The Kingdom at Hand
Kingdom Series – Part Two
In this kingdom series, part two, we will consider two things:
- What were the instructions to the disciples concerning the kingdom?
- Where is the kingdom?
The instruction given to the disciples is clear, and it is the same as that which was preached by John the Baptist.
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 3:1-2 ESV
Jesus also proclaimed that message of the kingdom. This verse refers to a time that Jesus “withdrew into Galilee” after hearing that John had been arrested, and “He went and lived in Capernaum by the sea.”
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 4:17 ESV
This was after Jesus had gone into the wilderness for forty days, fasting and being tempted by Satan. Then John was arrested, and Jesus went into Galilee. The ministry of Jesus was beginning.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Mark 1:14-15 ESV
And so Jesus instructed His disciples to preach the same message of the kingdom. This was when Jesus sent the twelve apostles out to the surrounding towns to the lost sheep of Israel.
“And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Matthew 10:7 ESV
- At hand
- Strong’s Greek #1448, eggizó
- Definition: to make near, to come near
- Usage: trans: I bring near; intrans: I come near, approach
- transitive vs. intransitive
- Matthew 3:2 is intransitive; has come nigh, is at hand
- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
- Characterized by having or containing a direct object
- A change or shift from one state, subject, place, etc. to another
There is a transition from the kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of God, being of the spiritual realm, primarily in heaven, to the physical realm, to where we live. It is not that the kingdom has left the spiritual realm, but that it has further expanded into the physical realm.
- Jesus is my example, revealing the pattern of walking with God
- Jesus preached, and instructed His disciples to preach, that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- John the Baptist likewise preached the kingdom at hand
- Jesus and John were the primary prophetic voices of the age
- John the Prophet and Jesus the Rabbi
- But what of the previous 400 years?
- Known as the silent years
- It is said that God was not speaking
- Not unlike today when people say the gifts are for times past, or, that we have scripture, so there is no need for new revelation from God
- Was God really silent?
- Or were the people not hearing?
- Remember, Holy Spirit was not yet indwelling all believers, and Jesus had not yet come as the light of the world
- Where were the Prophets?
- Were they shirking their responsibilities?
- Were they too quiet to be heard?
- Were they not seeking God?
- I believe:
- God was not silent
- Prophets of the day were not strong
- Their message was being drowned out by the rise of Greek philosophers
- Explains the prominence of Greeks in Jesus’ day
- Google “Greek Philosophers and their years”
- There is quite a list from 5 BC to 5 AD
- Plato: 428/427 BC – 348/347 BC
- Student of Socrates; Teacher of Aristotle
- Epicurus: 341 – 270 BC
- Founder of Epicurean School of Philosophy
- Thespis: 150 BC
- 2nd Century BC Teacher
- Chrysippus: c. 280 – c. 206 BC
- Wrote 705 Books
- Any resemblance to current and past generations of our culture?
- New Age; Eastern Religions; Mysticism; etc.
- Whose voices, then and now, dominated the day
- The voices of Jesus and John were cutting through the noise
- This was not yet the New Covenant
- The New Testament and the New Covenant are not the same
- The New Testament is a partition of the bible
- The New Covenant is after the resurrection
- Jesus’ ministry was primarily to deal with the Jewish issue
- Bondage to The Law
But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the Old Covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses
is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:14-17 ESV
- This bondage to the law is broken only by and through Jesus
- The transfer from the law of sin and death to the law of liberty
- There is no bondage to the law in the kingdom of God
- Jesus was sent to the Jews and the Israelites
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
Matthew 15:24 ESV
- Jesus came to fulfill The Law
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not
a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Matthew 5:17-18 ESV
- Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But
all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.
Matthew 26:55-56 ESV
Then He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be
Luke 24:44 ESV
- On the cross Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished.”
- Must we continue to fulfill the Law?
- Past generations could not fulfill the Law, how then can we?
- Only in and through Jesus Christ
The instruction to the disciples, then and now, is to preach the kingdom of heaven, and that it is at hand, or has come near.
So, where is the kingdom of God? It is wherever I am. It is wherever there is any disciple of Christ Jesus.
- Jesus also taught His disciples to pray for The Kingdom to come to earth
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:10 ESV
- God’s Kingdom
- Exists in heaven
- Then, coming to earth
- Now, has come near
- God’s Will
- Is done in heaven
- Is to be done on earth
- Every kingdom has a king
- The King is Christ Jesus
- The King rules and reigns where His kingdom is
- King Jesus took back the keys, the authority, over the earth
- His body rules in His place
- He builds His Ekklesia, the ruling council
- The called, the chosen, the faithful
He who is the blessed and only sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
1 Timothy 6:15b ESV
They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.
Revelation 17:14 ESV
On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Revelation 19:16 ESV
- The Son of God, Christ Jesus, is the King over all
- Wherever He goes, His kingdom is with Him
- Heaven, I believe, is in another dimension
- So near as a touch, yet so far as unapproachable
- For the believer, the disciples of Jesus, the dimensions intertwine
- I am with Him in heavenly places
- My spirit interacts in the realm of heaven
and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:6 ESV
- God raised me up and seated me with Christ Jesus
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
- I am seated with Christ, being in Him
- I was baptized into Christ
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:3-4 ESV
- Upon surrendering my life to Christ Jesus, I felt compelled to be baptized
- I was baptized first as an infant
- I had no conscious role or decision
- I had no faith or conviction
- I had no knowledge of what was taking place
- It was a religious ceremony; a dedication of me, by my parents, to their faith or religion
- I was confirmed while a young person
- I had knowledge of the religion I was taught, and little more
- I participated in the religious ceremony
- My profession of faith was little more than the recitation of prayers I had been instructed to learn and recite
- This was not voluntary as it was expected of me, and I obediently followed the instruction
- I was baptized as an adult
- I had a testimony of an encounter with the Living God
- This was more than intellectual; this was relational
- I desired in my most inner being to follow and to know Jesus Christ
- I had repented and believed the gospel
- I gladly, with understanding, obeyed the admonition to be baptized
- This was a profession of my faith
- I cannot encourage disciples enough to be baptized upon confession of faith in Christ
- Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples and baptize them
- As a disciple, I needed, and desired, to be baptized
- I was baptized first as an infant
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
- This is not a religious exercise; this is an entrance to the Kingdom
- I was baptized into His death
- Likewise, I was raised into His newness of life
For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:10-11 ESV
- Because I am united with Jesus Christ, I will experience God’s eternal glory
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
- I am in Christ, and Christ is in me
As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.
2 Corinthians 11:10 ESV
- As with Paul, Christ in me is a truth
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
- Christ is in me, and Christ lives through me
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life 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 ESV
- I in Christ, and Christ in me
- I am to take this to the world
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of the mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27 ESV
- Again, where Christ is, there is His Kingdom
- I cannot think only concerning geography
- I must realize the spiritual aspect
- The spiritual Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; it has come near to earth
- With every newborn believer it comes closer to manifesting on earth as it is in heaven
- Since Christ is in me, wherever I am, the Kingdom of Heaven comes near
- In Christ through me
- And through all disciples of Christ
- I am, as all disciples are, a living stone making up the temple of God on earth
- The temple is in the Kingdom of God
- In Christ through me
As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood,
to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV
- And God dwells in the temple
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
- I do, in fact, belong to God
- God, You created me; I am Yours
- God, You redeemed me; I am Yours
- God, I surrendered to You; I am Yours
- I belong to God and He dwells within me
- I in Christ, and Christ in me
- Holy Spirit dwells within me
- I am held in the hand of God
- Though the literal picture is comforting, this is positional, secure in God’s possession
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out
of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:28-30 ESV
- Jesus desires that same unity with me
“All mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”
John 17:10 ESV
- Unity with one another; among the disciples
“Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
John 17:11b ESV
- That I would be in Father and Son, in unity
“That they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
John 17:21 ESV
- Chapter 17 of The Gospel According to John expresses the heart’s desire of Jesus for His disciples
- Like Jesus, I am to bring the Kingdom of Heaven wherever I go and introduce people to the King
- I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ
- I bring the gospel of peace and the ministry of reconciliation
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
- I am to speak truth on His behalf
- God is at peace with man
- Repent and believe
- God is at peace with man
For which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians 6:20 ESV
- An ambassador not only to souls, but to all creation
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the
freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:20-21 ESV
- All creation suffers under the curse and cries out to be set free
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 8:19 ESV
- I am to mature to sonship
- To be presented to Father as son
- To be revealed to all creation
- To overcome the curse and sin and death in Christ Jesus
- I am with Christ
- Called, chosen, faithful
And those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.
Revelation 17:14c ESV
- I am with Him
- More than that, I am in Him, and He in me
- He has chosen me, and He sends me into the world
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to
John 15:16 ESV
So, where is the kingdom? It is wherever the disciple of Christ is. It is at hand.
When is the kingdom? It is now, having been fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
All who were in the presence of Jesus in the first century have died in the flesh, having seen the kingdom of God with power.
And He said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
Mark 9:1 ESV