the weblog of Alan Knox

The Gospel and the Kingdom

Posted by on Jan 25, 2010 in missional | 6 comments

Have you ever noticed how many times in Scripture the gospel is associated with the kingdom of God?

Now, we know that “gospel” is simply an Old English word for “good news.” Thus, when the early apostles proclaimed the good news concerning Jesus Christ, they considered it good news about his kingdom. Here are a few passages (although there are many, many similar ones):

And he [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. (Matthew 4:23 ESV)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 ESV)

But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12 ESV)

There are other passages that don’t include the term “gospel” or “good news” but where believers are encouraging others toward the kingdom of God (what we would call “evangelism”):

And he [Paul] entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8 ESV)

He [Paul] lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:30-31 ESV)

Finally, there are other passages that connect the kingdom of God to what some called “being saved”:

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son… (Colossians 1:13 ESV)

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe… (Hebrews 12:28 ESV)

Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5 ESV)

So, how is the kingdom of God related to the gospel, that is, the good news of Jesus Christ? How do we proclaim the good news of the kingdom?


6 Comments

  1. 1-25-2010

    I see it as a portion of the Kingdom of God is being presented/offered. The earth has not yet been remade, nor the heavens, but they will be. Israel has not returned to God in faithfulness and received her Messiah, but she will. Jesus has not yet demonstrated to us His physical Kingdom on earth for a thousand years, but it is coming. Much of the Kingdom of God is yet to be experienced (and we are told the whole creation groans awaiting this redemption, just as we all know that yearning in our own hearts to be fully given to Him).

    Right now, we offer to others and can begin to experience His rule, His kingdom, both in our own hearts and among ourselves. Importantly, we further demonstrate His Kingdom to those around us by having new values that esteem servanthood rather than position, generosity rather than acquisition, etc. How we live together in this world at this time is the visible Message in action.

    God has always been seeking reconciliation with people, always seeking our restoration. He has used families to extend and demonstrate this message, then a nation (Israel) to do so, and is presently using a different strategy: a people seeded into cultures, nations,and languages, to proclaim and personify who God is and how He desires to be with us.

    Our good news is that the God who seeks us and loves us and who can rule to bring peace and well being to us all is still pursuing us, and is presently available to us. We herald a foretaste and a foreshadowing that is substantive now, but the future fulfillment in a new heaven and a new earth exceeds our every imagination, and is worth any sacrifice made in living out and proclaiming this great news by word and deed in the present.

  2. 1-25-2010

    Hi Alan,

    Have you been reading my blog? :)

    I’ve been trying to sort this out. And I’m leaning toward believing the good news of the kingdom of God is the gospel that we are commanded to share.

    I think the belief that “Jesus is Lord” (= King) was central to the early church. It shows up everywhere in the NT, and in the apostles creed. We can allow the King of the universe to rule in our lives instead of our selfish ways. He wants to restore us to what we were created to be.

    Is the central gospel message about something Jesus did in the past on the cross, so we can be with him in the future? Or is it that Jesus wants to reign in our lives now? The past makes it possible, and we can trust Him for the future. But I believe the gospel our world needs to hear is that God loves them now, and wants to be part of their lives now.

    I fear the term ‘gospel’ has frequently been used to summarize all the key doctrines of some unique brand of Christianity and tag some supporting Bible verses that go along with their teachings. By doing this the label gospel actually creates and maintains divisions in Christ’s church.

    I have some related posts here:
    http://jonjourney.blogspot.com/2009/03/good-news.html

  3. 1-25-2010

    Art and Jon,

    Thanks for the comments. I’ve noticed that the more I’ve read the Gospels (Matthew especially since we’re studying that book right now), the more I’m exhorted to have a kingdom focus. And, the more I develop a kingdom focus, the more phrases like “gospel” begin to take on a broader meaning.

    Jon,

    I had not read your post before, but I have now. Thanks for the link!

    -Alan

  4. 1-27-2010

    Good morning. Several years ago, I was at a meeting in the Basque region of Spain with some folks involved in a group called post-mission. The question was asked, “What is the gospel?” I immediately piped up: “Jesus Christ was died for our sins according to the Scriptures….” My response was met with a resounding, “No, it’s not!” Yet, no definition/description was offered in reply, partially because I think everyone was trying to figure it out. I began a quest to “(re)define” it. I quickly realized that its use in so many different contexts required a multifaceted answer, one that doesn’t permit it to be condensed as four steps. And, these different facets mean that, depending on the context and needs of those hearing it, it can and should be shared from one or more of those angles. In its breadth, and related to the Kingdom, here’s where I have landed at present. I’d really appreciate some “push back” from others:

    The gospel is the good news that, through repentance and trust in the crucified and risen Christ, one receives forgiveness and an eternally-restored relationship with the Father, responsible membership now in his redemptive community, active participation now in his active Kingdom rule through the Spirit and privileged partnership now in his ongoing plan to rescue and restore all creation and reconcile all things to himself in Christ.

    Depending on the context, one or more of those elements needs to be discussed.

  5. 1-27-2010

    Oops, …Jesus Christ died for our sins.

  6. 1-28-2010

    Rick,

    I think this is both “the Gospel” (I Cor 15:1-4 may be the pure, technical definition?) and some of its (sublime) benefits well encapsulated.

    At first (after wiping away tears of awe and joy) I thought this seemed a little bit like pushing the benefit package while diminishing the cost paid by God, sort of just punching the “faith ticket” for the ride. But then, Jesus referred to Himself as “the door.”

    But, just sitting on the back porch with friends, this is a view of the “good news” I’d want all to see.

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