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The Gospel of the Kingdom

The following is the first part of the article “The Gospel of the Kingdom,” by pastor Barry Henning.  For the entire article, click here.

“The Gospel of the Kingdom”

What is the “Gospel of the kingdom”? It is the good news that God in his great love has

come to redeem a people for himself through the work of Jesus Christ, who will be set

free from their bondage to sin and enabled through the gift of his Spirit to become a

people of justice, mercy and a humble walk with God. We announce the Gospel of the

kingdom just like Jesus did – by doing justice and preaching grace.


“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people….” Matthew 4:23


“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God

and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized….” Acts 8:12


“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who

came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and

taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 28:30-31


“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the

kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”

Colossians 1:13, 14


“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to

be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be the glory and

power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:5,6


I. God’s Zeal for His Kingdom Reign on Earth


A. What is the kingdom of God?


A “kingdom” is a “king’s domain”, the place ruled by a king. God’s kingdom is the

place of his rule, but it is not tied to a particular geographic location; his place of

rule is in our hearts – “…the kingdom of God is within you” Luke 17:21, because

the presence of the King is now among us.

The great promise of God in Isaiah is that he is going to send his Son who will

both be the King and the one who establishes God’s kingdom reign. Isaiah

assures us “of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding

it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the

Lord almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7).

One of the ways God sums up his purpose for our lives is by this phrase: “seek

first God’s kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33),

As Jesus announced the Gospel it was presented not only as the good news of

God’s love for us, but also the good news of the establishment of his kingdom

reign in the hearts and lives of his people. Are there core values of the kingdom

of God? What kind of “rule and reign” does God intend to exercise over us? What

does it look like to make seeking “his kingdom” the priority of our lives?


B. What are the values of the kingdom of God?


In order to help us understand the kind of reign God wants to exercise over us he

has given us his law, which is a reflection of his character: this is the holiness

and the righteousness he requires of us as members of his kingdom reign. The

Lord summarizes our responsibilities to the Law in several ways in Scripture.

One such summary is the Ten Commandments (Ex 20). Another is the “two

great commandments”- to love the Lord our God with all our heart…and our

neighbor as ourselves (Mt 22:38, 39). One other summary of the values of

God’s kingdom is simply “his will”. So Jesus teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom

come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Micah 6:8 is another summary: “He has showed you, o man, what is good. And

what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk

humbly with your God.” In some important ways these different phrases are

interchangeable and are all different means of looking at the same core issues of

the nature of God’s kingdom righteousness.

Whenever the Scriptures call us to learn or pursue “righteousness,” that is just

another summary word that includes these issues of justice, mercy and humility,

loving our neighbor and loving God. As children of his kingdom, all his discipline,

love, care and promises will be bent towards shaping our lives as people who are

marked by these traits.


“For those God foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of his

Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers.” Romans 8:29


C. Micah 6:8 helps us to see the issues of kingdom righteousness through a

different lens than we are sometimes used to looking through. From this

passage, the core activities that God himself describes as the fulfillment of this

kingdom lifestyle include:


To act justly:

Justice, in this passage and many others in Scripture, is not referring

fundamentally to the punishment of crime, but to the positive establishment of

righteousness on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized (Psalm 9:8, 33:5,

45:6-7, 72:1-2, 140:12, 13; Isa 1:16-18). On one level, we are to make sure we

personally treat others with all goodness, rightness and justice in every situation

of life- as a merchant (Lev 19:36), an employer (Jam 5:4,5), a spouse and parent

(Eph 5), a citizen (Romans 13), a homeowner (Deut 22:8). But becoming a

person of justice has another dimension to it that is often overlooked: taking an

active role in helping others when you see them being treated them with injustice.

In other words, to do whatever good we can for those who are oppressed. (Amos


The people who are the most vulnerable to injustice, and the ones to whom

we are called by God to pay special attention are the widow, the orphan, the

immigrant and the poor. (Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:10; Jeremiah 22:15,16;

James 1:27)


To love mercy:

This heart of this term refers to kindness, and is translated “mercy” as a

reference to compassion. God is calling us to be the kind of person who delights

in showing compassion for people in need – when we see people in pain,

distress or misery, to step in and take action to relieve their need. It is important

to remember that this is a “covenantal obligation.” This is not simply random

charity. It is a moral obligation to be like God- someone who is committed to

showing mercy. (Mt 5:43-48; Gal 6:10)

This call for compassion applies to all kinds of need, but God calls us to pay

attention to obvious physical need: hunger, shelter, clothing, sickness. (Isa 58:6-

12 ; Mt 25:31-46; Luke 10:25-37; 1 John 3:16-18)


What is so unusual about God’s mercy is that it comes from a God of grace: we

extend such help even to people who are unworthy or, who deserve just the

opposite; we even show mercy to our enemies. (Luke 6:27-36; Romans 12:17)


To walk humbly with our God:

We are not to pursue this lifestyle from a position of arrogance, superiority or

condescension, but from a humble walk with God: a humility that comes directly

from being the recipients of God’s great mercy in our lives (2 Cor 8:1-9); a

humility that trusts God to do His will His way – even boasting in our weakness (2

Cor 12:9ff); and a humility that means we will not rely on human sources of

strength, but on the Spirit’s power, (Zechariah 4:6; Acts 2 & 4). Humility in

Scripture includes not only a humble heart attitude, but also a willingness to

minister in humble circumstances (2 Cor 8:9; Phil 2:6-8) because the very nature

of the kingdom is that it is “for” (directed towards) the poor. (Luke 4:18-21, 6:20)

This humility, which comes first from seeing our own need for and reception of

God’s mercy and favor, means the deeds of justice and compassion will not be

marked by a motivation of making ourselves feel important, but they will be done

as a true expression of the love of God, with careful concern for the person’s true

need, and “quietly” – without drawing a lot of attention to ourselves (Isa 42:1-4).