Shortly after we planted Grace Life Church in 2017 I began reading through the gospels and studying the ministry of Jesus. As I read through the gospels, there was one phrase that jumped out at me: the gospel of the kingdom.
I had read through the gospels dozens of times and had seen that phrase many times before, but this time was different. God highlighted it on the page in my Bible and it literally jumped out at me. Every time I saw it, I kept asking, what is the gospel of the kingdom? What does this mean?
This is an important question to answer because Acts 1:3 says that Jesus preached the kingdom of God to his disciples for 40 days prior to His ascension. Think about it, in the last 40 days of His life on earth Jesus’s time was limited so He would have only preached the most important concepts His disciples needed to hear. And what did He preach? The kingdom.
So what is the the gospel of the kingdom? The Greek word for kingdom is basileía. It means royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm. The kingdom Jesus preached about was a royal realm. The gospel Jesus preached about was about God’s royal realm coming to our earth.
Jesus’s plan has always been for His world to transform ours. The best way I know how to describe this is through the concept of manifest destiny. Manifest destiny was an idea popularized in the 1800’s about how the United States should expand its dominion and democratic way of doing life throughout the American continent.
I will acknowledge that many believe it was wrong for the United States to expand its culture throughout the rest of the continent. The point of this article isn’t to support or oppose what the United States did in expanding its culture across our continent. That would miss the main idea. The main idea is our manifest destiny as Christians is for God’s culture to become our culture. God wants His way of doing life to be our way of doing life because His way of doing life is far superior to anything we have ever experienced.
Let’s look at the first time the phrase the gospel of the kingdom was used in Matthew to illustrate that point:
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
When Jesus taught in the synagogues, He preached the gospel of the kingdom (doing life the way the King does life). He then healed all kinds of disease among the people. Why did he do this? He wanted people to experience the kingdom (rule and reign) of God that He had just taught them about.
Luke 10:9 verifies that point. It says:
9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.
When healing comes, the kingdom has come near. When healing comes, it isn’t just a theological point. It is something that is experienced. The kingdom Jesus preached about must be experienced. It’s not just a theological point to be debated at a coffee shop. His kingdom is a practical reality that impacts how we do life.
When we read what Jesus did, it should stir hunger in all of us. We should covet walking in intimacy with the Father in such a way that it transforms and improves every life around us. He wants us to press into Him and seek to experience life at a higher level. That is His plan for each of us. He wants us to do life the way He does life.
Think about your life. Does your life look like the way Jesus did life? Do you approach every impossible situation the way He approached every impossible situation? Why not, you are royalty. Our destiny is for His world to overtake ours, so let’s pursue more. This is what we were born for!
The first step to experiencing his kingdom is Romans 12:1-2. Verse 1 says we become a living sacrifice. In other words, we lay our life down. We don’t hold opinions He doesn’t hold. Whatever He says we do it. Verse 2 tells us to renew our mind. This means put His word in us so it changes how we think. We feed on the gospel of the kingdom until it becomes so engrained in us, kingdom is the way we do life.
When we lay down our lives for Him and feed on the gospel of the kingdom, we will prove out His will for our lives. We will rule and reign with Christ Jesus in this life now!
If you would like to learn more about the culture of God’s kingdom, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.