9- LIFE IN GOD'S KINGDOM
The Original Blueprint of the Creator
By Colleen Donahue
It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can know why we are here. He is the key to all of us being fully human because he links us to the King who made us.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God's Spirit left their human spirit and also left the earth. When we lost the Holy Spirit we lost the power and authority to control and influence our circumstances. The earth became cursed and everything became a fight for man -- i.e. by the sweat of his brow.
When the Holy Spirit left, the earth became an independent nation and self-governing. It was like man had rejected his family, his country and his inheritance. Man was left to fend for himself and he soon took on a survival mind-set mixed with fear. Man was left in a state of rebellion and every person born is born into this state of rebellion.
When the Holy Spirit left, man stopped learning about the culture of Heaven and began to create his own culture which was passed along to the children. We stopped living by Heaven's values and began to live by independent ideas of our own. A culture of darkness soon spread over the earth. Adultery, incest, abuse, domestic violence and every evil imaginable began to spread.
Satan who had deceived Adam and Eve in the first place usurped the earth for himself and with his stolen authority began to produce devastation and death all over the earth. His goal was and is to steal and destroy people's lives. He rules over the Kingdom of darkness and men are either willing or unwilling accomplices.
Man is trying to run planet earth without the Holy Spirit and therefore without God. This has led to disastrous results. Therefore, immediately following Adam and Eve’s rebellion and the loss of the Holy Spirit, God promised the return of the Holy Spirit and the restoration of earth as a territory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
God's plan was to send an offspring to be born in the colony -- earth. He (Jesus) would restore kingdom influence to earth. He would crush the power of the Kingdom of darkness and restore this power and authority to mankind. Men and women would be reinstated as local rulers on behalf of the King of Heaven. And all this would occur because the King would appoint the Holy Spirit to once more fill the spirit of men and women so that they could be what they were meant to be in the first place.
When we are "born again" we are snatched from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to God's kingdom. We have changed families. We are back in the family of God with all the rights and privileges as his children. For a time, while this fallen world exists, we will still suffer some of its dysfunction. Yet with the Holy Spirit indwelling us we can be fully alive today and back on track to fulfill God's will and purpose for our life.
We are not snatched from the Kingdom of darkness so that we can help ourselves or get involved with religion. No, we are transferred to the Kingdom of God where there is work to do -- things to discover and an abundant life to partake in.
Have you ever thought that many of our superheroes have come from outside of this world? This may indicate that deep down man knows that his help must come from outside this planet -- from another realm.
Everyone seeks to understand why we are here, the world around us and our place in it. But there is so much uncertainty and confusion because man has lost his connection to the Creator who has the original blueprint. Therefore the message so needed today is that God's rule -- i.e. The Kingdom of God has returned to earth, the Holy Spirit has returned through Jesus, and he is once again available to indwell our lives so that we can fulfill the purpose we are born for.
THE ORIGINAL BLUEPRINT OF THE CREATOR
- Within the trinity family there was such love that the Father desired to have many sons and daughters just like his Son Jesus.
Romans 8:29 / 1 Corinthians 15:49
God's kingdom is the home kingdom and is eternal in the Heavens.
Its dominion will endure through all generations.
- God created the earth to be a colony of Heaven. It was to be a kingdom government on earth that would be an extension and reflection of his own greater spiritual kingdom. Man was given the rulership over it.
Genesis 1:26 / Psalm 8:6 / Psalm 115:16b
- God created the earth to be a colony of Heaven. It was to be a kingdom government on earth that would be an extension and reflection of his own greater spiritual kingdom. Man was given the rulership over it.
3. But the success of God's plan depended on on-going communication between the home kingdom and the colony of earth. This connection was to be the very Spirit of God living within man's spirit. It's God's Spirit dwelling within our own that gives us understanding.
It works like this:
God has a purpose and a will about something. His Spirit knows and understands that purpose and communicates it to us so that we can carry it out on earth.
Both the Kingdom of Heaven and its colony earth exist through the will of our Creator King. Therefore for any of us to know and understand our purpose as human beings depends on how well we understand the "kingdom life" and our place in it as his children.
HOW THE GOVERNMENT OF A KINGDOM WORKS
- The word "God" is not so much a name but a description of his character. It means a "self-existing one" or "self-sufficient one." What name did God call himself when he appeared to Moses?
What name did Jesus call himself when the people were asking him if he thought he was greater than Abraham?
"I Am" is the present tense. God is always about NOW. Because he always existed, he was the Creator. Jesus existed eternally with the Father and the Father chose to create all things through his Son. God the Father was the architect but Jesus was his cosmic carpenter.
- God's first act of creation was the entire invisible world. He now had a realm to rule over and was both Creator and King. He called this invisible realm Heaven and it became the Kingdom of God. God lives and reigns in Heaven.
Psalm 73:25 / Psalm 123:1 / Isaiah 66:1-2a
The trinity Godhead was complete in itself so why would God create the universe and everything in it?
As you study the following concepts of a kingdom I hope some pieces of a puzzle begin to fall into place as they did for me. We are citizens in God's kingdom and not religious practitioners.
CONCEPT OF A KING
- The heart of any kingdom is the king. A kingdom has the sovereign rulership and governing influence of a king over his territory. He impacts his citizens with his will, intent and purpose and they in turn manifest a culture and society reflecting the king's nature, value, and morals.A. A king is king by birthright. In God's case He rules by sovereign right of creation. He owns everything and therefore is Lord over it.
Psalm 24:1 / (Repeated in:1 Corinthians 10:26)
B. A king's authority is absolute and therefore his word is law.
Matthew 5:18 / Luke 21:33
C. His word is absolutely trustworthy because God as our king is so.
1 Kings 8:58 / Psalm 111:7 / Ezekiel 12:25a
NOTE: A true king is NOT a dictator. Dictators possess no legal authority and therefore must use force and repression to stay in power. Their desire to exert power over people for personal gain is a corruption of our natural human desire for power.
D. What a king decrees is unchanging.
Isaiah 40:8 / Matthew 24:35 / 1 Peter 1:25
E. A king chooses who will be a citizen.
John 15:16, 19
F. A king's presence means his full authority is present. Because the King's spirit is present within a believer's spirit it means He and His full authority are present wherever we are.
Matthew 18:18-20 / Matthew 28:18-20 / John 14:12-14
G. A king's wealth is measured by his property. Wealth is important in a kingdom so that a king can take care of its citizens. It's only in a kingdom where there is true commonwealth. (A wealth common to all people). Since a king's citizens represent his glory, the greater their prosperity and well-being, the more honor the king receives.
This helps us understand the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon and her reaction.
1 Kings 10:1-9
Notice especially verse 9. Solomon's wealth ultimately drew her eyes to praise the king that Solomon served.
H. A king's name is the essence of his authority and he can delegate his authority to anyone he pleases to act on his behalf. God gave his authority to Jesus.
Philippians 2:9-11 / Revelation 19:16
And this is why as kingdom citizens we pray in the name of Jesus.
John 14:13 / Acts 3:6, 16
KINGDOM CONCEPT OF LORD
- The word "Lord" is a common one in the Bible. Today this word is used only in reference to our word landlord in reference to the person who owns the land or property. All true kings must own land and therefore he is automatically a lord. The word king relates to his dominion or authority and the word lord relates to his ownership of a geographical area. The Old Testament reveals God as King and Lord. He is owner of Heaven and earth by his divine right as Creator.
Genesis 1:1 / Psalm 24:1-2
Adonai is a common Hebrew word to refer to God in the Old Testament and means "the Lord my great God." It is usually translated "lord" referring to His ownership.
Joshua 3:11,13 / Psalm 97:5 / Zechariah 4:14 & 6:5
Yahweh, another Hebrew name for God, carries the same idea as master, owner, and lord.
Exodus 7:5 / Deuteronomy 6:4-5 / Psalm 16:2 / Psalm 22:27-28 / Psalm 47:7-9 / Haggai 2:8
The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as Lord and owner of all. Kurios is the Greek word meaning "lord" and means one who is master possessing ultimate authority and power.
We do not "make" Jesus Lord. He is Lord by creative right whether we acknowledge Him or not.
John 1:1-3, 14 / Hebrews 1:2-3
KINGDOM CONCEPT OF TERRITORY
- A Kingdom is the King's domain. It is the territory over which a king exercises his authority. If he doesn't have territory, he isn't a king. This explains why God created the earth BEFORE he created man. God wanted many sons and daughters who would rule over the earth as a corporate rulership of kings and queens representing Him in the colony. Without land man could not be king. God was to be the king of Heaven but he gave the earth over to mankind to rule.
Reread: Psalm 115:16
God owns the domain of earth because he created it, but he gave the rulership (not ownership) to man. Men and women both are kings by privilege not creative right.
Reread Genesis 1:26 and notice the words "let THEM have dominion...". This was God transferring authority to men and women over the earth. Earth is man's legal right and we have the power and authority of rulership.
Now here's a kingdom fact that is important. If a king sends his son to be king in one of his colonies, physical position becomes important. The son is king as long as his father stays in the home country. As soon as the father comes for a visit he becomes king and the son reverts back to being just a prince.
If God the Father was on earth then we could not be kings. When Jesus taught his disciples about prayer what was the first thing he recognizes?
God the Father's location in Heaven is the key to our power and authority on earth. If He was on the earth then men could not be kings.
KINGDOM CONCEPT OF CONSTITUTION
- A constitution is the documented will (called a testament), purpose and intent of the king. The king is the source of the constitution and NOT the citizens as it is in a democracy. For example, before Adam and Eve were ever created God had laid out the parameters for their lives. Adam and Eve had no input.
Genesis 1:26-28 / Genesis 2:8, 15-17
The King of Heaven is all good and he wants the best for us.
Jeremiah 29: 11-14
God as our King will never change his word. He and his word are eternally unchanging.
Psalm 33:11 / Psalm 119:89-91, 152, 160
It follows then that the king's citizens can't change his word either.
God's constitution or His word is contained in the Bible. It contains the benefits and privileges of its citizens and these often take the form of promises. Here are some examples:
Matthew 6:31-33 / Matthew 7:7-8 / Matthew 18:19-20 / Luke 12:32 / John 3:16 / John 5:24 / John 14:1-3
Whatever God has said in his word he will bring it to pass. For God always keeps his word.
1 Kings 8:56 / Ezekiel 12:25-28
God's word is the reference for all of life in the kingdom and his standards are found all throughout the Bible. Here are two examples:
Exodus 20:3-17 / Matthew 5:3-10
The Bible is our unchanging standard. By it we measure all modern values, beliefs, and ideas. Without this absolute standard, societies eventually collapse.
Luke 16:17 / Luke 21:33 / 1 Peter 1:25
KINGDOM CONCEPT OF CITIZENSHIP
- Religion has membership but the Kingdom of God has citizens. The Kingdom of God is not a religion but a government with a country called Heaven and Jesus as King.
Citizenship is the most valuable asset of any nation and a powerful draw, especially if that nation promises a better life than the one they came from. Once people understand the Kingdom of God they clamor to get into it.
The human race lost its citizenship in Heaven because we lost our kingdom. We lost our kingdom because we lost our territory or property to Satan who rules over the kingdom of darkness called earth. Jesus brought back to earth the kingdom we lost in Eden and gave us access to it again. We enter the Kingdom of Heaven through the process that Jesus called being "born again".
In part 1 of this study we went carefully through what it means to be born again. But here it is in brief.
A. We repent - have a change of mind - so that we turn from our independence and rebellion and turn towards God.
B. We place our trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our rebellion (sins) and recognize that he paid the price for our sins.
C. We accept the fact that when Jesus died, our old nature died with Him and therefore....
D. We receive the Holy Spirit as our indwelling Lord to become part of the new God-man race of humans (called the second Adam).
E. We acknowledge Jesus as the Lord and owner of our lives.
Every kingdom citizen is a naturalized citizen. A naturalized citizen has been born an alien from the country they are going to. They lawfully become a citizen living under the constitution and they have all the rights of a natural born citizen.
When we become citizens in God's kingdom we voluntarily align ourselves with a new government and a new country. We embrace its language, ideals and values.
Ephesians 2:19 / Philippians 3:20 / Colossians 1:12-14
The new birth makes us citizens of Heaven and that begins right now while we live on earth. Religion always postpones kingdom living to a future time -- after you die. It tells us that someday we will be full of joy. It pushes the glorious kingdom life we could have now away to a future time. This makes religion the greatest enemy of the kingdom.
Matthew 23: 13-14
All kingdom citizens have dual citizenship. We are citizens of the country we are born in on earth and we are also citizens of Heaven.
The kingdom government exercises jurisdiction over us wherever we are. We are IN this world but no longer of it.
John 18: 33b, 36
Our official citizenship is in Heaven. For when we are "born again" our names are written in Heaven's official registry even though we still live in the colony earth.
Philippians 4:3 / Revelation 3:5 / Revelation 21:27
This dual citizenship will continue until the day when the present Heaven and earth passes away and the King recreates them both.
The Kingdom of God is invisible because it resides WITHIN its citizens through God's Holy Spirit indwelling our own spirit. This invisible culture of the Kingdom of God works its influence throughout the culture at large in the same way that yeast influences bread dough.
God influences the culture we live in through the speech and behavior of the citizens that He indwells. People in this way see the Kingdom of God by our distinct culture.
KINGDOM CONCEPT OF CULTURE
- Every country has land, language, laws, symbols (like a flag), a constitution, a moral code, shared values and a social norms. Together these make up a culture. We are born into a culture. The culture is the prepared medium in which we grow. It is a manifestation of the collective thinking of its people and is at the center of the great cosmic conflict between the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of darkness. Whoever controls the minds of the people creates and controls the culture.
Jesus shared with his disciples what our values are to be as kingdom citizens when he preached what's called the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5: 3-10 (Note: the full sermon extends through Matthew 7:27)
For Kingdom citizens what is to be our priority?
Matthew 6:31-33 (especially verse 33)
Jesus summed up the ethics of kingdom citizens in this one verse.
Our behavior as citizens of God's kingdom will be sharply contrasted with the citizens of this world.
Galatians 5:19 - 26
Indeed the social norm for all kingdom citizens should be what's found in:
What will be our standard?
2 Corinthians 8:7
Every kingdom citizen should be on the cutting edge of excellence. We should be people leading the way for everyone else rather than following the patterns set by the world.
Kingdom citizens are always growing in the grace of God and therefore always changing for the better.
1 Peter 1:15-17
When we cooperate with the indwelling Holy Spirit He transforms our character so that we start to look like Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Excellence of character reflects growing in our faith. What does God give us to help us share in his divine nature and escape the corruption of the world?
2 Peter 1:3-4
As we act on God's promises what are some of the changes that we'll see in our lives?
2 Peter 1:5-8
When we act like kingdom citizens those around us start to realize that we are a people whom God has blessed. Why should we be full of joy?
KINGDOM CONCEPT OF LAW
All of creation was designed to function by inherent (or built-in) principles. These principles are called "natural law" and they determine precisely how all of creation should function. Laws never change and are observable, measurable and repeatable. For example: Birds don't need to be taught how to fly. They do so naturally. Fish don't need to have swimming lessons. They just naturally swim.
God's intention was to write his laws on our hearts and minds so that no one would have to teach us. Humanity's rebellion and separation from God made written law a necessity. When God gave us a new covenant through Jesus he reinstated his laws written upon our hearts.
Just as the natural realm operates according to inherent principles, so does the spiritual realm. God put them in place long before man ever arrived and therefore it's presumption on our part to question and challenge God about his laws and the way He runs things. Job tried to do this and here is God's answer:
Job 38:1-33 (especially vs.33). You can keep reading if you like for God keeps challenging Job and finally ends up asking him this question:
Job is knocked speechless and replies:
Job 40: 4-5
But God isn't through with Job yet. He tells him to brace himself like a man because he has a lot more questions to ask. If you have never read this whole section before I suggest you take the time. It will leave you speechless as well.
Job 40: 6- Job 41:34
Now Job has a revelation:
Job 42: 1-6 (especially verse 5)
The law is the word of the king and it gives us direction and instruction.
Torah is the Hebrew word for law and it became the name for the entire body of law that Moses received from God on Mount Sinai.
A commandment is when a law is repeated verbally.
A testament is when the law is written down.
Hence we have God's word in the Bible written down in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
In Greek there are two words for law. One is "nomos" from which we get our word for norm. The second is "ethos" and means custom. Norms and customs are the unwritten laws of a society and they are actually more powerful than written laws.
The written law is only necessary when the natural law is absent. Man's rebellion destroyed the natural law in our life. This made the written law of God as well as human government necessary to protect society by restraining evil.
No sooner had God given the written law to Moses on the mountain but that evil was erupting in the valley.
The purpose of the written law is to restore the natural law to our conscience. The natural law is referred to as "the spirit of the law" and is higher than the "letter of the law". Where the spirit of the law is there is no need for the written law. The law had to be put into place for sinners -- which meant all of us.
1 Timothy 1:9-11
Paul tells us that its because of the law that any of us can know what sin is.
He goes even further to say that when the law tells us we can't do something it actually brings the power of sin in our life to the forefront so that we want to do the exact thing the law tells us not to do.
And what does Paul tell us that this power does to us?
Paul clearly outlines the dilemma that all of us who want to follow God will face:
In Romans 7:24a Paul states what a miserable person he is. Then he cries out:
Romans 7:24b - 25
Our deliverance from this persistent, painful slavery to our sin nature is a person. It is Jesus Christ. And that's the ultimate purpose of the law -- to lead us to Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3: 23-25
Notice in verse 25 we learn that now that the way of faith has come we no longer need the law as our guardian. Why? Jesus is our deliverer from sin's power. When we put our faith in Jesus and receive his Spirit (called the Holy Spirit) to indwell our own spirit then the Holy Spirit teaches us directly.
John 14:26 / 1 Corinthians 2:13 / 1 John 2:27
It's the carnal or soulish Christian who keeps trying to make himself right with God by obeying all the rules. But he'll never win. Why?
Reread Romans 7:25b / Romans 8:5a / Galatians 5:1-4
The Christian who lives in partnership with the indwelling Holy Spirit overcomes the lusts of their flesh so that what becomes true?
Galatians 5: 16-18 (especially vs. 18)
With the Holy Spirit indwelling us the law of God once more becomes inherent in us. We love God so much that the entire Mosaic law can be summed up in this one law.
Jesus summed it up in two laws:
Mark 12: 28-31
I believe Jesus had to add our love for God as the first law because he was talking with a teacher of the law who prided himself on being right with God by keeping the law. Paul on the other hand was describing a person who was filled with the Spirit of Jesus. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our love for God is radical and bursting forth from us daily. We don't need to be reminded to love God and so that simplifies everything down to one command. "Love your neighbor as yourself."
When man rebelled against God and was evicted from the Garden of Eden he lost a relationship not a religion. When Satan deceived Adam and Eve they lost a kingdom not a religion. When God sent Jesus to earth as "God in the flesh" it was the return of the kingdom of God on earth and the opportunity opened for men and women to once more become citizens of it. It wasn't the return of religion.
Most of us who would call ourselves Christians in the West have no idea what a Kingdom government looks like and how it operates because we live in the era of democracy. There are no kingdom prototypes for us to really see what God had in mind. But we will never come into the full purpose for our lives until we understand our place as citizens in the Kingdom of God.
This study has attempted to show us that God is King by creative right. Because He existed in eternity with Jesus, God chose to create all things through His Son.
All kingdoms work in a similar manner. There is the king who owns a territory. Everything in a territory is the property of the king and he is the lord over it. The citizens own nothing but have the use and stewardship of everything. The citizens partake in a commonwealth which means that there are no "haves and have-nots". A true king has only good will planned for his citizens and he lays his intention out in a written constitution. The law of the kingdom helps to secure the rights of the citizenship to what the constitution promises and prescribes for anyone who violates those laws. The culture of a kingdom reflects the king, the land, the language, the constitution, the laws, the values and social norms.
The Kingdom of God has all these concepts. God is the King and His territory is Heaven and earth. He has given earth to man to be the ruler over it as a colony of Heaven. God owns everything but man manages it. When God sent his Son to earth Jesus became its King and Lord. He brought the Kingdom of God back to earth and opened the doors for us to become citizens in it through the new birth.
When we are born again we gain citizenship in God's kingdom. We gain back our kingdom and the authority to rule over it. We do not gain membership in a religion. In the studies that follow we'll be focusing on how we are to live as citizens in the Kingdom of God.