This first part will be an introduction to understanding worldy kingdoms versus the Kingdom of God. It will only be an overview, since it could take months to share and discover the enormous truths and therefore it's implications, yet I believe it is of the upmost importance.
To begin with, we must understand that God is the establisher of all worldy governments. Sometimes, matter of fact, usually, those given this authority take advantage of this, such as Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. Even though governments may not act Godly in doesn't mean that He hasn't established them.
In honoring the covenant with Abraham, the Israelites were also given a Godly standard of worldly government that they were to live by, preparing the way for the Messiah. It was through this covenant with Abraham, and the law of Moses that the children of Israel were governed up until the time of Christ.
Yet when Christ came He fulfilled the law of old, fulfilled the prophesies spoken of and also ushered in the non-worldy Kingdom of God. His teachings were so radical that most of Israel at the time could not accept His radical non-worldy government that taught such things as turning the other cheek, doing good to those who did evil, storing treasures up in heaven, giving Ceasar that which was Ceasar's etc. All of His teachings did not encourage or enable the over throw of Rome, matter of fact His teachings even included walking a second mile when asked by the intruders. This bordered on treason for many in that day of Israel.
What we see in the life and teachings of Christ is the marvelous working of God, to be faithful to those God had a covenant with, being honorable in providing the Messiah as prophesied, and also establishing the Kingdom of God without worldy containment or control. The majority of Christ's teachings involved declaring the principles that the Kingdom of God operated by. The only way to become part of this kingdom was through Him, the Way, Truth, and the Life.
Yet once we have accepted his shed blood it is only just the beginning of us being a part, citizens per se, of the kingdom. Becoming a believer requires us also to change our allegiances to the Kingdom that we just joined. We have become in all reality, citizens, of the Kingdom of God for eternity. His principles and truths that govern this kingdom have no beginning or end, they are eternal, and they will be the same principles we live under for eternity, for His truth is eternal.
We can no longer be citizens of the world and also to the kingdom of God. This is how we can be in the world and not part of it. Worldy interests no longer take priority, but rather the interests of the new kingdom do. God is the author of all government. He created it. He will not allow us to have devided allegiances any more than worldy governments will. Granted there are natural governments that recognize dual citizenship, but if those nations were ever at war with each other those citizens would have to decide which nation would gain their loyaty. God is no different. What most christians do not understand or know or remember, is that the Kingdom of God is at war today with the evil forces of satan. This is not some future event to come but we are at war today. Eph 6:12
Once we truly understand that we have been "naturalized" by the shed blood of Christ into the kingdom of God we begin to understand that He has principles that we must live by in order to maintain this citizenry. Living by these new principles is what produces the fruit of the Spirit and it is by these fruits that we are recognized as children of the kingdom of the Almighty God. If we do not display these kingdom traits then eventually we will be told "Depart from me" Matt: 7: 20-29. This portion of scripture has more truth in it than most professing to follow Christ could ever imagine.
I will admit that it has taken me many years to understand the importance of what I have just written, but none the less it is what every newborn in Christ should here from the very beginning. It is wrong of us as beleivers to share with others the source of our gift of salvation without also sharing about the righteous Kingdom of God. Our inheritance of eternal life starts now, by living today, according to the principles and dictates of this Kingdom for He its at the right hand of the Father, ruling as I even write this. May this open up the flood gates of our understanding, developing wisdom and fruit in all of us for the days are short before we will be held accountable.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. (Matt 6:9-13)
In Matthew we see that the beginning of Christ's ministry also included the above mentioned prayer. Immediately after establishing the sacred nature of the Father, Christ proceeds to declare the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father. Our Lord spent more of His teaching declaring the Kingdom of God than anything else. It was the center piece of His ministry.
When Nicodemus came to Jesus, Jesus told him in John 3:3, 5,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. ... Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
These verses do not establish that salvation is an ending in Christ, but rather it establishes that it is just the beginning. It even indicates that we can see the Kingdom, without entering into it. In order to enter into the Kingdom we must allow Christ to be our LORD as well as savior. The gift of salvation is the key, and the key only, to entering into the kingdom of God. We are required to also take up citizenship in this kingdom by obeying His commandments.
Ever since the time of Constantine, humans have endeavored to establish their own version of the Kingdom of God on earth. Even today we have those part of the "Dominion Theology", "Latter Day Saints", "Manifested Sons of God", Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. trying to establish God's kingdom on earth, including more traditional Christians as well.
Carnal men always desires to usurp God's authority by replicating what God has already established. It does not say "Thy Kingdom establish", but rather Thy Kingdom come. The Kingdom is already in place.
Luke 17:21, "for, behold the Kingdom of God is within you ...," present tense!
If it is within us it does not and will not be effective to impose it on anyone else. The mysteries of His Grace and favor are only understood through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity for if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things you shall never fail for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-11)
Are we willing to allow God's Kingdom to come in us? If we are, then are we willing to live by His commandments? Titus 1:16 speaks about people who only profess that they love God, but deny Him in works.
They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:16)
Let us follow 1 John 3:23-24,
And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in them. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. (1 John 3:23-24)
In closing I would also like to rejoice that there are others out there that have begun to understand the importance of what is required to be part of the Kingdom of God. May His kingdom Come, amen?