Summary: What's the connection between church and Kingdom? The New Testament is explicit.


A. Acts.

What the Church said and did(2:30).The very first Christian sermon, by the Spirit of God, points to the kingdom, as Peter declares that Psalm 16 is a clear reference to the reign of Jesus on the throne of David! Already, says Peter, His resurrection means that He is exalted to be Lord and Christ! 8:12 tells of deacon Philip preaching the things of the kingdom of God! And the name of Jesus (the king). Brand new Paul in 14:22 exhorts the church by letting them know that entering the kingdom involves a lot of trouble, so don’t let it get you down. Now, Paul and the others are already in the Spirit phase of things, but they look for trouble to follow them until the glorious kingdom of Jesus appears. Paul continues kingdom preaching throughout his life, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, even in custody awaiting death, 28:31.

B. Epistles.

What the church is promised:

1.The inheritance! The kingdom then.

It is not a new or rare concept. The Pentateuch and early history of Israel are filled with the idea of inheritance. God made a promise to them, and kept it. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all heirs of a promise, but the writer of Hebrews ties that promise to the “city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God.” And God is the One Who has prepared that city for them, even as Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, Hebrews 11:8-16, and John 14:1-3. See also Deuteronomy 31:7, for the earthly counterpart to the heavenly calling, the land that was the first phase of this Kingdom promise.

By David’s day, but really from the beginning, the term forever is attached to this idea, Psalm 37:18, and the whole earth is in view, not just the borders of the Land itself, Psalm 37:9, 11, 22, 29, 34, 25:13, 2:8. The heavenly glorious character of this kingdom are also brought out, by the Spirit-filled Hannah, I Samuel 2:8. See also Psalm 69:36, 82:8.

The prophets chime in. Isaiah sees Israel in an end-time scenario as the Lord’s inheritance (19:25). That which is promised by the Father to the Son, and thence to us. He sees a hitherto barren people inheriting the nations(541-3)! This is to be forever (60:19-22). See also 65:9. Zechariah 2:12.

Jesus uses the word in Matthew 19:29, 25:34 among other places. It’s in Acts 20:32 and 26:18, where the inheritance is among those who are set apart by God. It is ours. It is not a new inheritance, a different one. It is the same envisioned by all men of God of all time.

Hence the writers of the epistles carried on the theme to the end of the New Testament writings. Paul: The unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom (I Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:21 Ephesians 5:5). Neither will flesh and blood. We must be clothed upon with our new bodies to enter that kingdom in its fullness. Obviously then the full kingdom glory is future (I Corinthians 15:50). The whole subject of the grace-given kingdom Paul calls the inheritance, in Galatians 3:18, and dates its first mention to the time of Abraham! The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, the “down payment” as it were. If we have the fullness of the Spirit now, we know that we shall have even greater glory revealed in that day. Being full of the Holy Ghost keeps our eyes on that City (Ephesians 1:11-18). We are even now partakers of the inheritance and the kingdom, Colossians 1:12-13.

James says (2:5) that God has chosen the poor of this world to be heirs of the kingdom. Likewise Peter, I Peter 3:9.

Paul gives the order of events for the coming glorious phase in I Corinthians 15. First Christ rises. Done. Then we rise at His coming. The end, presumably after the 1000-year reign. Jesus reigns until all enemies are put under His feet, including death. It is only after the 1000 years that death is finally finished. The kingdom is delivered to the Father, and the eternity that was experienced 1000 years before, with heaven on earth, proceeds into territory about which the Scriptures are essentially silent.

To Timothy, Paul adds that the time of His appearing and His kingdom are the same time, a time when He will judge (I Timothy 4:1).

2. The Kingdom now.

The kingdom is certainly not all in the future, Romans 14:17. It is to be our life now in the form of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, all to be preferred above food and drink, and the mundane things of this world. Citizenship in the kingdom is built by love, not force. And, says Paul (I Corinthians 4:20), by God’s power, not just words. Forgiveness and holiness are to be actual experiences of God’s people, not just nice theories. So the kingdom now is Jesus in you, and Jesus in the church, spiritual warfare, winning souls, personal holiness, and the pilgrimage to that City which even Abraham saw a long time ago.

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