The Kingdom Of God

Romans 14:17–The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The kingdom of God– The kingdom of God is spiritual and internal. It is entered by being born of the Spirit of God and results from an act of God’s grace. The kingdom of God is where He is (within us) and where His power and grace are operative. It is something we experience and enjoy.

Is not meat and drink–Because the kingdom of God is spiritual and internal it is not related to external things like what we eat or drink. Some people would tell us what we can eat and what we can’t eat. They would tell us what we can drink and what we can’t drink. This is not what the kingdom of God is.

But righteousness, and peace, and joy–The kingdom of God is experiencing God’s righteousness, God’s peace, and God’s joy. We experience God’s righteousness which far exceeds the righteousness of man. We experience God’s peace which passes all understanding. We experience God’s joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.

A New Commandment

John 13:34-35–A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
A new commandment–The newness of this commandment is in the ability in which disciples of Jesus will be able to love each other. It involves the new capacity of the followers of Jesus to love in a depth and to a degree that has not been possible before.

That you love one another–We are to love one another as Jesus has loved us. We can do this “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). With the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us we also have the fruit of the Spirit and a part of this fruit of the Spirit is love. The Holy Spirit can manifest this fruit in our lives and we are enabled to love with God’s love. We can be “rooted and grounded in love, understanding the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ which passes knowledge” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

By this shall men know that you are my disciples–”Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). When others see the manifestation of God’s love exhibited in our lives then they will know that we are disciples of Christ. We have heard the saying, “What you do speaks louder than what you say”. This love of God shed abroad in our hearts and shared with each other in acts of kindness, compassion, and mercy could be a greater witness than our verbal witness.

The Kingdom Of God

Luke 17:20-21–When he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God come not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come–The Pharisees total focus was on the physical and this is one reason they were at odds with Jesus. They looked for a Messiah that would set up a physical kingdom and rule as king over the Jews. To the Pharisees Jesus did not look like a King, he didn’t speak like a King and he didn’t act like a King. He did not dress in kingly attire nor live in a kingly estate.

The kingdom of God:
1. Come not with observation–It is not a part of this physical world and cannot be seen. It is a spiritual kingdom.
2. The kingdom of God is within you–It is totally a spiritual kingdom and is internal. The people of this kingdom are born into it. They are born again, born of the Spirit of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). The kingdom of God is where He is and where His power and grace are operative. In this kingdom Christ has “made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:6) and Christ rules as “Lord of lords and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). The results of this spiritual, internal kingdom being within us will be evidenced by the life we live, as we “yield ourselves to God and the members of our bodies as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).

To God Be The Glory

Honoring God

Mark 7:6-7–This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Jesus is referring to the Pharisees and scribes in these verses. These were the religious leaders of the Jews at this time. There are still Pharisees today. I will discuss the characteristics of Pharisees in a future book. However, here we will get a sampling of their character.

This people honor me with their lips–They give respect and worship with their lips. They draw near with their lips through worship and prayer. They are regular in worship but it is only superficial.

But their heart is far from me–The essence of true worship comes from the heart, has depth and influences a person’s life. Their respect and awe of Jesus does not abide in their inner being therefore there is no true worship. In the center of their being there is a separation from God. We honor God in our life when we live in accordance with God’s word and do those things that please Him.

In vain do they worship me–Their worship of me is empty and without purpose and results. Instead of teaching the doctrines of God they teach the commandments of men. They reject and lay aside the commandments of God in order to hold to and keep their own traditions. Mankind has added many, many, things to God’s word and try to hold others to it just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Mankind never could keep the law and yet mankind has continued to add things to it. Let us hold to the commandments of God and make sure our traditions, our experience, and our thinking fall in line with it. This way we honor God in our life as well as our worship.

Draw Near To God And He Will Draw Near To You–James 4:8.

When The Storms Of Life Come

Matthew 8:23-27–And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
When the storms of life come our way there is hope but there are some things we need to be sure of and some things we need to do. We can come out of our storms safe and in victory.

His disciples followed Him–The first and foremost thing we need to do is to make sure we are following the Lord. We need to make sure that He is with us because He has power over whatever storm comes our way. There is victory in Jesus.

Come to Him and Pray–The disciples came to Jesus and made their situation known to Him. We also need to pray and ask for His help.

The fearful are of little faith–Amos said, “Can two walk together except they be in agreement” (Amos 3:3). Fear and faith can not walk together. They are contrary the one to the other. Jesus says, “Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith”. With Jesus traveling with us we need not be fearful.

Jesus will rebuke the storm–Jesus can bring great calm to our tempest. He will deliver us from it or He will deliver us through it. Sometimes He does not take away the storms of our life but gives us grace to face them. He often does not bring calm to the storms we face but gives us an internal peace and strength in the midst of the storms that will see us through them. We have this blessed assurance, “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake the” (Hebrews 13:5).

God be with you and strengthen you today.

Keep On The Sunny Side Of Life

Revelation 2:9–I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich).
Jesus knows:
1. Our Works–He sees and knows the works we do for Him, in His name, and for other people. He said, “I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:23). In doing these works we are laying up “treasure in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20).
2. Our Tribulation–Jesus sees and knows our times of misery, distress, and sorrow. He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). He will help us in our time of need. We do not walk alone.
3. Our Poverty–Many Christians around the world are in poverty. Let us not forget the promise from the word of God, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

But you are rich:
1. Because we have been born again and became a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
2. Because we have become partakers of the divine nature, indwelt by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).
3. Because we do not walk alone (Hebrews 13:5).
4. Because we have a mansion in the Father’s house (John 14:2-3).
5. Because we have an inheritance reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4).

Focus on the positive:
“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

As the song says, “Keep On The Sunny Side Of Life”.
God Bless You

Letters From God–Book of 2 Timothy 2:19-26

My child, the foundation which I have laid stands sure, having this seal, “The Lord knows them that are his.” Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor and some to dishonor. Purge yourself from these, and be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for My use, and prepared unto every good work. So flee youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity and peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they gender strife. My servant must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; that I may perhaps give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 2 Timothy 2:19-26

Returning To Your First Love

Revelation 2:2-5–I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.
Every church and every Christian must examine themselves by what is stated in these verses of scripture.

Jesus knows us–Jesus knows all of our works, labors, and patience. He knows our feelings toward them which are evil. He is aware of our trying of the spirits.

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee–All of the things we just mentioned might be true of us and yet there may be something missing in our Christian life and experience.

You have left your first love–Our love might have grown cold. Can you remember what first love feels like? You can’t stand to be away from the one you love. When you are away, you keep thinking about them. You remember and cherish the times you have spent with them. First love is associated with happiness, joy, and contentment. Many Christians don’t experience this happiness, joy, and contentment.  Many Christians stand on their past experiences and works, and labors but have no current testimony.

Remember therefore from whence you are fallen–We are to think seriously about what we had and how far we have come from it. We must not only remember but we must repent. We must have a change of mind and heart and return to where we have fallen from; our first love. After we have returned to our first love, we are to do the first works. Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me” (John 14:21). The first works are those we do as an expression of our deep love. They are done to please the one we love and to bless the one we love.

Believe Not Every Spirit

1 John 4:1–Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Believe not every spirit–We are not to believe everything that we hear. There are many voices in this world. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

Try the spirits–We are to try the spirits (the people) whether they are of God. Christians are to help each other in trying the spirits. Some Christians are more qualified than others to do this. There are two ways we try the spirits.
1. We try them with the word of God–What people say must be in agreement with the word of God. If their message is not in agreement with the word of God then we are not to believe them and should restrict our exposure to them. We also try their life. Do they live their life in agreement with the word of God.
2. We try them by the Holy Spirit–The Holy Spirit will help us to know the spirit of the person speaking. “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit” (Romans 8:16). The Spirit of God that dwells within our spirit communicates with us about many things and He will help us to try the spirits. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches” (Revelation 2:7). These are spiritual not physical ears and not related to the five senses.

Because many false prophets are gone out into the world–Paul said, “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2:1). “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2 Peter 2:3).

Stewards Of The Manifold Grace Of God

1 Peter 4:10–As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
As every man has received the gift:
1. Every Christian has received a spiritual gift or gifts–”Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us” (Romans 12:6). “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
2. These are grace gifts–They are given to us by God’s grace and they equip us for ministry that all might profit.

Even so minister the same one to another–Since every Christian has a spiritual gift, every member of the body of Christ should be involved in ministry. Jesus said, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matthew 20:28). There should not be any bench warmers. Many, if not most Christians seek out churches where they can be ministered to and not a church where they can minister. Nominating committees have a terrible time filling positions in the church because the laborers are few.

As good stewards of the manifold grace of God:
1. Stewards–As Christians are given spiritual gifts they also receive responsibility to use these gifts in accordance with the will of God and to minister to others. We will be judged as to what we have done with what God has given us. “The kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods… After a long time the lord of those servants comes, and reckoned with them” (Matthew 25:14, 19).
2. Manifold grace of God–God’s grace is diverse. This means there are different kinds of gifts. There are also different kinds of ministries and varying degrees of empowerment.