A Spiritual Kingdom

Sometimes it can feel hard to relate to the world we see in the Book of Joshua. One full of wars, risky acts of life and death, going to a land that has been “promised” but is full of giants and hostile nations… It can seem a bit unrelatable to where we’re at in modern-day America, if we’re thinking physically. However, Pastor Jason said something key this weekend: while Joshua waged a physical war and brought a physical kingdom, the kingdom we are bringing is spiritual.

But what does it look like to bring a spiritual kingdom in a physical world? Our pastor mentioned that this kind of kingdom is brought by God’s power, not man’s. Jesus made this same point often throughout the gospels, and he gave us many pictures to help us understand this spiritual kingdom.

Let’s consider just one chapter: Matthew 13. In this chapter alone, we find the Parable of the Sower, the Wheat & Tares, the Mustard Seed, the Leaven, the Hidden Treasure, and the Dragnet. Several of these parables begin with, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”

In the Sower, seed is scattered — some give growth, others are choked out and fall away.

In the Wheat & Tares, Jesus details the future. Verses 41-43 say, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire (the tares)…Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (the wheat).”

In the Hidden Treasure, a man sells all that He has for the one great treasure he finds in a field. And it’s the same situation with the Pearl of Great Price.

In the Dragnet (like the Wheat & Tares), a net is cast and gathers up some of every kind, and then the wicked are separated from the righteous, and there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:50).

This theme continues in other passages of scripture like the parable of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Prodigal Son, and Wedding Feast.

Reading these parables can feel unsettling because it helps us understand a spiritual reality. Like Joshua, we’ve been given a task—a task of BRINGING A KINGDOM! We are on the frontlines of a war, a SPIRITUAL one! It can’t always be seen, but it is quite real whether we choose to be aware of it or not. The cost of loss in this war is SOULS, a cost too high to get sidetracked with our own plans and destructive patterns.

These pictures make it clear: Jesus’ kingdom is one of RESTORATION. God wants to restore mankind to a real and right relationship with Himself! He wants to bring lost souls home, to set captives free, heal the brokenhearted, and so much more (see Isaiah 61). He has given you and me the task of sowing, gathering, and reaping until the return of our King. He gave us His own Spirit to do this. It’s not by our own power, it’s His. We pray, we share, we obey, we trust—but God gives the victory.

And while we accomplish this work, we look to the future fulfilled kingdom, where God’s kingdom of restoration will indeed restore everything—not just spiritually, but physically. Think of this declaration in Revelation 21:1-7:

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ’Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ’It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’”

It turns out the Book of Joshua is not so unrelatable to us after all. In fact, it was written as an example for us to follow. How are you sharing this message of restoration with those in your life? How are you inviting people to be reconciled into this spiritual kingdom in your community?

It’s a kingdom of darkness to light, of lost to found, of death to life. It’s one of restoration and reconciliation. It’s good news.

“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.” (2 Corinthians 5:11)
Michelle Townsley
Michelle Townsley is a young adult devoted to loving Jesus and loving people. A current staff member at Coast Hills, her passion is to “present everyone mature in Christ” whether through women’s discipleship in youth and young adults ministry, or through communications and the written word. Michelle loves ministry, summer camp, and basketball in that order.