Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Secret to the Kingdom

The glory of God filled the house when the atmosphere was sanctified by thanksgiving and praise!

In Psalm 67:5-7 it says “Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.”

The word for praise found here is an expression of thanks or praise; it is defined as a natural part of ritual or public worship, as well as personal praise to God. Notice the results when praise and thanks leaves the atmosphere: increase comes, which is a crop of wealth!

Praise and thanksgiving come first, then the increase follows! King Jehoshaphat understood this principle of cleansing the atmosphere with praise and thanksgiving to invite in God’s presence. (2 Chron. 20:21, 22)

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Praise and thanksgiving sanctifies the atmosphere so that He will do the miraculous! Thanksgiving is the highest expression of faith! The Word of God is full of examples of cleansing the atmosphere through praise and thanksgiving. May the Lord illuminate this truth so that each of us would embrace this secret of the Kingdom Life! Let’s daily examine our hearts in light of gratitude and let’s together release His glory in the earth. Let’s seek to live in His will!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Kingdom of God is the Gospel! (Good News)

Mark 1:14 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came unto Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

Isn’t it interesting that Matthew uses the word gospel 5 times. Three of those times he speaks of the gospel of the Kingdom, and the other two times he says this gospel and the gospel. Mark speaks of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The book of Acts says the gospel of the grace of God. Romans declares the gospel of His Son, the gospel of Christ, and the gospel of God. The rest of the epistles repeat these terms many times.

Now what is amazing is that Matthew never says “gospel of the Kingdom of heaven.” There is no such thing as a gospel of the Kingdom of heaven, for it is not, as in the Kingdom of God, good news concerning one’s personal salvation. The Kingdom of God is a message to be preached and believed. The Kingdom of heaven is a political system that must be physically instituted. Every single reference confirms this.

So, we might ask “If there is no Kingdom of heaven gospel, why does Matthew use the word gospel 5 times, or why use it at all?” Matthew was not limited to speaking of the Kingdom of heaven by the Holy Spirit. It is however, his main emphasis and he therefore minimizes any comments he must make concerning the Kingdom of God. But when Matthew does speak of the Kingdom of God, as noted 5 times, he actually uses the term 3 times in relation to healing. One time he speaks prophetically of the future message being preached during the tribulation as, gospel of the Kingdom—which would be the good news of the coming Kingdom of God and Kingdom of heaven combined in Christ’s Kingdom. And the last time, Matthew writes about a very personal act by a repentant woman that Jesus wanted to be included in the preaching of the gospel (which would be prophetic of the Kingdom of God) until He returns.

Just think, if Matthew had said “gospel of the Kingdom of heaven” it would have changed the picture completely. Thank God, He has it all under control! And thank God for the good news of the Kingdom of God!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Seek First!

The essential element in the life of a Christian is simplicity, and Jesus Christ makes the motive of godliness gloriously simple: be carefully careless about everything except your relationship to ME! The motive of a disciple is to be well pleasing to God. The true blessedness of a Christian is in determinedly making and keeping GOD FIRST! Herein lies the disproportion between Jesus Christ’s principles and all other moral teaching: Jesus bases everything on God-realization, while other teachers base everything on self-realization.

There is a difference between devotion to principles and devotion to a person. Jesus Christ never proclaimed a cause; He proclaimed personal devotion to Himself. “For My sake.” Discipleship is based not on devotion to abstract ideas, but on devotion to a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently the whole of the Christian life is stamped by originality.

Whenever the Holy Spirit sees a chance to glorify Jesus Christ, He will take your whole personality and simply make it blaze and glow with personal passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. You are no longer devoted to a cause, nor the devotee of a principle; you are the devoted love slave of the Lord Jesus!

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” Jesus Christ puts all the blessedness of high morals and rare happiness on the ground of “For My sake.” It is not suffering for conscience sake or for convictions sake or because of the ordinary troubles of life, but something other than all of that - ”For My sake.”

What is the bull’s eye of the Kingdom of God? Jesus Christ!

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you!” Matt. 6:33

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Kingdom is Not of This World

Jesus’ inaugural address for His entire ministry is recorded in Luke 4:18. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus had spoken these words in the synagogue in Nazareth where His friends, relatives, and neighbors had excitedly gathered to hear him. He had read from the book of the prophet Isaiah from the Torah shrine which had been handed to him.

After he handed the book back to the attendant, he spoke to the rows of townspeople and said, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The elders sarcastically said that “This is Joseph’s son. He’s a hometown boy, a carpenter and the son of a carpenter. What could he know of Messiah?”

Jesus reminded them of two stories they knew well from their heritage. During a great drought, the prophet Elijah had brought water not to the dying widows of Israel, but to the heathen widow and his successor Elisha had ignored Jewish lepers and cleansed a Syrian instead.

His words were like a cold splash of water in the faces of the crowd. They had expected liberation for the Jews from Roman rule and judgment on all others. Jesus was now going to extend their long awaited promise of their liberation further into the future and at the same time spoke judgment upon them for rejecting him.

From that time there would be many planned attempts to destroy His life. But the introduction to the Kingdom of God had been made. The formal announcement of His Messiahship and the rule of God in this world would alter human history forever. Of all the scriptures Jesus might have read, He chose the one that unmistakably announced the coming of the Kingdom of God. To those in that synagogue, Jesus’ words could only mean that He was claiming to be the Messiah. And if that was true, the Kingdom of God had become a present reality.

Like the Jews in that Nazareth synagogue, most of us think of kingdoms as geographic entities, physical realms with boundaries and defenses and treasuries. But the Kingdom of God is a rule, not a realm. It is the declaration of God’s absolute sovereignty, of His total order of life in this world and the next.

Jesus consistently defined His work as ushering in the Kingdom of God. Almost all of His parables focused on the Kingdom in one aspect or another, while His miracles authenticated His message. By exercising dominion over every phase of His earthly existence, He revealed the fact that the Kingdom of God had come. When Christ commanded His followers to “seek first the Kingdom of God,” He was exhorting them to seek to be ruled by God and gratefully acknowledge His power and authority over them. That means that the Christian goal is not to strive to rule, but be ruled.

While God’s rule is authoritarian, it is also voluntary. The good news is that the price has been paid, and His Kingdom is open to all who desire admission.