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The Nature of the Kingdom

October 10th, 2011

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

Romans 14:17

I think that when it comes down to it, many people today miss  it today regarding the Kingdom.

Nearly all  probably do in some ways, perhaps, with some exceptions, but, primarily, we fail to recognize the King’s heart in coming.

Jesus said in language impossible to misunderstand that He was The Way.  Not that He came to show it, demonstrate it, teach it, or model it, but rather, that He Himself was The Way.  He was the Son of God, and the Son of Man, and no one came to the Father but by Him.

While He (and is) was The Way, everything of who He was and what He did, and why He did it make up parts of that way.

When we think about Kingdom today, if it is not in line with the whole life of Jesus, it is not The Way.

Consider even taking the nations for the Lord, and that of discipling culture.  We could come up with scriptural formulas for wealth, we could learn ways to tap into the voice of the Spirit and bring forth witty inventions, we could do many, many things, but they may not be the will of the Father.  They may even be a part, but if it is not in context with the Master plan, we will have missed it.

The Kingdom must be approached the way the King laid it out, from the door, and not from any other way.  Anyone who comes into the sheep-fold another way is a thief and a robber, no matter how well intentioned they may seem, or no matter how nice of a person they feel like.

Jesus came declaring that the Kingdom was here, and it simply did not go away when He was taken up into glory.  As demonstrated through the lives of the apostles, and through the generations after, although it has been more sparse at times, the true fruit of the Kingdom, the true fruit of righteousness, and the true joy of the Holy Spirit has been upon the Earth.  The true revelation of Jesus Christ, while hidden at times by misrepresentation, false doctrines, and the fallen-ness of man, has remained untainted, unmarred, and unchanged, because it is not left to the hands of another people.  Jesus Christ, yesterday, today, and forever, is the mediator of the New Covenant.

Jesus defeated the prince of the air through humility, meekness, reverence, submission, integrity, honesty, faithfulness, diligence, and godly excellence (to name a few).  He overcame through the power of an indestructible life.  And, that life came out of His inner life with the Father, with Jesus indwelling the Father and the Father indwelling Him.  And, it wasn’t without choices, pressures, or distractions.  It was His whole life before God that defeated satan.  It was His WHOLE life, perfect in justice, righteousness, holiness.  You cannot dismiss any part of His life!

This is the true nature of the Kingdom.  Absolute power, absolute invincibility, even when the enemy thinks he has you down for the count.  Absolute humility, absolute meekness.  Absolute direction.

Jesus, in the garden alone, defeated satan.  Through a spotless, blameless life, given up as a ransom for others, He redeemed the world from death.

We understand and believe, yet when it comes to following our master to that garden, and up the hill to that cross, we often are faced with the same prayer Jesus prayed, “Lord, if there be any other way, please take it.  Yet, not my own will, but yours be done.”

The same life that conquered this world is still fully available to us.  The same faith that overcame then is there for us.  The same heart that willingly laid aside heavenly glory to be obedient to a cross is still the New Covenant.

The Kingdom is not in man-made buildings, in edifices, and programs.  The Kingdom itself will never be about enacting man-made laws and minting coins in the image of Christ instead of Caesar.  If the Kingdom which we walk, preach, and teach does not look like a humble man, on His knees, asking the Father for another way, yet being willing even if we have to die for it, and still be satisfied… If it doesn’t look like that, we are either ignorant, immature, or following after the harlot.

The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, and the greatest love lays it down for its friends.  This is not the model of a leader more valuable than the rest who must stay aloof, but that of the leader that goes first into the hardest places, and puts his own life on the line.

In Isaiah 59:16, God is indicating that there is no one to stand in the gap, no intercessor.  There is no one to come between Himself and His People and plead for them.  Jesus is our great High Priest, our faithful intercessor, the one who stands before the throne to silence the accuser.  The one to plead for our mercy and forgiveness, continually.

The way isn’t through business, the way is through Jesus Christ!  If Jesus leads you into business, follow Him.  If He leads you into a mail-room, follow Him.  If He leads you to a wilderness, follow HIM!  There may be times and season, but if you are following some doctrine, even a god-given one, and not the ever-proceeding word, you’re a dead-man when it comes time to make any real waves for the Kingdom.  God will not bless the work of your hands if they are not the work of His.

If the way we preach isn’t a selfless, all consuming love, what good is it?  Why live in a mixture?  If we cannot seem to step into it, keep on trying.  Be faithful with what you have, and God will give you more.  Be faithful with the natural, and He will give you the spiritual.

But, a doctrine of the Kingdom that looks first to the exterior before the interior is simply doomed to fall in on itself.  If however, by cleansing the inside of the cup, by removing the folds from our eyes, from removing the planks from our eyes, by having an unoffended heart, by living without bitterness, anger, wrath, and malice, and humbling ourself, that is the only way to exaltation.  If from that place of the Kingdom of Heaven dwelling and permeating us, as it did Jesus, righteous change can be brought forth in accordance with that, then it is valid.  Yet, if the Lord does not build the house, those who labor, labor in vain, even if great speakers and motivational speakers tell you it is “what God is doing”.  We listen to each other’s words and judge them, yet we follow the Lord.

The Kingdom is not in the externals, it is in the New Heart, in the perfect submission to Holiness.  Any expression of a Kingdom other than this is Babylon.

We must see through the eyes of Faith, not doctrine.  Doctrine is essential and forms the framework, yet there are things we cannot bear at this time that God desires to make known to and through us.  We will never contradict sound doctrine, yet the ways of the Lord are so much higher than what our simple little rules could ever express.  We can trust every word of the Bible 100%, yet God can entrust His power to us only so much as He can trust us with it.  If we do not have the context of the framework, it is as good as the dead law Jesus came to save us from.  Yet, if it is breathed into by His Spirit, and we live by the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, it becomes the perfect way.

We see the power of the New Testament, and do not have it, so we settle for any little five-and-dime peddler to come and sell us soap in a bottle.  We do not heed the voice of the Shepherd saying, your own eye is blind, your old heart is rotten, realize there is NOTHING good in you, and give your ALL to Jesus.  Stop trying to protect yourself, stop trying to defend yourself.  Agree with your adversary, admit your complete, filthy guilt, and that you cannot do ANYTHING to help yourself.  Fall on the mercy of the cross, AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN, until all you can see is the blood.  Until the eyes of man can’t discourage you from the truth.  Until the arguments of the devil bombarding your head can’t talk you out of your righteousness in Him.  Until you stand on NONE of the sand of your old life, but only, wholly, and completely upon the rock.

For better or for worse, you can use your own failures, your own anxieties, your own weaknesses to identify exactly where you are not fully living in the Spirit, built upon that rock.  If you take them seriously, you fall again upon the blood, confession, repentance, until Christ is formed within, and only then, can you live out of Him, and His Righteousness can manifest out of you.  And, even realize that any sense that you are never going to make it or that it is too much is exactly what this is talking about.  That is your flesh or worse talking to you, for the Word says, you CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13), and that He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2).

If the invisible, Eternal Kingdom manifests in overflow by influencing human and national government, that is expected, as yeast in a bowl of bread always overflows.  But, it is a manifestation of the Spirit, a demonstration of the Eternal Kingdom.  If a similarly looking  governmental shift was enacted without the same spiritual reality, it would not result in the same thing, even if it looked similar at the outset.  The physical reflects the spiritual, and is always empowerd by it.  If it is empowered by a anti-christ, religious spirit, even through it is constructed “in the name of Christ”, it cannot produce the fruit of the Kingdom, because it is not of the Spirit.  Any apparent gains are actually losses, because the the progress supposed takes away the urgency for real change through His Spirit.  People are ingrained with a spirit of unbelief, supposing that the arm of the flesh accomplishing religious-looking tasks is the original plan of God.

While the spiritual has direct consequences on the natural, any discernment of something that looks only at the visible will always miss the mark of seeing the true, actual substance of a thing.  A seemingly identical government, system, or program, with a difference in  spiritual source, heart, motivation, and foundation, will ALWAYS produce different fruit, even as wheat and tares look similar for a while.  But rather, it is entirely in the nature of the spiritual seed empowering them.  Either it is built up by the Word of the Lord, or else it must then be the word of something else…

Unless we see Jesus, and love all of who He was, and accept that what He did, He did because it was the perfect way (being the master carpenter who framed and finished the world), that is, unless we heed and love Him, then what we build is not His Kingdom.

We must ascertain the true nature of the Kingdom, and find it.  We must know its substance (Hebrews 11:1).

We must be able to see past those who come with other agendas.  We must see past those who are seeking to minister to fill their own needs.  We must be careful, lest we function for any other end than totality of the Kingdom, with nothing in it for ourselves other than the fruit of obedience to His Word and our reward from Him.  They are all thieves and robbers, because, unless they come through the door of meekness, gentleness, humility, and love, they all seek other ends, and usually selfish ones.  They come in to fill their own plates, rather than simply come to the banqueting table of the Lord who feeds all according to His bounty.

If we are looking for anything other than the true, perfect Kingdom of God to be our support, safety, and salvation, we have trusted in idols, like it or not.

The Kingdom is righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost.  Jesus overcame the entire world through meekness and humility, in a perfect walk before the Father, in all justice and righteouness, and, when the enemy unjustly tried to kill him out of anger, the Father raised Him from the dead in perfect vindication.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  While He was The Way, not a spokesman for it, He demonstrated it.

While I suppose we can settle for as much or as little of the true Kingdom we want, whether to be great or least in His Kingdom, 30 fold, 60 fold, or 100 fold return, let us never forget that it is the willingly submission to the Father’s will, even when it costs us, that is honorable before God.

But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

1 Peter 2:19 (portion)

Since it is clear throughout the entire New Testament that not only is this how Jesus lived, but it is also how we are called to live, let us never forget about the door when pushing forward into the Kingdom.  All who come another way or counsel others to do the likewise are not the sheep.

Most Happy are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is, now, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 5:3

If you can do it, it probably ain’t.