In the Bible the Kingdom of God is a really big deal. So big a deal in fact that in the gospel of Mark it's the first thing that Jesus talks about. Before we hear him say anything else in that gospel we hear him say, “The Kingdom of God is at hand”. In the account of The Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew's gospel, Jesus says the Kingdom and righteousness are the very first things we should seek. In Acts 1, after his resurrection and before his ascension, Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is also the subject of Paul’s preaching and teaching.
So yes, the Kingdom of God is a big deal but we are not always sure exactly what it is. Many of us understand that the church is essential to the Kingdom of God. But the church and the Kingdom of God are not exactly the same thing. In fact, the church is part of the Kingdom but the Kingdom is bigger than the church.
Christians do not always even agree on when the Kingdom happens. It is already here and yet it is also still coming. It is present but it is also in the future, which is one reason we pray, “Your Kingdom come”.
That the Kingdom is bigger than the church is certainly true. Wherever people promote the cause of Christ, with the love of Christ, for the sake of Christ, whether by what they say or what they do, there the Kingdom of God is being established by the King.
Those of us who follow Christ and want work out his program in the world, soon find that we face obstacles and opposition. The work seems never-ending. It also seems to be accompanied by brokenness and lack of resources. And there are our limitations, human limitations. Our motivation and our energy are limited. The Apostle Paul puts it this way: our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms.
So Paul, in Ephesians 6, tells Kingdom workers to put on the full armor of God and then he very helpfully explains what that armor is. For those of us who understandably wonder if our work in the Kingdom makes any difference, our King Jesus tells us a short, but very important story. Jesus says, “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds you plant in the ground, yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (Mark 4)
It is so important to remember this parable. The small acts of obedience that we do for Jesus, repairing someone's floor, painting the trim for someone unable to do so themselves, or teaching Bible stories to their grandchildren, may seem small, but in the Kingdom of God they are a really big deal. These acts of obedience are empowered by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Resurrection of Christ is finally what accomplishes and advances His Kingdom.
But we have to see and believe this. For that, we must have the eyes of faith. We must have eyes that see that “those who are with us are more than those who are with them”. (II Kings 6:16) If we have those eyes we can keep going, knowing that our obedience, no matter how small, will have tremendous results in the Kingdom of God.
~Pastor Arlan Koppendrayer