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“The Kingdom Of Christ, Of God, Of Heaven” – Displays Of His Ruling Authority Throughout Time

SIH STSTA ICON

 

 

To begin our study we need to understand what the Bible means when it speaks of a “kingdom”.  The word translated Kingdom in the NT is the Greek word “basileia”.  This word has two basic ideas behind it:

  1. The first idea is the AUTHORITY to rule that a King possesses (Luke 1:33, Luke 17:20-21, Matt 12:28 etc)
  2. The second idea is the REALM that is ruled over by a King. WhenBasileia is used in this way it can speak of either:
    1. the land area and physical possessions that a King rules over (Mat 4:8, Mark 6:23,  Heb 11:33 etc)
    2. the group of people over which a king rules. (Rev 1:9, Col 1:13, 2 Pet 1:11, etc)

Based upon the above Scriptures we can see that these three titles are describing the same event and will be used as such in this study.

Although we cannot visibly see His authority, we certainly can see His authority at work in the world around us.  By His grace, He has displayed for us His authority, throughout the Scriptures, in many different ways.

Let’s take a look and see the God’s authority to rule displayed for all to see throughout the Bible…  

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

The Kingdom of Christ:

Eph 5:5,

 

The Kingdom of God:

Matt 6:33, 12:28, 19:24, 21:31, 21:43;

Mark 1:14, 1:15, 4:11, 4:26, 4:30, 9:1, 9:47, 10:14, 10:15, 10:23, 10:24, 10:25, 12:34, 14:25, 15:43;

Luke 4:43, 6:20, 7:28, 8:1, 8:10, 9:2, 9:11, 9:27, 9:60, 9:62, 10:9, 10:11, 10:20, 12:31, 13:18, 13:20, 13:28, 13:29, 14:15, 16:16, 17:20, 17:21, 18:16, 18:17, 18:24, 18:25, 18:29, 19:11, 21:31, 22:16, 22:18, 23:51;

John 3:3, 3:5;

Acts 1:3, 8:12, 14:22, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 28:31;

Roms 14:17;

1 Cor 4:20, 6:9, 6:10, 15:50;

Gal 5:21;

Col 4:11;

2 Thess 1:5.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven:

Matt 3:2, 4:17, 5:3, 5:10, 5:19, 5:20, 7:21, 8:11, 10:7, 11:11, 11:12, 13:11, 13:24, 13:31, 13:33, 13:44, 13:45, 13:47, 13:52, 16:19, 18:1, 18:3, 18:4, 18:23, 19:12, 19:14, 19:23, 20:1, 22:2, 23:13, 25:1, 25:14

 

In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, “The Kingdom of Christ”, “the Kingdom Of God”, and “the Kingdom of Heaven”.  All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.

Please note:

The Kingdom of Christ is only used in Ephesians 5:5 and is clearly speaking of the perfect reign of Christ that will take place throughout eternity.  In this text, it is equated with the Kingdom of God because both Christ and the Father will be reigning throughout eternity. (Rev 22:3-5; see also Rev 21:7-8, Rev 21:24-27)

Also “the Kingdom of God” and “the Kingdom of Heaven” are equated as well.  Please note the following references which show that, in many cases, these titles are used synonymously…

Matt 4:17 – Mark 1:15;

Matt 5:3,10- Luke 6:20-22; Matt 8:11-Luke 13:28;

Matt 10:7-Luke 9:60;

Matt 11:11-Luke 7:28;

Matt 11:12-Luke 16:16;

Matt 13:11-Mark 4:11;

Matt 13:31-Mark 4:30-31; Matt 13:33 – Luke 13:20-21; Matt 19:14-Mark 10:14;

Matt 19:23-Mark 10:23;

Matt 25:14-Luke 19:11-13.

 

THE STUDY: 

It is important for us to understand that the Lord displays His authority to rule in different ways that will vary throughout time.

In the Old Testament, some of the major ways He displayed His authority to rule was in:

  1. His sovereign rulership over creation (including mankind)…

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”   (Daniel 4:34-35)

 

  1. His rulership over the fledgling nation of physical Israel during the times of the judges…

Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 

And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.  According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.  Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.”  (1 Samuel 8:4-9)

 

  1. His rulership over the unified and divided nation of physical Israel during the times of the Kings…

Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.

Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all.

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”  (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)

 

  1. His rulership in the heart of the Old Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.”  (Psalms 40:8)

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.”   (Haggai 1:12)

 

 

In New Testament times, He displayed His authority to rule in very similar ways….

  1. His sovereign rulership over His creation (including mankind)…

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”  (Acts 17:24-28)

 

  1. His rulership in the heart of the lives of the New Testament saints, which included both Jews and Gentiles (the spiritual nation of Israel)…

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 

[Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,  This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 

Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.”   (Hebrews 10:14-18)

 

  1. His rule over His local assemblies…

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.”   (Colossians 1:13-20)

 

Into eternity future, the Lord’s ruling authority will be shown. The following is an incomplete list of His sovereignty on display during the end-time events…

  1. His taking of His saints…

For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”  (1 Corinthians 15:21-28)

 

  1. His punishment of the powers of darkness of this world…

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;  That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all [men, both] free and bond, both small and great.

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”  (Revelation 19:17-21)

 

  1. His millennial reign (the first part of His eternal reign)…

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”  (Revelation 20:4) 

 

  1. The final judgment…

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  (Revelation 20:12-15)

 

 

  1. His rulership throughout eternity…

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”   (Revelation 22:2-5)

 

As you can see, throughout history from eternity past and proceeding into eternity present, we find the Lord consistently revealing to mankind…

The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.”  (Exodus 15:18)

 

In the NT the Bible describes the Kingdom of the Lord using three different descriptive phrases, The Kingdom of Christ, the Kingdom Of God, and the Kingdom of Heaven.  All three of these titles are describing the same Kingdom.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: 

What a wonderful blessing it is to be able to know that our Lord truly reigns over all things.  Without His wondrous displays of sovereignty, we would live in doubt about His control over all, but because of His many displays of rulership we can say as the Psalmist…

“But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”   (Psalms 115:3)

Because of this, there is no reason for worry or fright… no matter what may take place in this life, OUR GOD IS IN CONTROL!  And we have a consistent source of proofs that this is so!

To Love As Jesus Loved: The Imperative Of Love

SIH TOTT ICON(Mark 12:28-31)

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.

And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

 

As we continue our look at the many display of love in Christ’s life through His teachings and our actions, we now continue our brief look at a few of His teachings concerning love…

 


Christ’s Teaching:

 

Another of the subjects Christ addressed during His earthly ministry was “The Imperative Of Love”…

We should all be concerned about the Lord’s desires for our lives…

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

After listening to an exchange between Christ and the Sadducees concerning the resurrection of the body and the status of marriage following the resurrection, this young scribe recognized the wisdom and authority with which Christ spoke.

He then, from a sincere, questioning heart, asked Christ which commandment was the “first” in priority and importance.

 

We are to love God with our entire being… 

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.

Christ’s answer was clear and to the point… There is only one God that exists and our first priority of life is to love Him with our entire being.

Please notice that Christ not only addresses this young scribe but all of “Israel”, His chosen people. Keep in mind that physical Israel is a symbolic representation of all those who are chosen to faith in Christ. This helps us to understand that the commandment to love the true God applies to all of His people.

Also, please notice that a Christian is to love Him with their entire being… this is shown to us by the phrase “with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all our mind, and with all thy strength”.   These 4 terms teach us that our desires (heart), our physical life (soul), our thoughts (mind), and our abilities (strength) are to be dedicated unto His use, to bring glory and honor to Him.

 

We are to love others as if they were ourselves…

And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Most, if not all, of us would do be willing to make any sacrifice that is necessary to meet our own needs.

This is the same attitude we should hold towards others. When we see a need in their lives, we are to be willing to do whatever is necessary to help them meet their needs whether they are physical, or spiritual, in nature.

Are we willing to give our coat to the one who is cold?

Will we give of our food to one that is hungry, or are our time and attention to those who are lonely?

Most importantly, are we willing to share the gospel in the face mockery, abuse, or even death, for those who are lost and ready to perish eternally?

These can all be displays of a genuine love that we hold in our heart for our relatives, our friends, our acquaintances, and even the strangers that the Lord brings into the path of our life.

 

Love is first in priority and importance among all the commandments of God…

There is none other commandment greater than these.

Loving the Lord and our neighbor are the two most important of all of God’s commands. This is because when we love God and others as we should, we will automatically keep all His other commands.

IF we love God, we WILL honor, worship, and serve Him by keeping all His commands. If we love Him will not take His name in vain, we will serve Him exclusively, we will not worship graven images etc etc etc.

IF we love others, we WILL not sin against them but will live to meet their needs. If we love others we will not lie to them, we will not murder them, we will not commit adultery against them, we will not steal their belongings etc etc etc.

 

 Our Lesson To Be Learned:

So in response to the question, “Is showing love an absolute imperative for the Christian?” We can see through the teachings of Christ plainly show us that this is the number one priority for the Christian.

We have seen that Christ emphasizes this point to us using implications and clear statement of His command to us…
1. We should all be concerned about the Lord’s desires for our lives…
2. We are to love God with our entire being…
3. We are to love others as if they were ourselves…
4. Love is first in priority and importance among all the commandments of God…

May we all settle in our hearts the supreme need to love the Lord and others as we seek to serve Him!

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

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SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

The Sacrifice Of Love

SIH STSTA ICONJohn 3:16 is arguably the most familiar verse found in the Bible….

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In 1 John 3:16-19 we find another set of verses that contains the same basic theme…

“Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.”

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

Let’s take a few minutes to study these two verses that address the Love of God which is shown to us by His acts of unselfishness and self-sacrifice…

THE SCRIPTURES:

John 3:16;  1 John 3:16-19;  Ephesians 5:1-2 ; 1John 4:9-11;  Mark 12:28-34; 1 Cor 13:4-12

THE STUDY:

Does God really love me?  This most important question has been asked by a multitude of people throughout the history of our world.  How can we really know if God loves us and cares about us and our needs?  The Bible gives us a clear proof of God’s love for us…. the sacrifice that He has made on our behalf.  Note our two texts….

John 3:16 ….

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In our first text, please note that the God’s LOVE was displayed through the GIVING of His Son, a true act of self-sacrifice on behalf of God for His people.  Why is the birth of Christ such an important and special act of God?  It is a clear display of His love on behalf of sinful mankind.

Please note our second text:

1 John 3:16-19 …

Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?   My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

Here, we find that the way we can “perceive” (be aware, to see, to know assuredly) that God loves us is found in His act of self-sacrifice in giving of His life for His people.  Also, please note that in this second text, we find the Biblical mandate to make sacrifices for others in order to show our love for them as well.

True love involves self-sacrifice… a “love” that is selfish and demands only to receive is no love at all. Putting ourselves first, and others second, is turning love on its head, perverting the very nature of love.

Lets look at 1 John 4:9-11….

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

In this set of verses the word “manifested” means to “to take the cover off” or “ to reveal”.  How did God “take the cover off” His love for us?  By sending of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.

Then Christ showed His love for us by giving His life for us.  He did this so that we, as sinners, could receive spiritual life.  The result of receiving God’s gift of love in our life, should be the showing of our love to others.

Ephesians 5:1-2 gives us more information about what Christ did for us…

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Here, we are told that the death of Christ was motivated by His love for us.  We are also told that His death for us was both a “sacrifice” and a “offering”.  It was a “sacrifice” in the sense that He gave of Himself (to the point of death).  It was an “offering” which tells us He willingly gave His life for us.   Oh what great love… to be willing to partake of death so that others could escape eternal death.  In these verses, we are once again reminded to follow this great example of self-sacrificial love.  How are we to do this?  By loving others as Christ loved us… with a self-sacrificial love.

Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.  And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question].

Here we find the importance of love being clearly defined.  Our love (willingness to sacrifice ourselves) to God is described as the first and great commandment.  The commandment that should be our second priority is the command to love (be willing to sacrifice ourselves) for our neighbor.  Upon these two commands all the other laws are based.

If we love God and others as we should we will keep all the other commandments of God.  For example, if we love God as we should we will not take His name in vain nor would we worship other Gods,  if we love others as we should we would not steal from them nor would we lie to them.  This basic principle (supremacy of love for God and others) applies to all the commands of God.

Finally in 1Cor 13:4-12 (KJV)

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;   Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Please note, in the “love chapter” of the Bible, we find that every manifestation of love is an act of self-sacrifice.  Some examples of this include…. Patience, humility, contentment the list goes on and on.  In each of these cases, all of these flow forth from a heart of love and sacrifice willing to put others first and ourselves second.

Truly, the display of love, is based upon acts of sacrifice on behalf of others around us.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

We are to appreciate the love that God has shown to us.  In doing so, we should be willing to follow His example and love others with a self-sacrificial type of love.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

Please study the Bible to learn more about the great love that God the Father has shown to us in the sending of His Son to the earth.  Then learn more about the love of God the Son, as He gave his life on the cross so that we all might receive the forgiveness of our sins.  (to learn more about the way of salvation, you are welcome to read my blog page “How to have a relationship with God”, or you  can email me with your questions.  Also you can find any Bible-believing church in your area and contact them… I am sure they would be happy to help answer any questions you might have.

What great love…. What great self-sacrifice!  What a great Lord that we serve!

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