Biblical principles regarding the kingdom of Christ are crucial for our understanding in becoming Christians as well as developing in the growth process of becoming strong Christians. One of the great hindrances to individuals in obeying the gospel of Christ is a failure on their part to properly understand the establishment and nature of the kingdom.
As we consider what the scriptures teach regarding the kingdom of Christ we note several particulars.
The kingdom of Christ was promised by the Old Testament prophets. In the study of the scriptures we find that God had an eternal plan and purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:11). As a crucial component within this plan the kingdom of Christ plays a major role. We note that the kingdom as prophesied in the Old Testament had Deity as its designer and would not be limited to that of time (Dan. 2:44).
We also note that in view of Old Testament prophecy, Christ would be the King over this kingdom and that it would be comprised of those from various nations. Furthermore, this dominion—based upon divine ownership—could never be destroyed (Dan. 7:13-14).
During His earthly ministry, Christ promised to establish His kingdom that would be comprised of individuals having been saved from past alien sins by means of His own blood. This kingdom was not established during His earthly ministry. It was promised by Christ during that period and was established following His death, burial resurrection and ascension back to the Father (Matt. 4:17; 16:18-19; Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2).
The kingdom of Christ is spiritual in its nature and universal in its scope. That is set forth in the scriptures by the very definition of the term. The word kingdom (basileia) when spoken of regarding the kingdom of Christ is used relative to the rule, reign, and sovereignty of Christ. Such is not a political entity as falsely affirmed by Premillennialism. It is a spiritual relationship in Christ comprised of all individuals who obey the gospel of Christ (Matt. 16:18-19; Acts 2:38-47; Col. 1:12-14, 18; Acts 20:28; Rev. 5:9-10; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 5:9-10).
This saved relationship in Christ wherein Christ rules in the lives of his people is also spoken of as being the church (ekklesia), the called out assembly of Christ. The terms kingdom and church are different terms used with reference to the same body of individuals. It is not a denomination; neither is it a group of denominations. Universally the church or kingdom is nondenominational, undenominational and anti-denominational. It is thus one body of saved individuals (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). Existing with a spiritual essence (Rom. 14:17), with a spiritual reign (Acts 2:1-4, Luke 17:17), with spiritual subjects (Acts 2:41), in a spiritual culture (Acts 2:42), consisting in spiritual growth (2 Pet. 3:17), thus being a spiritual habitation (Ephesians 2:21).
The kingdom of Christ has divine love as its basis. In the epistles of John we find that the word of God provides for us a revelation of love (1 John 4:10-12). We also note that the scriptures demonstrates the true character of love (1 John 2; 2 John).
Love (agape) is not a passive amiability. It demands ultimate devotion, a giving of one’s self, sacrifice and even militancy. Loving servants of Christ are indeed fighting soldiers who realize that ultimate love for God requires a holy hatred for both Satan and sin (Psa. 139:22; Heb. 1:9; 1 Tim. 6:12; Jude 3).
The kingdom of Christ encompasses a specific brotherhood. By the term brotherhood (adelphotes) we refer to that of brotherly relation, community and/or family. The kingdom of Christ and the house or family of God are one and the same identity (John 3:1-5; 1 Tim. 3:15). Brotherhood in Christ necessitates obedience to the gospel of Christ thus bringing about one’s being added by the Lord to the church (1 John 1:3; Acts 2:47). Those who have not been baptized into Christ have not been born into the kingdom and/or added to the church.
Brotherhood does not necessarily imply fellowship. Fellowship (koinonia) is properly defined as joint participation. When brethren individually or collectively as local churches impenitently practice sin they are no longer in the fellowship of God (1 John 1:6; 2 John 9-11). Such being the case faithful brethren are not authorized by the New Testament of Christ to extend fellowship to them unless and until repentance takes place within their lives (2 Thess. 3:14-15).
The kingdom of Christ necessitates scriptural worship. Our fellowship with God the Father and Christ the only begotten Son requires our worship and praise. The first century church of Christ was so directed by the inspiration of God to give such (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1- 2; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; Heb. 2:12; 10:25).
In consideration of scriptural worship we correctly conclude that while such indeed is inclusive not only of outward acts, but also a submission of our spirits to the will of God (Rom. 1:9). True worship is directed towards God, guided by divine truth, and also involves the human spirit-the inner man. (John 4:23-24).
May we always realize the importance of being in the kingdom of Christ and faithfully serving him all the days of our lives!