Seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness is clearly the first item of our mission! Jesus began His ministry preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” This echoes John the Baptist’s same message. In fact, Jesus will say in Matthew 24:14 that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
In Acts 1 we learn that during the 40 days after Jesus was raised but before He ascended, Jesus spoke with His disciples about the kingdom of God. They wondered if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel! Jesus didn’t answer this, but promised they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. This message of the kingdom was to be spread everywhere!
In Acts 8 Philip went to Samaria and in verse 12 we read: “When they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Then in Acts 14 after starting churches in Lystra, Iconic and Antioch, we read about how Paul and Barnabas (vs 22) strengthened the churches and encouraged them to remain true to the faith saying, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
Here we see that even though the kingdom was established on Pentecost, we must remain faithful and be willing to endure hardships before we can enter the kingdom of God. In Acts 19 we read about how Paul went to Ephesus and in verse 8 it says: “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.” Some years later, Paul gathered with the elders of the church at Ephesus and said, (Acts 20:25) “Now, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.” As we finish the book of Acts in chapter 28, Paul is in Rome under arrest as a prisoner awaiting trial before Caesar. There we read in verse 23: from morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Finally, in the last verse of Acts (28:31) we read: Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, what’s impressive to me is that instead of preaching the four spiritual laws, or the scheme of redemption, or the Roman road to heaven, or some other modern method of evangelism, THEY PROCLAIMED THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Perhaps we’d do well to follow this lead and do the same. Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… Maybe we should preach first the same.
To do this, we must know what it is.