We have looked at the seven marks of the Kingdom of God in the Building for the Kingdom series. These seven marks of the Kingdom of God are observed in the prophecies of Isaiah 9:2-7; 35:5-10; 60:17-19. [Read the Kingdom Ethics book by David P. Gushee & Glen H. Stassen].
The seven marks of the Kingdom of God are:
- Restoration/Rebuilding of community
- The presence of God
During the World Impact Weekend on October 23/24, 2021, we looked at two marks: Salvation/deliverance or restoration/rebuilding of community.
The Word Kingdom has been mentioned over 100 times in the NT. The Kingdom of God is at the core of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Jesus didn’t come to start a religion; He came to bring the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Religion promises joy, peace, justice, restoration in the hereafter; but the Kingdom of God brings the foretaste of Heaven to earth. Therefore, it is vital for us to understand God’s Kingdom.
Look at the following Scriptures to observe how the Kingdom of God is important to Jesus – Matthew 3:2; Luke 4:43; Matthew 6:33; 24:14.
Bringing Heaven to Earth has always been God’s original plan.
The unshakable Kingdom of Heaven has existed from eternity before creation.
God and His Kingdom existed in the unseen spirit realm from eternity. God created the seen realm out of space and matter. He then placed Man, the First Adam, on earth in a perfect spot called the Garden of Eden.
God’s original purpose was twofold: the first one is to have children (Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 1:4-5) and the second one is to give His children a domain and a dominion (Genesis 1:27) where they can rule and replicate His Heavenly Kingdom in the seen realm called earth.
Adam’s mission was to expand the boundaries of the Garden of Eden (the presence of God) on the face of the earth in order to fill the earth with God’s glory, peace, joy, holiness and righteousness.
Sadly, Adam and Eve had sinned (Genesis 3). When they sinned they became naked - the presence of God left them. They were forced to leave God’s presence in the Garden of Eden. Eventually, the Garden of Eden itself disappeared. I believe that the disappearance of the Garden of Eden was a mark of the absence or the departure of the Holy Spirit from the earth.
The absence of the Holy Spirit from the earth was the main cause for the brokenness of humanity and the world we live in. The absence of the Spirit of God brought curse and death. The absence of the Holy Spirit is equal to the absence of God’s Kingdom (read Matthew 12:28; Romans 14:17).
I think we can say that because of the disobedience of the first Adam the first attempt of the establishment of the kingdom of God was temporarily disrupted! The first Adam lost the dominion of the Kingdom of God on Earth! Since that time man has always been seeking and searching for the blessings of the Kingdom of God. Everyone is busy looking for joy, peace, justice, and righteousness in the wrong places: religion, money, materialism, power, fame, sex, drug, gambling etc. Satan took control of the world and Adam and his children became slaves to the fallen angel (Ephesians 2:1-2).
Then God sent the Second Adam, His Son, Jesus to Earth.
Jesus took a human form and lived amongst us. Unlike the first Adam, He did not live in the Garden of Eden
; rather He lived amongst the broken, the hopeless, the disillusioned, the imprisoned, the oppressed and the marginalised children of Adam.
He left Heaven and came to earth to set humanity free from their SINS. The main mission of Jesus was bringing back the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. Jesus had to shade His blood so that the Holy Spirit (the Governor of God’s Kingdom) could come back and make His dwellings, not in the Garden of Eden but in the hearts of mankind. It was impossible for that to happen until Jesus shed His blood on the cross (read John 7:37-39). When Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, He said, “Very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you”. John 16:7.The first mark of the Kingdom is salvation/deliverance:
The coming of the Holy Spirit is the evidence of the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”. Matthew 12:28
When the Kingdom of God is demonstrated – chains start breaking! The Holy Spirit sets the captives free by delivering people from sin and the power of Satan. Where there is the Spirit of God there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Isaiah prophetically foresaw a time when his people, the people Israel, will be set free from their oppressors and start living in peace and freedom. In the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled this by breaking the power of Satan and sin when He was crucified on the cross. Salvation/deliverance from the power of sin and Satan is the main mark of the Kingdom of God.
The Gospel of the Kingdom has transformed communities by setting them free from their evil practices. Head-hunters, cannibals, murderers, prostitutes, drug addicts, people who are possessed by the evil powers have been set free and have found deliverance through the power of the Kingdom of God.The second mark of God’s Kingdom is Restoration/rebuilding of community.
The Holy Spirit that we have received through Jesus wants to restore or rebuild communities through us. Satan has damaged and destroyed many lives.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. John 10:10
For example, through the power of the gospel some of our missions Field Partners have been working hard to restore broken communities who have been affected by evil practices such as ritualised sexual slavery and restored freedom and dignity to hundreds and thousands of women.
We want to see the gospel of the Kingdom of God preached to the nations! We want to see salvation/deliverance and restoration/rebuilding of communities take place in our neighbourhoods, cities, and nations.Discussion Questions
- Why did Jesus give such a big emphasis on the Kingdom of God?
- After reading Matthew 12:28 and Romans 14:17 discuss the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God.
- In John 7:37-39 and discuss why Jesus had to die for the Spirit to be given to Men.
- Have you experienced these two marks of the Kingdom in your life and ministry? Share your experience with the group.
- What do we have to do to see the marks of the Kingdom: salvation/deliverance and restoration/rebuilding of community to manifest?