Monday, February 5, 2024

12 Keys to the Kingdom of God System

How does the Kingdom of God system work? The Lord Jesus taught one main message while he walked the Earth: The Kingdom of God. He taught it through parables. So if we look at the parables, and try to fit them together, we can find the basic instructions for how to live in God's world system. God's system is radically different from the world system, so we may find ourselves surprised by the paradoxes of the system.

These twelve principles are an extension of another post that dealt with an original twelve principles. For the original list of 12, Click here.

1. It Starts Small - Mustard Seed Parable (Matthew 13:31-32) - The Kingdom of God system begins very small, a person is born again and they are a new Christian. They've been declared righteous in Christ, but a long journey of growth (sanctification) is just beginning. Over the years the kingdom grows and grows within them, and they go from a tiny mustard seed, to a large and mighty tree.

2. Shine brightly - (but don't show off) - Parable of the Lamp (Mark 4:21-25) - The Kingdom of God system requires members to shine brightly before the world as an example of faith and why it's good. We don't hide our beliefs, or refuse to speak for fear of making waves or offending someone. We speak. However, we are also told not to act like the Pharisees who did things to be seen by others. They wanted to feel important. They wanted to be well thought of. We're told to strike a careful balance of shining for Christ, but not doing it for selfish reasons.

3. Examine Yourself First - Speck and Log (Matthew 7:3-5) - the parable of the speck and the log tells us that we naturally look at others and judge them. But it's different in God's kingdom. in God's kingdom we're told to look at ourselves first, and deal with sins in us, and then we can help others to find freedom from sins as well. 

4. Spread the Seed Everywhere - Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23) - Our attitude in sharing the gospel should be to spread the seed far and wide. Depending on the condition of each heart receiving it, they may receive it gladly, then fall away, or reject it, or it may get crowded out by the ways of the world, but some will receive it and produce their own harvests in Christ. We may be surprised by who rejects the message, and even more surprised by those who receive it gladly. Allow God to surprise you. 

5. Hypocrites in the Kingdom - Weeds among the Wheat (Matthew 13:24-30) - in the kingdom we will encounter people who seem to be in the kingdom but are not living out what it means to be a Christian. We should not trouble ourselves in trying to sort out whose saved and who isn't. We may mislabel someone who is a new believer as a hypocrite, or a hypocrite as a true follower. The weeds and the wheat are growing together, and Jesus will sort out each grouping when he returns (Parable of the Net) (Matthew 13:47-50).

6. You can Start at any Age - Parable of Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) - For the kingdom of God, it's best to start from birth, being raised up in Christ, but, even if you join in when you're fifteen, or twenty-five, or forty, or seventy, you are welcome, and you will be rewarded for your labor. 

7. Whosoever is Welcome - Parable of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14) - Those invited to God's kingdom had at first been the nation of Israel, but now it's gone out to the whosoever. Wealth, class, ability, lack of ability, race, gender, it doesn't matter, the kingdom of God is open to anyone who is willing to come and participate in accordance with the rules of the system. 

8. Using your Kingdom Talents - The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) - every saint born into the kingdom of God is given certain talents and abilities to be used to help and bless God's family. If you don't use them, you'll be held accountable. If you do use them, you'll be rewarded. This is also depicted in the parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9). Kingdom saints should be consistently producing fruit, if not the Father will correct us, see also the vine and the branches (John 15:1-17). 

9. Reward in Heaven - the Parable of the Invited Guests (Luke 14:7-11) - We're told to serve others who can't repay us in God's kingdom, then we'll be rewarded in the next life. Otherwise the people we help will repay us and we receive no reward. Having the most important seat at the party isn't important, but instead it's best to serve others humbly who can't give back. In God's kingdom things are often reversed, the first are last, and the last are first. The greatest is the servant of all. The servant of none is the lowest of all. 

10. Sin comes from Within - Parable of the Heart of Man (Mark 7:14-23) - In general things that go into us, food or drink, or things outside of us aren't the main cause of sin. In the Kingdom of God we understand sin comes from our hearts, the things we think, the temptations we battle. Don't look at externals, look within, and ask God to bring change in your heart. Don't allow anyone to claim victimhood to external circumstances. The heart is the issue, and God can change the heart to produce good things in Christ. 

11. Tough Times and Problems - Parable of Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) - Christians will often face harder times than those of the world. They go through many trials in God's kingdom to test and refine their faith. Christians may have to die for their faith. They face persecution. Meanwhile the selfish and self-interested seem to get rich and live long lives of luxury. But in the next life, God sorts things out. The rich man had everything in his earthly life, but hell in the next. Lazarus had nothing in his earthly life, but heaven in the next. 

12. Bold Access to the Throne - Parable of the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-13) - Kingdom saints have an intensely personal access to God. Kingdom saints should use that access to it's fullest extent. Come boldly before God again and again, boldly asking for assistance, and God brings justice and mercy. You can apply the same principle to other Christians, come to them boldly for assistance. By your audacity, they may just give you what you need. 

Closing Challenge

I would challenge you: Examine the parables of Jesus one by one, and begin to fit the puzzle pieces together of how the Kingdom of God system practically works. If we understand the rules of the system, we can live and walk in accordance with the system God has designed. If we walk in accordance with that system, we can walk in deep relationship with God, living out His commands and loving Him and our neighbors just the way God wants us to! What a great challenge, but what a great adventure!