Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Kingdom of God

                                            The Kingdom of God
Last night I was awakened suddenly with what Paul wrote about the Kingdom of God being Peace, Joy and Righteousness. So I lay awake thinking about what it meant. The Major theme of Jesus’ messages was the Kindom of
God.  He explained about how and who can see and enter this Kingdom. He talked about the principles of the Kingdom and the great reversal. John the Baptist called out to people to repent and get ready for the Kingdom.
Peace:  This quality of peace is between Man and God vertically, and with one another horizontally. The means of this peace is the cross. So what happened on that cross is central to peace. Jesus’ death on the cross, paved the way for man to be reconciled with God and re-establish a loving relationship with Him. God has forgiven man in Christ and there is no condemnation. Sin (trustlessness and lovelessness) that separated us from God was dealt with. Man is no longer a condemned sinner but a new creation. Fear and guilt are replaced by a sense of belonging and a gift of ‘sonship’. The result is peace where my inner being is at rest in God’s goodness and mercy. It’s a contentment of the soul in God alone.
The other aspect of peace is what the cross does between people. It brings together all sections of the society and creates a new identity. All barriers are broken down. Enmity, prejudices and complexes are removed and a new humanity is born at the cross in Christ.  The Cross makes it possible to look at the other and consider him as a brother loved by the same God. For this process to become real, the cross has to be embraced. Peace does not mean compromise but overcomes evil with good. Peace opens the way for a compassionate outlook and a radical brotherly love towards people all over irrespective of their reactions or responses. It is also a calling to be peacemakers in this world.
Peace is a gift that Jesus left with us.  It is His personal presence in the midst of all possible problems and difficulties.

Joy: This aspect of the Kingdom is a gift given by the indwelling spirit of God. Joy is an expression of freedom. This happens when one knows that God is smiling as He sees us. When shame is removed, it is replaced by joy. It is part of the blessing God pronounces on His children. It is God’s face shining upon us. It is a result of knowing and experiencing God's amazing love. It is having the assurance David talked about in Psalm 23 “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of God for ever”. It is the result of knowing that all is well and will be well.
Righteousness: When there is peace and Joy in our hearts, it gives us motivation to live the right kind of life in accordance with God’s will. It starts with a major shift in values and attitudes. It is counter to our culture and traditions.  This dangerously radical life style, Jesus modelled for us to embrace. It cannot be done without the cross and it is the result of the ongoing work of the cross. Right living is a trusting life in a gracious God. It is a life style where self is dethroned and self-will is submitted to God’s will. Right living embraces various truths revealed in the word of God and allows ongoing repentance to take place at a deeper level.

Power: This is very different from the world's idea of power. Power in the Kingdom is to love and to forgive. It is the power to serve and to be humble. It is the power to say No to sin and to the devil. It is the power to say Yes to God's will. It is not to control or dominate things and situations and people but rather to lay down one's life for the other. It is not position hungry or title crazy. It does not judge the other but understands and empathizes and acts in love. It is proactive and full of energy to do good. It refuses to be self exalted.  It is the power to hang on the cross when there are options otherwise. It is the power to wait and allow the outcome in God's hands.
So the Kingdom is a growing phenomenon. It begins with hearing, understanding, repenting, inviting and receiving God’s gift of salvation in Christ. It is grace in action in human hearts. It is life that flows from being united with Christ. It is not a calling to copy or duplicate Jesus. No one can do this with out the indwelling of the risen Christ. The kingdom of God being with in you is an ongoing experience as He transforms the inner man. This is the work of God's spirit and a transformed person will be empowered and enabled to live out the Kingdom life in the world. Jesus used many parables to show us what the Kingdom is like. No one picture is sufficient to show all the aspects of this new order. Man cannot create it. It is from above and it is a redeemed community living out ordinary life in an extraordinary way. It faces opposition and persecution yet continues to expand. It waits patiently for human habits to be altered, godly character to be formed and a new humanity to arise out of the old order of things.
It knows no barriers but the devil and his forces are against this movement and will do everything possible to damage and destroy the unity and the love in the community. This makes its witness ineffective and delays the expansion at a slower pace in a particular locality. At the same time it leaps and bounds in other areas in the world. It is a mystery. Its impact is felt in all areas of life as individuals gets transformed and reclaim God’s creation from the devil’s hand. It will be a minority, yet so powerful and their light will shine and the darkness will not overcome it. It wins wars with out weapons and defeats the enemy through the Word and prayer. It knows only one enemy who needs to be resisted. No man is kept outside its perimeter of love and the doors lay wide open for all to come in to faith. Every one has a choice to enter or not. All are given the grace and free will to accept or reject. Heaven alone knows how and what transpires in human hearts. Others have no business to judge or condemn or question the dealings of God. If God is just and fair and full of mercy we need to believe that He loves all equally and He desires that all will come to the saving knowledge of His Kingdom. Our responsibility is to live out this life and be a witness.
Jesus taught us to pray, ‘let your kingdom come’. This ought to be an ongoing prayer and a desire of the Kingdom community. We need to be involved in Kingdom building activities. Basically it is believing who Jesus is and going about doing good and trusting what He did. This involves proclaiming Kingdom news and displaying Kingdom lifestyle. God will confirm this kingdom through wonders and miracles and by affirming His presence in our midst.
May all who call upon the name of The LORD seek this Kingdom individually and collectively. Kingdom people will wait for their King to return. So we also pray, “Let your kingdom come’ (and in the same breath – let my kingdom go) and also ‘Lord Jesus, come quickly’.

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