The Kingdom of God. That’s what happens when we die, right? That’s all about heaven, not about earth, right? Wrong! Something we need to get clear, right at the start of our look at the Kingdom is the fact that this isn’t mere speculation about some future possibility but is a discussion about a present reality.
Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:10 where He prays to God “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, just as it is in heaven.” And in Mark 9:1 Jesus tells His followers that “Some of you standing here right now will not die before you see the Kingdom of God arrive in power.” It is clear Jesus believed the Kingdom of God was going to be established on earth as well as heaven, and it wasn’t some far off ‘End Times’ thing, but was about to become a present reality. As Christians we can often get caught up in discussions about life after death. Heaven. Hell. Who will go where. But often we neglect the in-between. The life in all its fullness that Jesus promises us (John 10:10).Life before death.
This is the reality we live in. The Kingdom of God is here and now and also yet to come. One day God’s Kingdom will be fully, perfectly established on earth as in heaven. But since that night in Bethlehem the Kingdom has been breaking into earth. When Jesus died and opened the gates of heaven for us all to enter in He also made it possible for the Kingdom of God to become established on earth. We have now in part what will one day be in full. We are Kingdom citizens, living in enemy territory, for the purpose of claiming it for the Kingdom. Much like explorers once did with flags on mountain tops, it is our task to go into all the world, placing the banner of the Cross in the ground and declaring the message of the Gospel. The message of love, hope and forgiveness. The message of a second start. The message of life before death.
- Do you consider the Kingdom of God a future event or a present reality? Why?
- What differences would it make to our life if we placed as much thought on the importance of life before death as we do on life after death?
- How can you claim new territory for the sake of the Kingdom this week?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV