The Openness of the Kingdom – Gospel in Life

The Openness of the Kingdom

Tim Keller |  March 19, 2006

Download Agreement

By downloading this file, I confirm I understand Gospel in Life's Copyright & Permissions policies and agree to only use this file for personal usage and will not upload it to any third-party platforms.


  • Prophecy
  • The Fall
Mark 4:21-34
RS 190-11


In the Gospel of Mark, we’re told that the message of Jesus is that “the Kingdom of God is near.” What does Jesus want to teach us about the Kingdom of God? We see three things in this passage: 1) The importance of the kingdom; 2) The central organizing principle of the kingdom; and 3) How we get the power to live according to that principle.

Mark 4:21–34

Jesus uses simple stories and images to explain God’s kingdom, which is meant to be open and clear to everyone, not hidden like a secret club. These stories highlight the kingdom’s importance, how it works, and how we can live by its rules.

1. The importance of the kingdom

Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a big garden plant and a beautiful tree connecting heaven and earth. The world used to be perfect and full of God’s presence, but things went wrong when people tried to take control and God’s presence became less visible. There’s a promise, though, that God’s presence will come back, making the world perfect again. This shows that God’s saving plan includes everyone, not just individuals, and that we need to accept Jesus as our King, trusting Him and following Him with humility.

2. The central organizing principle of the kingdom

Real happiness and richness in life come from putting others first, not from seeking fame or power. Being great means starting small and being humble, which goes against what the world often tells us about money, power, status, and comfort. True success and fulfillment come from being humble, serving others, and submitting to God.

3. How we get the power to live according to that principle

Jesus, the light of the world, came down to our level to lift us up, showing us that winning actually comes through losing. The cross is where heaven and earth meet and it offers endless riches and power through selflessness. We’re asked to be humble, avoiding a superior or controlling attitude, and to learn from those who have less. Joining Jesus in his defeat leads to kindness, wisdom, and ultimately, to being lifted up.



Mission and Meaning

By Tim Keller

Can a Mother Forget?

By Tim Keller

Nakedness and the Holiness of God

By Tim Keller

June Book Offer

Deepen and Strengthen Your Marriage!

Marriage is one of the most profound human relationships — but it can also be one of the most challenging. So Tim and Kathy Keller designed a devotional book for married couples to use together.