For the Kingdom!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love the statement, "For the Kingdom!"  I used it often.  But why?  What's behind such a statement?  

There's a biblical picture about the kingdom that's significant; therefore, "For the Kingdom" is something I started putting in my email signature and social media posts to remind myself to keep my focus in the right place for the right King.  

As we look to Scripture, we see that David thought that God needed a house.  Everyone else had come into the promised land and they were building houses, but God was still in the tabernacle (or a tent).  So David thought he'd build God a house.  It's a good thought, but God through that was funny because God is not interested in living in a man-made building.  Then God commanded Nathan to tell David of a covenant (or promise) that God was making with David. (See 2 Samuel 7)  

God promised David that God would establish a throne forever, saying, "Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.  Your throne shall be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:16).  Jesus would be of this line of kings, and since Jesus is living, never-to-die and he's God, he's the last and perfect King that all the other kings were intended to hint at.  And his Kingdom is established because he is on the throne forever.   

Eventually, the end of the kingdom as we know it comes when the resurrected believers join the resurrected Christ.  Then, every rule and every authority (other than God) is destroyed and Jesus will give the Father's kingdom to him (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).   However, Revelation 11:15 shows us that Jesus remains on the throne of the redeemed kingdom with the Father.  It says, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." 

At this point, it's important to remember that the throne wasn't the thing that made the kingdom.  God mad the kingdom through a promise.  The covenant with Moses seems to have taken the covenant with Abraham (about Abraham fathering many nations by the power of God) and turned a specific group of covenant people into a nation (or kingdom) of priests to serve the world and call all people back to God.  Exodus 19:5 says, "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."  

These priests were to be a people who would serve God's kingdom.  Much of the Old Testament shows us how they got this right and how they often got this wrong.  However, Revelation 5:9-10 shows us that this promise will be fulfilled.  It reads, "And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are you to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.  

When John the Baptist, a priest and an ambassador of the kingdom, started preaching, he said, "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand"  (Matthew 3:2).   Then, after Satan tempted Jesus to repeat Adam's fall, Jesus too began preaching, "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17).  Jesus then went through all the region preaching the good news of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23).  Jesus also promised that the poor in spirit and the persecuted will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3, 10).  

When Jesus discussed the consequences of following or not following the Christ-fulfilled Law and Prophets, he used the condition of being great or least in the kingdom and even a condition of entering or not entering the kingdom (Matthew 5:17-20).   Notice how Jesus taught us to pray regarding the kingdom.  Ask the Father that His kingdom will come on earth just as his kingdom is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).  Only a few verses later Jesus instructs us how not to be anxious, saying our Heavenly Father knows what we need so we should seek his righteousness and his Kingdom (Matthew 6:32-33). 

Many of Jesus' parables start: "The kingdom of heaven is like. . ."  It seems the kingdom was very important to Jesus.  When Pilot asked Jesus if he was a king, Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world.  If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews.  But my kingdom is not from the world" (John 18:36).   

Earthly kingdoms are about physical territory and boundaries; God's kingdom is about souls and submission, glory and holiness.  Revelation 1:5b-6 shows us the kingdom.  It says, "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."  Pilot tired to execute King Jesus, but Jesus defeated death and rose from the grave.  What did the risen Jesus talk about?  The kingdom!  Acts 1:3 says, "He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God." 

Jesus preached the kingdom throughout his earthly ministry as well as through is inspired saints. When he first sent his twelve disciples out to preach, he instructed them to say, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand"  (Matthew 10:7).  As we learn in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, we are ambassadors for Christ proclaiming a message of reconciliation, which I think has a lot to do with the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus was preaching for most of his earthly ministry.       

There was a time in my life when I was working hard to build my own kingdom.  In hindsight, it was built on sand, made of temporary, created things that even moth and rust easily destroy.   I was also serving my country in the military and figured this was good enough.  As I Christian, I was being selfless but I was still serving to advance an earthly kingdom.  One night in 2003, on the Syrian border, I had a conversation with God.  The end result of the conversation was my awareness that God wanted me to serving something greater than my own kingdom or other earthly kingdoms.  He wanted me serving his kingdom.  

Over time, I started slipping back into my old ways.  I was building a kingdom of self and serving wrong kingdoms again.  One of the things that helped keep the focus in the military were battle cries and slogans.   As I reflected on this, I realized that Christians should have a battle cry.  So I started putting a battle cry at the end of my correspondence and some of my social media posts.  I love the hashtag, #ForTheKingdom! 

"For the Kingdom!"  

I imagine fists and swords raised as an army of blood-bought, redeemed, warriors serve on the front lines to advance the Lord's kingdom.  Everything we do must be to the glory of God, in the service of our King.   This is where I want to be.  This is where I want to serve.  Because this is the only Kingdom that truly matters.  And the kings of Kings is my King and my Lord. 

For the Kingdom! 
Bryan Catherman