The Kingdom of God (continued)
The Kingdom of God Within And In the Midst
And those powers are firstly spiritual, to bring this about. You and I, in this terrible conflict between the two kingdoms which is focused in our very souls - you and I, frail, faulty, a thousand times failing and slipping and blundering and erring - are nevertheless being carried on by a power and an energy that is not our own, that will bring us finally to the place of absolute ascendancy over the powers that are set against us. God is working that out in us; it is His kingdom. The kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, is within you. It is an inward matter; that is where it begins. And it is in the midst of you - which expresses the corporate setting of the Kingdom; in the midst of the Church, a people secured and constituted by God and in whom first of all His absolute Lordship shall be established.
I must add a word about the other aspect that - the Church is a people in whom the blessedness of God is known. Well, there is a sense in which that is true, but not true enough of us yet. The pressure and the intensity of this great spiritual warfare does register upon us, it does take its toll. This persistent determination of the enemy to wear us out leaves its mark, and we are not too characterized by the blessedness of God's kingdom. But it does break out sometimes. We sing some of those songs of Zion together, we speak of the great day of Christ's soon appearing, we remind ourselves of all the wonders of His Cross - 'Oh, the sweet wonders of that Cross' - and when we dwell upon these things the glory of His kingdom does well up; it shows itself from time to time. Perhaps that is one of the great blessednesses of Christian fellowship. We gather in meetings and in the Spirit, and the real nature of the Kingdom does come up and show itself. it is there, and more or less it is abidingly there, consciously there, all the time; but we are conscious too that we are up against things, we are in a grim fight. Yet in this kingdom we have to know more and more of the blessedness of God, the happiness of God. We must rebuke ourselves for what contradicts that and remind ourselves that, after all, we are a very happy people. "Happy is the people whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 144:15).
(continued with # 28 - (The Church To Administer and Manifest the Kingdom)