The church strayed away from the gospel Jesus preached a long time ago, and it’s still far away from it. We think the gospel is about our personal salvation and have added it to the other blessing of life, unwittingly subscribing to the prosperity gospel. Jesus said that we can’t follow him, unless we leave the world and its things, but we disregard it or justify it by clever arguments. Apostle John says that if we love the world and its things then the love of God is not in us, but we don’t see this as a problem and have an answer for it. These answers may be able to pacify our conscience, but it won’t help us before the Almighty God. He gave his life to change us, and unless that happens everything else is false. Our lives which are very similar to those who don’t believe, are a proof of our failure. Going to the church and the bible study are not going to help, if we remain unchanged or change superficially. It must change completely, and this can only happen, if we live according to the values of the kingdom.
Jesus described the values of his kingdom in the beatitudes and in all the parables. Almost all the parables are about the kingdom of God. Jesus preached about the kingdom throughout his ministry and he lived by its values. When he rose from the dead and was with his disciples for forty days, he talked to them about the kingdom of God. He also said that seek the kingdom of God first and then the other things will be given to us as well. Doesn’t it strike to us as strange, that we hardly talk about this and have neglected the most important thing for which Jesus came into the world. We have turned it into a religion or have become self-righteous like the pharisees. All the churches from one end of the spectrum to the other, have stumbled like the Jews had. They have failed to see, what matters the most.
The good news Jesus announced was that the time has been fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near. Jesus established this kingdom after his resurrection. Most of the Jews couldn’t understand this except for a few, who formed the first church at Jerusalem. They lived as Jesus himself lived, and the kingdom of God was amongst them. Their values were completely different from the world around them. They shared everything they had with others and there was a great joy and rejoicing among them. It was not the abundance of material things that gave them the joy but the absence of selfishness and greed that had enslaved the whole world. They were free from the bondage of sin and God lived among them through his Spirit. The kingdom of God must be established in this world, among those who believe in Christ Jesus. This is what Jesus proclaimed, lived and died for.