AS THE KINGDOM MANIFESTS IT EXPANDS
Matthew 10:7, 8 (NKJV)
7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Kingdom manifestation means the promises of the kingdom are taking place in people’s lives. The manifestations Jesus expected to take place when the kingdom was preached and declared included healing, cleansing lepers, the dead being raised, deliverance from demons and good news being preached to the poor (Matthew 11:5). In short, a change in circumstance for the better would occur for those who heard and accepted the Gospel of the kingdom.
When the kingdom manifests in the lives of people, those around them will hear and see the wonderful changes and hope will spring up. Then as they hear the Gospel message preached to them, faith for the things they hoped for could arise in their hearts and lead to substantive change in their situations.
When the message is the Gospel of the kingdom, the change will be good, for the Gospel is good news to the poor. Who are the poor? The poor are those who lack health, lack freedom, lack provision or lack life itself. The preaching and declaration of the kingdom manifests as these things are provided freely – without money or labor (Isaiah 55:1-3). Why? Because it’s the heart of Father God and King Jesus to give them freely to whoever will come and open their ears to hear and their hearts to receive.
Isaiah 55:1–3 (NKJV)
1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you— The sure mercies of David.
Your Will Be Done
Matthew 6:10 (NKJV) Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
When God’s kingdom manifests on the earth His will in Heaven is being done on the earth. This is why Jesus healed everywhere He went, fed the multitudes and commanded storms to cease. He was the King bringing the kingdom everywhere He went.
Matthew 4:17 (NKJV) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
“At hand” doesn’t mean far away or up in Heaven. It means as close as His physical hand. And He demonstrated the true benevolence of the kingdom and the reality of its presence by healing wherever He went.
Matthew 4:23 (NKJV) And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
He was demonstrating the Father’s will, the Father’s love and the nature of the Kingdom of God. He was stilling the storms of fear in the hearts of those who would come to the Father through Him. Through Jesus the Father was saying, “Yes, you can come. Come on.”
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 7:21 (NKJV) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
God’s will was not that we rely upon our ability to obey the law of Moses or any set of laws. God’s will is that we seek His kingdom, as poor in spirit, like a child; someone who has nothing to offer of his own merit.
How do we come to the Father? Not by trying to be righteous, doing the right thing or enough of it. We come by doing the only work that matters to God; believe in His Son. In other words, come by faith, seeking first His kingdom and the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.
John 6:29 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
My son told me he believes the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray is an earnest request to bring His kingdom to earth to free them from the mistake Israel made in demanding Moses to give them a set of laws to live by rather than know the God of the kingdom. Jesus came to fulfill all the law and the prophets so He could usher us into a kingdom where everything is enjoyed by faith alone. Why? Because: the law as a system of earning righteousness could never gain righteousness for anyone. God only gave the law because of the transgression of His people (Galatians 5:19). They turned away from faith in Him alone to demand Moses to be their mediator so they would not have to know God for themselves (Exodus 20:19). That system of laws only taught them to know God as a judge, not as a loving father. It’s the same as choosing the tree of knowledge of good and evil all over again.
Romans 10:1–4 (NKJV)
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Once we stop relying upon the law and start living as children of the King; relying only upon His finished work on the cross as our source of righteousness, the door opens to the kingdom and to the throne of our Father forever. Then we can start to freely appropriate the blessing of our Father’s joy to give us the kingdom.
Luke 12:31, 32 (NKJV)
31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. 32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Jesus brought the kingdom and demonstrated it everywhere He went. His disciples entered in by faith in the righteousness of Christ as sufficient for them. And they went everywhere expanding the kingdom by demonstrating the power of God’s love and mercy to anyone who would believe.
Mark 16:19, 20 (NKJV)
19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
The Kingdom is Here, But Not in Fullness
So the kingdom is here, but not in its fullness. Paul told the Colossians that Jesus had already brought them into His kingdom.
Colossians 1:13 (NKJV) He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
However, understanding the kingdom and how to live as citizens of the kingdom would have to be learned as they likewise unlearned the ways of the kingdoms of the world. They would need God’s word and the Holy Spirit to renew their minds to hear and understand the mysteries of the kingdom (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Matthew 13:11 (NKJV) He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”
So you can see there is process by which we come to know the mysteries of the kingdom. One of the truths, which to some is still a mystery, is that the Kingdom of Heaven is here now. It arrived in seed form, in the womb of Mary the mother of Jesus, and has been expanding since then. That’s the point of many of the kingdom parables Jesus taught which are aptly illustrated in the parable of leaven hid in three measures of meal, as well as the interpretation God gave Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Matthew 13:33 (NKJV) Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Daniel 2:34, 35 (NKJV)
34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel 2:44 (NKJV) And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
The days of those kings referred to was the time of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, when he divided the empire under ten kings (the iron and the clay) before Jesus was born. Jesus is the stone that struck the image and became a great mountain. Now as the kingdom expands throughout the peoples of the world, its presence and power will be become clearer and more distinct from the kingdoms of this world until the inevitable occurs.
Psalm 110:1, 2 (NKJV)
1 The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” 2 The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Today Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand. His kingdom is now on the earth in the hearts of everyone who believes in Him. While He sits in Heaven His enemies still have power on the earth to do all kinds of things that are not His will. Yet Jesus is said to be ruling in the midst of His enemies.
How the Kingdom Manifests
We have previously discussed that the kingdom expands one heart at a time. Every time a person chooses to accept Jesus as Savior, He enters the heart, the Holy Spirit joins to that person’s spirit and Father God makes His home there as well (John 14:16-23). When a person stops seeking to establish his own righteousness before God and seeks God’s kingdom and His righteousness, he enters the path (the Way=Jesus) which leads him to the door of Truth (Jesus) through which He enters into kingdom Life (Jesus – John 14:6).
Each believer gives up trying to be righteous and accepts the righteousness of Christ the King. When the righteousness of Christ enters the heart of the believer, the kingdom has expanded into new territory (Romans 14:17). That’s kingdom expansion.
When Jesus returned to the Father in Heaven, the Father sent the Holy Spirit into the spirits of every born again believer to continue the work of Christ all over the earth. We are expanding the kingdom one heart at a time as we preach and demonstrate the kingdom in power, in love and with sound renewed minds (2 Timothy 1:7). Jesus is the King, He is the head of the church and we are His body. Through us the kingdom expands and will continue to expand until the enemies of Christ, all demonic powers and those who partner with them, bow their knees to honor Christ as Lord. Even now, Jesus rules in their midst. Not by force, but by convincing one heart at a time that He loves them, has already paid the price to save them and empowers them to live in His righteousness, His peace and His joy which is His kingdom life within them (Romans 14:17).
Manifestation Produces Expansion
God deals with each heart according to His perfect knowledge of each person. Some manifestations of the kingdom are powerful and affect many hearts at once. But God knows how each person interprets things and uses such events to speak to each one in unique ways, if they have ears to hear. It’s easier to understand what moves a heart to believe when you hear testimonies of personal encounters with God, like the woman at the well in John 4. The reality, whether there is a crowd or a private setting, is that each person has a personal encounter with God. In each case God has broken through to the individual and is speaking through what that person perceives in the moment.
Matthew 11:27, 28 (NKJV)
27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
There are many ways God manifests Himself in the world. Here are a few.
Preaching produces belief through the word of God spoken in a message as the Spirit of God moves upon the preacher and the one hearing (Matthew 10:7).
Healing reveals the love of God ministering to inner turmoil and/or physical pain and infirmity (Matthew 10:8, Isaiah 61:1).
Miracles arrest the attention away from the mundane details of life to reveal His power and challenge false perceptions about God (Acts 13:8-12).
Acts of mercy reveal the love and kindness in the heart of God (John 8:10-11). And they challenge the lie that God is more concerned with rules than with mercy and relationship.
Visions and dreams are often used by God today to reveal Jesus as the Savior to Moslems who won’t listen to the preaching of the Gospel. In the dream or vision they see the Lord in Spirit and truth. False religion crumbles in the face God’s presentation of Himself (Acts 9:3-5).
Simple honest prayers are prayed in the moment of need to see if God exists and discover if He cares about my need. At Air Force basic training I watched men come out from receiving their first shots. As I saw their sleeves rolled up and trickles of blood on their upper arm I passed out. Shots had always been a problem for me. I wasn’t a believer, but before the next round of shots later that month, I prayed, “God, if You’re real, let me stand up and get my shots without passing out.” I began to know that He would do just that for me. And He did. He manifested Himself for me and I knew He was real and He cared about me.
A universal key to manifest the kingdom to the world is the love amongst believers, according to Jesus.
John 13:35 (NKJV) “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
By demonstrating His love amongst ourselves, we show the world the power of love they have been looking for. This is a primary means of touching hearts to beckon them into the kingdom.
But broken hearts may not dare to trust such love for fear of not measuring up, if all they know is the law and only see God as a judge. Many need a jolt to persuade them to look past their fears. Demonstration of miraculous power to heal and deliver from oppression wakens people out of their stupor so they can see that they have been lied to. God is not dead. He is not their enemy nor an unjust judge, but a Father waiting to welcome them home. And He can, because His Son has born our sin to the cross. Our sin has been forgiven and it no longer has the power to keep us from our Father in Heaven (Hebrews 8:12). This is His love. His love has been poured into the hearts of every believer. Unless we get confused by religious rules about who deserves God’s love, it flows naturally through us to believers and unbelievers alike. Freely you have received, freely let it flow.
For another take on this, consider Frank Viola’s comments in one of his emails.
From Frank Viola’s quarterly emails.
The Kingdom is Already-But-Not-Yet Factor
When Jesus was on earth, He was the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. He ushered in the Kingdom while He was here in the flesh. Consequently, throughout His ministry, healings, deliverance, miracles, etc. were common and frequent.
This is because Jesus was showing forth the signs of the Kingdom wherein death, sickness, torment, and pain will be eradicated fully on the earth when the Kingdom comes in its fullness.
But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. ~ Matthew 12:28
Today, we live in a spiritual tension where the Kingdom of God is already, but not yet. This means that the Kingdom of God is here, but not in its fullness. It’s here “in part” (see 1 Corinthians 13).
For this reason, Jesus told His disciples to pray to the Father, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Since Jesus ascended, He sent forth His Spirit to continue His work through His body. But until Jesus returns to the earth again and “the restoration of all things” takes place (Acts 3:21), the Kingdom of God is here in part.