A Decision or a Life?



For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17


Many Christians focus all their energies into ministry emphasizing the salvation of the lost. Praise God! The lost need to be saved!  The problems start when salvation is seen as the end of the road rather than the beginning.

In Acts 18 when Paul arrived in Corinth he began to teach and reason with people in the synagogue every Sabbath. Verse 4 says he was trying to persuade Jews and Greeks, testifying that the Christ was Jesus.  Verse 11 says he stayed a year and six months , “teaching the Word of God among them.” In Ephesus he stayed for two years where Acts 19:8 says, “And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.”

In three other places in the book of Acts Paul is said to be teaching or preaching about the “kingdom of God.” This goes beyond simply the message of personal salvation for the forgiveness of our sin (though this is a necessary part of salvation) to the greater concept of living as a part of the kingdom of God.

The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words defines “kingdom of God” as “A world that emulates heaven; God’s reign as king over all the earth. The Kingdom of God also refers to the kingdom of Jesus.”

As I have studied the book of Acts I have understood that Paul was preaching that God’s kingdom had come. He was reasoning with people from the Law and the Prophets so they would understand Christ as a part of God’s plan for his creation from the beginning as the One who would come to rule as His kingdom would grow. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Paul faced great opposition from Jewish leaders and from Roman rulers, not because he preached that Jesus came to save us from our personal sins, but because he was teaching that the Kingdom of God was upon us and Jesus had come as King. These other leaders did not want to face a Divine Ruler they could not overtake or conquer.

As I hear people tell others God loves them no matter what, He has forgiven their sin, and wants them to live an abundant life, without ever mentioning confession or repentance, I get concerned for their eternal security. Are our expectations and practices of evangelism today too small? Does a simple response to the salvation message and a prayer repeated, as we recite the words for the “new believer” to follow, really save a person from an eternity in Hell? If Paul preached and reasoned with people for days or months, persuading them of the truth from the whole of scripture, are our expectations too shallow?

Are we willing to follow Paul’s time-consuming example of reasoning, persuading, and preaching to his neighbors? The Kingdom of God has work for us to do.

Is salvation the final destination – or is it the kingdom of God with all its abundance (and work) for His disciples?



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