MANIFESTING THE KINGDOM OF GOD
By Dan Luehrs
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14 KJV).
The kingdom of God has been a great mystery for many believers throughout the years because people have not researched the scriptures for themselves and preachers haven’t spoken much on it. Christians don’t comprehend its meaning or the ramifications to their own lives and to the world around them. Many Christians today can tell you about salvation, but when asked about the kingdom of God they are at a loss for words on just what it is; equating the complete kingdom of God with salvation itself. Yet, Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, not salvation as it is preached today in the church. Jesus told His disciples to preach the entire kingdom, not just one aspect of it! "Jesus said unto him, let the dead bury their dead: (those dead in religion) but go thou and preach the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:60 KJV).
(So how does this kingdom begin? With one word, REVOLUTION)! Revolution is the overthrow of one government with replacement of another. When the Revolutionary War was won in America the English government was replaced with the government of the United States of America so that they could legislate their own laws and public policy. One spiritual government has ruled mankind since the fall of man in the garden; it is called, “the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of satan.” But through Jesus Christ we are delivered from satan’s kingdom. "For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Colossians 1:13). As Christians a new government now governs us from within our own hearts. Hallelujah! This government is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is changing us within into His image. In a nutshell this is what the kingdom of God is, us coming into the fullness of Him, (we being His body). "Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature (completely mature like Him), attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13 NIV). Amen, and amen!
"And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way" (Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV).
Today Christians are much like the Jews of old who were waiting for the kingdom of God to manifest itself in the form of an earthly government. "Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God…" (Mark 15:43). There is coming a day when the kingdom of God will manifest itself in full power and authority through God’s sons to bring righteousness, truth, and freedom to the people of the world. This is also known as the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself will be manifested in and through His sons to change mankind and eventually all of creation. This day alone will bring the great climax to the people of the earth. It will be a dreadful day for disobedient Christians and all sinful people because they will not get by with living in willful sin without severe judgment taking place in their lives and land. This will be the love of God manifested in their lives! When Jesus comes to set up His kingdom in the lives of men He will come with a rod of iron! "AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father" (Revelation 2:27). This is why if we desire to see the world changed by the revolution of God through us, we must seek Him now and repent of our ways of thinking to be changed by His power and presence daily. It is not just our sin that we have need to repent of, but also the false doctrines of man that we have believed and have kept us in bondage to the traditions of man. Repentance means, “change of mind.” And oh how the church needs a change of mind! Jesus said, "They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men" (Matthew 15:9 NIV). We must ask the Lord to reveal to us these false doctrines that are in us. Then we can see the scriptures correctly through God’s eyes and be changed and prepared for what He is going to do in the earth.
There is so much to be gained by being in His presence, yet many Christians would rather seek and spend time in the kingdoms of this world that will soon pass away. Whatever you are spending most of your time on is what you are becoming! If you are spending your time with Jesus you will become like Him. But if you spend most of your free time feeding on the ways of the world through books, movies, TV, and the Internet, the man of sin in you will be strengthened rather than your spirit man, which is of God. A man said to Jesus in Luke 14:15,
“… Blessed is everyone who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God! But He (Jesus) said to him, "A certain man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for everything is ready now. But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused. And another one said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused. And another one said, I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come” (Luke 14:16-20).
What is Jesus trying to teach us here? That the world was far more important to these people than for them to receive the truths of God’s kingdom. Please hear me clearly on this. In this passage Jesus is not talking about some futuristic supper in the sky! No, He is speaking about right NOW where we are at in His kingdom. “Come; for everything is ready now!” We are to come now and eat of Him. If you are saved, you are in the kingdom of God! Jesus invites you to daily come and dine with Him and be refreshed in your spirit man through His word and presence. "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me" (Revelation 3:20 NRSV). Open the door of your heart and have fellowship with the King of the universe. He awaits your presence in His courts! If the President of the United States called you to have supper with him you would be overjoyed and would call all your friends to tell them about it. How much more are we to be overjoyed about eating with the King of kings! Jesus said in John 6:57, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who (feeds) on Me will live because of Me” (NKJV). We must be daily feeding on the words of Jesus if we expect stay strong in Christ and to obtain His life eternally. His very words are daily spirit and life to us! “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63NKJV). Please hear me! It is not just through the word of God that Jesus speaks life to us, He speaks to us in many forms. He speaks to us through people, whether they are saved or not! If He can speak to a wayward prophet through a donkey, He can speak through anyone! We just must be seeking to hear His voice through anyone. One of His ways He speaks to us is through writers of the past and of today, we must make the time to gather up the manna that He sends us for each day. “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:33 NKJV). Natural bread and spiritual manna are to be eaten daily by us to give us strength for our journey. O Lord, “Give us this day our daily bread!”
Our frivolous excuses for not meeting with Jesus on a daily basis are no better than the excuses these people gave the man who invited them to his great supper. And the danger of us not meeting with Him is that He will find others who will come! "Then the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner" (Luke 14:23-24 NRSV). We cannot go on offending the Almighty when He is calling us to turn aside from the world’s filth to eat of His spiritual dainties and expect to be invited back. Would you invite someone back to your house for supper if they continually made one excuse after another about coming to your house to eat? I think not!
KNOWING OUR TIMES
"Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near" (Luke 21:31 NIV).
"And of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do…" (1 Chronicles 12:32).
We are be as the sons of Issachar who understood their times and knew what to do about them. We will know the nearness of God’s kingdom if we are spending time with Him daily. He has promised to show us what is to come by His Spirit if we are spending time with Him. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13 NIV). This is a magnificent promise that God has given us. Yet most Christians treasure the things of the world more than they treasure the hidden truths of God’s word.
Now the question is how are we going to make it through the times of great trials and difficulties to be prepared for that day? I am glad you asked! Jesus tells us clearly in Luke 21:34-36 how to escape our unpreparedness.
"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day (of the kingdom) will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."
“That Day, That Day,” is what we are to be longing and living for! “That Day” is the Day of the Lord that all the prophets have prophesied about from the beginning of time. It will be such a radical day of revolution that Jesus tells us not to be caught unaware. Mankind will not be allowed to continue to fall into greater and greater depths of sin because Jesus will reveal Himself in such away that the nations will mourn terribly over their sin; they will have been found out, with no place to hide. "Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen" (Revelation 1:7 NIV).
This is why Jesus warns us not to be weighed down with the cares of the world, but to spend time with Him daily in prayer and peace. We must constantly be on the watch for sin in our members, such as unbelief, fear, worry and prayerlessness! By His grace we are to overcome all these vices. Then on the day of His revealing we will not be caught off guard. Instead we will be caught up to where He is in the spirit realm and be like Him! All the eyes of the world will see Him in and through us and be convicted of their sin! He is coming in a great cloud of witnesses to judge all the earth through them. "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Jude 1:15 NIV). We must understand that His judgments are coming to the world system through His people as God did it through Moses and Aaron. With such great promises why not fight the good fight of faith with the purpose of wanting to win the great prize of His crown of glory?
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (the spirit realm).” -- “…For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:10, 13).
Jesus already wields complete power and authority over His kingdom; this is why we are to pray for His kingdom to come in the natural realm of the earth and in our own personal lives. His prefect will is already being done in heaven or (in the spirit realm) where God abides. There is complete peace, righteousness and love in that realm. This is the government that God desires to be birthed in every life on planet earth. There will be no more sorrow, sadness or death in God’s kingdom on earth. "He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4). Thank God!!
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