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The kingdom of God is within you

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
-Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)

Photo: Pixabay
I am thinking about the fact that the kingdom of God is something that works within and inside out.  Based on the translation you read, Jesus either says that the kingdom is within, among, or in the midst of you all.  

Jesus constantly spoke about the kingdom of God.  The word kingdom (Gr. basileia) occurs about 163 times.  If you are curious,  the word church (Gr. ekklesia) occurs about 114 times.  Here is a short definition of basileia:
Basileía especially refers to the rule of Christ in believers' hearts – which is a rule that "one day will be universal on the physical earth in the Millennium" (G. Archer).
Jesus Christ rules and reigns in the hearts of believers, Christians.  That is the basis for Christianity.  If anything is not working in the believer's life, it needs to be traced back to the kingdom within.

Jesus says to change the inside first (Matt. 23:26), and not to try to look good and say you are ok on the outside, when the inside needs renovation (Matt. 23:25-28).  This inside is the same exact word that Luke gives in Luke 17, rendered within, among, or in the midst.

The message that Jesus preached was the message of the kingdom of God.  He proclaimed, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand" (Matt. 4:17, 23).  He sent his disciples (the seventy-two) out to preach the same message and told them to heal the sick and then proclaim the kingdom (Luke 10:9).

Jesus taught about the this kingdom, in Matthew 13, describing the kingdom:
  • He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word (of the kingdom) and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matt. 13:23 (19))
  • The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. (Matt. 13:24)
  • The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. (Matt. 13:31)
  • The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened. (Matt. 13:33)
  • The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt. 13:44)
  • The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matt 13:44-5)
  • The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. (Matt. 13:47-8)
I see seed, leaven, hidden treasure, and the pearl worth everything; and then the final judgement. It is easy to imagine the seed and the leaven as being on the inside of our lives: in us, within us, or among us. The treasure and the pearl, to me, speak of giving up everything. The dragnet is the final accounting of the kingdom, when people are in or out.

The kingdom is Jesus' message, then and now. He calls us into his kingdom and then the kingdom works in our lives. It is that simple.

It really is not about doctrine or ecclesiology. It is about Jesus Christ, Lord, Savior, and King. We are like the man Jesus healed who was born blind, who said, "All I know is that I was once blind and now I see" (John 9:25).

The question is not, "Have you got good theology?", or, "Are you going to the right (or a good) church?" But, the question is, "Do you know Jesus?", and "Does he know you?" In other words, "Do you have an ongoing, living, vital relationship with the living Christ?"

It seems to me that the Pharisees were into indoctrination and idealogues.  They were idealogues about their ecclesiology, about how they practiced their faith and worshiped.  Strangely, their faith and worship were inauthentic.  Jesus, paradoxically, said that they say the right thing sometimes, but nearly always do the wrong thing (Matt. 23).

Jesus used the examples that were current in the culture of the time.  So, we have his using agrarian parabolic stories and commentary on the Pharisees.  The way you don't want to live is how they lived, on the outside only, with inside-out being out of sync, not in harmony, and living a lie.

Christianity is an inside job.  Knowledge, talent, attendance, or service are not the keys.  They come out of and after a Christ-centered life.

Christ and his kingdom are the seed and they grow life within that results in good fruit.  Christ and his kingdom are the treasure or the pearl that you find and give up everything for.  It is not an add-on or addition, but a giving up all for him, inside-out.

That is the core, the main thing. That is, "The kingdom of God is within you". If Christ has you and his kingdom has you, then you will live his life, bearing fruit and loving others. 

Those that have Christ seek the Father and others who have Christ, for community; and have Christ's passion for the lost, the lonely, and the poor; his mercy for the sick and the lame, and his power over the demonization of people.

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