
the gospels only mention the word church twice.
The Kingdom of God is a much wider
concept than the Church. The Kingdom includes every area of life
that is under rule and authority of God. If God rules a home it is
part of the Kingdom. Where a business is run on biblical principles,
it is also part of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God includes every
human activity that is done according to his will.
God intends his Kingdom to expand
into every area of life. This expansion takes place in two different
ways. Individual people must be born into the Kingdom. Jesus said,
Unless a man is born of water
and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. John 3:5
As people are born again through
repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, they become citizens of the
Kingdom. God will deliver them from sickness and the
power of the devil. Being born again is the only way that a person can enter the Kingdom of
The Kingdom also expands as
Christians bring the different aspects of their lives under the will
of God. As a Christian applies the principles of Godís word to
those activities where he has authority, they become part of the
Kingdom of God. For example, if a husband is converted he becomes a
member of the Kingdom. When he starts to run his home on biblical
principles, it also becomes part of the Kingdom, since it is under
the government of God. The Kingdom of God expands as Christians
extend the rule of God into the areas of life where they have
authority. And this means that Christians should seek positions of
authority. This also helps the Kingdom to expand.
Authority is an essential aspect of
any Kingdom. Within the kingdom of God there are different areas, or
spheres of authority. Each one involves both authority and
responsibility, for those who control it. There can be no authority,
without a corresponding responsibility. Some of these spheres of
authority are listed below. Most are attached to a particular
- The family: a husband has
authority over his family. He also has a responsibility to
discipline, teach, and provide for his family. His wife has a
complementary responsibility and authority.
- A Business: the owner of a
business has authority over his employees. He also has a
responsibility to treat them according to the requirements of
the Word of God.
- The Church: the elders of a
Church exercise authority over the members of the Church. They
are responsible for the proclamation of the gospel, and the
spiritual growth of their Church.
- Civil government: The state has
responsibility for the administration of justice, and for the
defence of the nation. It has authority to carry out these
- The Christian man: God has given
us freedom, which means that we have authority over our own
lives. At the same time we are responsible to God for our
Courts of law, schools, and
voluntary societies are other important spheres of authority. Each
of these institutions also involves both authority and
The Kingdom of God becomes a
reality when every sphere of authority, is ruled according to the
Word of God. This happens when those with authority are Christians,
and are submitted to the authority of God. He has delegated
authority to various individuals and groups in society. When a
sphere of delegated authority is ruled according to his will, it
becomes part of the kingdom of God. Where authority is exercised
contrary to his will, that sphere of authority is outside the
At the same time the interaction
between the various spheres of authority must also be governed by
the Word of God. It is wrong for one group to take over the
authority that belongs to another. For example when the civil
government becomes the provider, it is taking authority and
responsibility that God has assigned to the family. Each delegated
authority must only carry out the functions that God has assigned to
Everything outside the kingdom of
God is part of the kingdom of darkness. It is ruled and controlled
by Satan. His kingdom is characterised by disunity and conflict.
These are the consequences of human sin. And because Satan is a liar
and destroyer, it will be full of hatred, bitterness, and
destruction of human life. The only way to escape is through faith
in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13).
Naturally there will be warfare
between the two kingdoms. Godís purpose is to extend his Kingdom
throughout the entire world. Satan is trying to expand his kingdom.
His task has been made easier as Christians have withdrawn from many
spheres of authority. The idea has developed that politics and
business are improper activities for Christians. These two very
important areas of authority have been handed over to the devil.
Even where Christians are involved in politics or business, there
has been no serious attempt to apply biblical principles to these
activities. This has severely weakened the kingdom of God.
Instead of seeking to establish the
kingdom of God, Christians have concentrated on building the church.
The church has become a place of retreat from the world. It may have
supported Christians in their daily lives, but to the world it
appears weak and irrelevant. Rather than being a place of retreat,
the church should be a recruiting station and training ground for
the kingdom of God.
It must recruit members for the
kingdom by proclaiming the gospel. At the same time it must send
Christians out into the world to establish the Kingdom of God.
Christians should move into every area of authority, and take up
responsibility. And the Church should teach these Christians to
exercise that authority in accordance with the Word of God.
There is an urgent need for
Christians to get involved in politics. But they will need teaching
from the Church, on how to administer justice in a biblical way.
They will also need strong spiritual support. Those with political
authority must apply biblical principles to the government of their
nation, so that it can be part of the kingdom of God. Politics are
too important to be left to the devil.
Churches should also be recruiting
and training people to serve in business. Under modern economic
conditions very few people are willing to take responsibility for
employing others. This has resulted in serious unemployment. This
presents a tremendous opportunity for the expansion of the kingdom.
An employer can have a great deal of influence on the way people
live. The church should be encouraging men, who trust in God to take
up this responsibility. These Christians would then apply biblical
principles to their businesses, making them part of the kingdom of
The Church is just one sphere of
authority within the kingdom of God. For too long it has been seen
as the only one. As a result, work in the church has been seen as
the only valid form of full time Christian service. This has led
many people who are called to work in other areas of the kingdom of
God, to work full time in the church. Because they do not have the
appropriate gifts, and because this is not their calling, they have
become frustrated. The church should be releasing them to the
spheres of authority in which they belong. Because they would be
working to establish the kingdom, they would still be involved in
full time Christian work.
The Church must never be an end in
itself. It must always be working to establish the kingdom of God.
When Jesus comes back he does not just want to find a holy Church.
He is coming back for a victorious Church, a Church that has
established the kingdom of God as a reality in the world.
Victory of the Kingdom
As the church has retreated from
the world, it has also lost its hope for the victory of the kingdom
of God. But God is in control of this universe, and he has promised
that his kingdom will be victorious. Jesus likened the kingdom to a
mustard seed which is small, but grows into a might tree. The
kingdom of God started off small but will grow mighty and powerful,
as the rule of God spreads like leaven through the whole of society
Jesus promised that the meek would
inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). The meek are those who are
submitted totally to God. As Godís people submit tho him, his
kingdom will spread throughout the whole earth. It is because Jesus
knew that God would fulfil this promise that he taught us to pray:
Thy kingdom come. Jesus taught this prayer because he knew that the
kingdom of God would eventually come in all its fullness.
There is a good picture of the
glory of the kingdom in Daniel 7:27,28.
Then the sovereignty, power and
greatness of the kingdoms under the whole of heaven will be handed
over to the sains, the people of the most high. His kingdom will be
an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.
Daniel saw the people of God taking
up the power and authority that Jesus would establish for them, by
his death and resurrection. He saw all those who are in places of
authority submitting to God. When this happens, the kingdom of God
has truly come.
As the church has retreated from
the world, the belief has developed that the kingdom will not be
established until Jesus returns. This is a false doctrine. It has
led Christians to sit round and wait for Jesus to come, leaving the
world in the hands of Satan. But the Bible teaches that the kingdom
of God will be established through the proclamation of the gospel,
and renewed Christians applying the Word of God to every area of
life. When the majority of people are Christian, and when they hold
most positions of authority, and are exercising their authority on
biblical principles the kingdom of God will be a reality.
The Kingdom of God is to be
established by the people of God, as they proclaim the entire Word
of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ will be ruling his
kingdom through the Church. When the kingdom has been established,
there will be a final rebellion. Only then will Jesus return in
glory, bringing the end of the world and the final judgement. The
work of the Church will then be complete.
Then the end will come, when he
hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed
all dominion, authority and power. When he has done this, then
the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything
under him, so that God may be all in all. I Corinthians 15:24,28.