The Unshakeable Kingdom

In the first part of this trilogy we saw that Jesus is the Unchangeable Person – the same yesterday, today and forever!  We now explore another related truth: that this Unchangeable Person is ruling and reigning and forever extending His Unshakeable Kingdom…

The Gospels make clear that the Kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus throughout His early ministry. In Matthew’s Gospel alone, for example, there are over 50 references to the “Kingdom”: John the Baptist prepared the way by calling people to “repent, for kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus began His ministry with exactly the same message (4:17), before travelling throughout the region “announcing the Good News about the Kingdom” (4:23, 9:35). His ‘Sermon on Mount’ was all about the Kingdom (Matthew 5-7); He taught to us pray that His Kingdom would come on earth as in heaven (6:10) and to seek the Kingdom above all else (6:33).  Then He sent-out the Twelve to announce that the Kingdom was at hand (10:7), told parables describing its growth (Matthew 13, 20, 22, 25) and made clear that the good news of the Kingdom must be preached in the whole world before the end will come (24:14).  And in His last forty days with His disciples, immediately prior to empowering them to be His witnesses everywhere, He spoke of nothing other than (you guessed it!) the Kingdom (Acts 1:3)!…

As we’ve posted elsewhere, God’s Kingdom comes when His will is done (Matthew 6:10) and so the ‘Kingdom of God’ is not a place but rather the sphere of His rule and reign through Jesus, who triumphed over every enemy and is now enthroned as King of kings and calls all people to come and live under His rule!…  This revolutionary message, proclaimed by the first followers of Jesus “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) – but far too often the message of today’s Church is at best far less potent and at worst a different agenda altogether. It’s vital that we preach the Kingdom!  So, let’s consider four characteristics that should be part of our message: 

Firstly, the Kingdom is EVERLASTING.  Indeed, the Kingdom (God’s will outworked) has always been God’s purpose. Adam and Eve were commissioned to establish His rule and stewardship over creation.  And when God found in King David a man after His own heart, He promised: “Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever” (2 Samuel 7:16).  David understood the eternal dimensions of this and knew his earthly kingdom was a foretaste of something much bigger, and declared “your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations” (Psalm 145:13).  As the prophet Isaiah foresaw, the child born to us would have the government of the world on His shoulders and would reign “from that time on and forever” (Isaiah 9:6-7).  Unlike every other dynasty, dominion or kingdom, the Kingdom of God will never end!  We needn’t be fascinated or distracted by passing trends; or by movements, people or causes that come and go – let’s seek first and live for God’s Kingdom!  And His Kingdom is not only ever-lasting it’s ever-growing. As most translations put it: “of the increase of His government and its peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:7) – because the zeal of Almighty God is forever extending His Kingdom.

Secondly, Jesus repeatedly proclaimed and proved that His Kingdom is GOOD NEWS (Matthew 4:23, 9:35).  In fact, this ever-lasting, ever-growing Kingdom is the greatest news! Why? Because Jesus has defeated every enemy (Satan, sin, sickness and death) and is crowned King of kings! And by His victory He’s restored mankind, healed creation and provided for every known need. And because, unlike every failed and failing kingdom, nobody is beyond the scope or reach of Christ’s Kingdom – it’s good news for everyone, everywhere.  And the Kingdom is all the good news we need; as E. Stanley Jones put it, it is ‘God’s total answer to man’s total need’.  Everything else is peripheral; every other good cause is smaller than His Kingdom. In fact, any other ‘gospel’ leaves us needing more, But the gospel of the Kingdom – that Jesus is Lord and offers new life – is all-sufficient.  The really good news is the Kingdom, with nothing added or subtracted.  If our goal is feeding the hungry, it’s not big enough; if our goal is strengthening marriages or empowering parents these aren’t big enough!  If our goal is impacting politics, influencing our work-places or improving our neighbourhood, these are all good but they’re all too small!  Jesus summarised His mission by saying: “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom…because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43).  Our goal must be to see His kingdom established – and it will include all those things, but will eclipse them all as well! 

Thirdly, the Kingdom is OUR NEW HOME, the proper place of belonging of all who follow Christ!  Jesus said we “see” and “enter” the Kingdom when we’re “born again” (John 3:3,5); that’s when we begin to live in the dimension of His rule and reign over our lives: we start making decisions and choices that please Him; we begin honouring Him with our words and actions; and we begin to live for His cause… We start a new life in a new Kingdom.  It’s re-birth, a reorientation, and a relocation!  God has “rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His Son” (Colossians 1:13).  And we’re also “added to the church” (Acts 2:41), which is the community of the King; the people amongst whom His Kingdom is made visible to a watching world. If ‘Jesus is Lord’ we will obey His instructions, mend broken relationships, shun gossip, honour God with our finances, pray before making big decisions…  And when our lives, families, homes, and careers come under the rule and reign of God, there is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17) – and health, order and blessing – and it will soon be obvious to others that we live under a different regime.  

And all this brings us to declare that the Kingdom of God is UNSHAKEABLE!  In Hebrews 12:27-28 we read that “all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain” and that “we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable…”. As we’ve said already, every alternative to God’s Kingdom has been, is being, or will be shaken. Only His Kingdom will stand firm!  And in the midst of the many shakings of our day (in health, economics, politics and much else) we may not understand everything, but we can certainly ‘stand under’ the Throne of King Jesus. And, as citizens of His Kingdom, we can represent it in every way: we can be ever-growing, good news and unshakeable.

We’re at home in a Kingdom that’s everlasting and ever-growing and is good news for the whole world. Jesus is same yesterday, today and forever, and His Kingdom cannot be shaken – and it doesn’t get more secure than that!…

(An extended video version of this message is available here)

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