I believed for many years that the gospel was the Gospel of Salvation. Jesus lived, died on the cross and was resurrected. All I had to do was repent and believe to be saved. My goal was heaven because the alternate was too much to contemplate. All the endless distractions of the world led me to believe that church on Sunday and perhaps a small group during the week was enough to sustain my faith, allow me to get on with my busy life and believe heaven was secure.
Recently, I noticed that Jesus actually taught the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4, 9 and 24 for example). This sounded different to me; was it about salvation and more? Why had I not heard about this before? I had little understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom and so I started another learning project in the Word of God. What a glorious story this is and I would like to share my understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Again, I encourage you to do your own research to get to the truth.
I was always taught to begin with the end in mind – having a vision of where I am going and plan the appropriate action to reach that goal. As a Christian I wanted my goal to be God’s goal because He has the end in mind. Yet I discovered I was ignorant of His end. The Gospel of Salvation on it’s own kept me anchored in this life, with a feeble hope of the future, easily distracted by many things and lesser affections. The Bible tells us that without a vision we perish (Proverbs 29:18). Is your vision of the future aligned with God’s vision?
I believe the Gospel of the Kingdom is God’s vision of the future and it has many elements:
- The Kingdom is about a King, a realm (a physical place for the kingdom) and a people who experience supernatural blessings in the kingdom.
- The Kingdom is both present and future.
- The Kingdom is expressed in three forms. There is a present Kingdom, a Millennial Kingdom ushered in at Jesus’ second coming (Rev 20) and the Eternal Kingdom (Rev 21).
- We experience the blessings of salvation in the present Kingdom in part, the blessings are fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom and consummated in the Eternal kingdom.
- The Kingdom is about redemption and eternal life but what is eternal life? Complete salvation is accomplished over the three expressions of God’s Kingdom.
- The kingdom is a mystery not a secret. A mystery is a secret that God wants to reveal to us.
- We are valuable to God and His desire is to bless the saints in His Kingdom.
I want to encourage you to go after the Gospel of the Kingdom and enjoy the glory of the story. Can I share some of the unexpected changes that happened to me as I dove into this study project?
- I gained more understanding of God’s plan for the present and future Kingdoms.
- My hope and eagerness for a glorious future grew in my heart. I believe God has taught me more about truth so that I can be more discerning of false teachers who will attempt to deceive the saints. There is an urgency in my heart to be equipped supernaturally by God to stand for truth and to stay the course as the pressure increases (Daniel 8).
- I came to believe God is preparing His people as intercessors for the present and for the future Kingdoms if we are prepared to engage with Him (Malachi 1:11).
- I came to believe my generation has the responsibility to charge the next generation with the truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
- I came to believe God is preparing forerunners like John the Baptist to teach and prepare the way the ushering in of the future Kingdoms.
Don’t passively or actively resist what God is doing. Join this glorious story.
Written by John and Shirley Ray, edited and posted by Joel Ratciffe