Jesus foretold the coming church to His disciples in Matthew 16:18-19. All in the same context Jesus states that He would build His church and give to the apostles the keys to the Kingdom. The words kingdom and church are used synonymously. Did Jesus build one institution and then give Peter keys to something else? According to this if they are not the same organism then Peter and the apostles never used the keys. Why then does Jesus promise the keys to the Kingdom?
Kingdom and church are word pictures expressing different aspects of the same institution. This is common in describing the church. Notice the “body” in Ephesians 1:22-23 is described in 1 Timothy 3:15 as the “house.”
We learn that the Lord’s Supper was to be in the Kingdom. “Just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29–30 NAS). 1 Corinthians 11:17-30 shows that the Supper was observed in the church at Corinth and in the church at Troas (Acts 20:7). We infer from these facts that the Kingdom and the church are the same.
In Jesus’s parable of the sower, He taught the “seed” produced people of the Kingdom. When the “seed” entered honest hearts it made “subjects of the Kingdom.” GWhen the same “seed” was received by the Corinthians it made members of the church. “… many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized” (Acts 18:8 NAS). Later Paul wrote to these Christians calling them the “church of God which is at Corinthian” (1 Corinthians 1:2). Since the “seed” produces subjects of the Kingdom and members of the church then it follows that members of the church are subjects of the Kingdom.
Consider that after Pentecost of 33 A. D., both the church and the Kingdom are always spoken of as present reality. Acts 2 marked the transition from the Kingdom and church future tense to present tense. Notice (Matthew 16:18) Jesus says “I will build my church.” Then note Acts 2:47 “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
The same is true of the Kingdom, prior to Acts 2; it existed in promise and prophecy. Both John and Jesus preached “the Kingdom is at hand.” After Acts 2 the Kingdom is in existence. The saints at Colosae were in the Kingdom. Paul wrote, ““He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13 ESV). John also said he was in the Kingdom (Revelation 1:9).
The Bible is clear, the church and the Kingdom are the same. If one has existed since 33 A. D., the other has too.
Friends, Jesus reigns right now in His Kingdom and church. All the saved are in the Kingdom and church. What a wonderful blessing. Jesus is our King and we are citizens of the Kingdom.
*Based on a sermon by M. H. Tucker