The story is told that during the Ronald Regan presidency, Secretary of State, George Shultz, kept a large globe in his office. When newly appointed ambassadors had an interview with him he would test them by spinning the globe and ask them to put their finger on the country they were going to.
It’s said that when his friend, Mike Mansfield, former Senate majority leader, was appointed as ambassador to Japan, Shultz even tested him. However, Mansfield spun the globe and put his hand on the United States and said, “This is my country.”
Later in an interview with C-Span’s Brian Lamb, Shultz related this story and commented, “I’ve told that story, subsequently, to all of the ambassadors going out. ’Never forget you’re over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You’re there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you’re representing the best country in the world.’ ”
Americans are proud of their country, sometimes almost to a fault. Yet, it is important for Christians to remember that we’re citizens of another country. A spiritual Kingdom.
Christians are Kingdom People.
When the forerunner, John, began his preaching pointing to Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” he proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2).
Following his baptism and temptation in the wilderness, Jesus’ initial message was exactly the same (Matt 4:17). And so, “Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matt 4:23). The biographers of Jesus record Him speaking of the coming Kingdom over 100 times.
Following His resurrection, Luke writes that Jesus “presented himself alive after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Ax. 1:3).
Why did Jesus spend so much time talking about the Kingdom?
Because the Kingdom had been prophesied by Daniel that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.” A cursory knowledge of history reveals the time frame as being during the days of Roman rule (Dan. 2:36-45).
Furthermore, the coming of the Kingdom was immediate. Not 2,000 years later. He affirmed in Mark 9:1 “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”
The book of Acts records the apostles and preachers “preaching the kingdom of God” (Ax 8:12;14:22;19:8;20:25; 28:23).
Christians are Kingdom people.
…Enjoy redemption by Jesus’ blood, forgiveness of sins, and deliverance from the kingdom of Satan (Col. 1:13-14).
…Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness(Matt. 6:33).
…Desire the will of God be done on earth, and not their own will (Matt. 6:10).
…Honor Jesus as “the Lord of lords and the King of kings(1 Tim. 6:15).
…Humbly admit their poverty of spirit, mourn over their sins, and seek to obtain God’s mercy and extend it to others (Matt. 5:3-10).
…Appreciate the value, worth and priceless nature of God’s Kingdom more than any material possession or earthly position (Matt. 13:44-45).
…Understand its far reaching influence in the world (Matt. 13:31-33).
…Realize the road to true greatness is through simple service and humble self-abasement (Matt. 20:20-28).
…Submit to the Lordship of Jesus and the rule of God within their hearts (Lk. 17:20-21).
…Renounce the wickedness of this world to receive sanctification, justification and spiritual cleansing from sin (1 Cor 6:9-11).
…Labor for the Kingdomand work to fulfill its mission (Matt. 20:1; Col. 4:11).
…Pray for the people, rulers and country in which we’re earthly citizens (I Tim. 2:1-2).
…Know our true citizenship is not of this world. It is in heaven ( Jn 18:36; Phil.3:20)
…Eagerly await the day when Jesus will deliver the Kingdom to the Father to reside in eternal, heavenly glory (1 Cor 15:24).
It’s not wrong to enjoy and rejoice in the benefits of our earthly citizenship. The apostle Paul used his prerogatives as a Roman citizen to benefit him and his ministry. But his priorities were based in and focused on the Kingdom of God.
Christians are Kingdom people.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman