The Kingdom Reality

The Kingdom Reality October 4, 2018

The Kingdom of God is the present reality which breaks into this illusion of ours intermittently, like very bad cell phone reception. It’s God’s way of saying, “Can you hear me now?”

In fact, experiencing and living in this Kingdom Reality is, in itself, an exercise in the Kingdom principles of “Letting Go” and “The Power of Weakness”. When we give up on our strength and wait for God’s power to come and to move it’s a testimony of our trust in His promise to us that “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like Eagles”, resting and gliding under the power of the wind of the Holy Spirit.

Waiting and trusting in His power, not our own, taking confidence in His strength, not ours, is a demonstration of The Power of Weakness in action.

For us, this coming, advancing, intermittent reality is counter-intuitive. We’ve been born into this illusion – falsely labeled “Reality”- and have been immersed in this do-it-yourself mentality all of our lives. We need to learn to “Re-Think” everything – or as Jesus said, to “Repent,” (Metanoia = Rethink), “for the Kingdom of God (Heaven) is near” (Or, “It is within our grasp, our reach, and close enough to touch.”)

It is very much like taking the red pill and finding ourselves wide awake in a reality which is upside down and backwards from the world we have been born into. At first we reel with the vertigo of a world where up is down and the first are last. Those who humble themselves are exalted, the greatest is the servant of all, and those who lose their lives find everlasting, eternal life, even though they die daily. This is the Kingdom of God.

Welcome to reality. Because this upside down world, we quickly discover, is NOT upside down, it is right side up. We have lived so long, head over heels, immersed in an illusion of selfish fulfillment and a pursuit of more, more, more, that we need to detoxify our minds and hearts and flesh in order to remain in God’s Kingdom Reality.

Jesus announced this Kingdom, told us how to see it, how to walk in it and remain in it, and gave us the best news possible: We could enter and begin living in Reality anytime we wanted to.

In the Kingdom of God there is just one King; God Himself. He is a good, loving, kind, and wildly, unpredictably, sometimes uncomfortably intimate, inclusive and wonderful King, and Father, and Friend.

His Kingdom is a place where His perfect will is always done and those who rest in His will are refreshed and delighted and fulfilled and at peace and overjoyed. They are children born into the poverty of excess wealth and selfishness who have been adopted into a new Family of the unending wealth of generosity and the joy of always having enough to share and give away.

This is reality. Before God made this vast oasis called “Space and Time” there was no space or time. Everything was perfectly “Now” and Eternally present with Him. This is the only reality there has ever been. God’s Kingdom was, and is, and is to come.

Our temporary stay in this unusual experiment called “Time and Space” will eventually expire and the temporary Kingdoms of this Earth will soon fade away. The Kingdom of Pleasure will fall to the ground. The Kingdom of Greed will perish. The Kingdom of Exploitation and Oppression and Excess and Fashion and Wealth and Flesh, will all crumble and burn and disappear into oblivion. Only one Kingdom will remain and that is the Kingdom which was here “In The Beginning” – which has even now come, and which we can enter today. And, one day, soon, this Kingdom will break forever into this illusion we drift through for the moment, and overtake all we see and know.

Are you ready to enter this Kingdom? Are you ready to begin living under the awesome rule and reign of The King? There’s just one thing, before you take that leap, before you swallow the red pill, that you should know, so that you can count the cost. Those who enter the Kingdom can only step across the threshold if they pay the price. It’s really nothing when you think about it, when you compare the amazing riches of God’s Eternal Kingdom with the tokens and trinkets of our counterfeit reality. The price of admission, the way to step across, is to let go of this world.

Just as you were born naked and weak and vulnerable and empty-handed into this world, so you can take nothing with you into God’s Kingdom. It’s called being “Born Again”.

The things of this world are not truly treasures. When you die they will stay here anyway, and just as you can take nothing with you beyond the grave, you can take nothing with you when you step into God’s Kingdom.

Jesus only asks for one thing- It’s called Everything.

But what you gain, what you receive in exchange, is beyond anything you can dream of or hope for or imagine. The Kingdom of God, when you see it, when you really understand it, you will gladly rush out to sell all that you have, as quickly as possible, to step across the threshold into Heaven.

This is the moment where many people stop and turn back. Their grip on this world, or its grip on them, is so strong that they can never let go of their tiny, petty lives in this place in order to receive real life and treasure in God’s Kingdom.

If we have really seen the Kingdom, if we really understood and believed that this Kingdom was real (in a way that nothing else can ever be “real”), then we would rush quickly to surrender all that we have and all that we are in order to receive the treasure that does not rust or face or disappoint.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” – Luke 9:24

“The Kingdom of God is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44)

All God wants is all of you. All He asks is that you Trust Him and Believe Him and surrender your meager treasures and petty personal kingdoms in exchange for His Kingdom. God wants to be your God. He wants you to be one of His People.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” – Jesus (Luke 9:23). There is no other way but the Cross.

Jesus says it is very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.” Who then can be saved? His disciples asked. “With man this is impossible,” Jesus replied, “But not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10: 23-27)

Will you let go? Will you surrender it all? Will you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? This is the only question we need to answer in order to step across the threshold into the amazing reality of God’s Kingdom.

You can stay here, on this side of reality, where you are safe and miserable, in your tiny kingdom where your will is what matters. Or you can sell it all, exchange the handful of crumbling mud for real treasure which lasts forever.

Is your kingdom so wonderful? Aren’t you tired of wearing the crown? Haven’t you suffered long enough under your own rule and reign?

When you are ready to set fire to your kingdom, and surrender your lordship, and dance as the flames consume your empty way of living, He is ready to invite you to experience Reality, today.

There is only One King, and He is good. He really wants what is best for you, and He can, above all, beyond any other, be Trusted. His Name is Faithful and True.

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by me” – Jesus (John 14)

**

Keith Giles is a former pastor who left the pulpit 11 years ago to start a church that gives away 100% of the offering to the poor in their community. 

His new book Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Widuran

    It is all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ

  • Herm

    NO, Thistle, it is all about the Good News of real live relationship, on that day, between each of Man who is flesh graced the image of God, living with and in God who is spirit.

    For each of Man, the kingdom of heaven, begins only when fully accepting to live with and in the Spirit of truth, as the Teacher, forever. All flesh of mankind knows it will die. God knows no beginning and no end, but Jesus, the Christ, and all of the Father’s children.

  • Widuran

    No. It is all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    John 3:16-18 English Standard Version

    16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

    I trust Jesus Christ rather than man.

  • Herm

    But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    John 4:23-24 (ESV)

    You don’t know Jesus, the Christ. If you did you would know the Father. In your Bible, the Messiah, Jesus, calls for all true worshipers to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, not himself. If you actually knew to trust the printed words attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, you would seek the Advocate, sent by our heavenly Father, to trust while living with and in you forever.

    Your salvation can only be found living fully with and in the Spirit of truth, not settling for the testimony of mankind found in your Bible.

    God is real, available this moment, promising to never leave their children orphaned, but to forever lead each into all truth that is much, much greater than the testimony derived from that written over 38 generations of mankind’s past. Over 300 years of followers of Christ past before the first canon of your Bible became relevant. Who filled each to boldly speak and die for the word of God?

  • Widuran

    You claim you are sinless? If this is true then you clearly do not know the scriptures

  • Herm

    You are not answering the question:

    Over 300 years of followers of Christ past before the first canon of your Bible became relevant. Who filled each to boldly speak and die for the word of God?

    When you answer that question I will answer your following question.

  • Widuran

    I do not need to play you games Hermie. I know you think you are a sinless wonder who denies tho Jesus Christ really is.

  • Herm

    Is this all you are left with, casting more aspersions?

    Who filled each to boldly speak and die for the word of God for 300 years before your Bible?

  • Widuran

    I read the Bible I have not written any Bibles.

  • Herm

    An epistle is no more than a letter. My letter (thanks Keith!) to you is inspired by my Teacher, the Spirit of truth.

    You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

    2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NIV2011)

    Who filled each disciple of Christ to boldly speak and die for the word of God for the 300 years before your Bible?

  • Widuran

    As I keep stating I have not written a Bible. Are you going senile?

  • Herm

    It says in your Bible who filled each disciple for the 300 years before the first copy of the Bible your are reading existed. Who filled each disciple of Christ to boldly speak and die for the word of God for the 300 years before the Bible you read was?

  • Widuran

    As I have said I have not written a Bible. I read the various translations avaiable from ESV and NIV to King James. I have no special Bible which keep banging on about

  • Herm

    Come on, Thistle, you know exactly what I am asking. The Bible you read from is your Bible and not God’s Bible or any church’s Bible. The Bible you read from, whatever translation, follows a reasonable fact simile of the format as laid down by the First Council of Nicea in the year 325 AD. Who filled each disciple of Christ to boldly speak and die for the word of God for the 300 years before the Bible you read was?

  • Widuran

    I am not a thistle and I have not written a Bible. You are definitely going crazy in your old age

  • You’ve defined the gospel of the Kingdom solely as a conversion experience, essentially gutting the gospel of its social implications and redefined it as “personal experience.” This is the basic fundamentalist “out” used to deny social justice. Bad choice.

  • Widuran

    Where have I denied social justice?

    We are saved and then we can do good works but social justice does not save souls the gospel does

  • —Social justice is the core goal of the Kingdom of God. The gospel is both the announcement of that Kingdom and its justice and the invitation to join it. They are interdependent. You can’t separate the two as you have done. Keith has given the analogy of intermittent cell phone connectivity. I will give another analogy. The Kingdom of God is a work train departing to areas that need help. The gospel is the ticket to board that train. Many evangelicals buy the ticket, but few board the train.
    —This was not always the case. The modern evangelical movement began after WWII as a prophetic correction to fundamentalism, which was seen by some as too removed from social justice. What we have seen in the last 70 years is a concerted effort by fundamentalists to redefine evangelicalism in fundamentalist terms. As a result, once again, social justice is being removed from the evangelical vocabulary.

  • Widuran

    The core goal of the kingdom of God is the salvation of souls.

    From gotquestions

    The phrase “social gospel” is usually used to describe a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that came to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who adhered to a social gospel sought to apply Christian ethics to social problems such as poverty, slums, poor nutrition and education, alcoholism, crime, and war. These things were emphasized while the doctrines of sin, salvation, heaven and hell, and the future kingdom of God were downplayed. Theologically, the social gospel leaders were overwhelmingly postmillennialist, asserting that Christ’s Second Coming could not happen until humankind rid itself of social evils by human effort.

    For a Christian perspective on the idea of a social gospel, we need to look to Jesus, who lived in one of history’s most corrupt societies. Jesus never issued any call for political change, not even by peaceful means. He did not come to earth to be a political or social reformer. The gospel Jesus preached did not have to do with social reform or social justice or political change. Rather than attempt to change governments and institutions, which are made up of people, Jesus came to change people’s hearts and point them to God’s kingdom. He preached the saving power of the gospel and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

    Yes, Jesus showed deep compassion for the poor, the sick, the dispossessed, and the outcasts of society. He healed them, but before taking care of their physical or emotional needs, He first took care of their spiritual needs. He was most concerned about the state of their souls and preached the gospel of repentance from sin through Him so they understood that their eternal destiny was far more important than their circumstances here on earth. Several of His parables conveyed this truth, including Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19–31). The rich man, who had every possible social advantage, spent eternity in hell while Lazarus, the poorest of the poor with dire social needs, was comforted in heaven.

    Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality. The Bible supports social justice with regard to the plight of the poor and the afflicted, orphans and widows, and people unable to support themselves. The nation of Israel was commanded by God to care for the less fortunate in society. Jesus told us to care for those who are hungry and thirsty, who are sick or in prison, the outcasts of society (Matthew 25:34–40).

    Jesus reflected God’s sense of justice by bringing the gospel message to the lower rungs of society. The wealthy also need to hear the gospel message, but it is noteworthy that the well-to-do, the upstanding and respected members of society are less likely to see their utter spiritual bankruptcy before God and embrace the message of the gospel. Christians are under a personal obligation to love their neighbours as they love themselves (Matthew 22:39). We have a responsibility to be good stewards of our own wealth because all wealth comes from and belongs to God. Christians should take a God-centered approach to social justice, not a man-centered approach. We see Christ Jesus as our Savior. When He returns, He will restore justice. In the meantime, Christians are to express God’s love and justice by showing kindness in practical ways to those less fortunate.

  • —No, we are not talking about the “social gospel,” which refers to a particularity of the late 19th century. We are talking about a different particularity of the late 19th early 20th century, that of the fundamentalist reinterpretation of the gospel as solely about “saving souls.” We are talking about the false dichotomy or polarity of seeking social justice and the gospel as being conflicting or opposing ideologies.
    —This is foreign to the Biblical tradition of the prophets of Israel and Jesus, who announced that the Kingdom of God had begun as he read the words of Isaiah in the temple. Did Jesus seek reform of the Roman government? No, he had come first to the children of Israel. Did he seek social justice there? You bet. Where did he start and whom did he criticize? The religious leaders of Israel. In other words, take the log out of your own eye before criticizing the speck in the eyes of Rome.
    —He criticized the wealthy who profited off the poor. Those who denied the social well-being of the widowed and elderly. No, Jesus wasn’t out handing out salvation tracts. Salvation was a community affair, the Kingdom has come near, join up.
    —As Russell Moore puts it in response to John MacArthur:
    “So, if you were in the Southern Baptist or Southern Presbyterian context in 1845 and the question of slavery comes up, the response is going to be ‘You are distracting us from the Gospel. We need to be the people who are sharing the Gospel and evangelizing the world and not to get involved in these social issues like slavery,'” Moore said. “Well, if you stand up and call people to repentance for drunkenness and adultery but you don’t call them to repentance for participating in or applauding the kidnapping, rape, forced servitude of image-bearing human beings, then you have spoken to it. You have said, ‘This is an issue to which you will give no account at judgment.’ That is not what the Bible teaches.”
    —The theological views you are espousing have done great damage in the world. The church has time and time again resisted social justice and been an agent of social injustice. Fortunately fundamentalism is dying, being replaced by a spirituality that has actual practical application in making the world a better place. As Harvey Cox puts it:
    “People turn to religion more for support in their efforts to live in this world and make it better, and less to prepare for the next. The pragmatic and experiential elements of faith as a way of life are displacing the previous emphasis on institutions and beliefs.” (The Future of Faith, pp.2-3)

  • My first response was flagged and deleted. We’re not talking about the late 19th century social gospel, we are talking about the early 20th century fundamentalist response, which unhinged social responsibility in favor of a stripped down gospel of personal salvation.
    —As Russell Moore puts it in response to John MacArthur:
    “So, if you were in the Southern Baptist or Southern Presbyterian context in 1845 and the question of slavery comes up, the response is going to be ‘You are distracting us from the Gospel. We need to be the people who are sharing the Gospel and evangelizing the world and not to get involved in these social issues like slavery,'” Moore said. “Well, if you stand up and call people to repentance for drunkenness and adultery but you don’t call them to repentance for participating in or applauding the kidnapping, rape, forced servitude of image-bearing human beings, then you have spoken to it. You have said, ‘This is an issue to which you will give no account at judgment.’ That is not what the Bible teaches.”
    —The theological views you are espousing have done great damage in the world. The church has time and time again resisted social justice and been an agent of social injustice. Fortunately fundamentalism is dying, being replaced by a spirituality that has actual practical application in making the world a better place. As Harvey Cox puts it:
    “People turn to religion more for support in their efforts to live in this world and make it better, and less to prepare for the next. The pragmatic and experiential elements of faith as a way of life are displacing the previous emphasis on institutions and beliefs.” (The Future of Faith, pp.2-3)

  • Widuran

    Oh dear you have no argument so you make personal attacks. The attack on John MacArthur is very unfair and is likely to be untrue and not written in context when time permits i will investigate if this claim is actually true. I suspect it isn’t . I trust Jesus not man and he preached salvation in his name as the most important thing

  • Widuran

    The statement from what I can gather

    In view of questionable sociological, psychological, and political theories presently permeating our culture and making inroads into Christ’s church, we wish to clarify certain key Christian doctrines and ethical principles prescribed in God’s Word. Clarity on these issues will fortify believers and churches to withstand an onslaught of dangerous and false teachings that threaten the gospel, misrepresent Scripture, and lead people away from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

    Specifically, we are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice.” If the doctrines of God’s Word are not uncompromisingly reasserted and defended at these points, there is every reason to anticipate that these dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles.

    We submit these affirmations and denials for public consideration, not with any pretense of ecclesiastical authority, but with an urgency that is mixed with deep joy and sincere sorrow. The rapidity with which these deadly ideas have spread from the culture at large into churches and Christian organizations—including some that are evangelical and Reformed—necessitates the issuing of this statement now.

    In the process of considering these matters we have been reminded of the essentials of the faith once for all handed down to the saints, and we are re-committed to contend for it. We have a great Lord and Savior, and it is a privilege to defend his gospel, regardless of cost or consequences. Nevertheless, while we rejoice in that privilege, we grieve that in doing so we know we are taking a stand against the positions of some teachers whom we have long regarded as faithful and trustworthy spiritual guides. It is our earnest prayer that our brothers and sisters will stand firm on the gospel and avoid being blown to and fro by every cultural trend that seeks to move the Church of Christ off course. We must remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

    The Apostle Paul’s warning to the Colossians is greatly needed today: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). The document that follows is an attempt to heed that apostolic command. We invite others who share our concerns and convictions to unite with us in reasserting our unwavering commitment to the teachings of God’s Word articulated in this statement. Therefore, for the glory of God among his Church and throughout society, we offer the following affirmations and denials.

    WE AFFIRM that the Bible is God’s Word, breathed out by him. It is inerrant, infallible, and the final authority for determining what is true (what we must believe) and what is right (how we must live). All truth claims and ethical standards must be tested by God’s final Word, which is Scripture alone.

    WE DENY that Christian belief, character, or conduct can be dictated by any other authority, and we deny that the postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching. We further deny that competency to teach on any biblical issue comes from any qualification for spiritual people other than clear understanding and simple communication of what is revealed in Scripture.

    ———————————————-

    Russell moore has just made a cowardly attack based on no evidence at all.

    https://statementonsocialjustice.com/

    Shame on Russell Moore and all the liars supporting such claims

  • —First of all, I do not recall any name-calling on my end of the discussion. Although “fundamentalist” could be construed as a pejorative, I am using it solely as an accurate descriptive of a certain school of religious thought. For better or worse, you fit that descriptive. So does John MacArthur. Let me be perfectly clear. The fundamentalist withdrawal from social justice is not a mark of evangelicalism. Following WWII, Fundamentalist became a bad word associated with overt racism, misogyny and a general white, male, Protestant disdain for anything other. On the other hand, evangelicals presented a more balanced attitude and “witness” to the world which resonated with many. Evangelical churches flourished in subsequent years following WWII.
    —What we are seeing now is the fundamentalist church, having destroyed the credibility and respect for the fundamentalist brand, seeking to rebrand themselves as evangelicals. Trouble is, if it walks like a fundamentalist, talks like a fundamentalist and teaches fundamentalism…it’s a fundamentalist, regardless of the title appropriated for itself.
    —Never happy with the fundamentalist/evangelical split, fundies are seeking to retake evangelicals, becoming evangelicals in name only. In the process they will ultimately destroy evangelicalism from within.
    —MacArthur’s “statement” makes broad, undefined declarations and never really clarifies why social justice is a distraction from the “gospel.” Knowing what I do about the rise of the Religious Right and the Moral Majority in the Bible Belt and it’s history of racism, MacArthur uses broad ambiguity purposefully. As a former Bob Jones University alumnus one must “talk around” racism, using other terminology to cover one’s actual agenda, much like how Paul Weyrich and fundamentalist leadership used abortion as a smokescreen to cover their opposition to desegregation. Deflect attention from their agendas of social injustice by using more positive dogwhistles to enthuse to faithful. It will not work.

  • Widuran

    You are correct not name calling per se but you said this

    “The theological views you are espousing have done great damage in the world. ”

    This is still an attack on me with no basis in fact.

    Your basis for attacking fellow Christians like John McArthur also have no basis in fact.

    I have no issue with being called fundamentalist.

    Jesus Christ held strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles:

    Matthew 12
    30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters

    Jesus Christ himself and the Apostles were fundamentalists. So it is a badge of Christian honour to be called a fundamentalist. So the term is not an insult at all.