Should we preach the kingdom of God?

QUESTIONS:“Preaching the kingdom of God.” 

• What does this mean?

• Should believers today preach the kingdom of God?

• Does that embrace the gospel as set forth in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4?

ANSWER: The apostle of the Gentiles, although for two years prisoner at Rome, was preaching the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31). Remarkable! In Rome, the very center of man’s greatness and power, Paul had the courage to proclaim the majesty and glorious greatness of his Lord and Master. The world had viewed that same blessed One as worthless, crowned Him with a crown of thorns and crucified Him. Yet, He is risen, exalted and glorified on the Father’s throne. He will soon come again to reign on this earth where He was crucified.

The apostle in his parting address to the elders of Ephesus said, “… the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more” (Acts 20:24-25 NKJV). The burden of the ministry, which he had received, was to witness to the grace of God and proclaim the kingdom of God. These things are linked together. It could not be otherwise.

Our Savior is the Messiah, the King of Israel. Looking at the Psalms one can count 25 or more references to God’s anointed King, such as:

  • “My King” in Psalm 2:6 is God’s Son, the Son of the Father’s love,
  • “My King and my God” in Psalm 5:2,
  • “The LORD is King forever and ever” in Psalm 10:16, and
  • “Who is this King of glory? … The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah” in Psalm 24:7-10.

We leave this very profitable study to you to pursue.

The Son of God came into this scene by becoming Man. He has the dignity of the King. The theme of the Gospel of Matthew is “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” That is the royal One, the King and the Promised Seed. Therefore we read at once: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Mt. 1:1, 2:2).

The theme of the Gospel of John is the glories of the Son of God, yet nowhere in the Gospels is the Lord Jesus so much spoken of as the King as here. Only John records that the multitudes after the feeding of the five thousand “were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king” (Jn. 6:15).

In chapter 12 our blessed Lord was honored at the table as the King. Some of His own had made Him a supper and each one was delighting to take their place which grace had given them. One was serving and another enjoying fellowship. Mary brought the ointment of spikenard, very costly, and lavished it all upon His feet. She recognized Him alone to be worthy of all. “While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance” (Song 1:12). Oh, that all the Lord’s own would understand this better and be so willing to pour the adoration of worshiping hearts at His holy feet! He surely is worthy. The savor of His great Name would fill all the house and be carried everywhere (Jn. 12:3; 2 Cor. 2:14).

Again in John 12 we read: “A great multitude … cried out: Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (vv.12-13; see Psalm 118:25-26). The Holy Spirit applied Zechariah 9:9 to this scene: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” He received this recognition as “the King of Israel” from the multitude, but He is soon seen weeping because they had not known the time of their visitation (Lk. 19:37-44). After the rapture the godly remnant will pass through exercises of heart and be willing to receive Him as their King. But now only His sheep know His voice and follow Him (Jn. 10:4).

At the close of John’s gospel, the Lord is the object of scorn. Pilate speaks seven times of Him as King:

  1. “Are You the King of the Jews?” (Jn. 18:33).
  2. “Are You a king then?” The Lord’s faithful answer was, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (v.37).
  3. “Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” (v.39).
  4. Pilate’s soldiers crowned Him with a crown of thorns and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (19:3). Pilate brought Him forth so arrayed thus giving this act his public approval (v.5).
  5. “Behold your King!” (v.14).
  6. “Shall I crucify your King?” (v.15).
  7. Pilate gave the last in writing: “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (v.19). “What I have written, I have written” (v.22) was his final, unalterable verdict. Although an unrighteous judge and not realizing what he was saying, Pilate bore witness to the truth.

Although Jew and Gentile have disowned the Lord as King, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” All His own gladly recognize His glory as King. Yet someone will reply, “We are a heavenly people and He will be the King for an earthly people.” Very well! But let me illustrate the point.

A bride, soon to be queen, the king’s wife, delights much in the fact that her lover is the coming king. He has not as yet ascended the throne. The day of coronation is still future. She will love to speak of his being honored as the king. She loves that day. To her he will be the loving husband, yet she is happy to tell of his dignity and majesty. She is much grieved at his being rejected and could never associate for a moment with those who scorn the coming king. So it is with the Christian today.

We are a heavenly people and are waiting here in this scene for our heavenly Bridegroom, who will soon come to take us to Himself (Jn. 14:3; 1 Th. 4:16-17). We also love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Jn. 3:2), when He will come in His glory. We, the redeemed, will be with Him. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim. 6:15), He will take His rightful place and reign. Then it will be proclaimed, “The kingdom of the world of our Lord and His Christ is come, and He shall reign to the ages of ages” (Rev. 11:15 JND), and the 24 elders are seen on their faces worshiping God at that glorious sight. We do so now in anticipation of that day.

The King is rejected now but He has been enthroned by the Father and crowned with glory and honor. The kingdom as present is a spiritual one. It is the sphere where the will of God is recognized and obeyed. Only those “born again” can see and enter the kingdom of God today (Jn. 3:3,5,7). We are to seek that kingdom and His righteousness; He has promised to take care of the other things. Our Father knows what we need (Mt. 6:32-33).

We are to be the proclaimers of the gospel of the grace of God to the lost sinners of the world, also instructing them in the kingdom of God. We should love to tell of the royal majesty of our blessed Lord. The place as King is due to Him in this scene of His rejection. It is sad that we hear so little of that coming, glorious day of His appearing. Some preachers even deny that there will be such a display of Christ’s glory in this scene.

The verses mentioned in our question, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, are the fundamentals of the gospel: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (NKJV). But that is not all. In the same chapter the kingdom is spoken of in verses 23-26. Later, we read of the mystery of His coming for His own (vv.51-57).

The term “gospel” means “the glad tidings,” and it includes all! All is important in its place. Christ’s birth is “good tidings of great joy” (Lk. 2:10). His death and completion of the redemptive work is a source of glad tidings for sin-troubled souls – here they learn that the sin question has been divinely settled. The resurrection of the Lord is good news, for here we learn that we are justified. Not a single charge can be brought against one who puts his trust in the risen Savior. He is coming again for us – believers. That is good news rich with comfort for we will then be forever with the Lord. What joy to Him and to us! He is going to come with His own to reign – what glad tidings for the godly remnant and joy to us to see Him receive His rightful place and reign, and we with Him!

Answered by G. A. Wiese in the September,1939 Grace & Truth Magazine (adapted).