Lesson 19:
The Kingdom of God as the Reality of the Church Life
Bible reading
Please pray over these verses. 

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

Matthew 5:6, 9, 12
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
12 Rejoice and exult, for your reward is great in the heavens; for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


The reality of the church life is the kingdom of God, which is expressed as righteousness towards ourselves, peace toward others, and joy before God. We need to exercise to be under the ruling of the kingdom to receive all believers in a proper way, regardless of doctrine or practice, in order to practise the Body life.

Bible study reading
Please prayerfully read through the following portions of ministry related to this lesson.

Romans 14 is a chapter on the church life. It tells us how to maintain the fellowship with the saints to have the church life. Verse 17 says, “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” This verse strongly proves that the reality of the church life is the kingdom life. This realization requires you to go to Matthew 5 through 7. In those three chapters is the reality of the kingdom life. Romans 14:17 only gives us an extract of the reality of the kingdom life in three items: righteousness toward ourselves, peace toward others, and joy with God.

In Matthew 5 those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness are blessed (vv. 6, 10). Also, our righteousness should surpass that of the Pharisees. If we do not have such a surpassing righteousness, we cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens (v. 20). Matthew 5 also tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (v. 9). Our Father is the God of peace (Rom. 15:33; 16:20), having a peaceful life with a peaceful nature. The sons of the kingdom are makers of peace. Matthew 5 also tells us that we are blessed when others reproach and persecute us and that when this happens, we are to rejoice and exult (vv. 11-12). Romans 14:17 says that this joy is in the Holy Spirit. This is the kingdom life, which is the reality of the church life. (Elders’ Training, Book 6: The Crucial Points of Truth in Paul’s Epistles, ch. 2, section 6)

According to the revelation in the New Testament, the proper church life is the kingdom life. If we live under the rule of the living God within us, that is, under the rule of the kingdom of the heavens, we shall have the kind of life recorded in chapters five, six, and seven of Matthew. We shall also have a life of the kingdom practiced in the church life. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, msg. 209, section 2)

When you are about to receive the saints, you must realize that the saints are not to be received according to your doctrinal concepts or religious practices regarding eating and drinking. The kingdom of God is neither eating nor drinking...Whether you eat turtle or cabbage means nothing. However, righteousness, peace, and joy mean a great deal, for these items are the expression of Christ. (Life-study of Romans, msg. 29, section 2)


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Going deeper
Please read or listen to these materials for an in-depth study of this lesson.

Further reading:
Life-study of Romans, msg. 29
Life-study of Romans, msg. 59

Radio broadcast links:
Broadcast 30, Transformation in Receiving the Believers (Start at 5:09 and end at the 18:30-minute mark)
Broadcast 60, The Practice of the Body Life (Start at 5:16 and end at the 12:58-minute mark)

Footnotes from Recovery Version of the New Testament:
Romans 14:17, footnotes 1-2
Romans 14:18, footnote 1
Luke 4:43, footnote 2

Questions for personal or corporate study:

References in brackets indicate readings or broadcasts that may be helpful in answering the questions.
  • Explain how the kingdom of God is the reality of the church life. (Life-study of Romans, msg. 29, sections 1-2)
  • What is the relationship between the kingdom and the believers’ growth in the divine life? (Luke 4:43, footnote 2, Recovery Version)
  • How is the exercise of the kingdom life related to the practical receiving of believers in the church? (Broadcast 30; Life-study of Romans, msg. 59, section 2)
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Works Cited

Lee, Witness. The Conclusion of the New Testament. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 2006.

---. Elders’ Training, Book 6: The Crucial Points of the Truth in Paul’s Epistles. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1985.

---. Life-study of Romans. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1989.

All verses and excerpts © 2021 Living Stream Ministry.
Used by permission. Reproduction is prohibited. 
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