Thursday, November 7, 2013

Your are in the Kingdom Now, Beloved!

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus counsels His disciples, and also the multitudes:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

"34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6: 33-34)
For a long time, I wondered what was the Kingdom of God.
Was it a place? Was it a way of living? Was it a manner of thinking, a posture or an attitude?
When I learned to rightly divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), recognizing that there are two Covenants, Old and New, and that Jesus was operating and fulfilling the Old Covenant during His earthly ministry, the truth about the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God, came into focus.
In Luke's Gospel, Jesus emphatically comforts His listeners, and by extension all of us who believe on Him:
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12: 32)
Notice that God our Father - Not God our Taskmaster, or our Judge, or our Lawgiver, but Father! - gives us the Kingdom, and Jesus wants us to see ourselves as cherished sheep, with Jesus as our Shepherd.
Jesus later expands on this message in Luke 15:
"4What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Luke 15: 4-7)
In this parable, the Shepherd does all the work, and the sheep merely consents to be carried, consents to be saved. The Shepherd brings the sheep back to the fold, and throws a party to celebrating this sheep.
In the same manner, we consent to receive the Kingdom of God, rather than seeking it with our own efforts.
Yet the question remained unanswered for me for a long time.
What is the Kingdom of God?
Paul defines it:
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14: 17)
We receive the Holy Spirit by believing in our hearts and confessing out of our mouths that Jesus is Lord, that He died on the Cross for our sins and justifying us from all our sins:
"1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:1-5)
Justified, made righteous by faith in what Jesus has done for us, we receive His grace in our lives, and thus the Holy Spirit pours God's love into our hearts.
Through the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1: 27) and He works in us (Colossians 1: 29)
Still, what about the Kingdom of God? How do we seek it?
If you believe on Jesus for your salvation, the Kingdom has found you!
Not just considering Romans 14: 17, but also read and rest in Paul's glorious verses in the Epistle of Colossians:
"Who [God the Father] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:" (Colossians 1: 13)
When we believed on Jesus Christ, God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit takes everyone of us from dead in our sins to forever alive in Christ.
Paul explains this beautiful, spiritual translation in Ephesians:
"4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2: 4-8)
We no longer identify with our fallen flesh, with our dead old nature because of our first father Adam, but now we are alive in Christ, and we sit in Him, receiving His standing, His grace, and His favor before God the Father.
John could not have stated it better:
"Herein is our love made perfect [lit. love made perfect among us], that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)
We are now citizens of heaven (Philippians 3: 20), and when God the Father looks at us, He sees His Son, for we are now in Christ.
Paul informs us to identify with Christ, seated at the Father's right hand:
"1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 1-4)
You are in the Kingdom of God, Beloved, because of Christ and Him Crucified!
You can stop seeking the Kingdom, because by the power of the Holy Spirit, because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God is now within you. (Luke 17: 21)

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