What exactly is "the kingdom of God?" How does one recognize the kingdom? Are you in the kingdom of God? So often, people search for the evidence of the kingdom of God rather than simply identifying it. In the present day, the stress is evasively put on works and actions rather than a personal relationship with God. Too many people fall into the trap of participating in as many activities as they can, living to have their good deeds noticed by others; however, the key point is entirely missed. It is the innermost intimate part of a person that divulges the power of an individual's life, not the actions. Jesus makes this clear in the book of Luke when he states, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, look, here it is!' or There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you" (17:20b-21). Luke places a lot of emphasis on this topic, it is of utmost importance to study what the Bible says about the kingdom of God and view it in the context of which it was written in order to grasp the precise concept of what God wants to reveal. Throughout the book of Luke, Jesus' life, teachings, and miracles illustrate the nature of God's kingdom, who it includes, and what it costs to enter into His kingdom. The kingdom represents God's government, authority, and ruling power, therefore, the kingdom is present whenever someone yields their life completely to God's authority. Donald Kraybill, in his book The Upside-down Kingdom, notes that people must enter into the kingdom because it is state of affairs rather than a state of mind (19). Until one is born again, one cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God. In the book of Luke, Jesus tells His disciples that He speaks in parables so that others will not understand the "secrets of the kingdom of God" (8:9-10). Furthermore, one cannot understand the kingdom of God without being born again. When one submits their life to God's authority, he or she releases the nature of Christ to work through them, thus begins a spiritual transformation and an intimate relationship with God. John Drane points out the challenge of the kingdom in his book, Introducing the New Testament, as a willingness to conform to God's ways and the desire for inward transformation (150). The central point of the kingdom lies in developing a personal relationship with Him. Therefore, one must intentionally fully submerse himself in the truths of God and spend time getting grounded and rooted in Him in order to enter into God's kingdom. Each deeply rooted believer alone, is not the kingdom of God; it is a network, where the fellowship among believers are what create the kingdom. Kraybill asserts that the kingdom of God is for a group of people, not individuals and the people have obligations to each other as well as to God. God calls the people to help one another, He has built it into our human nature to long for companionship and accountability, this allows the body of Christ to be a strong force, which comes together to be united in a community where the people have one major thing in common: a passion for the Son of God. Kraybill notes that God's kingdom is dynamic: always becoming, spreading, and growing (20). Jesus illustrates this in Luke when He relates God's kingdom to a mustard seed, it starts small then grows carefully until others are perching in its branches (13:18-19). Generally, people have a difficult time understanding the gospel because it starts small, like the mustard seed, and they have failed to see the greatness of what something so simple can become. Some might expect the kingdom of God to grow through external means for all to see, but to counteract this notion, Jesus compares God's kingdom to yeast (Lk. 13:20). Just as a small portion of yeast is needed to leaven a loaf, the doctrine of Christ will strangely diffuse its impact into the world of mankind, but it requires time and patience. Usually the natural longing for immediate results,...
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Drane, John. Introducing the New Testament. Minneapolis: First Fortress Press, 2001.
Kraybill, Donald B. The Upside-down Kingdom. 25th anniv. Ed. Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 2003.
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