The kingdom of God was the major theme of Jesus’ ministry and His favorite description of what God is doing in the world. Jesus often began His parables by saying, “The kingdom of God is like …” In fact, the word kingdom is used more than 150 times in the New Testament.
As disciples of Jesus, we regularly pray “Thy kingdom come” and quote Matthew 6:33—“Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (KJV)—but most people really have no idea what that means. Particularly in democracies, people have a difficult time understanding the full implications of living under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.
Where is the kingdom of God? Comprehensive theological studies have debated the complexities of this question for centuries, but let me suggest a simplified answer from Scripture: The kingdom of God is wherever Jesus is king! If Jesus is king in your heart, then the kingdom of God is within you (see Luke 17:21). Because Jesus is king in heaven, then the kingdom of God is also in heaven (see Psalm 103:19). While Jesus walked the earth, He used miracles to announce that the kingdom of God was with them (see Luke 11:20), and when the reign of Christ is fully realized on earth, then the kingdom of God is on earth (see Revelation 5:10).
What is the kingdom of God? It is the rule and reign of God! When we pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” we are praying a redundant statement. Whenever God’s will is done, the kingdom has come. The two phrases say the same thing. The reason we pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, KJV) is because God’s will is done perfectly in heaven but imperfectly on earth.
Rick Warren, “Foreword,” in The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation, ed. Alan Andrews (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2010), 7–8.
We have just released a new Bible Study on the topic Heaven on Earth
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.