How to Live in the Kingdom of God
Excerpt from Chapter 2, "When is the Kingdom of God Manifested?"
When is the KingdomLuke 17:20-21 discusses both elements of "where" and "when" concerning the kingdom of God. "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (The Greek phrase means:. "Stands among you") The Wuest translation of this verse: "The Kingdom of God does not come in such a manner that one can carefully observe its approach. Neither shall they say, Look, here or there, for see, the Kingdom of God is in your midst." The Kingdom of God was within the Pharisees but they could not recognize it, nor would they allow the King of the Kingdom to rule over them. (In the margin of the Bible: "that is, where the King is, there is the Kingdom!). Thus at the present time, and so far as the earth is concerned, where the King is and where His rule is acknowledged, is first, in the heart of the individual believer - "that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith..." (Eph. 3:17) At that time Jesus was the sole member of the Kingdom and He was in their midst. Back to Luke, note that verse 21 states. "Neither shall they say..." The word "shall" speaks of a (near) future time. In other words, the Kingdom of God began in the days of those kings (Dan. 2:44) but would manifest on the day of Pentecost in the New Testament. We know that the Pharisees rejected Jesus as the Messiah. (Matt. 21:42-45; 26:4; 27:24-25; John 7:1; Acts 3:13-15; 4:10; 7:52; 10:39; 1 Thess. 2:14-15;).
"Not with observation" means that a person cannot see or comprehend the Kingdom of God with their natural understanding or their natural power of observation, for it is spiritually discerned (John 3:3; 1 Cor. 2:14). We cannot see it with our natural eyes. A person may see a great change in someone they know after that person has received Jesus Christ, but they see only a changed person, the result of the Kingdom in action. They really do not see the Kingdom, for it is hidden within the believer. To see what God is doing in the earth today we have to peek into the spiritual realm, not read the headlines in the daily paper or listen to the 6 o'clock news. Where is that spiritual realm? It is in the hearts of men, where God first works in the firstfruits company. Jesus as King would not rule over a people or territory as other kings had done but would rule by spiritual laws within man, through the leadership of the sons of God, in the hearts of men - a rule not observed by the natural man. In His kingdom the Holy Spirit leads men. He would rule by an entirely different type of laws and rules. When would this begin? Again, the manifestation would begin on the day of Pentecost. It continues today and will continue forever and ever. (Isa. 9:7; Dan. 7:14; Rev. 22:13). In the book of Luke, the angel told Mary, "And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33). Jesus Christ came to establish a new world, a new type of kingdom. He didn't come just to rescue a few lost sinners. Jesus came to establish this Kingdom and to reign, along with the sons of God, as King. The excitement of the fullness of the kingdom of God radiates ahead of us as we contemplate the result of a great company of the sons of God who rule and reign in the likeness and image of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom 14:17). But members of the Kingdom exhibit these qualities differently. Some believers receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit but use only one of the nine gifts (tongues). While some Christians can walk in peace in the midst of trials and tribulation, others either haven't learned how, or strife and turmoil forever camp on their doorstep to rob them of any peace due to enter their life. The believer with true peace, on the other hand, brings this peace to others, either on a one on one basis or to a group as a whole. Many times I have witnessed such believers walk in a room full of people where turmoil or strife or a negative spirit prevailed and without saying a word, bring peace to that situation and to those in the room.
We can observe all ranges of joy among God's people. A mature Christian knows by his spirit what true joy is. Joy is not happiness, for happiness depends upon circumstances. True joy, however, comes from God - a joy that we can both feel and pass on to others, even in times of trouble and toil. We simply rejoice when someone with the joy of the Lord brings that joy into our life, into our day or hour of need. I've been privileged to know Christians who just seem to bubble over with the joy of the Lord. It's a joy just to be around them. Such people, even when they tell of their problems, seem to display no sense of depression. At the other end of the spectrum, some believers host a continuous series of pity parties with negativism, fault finding and "Why me Lord" as honored guests. But it's the sons of God who, through revelation and teaching, help bring righteousness, peace and joy to others in the Kingdom. God makes the riches of His glory known to you here and now. Your hope is not a future Kingdom out in the sky. Christ living and dwelling within you, that is your hope of glory - not Christ in heaven - not Christ in the Father - not Christ in someone else. Nor is it an escape from this corrupt world that is your hope, but Christ in you! The sons of God exist only because of their relationship to Jesus Christ. He dwells in you as God the Father dwelt in Him. (John 17:23). "The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:26-27) Light from the scriptures or from the indwelling Jesus Christ shines in the darkness of our lives. That darkness, in addition to meaning a lack of spiritual understanding, consists of those areas in our lives that do not measure up to the standard of Christ. These standards are the attributes of Jesus Christ such as love, mercy, compassion, purity, holiness, humility, light and His very life. But as long as you assign your Jesus to a place out in the sky or limit Him to some future time, rather than the reality of Christ in you, the hope of glory, then you don't have to answer to Him now. In other words, you don't feel compelled to measure up to those standards of love etc. You feel He is not looking over your shoulder, watching what you do and how you do it. In that condition you don't have to feel convicted when faced with those standards. You feel that some day (future) He'll perfect you, and that is good enough. People say they want to show love and compassion like Jesus did but they want to choose the people to whom they show love.
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