7 Keys To Understanding The Kingdom Of Heaven

He died on January 28, 814. Many years later, archaeologists discovered the tomb of Charlemagne, the great king and emperor of France. When the tomb was opened, after being closed for centuries, the men who entered it found something amazing. They found certain treasures of the kingdom.

But in the center of the large vault was a marble throne, and seated on the throne was the skeleton of Charlemagne, with an open Bible on his lap, and a bony finger pointing at Matthew 18:26, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

This is a lesson from an earthly king with an earthly kingdom. Charlemagne is saying to us, “All of my power, riches, and glory are not enough. There is another Kingdom which you must come to know and understand. The good news that Jesus taught us was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17).

I have looked over the gospels for the great statements that Jesus made about the Kingdom and would like to present to you SEVEN KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOM.

I. THE KINGDOM MUST BE SOUGHT. “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33).

All of us are restless souls. Jesus made this statement about seeking first the Kingdom in the context of our worrying about what we have to eat and drink or the clothes we have to wear. These things represent our daily earthly and physical lives. To be sure, these concerns fill our days with all of the necessities relating to the body. And in the midst of all of this energy spent on these things, Jesus is teaching us to get our priorities right and seek to be a part of his Kingdom – and when we are a part of his Kingdom – the Father will provide all the things we need.

People are constantly seeking for truth. That is why philosophers have given us such great systems of thought. That is why so many different religions have developed. But in the process of their search countless millions have been led astray by the evil one to belief systems that can never satisfy the deep hungers of the human soul.

The Kingdom of God must be sought. But the seeking person will soon find that God has been seeking him or her long before the search began. When a person is truly seeking to know God he will be found. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

II. THE KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. “Jesus said, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36).

The truth Jesus is talking about cannot be found in man’s philosophies. It is far superior to anything that can be had in this world. Why then do we fill our days with that which is temporary at best and unsatisfying at worse? Why do we try to fill that big empty hole in our hearts with things that were not designed to fit it? We must look beyond ourselves to those realities that are transcendent of the answers that this world offers.

We have to understand ourselves in order to grasp this. We are body, soul, and spirit. To keep the body strong and healthy requires a lot of attention. To keep the soul, which is made up of the mind, the emotions, and the will balanced and bright is a constant struggle. But the third part of our trinity, which is in the image of God, our spirit, is where we will find the answer to our spiritual hunger. This is the part of us that enables us to perceive and know God and lifts us beyond the limits of earth.

III. THE KINGDOM CAN BE SEEN. “…Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’” (John 3:3).

Look around you. Can you see it? Those who have been born again can see it in the lives of others. There is a divine quality in a believer’s life that is evident to other believers. All the gathered saints here this morning can see it in each other. Why? Because we have all been to the cross and experienced the cleansing of our old nature and the birth of our new nature. That enables us to be brothers and sisters in the family of the faith kingdom. No one can be a part of this except through the new birth which opens our spiritual eyes.

It is interesting that unbelievers can’t see this truth – but they can surely spot a phony.

IV. THE KINGDOM MUST BE ENTERED. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15).

When our spiritual eyes are opened to our need of redemption because we are on a course to an eternal hell, we get serious with God and pray in desperation, “Father, take this sin and death sentence off of me. I now believe that Jesus took it upon himself on the cross and I now receive him as my Savior and Lord. With the simple faith of a child I climb into your arms and trust you with my life and destiny.” And the Father says to me, “You can now enter the Kingdom of God on earth and the Kingdom of Heaven in eternity.”

That is the only way to enter the Kingdom. Think of all the ways that people are trying to enter the Kingdom. The Buddhist seeks to suppress every human desire and enter into a blank state of mind which they believe produces peace. The Muslim seeks to please God by strict disciplines of prayer and forced observances. The Jews are seeking to know God through the old covenant and are rejecting the completed new covenant made by the Messiah. Many legalists are trying to please God with their good works and reject the accountability that he requires of them.

Unless the Kingdom is entered through repentance and faith – a person is still outside of the golden doors. If the Kingdom is not entered a person is lost and all alone in the great cosmic order.

V. THE KINGDOM CAN BE POSSESSED. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3).

Even as a child we desire to possess things. We learn early that certain things, such as our toys, are ours. Watch children playing and soon one will say to the others, “Mine, mine!”

When we enter the Kingdom we can on a totally different level exclaim, “Mine, mine!” “Poor in spirit” is another way of saying “One who sees his or her spiritual need.” Those who see their need and come to Christ are the ones who are given the possession of the kingdom. When I was writing this I walked out on the deck and looked out on the acre and a third of my little kingdom and I thought, “I possess the blessings of the Kingdom of God which are unlimited in scope for this life and un- imaginable for the next life.”

The prophet Daniel spoke of this kingdom: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed…the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever-yes, for ever and ever.” (Daniel 7:13-14,18).

We may be poor by earthly standards – but we are rich by heavenly measurements.

VI. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU. “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, here it is or there it is, because the kingdom of God is within you.’”
Jesus was saying that while we are on the earth the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of believers. The Pharisees were expecting an earthly kingdom with a rule that would free them from Roman oppression. They wanted a structure that they could see. But because their eyes were blind and their religious hearts were hard they could not see the revelation of God in Christ who stood before them.
Where is the kingdom of God today? It is right here in our hearts. It lives in us and God is using us to plant it in the hearts of others around us.

St. Augustine, who lived from 354-430 A.D., regarded as one of the towering intellectual geniuses in history, wrote more than a thousand works on philosophy, psychology, theology, history, political theory, and other subjects. His Confessions, from which the following passage is taken, has remained a popular and influential work for almost 1,600 years.

“I entered into the innermost part of myself. . . . I entered and I saw with my soul’s eye (such as it was) an unchangeable light shining above this eye of my soul and above my mind. . . . He who knows truth knows that light, and he who knows that light knows eternity. Love knows it. O eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity!

And I often do this. I find a delight in it, and whenever I can relax from my necessary duties I have recourse to this pleasure. {I experience] a state of feeling which is quite unlike anything to which I am used — a kind of sweet delight which, if I could only remain permanently in that state, would be something not of this world, not of this life. But my sad weight makes me fall back again; I am swallowed up by normality.”

VII. THE KINGDOM OF GOD ONE DAY WILL ARRIVE WITH GREAT FORCE. Jesus said, “For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:16)

Jesus said this as he was having his last supper with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion. So far as we know, he did not drink of the fruit of the vine after the resurrection while he was still on the earth. He is waiting for what he called “The marriage supper of the Lamb.” This is after the return of Christ, and the judgment. In Revelation 19 John says, “After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Then a voice came from the throne saying: “Praise our God all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!”

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder shouting;”

“Hallelujah! for our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready.”

“Then the angel said to me, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’”
The Church is the bride and the Lord Jesus is the groom and he will sit down with us and we will partake of his glory forever!