General Matters Pertaining to God's Kingdom (John 18:36)
1. This morning we examined "3 things about God's kingdom" [Jesus is the King of God's kingdom, Christians are citizens of God's kingdom, and the New Testament of Christ is the law of God's kingdom]. 2. This evening we are concentrating on some additional "general matters that pertain to God's kingdom." 3. Let us begin by examining some . . .
I. GENERAL MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE NATURE OF GOD'S KINGDOM
A. According to John 18:36, the Lord's kingdom "is not of this world." 1. When Jesus made this statement He was on trial before Pilate. 2. Pilate asked Jesus if He was "the king of the Jews." 3. Many of the Jews were waiting for a "messiah" who would drive the Romans out of Palestine and restore Israel to its former glory. 4. Jesus was not the kind of king they were looking for, so they crucified Him. 5. This resulted from a misunderstanding of the nature of God's kingdom. 6. God's kingdom is not of this world -- it is a spiritual kingdom. 7. If we fail to understand this fundamental principle we might make the same mistake that the Jews made and think that Jesus is coming back to establish His kingdom on earth, as many people believe. 8. The Lord's kingdom is not of this world; however, . . . B. The kingdom exists on earth at the present time. 1. It was established in Jerusalem. 2. In Revelation 1:9, John said that he and others were in it. 3. The Lord's kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that exists on earth at the present time [the church]. C. We learn from 1 Corinthians 15:24 that the Lord will deliver the kingdom to the Father at "the end." D. The Bible also speaks about heaven as God's kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18). E. These principles will help us understand what Peter was writing about when he said that we "look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13). 1. Peter was describing heaven as a very special dwelling place, using terms that are familiar to us. 2. Many times the Bible uses language like this [ex.: Canaan is described as a land "flowing with milk and honey"]. F. Let us turn our attention to some . . .
II. GENERAL MATTERS THAT PERTAIN TO ENTERING GOD'S KINGDOM
A. The Bible teaches that some people will not be allowed to enter the kingdom. 1. Those who practice "the works of the flesh" listed in Galatians 5:19-21 "shall not inherit the kingdom of God." 2. We learn from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God." B. To enter the kingdom, we must: 1. be "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3) a. The poor in spirit are aware of their spiritual needs. b. They recognize their spiritual condition and depend upon God for salvation. 2. do the Father's will (Matthew 7:21) 3. "be converted, and become as little children" (Matthew 18:3) 4. "be born again" (John 3:3-5) 5. be "translated" into it (Colossians 1:13; 2:12).
1. Today we have studied a number of passages that teach us about God's kingdom. 2. Let us close with the Lord's instruction in Matthew 6:33.