WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 27, 2022
TOPIC: ADVANCING THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH
BY T. O. BANSO
“And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it” (Matthew 11:12 New Living Translation).
The Kingdom of God, as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John put it, was the focus of Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry, or the kingdom of heaven, as the book of Matthew alone, in addition, puts it.
Why is the phrase “the kingdom of heaven” used in the book of Mathew instead of “the kingdom of God”? One argument is that it is because the Jewish culture in the days of Jesus showed reverence for God, and, therefore, avoided pronouncing His name. It was usually substituted with another word such as “heaven.” This practice still exists today among some Jews.
Generally, “the kingdom of heaven” and “the kingdom of God” are used interchangeably as synonyms but some Christians try to differentiate between the two. Nevertheless, there are present and future dimensions of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 12:28; 13:43; 25:34).
Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary says, “The kingdom of God means the rule or reign of God in the entire universe, in the world, and in our hearts. The primary indication of the presence of the kingdom in the world is the transformation of life, both individually and socially. A person enters the kingdom not by saying the right words, but by doing ‘the will of My Father in heaven.’”
Jesus told many parables to illustrate the Kingdom of God and he also told his disciples to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was near (Matthew 10:5-7). Even after his resurrection, he still preached the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). It is important to note that Jesus Christ used the word “church” only three times in just two verses in the Bible, and this is only in the book of Matthew (Matthew 16:18; 18:17). The use of the word church is not credited to either Jesus or any other person in the other gospels, Mark, Luke, and John.
The Kingdom of God was very important to Jesus and it should be to you, too. In Luke 17, when the Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21 New King James Version). He said the kingdom of God was already in their midst. Jesus was referring to the immediate manifestation of the Kingdom. In Matthew 12:28, Jesus said, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (New King James Version).
But there is also the future inauguration of the Kingdom of God, which will be fully realized at the second coming of Christ. Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Your Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10 New King James Version). The present Kingdom of God is a preparation for the coming Kingdom, and anyone who is not part of the present Kingdom can’t be part of the future Kingdom.
Be part of the Kingdom of God now and look forward to the future enthronement of the Kingdom. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 New King James Version).
Everyone should not only enter the Kingdom of God but should also be involved in advancing it. Matthew 11:12 says, “And from the time John the Baptist began preaching and baptizing until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people attack it” (New Living Translation).
How can you advance the Kingdom of God?
1. Be born again. Give your life to Jesus to see the Kingdom (John 3:3). Receive the message of the Kingdom with the simplicity and humility of a little child. This is how to enter the kingdom. “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Mark 10:15 New King James Version). Only those who are in the kingdom can advance it.
2. Preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God as Jesus did (Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:42-43; Matthew 4:23; 9:35). To advance the kingdom of God means to expand the scope and influence of the Kingdom on earth by taking the message of the kingdom to more people and places thereby making more people come in. This includes demonstrating the power of God – healing, casting out devils, and signs and wonders (1 Corinthians 4:20; Mark 16:17-20).
3. Represent the Kingdom of God well. Be a good ambassador of Christ. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
4. Join the defence of the faith. Defend the truth of the Good News. You must contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
5. Pray for the Kingdom. Pray for the Kingdom to come soon and for more workers into the harvest field (Matthew 6:10, 9:37-38). Pray for the ministers of the gospel and other workers in the Kingdom. Pray for more grace, utterance, boldness, open doors, favour, protection, etc. (1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Hebrews 13:18-19; Colossians 4:2-4).
6. Join the Kingdom workforce. Put your hand to the plow and don’t look back (Luke 9:62). Be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (1 Corinthians 15:58). Use your spiritual gifts and talents for the Kingdom of God.
7. Use your God-given position for the benefit of the Kingdom of God (John 19:38-42; Ezra 1:2-4; Nehemiah 2:4-6).
8. Support Kingdom projects with your money and other resources. Such projects include evangelism, missionary support, and ministry to the poor, orphans, and widows. (Luke 8:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:6-13; Proverbs 11:24-25; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 11:8-9; Philippians 4:15-19; Acts 11:28-30).
Don’t be a spectator in the Kingdom of God; be a participant. Let the Kingdom of God advance in your hands. Join others to advance the Kingdom of God that more souls may come in.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I shall not be a spectator in the Kingdom of God; I shall be a participant. I have put my hands to the plow; I shall not look back in Jesus’ name. Father, strengthen Your servants and other labourers in the Kingdom of God; let them not be tired or weary. Father, let them see results that will further encourage them. Let Your Kingdom advance in our hands. The harvest is truly great, but the laborers are few. O Lord of the harvest, send out labourers into His harvest.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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