February 21, 2024

The King Reigns

R.C. Sproul
The King Reigns

The kingdom of God is a concrete reality with a reigning King and a clear mission. Today, R.C. Sproul encourages Christians to heed Christ’s command to bear witness to His kingdom.


Notice what Jesus says to the Pharisees. He says, “If you see me casting out Satan by the finger of God, then you know that”—what? “The kingdom of God has come upon you.” That is, it has come, it has been inaugurated, it’s been initiated.

Another statement He makes, which I think has been very unfortunately mistranslated in many versions of the English text to read this way, again as a result of attempts to spiritualize the Christian faith too much—How many of you have ever heard this statement, “The kingdom of God is within you”? Have you ever heard that? “The kingdom of God is within you”—in other words, Christ’s kingdom is found within your heart, or within your mind, that it’s spiritual in that sense. Jesus doesn’t say, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus says, “The kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21). And there is a significant difference.

Where the King is, there is the kingdom. There is a sense in which inwardly we participate in the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God is not some kind of subjective feeling found in the hearts of individuals. The kingdom of God is an objective state of affairs. It’s a concrete reality where there’s a real King over a real domain, and that kingdom has come and has been revealed now in the midst of these people: “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Why does He say the kingdom of God is in the midst of them? Because He’s in the midst of them. The King is there. And where the King is, there is the kingdom.

Alright, now He promises to those who are poor in spirit present participation in that kingdom. The kingdom is not something restricted to the great by-and-by. The fullness of the kingdom is in the great by-and-by, but we participate now.

So many times, it really distresses me that Christians act as if we’re living in the Old Testament, as if we’re still waiting around for the Messiah to come, as if our situation is no different from that of Abraham, looking far off into the distance, as if we have nothing now about which to rejoice. In fact, the primary mission of the Christian church can’t be understood apart from the sense in which the kingdom is present, because what is the primary mission? To bear witness to what? To that kingdom which is going to come in the great by-and-by?

What was the last question that Jesus’ disciples asked Him before He left? Last question—you know, they had all these opportunities to ask Him questions, sit at His feet, study with Him. If you had a chance to ask Jesus one question, what would you ask Him? The disciples are standing there at the mount of ascension; Jesus, about now to leave, to return to His Father. And they say, “Just before you go, Jesus, just one last question.” What was the question? “Lord, will you now restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

What does He say? “How many times do I have to tell you guys that I’m not going to establish a kingdom, that My kingdom is spiritual, that My kingdom is something that takes place in your hearts”—is that what He said? He said, “It is not for you to know the times and the seasons which God has placed under His authority, but you shall be My witnesses. After that, the Holy Ghost has come upon you both here in Jerusalem, Samaria, and the outermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:7–8). That is, the present task of the church is to bear witness to the fact that our King reigns.

If the kingdom of God in this world right now is invisible, don’t blame that on God, because the visibility of the kingdom of God right now is your task. It’s been commissioned to you to bear witness, to call attention to, to make manifest that which the world does not see—the reality of the kingship of Christ.