Now we began a new series on the kingdom of God a few weeks ago which I’ve entitled “Defining the Kingdom of God.” And in this second mini-series on God’s kingdom, we are answering questions such as what the kingdom of God is, when the kingdom of God is, and where the kingdom of God is.
We began by answering the question—What is the kingdom of God? And we learned that a kingdom is a king’s domain or where he has dominion. We also saw that the place where he has dominion is the place where his will is being done. Therefore, we learned that the kingdom of God is any person or place where God is ruling and where His will is being done. Therefore, it is where there is no sickness, disease, poverty, sin, depression, etc. That means that anywhere or anyone that submits to the will of the King by either repenting of their wrong beliefs and behaviors or by receiving the freedom, healing, and deliverance that His kingdom has to offer is, at that moment, experiencing the rule and dominion of God.
Then, two weeks ago, we continued defining what the kingdom of God is by looking at a good modern-day definition one might have for God’s kingdom— "God’s government.” So, what we did is we began defining the various forms of government that we have in this world today in order to see in them various aspects of God’s kingdom and how it operates, and we learned a lot about God’s kingdom as a result. For example, we saw that while God’s kingdom absolutely works like a monarchy, it also has some aspects of democracy in it, as the King has chosen us to be His representatives here on the earth, and as His ambassadors, we have been given much more authority than we realize. If you missed that one, I’d highly encourage you to go back and listen/watch it.
And last week, we continued defining the kingdom of God by looking at a great summarization of the kingdom given by Old Testament scholar Graeme Goldsworthy: He said, the kingdom of God is "God's people in God's place under God's rule."
We noticed that in this description of the kingdom, that the term “God’s” is used three times. That’s because God’s kingdom is exactly that—it’s God’s! It’s His rule, His reign, and His dominion! And according to this definition— It’s God’s people! It’s God’s place! Therefore, the kingdom of God is God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule. And that’s the important part because being under God’s rule means that God’s people & places follow His “rules” and not their own.
So, we learned that “God’s people” are not just the Jews and they are not just us Christians. Sure, both Jewish and Gentile believers are most certainly God’s people, but the point we made is that just because someone is born through a certain lineage or maybe goes to the synagogue or church, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are God’s people.
No, we saw that according to God’s estimation—His people are the sons of the kingdom who emulate the will and nature of their Father. So, no, the true subjects of the kingdom are not just those who claim to be so; it’s those who show it by the fruit in their life.
We then learned that “God’s place” is anywhere the King’s will is being done. So, God’s place is not necessarily a physical place. As Jesus taught the woman at the well—it’s not in Jerusalem or on that mountain that one ought to worship. Rather, it is in spirit and in truth—meaning, it’s not a physical place that God seeks for us to worship in; it’s a spiritual place. (See John 4:16-24) Therefore, the kingdom of God is any place where truth resides. It is that spiritual place where God lives and where He rules & reigns in truth.
Then we went over to Luke chapter 17 and learned from this verse both the people & place where the King and His kingdom resides:
In verses 20-21, Jesus answered and said unto the Pharisees— “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.”
So, while the Pharisees were asking when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus essentially answered another question: Jesus taught them “Where the kingdom of God is.” This question arose from the religious leaders because of their common misunderstanding of what the kingdom of God was. They only saw the establishment of the kingdom of God as a physical thing. So, Jesus was saying that not only will you not be able to physically see the kingdom of God yourself (i.e. observation), but you will not have anybody else come to you saying, “Look, it’s over here” or “Look, it’s over there.” The point Jesus was making was that His kingdom is not visible now. So, we saw that if it was not visible, then that must mean it is invisible, right? That is what Jesus alluded to in His next statement— “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
As we’ve made the point of a couple of times already, Jesus was not saying that the kingdom of God is on the inside of you to these Pharisees. In fact, the opposite was actually true as Jesus told them that they were full of dead men’s bones in another place. But we saw last week that while this was not true for them, it is most certainly true for us because we, as God’s born again, children, have had a part of heaven move into our spirits. We have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us—the earnest of our inheritance. We have God’s very own righteousness and all the fruits of His Spirit resident within our inner man. We have God’s exceedingly great power dwelling on the inside of us. Yes, we have all of these aspects of God within us.
So, where is God’s kingdom? It is where God’s people are! It is where God’s place is! It is where He rules, reigns, and has dominion! Now that certainly describes the third heavens, where God dwells. But God’s kingdom is not limited to just the kingdom of heaven. It is wherever heaven is! So, guess where that can be? That can be YOU! You can be the place that the kingdom of heaven dwells in. And the good news is—that is exactly what began the moment we all repented, called on the name of the Lord, and were born again—the kingdom of heaven moved in!
So, now, even though it might not have been true for the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the kingdom of God truly is within us—those who have been born again, are sons of God, and follow after the will of our Father and King. Yes, we are God’s people! We are God’s place! Amen. We are where God’s kingdom is supposed to be!
But the fact is, even though the kingdom is within all who are truly God’s people & place, as a general rule, it will not be touched by our physical senses. Why? Because it is a spiritual kingdom—which is the point Jesus was making to the Pharisees.
Certainly, there will be times that His kingdom will come on the earth as it is in heaven. Absolutely, there will be times where we will (and should) taste of the powers of the kingdom to come (See Hebrews 6:5). But the fullness of His kingdom is right now with us, as it is a reality in the spiritual realm.
But someone might ask, “But doesn’t the Bible also show us that God will physically establish His kingdom here on the earth? Aren’t there Scriptures that speak of Christ returning and bringing His kingdom with Him?” That’s correct, and that is what I want us to spend this week talking about:
The next question I want us to answer is: When is the kingdom of God?
WHEN IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
This question might seem a little odd, but it is another extremely important one to answer concerning God’s kingdom because as we have just seen in Luke chapter 17 there are some Scriptures that refer to His kingdom as a present reality, but there are others that put it off in the future.
In fact, there are many truths in the New Testament that in some places seem to say that we already possess something and then in other places seem to put these promises off in the future.
Let’s take our salvation, for instance: There are a multitude of Scriptures that refer to how we are now, presently saved. Of this, there is no doubt. But there are also Scriptures that refer to the hope of our salvation—putting our salvation somewhere off in the future. So, which is it? Are we saved now, or will we be saved in the future? The answer is—they both are true!
The moment we call on the name of the Lord, the Bible teaches us we are saved. For example, the Word of God says in verses like John 3:36 & First John 5:13 that we now have everlasting, eternal life. That means that this life is not pushed off in the future, but that we now currently possess it. And we here know that this eternal, everlasting life is knowing God (See John 17:3)—which can obviously be experienced both now and the future.
So, we have this eternal life right now even though the Bible also implies a future promise of everlasting life. Yes, at that moment and in the twinkling of an eye, when we were born again, we were made a new creation in Christ and have escaped the corruption of this world through our faith. That is settled.
So how can other Scriptures put our salvation off in the future? The answer to this question is simple: It is because we are a three-part being! We are a spirit, soul, and body (See First Thessalonians 5:23). What we need to understand is that, in relation to our whole man, only one-third of us has technically already experienced salvation. The other two parts are in the process of being “saved” and will receive salvation when Jesus returns at the end of the age.
PAST, PRESENT, & FUTURE
Allow me to illustrate this to you by the Scripture I just alluded to—Second Corinthians 5:17: It says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”
Now this verse says that as we come into Christ (which describes the new birth and our being “saved”) we become a new creation. Then Paul goes on to say that when this happens, immediately old things pass away and all things become new. Now let me ask you a question: What part of us is this referring to?
We know that it cannot be talking about our bodies because if we were overweight, had wrinkles, or were balding before we received Jesus, then we would still be overweight, wrinkled, and bald after we received Jesus. In other words, nothing physically passed away when we were saved, and nothing became new naturally in that moment that we were born again.
Now our physical body is easy to describe, but the soul is oftentimes misunderstood: Our soul, although very similar to our spirit, is separate and distinct from our spirit. Our soul is our inner man. It describes our mental and emotional faculties. It is our personality and what makes us an individual and unique.
So, understanding this, we also know that Second Corinthians 5:17 could not be referring to our souls because our personality did not immediately change when we were saved either. We were not suddenly smarter than we were before we were born again. All the emotional hang-ups that we might have had before salvation did not immediately pass away in that moment.
So, what does this lead us to conclude? It is that the part of us that was “saved” was definitely not our soul and the part of us that became a new creation in Christ could not have been our body! Therefore, the part of us where old things have passed away and all things became new had to have been our spirit. Yes, it is our old man—the unregenerate spirit that we were all born with—that passed away, and it is in our new man—the regenerated spirit that we were born again with—that all things were made new. Praise the Lord!
So, when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is our spirit that is completely saved, delivered, and redeemed! It is completely transformed where all the old things passed away and all things are made new and originated from God Himself!
But that leaves the other two parts of us—our soul and our body! What about them? When will they be saved? Well, these other two parts of us are what the Bible is referring to when it puts our salvation off in the future.
You see, the Word of God says that our souls are in process of being “saved” and renewed day by day. This occurs as our minds are transformed by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit is invited to saturate our inner being. All of this will be culminated when we believe to the saving of the soul at the end of our race of faith.
The Bible also gives us the answer regarding our bodies: Our outward man will be saved when that great trumpet blows, and our corruptible body will be transformed into Jesus’ glorious body. This is what we call the resurrection and the glorification of our bodies! In that great and glorious Day, we will experience in our body what we have already experienced in our spirits. Hallelujah!
This is how Scriptures like Romans 8:24 can say that we were saved in this hope. It is because it is not referring to our spirits, which have already been saved; it is referring to the redemption of our body (See verse 23). Therefore, we always need to consider the context in order to understand what God’s Word is referring to when it speaks of our salvation.
But another great example of what I am referring to here is the truth concerning God’s promise of the healing of our bodies:
It is without question that healing has already been provided through Jesus for those who are His. In Isaiah 53:4, it was prophesied concerning the Christ that “Surely, He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains.” You might say, “Trey, my version does not use the words ‘sicknesses’ and ‘pains’ here; It says, ‘griefs’ and ‘sorrows.’” Well, this is when it’s important to know how to look up the words in the original language. But in this instance, you don’t have to know Hebrew or Greek to know what these words actually mean—because in the Gospel of Matthew, when quoting Isaiah 53:4, it said that Jesus Himself, took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. And in the context, he was specifically referring to physical sicknesses and physical diseases because Matthew said that when Jesus physically healed the people, this fulfilled Isaiah 53:4 (See Matthew 8:16-17). On top of that, if you look up the Hebrew words in Isaiah 53:4, you will find that sicknesses and pains are clearly what are being referred to. Therefore, you have to conclude that this verse in Isaiah is referring to Jesus actually bearing our sicknesses and carrying our pains.
Then in Isaiah’s prophecy, he goes on to say that by His (Jesus’) stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5), and one cannot just assume he was talking about being healed from spiritual sicknesses as so many do. Why? For one, it is because we just saw how he was referring to physical pain and disease in the previous verse.
I for one, do not ascribe the reference to healing to our spiritual condition anyways, because from the verse we just looked at in Second Corinthians 5:17, what transpired in us spiritually is not a “making us better.” No, it is a making us completely new! Yes, it is actually raising us from the dead, not just healing our current condition! Amen.
Now the awesome reality is that in First Peter 2:24, when quoting this verse in Isaiah 53:5, the apostle Peter did not just say by His stripes we are healed; he said by His stripes we were healed! The reason Peter said our healing is in the past tense is because he was looking back at the Cross where our healing has already been provided.
My brothers and sisters, you can search the Scriptures and you will find that the forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our bodies are promised in the same breath. In other words, they are usually referred to in the same context, thus putting them in the same salvation package. Jesus not only went to the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins, but also for the healing of our bodies. He not only died for our salvation from sin, but also for the salvation of our bodies! Therefore, just as forgiveness, redemption, salvation has already been provided through His blood, likewise healing, soundness, and wholeness have already been provided through His stripes. Praise the name of Jesus!
So healing is already ours! Again, by His stripes we were healed! It is already a spiritual reality in our life! Amen! But that is not enough, is it? is not enough to just have healing provided for us through the atonement because we need to experience that healing from time to time in our physical bodies as well. Amen? In other words, we need that reality of healing manifested in our bodies when it is needed and not just have it as a spiritual reality.
And this is my point today: The kingdom of God might be within us—meaning it certainly is in our midst and in the spirits of all who have been born again, but we need it manifested in the natural realm around us as well! We need His kingdom to come out of the heavenly realm where it currently resides and brought into the natural realm where we currently live! We need to touch, taste, see, and handle this power that has already been made available to us!
But as I have made the point of already, as much of the kingdom that we see manifested in our lives and in the world around us, it is only being tasted in part. In that Day when Jesus splits those eastern skies and brings that which is perfect—namely, the kingdom of God along with the new heavens and the new earth—then we will see the fullness of His kingdom and fully and consistently experience the kingdom of God! This will be the Day in which we are saved completely—spirit, soul, and body. This will be the Day in which we are healed completely—where there will not be even the trace of sickness, disease, and infirmity anymore. This will be the Day in which we are fully partaking of all the things that we are simply tasting here on the earth right now! Hallelujah!
So here is what we can rightfully conclude from this: The kingdom of God is here with us now! It currently resides in both the spirit within us and in the spiritual realm around us. It is here now! It is within us! But this is not the fulfillment of God’s kingdom. It is just a taste of that which is to come! When Jesus came the first time, He established His kingdom in our hearts. When Jesus comes the second time, He will establish His kingdom on the earth. In other words, when Jesus returns, He will establish His kingdom physically here on the earth. He has already established it spiritually, but in that Day, He will establish it physically.
Church, the kingdom of God is not in a particular place or in a particular time. It is yesterday, today, and forevermore! It is any place or people where God’s will is being done and where His rule and dominion is being experienced. We can see a manifestation of His kingdom any time a person is enlightened to the truth and repents from their error. Why? It is because His rule is being acknowledged. We can see a demonstration of His kingdom any time a place is saturated with the glory of God and joy is experienced by all. Why? It is because His will is being accomplished. It does not matter when or where—God’s kingdom can be tasted and demonstrated because it is in our midst all of the time and is available for us to partake of by faith.
So, His kingdom is now, but as much as the kingdom of God can be touched and tasted by us now, it is only being experienced in part. The Day is coming when that which is perfect (i.e. His kingdom) will come and will complete in the natural the good work that has already begun in the spiritual realm. This will occur when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven and all things are made new.
WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN IS THE KINGDOM?
So, as we now wrap up our defining of the kingdom of God, what can we conclude from all of this?
We can see that the kingdom of God is any people or any place where the King of kings has dominion and where His will is being done. It is His government, it is His people, and it is His place. Yes, the kingdom of God is where God rules and where He reigns.
It is not a physical place per se, but it is a spiritual kingdom that certainly does manifest itself in the physical realm as well. However, it is first and foremost a spiritual kingdom that is all around us—the glory of the King covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. However, we can touch and taste it by faith now through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can see God’s rule established as both the sinner and the saint come into the realization of the truth of God’s Word and begin to walk in the light of it. We can physically observe God’s dominion as we witness the power of Christ release people from the bondage of sin, sickness, and evil spirits.
And not only that, but we can have the hope that His kingdom will come in fullness & power. So when the King returns, He will establish His kingdom here on the earth as it is in heaven. Then, all sickness, disease, poverty, pain, suffering, oppression, etc. will cease, and the lion and the lamb will lay down together in perfect peace.
We can, church, say “Look here!” and “Look there!” and witness the kingdom of God as we begin to demonstrate the kingdom through the preaching of the Word and the practice of the Word! We can taste of the kingdom to come in measure with the hope and certainty that it will come in fullness and abundance soon and very soon. This is the kingdom of God on the earth today and tomorrow!
So, we say, “Lord, Let your kingdom come! Let Your will be done, in our midst, as it is in heaven right now and in the future!” Amen!