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The Kingdom of God – Colossians 1:13

10 Aug

(Colossians 1:13)  “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,”

Someone has said, “The ocean is deep enough for an elephant to swim in but shallow enough for a child to wade on its shores.”  Likewise the church of the New Testament has numerous features.

When we think of our unity of function and our unity with Christ, we see the church as the body of Christ (Romans 12:5):

(Romans 12:5)  “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

When we think of the warmth, support, and companionship that we receive as his church, we view it as the family of God:

(Ephesians 2:19)  “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,”

The rule and reign of God make us think of the church as the kingdom of God on earth:

(Matthew 16:18-19)  “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. {19} I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.””

These different descriptions do not conflict, but blend together to illustrate the composite nature of the divine organism we call the church. The glory of the N.T. church is that inherent within it is a multitude of holy traits that Christ provided through the cross.

No question, the Holy Spirit wants us to view the church as a kingdom (Col. 1:13).  Conversion is described as entrance into the body of Christ:

(Romans 6:3)  “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”

Since the body of Christ is spoken of as the church (Eph. 1:22-23). It follows that the Holy Spirit intends for us to see the church, the body of Christ, and the kingdom of Christ as the same spiritual organism.

The word kingdom is used in at least six contexts in scripture:

  • Earthly, secular, governmental rule (Matt. 4:8).
  • To convey the rule of God in the O.T.  God identified Israel as His Kingdom (Ex. 19:5-6).
  • Used regarding the rule or power of God (Matt. 12:28). When the will of God is obeyed, the reign of God or the kingdom of God exists
  • God’s reign in heaven (2 Peter 1:11).

It applies to the church.  The church is God’s earthly manifestation of His heavenly Kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19; John 3:5; Col. 1:13).

The dominion of Satan:(Matthew 12:26)  “If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?”

THE KINGDOM IS A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM!

In it basic nature, the church is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical or material one:

(John 18:33-36)  “Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” {34} “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” {35} “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” {36} Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.””

The spiritual nature of the kingdom introduces vital truths regarding the church. The headquarters of the church are in heaven. Christ, our sovereign King, sits at God’s right hand in heaven:

(Acts 2:33)  “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

He will reign until he delivers the kingdom back to the Father:

(1 Corinthians 15:24)  “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.”

Thus, Christians are people who have entered the rule of God by submitting to the Lordship of  Jesus:

(Philippians 2:9-11)  “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, {10} that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, {11} and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Christians’ life, work, and worship centers on the spiritual, not the physical:

  • We wage a spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:12).
  • Offer up spiritual sacrifices to God (1 Peter 2:5)
  • Live on spiritual food (Heb. 5:12-14)
  • Live in this world as pilgrims whose citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20; 1 Pet. 2:11).

Our relationship with material realities of this world, are governed by our spiritual citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.  We see the worthlessness of the tinsel of this life when we view it through the lens of eternity. Being a member of God’s spiritual kingdom puts this world and its temptations in different light:

(1 John 2:17)  “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

Christians do not view this world as others. They are in the world, but not of the world. We are in a spiritual kingdom, not an earthly one. Our devotion is spiritual, not secular. Christians pursue, above all other interests, the spiritual salvation of each person we meet.

A KINGDOM OF RIGHTEOUSNESS!

The church is a Kingdom of righteousness. Citizens of the kingdom of heaven do not live as they lived formerly:

(Ephesians 5:8-10)  “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light {9} (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) {10} and find out what pleases the Lord.”

New Testament speaks of two kings of righteousness.  An “extended righteousness” that we receive through Jesus Christ:

(Romans 3:24)  “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

“An exhibited righteousness” Christians are to walk in and manifest in life:

(1 John 1:7)  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

It is unthinkable for Christians to walk in sin:

(1 John 3:8-9)  “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. {9} No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

Righteousness is extended to those who enter the kingdom and exhibit righteousness in their lives. Righteousness is exhibited by those who live as true citizens of the kingdom. God’s reign in one’s heart manifests itself in righteousness of life.  Citizenship in this kingdom means recognition of the sovereignty of God and a submission to His will in our daily lives.

AN ETERNAL KINGDOM!

The church is the manifestation of God’s eternal kingdom on earth. It is not fleeting, or temporary, but stable, unshakable and everlasting:

  • Daniel foretold its coming: (Daniel 2:44)  “”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
  • Gabriel revealed to Mary she would be the mother of the Messiah who would reign over the eternal kingdom (Luke 1:32-33)  “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, {33} and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.””
  • Jesus promised that death could not overpower him and the kingdom would be established (Matthew 16:18)  “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

The Hebrew writer described God’s kingdom as one that could not be shaken:

(Hebrews 12:28)  “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,”

As citizens of the kingdom of heaven, Christians possess eternal life. This life is both “an experience now” & “an expectation for the future.” 

All who possess Christ have eternal life now, for he is the very embodiment of eternal life:

(1 John 1:2)  “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.”

If we live in sin, we do not have eternal life living in us:

(1 John 3:15)  “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”

The eternal nature of the kingdom of God expresses itself in the quality of life that we experience now as Christians and in the eternal life that we expect to receive in eternity. As Christians we continue to grow in love, righteousness, fellowship while in this life. After death, we enter that place of heavenly fellowship, inexpressible joy, and eternal service. Christians are part of an eternal kingdom that is not affected by time or physical dimensions.

As long as we stay in the sphere of God protection by faithfulness to His word, we are part of a kingdom that cannot be destroyed and will never end.

CONCLUSION

With God ruling and reigning in the hearts of Christians, the church of the N.T. is the kingdom of God possessing traits of spirituality, righteousness and eternality. Its citizens live in this world, but their hearts and citizenship belong to another world, the eternal kingdom of God (Col. 3:1-2; Phil. 3:20). We enter the kingdom through the “new birth” (John 3:1-5). 

Citizenship in the kingdom of God brings a spiritual center to life, a reign of God, which radiates to every prong and dimension of life, providing stability, guidance, understanding and wholeness. In this world of the temporary, the kingdom of God brings eternal life into our lives for today and for all our tomorrows.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Church

 

2 responses to “The Kingdom of God – Colossians 1:13

  1. retzerk

    January 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Such a beautiful depiction of the kingdom of God on earth he designated Christ to rule makes me desire to edifyingly praise you and blend my thoughts to harmonize with yours in praise to God for making it both possible and accessible to all. From his parable of the mustard seed I understand it to grow and change as its planned development unfolds. I see it brought to earth at a time no human knew or knows exactly but proclaimed “at hand” in initial preaching of both John & Jesus and in their “midst” by Jesus even before it melded to become identical to the church in Jerusalem on a day of Pentecost as Christ established his church, became its cornerstone and later turned over the keys of the kingdom as it was further built on the apostles & prophets. Identical with the church throughout our life & times, I anticipate Christ turning it back to God as it further melds to become better known as Heaven. May we enjoy the Zoe type abundant life as soon as possible for the remainder of eternity!

    Liked by 1 person

     
  2. Terry Davenport

    January 26, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    So very good. Wished all would read it. TJ

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

     

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