“And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.” Luke 4:43 (KJV)
What does it mean to be a citizen? A citizen is defined as “a native or naturalized individual who owes allegiance to a government (as of a state or nation) and is entitled to the enjoyment of governmental protection and to the exercise of civil rights.” Our news lately has been full of cover stories on how America is changing the definition of citizenship and who is eligible to become a citizen of this country. BUT GOD, never changes the definition or the privilege of citizenship in His Kingdom—a kingdom that is eternal and everlasting yet fully realized today.
When God the Son stepped out of eternity into time, He ushered in the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15). The “kingdom of God” is manifested in two ways. By the sovereign control and: (1) future reign of Jesus Christ as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15) AND (2) present reign of Jesus Christ in the heart of believers as we become “transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). It is this latter understanding of the kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of when He taught His disciples to pray, “thy kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10). What does kingdom living look like in our daily “profession of faith”? As believers in the twenty-first century, what is our role in bringing the kingdom of God into existence?
We are citizens of His kingdom. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, Father God “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13, 14). When that occurred, our allegiance and loyalties changed. Death no longer has dominion over us (Rom. 6:9); sin no longer reigns in our bodies (Rom. 6:12). Our Sovereign is Christ and we live under the “Banner of the Cross.”
We are stewards of His kingdom. “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2) God has entrusted us with both spiritual (gifts and talents) and physical resources (blessings) to accomplish His purpose through our lives. We are to continually examine how well we are managing those resources. Unlike the foolish servant who failed to “invest” his resources on behalf of his master’s kingdom, we are to be both fruitful and faithful (Matt. 25:21).
We are ambassadors for His kingdom. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). An ambassador functions as a representative of a ruling authority. We, then, are representatives of Christ and serve Him by doing the work specifically delegated to us by Christ (Ep. 2:10). We do this through our personal testimonies and by inviting others to join us as citizens of the kingdom of God.
As believers in Christ, it is critical that we understand that we are part of God’s kingdom—individually as believers and collectively as the Church of Christ. He is our King. As heirs and citizens of the kingdom of God, our purpose is to do our part in the furtherance of His kingdom. This goes beyond “walking the talk”; it is a matter of “walking by faith” (Rom. 1:16, 17). The kingdom of God is brought to fruition by our love for and our loyalty to our King. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).
Also Read: Kingdom Living, Part 2
SELAH: In Acts 17:16-34, Paul eloquently explains to the philosophers and truth-seekers of that day the source of truth and life. In verse 28, He describes God as the source “in who we live and move and have our meaning.” For me this is a great reminder of my citizenship in the kingdom of God.
Journal what it means to you to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom. Use one of the scriptures included in today’s teaching or one from your Bible concordance.