Jesus taught many things about the Kingdom of Heaven. And, the subject has been the topic of many sermons, discussions and church related movements; some good and some not so good. If we disregard the teachings of man and center only on the scriptures, we are able to paint a picture of God's Kingdom that looks drastically different from the one drawn by the architects of 21st Century Churchdom. Perhaps, it would be easier to start with what the Kingdom is NOT. ...for the Kingdom of God is NOT meat or drink. We could paraphrase the Apostle Paul's quote by saying: the Kingdom of God is not apprehended in the physical realm....it is not a tangible Kingdom wherein flesh and blood is enthroned. Jesus put it most succinctly: " the Kingdom of God comes not with observation, for the Kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)
Understanding that the Kingdom cannot be observed with the natural eye, we must then look inward to see it's dominion. Inside of us, is a kingdom. This kingdom can be accessed and enlarged either for good or for evil. It is the hidden man of the heart that colors the canvas of the unseen domain. The spirit world dominates this Kingdom. Before we are alive spiritually, this kingdom is cold and dark. A forest of self-will dominates the landscape. Only by the glorious light of the Gospel will the old kingdom of shadows and types be replaced with the truth of eternal values and everlasting
Righteousness, as defined by the Miriam-Webster dictionary is as follows: 1) acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin. 2) morally right or justifiable 3) the quality or state of being righteous. It is NOT the righteousness we produce by our own efforts. Clearly, the scriptures tell us that all our own righteousness is as filthy rags. (Is. 64:6) The righteousness we now posses is the righteousness given to us by Jesus, Himself. "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption."( I Cor. 1:30) We now see that the foundation stones of this Kingdom rest upon the finished work of Calvary. The Savior, whom freely delivers us into His Kingdom because, "it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." (Luke 12:32)
It is written that a three fold cord is not easily broken. The three fold cords of the Kingdom are: righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Peace is the second cord that secures our citizenship in this the Unseen Kingdom. Jesus spoke concerning this state -of -being called peace:
1) "My peace I leave with you, my peace I give you, I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
2) "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world." ( John 16:33)
3) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9
This cord of peace that surrounds us in His Kingdom, is a gift. The world cannot give it to you and the world cannot take it from you. It destroys fear and focuses the eyes of our inner man on the cornerstone of His Kingdom: heart -peace. All that we see with our physical eyes that would produce the haze of uncertainty and despair is blown away by the wind of the Spirit that reassures us Jesus has overcome! Because He has overcome we also enter into the victory. Jesus revealed more of this inner-kingdom when He told His disciples clearly, "I AM in my Father, and you are in me and I AM in you." (John 14:20) We are safe.
Many pragmatists insist: seeing is believing. This is not a new "truism." The disciple we refer to as "Doubting Thomas", perhaps, authored this ancient proverb when he uttered the famous words." Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." (Jn. 20:25) However, the Kingdom of the Heart is not seeing with the physical eyes, but with the eyes of the soul. The Apostle Peter wrote: "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." JOY! The joy of believing. And as you believe you see. Joy! How to define this small, three letter word. A tiny word that defines an emotion that creates such satisfaction that our life takes on a divine dimension. Joy: delight, great pleasure, jubilation, triumph, exultation, glee, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture...how would you define it? That state of emotional completion that defies the circumstances of life. Joy, the third chord in the Kingdom that is not easily broken and identifies our citizenship in that Eternal Capitol, the Heavenly Jerusalem.
'For the Kingdom of heaven is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. In order to maintain our Kingdom perspective, we must be led by the Spirit of God: our Paraclete, our Comforter, the One who walks beside us, He who leads us into all Truth and shows us things to come. (Jn. 16:13) Living in the invisible Kingdom is living by the Spirit of Almighty God. It is walking, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. It is having the eyes of our hearts enlightened, so that we will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ when he raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. ( Ephesians 1: 18-21)
FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NOT MEAT OR DRINK, BUT RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY IN THE