The Church has largely replaced the Gospel of the Kingdom with the Gospel of salvation.
It’s the beauty of the salvation message that makes it so easy to miss the fact that it is only a part of the whole message that Jesus gave us. The Gospel of salvation is focused on getting people saved and going to Heaven. The Gospel of the Kingdom is focused on the transformation of lives, cities, and nations through the effect of God’s present rule—this is made manifest by bringing the reality of Heaven to earth. We must not confuse our destiny with our assignment. Heaven is my destiny, while bringing the Kingdom is my assignment. The focus of the Kingdom message is the rightful dominion of God over everything. Whatever is inconsistent with Heaven—namely, disease, torment, hatred, division, sin habits, etc.—must come under the authority of the King. These kinds of issues are broken off of people’s lives because inferior realms cannot stand wherever the dominion of God becomes manifest. As we succeed in displaying this message, we are positioned to bring about cultural change in education, business, politics, the environment, and the other essential issues that we face today. This creates a most unusual phenomenon: the fruit of revival becomes the fuel of revival. And as long as we stay true to the message, the movement increases unto reformation.
The Kingdom is the message we’re to carry forth into the nations of the world. (See Matthew 10:7 and Acts 18:31.) Our message is Jesus, who demonstrated what His world is like through words and actions.
There is no sickness in Heaven. When the Kingdom is manifest in a person’s body, he is healed. (See Matthew 4:23.) There are no demons in Heaven, which is why deliverance is normal when Jesus touches people. (See Matthew 12:28.) It’s all about what His world looks like, and how that reality can affect this one. The Kingdom of God is in the unseen realm and obviously is eternal. (See 2 Corinthians 4:17.) Perception is vital, so live with the realization that faith sees. Our conversion opens up that capacity to us all. “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The impact of His Kingdom in the here and now goes beyond these two illustrations, having effect on every area of life—both internally (soul) and externally. The point is that the Kingdom is to be preached and displayed so that all might know of His goodness in this life. Jesus illustrated this perfectly.
Jesus made the amazing statement, “Now the kingdom of God is being preached and everyone is pressing into it” (Luke 16:16). Is it possible that the nature of the message determines the size of the harvest? He did say “everyone”! While I do not believe in Universalism, where everyone eventually ends up in Heaven, the message of the Kingdom has a greater reach than I previously thought possible. This is the message: “His dominion is everlasting. It is NOW. Jesus’ life demonstrated His dominion over everything that was inconsistent with God’s will.”
Don’t skip over the bigger promises of Scripture simply because they are hard to believe because of their size. Whenever He declares something this big, He’s hoping to capture people’s hearts, making it impossible for them to be satisfied with mediocrity. Here He says, “Everyone is pressing into it” (Luke 16:16). In Joel 2:28, He says, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” In Jeremiah 31:34, He states, “And all shall know Me.” Psalm 22, the psalm that deals with the crucifixion of Christ more than any other, states, “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You” (Ps. 22:27). This list of extraordinary promises could continue page after page. But you get the point. The promises are there, in a sense waiting for adoption. Instead of trying to figure out the season for the promises to be fulfilled, why not come before God and see if God might want to fulfill them in our time? After all, how many times did the disciples get the timing right in their understanding of God’s prophetic promises? I don’t consider myself any better than they were. These promises are not given to us to help us to know the future as much as they are given to create hunger for what might be. The promises of God are clearly seen when the people of God get hungry and cry out to God for their fulfillment. This is exactly what Daniel did in reading Jeremiah’s prophecy. (See Daniel 9:2–6.) He turned the prophecies into prayers for his generation.
When you declare the right message, you create the atmosphere where everyone is able to press in. No matter the need, there is an answer now. The right message marries the truth of Jesus as the desire of the nations with the nations themselves. The right message changes the atmosphere to make the manifestation of His dominion realized. Perhaps this is the context in which the irresistible grace of God is embraced, thus fulfilling the desire found in the heart of every person alive.
- Bill Johnson, author of God is Good