The Kingdom of Heaven is Closer than You Think
What do you imagine when you think of the kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven? Most of us probably think of a place where God dwells with us where there are no more tears, death, or sorrow (Rev. 21:1-5). A place that we will experience one day, when we die or when Jesus returns. But Jesus said many things that reveal this kingdom is here already, at least in part.
He said the kingdom is at hand… as if we can grab it!
You probably remember when Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He said…
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
– Matthew 6:10 New King James Version (NKJV)
The thing I want to focus on today though, is something Jesus said in this parable:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
– Matthew 13:44 New King James Version (NKJV)
When a person finds the kingdom of heaven, they should joyfully give all they have to get it. This is the obvious application. It reminds me of Mark 10:21 and Luke 18:22 where Jesus tells the rich young man to sell everything he has and follow Him.
Jesus always took things to a deeper heart level.
The truth is we actually do exchange everything, our old way of being, our life, for His life. See Col. 3:5-10 as one example of many in the New Testament. When we give our life to Jesus, very much like Rev. 21:1-5, God makes his dwelling place in us by the Holy Spirit. We begin to experience a taste of heaven on earth as well as display to the world a foreshadow of the kingdom of heaven
But think back to the parable about the hidden treasure. Who was it that gave everything to purchase the kingdom? Before any of us gave our lives, Jesus, for the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2), sold all that He had and purchased His kingdom. And look at what He says here about the kingdom of God:
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
– Luke 17:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
What if the kingdom of God is not only coming, at hand, in our midst, and among us… but even within us? Think of it this way, Jesus gave everything to buy us (the field) and hidden inside each of us is treasure (the kingdom). If this is true, what is the application to go along with it?
Jesus saw value in us, so much so that He gave everything to purchase us.
We must, like Jesus, see value in each other. After all, as we express this treasure hidden in jars of clay (1 Cor. 4:7), and people taste and see that He is good (Ps. 34:8), the kingdom of God is advanced. This gives appropriate value to us and to the ones around us.
No matter how hard we are to love, there is hidden treasure in us that Jesus died for. There is an expression of the kingdom of heaven in you that is unlike anyone else. You are uniquely designed to reveal heaven like no one else can. No matter how hard your neighbor is to love, you are called to love them like Jesus. He gave everything that they might gain heaven and also be a taste of His kingdom to someone else.
Easter is on the horizon. Statistically it is one day in the year that people will come to church when they wouldn’t normally. When I first came to church, which later led to me giving my life to Jesus, I was personally invited. That one act of faith by my friend, continues to impact people to this day.
This is an easy way to advance the kingdom of heaven. Start to think of who you can invite to come with you to church on Easter. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be a part of them accepting our Savior?