The Kingdom of God dwells in the believer and wherever we go we too can say, as Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is near.”
So we are told in Matthew 6:33 “to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” What does this mean? Ralph Shallis, a missionary and Bible teacher greatly used by God in Algeria and later in France, wrote about the laws of the Kingdom found in Matthew 18. “The Kingdom of God has laws just like any political governing party. When we begin to put these laws into practice they will have a dramatic impact in the sphere that God has called us to.”
What are these Laws of the Kingdom?
Law of humility: Matthew 18:4 “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” What speaks to me here is that little children have a simple faith. They believe what is said and will act upon it. We, especially in the West hear what the Lord is saying, but will ponder, study, research, go on line about what is being said and then perhaps we might act upon it.
There was a simple Indian brother who sensed that the Lord wanted him to go to America and preach the gospel. So, he went to the American embassy to get a visa and was turned down. Undaunted by this refusal he went home got out his little typewriter and wrote a letter to the President of the United States. That letter landed on the desk of First Lady Pat Nixon. She read it and wrote back to this young Indian brother and told him to take the letter to the Embassy and show it to them. He did and got his visa. He has been instrumental in planting hundreds of churches in India.
Law of Reception: Matthew 18:5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” We do not reject people because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else. Christ accepted us as we are, and we found within that acceptance the power to change our thinking and behavior so that we please our heavenly Father. Ephesians 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” KJV
Law of Stumbling: Matthew 18:6 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Like Paul said, we have freedom, but we do not use that freedom to sin or cause our weaker brother to stumble.
Law of Mutual Respect: Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Do we show respect to those who don’t have as much as those who do? Or do we treat the drunkard on the street differently than the man in the big house? We are all made in the image and likeness of God, but our sin-nature has marred how we look at people and regard them.
Law of Soul Winning: Matthew 18:14 “In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” We are told to go. Most will not go to a foreign field, but all will go to the sphere (job) God has called us to. It doesn’t mean that we force the Gospel down someone’s throat, but it does mean that we have an answer to those who request to know the hope that is in us.
Law of reconciliation: Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” If we would put this into action what a difference it would make in relationships!
Law of Perpetual Forgiveness: Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
What is interesting is that between the Law of Reconciliation and the Law of Perpetual Forgiveness there are three promises given to us. The reason the Holy Spirit stuck these three promises between these two laws is to show us that these promises are conditional and when the condition is met – these two laws become active in our lives. What are they?
- The authority to bind and loose. What a promise! The authority to bind the enemy and loose souls from his grip; to also bind the enemy and loose finance to further Christ’s kingdom.
- Collective prayer being answered. When a group of God’s people come together for prayer and these laws are being carried out in their lives – power is in collective prayer being answered.
- Promise of God’s presence. In the presence of God there is joy and we know that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Yes, the Kingdom of God resides within the people of God, and when these laws of His kingdom are operating in our lives an impact will be made wherever we go.