Many Christians today believe that this world that we now live in—with all of its rules and regulations, sin and evil, will only be changed after Jesus returns and establishes God’s Kingdom on earth.
But when the Pharisees demanded answers concerning the kingdom Jesus preached, He answered, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
So if the kingdom of God is within us, why do Christians today still desire the things of the world? Do you not know that what is deemed valuable and important in the eyes of men is meaningless in the sight of God?
Consider what the apostle John wrote: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
So what are the things that people in this world look up to or consider valuable? The number one thing is probably money. But what does the Bible say about the love of money? “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
Think also about some of the people today that are highly esteemed in man’s kingdom: Business owners, lawyers, judges, politicians, bankers and the like.
All of those occupations and more, are meaningless in the kingdom of God because in the age to come, they will cease to exist!
In Daniel 2:44-45 we read: “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
Jesus is the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands—the very stone which the rebellious builders rejected. And he will break into pieces every worldly kingdom that exists, from the gold down to the clay.
But if God has already rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins,(Col. 1:13) then together we have already become a holy nation, to show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9)
The kingdom of God has not been given to rebels who reject the chief Cornerstone, but it is given to the holy nation so that it bears spiritual fruit. (Matt. 21:43)
Consider when the authorities of the time who sought to condemn Paul and Silas (And others who listened to them) for preaching the gospel of Jesus. Some of the Jews were jealous, so they sent some “lewd fellows of the baser sort” to search for Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have turned the world upside down have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house! They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” When they (The unbelieving Jews) heard this, they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go. (From Acts 17:1-9)
The word which has been translated “the baser sort” is the same word used in Hebrew to signify shel goyim, or judges of the Gentiles. These were probably a lowly type of lawyer, what we would call bloodsuckers, or attorneys without principle who defend criminals and bring trifle disputes and litigations among people for personal financial gain.
This is precisely the same way that persecution against the truth and followers of Christ is still carried out. Some wicked man hires a wicked attorney and hauls the minister of Christ into court in front of some wicked judge who knows as little about the minister as he does about the Gospel.The preacher is fined or imprisoned, his hearers may suffer the same fate for listening to that Gospel which has not only made them wise unto salvation, but also made them peaceable and orderly citizens, and which would have had the same effect on the judge, the the attorney, and the mob, had they heard it with the same reverence and respect. This is the case which frequently occurs where the Gospel is preached in its spirit and power.
The description of turning the world upside down, is an excellent description of what the Kingdom of God should look like as compared to the world we live in today. But how many of us have sought help from man’s kingdom rather than seeking God’s kingdom? We seek help from attorneys; from our congress; from our senators; we become active in our political process and become involved in community programs, believing it will change our world for the better.
Sam Shoemaker has written on this subject: “The rise of statism in our time is the natural result of the longing of godless, unchurched people for some kind of protection. When we lose to God we turn to what looks like the next most powerful thing, which is the state. How bad a choice that is, let Germany and Russia in recent years testify.”
Matthew 6:33 tells us to “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” AND THEN, “all these other things will be added to you.” But most Christians today have it backwards. They want “all these things” first, AND THEN they will seek the kingdom of God.
John the Baptist preached, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” But is it now not at hand? Is not the King seated on His holy throne? Is not this why we plead with men and women to be reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of His Son?
Yet despite the obvious benefits, mankind still refuses to change and fights vigorously against the Kingdom of God. The primary reason why the world is the way it is today is because the Bible clearly shows us that Satan rules this world. (See John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11) So it should be no surprise to us that the world is becoming more and more wicked and depraved. For if Satan is ruler of this world, he will also make sure to place his followers in key positions in high places of governments. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
We do not see the world being turned upside down today because too many Christians are still in love with the world and its system. That is why the apostle Paul, quoting the prophet Isaiah said, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. And, I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)
If only Christians would stop and reflect on these things, many deceptions about culture, race and class would be cast down by the knowledge of God.
In his upcoming book, “The Unknown Kingdom of God” https://universityofhardknocks.academia.edu/TimPrice my friend Tim Price writes: “We need to dig deeper and listen to God! We need to discern truth from error! We need to see that comfort, belonging and cultural acceptance are not items that Christ ever sought or promised those who follow him! We need to go back to the Bible and see God’s purposes that are planned in scripture but have become obscured because we have raised other points to such a pitch that God’s intent is drowned out! The love of theology and systems of thought have blinded us to God’s purposes! Reformers of the 17th century were mostly correct when they espoused sola scriptura [scripture only]! They should have paid attention to their own admonition and completed the work that God called them to do instead of investing in their own voluminous interpretations of scripture, and maintaining the institution calling itself “church” as a cog of the systems of the unbelieving world around them instead of the alternative God purposed: the kingdom of God.“
My intent is not to judge or diminish what you may understand of Scripture. My prayer is that this will encourage you to keep seeking God and His kingdom and add to your own knowledge so that together we may once again turn the world upside down for Christ!
I want you here with Me
But you’ve been keeping other company
You can’t sit still, it’s plain to see
You love the world and you’re avoiding Me
Keith Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982)