Intro: All Scripture—Old and New Testament—leads us to understand the Kingdom of God as a system of government and territory that is ruled and controlled by God. It has not yet manifest as a physical realm of government. Rather, the Kingdom is a spiritual realm of government that begins with Christ in the heart of a person, but it is certainly not limited to the heart. It begins like a mustard seed, but the Kingdom grows and begins to branch out and produce righteous fruit that permeates the natural realm and has the power to influence everything and everyone (John 15:5). The Kingdom exists among us; it impacts every aspect of human life.
The Kingdom is open to those who accept the sacrifice of Jesus, repent from sin, and begin to live as witnesses to others. Jesus said we must “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (His way of being right in Christ) and God’s blessing and favor in the Holy Spirit will provide for us (Mat 6:33). The Holy Spirit seals and marks believers as the children of God and one day the Kingdom will touch absolutely everything on earth.
Believers know the work of the Kingdom refers to: 1) acknowledging the rule of Christ on earth as it is in heaven, 2) the blessings that cover those individuals who obediently live under Christ’s Lordship and rule, and 3) those under Christ’s Lordship—the Church—assemble to worship Him and share in His favor and purpose to redeem the world. God has been getting His Church ready, because believers will rule and reign with him when He sets up His physical Kingdom on earth. Exciting times await us in God’s future plans!
Here is the Truth that is hard for many to accept: Not everyone will enjoy the Kingdom of God, because it is only open to the poor in spirit (Mat 5:3). To be poor in spirit is to individually acknowledge our sinfulness and spiritually bankruptcy without Christ. We can do nothing to save ourselves from the death penalty of sin, so by faith we must call on the mercy and grace of God. We can do nothing in divine power without Christ, so we are to connect with him in producing the righteous fruit that will influence the world. In fact, Jesus says it this way, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (Mat 7:21). The will of the Father is to believe in the work of the Son and obediently follow him (John 3:16).
Matthew 25:31-46 (VOICE)
31 When the Son of Man comes in all His majesty accompanied by throngs of heavenly messengers, His throne will be wondrous. 32 All the nations will assemble before Him, and He will judge them, distinguishing them from one another as a shepherd isolates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put some, the sheep, at His right hand and some, the goats, at His left. 34 Then the King will say to those to His right,
King: Come here, you beloved, you people whom My Father has blessed. Claim your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of creation. 35 You shall be richly rewarded, for when I was hungry, you fed Me. And when I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink. I was alone as a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your homes and into your lives. 36 I was naked, and you gave Me clothes to wear; I was sick, and you tended to My needs; I was in prison, and you comforted Me.
37 Even then the righteous will not have achieved perfect understanding and will not recall these things.
Righteous: Master, when did we find You hungry and give You food? When did we find You thirsty and slake Your thirst? 38 When did we find You a stranger and welcome You in, or find You naked and clothe You? 39 When did we find You sick and nurse You to health? When did we visit You when You were in prison?
King: 40 I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.
41 At that He will turn to those on His left hand.
King: Get away from Me, you despised people whom My Father has cursed. Claim your inheritance—the pits of flaming hell where the devil and his minions suffer. 42 For I was starving, and you left Me with no food. When I was dry and thirsty, you left Me to struggle with nothing to drink. 43 When I was alone as a stranger, you turned away from Me. When I was pitifully naked, you left Me unclothed. When I was sick, you gave Me no care. When I was in prison, you did not comfort Me.
Unrighteous: 44 Master, when did we see You hungry and thirsty? When did we see You friendless or homeless or excluded? When did we see You without clothes? When did we see You sick or in jail? When did we see You in distress and fail to respond?
King: 45 I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.
46 So these, the goats, will go off to everlasting punishment. But the beloved, the sheep (the righteous), will go into everlasting life.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. In Jesus’ name. Amen.