By Pastor John Mateos Ong and Pastora Monique Lopez Ong
Luke 13:18-19 says “Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.”
-The question is: What is the kingdom if God like?
-Kingdom of God is compared to a mustard seed.
-a man took it.
-The mustard seed was planted in a garden.
-The mustard seed grew to be a tree.
-The birds rested on it.
Before we talk about what the Kingdom of Heaven is, let us talk about what it is not.
The Kingdom of God is not a worldly kingdom or rule. Jesus Himself said it in John 18:36: “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” So we are not looking for a kingdom that we can see and visit.
The Kingdom of God is not a liberation from the colonization of other nations. During that time, the Romans have taken over their kingdom so they were hoping that someone else will take over again so they can be set free.
The Kingdom of God is not a deliverer/messiah that will establish a religious sect or government. This is probably why up to now, the Jews do not want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
So what is the Kingdom of God like?
The Kingdom of God is a literal kingdom that will replace earthly governance. Daniel 2:44 says “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.”
The Kingdom of God will be established by Jesus Himself when He returns as King. Revelations 11:15 says “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” This Kingdom has a King and that is Jesus. Is He Lord over your life?
The Kingdom of God is at hand. It is available now. It is here. Repent and believe the good news. Mark 1:15 says “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
The Kingdom of God...
It’s not what you expect (it is like a mustard seed). Remember that we are talking about the Kingdom of Heaven. You may be thinking that the Kingdom of Heaven is grand and all, just like a palace; but here, it is compared to a mustard seed. Many of us come to Christ expecting something - favor in business or healing of a sickness maybe. Unfortunately, the Kingdom of Heaven is not like these. Remember that you are going to be the least of all before you can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
It’s within you (which a man took and put in his garden). We know from the parable of the sower that the field is the heart. In the parable of the tares, the field is the world. So in this parable, it may mean that the kingdom is in your heart; that is where it will start. Or it can also be a question: are you planted in the garden? If you put a mustard seed in you pocket, after one week, it will still be a mustard seed. But once you plant it in a garden, you will see that it will begin to grow. Luke 17:20-21 says “One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you. ”
How do we get the Kingdom of God within us?
John 3:3 says Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Last week, in the parable of the tares, we explained that we are a triune being, made up of spirit, soul and body. Because of sin, the spirit is separated from the body and because of this, the body starts to decay. But then again, redemption came. Once the spirit is born again, the spirit is rescued. So how can you be born again?
John 3:5 says “Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.”
Water baptism is not a guarantee that the spirit has already been surrendered to Jesus. Born of water does not mean baptism of water. Baptism of water means you have been washed by the word of God. The water is the word of God. How does that cleanse you? The word of God is the breathe of God. What gave you life? God’s word is the breath of life that gives life to dead things. Aside from being born of water, you also have to receive the Holy Spirit. Anything that does not have the Holy Spirit is dead. Once you receive the word of God and you receive the Holy Spirit, you are born again. You can now enter the Kingdom of God
3. It grows. (And it grew and became a large tree). Because we know that there is a literal kingdom and that kingdom is within you, and more importantly, that we can enter this kingdom by being born again by receiving Jesus and His word and asking for the Holy Spirit, there is an expectation that this kingdom within us will grow. Something as small as having faith and believing in the word of God can grow into a very large tree.
4. It has a purpose (so that the birds of the air comes and nests in its branches). You do not exist only for yourself because the kingdom is about serving others. A life well-lived is not someone who grew from rags to riches. It is someone who has blessed others with their service, regardless of whether you have a lot or a little. At a time like this, we should let our purpose show.
How do you grow something inside of you?
1. Be with Jesus
Matthew 6:33 says “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” When you surrender your life to Jesus, what are your priorities? Is he still in the driver seat of his life? Or is he seeking the Kingdom of God? Doing ministry or attending church is not necessarily being with Jesus. To seek His Kingdom first is to seek Jesus Himself. Matthew 5: 3 says “ God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Because you need more of Jesus, you spend time with Him everyday.
2. Become like Jesus
Ephesians 5:1-2 says “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” The Kingdom is about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Are you bearing fruit? If you can see the fruit of the Spirit in you, then you are becoming like Jesus. While you are becoming more Christ-like, the Kingdom of God also grows in you.
3. Do as Jesus did.
Because you are growing, you will not be able to contain it. Eventually, you will want to share it with others if the Holy Spirit is really in your life. Mark 16: 15-17 says “And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.” When you are growing in the Spirit, you will go out to share the love of Jesus and bring them into the Kingdom of God. Signs and wonders will follow those who believe.
Knowing that the Kingdom is within us, that it grows and has a purpose, let us advance and expand the Kingdom of God that is within us. God’s plan is so amazing that the enemy wants to destroy it. God is establishing a kingdom that is unshakeable. He is using vessels like you and me. The Temple of God is within us. It is to expand the Kingdom here on earth. So when the enemy is trying to destroy one thing, we multiply a hundred or a thousandfold. If you have received Jesus Chist, you are a citizen of heaven. You are part of advancing and expanding His Kingdom.