Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Christ and His Kingdom - Part 2



“To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables.” Mark 4:11

This is the same point that I wrapped up Part One with last week, worded a bit differently. “Those who are outside” cannot understand the mysteries of the Kingdom. Those who are inside are “in” Christ - we’ve been on the outside too long. One cannot be on the fence and know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. This is why you must know where you reside! Revelation speaking of being neither hot nor cold comes to mind. It’s time for wishy-washy Christianity to die. I issue a challenge to the Christians of my generation that may sound a bit harsh, but it is how I feel - Come in or stay out! I am personally fed up with my own faltering faith! Either I believe all of God’s promises and Kingdom government, or I don’t. It is that simple!

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Luke 18:17

We’ve become a people of great knowledge and superior intellect but have forsaken approaching God humbly as a child, in need of His teaching and wisdom. Seminaries, classes and books have convinced us that we are wise, proving that we have greatly misunderstood this verse. We have become too rational and intellectual for our own good. God is the giver of wisdom and she is greatly prized (read all of Proverbs for goodness sake). Now this doesn’t contradict what I’ve been stating as maturity. It is stating that one must always remember that he is in need of “a greater one”. Just as children are dependent, so too must we be. Father God is our Provider, our Strength, our Covering – just as a child, in the natural is in need of. We can never mature out of a need and dependence upon God. I believe that spiritual maturity actually creates a deeper understanding of one’s dependence upon God. In it, we find more and more that he is the Giver and Provider of absolutely everything we are. It is misunderstood that one can be completely submissive, yet found to be full of power and authority. This is why Jesus’ ministry upon the earth was so contrary to what everyone else expected it to be. Likewise, when we walk submitted to the Kingdom government of God, we are empowered and enabled.

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matthew 4:17

We’ve promoted and established the myth of waiting for the “sweet by and by” as we walk passively through each day. We must stop living so enamored with future glory that we miss the entire purpose of Christ in the here and now! On the flipside we cannot only look back at what Jesus did while He was upon the earth. We must embrace the present Kingdom! The unseen is as real, or perhaps even more so, than the seen. Is the invisible any less reality than the visible, in regards to the Kingdom? When something is “at hand”, it is present – it is already in your midst. Nothing has changed, the Kingdom of God is at hand! It is here, now – ready to be dwelled in and even expanded! So many Believers walk barraged and overcome by worldly circumstances and occurrences. Although it is hard to fully explain, especially on paper, we are not subject to this kingdoms government. I am a resident of heavenly places now. While my physical body is upon this earth, I will always have a choice to follow how I feel versus who I truly am, according to the Word, but the reality is, all who are born from above have access to all that “above” has to offer. Above, I am healed. Above, I am restored. Above, I am complete and whole and perfect because of Christ indwelling me! People, myself included, say, “But I don’t feel like it” or “But I still feel…” – while these are legitimate thoughts, it is not about a feeling, it is about standing upon the truth of the Word. Again, I will walk in the amount of The Christ that I choose to walk in. Often, I believe we’re not healed because we don’t really believe we can be. Doubt cannot remain in the Kingdom of God realm. It is at hand – it is here now for the taking! I will walk in the “amount” of the Kingdom that I choose to for all of it is at hand right now.

“You hypocrites…This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Matthew 15:8 and 9

We’ve constructed programs and prayers to recite, yet have ignored the instruction of the Word. Our worship has become lame and self-centered. We would rather please men than please God – earthly kingdoms that build bigger and better campuses and structures continue to rise up all around. As long as earthly kingdoms are being established and promoted, His heavenly Kingdom being established here will continue to be overlooked and pushed aside. Temples, tabernacles and “churches” are more like corporations than dwellings for the presence of the LORD. He is not moved by flattering words of prosperity, false discipleship and unrighteous living behind closed doors. Who will build a temple within themselves where the LORD can dwell? Who will invite Him to tabernacle with them as they establish His Kingdom upon their piece of this earth? Who will forsake the doctrines and ways of men in order to worship the LORD unfettered, in spirit and in truth?

“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” John 12:46

What is the darkness? This carnal world and its fleshly desires, apart from Christ. We have been living in this world, according to its government that is no longer our own, for too long. If you are biblically born from above, I feel that it is alright to insert your name in the first part of this verse. (Insert name) has come as Light into the world! The Light is Christ within you. When we walk in Kingdom reality, the Light within us will run off all darkness. Darkness can only exist when there is an absence of light. It has no identity of its own for it cannot even exist without the absence of light. Therefore, as I was once in darkness, I am now Light because of the Christ within me. Does darkness flee when you enter the room? Darkness cannot, in any capacity remain where the Kingdom is established. It is driven out by the power of the Light. Kingdom realm living is walking in the Light. This will not always be easy because sometimes the light is painful. Think about waking up in the morning and it’s completely dark. If you walk into your bathroom and flip on all of the lights, it is a shock – it hurts. The glare of the light instantly runs off the darkness and it is shocking to your eyes that had adjusted to the dark. Likewise, the Light of Christ will run off all darkness within us. Just as darkness and light cannot dwell together, the Kingdom of God cannot dwell alongside the kingdom of darkness. A choice must be made and all who choose Him, as He promised us in the aforementioned verse, will not remain in darkness. What a glorious promise! The Light has chosen to dwell within us and establish a Kingdom where no darkness can remain. Does the fruit of your life reveal darkness or light? One who dwells in this Kingdom of Light (Christ) will greatly contrast this dark world. There will be no difficulty in defining ones place of residence, regarding spiritual matters, for the distinction will be obvious. This is how I personally define who I view as being born from above or not. We all have evidence of where we reside, whether we realize it or not. Our lives declare what kingdom we reside in. I choose the Light!


The final installment of this study will be posted next week!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Joel,
Well said!
I keep telling myself these things.
I know we lack nothing because HE has everything and we are His!
As I walk I realize it more and more.
Great article,
Peace,
Robie

Joel Spencer said...

Robie: You are exactly right. Do we walk with a little of Christ or absolutely ALL of Him within us? He isn't a tenant that moves in and out, He is an owner that permanently dwells!

NINA said...

Well said. Recently I have been coming to an understanding of a lot of things that I 'thought' that I knew. God has put me in a strange place that was very uncomfortable at first, but I am even coming to an understanding of why I am here. At first like most Christians do I prayed and blamed it on "THE DEVIL". Believing it was some sought of spiritual attack.People were turning their backs on me, things were being taken and I found myself where I thought I was alone. But I am seeing now that sometimes God has to separate you from things that are familiar so that you can be willing to receive the things that are not so familiar.TRUTH! There are so many people who believe they are free but are actually living in bondage. I am not talking about the average sinner either, I mean true believers. They are in bondage to church and protocol. We can get so attached to old things that we leave no room for true understanding because we don't want to let go of old ignorance since it is familiar to us. It is our comfort Zone. Yesterday I was faced with the hard decision to put my cat down after having him for 17 years. He was old and irritable and not really "working properly" for a while now but he as well as myself got used to functioning in dysfunction. Around last week he started moving really slow and lost weight drastically and totally separated himself from people.(sounds like the old church right)My plan was too take him to the doctor's and try to fix him up and prolong the inevitable for just a little while longer.Yesterday I made the hard decision to just put him down and I was devastated.I adopted a new cat on that same day that was younger and healthier and functioned more effectively but it still hurt and I longed for the old TIGER. While consoling my son who was obviously devastated I came to a revelation.THIS IS HOW PEOPLE ARE WITH THEIR TRADITIONS AND MINDSETS! This is how God's people are. We cling to the old things because they are familiar even though they are not effective and makes no sense! We are just clingy people. We cling to old seasons when God is trying to bring us into a new season even if the old one was horrible. WE cling to the old church cliche's when they have been proven not to be faithful and then we lose our faith when we don't see the fruit of our labor. We have to learn to let Go of old things that we hold on to just because they are familiar and grab hold to truth. Once we do that, things will make more sense to us and we will be able to operate more effectively! It's truly time for some of us to euthanize our old way of thinking.

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: Great analogy! It's interesting how even the old and the dying becomes acceptable over time. Like you stated, one will never know the experience of new life until the old is laid down.