The kingdom of heaven is at hand
When Jesus came to this earth, he was announced by John the baptist. John prepared the people for His coming by saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2). In Jesus the kingdom of God came to this earth. He embodied the essence (nature) of God in his whole being. He came to save man from the power of darkness and to bring the kingdom of God into their hearts. Soon, however, he will come to establish the kingdom of God visibly for all mankind on this earth. That is why it is very important that the kingdom and its essence is now being formed in us Christians and in the church today. When God comes, he will judge everything that does not correspond to His kingdom. That is why we want to experience God’s judgment on us today. Then we will be prepared at His coming.
Setting our focus on God’s kingdom
Many signs of the times show us that the Second Coming of the Lord has come near. This means that we, who are preparing for His Second Coming, have to focus on the kingdom of God. It is just like with a very important event: the closer the event comes, the more it becomes the focus of our action. Other things are no longer so important. In the same way, the Second Coming of Jesus today should also move more and more into our focus, so that we are prepared on the day of His Second Coming. The Word warns us not to take the Second Coming of the Lord casually: “But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming…”. (Matthew 24:48). We do not want to be found as evil servants, but as those who are waiting for the Lord. The enemy wants to draw our attention to many other things: family, studies, job, hobbies, sports, worries and needs, and much more. He does not want us to have the kingdom of God in mind. We must see through this strategy of the devil. The Lord is gracious and shows us again and again through many signs that His return is very near. So let us focus on His kingdom and His righteousness and sweep out everything that separates us from His kingdom. Then the Second Coming of the Lord will more and more guide our hearts, our thoughts and actions. Our daily prayer is: Lord, write your kingdom on our hearts!
The Essence of God’s Kingdom
In order to be prepared for God’s kingdom, it is important that we comply with His laws and ordinances. Only in this way can we be partakers of His kingdom. In Matthew 5-7 Jesus speaks about the “Constitution” of the kingdom of God. He wants His commandments to be written in our hearts and to be reality in our lives. The essence of the kingdom of God is very different from our natural being and from the nature of this world:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
All these qualities show us something of the nature of the kingdom of God. God wants to see and work these qualities in us today. Our nature often corresponds exactly to the opposite. Therefore we need much salvation. But on the positive side we need much of the humanity of Jesus. That is why Jesus shows us with these Beatitudes that we need him.
Poor in spirit
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” A poor man knows of his lack and has many needs. What about us? Do we realize our lack of Christ? Or do we think that we are rich and no longer need anything from him? Unfortunately, we are often satisfied with mere knowledge of the Word of God, but we do not enter into the experience of the Word. Perhaps we already know the Word of God quite well. Then, when we read or hear it, we think we already know the Word. This is a danger for us believers. God wants the Word to become reality in us. If we realize our lack, we also realize how poor we are and that we still need much of Christ. This is the basis for us to be able to grow contiunually. But perhaps we are also filled with many other things and therefore have no desire for the humanity of Jesus and are not aware of our need. Then there is no spiritual growth and we come to a standstill. If this is the case, we will miss the kingdom of God. A person who is poor in spirit is constantly hungry for the Word, for salvation and the reality of Christ. He is not satisfied with what he has achieved.
May we always remain poor in spirit and realize our lack of Christ so that we may come to Him and experience salvation.
We had more fellowship about the essence of the kingdom and how it becomes our reality at the winter conference in Stuttgart-Vaihingen (Germany) and in Fountain Valley (USA) in December: https://thechurchinfountainvalley.org/2018-year-end-conference/