Entering God's Kingdom

Where is God's kingdom? How do we enter God's Kingdom? As Jesus begins His ministry He told people, "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR". Jesus commands us to pray daily to God "MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME". In the prayer, the rest of the sentence or verse is "MAY YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN", would indicate that Jesus is talking about now, on earth. The location or the coming of the kingdom may appear confusing as it did in Jesus' day when Jesus clarified, "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU {OR AMONG YOU}". The association of "KINGDOM" and doing God's "WILL" is important. Another time Jesus makes it clear that to enter God's kingdom one must do "THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN". How do we do God's "WILL" or what God wants us to do. A first step is when God said concerning Jesus, "THIS IS MY SON, WHOM I LOVE. LISTEN TO HIM!" Listening to Jesus is more than just hearing the words He says. It is a life style of obeying and following His guidance, especially regarding God. As God is alive, following God is a life style experience.1

Note: (bonus teaching) the expression "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" is only found in Matthew's gospel where as the more common expression "KINGDOM OF GOD" is found in all the rest of the gospels. The terms are used interchangeably. For example when Jesus is quoted "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR" in Mk 1:15; Lk 10:9,11; 21:31 the same expression is recorded as "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR" in Mt 4:17; 10:7. Another example is the Parable of the Mustard Seed. In Mt 13:31-32 "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" is used and in Mk 4:30-32; Lk 13:18-19 "KINGDOM OF GOD" is used, with the rest of the parable being essentially the same. One possible explanation is that Matthew was writing to reach the Jews who have a manmade religious doctrine about using the word "God" because they are afraid people might misuse it.

As we learn God's kingdom is in us and as we are encouraged to do what God wants, we find that Jesus is a living example of doing what God wants. Jesus said God "TOLD ME WHAT TO SAY" and that "I DO EXACTLY WHAT THE FATHER TOLD ME TO DO". One time after people were trying to keep little children from Jesus and after Jesus corrected them, Jesus stated, "YOU MUST ACCEPT THE KINGDOM OF GOD AS A LITTLE CHILD ACCEPTS THINGS, OR YOU WILL NEVER ENTER IT". Doing what God wants or being submissive to God is further supported by this comparison with little children. This comparison with becoming like a little child or starting over, makes the statement "UNLESS ONE IS BORN AGAIN, HE CANNOT BE IN GOD'S KINGDOM" more understandable. When we pray everyday "MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME" it may be good to also ask for God's help in being submissive to what He wants in our lives and help in denying ourselves or subordinating our "WANTS" so we can do what God wants.2

Kingdom Power

Jesus says to His followers, "SOME HERE WHO WILL NOT DIE UNTIL THEY HAVE SEEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD COME WITH POWER". Many have difficulty understanding Jesus making this statement, since everyone Jesus was talking to are now dead. Some may wonder, "did Jesus make a mistake in what He said or was there a hidden meaning or does it apply to us today?" First we must remember that Jesus asserts, "THE FATHER WHO SENT ME HAS COMMANDED ME WHAT I MUST SAY AND SPEAK" and God knows what He is saying. As we remember that God is the source of the statement, we can better understand the statement. The main confusion may be some people think Jesus is talking about the final kingdom when John heard voices from heaven proclaim "THE KINGDOM OF THE WORLD HAS BECOME THE KINGDOM OF YAHVEH AND OF HIS MESSIAH, AND HE WILL REIGN FOREVER AND EVER". The reference to "THE KINGDOM" may be better understood as we remember that Jesus says, "GOD'S SPIRIT, WHO GIVES ME THE POWER TO DRIVE OUT DEMONS, WHICH PROVES THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS ALREADY COME UPON YOU ". The association of "GOD'S SPIRIT" and "POWER" and "THE KINGDOM OF GOD" helps us understand Jesus' statement "THE KINGDOM OF GOD COME WITH POWER". Jesus tells us when God's spirit or the Holy Spirit comes upon us "YOU WILL BE FILLED WITH POWER". And yes not only will we receive power to be "WITNESSES", Jesus also tells us the same power from God's spirit helps us as believers have "THE POWER TO PERFORM MIRACLES" and as Jesus says we are able to "DRIVE OUT DEMONS IN MY NAME". We have power to "OVERCOME ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY". Also a very important power we may want to exercise daily is a Jesus says, "BY THE POWER OF GOD'S SPIRIT PEOPLE WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER AS HE REALLY IS, OFFERING HIM THE TRUE WORSHIP THAT HE WANTS". Some of the same people Jesus was talking to were alive to experience the kingdom of God with power on the day of Pentecost when God sent His spirit, the Holy Spirit, to mankind to be in us, just like Jesus also says, "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU {OR AMONG YOU}". And yes, it still applies to us today as many in our lifetime have received the same power from God's spirit. 3 Yes, as you experience entering God's Kingdom you may also realize that that you are in eternal life.

1. Mk 1:15; Mt 6:10; Lk 17:20-21 (GN); Mt 7:21; Mk 9:7 (NI)

2. Jn 12:49; 14:31; Mk 10:15; Jn 3:3; Lk 9:23 (IC)

3. Mk 9:1; Jn 12:49 (GN); Rev 11:15 (ET); Mt 12:28; Ac 1:8; Mk 16:17; Lk 17:20; 10:19: Jn 4:23 (GN)

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