What is the Kingdom? Your starter for 10

Does that catch phrase sound familiar? It is one of the popular phrases on University Challenge that was used in the original version. It was kept in after the programme was restored to British television after a gap of about 7 years.

What they mean is that it is a question that is worth 10 points and which ever team answers the starter question have the opportunity of getting even more points by answering the follow on questions.

Well the starter question here is “What is the Kingdom”?

The problem I had when I thought about this question was that it led to so many follow up questions.

I could just think this over and keep what I came up with to myself or I could invite others to get involved in the discussion. I like the idea of iron sharpening iron or rather learning from the comments made by others.  Hence I have decided to invite you, and a few others, to join in the discussion. To get fully  involved you will need to RSVP the invitation below.

Ooops it would only be fair to tell what you are being invited to before you respond to this invitation. As I said earlier the starter question is “What is the Kingdom?” The follow up questions include:

  1. Who is the king?
  2. Who does this king reign over?
  3. Is this Kingdom the same as the church?
  4. What are the benefits of being part of this Kingdom?
  5. How does being in or out of this kingdom affect individual people?
  6. How does this Kingdom impact the community at large?
  7. What is this book of ancient wisdom?
  1. How does this Kingdom impact the community at large?
  2. Is there such a thing as a message of Good News of the Kingdom? If so is there any difference between this and any other explanation of the Good News or Gospel?
  3. When will this Kingdom exist, in the present, only in the future or some kind of hybrid where it found in both the present and the past?

In many ways these are foundational ideas behind the vision for Lily’s Place and many other similar community development projects. It is therefore important to think them through so they are built on firm foundations.

1. Who is the king?

We are talking about the king of heaven i.e. God

2. Who does this king reign over?

That’s an easy one anyone who will let him rule over them.

3. Is this Kingdom the same as the church?

Not necessarily. If that sounds odd think of it this way there are some people who are not part of the church who do things God’s way so God’s ideas rule in those situations. There are also some people in the church who do not do things God’s way so he does not rule in those situations. It all depends on who is in charge and whose ideas are being followed in any given situation.

4. What are the benefits of being part of this Kingdom?

If you like me, believe that the best possible way of doing things is God’s way there are huge benefits. Doing things in the best way brings long term success and enables people and even creation to flourish and be the best that they can be. Some of the most productive gardens and businesses have achieved what they have by following kingdom principles.

5. How does being in or out of this kingdom affect individual people?

Many people once they  have experienced what it is like being in the kingdom find that they like the experience and what to bring their life more and more in line with kingdom values. This becomes so much easier when they agree to be adopted as children of God.

The children of God get extra benefits as God saves his very best for those close to him. Included in that very best is the promise that they will never be on their own. God will be with them all the time and he will still be there when time comes to an end for them.

Those that do not know God as Father and understand that this is possible because of the passion of Jesus don’t have that promise. That might not sound a lot now but a Godless eternity does not sound a good idea to me. In fact it sounds terrifying, but we all take the consequences of our own choices.

6. How does this Kingdom impact the community at large?

Imagine you had a community where everyone loved each other and where everyone was willing to do the best for each other. A community where resources were not squandered. A community where people pulled together for the common good. A community where the best possible yields were obtained from the land in such a way that the land is not depleted for future generations.

7. What is this book of ancient wisdom?

The best book of ancient wisdom is the bible. It contains a lot more helpful advice than many people even realise. So much that few people get anywhere near mining the depths of the principles it contains.

 

8. Is there such a thing as a message of Good News of the Kingdom? If so is there any difference between this and any other explanation of the Good News or Gospel?

One of the things that happens in the church is that people get fixated on the Gospel of Salvation i.e. the need to persuade people to become children of God to protect them from the horrors of a godless eternity. It is the pie in the sky when you pie approach.

The Good News of the Kingdom is that there is a better way to live today, i.e. God’s way. The concentration is on the steak on the plate while you wait.

Of course there have been people who have considered both approaches at once but it is not easy. We humans tend to go to one extreme rather than the other. Our ideas swing back and forwards like a pendulum as we go from one extreme to another.

Somehow we need to hold both ideas in tension. One way we can do this is for some people to focus on one approach and some to focus on the other and for everyone to accept each other’s opinion and ways of doing things. After all no one is the same and we all need to hear the same idea in different ways before we truly understand it.