Title: The Kingdom of God is Near – What is the kingdom of God?
Theme: Understanding what the true Kingdom of God is.
Text: Matthew 3:1 – 2, Mark 1:14 - 15
Note: Some of this message is from the note of: The Kingdom of God is Near by Sermon Central
Introduction: John preached the Kingdom of God/heaven
Matthew 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
John came on the scene like a bull. The bible says he was clothed with camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. He looked like the OT prophet clothed in camel hair, eating locust and honey (. (as we see in 2 Kings 1:7 – 8). He came in fired up. Preaching a message of repentance and baptism. Why? For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mark 1:6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
For 400 years , people were waiting for this Elijah (Malachi 4:5 – 6). Then a man showed up in the desert wearing the same clothes as Elijah. Actually for 400 years Israel (and the world) was waiting on a “word form God”. Could you imagine that? For over 400 years God was not speaking. I pray that we here today cannot go a day without hearing from God.
Reference: The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”
They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.”
The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.” 2 Kings 1:7-8
Luke 3:3 says:
Luke 3: 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,
The word repentance is from the root word repent?
- Transliteration: metanoeo
- Phonetic: met-an-o-eh'-o
- Definition: 1. to change one's mind, i.e. to repent 2. to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins
- Strong's: From G3326 and G3539; to think (and act) differently or afterwards that is reconsider (morally to feel compunction): - repent.
It basically means to stop and turn in the opposite direction. In referring to a person it means to change ones lifestyle. Here it is not just about an outward action but and inward thinking. To think and consider things differently.
Metanoia: 1. (n) the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self or way of life.
2. (v) the act of reforming; becoming new.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Why? Because there is a forgiveness of sins.
Remission of sins:
Transliteration: Aphesis - Phonetic: af'-es-is - Definition:
1. release from bondage or imprisonment 2. forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty
Total KJV Occurrences: 11
• forgiveness, 4 Act_5:31; Act_13:38; Eph_1:7; Col_1:14
• remission, 7 Mar_1:4; Luk_1:77; Luk_3:3; Act_2:38; Act_10:43; Heb_9:22; Heb_10:18
To be honest John was strong and forward. He had one focus. When the Pharisees came to hear and even some to be baptized he said:
Luke 3:7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
But he was setting them up for the “kingdom of heaven”. This also became the central message of Jesus. Listen again to Mark 1:14 – 15
This was the same message Jesus preached as He came on the scene.
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:14-15)
Just to let you know the words “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” are interchangeable. They are used for the same purpose. If we had time I could take you through the gospels and show you
Matthew used the kingdom of heaven because he was talking to the Jews, they would understand this better.
Two important phrases here:
1) The good news – or as we say the gospel. This is what the Good news is all about.
2) What is that Good news! “the time has come” “The kingdom of God has come near.”
Had this “kingdom of God been away”. Yes because of the sin of the people and there had become a disconnection from God. Wow! For 430 years there was no prophet preaching. There was no word being heard. God was silent. No inspired scriptures were written. But Good News! The kingdom of God has come.
The time has come: Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born  of a woman, born under the law,
So again that same message “repent and believe the good news!”
This became the central message that Jesus preached. Actually in the Gospels Jesus mentions the kingdom 120 times. Look here in Matthew 6:9-10 & again in Matthew 6:13
This idea of the kingdom of God was so important that Jesus said when we pray we must pray for the kingdom of God.
Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 
Two book ends of the Lord’s prayer is about the kingdom.
One more place:
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
I could take you through the rest of the 120 but let me show you one more so you can see the importance. After the resurrection Jesus appears to the disciples. Here he spends 40 days with them doing what? Lets read it.
Acts 1:1-3 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, (2) until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, (3) to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Now that we’ve discovered how important the kingdom of God is to the good news Jesus preached, let’s just take a moment or two to clear up a few misconceptions about the kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is not being born again.
Now, perhaps you thought that Jesus only preached about forgiveness or about the need to be born again. He certainly does talk about these things, and they are very important—vital, even. But the new birth is the entryway into God’s kingdom. Jesus talks about God’s kingdom far more than he talks about what we call “salvation.” In the four Gospels Jesus uses the words “salvation” or “saved” 23 times. Yet Jesus mentions God’s kingdom nearly 120 times! This does not mean that being born-again is unimportant, no! In John chapter 3 Jesus tells Nicodemus that we cannot not enter the kingdom of God unless we are born again. So the new birth in Christ is our entryway into God’s kingdom.
Born again is important to experience the kingdom of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
John 3:3 AMP Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is not heaven
Second of all we should not confuse the kingdom of God with heaven. God’s kingdom includes heaven, of course, but God’s kingdom is so much larger. Remember: the Kingdom of God is anywhere that God’s will is being done God’s way. It’s where the king has dominion. That’s how we get the word, “kingdom:” it’s a combination of the two words, king and dominion. So it’s true that God rules in Heaven, but he also rules in the hearts of his people. This is an important distinction, because if we think “the kingdom of God” means only “Heaven,” we will think that everything Jesus said how about the gospel of the kingdom is for some future time after we die. But Jesus said that God’s kingdom is breaking into the here and now, or at least beginning to, so the kingdom is more than Heaven.
The Kingdom of God is not the Church
Finally, the kingdom of God is not the same thing as the church. It’s true that the Bible describes the church as “the bride of Christ.” And the church has a very special place in God’s heart. But sadly there are many churches were God’s will is not done God’s way. That’s okay: churches are filled with imperfect people and the church is where imperfect people worship God together. But God’s kingdom is so much bigger then the church, so the kingdom is more than the church.
The Kingdom of God is:
Perhaps the best way to understand the kingdom of God is the passage given to us by the Apostle Paul in
Romans 14:17 it says,
“For the The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Righteousness – right relationship with God.
Good news is that this is not on us.
Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
Remember you cannot even begin to see the kingdom of god unless you are born again.
Peace – a settlement in your soul to know that God has everything in control. It is over all his will to be done.
"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21).
His kingdom brings the peace and order of Heaven into our everyday lives. Who doesn’t want peace? But the way to peace, real peace, is new birth in Jesus Christ. It’s the starting point. The reason why the good news is better then you first thought it was is that the new birth opens the possibility of living in God’s kingdom here and now, as well as after we die and go to heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Joy in the Holy Spirit –
1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. (6) And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
I Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
When you have a right relationship with God and you feel the peace in your heart then it is not heart to experience the joy of the Holy Spirit.
"I Feel The Joy"
I'm a little tired of the devil's games
keeping me in bondage from my sorrows and shames
I deserve better I won't go another day
I'm here to claim deliverance in Jesus name
I feel the joy of the Lord falling fresh on me
I feel the joy of the Lord delivering me
I feel the joy of the Holy Ghost all over me
Now I have royal blood flowing through my veins
I'm a child of the king I've been buried in his name
there is no devil that can come against me
I've been bought I've been blessed and I've been set
I have been loosed I've been set free
So pardon me a moment while I have a jubilee
The Joy of the Holy Ghost is all over me
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Summary: Wherever people relate rightly to God, wherever there is the peace of God, and wherever there is the joy of our salvation, that is where the kingdom of God is.
The Kingdom of God in Surprising Places
This means we can discover the kingdom of God in some surprising places! One great Old Testament example comes from the book of Daniel. Daniel was the servant of God who lived in exile, in Babylon, far away from Jerusalem. And yet Daniel’s life was characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy. Daniel’s life and ministry was an outpost of God’s kingdom. This should give us all hope that we can be ambassadors of God’s great kingdom. If Daniel lived in harmony with God in strange and foreign land, we can do the same at our work, school, or wherever God has planted us.
You can find God’s kingdom in unusual places. For example, in a prison Bible study, where convicted criminals who have surrendered to Jesus live in prison doing God’s will God’s way day by day. Or you can discover God’s kingdom among a playgroup of young mothers and their children. While the children play, godly women support and encourage one another as they live lives in right relationship, peace, and joy. In offices and workplaces everywhere, you can discover the presence of the King in the hearts of his people. And yes, on Sunday morning at church you can discover the group of imperfect people who have come together to try to learn to do God’s will, God’s way, for God’s sake.
This great kingdom is what we will study in the coming weeks. God’s kingdom is not owned by any one culture, or any one denomination. God’s kingdom exists wherever Jesus, the king, has dominion in the hearts and minds and lives of his followers. It means that the kingdom of God can sneak in anywhere and can operate in any environment. And that’s good news, too! I invite you to join me on this journey of discovering God’s kingdom.
And the very first step is to be born from above: to receive God’s free gracious gift of forgiveness in Christ Jesus; and to surrender your heart to him. Perhaps you came here today and you have never made the first step, which is to be born from above by the Spirit of God. Jesus said we cannot see or enter God's kingdom without being born from above. Perhaps today is your day to be born into a brand new kingdom!
But the same grace that saves us can also transform us. (Or at least begin to transform us as we walk with Jesus.) This is good news!