The Church and the Kingdom of God

In the gospel of Matthew the word ‘kingdom’ is mentioned 52x. The word ‘church’ is mentioned 2x. At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17). Later on Jesus told his followers that they should “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).

Maybe it’s just me, but this makes me wonder why we are so foggy on what the kingdom of God is all about. Is it a distrust of authority? Could it be that we are accustomed to living under a democracy not a monarchy? Whatever the reasons might be I’m thinking that our failure to understand the kingdom of God has seriously limited our understanding of the church and her redemptive purpose in this world.

We need a concise, biblical definition of the kingdom of God; “The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation.” -The Gospel Coalition

Here are a three ways I believe a robust understanding of the kingdom of God would impact the church:

  • Churches would grieve over the fact that God’s people skip from one church to another because they know that while a church grows this way the kingdom of God does not. Less competition and more cooperation among churches.
  • Churches would work harder at equipping their people to live out their faith in the context of everyday life. Jesus is Lord over area of life and therefore all of life is an opportunity for ministry just waiting to happen. We would celebrate those who serve God in the workplace. Just as we pray for Sunday School teachers and Small Group leaders we would pray for those who are faithfully living as ambassadors for king Jesus Monday to Friday in the corporate world.
  • Churches would measure their effectiveness, in part, by signs of the kingdom of God flourishing in their city or suburbs.

What are some of the ways you can think of that a proper view of the kingdom of God impacts the way we view the church?

5 comments

  1. I think it would inform the gospel we as the church proclaim. We’d see justication and forgivness as the power to enable to live lives that display life in Christ Kingdom therefore discipleship would be a natural result of gospel preaching. Instead of stopping with justification we’d proclaim the purpose of it, i.e. being the church who display’s life under King Jesus reign as we make disciples in all of life.

    Thankful for your insightful post on the church and Kingdom. This is has become a dominant focus in my life and theology and I see how a proper understanding of the Kingdom of Jesus shapes everything.

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    1. Your welcome, thank you for blogging. I pretty much keep track of everything you post so know your blessing others with what Jesus is teaching you.

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  2. Michael, I appreciate this post. You ask the questions and state the thoughts I’ve expressed over the past two decades. When I was invited to speak in years past the issue of the Kingdom always came up. My contention is that the reason the Church has become what it is can only be blame on the neglect of the kingdom. Matthew 6 is vital to the context of the Church’s life in the midst of humanity. I suppose the same could be said of the entirety of scripture. Anyway, until we grasp the kingdom, submit to Christ the King and draw others into the reconciliation and redemption offered by the King, we will continue to have what we have in the way of church.

    Thanks again for the challenge to “seek first the kingdom of God.”

    Grace and peace…

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  3. when I look at different churches and religions I compare them more to sin not than to rightiosness wich is our unbelief , I am thankful that our God has given us the choice to believe what we want to believe even if it is a lie. and that I can choose to trust him

    when we look at an inividual or a church according to ” what we are going to do for God “then there is plenty of debate and division as to how that is going to be accomplished. that is ok

    Gods kingdom is all according to what he has done for us. He has provided complete forgiveness of sins, so that He can indwell those that believe Him. and He provides his people with all that is needed for life and godliness. We are only a part of his Kingdom because he saved us.

    We can become distracted when we try to build on something other than what the Lord is really doing or thinking that he needs us or needs our obedience to accomplish or what he is doing. all we can do is share what he has given us in abundance.

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