The kingdom of God. What does it mean? It means that when God is in His rightful place, He will be king of your life. The second syllable of the word "kingdom" reminds us of the word dominion. He rules.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that’s the little greeting that establishes the fact that this is your good friend Bob Cook and we’re back together again to share from the Word of God. Oh, how I praise God for the opportunity of just being with you and sharing the Word of God. It’s very precious to my own heart, and I’m grateful.
You and I have been looking at John 18, the 18th chapter of the Gospel of John. Our Lord Jesus has been brought before the High Priest first of all, and then, well, He went to Annas first, because he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, and then Caiaphas had some words with Him.
And now they led Jesus, this is 18:28, led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Hall of Judgment, and they got Pilate up. I’m sure he wasn’t too happy to be rousted out of the sack so early. But when he came out sleepily and said, “What’s up? What’s up here? What’s going on here? What accusation do you have against this man?” And they didn’t really say, they said, “If he wasn’t a bad man, we wouldn’t have brought Him.” Well, he said, “You take care of him, I’m sleepy.” [chuckle] You can see that, can’t you? And they said, “No, we can’t do this, because He’s done something worthy of death.”
So then he brought Him in, and he said, “What is this? Art Thou the King of the Jews?” Our Lord Jesus said, “Are you saying this of yourself or somebody else told you?” “Why,” he said, Pilate said, “Your own nation has delivered You over to me, what have you done?” [chuckle] You can just hear the dialogue there.
And the Lord Jesus said something that we want to dwell on for a moment. He said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now is My kingdom not from hence.” Kingdom, kingdom, this is one of the verses that I learned when I was maybe six years old. “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now is My kingdom not from hence.”
What did He mean when He said, “My Kingdom”? Well, you and I know, if we know the Lord Jesus. Read the Gospels and find how often that expression, “the Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of Heaven” was used, “Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” John the Baptist said. Jesus began to preach, as recorded in Mark’s gospel, “The time is fulfilled, repent and believe the Gospel. The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” I believe is exactly what our Lord said in those first sermons, as recorded in Mark 1. And then, there it is, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent ye and believe the Gospel.”
That was the beginning of His ministry and on through He talked about it, “The Kingdom of God is come unto you,” and they were told to go out preaching the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is at hand. “Enter into the Kingdom of God,” you read in another passage.
Now, what is all this? When you take it right on the surface- I like to look at the surface of a word and see what it’s actually saying, don’t you sometimes? King, king, that has to do with absolute sovereign authority. Kings nowadays, of course, are constitutional monarchs and their authority is limited drastically by the constitution under which they operate, for the most part. But in the day when the Bible was written, a king had absolute authority, no one could question his judgments. He could have been wrong, but he was king. Now, that word “king” then means absolute sovereign authority, and that fits, of course, with the very nature of God, because He is sovereign. “I am the Lord, that is My name,” He said, “And My glory will I not give to another.”
The ancient wrote and said, “I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever, and no thought can be withholden from Him.” Sovereign God. That’s the concept with which you begin, and I wanna tell you something- you wanna lead people to Christ, they have to realize they’re dealing with God. They’re not just seeking a better lifestyle, they’re not just seeking to be able to live with themselves comfortably, make the pig comfortable in the pigsty. Uh-uh. If you’re gonna lead people to a real experience with the Christ, they have to start by realizing that they’re dealing with God, almighty sovereign God, of whom it is said in the Psalms, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” Our sin has angered Him and insulted His holiness. Something had to be done about it, and the Lord Jesus Christ came down the stairways of the stars and said, “I’ll take your place”.
He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed. And so the wrath of God is assuaged. And God commendeth His love now, His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The word “for,” a little Greek word “huper,” up, over, in our place, instead of us. He took your place.
The Kingdom of God. What does it mean? It means that when God when He’s in His rightful place will be king of your life. The second syllable of the word kingdom reminds us of the word dominion. He rules. He’s sovereign, and He rules. One has to do with your attitude toward God, the other has to do with your relationship with God. And both of them are fixed when you come to Calvary. “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling. Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me. And Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come. Foul, I to the fountain fly, wash me Savior or I die.” The old hymns had it, didn’t they?
Your attitude toward Him needs to realize that He is indeed the King. He’s sovereign. He could blow you away just by looking away from you for an instant. “In Him we live and move and have our being”. The very fact that your heart keeps on beating is the mercy of God. Paul says, “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”. And the other side of it is, voluntarily and by God’s grace, you let Him have dominion over you. You say, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” That was Saul of Tarsus praying on the road to Damascus. “Who art thou, Lord?” “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest. It is hard for you like a dumb ox to kick against the ox goad.” Next prayer, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” There you have, in essence, the change from his self-centered life, to one where you have entered the Kingdom of God.
There’s an interesting verse over in Romans 14 that comes in here. It says, “For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” And in those words “meat and drink” we have wrapped up the concept of all of the material things and activities that are significant to us. What shall I eat? What shall I wear? Where shall I live? How shall I be taken care of? So far as my human needs are concerned, these are of great importance to us and oftentimes tend to obscure our idea of the eternal. Paul said, “Now, listen, that may be important, but the Kingdom of God, if you want God to run things, you’re gonna have to pay some attention to some other concepts, the first of which is righteousness.” To be right with God and right with people is the essence of the basis, shall we say, on which God will work in my life. Said the psalmist, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh it shall have mercy.” God said, “You get right, and I’ll lead and guide and use you.” It’s that simple.
I have constantly to come back to the Cross and plead the merits of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus for the shortcomings and failings of my own human heart. And I know the same must be true of you, dear one. The fact remains, however, that at any given moment, you can be right with God through faith in the Lord Jesus, if you have confessed your sins and turned your back on them, and you’re walking as best you know in the will of God, that minute you can be aware of the Kingdom of God. And of course, as a byproduct, it’s the peace of God that passes all understanding. “Justified by faith,” says Paul in Romans 5:1, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” There’s peace with God that comes when you stop fighting the war, and there’s a peace of God, His Presence in other words, that comes when you commit everything to Him and let Him run things.
John Blanchard, the great English Bible teacher and evangelist, was speaking in meetings where I was present, and he remarked that there are some people who are always saying, “Praise the Lord,” but he noticed that they’re conspicuously quiet when things go wrong.
Well, we need to praise God when things are not going so well. Job lost all of his possessions. He was a millionaire by our standards. He lost all his possessions and the news came within just a few moments. And then moments later came the news that he had lost all of his sons and daughters in a terrible tornado that had hit the home. And so it says he knelt down before God and he said, “Naked came I from my mother’s womb and so shall I return thither. The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” If we put it in our colloquial way, we would say, “Well, praise the Lord. God be praised. To God be the glory.” We need to learn to commit everything to God in praise, even when things are not going well, and that, of course, then leads you to that third word, “joy,” in the Holy Ghost.
Joy isn’t happiness. Happiness happens. The old English chorus said, “Happiness happens when everything pleases. But joy abides in the heart that is stayed in Jesus.” Well, beloved, I trust that you are a member of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” but He can be King of your heart and life this day. May it be so.
Dear Father today, we acknowledged Thy Kingdom in our lives. O, wilt Thou rule and reign, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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