THE LOCAL CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, May 2, 2010.
THE LOCAL CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? I. We begin by defining the word kingdom and related words to determine if a local church fits t hese definitions. A. Kingdom: “Kingly function, authority, or power; sovereignty, supreme rule; the position or rank of a king, kingship. An organized community having a king as its head; a monarchial state or government.” B. King: “The usual title of the male sovereign ruler of an independent state.” C. State: “Commonwealth (the whole body of people constituting a nation or state, the body politic). The body politic as organized for supreme civil rule and government; the political organization which is the basis of civil government; hence, the supreme civil power and government vested in a country or nation.” D. The body politic: “The nation in its corporate character; the state.” E. Political: “Of, belonging, or pertaining to the state or body of citizens, its government and policy, esp. in civil, and secular affairs.” F. Civil: “Of or belonging to citizens; consisting of citizens, or men dwelling together in a community. Of or pertaining to the whole body or community of citizens; pertaining to the organization and internal affairs of the body politic, or state.” G. Citizen: “An inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights a nd privileges. A member of a state, an enfranchised (admitted to membership in a body politic and to political privileges) inhabitant of a country, as opposed to an alien. See LUK 15:15; ACT 21:39. II. The kingdom of God refers to five things in Scripture. A. It refers to God's rule over all creation seen and unseen. 1CH 29:11-12. B. It refers to the nation of Israel under the Old Testament. 2CH 13:5, 8. C. It refers to the regenerate elect of God. ROM 5:17; COL 1:13. D. It refers to the final state of eternal glory. MAT 25:34; LUK 22:18; REV 22:5. E. It refers to the local church. III. The word church mostly refers to local assemblies in various locations in this earth. ROM 16:1, 3-5, 16; 1CO 1:2; 14:23. A. There are many churches in this sense. B. The word is also applied to all of God's elect. EPH 5:25-27. 1. There is only ONE church in this sense. 2. This church will be assembled in glory. EPH 1:10. IV. The kingdom of heaven was set up at the first coming of Christ. A. Daniel prophesied of the setting up of a kingdom “in the days of these kings” that would never be destroyed. DAN 2:44. B. John the Baptist and Jesus came “in the days of these kings” announcing that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. LUK 3:1-2; MAT 3:1-2; MAR 1:14-15. C. The kingdom was set up and people had been entering it since the days of John the Baptist. LUK 16:16. D. After Christ's ascension the gospel of the kingdom continued to be preached. ACT 8:12; 20:25; 28:30-31. E. The New Testament local church is the institution we find from the days of John the B aptist and Christ that we did not find before. The Local Church is the Kingdom of Heaven? Page 1 of 3 F. As the apostles went forth preaching the kingdom, we find local churches being established. G. In view of the kingdom being at hand, men were urged to repent, believe, and be baptized. 1. Repentance, faith, and baptism resulted in entrance into the kingdom. MAT 21:31-32; LUK 7:29-30. 2. Repentance, faith, and baptism also result in entrance into the local church. ACT 2:38-42. H. Therefore, the local church is the kingdom of heaven. V. The church that Jesus built is the kingdom of heaven. MAT 16:18-19. A. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church; that is, it will never be destroyed as prophesied of the kingdom in DAN 2:44. B. Jesus connects the concept of the church in v. 18 with the concept of the kingdom in v. 19 by the word “and.” VI. The local church as it is described in the New Testament bears the features of a kingdom. A. It has a king. 1. God in Christ rules over the local church as its King. REV 15:3 w/ 1CO 1:2; COL 1:18. 2. A king is also called a head. 1SAM 15:17. 3. This is why it is called the kingdom OF GOD. B. It is a commonwealth. EPH 2:11-13. C. It has citizens. EPH 2:19. D. It has a body of laws. MAT 28:19-20; 2CO 3:6; GAL 6:2; JAM 1:25. E. It has ministers to enforce those laws. 1CO 4:1-2; 2CO 3:6. 1. Minister: “A servant, attendant; one who acts under the authority of another; o ne who carries out executive duties as the agent or representative of a superior.” 2. Its ministers bear a sword to execute God's vengeance upon those who do evil. ROM 13:1-5 c/w EPH 6:17 c/w 2CO 10:6. F. It has a tribute for the support of its ministers. ROM 13:6-7. 1. Tribute: “A tax or impost paid by one prince or state to another in acknowledgement of submission or as a price of peace, security, and protection; rent or homage paid in money or an equivalent by a subject to his sovereign or a vassal to his lord.” 2. What one pays a minister is in reality a payment to God, which He designates for the support of His minister. G. It has a court with a judge and jury to execute judgment upon lawbreakers. 1CO 5. 1. The pastor, according to the pattern of Paul, presides as a judge overseeing the process and instructing the church in the law. ACT 20:28. 2. The church as a jury gives the verdict. H. It has an army equipped for combat. 1. Gospel ministers are spoken of as soldiers at war. PHIL 2:25; 2TI 2:3-4. 2. Church members are in a battle with the flesh and the devil. 1PE 2:11; EPH 6:12. 3. The church is equipped with spiritual armour for both defensive and o ffensive warfare EPH 6:10-18; 2CO 10:3-5. I. It has a feast to commemorate and give thanks for its heritage. 1CO 5:7-8; 10:16-17, 21. 1. Jesus promised His disciples that they would eat and drink at His table in His kingdom. LUK 22:29-30. 2. The Lord's Table is a local church ordinance. 1CO 5; 1CO 11. 3. Therefore the local church is our Lord's kingdom. The Local Church is the Kingdom of Heaven? Page 2 of 3 VII. The church is the kingdom of heaven in that it is ruled from heaven, the throne of God. MAT 5:34. A. The church on earth is an extension of the government of heaven. 1. It is an independent state under God its King. 2. The church continues its government under God regardless of the form of government of the country wherein it is located. 3. Therefore, the church must NEVER apply to a human government for incorporation as that would place it under another king. B. Its members have their citizenship in heaven. PHIL 3:20. 1. Conversation: “The action of living or having one's being in a place or among persons.” 2. The Greek word translated conversation is politeuma (SRN # 4175) and means community or citizenship. C. Like an embassy on foreign soil, the church is the territory of heaven on this earth! 1. Ambassadors are officers who are charged with the duty of representing the kingdom's interests through its embassy in the foreign land. 2. Ministers like Paul are ambassadors for King Jesus. 2CO 5:20; EPH 6:20. 3. Local churches are Heaven's embassies on earth: the kingdom of heaven on earth. VIII. Therefore, to fight the church is to declare war on God's country and to slight the church is to slight God's government. MAT 22:1-7. IX. In view of receiving this unmovable kingdom, we are called upon to have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably. HEB 12:28-29. A. God is acceptably served with reverence and godly fear. B. God is a consuming fire not to be trifled with! C. God is obviously very serious about His church and we had better be serious about it as well.