On April 14, 1912, the unthinkable happened. One of the largest and most opulent ships in the world, unrivaled in its technology and deemed practically unsinkable, sank. Roughly 1,500 of the Titanic’s 2,220 passengers died after the ship hit an iceberg. The 700 or so that did survive escaped into lifeboats.
The Bible contains a pretty notable story about a boat, too. Genesis 6-9 tells how God restored the earth through a man named Noah. Because of increasing evil and corruption, God flooded the entire world and spared one righteous family–Noah’s. When the flood was over, humanity was presented with a fresh beginning. God’s instructions to Noah echoed what He said to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)
God favors arks over lifeboats. At the heart of the Gospel is God’s plan to restore the world, not to see it sink. The blessing to be fruitful and multiply is just as applicable to us today as it was for Adam, Eve, and Noah.
C.S. Lewis speaks of God’s new creation as not unmaking but remaking. He writes:
“The old field of space, time, matter, and the senses is to be weeded, dug, and sown for a new crop. We may be tired of that old field: God is not. . . . We live amid all the anomalies, inconveniences, hopes, and excitements of a house that is being rebuilt. Something is being pulled down and something going up in its place.”
However, many Christians see the world as a type of Titanic. They believe that humanity hit an iceberg in Genesis 3 and has been sinking ever since. Their goal is to get as many people saved as possible. This is a wonderful thing, and their hearts are often in the right place.
As we spread the Gospel of salvation, we need to be careful not to shrink the Gospel to personal salvation alone. The Gospel of the Kingdom can help us understand and embody God’s cosmic plan to restore the universe unto himself.
If that sounds like a lot, no worries! This blog will explain the Gospel of the Kingdom by covering:
- The Gospel of Salvation and The Gospel of the Kingdom
- The Gospel of the Kingdom in the Old Testament
- The King
- The Kingdom
- 3 Ways to Live Out The Gospel of The Kingdom
- Make Disciples of All Nations
- Serve Others
- Steward Your Sphere of Influence
The Gospel of Salvation and The Gospel of the Kingdom
The Gospel of salvation is absolutely necessary. It’s the only way to receive access to God. To put it simply, the Gospel of salvation is that God sent His one and only son, Jesus, to die on the cross, resurrect, and give whoever believes in Him eternal life. There are several verses that explain this far better than I do, such as:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, NIV)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV)
So, we love the Gospel of salvation. We rejoice in it. However, it becomes an issue when Christians view ‘eternal life’ as an exemption from living their current life to the fullest. The Gospel of salvation is the starting line, but many people view it as the finish line.
What follows salvation is the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now, there is only one Gospel (Galatians 6:7-8). Still, for teaching purposes, it is helpful to categorize the capital Gospel into the Gospel of salvation and the Gospel of the Kingdom. It’s not an either/or; it’s a both/and.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is a narrative woven throughout the entire Bible. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, one of the things He encouraged them to say was, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) But what does “your Kingdom come” mean? Let’s look at the Book of Isaiah for more context.
The Gospel of the Kingdom in the Old Testament
The Jewish people have always yearned for a King—a Messiah born from the line of King David. Several of the prophetic books in the Old Testament recount this messianic hope. The book of Isaiah contains a poem from when that hope was especially desperate. Isaiah 52 depicts the aftermath of the Babylonians’ destruction of Israel. As a result of the conquest, the Israelites were exiled from their land.
This was discouraging, because Jerusalem was supposed to be the place where God reigned and blessed the world. When all seemed lost, a messenger appeared.
“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who brings good news (bāśar)
the good news of peace and salvation,
the news that the God of Israel reigns!
The watchmen shout and sing with joy,
for before their very eyes
they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 52:7-8)
This poem renewed the hope that God would rule over the earth. In fact, divine kingship is at the heart of the Gospel. We’re about to dig into some words that prove it.
The Hebrew word for Gospel is bāśar, and it’s used in reference to royal announcements in the Old Testament. When moved over to the Greek, Gospel was translated to euangelion: good (eu) announcement (angelion).
So, the Gospel refers to a good announcement about a King. Any guesses on who that King is?
You got it—the King is Jesus! He is the fulfillment of the messianic hope. In reference to Jesus’ birth, Matthew 1:22-23 says “And all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us.)”
Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies (the one above is refers to Isaiah 7:14)—that’s an entire book, much less a blog post. However, Jesus turns the concept of a king on its head. He doesn’t rule by power and force. Instead, He rules by love and serving. A new King meant a new way of life. Members of Jesus’ Kingdom had to fall into his paradigm. That’s why Matthew 4:17 says, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” To repent means ‘to turn away.’ When we turn from our old ways, we naturally turn toward something new. Jesus’ life gives us a great example of what our new lives in the Kingdom should entail.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.” (Matthew 4:23-24)
Evidentially, The Gospel of the Kingdom is connected with serving others and healing the afflicted. It’s about bringing the spiritual into the realities of everyday life. With that, here are 3 ways that the Gospel of the Kingdom can be practically applied.
3 Implications of The Gospel of the Kingdom
1. Make Disciples of All Nations
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Jesus’ final command should be our first priority. Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples. As followers of Christ, Jesus has given us the authority to make disciples. Followers of Christ make more followers of Christ, and the cycle continues until the Gospel is spread throughout the world. You don’t have to be a pastor or an international missionary to do this. You can make disciples by living authentically for Christ in any environment.
2. If You Want to Be Great, Serve Others
“But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
This teaching from Jesus pretty much sums it up. Jesus cared for the marginalized in society in practical ways—He healed the leper, defended widows and orphans, discipled the tax collector, and ministered to the prostitute. If Jesus, the King of the universe, came to serve others and die for our sins, how much more should we follow His example? The Gospel of the Kingdom entails living in a way that is so counter-cultural to the power dynamics of this world that people start to ask questions. Your actions of service will lead them to see the goodness of God. It’s the kind of religion that God smiles on, too. James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
3. Steward Your Sphere of Influence
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29)
In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus emphasizes the importance of stewardship while we’re on earth. Every single person has something to steward. Your finances, relationships, and current job, business, or educational opportunities are all gifts from God. It’s our job to steward, grow, and increase our resources for the Kingdom of God. As you steward, God will entrust you with more. It’s right there in red letter.
So, consider your current sphere of influence. Who do you talk to throughout the week? Where do you go? What is the work you put your hands to? Your answer to these questions will reveal your realm of stewardship. As you steward, you will gain more influence.
The 7 Mountains is a framework we have for thinking about our sphere of influence. Essentially, the 7 mountains are representative of the primary spheres of culture. They are: religion, business, government, family, education, media, and the arts. There is a spiritual battle for influence in these mountains, and as the Body of Christ, we have to be aware of it. The goal is to reform every area of culture with Kingdom principles so that the world will taste and see that the Lord is good.
- What we do on this earth matters. The Gospel of the Kingdom empowers us to live how Jesus lived for the purpose of partnering with God in the redemption of all things.
- Serving others is foundational to The Gospel of the Kingdom.
- You have a sphere of influence to steward. As you grow and increase what God has given you for the Kingdom, He will give you more.
I’ll conclude this article with a quote from pastor David Briggs, my friend and VP of WealthBuilders and Tricord Global. He tells the following story:
“A man once asked me: ‘Do you believe the Lord is coming back in this generation?’
I replied: ‘Well, he is for you. This is your one shot. Whether Jesus comes or you die, He’s coming for you in this generation.’”
“You shouldn’t let your gifts, talents, challenges, and abilities die and go to the grave unfulfilled in your heart. You should do your best to do what you need to do in this part of the race until it’s time to pass the baton. This is the generation that matters to you. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”
What are your thoughts on The Gospel of the Kingdom? What spoke to you in this blog? We’d love to hear your input in the comments!