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The Kingdom of God in John

Uniqueness in John:
Introduction:
Today is our last study on the Kingdom theme in the gospels. I hope that these past 8 weeks have been a blessing. The purpose of these Bible studies can be summarized in two reasons: first and foremost, to learn how to better study the Bible. The tools that we have used and applied in our Bible studies should be something you keep practicing and going back to. The insights you will gain by doing this will open the Bible in ways that will be greatly beneficial.
The second reason for these Bible studies is to learn greater truths about the Kingdom of Heaven. Through the Biblical understanding of the Kingdom, we have learned lessons that can be applied to our lives. We have been challenged by the truths of the Kingdom. We have seen what God wants to change in our lives while we live in the Kingdom of Grace. We have also seen how we should perceive our duties as residents of the Kingdom today.
Truly, the Kingdom theme is a deep one, one that I hope you continue searching and seeking beyond this last Bible study.
But we still have this last Bible study to go. And today we go from the Gospel of Luke to the Gospel of John: the fourth of the gospels and perhaps one that is very familiar to all of you.
I don’t think we have to say much about the Gospel of John, as many important verses, ideas and theological truths come from the Gospel. There are some things that stand out as different:
The introduction of the book presents a full and complete idea of the relationship of Jesus and the father.
In one statement, John presents the eternal aspect of Jesus, the differentiation with God the father, and the unity with God himself.
We also see Jesus as presented as the Word, a greek concept that shows the powerful We see John present the Holy Spirit as the counselor (something that no other gospel does) And of course there is a stronger emphasis on love in the Gospel of John in comparison to the other gospels.
Over 90% of John is unique to the other gospels. And today we want to see what John says about the Kingdom. We want to conclude our Bible study and with final thoughts about the Kingdom of God.
Let us pray.
The Kingdom of God in John
John is not a synoptic gospel:
We do not see the baptism of Jesus. We do not see clear instructions on the Lord’s supper. We don’t even see Jesus casting out demons, nor Jesus healing a single leper.
But perhaps the biggest distinction that makes this Gospel non-synoptic is that it does not present the Kingdom theme the way the other gospels do.
All the Kingdom parables (Where Jesus begins with the Kingdom of heaven/God is like”) are virtually non-existent.
All the Kingdom parables (Where Jesus begins with the Kingdom of heaven/God is like”) are virtually non-existent in the book of John The phrases “Kingdom of Heaven” is not present in the Gospel. The word Kingdom shows up only three times in the gospel, in two different instances And the phrase Kingdom of God shows up only once in entire book.
In the book of John The phrases “Kingdom of Heaven” is not present in the Gospel.
The word Kingdom shows up only three times in the gospel, in two different instances
And the phrase Kingdom of God shows up only once in entire book.
John 3:1–21 NKJV
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
am sure this is a story you know very well, one that you have heard in countless sermons and devotionals.
But most of the time when we read this conversation, we really only look at bits and pieces. There is an added benefit when we take the entire conversation as a whole, and understand how Jesus is leading this conversation.
We can divide the conversation into three blocks. All three blocks contain a statement or question from Nicodemus, and an answer from Jesus. And each block builds upon another, explaining the block before it.
So we begin with Block #1:
“2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Now in Block #1 we see the only time that Jesus mentions that Kingdom of God in the book of John. For our studies, this is very important. But it is also important because in the answer Jesus gives Nicodemus, Jesus tells us that anyone that wants to see the Kingdom of God must be “born again.”
This is very important: There is no way to see the truth true kingdom of God if an individual, you or me, are not born again. This is a direct statement. No confusion. The truth’s of the Kingdom of God are only perceive by those who have been born again.
The next block explores this important statement: Block #2:
“4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
I want you to notice the following:
Block #2 helps us explain what Jesus meant in Block #1 In Block #1, Jesus tells us that if you want to see the Kingdom of God, you must be born again. In Block #2, Jesus tells us that being born again means to be born of water and the spirit. In this Block we are also told that if you are born again, you not only begin to understand/see the kingdom, but you also enter the kingdom of God. That is to say, that the the moment I am born again, I begin to live in the Kingdom. (Here we see the dual aspect of the Kingdom. If you are born again today, the Kingdom does not arrive in the future. You begin to live the kingdom now. And Jesus tells us that the reason we begin to live in the kingdom when we are born again is because we go from people of the flesh, to people of the Spirit. Living in the kingdom is in fact living by the Spirit of God.
What does the “born again” process entail?
We turn to the next block for an explanation: Block #3:
“9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
According to Block #3, Jesus explains what he means when he says “born again” of the Spirit. Jesus is clear that the Son of Man must be lifted up. Once that happens, the individual must “believe” in the one who was lifted up, so that he can gain entrance into the Kingdom. In other words, “born again” means to “believe in Jesus.”
And if they believe in Jesus, they not only gain entrance into the Kingdom, but they also see a change in their works, habits, and deeds. Belief in Jesus makes you fit for life in the Kingdom of God.
I like the way EGW puts it:
“Those who believe in Jesus Christ are changed from being rebels against the law of God into obedient servants and subjects of His kingdom. They are born again, regenerated, sanctified through the truth.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, p 332
2 Corinthians 5:16–17 NKJV
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
And if this were not clear enough, look at what Paul writes in
Brothers and sisters, entrance to the Kingdom, and understanding Kingdom are only for those born again, that is, only those who believe in Jesus. And believing in Jesus means to be “in Christ,” to allow Him to take full control. So how much do we believe in Jesus?

My Kingdom

.
John 6:13–15 NKJV
13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
But before we go there, I want you to turn with me to , right after the moment that Jesus fed the 5,000. When Jesus did this great miracle, none of the synoptics describe the reaction of the people after they were fed. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, the story ends by telling us how many people ate; and by telling us that the people were filled.
John 18:33 NKJV
33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
John, on the other hand, records how the people reacted: .
John 18:37 NKJV
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
The people were filled with wonder and amazement. They even thought that Jesus was that great “Prophet who is to come into the world.” Their wonder and amazement, along with the vision of what other things Jesus could do, led the people to try and make Jesus a King by force.
John 18:39 NKJV
39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
John 19:3 NKJV
3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.
John 19:12 NKJV
12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
John 18:39
Jesus could have easily taken this opportunity and made Himself king. But this was not the way, and this was not the method. His Kingship did not come from world’s ways and methods, but through another way.
John 19:14–15 NKJV
14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
John 19:19 NKJV
19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS
John 19:21 NKJV
21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ’ ”
John 19:19
Contrast the above to (Matthew 20:20-28)
- Pilate asks Jesus the question - Pilate asks the question again - Pilate states this, even though Jesus did not admit to this. - soldiers proclaim Him king of the Jews - Jesus had never made Himself king - Pilate once again pronounces Jesus as King - Pilate wrote the Title “King of the Jews” - the chief priests say that Jesus said “I am the King of the Jews”
The forceful nature of this title on Jesus is very similar to what the people tried doing in . Jesus had never proclaimed Himself King of the Jews. In fact, when we look at what Jesus said, we find a very important contrast:
John 15:13 NKJV
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
In other words, in John, there are two kingdoms at play. The Human one, and the divine one.
Jesus is without doubt king. But the tendency of the people, whether after the miracle of the 5,000, within the governmental power of Pilate, or the religious power of the Jews, all try to force a human kingdom on Jesus.
And both through example and words, Jesus testimony shows that the kingdom that counts is not the one that we try to make here, but it is the one where he sits as king, on the throne that is divine. This is the same thing we see in that one story of who would be great in the Kingdom:
Notice how the mother is concerned with a human kingdom. But Jesus tells you the rules of the kingdom of heaven. It is not about who is the strongest, or the most powerful. It is not about who exercises great authority over people.
The rules of the divine kingdom are backwards to the human one. Where the human one proclaims kingship to the one who is the strongest, or who has the most authority, the divine kingdom proclaims greatness to the one who is more of a servant.
That is, in the Kingdom of God, if you want to be great, you have to serve a lot.
And this also means, that if you want to be King, you have to be the greatest of all the servants.
says it all.
says it all.
No one has demonstrated greater love than Jesus. And that is ultimately what makes Him the greatest.
If you desire to live in the Kingdom these are the rules: It’s not about power, it’s about service.
It’s not about authority, its about love.
And because of this we proclaim Him our King!
“Lift him up, him who died for us, and in whom all our hopes of eternal life are centered. Lift him up, and let them understand that he it is who made an infinite sacrifice for them! Lift him up, and show them how he left the royal courts of heaven, and was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that he might elevate them to his throne at last! Lift him up, oh! lift him up before the people, those who are hungering and thirsting for the bread of life; for there is a fountain open in Jerusalem that they may drink and be satisfied.”
“Jesus, precious Saviour! I see in him matchless charms! He is the One altogether lovely. He is the chief among ten thousand. I present him to you,—one who can take away the sin of the world; “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” The Review and Herald, 1017.
Perhaps this is the best way to conclude our studies. To leave Jesus on our minds. To have the desire to lift Him in everything that we do.
The Kingdom of Heaven is about Jesus. It is about what He has done. It is about what He is doing. It is about what He will do. And what He desire most of all is that you enter the kingdom today. That you begin to live with Him today. That you allow Him to be the reason you breathe, and if need be, the reason you die. That you allow Him to prep you for the Kingdom of glory in the Kingdom of grace.
That we proclaim Him King of our lives, of our families, and our church today.
I leave you with this last thought:
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