Mark 1:14-15 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
What is the kingdom of God? It is a realm where God rules and reigns supreme. It is a realm that is experienced now, as well as a realm that is to come. We are going to look at Scripture references that speak of the kingdom of God and let them speak to us, not trying to fit them into a “system of theology”, which can oftentimes “explain away” things that contradict one’s foregone conclusions or interpretations. In other words, we will let Scripture interpret Scripture and not be concerned about what we may perceive to be a “contradiction” or “problem” with what we cannot “reconcile” with a particular theological bent.
The exact phrase, kingdom of God, is found 70 times in 69 verses in the New Testament. It is not found once in the Old Testament. The kingdom of God at times refers to a place; at other times it refers to a realm. But in every context, it is connected with God, The King of the kingdom. Let me say at this point that the kingdom of God is both Someone and something that is meant to be experienced and sought after. I say that because we are living in an age of incredible academic knowledge of Scripture. With that knowledge, we have formulated kingdom principles. Now bible knowledge and understanding bible principles are important. But never be content with a “paper” or “academic” understanding of Scripture or “kingdom principles” apart from a personal experience of those Scriptures or principles in your life.
A principle of the kingdom of God apart from an encounter with The King of the kingdom is a kingdom without a king. It is the kind of knowledge that can puff you up. It is enough knowledge to earn you a master’s degree in theology or to pass an online quiz to be ordained, but that is not the goal or purpose of biblical revelation regarding the kingdom of God. Remember, eternal life is knowing God. It is knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. The new birth is relational. It is a heart and loving relationship with God. Mark’s gospel begins with Jesus preaching the kingdom of God. He called it a gospel, or good news. So, anything having to do with the kingdom or about the kingdom is good news. How do we enter the kingdom? Repent and believe the gospel. But let me say lovingly that the message of the kingdom of God that Jesus preached is not repent and become a Baptist, or a Catholic, or a Calvinist, or an Arminian. He said repent and believe the gospel. What gospel? The gospel of the kingdom of God. No earthly religious or theological group owns the kingdom of God. It is not a franchise. It belongs to The King alone, and is given to those who receive Christ as King and follow Him as Lord. Selah