The kingdom of God begins in the heart. It comes not with outward show. Look not here or there for manifestations of earthly power to mark its coming.
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. Luke 17:20, 21.
Except an individual be born again, he or she can not understand the character of the heavenly kingdom, or discern its spiritual nature.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
In other words, what we all need is a inward transformation. Furthermore, we nee to have a new heart.
God’s will is to purify and refine the defiled soul. Then He will implant in the heart His own righteousness, peace and health, and mankind will become complete in Him. This is the kingdom of God within you.
The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-denial, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world.
If Christ rules in your heart, you will be:
- crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts
- keeping your feet from going into forbidden paths
- saved from yielding to temptation
- hoping to be kept pure, spotless, and undefiled till the last
- willing to make any sacrifice to place eternal life within the reach of others
- gaining strength of principle and ability to stand faithful
- established in God.
Thus, what grace has begun, glory will crown in the kingdom of God.
Behold, the kingdom of God is within you
Some of the Pharisees had come to Jesus demanding: … when the kingdom of God should come? Luke 17:20.
More than three years had passed since John the Baptist gave the message that like a trumpet call had sounded through the land: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2.
Yet these Pharisees saw no indication of the establishment of the kingdom.
Jesus answered: 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. Luke 17:20, 21. The kingdom of God begins at the heart.
The works of Christ declared Him to be the Messiah. Moreover, He showed that His kingdom will be established through the:
- inspiration of His word
- inward working of His Spirit
- fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life.
Thus the greatest manifestation of the power of Christ’s kingdom is seen in human nature brought to the perfection of His character – Christ in you the hope of glory. Cilossians 1:27
Christ dwells in the heart by faith
Christ had spoken an eternal truth regarding the relation between Himself and His followers. He knew the character of those who claimed to be His disciples. Moreover, His Word tested their faith.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love; May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19
He declared that they were to believe and act upon His teaching. All who received Him would partake of His nature, and be conformed to His character.
This involved the renunciation of their cherished ambitions. It required the complete surrender of themselves to Jesus.
By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His hungering and thirsting people.
They will find that Christ is a personal Savior. As they feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus.
If this is your experience, you will certainly represent to the world the fact that you are complete in Him.
I no longer live but Christ lives in me
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Apostle Paul showed us that his sufficiency was not in himself. He spoke of himself as “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10.
Self was hidden and Christ was revealed and exalted.
Through the power of the righteousness of Christ you will depart from all iniquity. There must be a living connection of your soul with your Redeemer.
Thus through the channel of communication you grow in grace and knowledge of God. Moreover, the most important knowledge to be gained is a knowledge from experience of what it means to be born again.
In like manner as Nicodemus of old, our first need is humility of heart, a teachable spirit, and a new heart.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:5, 6
When the work of the Spirit of God is felt upon the heart, we shall see many earnestly seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Christ makes the subjects of His kingdom
They will return to their allegiance through the divine power. By laws and resources, God has ordained a heavenly communication with mankind’s spiritual life. In its action, it is as mysterious as the science and operation of the wind. John 3:7, 8.
Christ said: My kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36. It is the spiritual work of God upon the human heart that makes every one a new creature, without destroying or weakening any capability God has given to mankind.
Moreover, It purifies every attribute fit for connection with the divine nature. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Furthermore, a heavenly peace pervades the soul when man is born from above.
Christ’s subjects are those who keep the Law of God. If, after the light has come, the disobedient continue in transgression, they are subjects of the kingdom of the prince of this world.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6.
The professed people of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. The church has gone over to the world in transgression of the law, when the world should have come over to the church in obedience to the law.
Thus the church is becoming converted to the world and professing Christians slaves of Mammon.
The word believed becomes grace
Thus you will:
- be filled with sorrow for sin
- humble yourself, acknowledging the messages of warning, reproof, and encouragement
- not doubt His divine mercy or refuse God’s infinite love
- have a personal experience, appropriating Christ’s righteousness
- manifest your faith, relying upon the Christ’s atoning sacrifice
- have Jesus as always present Savior, realizing your need of Him
- trust and rest in Him, drinking of the water of life from the divine Fountain
- cast yourself upon Christ and become partaker of the divine nature.
All who come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of the truth will receive it. He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
God’s people should understand from the light of His word that they will be judged according to the light which shines upon their pathway.
All the privileges and opportunities given us by God are designed to make us better men and women.
True wisdom is revealed in seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
When humans are created anew in Christ, they become partakers of the divine nature. God’s power units in mankind the human and the divine. He clothes humanity with the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
Humans are enabled to discern the Savior. Moreover, by beholding they are changed into the likeness of His character. They recognize the words of Christ:
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matthew 28:18
He who discerns Christ is a partaker of his Spirit and his righteousness. He has the inward assurance that Christ is abiding in the soul-temple.
Unto what is the kingdom of God like?
The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed. Which indeed is the least of all seeds:
but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Matthew 13:31, 32.
The germ in the seed grows by the unfolding of the life-principle which God has implanted. Its development depends upon no human power.
So it is with the kingdom of Christ. It is a new creation. Its principles of development are the opposite of those that rule the kingdoms of this world.
Earthly governments prevail by physical force. They maintain their dominion by war. For instance, the Jews looked for the kingdom of God to be established in the same way as the kingdoms of the world.
To promote righteousness they resorted to external measures.
The founder of the new kingdom is the Prince of Peace. He is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29.
In Christ’s government there is no employment of force to compel the conscience. He implants a principle in heart. By implanting truth and righteousness, Christ counter-works error and sin.
How does the kingdom of the gospel grow?
The kingdom of Christ in its beginning seemed humble and insignificant. Compared with earthly kingdoms it appeared to be the least of all. By the rulers of this world Christ’s claim to be a king was ridiculed.
Yet in the mighty truths committed to His followers the kingdom of the gospel possessed a divine life. It had a rapid growth and widespread influence.
When Christ spoke this parable, there were only a few Galilean peasants to represent the new kingdom.
So the work of grace in the heart is small in its beginning.
The parable of the mustard seed will reach a triumphant fulfillment In the last generation. The little seed will become a tree.
The last message of warning and mercy will go to every nation and kindred and tongue, Revelation 14:6-14, to take out of them a people for his name, Acts 15:14. And the earth shall be lightened with His glory. Revelation 18:1.
How to enter the Kingdom of God
When you give up your own will, your own wisdom, and learn of Christ as he has invited you to do, then you shall find entrance into the kingdom of God.
None can be admitted who have
- nurtured suspicions, criticisms, bad temper, and pride
- habits of distrust, want of confidence, power of accusing
- educated themselves to pick flaws in the characters of others
- revealed a deformity of character which has made families unhappy and turned souls from the truth to choose fables.
Nothing can enter within the door that can possibly mar the happiness of the dwellers here. You cannot enter heaven with any deformity or imperfection of character, and you must be fitted for heaven now in this probationary life.
You can never see the King of beauty, if you are not yourself a representative of the loveliness of Christ’s character.
Your leaven closes against you the door of admittance. Moreover, you can not be permitted to spoil the feast. All who enter through the door have on the wedding garment, woven in the loom of heaven.
The wedding garment
The wedding garment represents the character which all must possess to be accounted fit guests for the wedding.
The parable of the wedding garment illustrates:
- the gospel invitation
- its rejection by the Jewish people
- the call of mercy to the Gentiles.
The call to the feast had been given by Christ’s disciples, proclaiming that the kingdom of God is at hand. Moreover, calling upon men and women to repent and believe the gospel.
But the call was not heeded and those who are bidden to the feast did not come.
This garment was a gift from the king. By wearing it the guests showed their respect for the giver of the feast.
The king’s examination of the guests at the feast represents the work of judgment of those who profess to serve God. It must be decided who are fitted to share the inheritance of the righteous.
This decision must be made prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. For when He comes, His reward is with Him, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12.
The righteousness of Christ, through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Savior.
Thus only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. He will put this covering upon every repenting and believing soul.
How to advance God’s kingdom in the world?
God calls for consecration in every line of His work. Act faithfully your part at your appointed post of duty. Work earnestly, remembering that Christ is by your side, planning, devising, and constructing for you.
God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
Give cheerfully, gladly, willingly, thankful that you are able to do something to advance God’s kingdom in the world. Empty the heart of selfishness, and brace the mind for Christian activity.
If you are in close connection with God, you will be willing to make any sacrifice to place eternal life within the reach of the perishing.
Ask God to bring souls into the truth. Then labor with all your God-given ability in harmony with your prayers?
Furthermore, bring every trait of your character into subordination to God, to be used according to the laws of His own kingdom, that you may be laborers together with Him?
Bear in mind that faith without works is dead, and that without faith it is impossible to please God. While we pray, we are to give all that is possible, both of our labor and our means, for the fulfillment of our prayers.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9, 10.
Know the snares of Satan
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8.
Satan and his angels make their snares especially for those who were looking for Christ’s second appearing and keeping all the commandments of God. They make them:
- place their affections upon money and cares of life more than for the success of Christ’s kingdom or the spread of the truths
- see the world before them in the most attractive light, that they may love and idolize it
- be disturbed and confuses if possible, destroying the love for one another
- have covetousness and love of earthly treasures the ruling traits of their character.
Thus influence will not be exercised to lead others to heaven.
Truths relating to God’s kingdom
Christ came to sow the seeds of truth. He who had stood in the councils of God, who had dwelt in the innermost sanctuary of the Eternal, could bring to mankind the pure principles of truth.
Ever since the fall of man, Christ had been the Revealer of truth to the world. By Him the incorruptible seed – the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever, 1 Peter 1:23, is communicated to people.
Conversely, Satan has been sowing the seeds of error. It was by a lie that he first gained control over mankind. In the same way, he still works to overthrow God’s kingdom in the earth and to bring humans under his power.
Christ longed to open to Israel the precious treasures of the truth! Because of their spiritual blindness it was impossible to reveal to them the truths related to His kingdom.
The lessons of Christ revealed their deficiencies of character and demanded repentance.
If they accepted His teachings, their practices must be changed, and their cherished hopes given up. In order to be honoured by Heaven, they must sacrifice the honour of people.
Moreover, if they obeyed the words of this new rabbi, they must go contrary to the opinions of the great thinkers and teachers of the time.
The word of God is the seed
Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. In it the life of the plant is enfolded. In like manner, there is life in God’s word. Christ said:
The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life. John 6:63.
He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life. John 5:24.
There is power in every command and promise of God’s Word. It is the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized.
Individual who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God.
Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant.
As received into the soul by faith, the incorruptible seed of the word will bring forth a character and a life after the likeness of the character and the life of God.
The same is done today
The truths of God’s word are set aside for human theories and speculations. The Bible’s divine authenticity is destroyed because many professed ministers and believers:
- do not accept the whole Bible as the inspired word
- some reject one portion, another question other parts
- set up their judgment as superior to the word
- teach the Scripture upon their own authority.
Thus the seeds of unfaithfulness are sown and the people become confused and know not what to believe. The Word of God is made to appear mysterious and obscure in order to excuse transgression of His law.
Christ rebuked these practices in His day and pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority. The Bible should be presented as the word of the infinite God, and the foundation of all faith.
Christ’s favourite theme was the paternal tenderness and abundant grace of God. He dwelt much upon the holiness of His character and His law.
He presented Himself to the people as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is the truth as it is in Jesus: make plain the requirements of the law and the gospel. Tell the people of Christ’s:
- life of self-denial and sacrificeProverbs 30:6
- humiliation and death
- resurrection and ascension
- intercession for them in the courts of God
- promise – I will come again, and receive you unto Myself. John 14:3.
- Preach the word. 2 Timothy 4:2
- Sow beside all waters. Isaiah 32:20
- Be instant in season, out of season. 2 Timothy 4:2
- He that hath My word, let him speak My word faithfully. Jeremiah 23:28
- Every word of God is pure. Proverbs 30:5
- Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
When the kingdom of God should come?
This is the question Pharisees had asked. More than three years had passed since John the Baptist gave the message:
The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2.
Yet they saw no indication of the establishment of the kingdom. Many of those who rejected John, and at every step had opposed Jesus, were suggesting that His mission had failed.
Furthermore, Jesus declared to His disciples:
The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. Luke 17:22.
You are in danger of failing to discern the glory of My mission. You do not realize how great is your present privilege in having among you, though veiled in humanity, Him who is the life and the light of men. John 1:4.
The days will come when you will look back with longing upon the opportunities you now enjoy to walk and talk with the Son of God.
How to inherit the Kingdom of God?
Those who here acknowledge God as their ruler, by obeying the laws of His government, will be accounted worthy of a place in His family in Heaven. For they have proved that they will reverence Him and obey His will in the future life.
The voice of our Lord will be heard shaking not only the Earth but also Heaven:
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34
They will see Him as He is, 1 John 3:2. They will escape those things that are coming upon the earth and will stand within the heavenly courts.
For Christ has promised:
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14.
God will purify and refine the defiled soul. Then He will implant in the heart His own righteousness, peace and health. Thus mankind will become complete in Him. This is the kingdom of God within you.
You are gaining strength of principle, if Christ rules in your heart. Thus you have power and ability to stand as faithful sentinel and true reformer.
You must have the deep moving of the Spirit of God, If you would enter the abode of the righteous when Christ shall come.
Thus you will have an individual experience and be complete in Him who is the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Furthermore, all your ways will be established in God, and what grace has begun glory shall crown in the kingdom of our God.
- RH, Jun, 1898; HL 43; YRP 61; AA 251; EW 266; DA 241, 506; COL 35-39, 77; RH Aug, 1890 –The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Bible Version (KJV)
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