The Message of the Kingdom
by Wade Taylor
Jesus began His ministry with the words, " Repent: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). His next words were to two fishermen while they were working at their trade, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). Jesus applied the message of the kingdom to the lives of men in relation to their occupation. These were fishers of fish. In a way they could understand, Jesus called them into a higher realm - they would become fishers of men.
The word "kingdom" is often misapplied concerning its present purpose because it has been relegated to a future millennium, or to heaven. Rather, the message of the kingdom being "at hand" means that it is within our reach. The process of our "being made" fishers of men relates to the present operation of kingdom principles within our lives in order to prepare us for our part in the coming millennial kingdom. Revelation 5:10 states: " And has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
The message of the kingdom goes beyond the gospel of grace. The kingdom relates to government. The message of the church is that "all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). The message of the kingdom is to He who overcomes (see Revelation 17:14). The goal of the church is heaven. The goal of the kingdom is the throne.
To seek the kingdom is to make our submission to the rule of God who is the object of our desires. It is recognizing Jesus as being our personal King, and placing everything in our lives in subjection to His governmental rule. Being "at hand" tells us that the message of the kingdom is to operate and be effective in our immediate activities and circumstances. Thus, the message of the kingdom is intended to have a present function in our lives, which is to lift the earthly aspect of our vocation into a higher realm and purpose. This means that the kingdom is presently available to us, and is both reachable and touchable. Before we will ever reign over the earth, there must be an effective rule of the kingdom within our earth.
Jesus said, "Follow Me." This will require submission to the rule of God in our everyday life experiences, which will result in all that pertains to us being brought into divine order and purpose. If we do not recognize that Jesus is seeking to apply kingdom principles to our lives, we are not fully in the place of His calling. If our lives are as they were before salvation, plus the salt of religion, we are coming short of His purpose for us, and we probably view the kingdom as being merely a present ethereal religious type, or a future hope.
Today, the Lord is establishing His body in divine order. Things that the Lord winked at in the past are no longer left unchallenged in our lives. Everything that can be shaken is shaking. The Lord's chastening hand is a present reality. He will no longer allow His people to be constantly seeking a blessing when they desire nothing further, nor to continually seek after prophetic words, when they have no intention of seriously responding to the message.
At this present time, the Lord is causing His people to face the claim of His kingdom. These blessings are intended to bring us higher through the functioning of His kingdom rule in our lives. The kingdom is at hand - all else will pass away. While you are busy fishing for fish in your occupation, and Jesus suddenly appears with the Word of the kingdom, do not draw back. Begin to follow Him, and press on to become fishers of men, until every knee bows and confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. Then, the kingdom of God will have become a reality on the earth.