Maturing Toward Wholeness in the Inner Life
The Kingdom of God
1 – Jesus began his ministry the same way John the Baptist did. He announced that the kingdom of God was at hand—accessible like never before.
2 – Jesus used kingdom “of God” and “of heaven” interchangeably (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15). The kingdom was at hand because the King was at hand.
3 – We had turned from God’s rule and gone our own way. Now Jesus was inviting us to turn again—Repent!—and enter through him into the kingdom.
4 – The kingdom of God, or heaven, is the foundational theme integrating all Jesus’ teaching. The terms are found over 80 times in the Gospels.
5 – Major portions of Jesus’ teaching describe God’s kingdom, including the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps the most influential talk in history.
6 – “Blessed are those who mourn….” (Matthew 5:4) Was Jesus saying, “Go and mourn?” Or “Those who are mourning will receive comfort in God’s kingdom?”
7 – God’s kingdom is the sphere in which God’s rule is unopposed—where what God wants to happen happens without resistance or rebellion.
8 – There is another kingdom, in rebellion against God’s rule—a kingdom of spiritual darkness and limited power. God allows this for a time.
9 – To resist the kingdom of darkness in our own strength is presumptuous—dangerous. We come against it by invoking the power of Christ’s cross.
10 – God gave man dominion (rule) over creation. Man opened himself to the ruler of the darkness. Now the world lies in the grip of evil. (Romans 8:20)
11 – Christ came to destroy the devil’s work, save us from bondage to evil, and restore us to our original state—eternal life in God’s kingdom.
12 – God’s kingdom is eternal. Like God himself, it has always been and always will be. It existed before the material world and will outlast it.
13 – God’s kingdom is real. We sometimes say we must live in the “real world.” God’s kingdom is the “real world”—it is the ultimate reality.
14 – God’s kingdom is unseen. This should not surprise us. God is unseen. He created the material world but he is not part of it. God is Spirit.
15 – Though God’s kingdom is unseen, activity there produces tangible results. Jesus said to meet material needs, rely on the kingdom! (Matthew 6:25-34)
16 – Jesus
- called for repentance
- announced the kingdom’s availability
- revealed the kingdom’s presence by healing and casting out demons.
17 – We are not only to proclaim the kingdom (word) but also reveal the kingdom (act). Lives re-formed in Christlikeness reveal the kingdom.
18 – The worldview today that dismisses Unseen Reality has ushered us into a great unreality. In our pride of life we grope in darkness.
19 – Jesus prayed. Spiritual fathers and mothers throughout Judeo-Christian millennia have prayed. Asking, relying on God, we access the kingdom.
20 – God’s kingdom is filled with his Presence. To accept God’s rule is to live in his Presence. To resist his rule is to turn from his Presence.
21 – Adam and Eve, listening to the voice from the darkness, decided in favor of self-rule. This choice separated them from God’s Presence.
22 – Jesus came
- to be the Way for mankind to re-enter God’s kingdom
- to teach us how to live there once we arrive.
He is the Door in.
23 – Self-rule renders us unable to live in sync with the ways of God’s kingdom. By the time we realize this, self-rule is rooted deeply within.
24 – Self-rule and self-reliance are two sides of the same coin. Relying on God may feel scary at first. Relying on self is what is truly scary.
25 – In his opening public statement Jesus gave the key to kingdom entry: “Repent!” (Matthew 4:17) Repent of what? Of self-rule and self-reliance!
26 – God’s rule is full of kindness, wisdom, goodness. He created us free to choose. He does not force his rule on us. He awaits our response.
27 – We are free to choose but we are not free to avoid the consequences of our choices. Jesus warned about unintended consequences of self-rule.
28 – God’s kingdom is shaped by God’s character. The ways of the kingdom are ways of holiness (absence of impurity) and love (absence of self).
29 – Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, sold all he had and bought the field. (Matthew 13:44) Smart man!
30 – Entering into and living in God’s kingdom will cost us our old life. This enables us to receive a new life—God’s eternal life. (Matthew 16:24-25)
31 – Jesus went to all the cities and villages
- proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom
- healing every affliction.
Draft: Updated—November 2016
Copyright © George Miley. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews. To obtain permission to use this material, contact us.