An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”

(Luke 16:16)

In general terms, a kingdom is any realm in which a king exercises authority. In this regard, the Kingdom of God has two distinct aspects to it. There is the future aspect of course, which refers to the actual, physical return of Christ in glory to establish His reign and rule on the earth (Psalm 2; Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 13:36-43; 25:31-46; Luke 1:30-33; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-20:6). The Lord instructed His people to pray for this Kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10). In similar fashion, the apostle Peter reminded his readers that Christians ought to earnestly desire the establishment of the Kingdom and do what they can to hasten its coming (2 Peter 3:12). There is a second aspect to the Kingdom also, that is, that God is reigning and ruling on the earth already in the hearts and minds of His people. When the Pharisees demanded to know when the Kingdom of God should come, the Lord replied that the Kingdom “cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). As we pray for the kingdom to come in its fullness, when God’s will is done on the earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10), we can see to it that the Kingdom is advanced right now by submitting more of ourselves to the righteous rule of God in our own hearts and minds. The more of ourselves we surrender to God and submit to His authority, the more the Kingdom advances in this world. There is something else about the Kingdom that is fascinating, wonderful, and mysterious. In some places in the Bible, the Kingdom is described as something we must enter in to (Matthew 5:19-20; 7:21; 18:3; 19:23-24; 21:31; Mark 9:47; 10:23-25). Today’s verse passage speaks of people pressing into it. In a parallel passage, the Lord Jesus states that violent people are taking the Kingdom by force (Matthew 11:12). Both texts conjure up images of people pressing against each other in an aggressive attempt to enter into some enclosed space. Though the Bible certainly contains commendable examples of people pursuing King Jesus with aggressive, single-minded drive and devotion (Mark 2:1-5; 5:25-28), we ought not see the Kingdom as a place of confinement. Rather, we ought to see our entrance into the Kingdom as our exit from a life of restraint and immurement. In bringing us into the Kingdom, the Good Shepherd actually led us out of our original place of incarceration (John 10:3-4). Micah foresaw this when He wrote, “The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them” (Micah 2:13). We may sing with David, “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).

Let us praise and serve the Lord with out freedom! God bless,

pastor john