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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Kingdom of God

from the pen of pastor Mike McInnis

 
                         THE KINGDOM OF GOD   


Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then
    would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.                                                                                                                  John 18:36

    Most all misunderstandings of the gospel can be traced, at least in part, to a misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. This is also the cause of the misapplication of many, if not most, of the prophetic scriptures found in the Old and the New Testaments, by well meaning but mistaken modern “prophets”.
   The LORD JESUS declared that HIS primary purpose in coming into the world was to “bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37)   In bearing witness to this truth HE declared that HE was indeed a KING, but one quite unlike any other king born of men.  HIS Kingdom was declared in the most unusual of circumstances as HE poured out HIS life’s blood on Calvary’s cross, signaling HIS utter conquest of death, which was then demonstrated by HIS resurrection from the dead, three days later, becoming the first fruits of them that sleep, and having its culmination and final manifestation when death itself is destroyed in the day of the resurrection of them that sleep in JESUS. (see I Cor.15:25,26; Rev.20:14)
    HIS kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. (see Ps.145:13, Dan.4:3,34; 7:14,27; II Pet. 1:11)  This was that which was first declared in Genesis 3:15 when the LORD said, HE “shall bruise thy head” to the serpent.  It was declared throughout the Old Testament in all of the prophecies which pointed to the coming Messiah and the declaration of HIS gospel.  This is no temporary kingdom, but one which now begun shall endure forever. 
    HIS kingdom is a constant Kingdom.   There is no change in it, nor does HIS power wax or wane, for HE remains a KING forever, having been appointed to this station and declared to be such, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psa 2:6)  HE is not gaining more power nor engaged in further conquests, for HE is seated at the right hand of the FATHER.  HE is a very present MONARCH who ever lives to make intercession for HIS own.
    HIS kingdom is a mediatorial Kingdom.   It pleased the LORD to demonstrate the KINGLY authority of JESUS CHRIST in HIS redemption of sinners.   For it is HE who came into the world to save HIS own people which were given to HIM before the foundation of the world. (see Mat.1:21; Heb.9:12)   By HIS own declaration in HIS prayer in Gethsemane’s garden, HE said, “those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost.” (John17:12)   It is impossible to rightly understand the Kingdom of GOD if one is mistaken about the atoning work of JESUS CHRIST, for it is here that HIS kingdom’s glory shines most brightly.  To be confused as to those who are the objects of HIS redeeming work is to consider a kingdom without subjects.  To be confused as to the extent of HIS redeeming work is to emaciate the kingdom and make it of none effect, a mere shell of a kingdom.
    HE is both a REDEEMER of HIS elect and a DELIVERER of the same.   HIS work in their behalf is both final and complete as Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1)   HE said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
    HIS Kingdom is an invisible Kingdom.   The LORD told the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” (Luke 17:20) even though HE went on to tell them that HIS kingdom was in their very midst.   They had no eyes to see it, being blind.  The LORD said “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Mat 11:25-26) 
    Much error has been promulgated over time by those who insist on a carnal manifestation of the Kingdom of CHRIST, either in some future age or a view of it in the present time which can be observed by carnal men.   CHRIST fully rules and reigns in HIS kingdom at the present time accomplishing exactly what HE pleases though it be largely (if not completely) hidden from the view of carnal men.
    For instance the LORD is demonstrating HIS strength by manifesting the weakness of HIS saints to their own conscience.  This is contrary to the reason of men who are convinced that they should be able to observe HIS working which in reality is hidden from view.  Job’s supposed friends and comforters were of this mindset as they upbraided Job and were convinced that Job’s troubles could be traced to his disobedience as well as his blessing to his obedience.   The descendants of these physicians of no value continue to preach their conditionalism, which gives man control of his own blessing rather than the true KING.
    In every thing that is true, Satan has devised a counterfeit.   He has sowed tares among the wheat and sent out wolves in sheep’s clothing even as he “is transformed into an angel of light.” (2Cor 11:14)  Look well unto the indicators of this TRUE Kingdom.
    The money of HIS Kingdom is not the filthy lucre of this world.  There is no connection between the carnal money of this present world and the Kingdom of GOD.  The currency of CHRIST’s kingdom is love.   “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom 13:8)  “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1Pet 4:8)   The same Peter who wrote this was the one whom the LORD told how many times a man should forgive another who had wronged him.  (see Mat.18:21,22)  “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (1John 3:14)
    The citizens of HIS Kingdom must be born into it.  There are no naturalized citizens of this Kingdom, nor can any man join himself to this Country by his own decision.  “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
    The law of HIS Kingdom is not written on tablets of stone but on the fleshy tables of the heart.  The law of Moses can do nothing but minister condemnation to those who are awakened to their inability to keep it.   Those who would press the law given on Sinai upon the sons of GOD, are ignorant of the true law of CHRIST’s kingdom and would seek to bind the free born sons of GOD with burdens that none can bear.  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2)  “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal 3:24-25)  “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (1Cor 13:10)  “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Heb 4:9-10) 
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