What Is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?

Lesson 6, Part 8


The Gospel Jesus Taught

From the beginning of Christ's earthly ministry, He focused on the Kingdom of God.

What was the main theme of Christ’s message?

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14).

“Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him” (Luke 8:1).

From the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry, He focused on the Kingdom of God. He was continuing the message proclaimed by Daniel and the other prophets. Throughout His ministry He repeatedly used the words king and kingdom to explain the good news He preached.

What other theme was prominent in Christ preaching?

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15; compare Matthew 9:13).

Jesus taught that no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he repents: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23; compare Matthew 19:16-17; 1 John 2:4).

Obeying Jesus Christ is different from simply believing in Him. Submitting to God’s will requires a change of heart. It means we come to trust God and willingly repent of sin, which is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), the breaking of God’s law. Here is where many sincere people misunderstand not only the gospel but what one must do to enter God’s Kingdom and receive His gift of eternal life.

Our faith in God and in the reliability of His promises must lead to a life of active obedience. Otherwise our faith is dead and useless (James 2:26).

What did Jesus say is necessary for someone to enter God’s Kingdom and receive eternal life?

“. . . One came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments’ ” (Matthew 19:16-17).

What message was uppermost on Jesus Christ’s mind after His resurrection?

“To [the apostles] He also presented Himself alive after His suffering . . . being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

After explaining more details of the gospel of the Kingdom of God, Jesus sent His apostles out into the world to teach the nations those truths (Acts 1:8; compare Matthew 28:19-20).

The Kingdom in the Gospels

The theme of many of Christ's parables is God's Kingdom.

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible says this about the Kingdom of God: “The word ‘kingdom’ is found fifty-five times in Matthew; twenty times in Mark, forty-six times in Luke and five times in John. When allowance is made for the use of the word to refer to secular kingdoms and for parallel verses of the same sayings of Jesus, the phrase ‘the Kingdom of God’ and equivalent expressions (e.g., ‘Kingdom of heaven,’ ‘his kingdom’) occur about eighty times . . . These statistics show the great importance of the concept in the teachings of Jesus . . . There can, therefore, be little doubt that the phrase ‘the Kingdom of God’ expresses the main theme of His teaching” (Vol. III, Zondervan, 1976, p. 804).

Jesus equated receiving salvation with entering the Kingdom (Matthew 19:16-24), and He explained the loss of salvation in terms of banishment from the Kingdom (Luke 13:28). The message of salvation is called “the word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19). The hope and comfort of a Christian are said to be in entering the Kingdom (Mark 10:15).

The goal of a Christian is to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). Righteous people are called “sons of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38). The theme of many of Christ’s parables is God’s Kingdom (Matthew 13:44-47).

Some of the many biblical terms for and references to the Kingdom of God are explained in our free booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom .

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