Three men were asked what they wished people would say about them when they died and people passed by as they were lying in their casket. One said, “I hope they say he was a great doctor, he helped a lot of people.” One said, “I hope they say he was a great family man and neighbor.” The third said, “I hope they say, ‘Look, he’s alive!’”
When Jesus began His ministry, He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). If some thing is ‘at hand’ it is near. Jesus wanted the people to prepare themselves for what was coming. What was coming was the kingdom. But the kingdom could not come without four important ingredients. Jesus would provide all of them.
First, you cannot have a kingdom without a King. Jesus Himself said, “You say correctly that I am a King” (John 18:37). After the resurrection when Jesus ascended into heaven, He took His place at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:29-36).
Second, you cannot have a kingdom without a territory. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel... “ (Mark 16:15-16). The kingdom of Christ is not limited or contained by man-made boundaries. Wherever the gospel goes, by printed page, airways, or word of mouth, and men receive it, then the kingdom exists. His territory is the world.
Third, you cannot have a kingdom without subjects. Every kingdom needs loyal subjects. The difference in the kingdom of Christ and many other kingdoms is that His citizens choose to follow and honor Him. The Christian’s citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
Fourth, you cannot have a kingdom without a law. How shall the citizens of this kingdom conduct their business? The New Testament is the standard by which we should govern ourselves (Hebrews 9:15-17). Paul refers to it as the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 7:12) and James as the “perfect law, the law of leberty” (James 1:25).
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