Matthew 6: 10 .
" When His kingdom comes,
What a difference !
When things are on earth ,
As they are in heaven!
When all has been settled ,
And my heart is His throne ,
Oh , what a difference!
What a great transformation!
When His kingdom comes!"
Donnie and Reba Rambo McGuire.
If the kingdom has really come to us then there truly is a difference, and what a difference . We are not the same anymore . The Kingdom means the rule and reign of Christ in , over and through our lives. It means obedience to the laws of the kingdom . Look again at Matt.6:10 - "Father , Your will be done ". What is the Father's will ? That the earth - first of all this earth, our own physical earth [spirit , soul and body ] - and then the whole earth be filled with His glory as the waters cover the sea. That His righteousness be established in every heart , nation and people.
Matt.6:33 - Seeking first His Kingdom - His rule and reign in our lives , but also putting into practice , bringing to pass Jesus' prayer in Matt.6:10.
In the song by Donnie and Reba the one line says " When all has been settled and my heart is His throne , oh what a difference ". When Jesus is enthroned in our hearts , when He is Lord , then the rivers of living water flow and the Father's will is being done in the earth. The Father's will is righteousness , joy and peace and health for His people , in every part of our lives . How do we know the Kingdom of God has come and is now operating , in us and on the earth ?
Matthew 12:25-27 - Jesus cast out devils by the spirit of God , then , and now through believers , His Body. Jesus used the power of God to overcome Satan then, and now we overcome through Him. Jesus healed the sick and still does today through His Body . And Jesus will conquer all His enemies - 1 Cor. 15:25-27 . He will do this , through His church, His Body - Isaiah 53:10 .
Jesus Now reigns in heaven , at the right hand of God - Eph.1:19-22.
He reigns Now , both in heaven and on earth , and in and through our lives .
Because Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit , the promise of the Father , NOW given to His Body - Acts 1:4. Because He cast out demons by the spirit of God , we know that the Kingdom of God has come unto us. We also have that same Holy Spirit . The victory in " principle " is behind us , " For He has put all things under His feet ". 1 Cor.15:27 . cp. Eph.1:22-23 . The victory over the power of evil has already been won , even though the struggle is still to be enacted, worked out in history.
When His kingdom comes , what a difference ? Yes . Not only in our personal lives , as we walk in the spirit and obedience , but as we begin to do those things which the Father has ordained from the foundation of the world - good works - Eph.3: 9-12 and Eph.2:10 . There will come a change in the lives of those around us , our jobs , governments , nations etc. because the Kingdom of God will affect change . Things will not stay the same ." Father , your will be done on earth as it is in heaven ". What a difference ? Yes . Instead of an outlook of defeat it becomes an outlook of victory , of occupation , of taking back the land that the enemy has stolen. No longer seeing ourselves as " grasshoppers - Numbers 13:33.
Because our God is in control.
Yes , there may be giants in the land , and because the GREATER one dwells within , we are well able to take them , because the Kingdom of God has come unto us.
I believe the Lord led me to something I preached back in 1997, regarding the "Silence of God". I know my hearts cry for the last while has been, "Lord, where are you?" " Don't you care?" So often we put our minds and emotions on the problem rather than on Him who is the problem solver.
I am much indebted to Oswald Chambers, because the seed of this message came from his devotional book, "My Utmost for His Highest".
So as I write the following, please understand, that often we see something and preach it when we do not have full understanding or it has not yet been fully worked into us. I am amazed how the Lord will take that which we have preached and then later on take that word and begin to work it into us. I admit that at the moment this is not an easy lesson to swallow. But our Father is gracious and full of patience with this son, and it is appreciated.
My prayer is that maybe if you have been or are in this place, where God's silence is deafening, that the following will be a blessing to all.
" And Jesus stayed two more days in the place where He was ".
Have you prayed and the heavens seem like brass ? Have you prayed and there is nothing but silence? When there is silence, has this thought ever crossed your mind, "Has God forgotten us or is He angry with me ?" "Am I that big a sinner?" or whatever else? In this passage in John we find that Lazarus is sick and Jesus "delayed " His coming.
The silence of God.
The silences of God are in reality His answers. In this passage, because Jesus delayed His coming, Lazarus died. Mary and Martha had called on the One whom they thought was their brother's friend and theirs, the One who had the power and the answers to help and to heal, but Jesus delayed His coming. We can imagine the confusion, the hurt in Mary and Martha's life. "We thought He loved Lazarus, that they were friends. Then why did He not come when we asked Him ?" "Why did He delay His coming?" " Lord, If You had been here, my brother would not have died". Much like our thoughts would be. Even though we hesitate to admit it.
Yet the silence of God is actually His answer. Has God trusted you with His silence ? Can God trust us like that, with His silence, or do we still "ask - beg, want our own way "- for a visible answer ? God will give us the very thing we ask for, IF we refuse to go any further without these blessings. In Psalm 106:13-15, we read of the silence of God.
I believe the silence of God is for our benefit because He wants to trust us with greater revelation. For example, Jesus could have come and healed Lazarus, but God had a greater plan, and by His silence, by His delay, a greater miracle took place. Lazarus' resurrection. That miracle gave Jesus the opportunity to teach the people about a resurrection for every believer who trusts in Him, John 11:25.
Israel, in Psalm 106, wanted the answers now. [ How like us sometimes?] They did not want to wait for God's counsel, so they tested God, by asking for a "visible blessing now ". God gave them their request, but it sent leanness into their souls. God will give us what we ask for if we refuse to go on without them, but it will cost us! It cost Israel greater revelation and they became stagnant, no further growth. The silence of God is a sign that God is bringing us into an even more wonderful revelation and understanding of Himself. [ Even though our natural mind and emotions have a problem with this].
Are we mourning, moaning and groaning before God, because we have not heard the audible voice or seen the visible answer ? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with total silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because the Father has seen that we can handle even greater revelation.
It is during those times of God's silence that we need to " up or raise our trust level". It is during the silences of God that we exercise the greater faith.
If the Father has "answered " you with His silence - when there is no known sin or rebellion in your life - then praise Him, He is bringing us into the mainstream of His purposes. Did the Father "answer" you with silence? Keep on doing what you know to be doing, trust Him until there comes the visible or audible answer.
The answer in time is a matter of God's sovereignty. Time is nothing to God - Psalm 90:4. One day or a thousand years, it is all the same to God.
God's silence or stillness gets into us after a while, as we learn to trust Him, causing us to become totally confident so that we can honestly say "I know that God has heard me." Psalm 34:15,17 and Psalm 66:18-20. God's silence is the very proof that He has heard us.
As long as we have the idea that God will always bless in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. That place of total trust in a heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us, who by His silence leads us into greater understanding and revelation of Himself, see Isaiah 40:31. Have you prayed and there is silence ? Fear not but rejoice! The Father has heard, keep on trusting Him and in due time the answer will come and He will delay no longer !!!!
In John 16:13 we are told that the Holy Spirit would come, the Spirit of truth, to lead us, to guide us into ALL truth. Also in 2 Timothy 2:15 we are exhorted to "rightly divide"- "discern" the word of truth.
I pray that as we look at the following that we will be challenged to look at The Book.
Jesus Christ is here!
He has come, and He continues to come, in His people - Galatians 4:19. He is here , He is present with His people in His Parousia-
1 Cor.15:23. We will look at this more in a few moments.
Many, if not most, would put His coming off to way in the future somewhere, but what if Jesus came and returned as He promised in AD 70 ? In Matthew 24:3 the disciples asked Jesus what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the AGE [ Aion- Strongís#165]. Jesusí answer was " When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies ", that will be the sign. See Matthew 24:15 ; Luke 21:20.
In Matthew 24 we read of the destruction of the temple , Jerusalem and the Jewish nation. [ See also " The Works of Josephus" ,Vol.#1, The Wars of the Jews]. We are all right up to verse 28 but when we get to verse 29 many jump way off to the future, yet Jesus is still dealing with His own generation , the people alive in His day. What if Matt.24:29-31 was fulfilled back then , then Jesus has come and He is now present with His people. As I understand vs.31, this verse had its fulfillment then and is still being fulfilled today. Christís " angels" - Aggelos"- [Strongís#32 ]-messengers- Ephesians 4:8- are still going forth, gathering the elect from every corner of the universe.
His Kingdom is here, it is not coming , it has come and continues to come.
Today when we pray "Lord, your Kingdom come" - Matthew 6:10 , we are not praying any longer for the kingdom to come , because Jesus said when He cast out devils , He did so by the finger of God and that the kingdom had come. Today when we pray "Lord, may your kingdom come", we are praying " Lord, let your kingdom be manifested, seen , established". First of all in our own lives and then in the lives of those around us.
In Luke 17:21 , Jesus deals with the Pharisees who were waiting, looking, for a visible kingdom. But Jesus corrects them by saying that the kingdom does not come by observation or by what you can see, but that the kingdom is in their midst or within.
I believe that as long as we keep putting the coming of Christ and the coming of the kingdom off in the future somewhere , we are missing what Jesus was saying. Also we are missing the power of His presence and His kingdom.
If Christ is present now and if His kingdom is reality now , and we begin to act accordingly , then change will come because our mentality will change.
We will begin to realize that Rev.6:1-2 is a present reality, that the Rider on the white Horse, Jesus and the gospel, are going forward to conquer. I do not believe this to be a picture of an anti-Christ but a glorious picture of Jesus Christ going forward in triumph throughout this church age, bringing all His enemies under His feet until such time that He hands over the kingdom to His Father and God becomes ALL in ALL. 1Cor.15:28.
I believe that we are living in the Day of the Lord , the Day of Christ. It is not a day way off in the future somewhere but a present reality.
In 1 Cor.15:23 , Paul deals here with the subject of resurrection and says that the resurrection would happen " at His [ Christís] coming". This coming again of Jesus Christ is also the Day of the Lord as we have learned. Day here is not necessarily a single twenty four hour period. The word Day here is the Greek word Hemera- [Strongís #2250] and it speaks also of a period, an age, a time, a while or years.
Letís look at this phrase "at His coming". The word "coming" here is the Greek word "Parousia" [Strongís #3952] and means coming.
The word "at" is the Greek word "En" and means "in" or "during". But the word Parousia can also be translated " presence". So then " at His coming " is " in or during His presence". But the word Parousia means more than " coming"- [arrival] , it also means "Presence in the sense of duration" - see again Hemera- [ Strongís#2250] a period of time, an age, a while or years. So the Day of the Lord or the Day of Christ then is that age, time, that period of His presence which began in AD 70 and still continues today.
In John 14:18 , Jesus declared He would not leave us orphans and in the same chapter, vs.3 He promised that He would come again " that where I AM - present tense- you and I may be also". Jesus is not talking here about mansions in the sky but about the coming Holy Spirit who would prepare us and make us " mansions" or "sanctuaries", dwelling places , a living temple for a living God to dwell in. We are not going to get a mansion, the glorious news is this , WE ARE THE MANSIONS. When we begin to realize that Christ is present now, we will begin to live a different lifestyle, begin to be a demonstration of the King and the kingdom within. He, the King, is going forth conquering and to conquer.
I wonder if we have not robbed the gospel of much of itís power because we have put so much of it off into the future. If we must wait for Christ to come before there will be or come any change then nothing much is going to happen.
But if Jesus Christ has come and is present now with His people then we can begin to demonstrate the power of the gospel as the word declares in Mark 16:20- " the Lord working with them and confirming "-Greek - Bebaioo- [Strongís #950] - "to establish "- "the word".
Rather than having an outlook of "defeat" and waiting for Jesus to come and get us, we will have an outlook of victory and of getting the job done.
I believe "the Day of the Lord" or "the Day of Christ", began in AD 70 with the coming again of Jesus Christ in judgment upon Jerusalem , the nation of Israel and the Jewish religious system. And that Day continues with us today- Until !
Until what ? Until the time when every one of His enemies , including death, are under Jesusí feet and He hands over the kingdom to His Father-1 Cor.15:24 and God becomes ALL in ALL- 1 Cor.15:28.
In last monthís article, "Christ is Here", which was the introduction to this monthís, we dealt with the fact that Jesus has come, that "the Day of the Lord" or "the Day of Christ" is a present reality. It is not a future event that we are waiting for, but "that Day" is a present reality.
Christ is here, He has come and is continuing to come in His people-
Galatians 4:19 - He is being Formed in us, we are becoming like Him,
He is increasing and we are decreasing- John3:30.
So then if Jesus has come, I would like to take another look at the resurrection and what it means to us. Letí again look at The Book.
In 1 Cor. 15:23, Paul tells us that the resurrection would happen, take place " at His [ Christís ] coming". We have seen that the word "coming" or " Parousia " [ Strongís #3952] can also mean "presence". The word "At" is the Greek word "En" and can also mean "in or during". So the resurrection then is " at His coming" or " in or during His presence". Today is "the Day of the Lord", today is "the Day of His presence", His Parousia. Again the word Day here is not necessarily a 24 hour period but can be "an age, a period of time".[ see Day - Strongís#2250 - Hemera]. I believe that "the Day of the Lord" or "the Day of His presence" is really "the Age or period of His presence".
Letís see what Jesus said.
In John 6:40 ,44 and 54, Jesus said that the resurrection would take place " in or on the last day". We have always been taught that the
" Last Day" and the "Day of the Lord" are the same thing. One day off in the future when Jesus Christ returns. But what if He came in AD70 and is still present with us today ? What if the Last Day that Jesus spoke off was a day fixed for them and not necessarily for us ? What if He has come and "the Day of the Lord" for us is really "the Age of the Lord"? What if this Day is not a future event for us but a day that is past ?
See for example Acts 2:16-21- The Holy Spirit was poured out , " in the last days" of the old order. To wait for another outpouring , I believe is wrong, all we have to do is to accept and receive what has already been poured out.
When is the Last Day ?
I believe that the Last Day for the people in Jesusí day was that Day, when Jesus, as He promised ,would return in judgment upon Jerusalem, the old order, temple and nation. When Jesus spoke of "the Last Day", He was speaking of "the Last Day" of the " old covenant order ", the " old age". I believe that since that Day, we are living in the " new age", or the " coming age" the " age to come", the " church age". The Old order was finished in AD 70 and the new order ,the " new age" began in AD 70.
I believe that the resurrection began that day and continues for us today as each one of us passes from this life into the next.
I would like to quote something from John Brayís book, " The Rapture of Christians"- p 10-11.
" When Christ came in AD 70, He raised all the Old Testament saints.
This included all who had died during the Old Covenant age, right on up to the time of His Parousia in AD 70. This included the martyrs of Revelation 20: 4 who had died under the tribulation of the Beast, Nero and who were later seen in Johnís prophecy, living and reigning with Jesus Christ. All of these were resurrected when Christ came as it says in 1 Cor.15:23 when Paul showed the order of the resurrection - "afterward those who are Christís at His coming" [ or " in or during His presence"].
The dead were raised then, and the living Christians did not precede them.[ 1 Thess.4:15 -italics mine]. The living Christians would also be resurrected, but at the time of their death- not at some long, distant, future time away.[not thousands of years in the future - italics mine.]
But their resurrection would be then or later or afterward- [ Epeita - Strongís#1899 ],than that of those Christians who were raised at the coming of Christ".
As we have seen, the coming of Christ, His Parousia, is not only His arrival, but His presence. In other words, Jesus not only came in AD 70, but He is still here !
The resurrection is Past, Present and Ongoing. The resurrection is not over. It is a continuing process. The resurrection is in three parts:
1.Christ, the First Fruits, 2.Then or afterward - Epeita- later on, those who are Christís at His coming, those who were already dead, and 3.those living then as later on they died [ in or during His presence]. This includes us as we die, each one of us in our own order, or time.
For those in Jesus Ď day, the Last Day was when He returned in AD 70. The Last Day for us is when each one of us leaves this earthly life behind and we enter into the presence of the Lord.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ did return in the first century, AD 70 , as He and the writers of the New Testament declared would happen in many NT. Passages. See:Matt.24:3,29-31 ; John 14:1-3 : 1 Cor.15:23 ; 2Thess.1:7-10 : Rev.1:1-"shortly or quickly or swiftly";
Rev.1:3 - "the time is near " or [at hand] ; Rev.22:20.
When Christ came, all of the Old Testament saints and the early Christians who had died up to that time were resurrected from the dead. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 1 Cor.15:23 But the resurrection process continues today for each Christian as they pass out of this life into the next. That resurrection that took place so many years ago when Jesus returned, continues on for us today as we shed this "earthly body" and we receive a " new body from heaven"- 2 Cor.5:1-4.
This resurrection is the " Rapture" of the believers. It is not a lifting up of this physical body into the air, but it is rather the believer himself being caught up into the heavenly atmosphere. The believer leaves his old body and takes on his new body at that time.
For the Christian the Rapture is the resurrection. The dead " rise up" and later, afterward, the living will be "caught up" when they too, die.
Did Paul mean that living Christians would be lifted off the earth, " caught up" at the time of Christís return in AD 70, or did he mean that from the time of Christís return on, all Christians immediately upon their death, would be " caught up" and be in the presence of Christ in spiritual, resurrection bodies, leaving their old bodies behind ?
Note again 2 Cor.5:1-4.
Israel P. Warren in his book The Parousia ,p.254 made the following statement:
" The apostle Paul, believed the assumption [ taking on- italics mine] of the spiritual body would immediately follow the demission [laying down- italics mine] of the natural body; not occurring therefore simultaneously with the whole family of man, nor at some distant "end of the world", but successively as individuals live and die , through all the ages of time".
John Bray, p 23:
" It may be asked, how can there be a resurrection when each Christian dies, inasmuch as we still have their bodies around in the cemeteries etc. The answer to that is that the resurrection of Christians does not consist of reassembling of the parts and dust, the molecules and the atoms, of the old body, but in the resurrection the Christian has an entirely new body." Hallelujah. "He is changed by leaving one body behind and moving into another". 2 Cor.5:1-4
" For we KNOW that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens". 1 Cor.15:37 declares," And that which you sow, you are not sowing that body that shall be". Note this phrase. It is not our old body that is going to be, but a brand new heavenly, spiritual , resurrection body, "like unto Jesusí glorious body".
Our resurrection is us receiving our resurrection bodies when we leave this old one behind. The old body will simply fade away in the grave-
become dust again - Gen.3:19. It will no longer be necessary or needed.
In Acts 2:23-31 we are taught that Jesusí body did " not see corruption or decay-in the grave. This was prophesied of Jesus back in Psalm 16:8-11. I believe this was prophesied to Jesus Christ , not to us.
God did not set a precedent here. Our bodies will see corruption , decay , thorough rot and destruction - [Strongís #1311-Diaphteiro
and #1312- Diaphtora].
Adam Clarke in his commentary on Acts 2:27 makes the following comments;
"to see corruption"- Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return, was a sentence pronounced on man after the Fall; therefore this sentence could be executed on none but those who were fallen. But Jesus being conceived without sin, neither partook of human corruption nor was involved in the condemnation of fallen human nature; consequently it was impossible for His body to see corruption; and it could not have undergone the temporary death, to which it was not naturally liable, had it not been for the purpose of making an atonement".
The grave is empty , Jesus is at the right hand of the Father and yet He is present with us through the Holy Spirit.
Christians, believers, no longer have to wait for many years until a future second coming of Jesus Christ to receive their new bodies. Jesus has already come, and as we have seen , the resurrection is Past, Present and Ongoing. We are resurrected when we die .
I do not believe that we should be waiting for a second coming of Christ to see Jesus. May we see Him today, He who is the resurrection and the life. Jesus conquered death, He delivered the captives and He came to bring immortality to His people. To leave this life and to take on our new heavenly body, to be clothed upon from on high, that is our hope today.
Does this article answer all the questions ? No , probably not , it may have raised more questions. But if this will get us back into the Book , if this challenges us, Praise God. I pray that as the Lord restores truth to his body , that we be open and teachable.
Who are the greatest salesmen in the world ?
It is those who knows their product is the only product worth having. For example some vacuum cleaner sales people when they come to your door can easily be turned away, but there are others that even when you do not need a vacuum cleaner, they sell you one. The power of advertising for example, K-tel etc. you just have to have that "latest gadget thing".
What does this have to do with the Gospel ? Everything. When we read the New Testament we find that the whole then known world had heard the Gospel. Col.1:5-6 , see also Col.1:23 , Matt.24:14 -"This Gospel shall be preached in all the world, and then comes the end." Not the end of the world in our day, or the end of time, but the end of the Jewish nation, their temple, their city and their religion. Israel ceased to be a race, a nation, in AD 70.
But between Jesus prophetic word in Matt.24 and the destruction of the land and Jewish system in AD 70, a forty year period, the gospel was preached in all the earth. Rom.10:18 . The disciples were super salesmen, they believed in their product and the claims of that product. Rom.16:25-27 - Paul wrote this in about AD 56. This applied to his time but also to us today.
So if the world then was evangelized within approximately 40 years, why doesnít work today? After all we have the Holy Ghost, the word, the gifts etc.?
It is a well known fact that as a person believes, it affects how he lives and acts in his life and in his or her Christian walk.
Back in the days of the disciples, the gospel that they preached was the gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus said, "the kingdom is in your midst or within "-Luke 17:21. But the disciples also understood that when Jesus ascended into heaven - Acts 1:9 - that is when He received the Kingdom from His Father- cp. Dan.7:13-14 and 22. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost -Acts 2:4 was the demonstration that He was now seated at the right hand of Majesty. But they also understood that when Jerusalem, the temple etc. were destroyed, it was the Lord Jesus Christ who came in the power and authority of His kingdom and brought destruction upon those who not only rejected but crucified Him. Matt.24:29-31. I believe that vs. 31 is still ongoing, He is still gathering His people.
Think of it, between the crucifixion and AD 70 were approximately 40 years. God in His grace did not want anyone to perish but gave them space to repent, but they refused. 2 Pet.3:9 .
I personally believe that most of the church for the last few hundred years has missed it. We have not been preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, but a "gospel according to whosoever or whatsoever." How many still teach of a coming great tribulation even though Jesus has told us there would never again be such -Matt.24:21.
We have taken symbolic language and made it literal. When the Bible talks of signs in the sun, moon and stars or in the heavens, it is not talking about literal things, it speaks of governments, the priest hood, religions etc. Because we have refused to study the word and listened to people like Hal Lindsay and others we have a twisted vision of what Jesus really said. We have taken the words that Jesus meant for His generation and put it into the future to make it fit where it will not fit. When the church gets back to what Jesus taught , then we will see the revival that we are all waiting for.
For too many, the gospel being preached is one of fear, the more gross a picture we can paint of the tribulation and the future, the more people are scared into the kingdom .
That is not Godís way now nor was it then - It was then obedience to faith and it is still today. The Gospel is GOOD NEWS !
Some time ago the Lord dealt with me regarding the fact that many of us are guilty of the "Sins of the Fathers". That is, preaching those things which we have heard without checking them out for ourselves. Just because so and so preaches a word does not mean it is truth.
I am convinced that we have a grave and great responsibility to preach and teach truth. Even if that truth may go against the grain or that which grandma and grandpa believed.
Or we hear, "Thatís not what our church preaches". Maybe it is time that the church get back to the truth and ONE voice, Revelation 1: 12-16. Christ in the midst of the candlesticks, the churches, the church, and all having ONE voice. All saying the same thing. One body, one Spirit, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism and one God and Father of us all and ONE GOSPEL, [ if I may be so bold], Eph.4: 4-6.
We have a super product.
When we are saved, we enter into a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ and we become family. The Holy Spirit begins the process of maturing us so that we too may be in the image of the firstborn son. He not only becomes our Savior but our Lord. He makes us righteous and justifies us and glorifies us. I believe that as I study the word, more and more I begin to see and understand what Daniel meant in Dan.2:34-35 and 44- 45.
The church, the kingdom of God will continue to get stronger and stronger, because Jesus is building His church, and as the Gospel of the Kingdom continues to go forward it will swallow up every worldly kingdom. Rev.11:15. Letís receive and appreciate the truth. We have been called, chosen and placed to establish His kingdom, by obedience to the faith and covenant, not by wimping out and waiting for some rapture bus that will not come.
We have a super product, the Gospel of the Kingdom, a gospel of hope and deliverance, a gospel that says, "that God has not destined us for wrath but for salvation through Jesus Christ".
Ours is not a gospel of fear or of man. It is the Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom.
We have a super product, so letís become super salesmen.
Everyone needs what you have .
It was back in 1970 when I was privileged to attend the Festival of Evangelism in Detroit, sponsored by the Reformed Church in America of which I was a member.
During one of the evening sessions, Dr. Leighton Ford, then of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, preached a message entitled, "The Key, Whoís got the Key?"
Dr. Ford dealt with the fact of unity in the church, the Body of Christ. Now, here we are some thirty years later and many claim to have "the key" but as we look around we are left to wonder.
We look for unity in the Body of Christ, but all we see is fragmentation and separation -1 Cor.3:1-3 . Is this the kind of " broken body" Jesus had in mind when He instituted the Communion, the Eucharist that we find in Matthew 26:26-30 and 1 Cor.11:23-24 ?
In the scripture found in Revelation 1:10-16, we have a glorious picture of the Body of Christ as it ought to be, in unity, with one voice and one vision. All speaking the same thing. Vs.12-13, declare that John heard a voice and when he turned around to see who was speaking, he saw! ," In the midst [ centrally, having the first or honored place] of the seven candlesticks [churches], one like the Son of Man", Jesus Christ in the midst of His church.
When we read the Bible we find that the "whole known world" then, which included Israel and all of the Roman Empire had heard the word of God. Colossians 1:5-6, 23, Romans 10:18. See also Acts 2:1-11. These folks from all the regions of the empire heard and took the message home.
There was then, in the age of the apostles a world wide going forth of the Gospel, so as to satisfy the prediction of Jesus Christ in Matt.24:14, "This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in ALL the world and then shall the end [ we believe this was the end of the Jewish, Mosaic age] come." This was fulfilled in AD 70.
The then whole known world had heard the Gospel because of the fact that the church had one voice and one vision. They all spoke the same thing, and were not building personal little kingdoms, as so many of us tend to do.
Could it be that because of the confusion and disunity in the Body of Christ that the world today is in the mess it is in? Because how we believe and act, does affect ourselves and others.
No one takes the Gospel seriously anymore, because no one knows which Gospel is the right one and because we have heard prediction after prediction and nothing has come to pass. False hope after false hope has been foisted upon the church. Now before you stone me, let me explain.
Today we have a Pentecostal Gospel, a United Gospel, a Reformed Gospel , a Kingdom Gospel, etc.
But where is the Gospel of the Bible?
The goal of so many of us has been to be "raptured out" and leave all behind. Like addicts we continue to buy "rapture" books, even though every one of them has failed to come to pass in their predictions. One must wonder if these " false prophets" are getting rich from the selling of these books as none are given away.
How many are of us are still "persuaded" to "tithe", when the tithe was an Old Testament, Mosaic Law ordinance - Malachi 3:8-11, and the New Testament declares that the Law has been done away with, Romans 6:14, "We are not under the Law but under Grace".
Our obligation now is not just the "tenth", but ALL, because all we are and all we have is His. And likewise He shares His treasures with us.
2 Cor.9:6-10, tells us how to give under grace, "liberally and cheerfully, not because we are told we have to".
To be told that "we will not get to heaven if we do not "tithe" is causing many of us to give out of fear and pressure.
But as we learn the "grace of giving" all fear tactics and pressures to give are gone. This is the good news of the Gospel.
Many of us would like to cheat death by not dying, but simply walking out of this world into the next. What are we going to do with Hebrews 9:27 , " It is appointed unto man to die once". This applies to each and every one of us. We are not going to escape, as even Jesus in His humanity had to die- John 11:47-50 , Daniel 9:24 - "to make an end of sins".
We know that the only way out of this world is through death. The glorious hope is, that we have a resurrection that awaits us at the moment of our deaths. The moment we pass from this earth we have a body not made with hands, held in the heavens, a glorious body like unto His Body- 2 Cor.5:1
Beloved, I believe it is time to once again see what the Book says.
Eph.4:3-6 - There is One Spirit, one Body, one Lord, one Hope, one Faith, one Baptism and one God and Father of us all. And I believe, ONE GOSPEL. The Gospel of the Kingdom! The rule and reign of Jesus Christ in us and through us and over us.
It is interesting as we read this passage how many times the word ONE is mentioned. It is mentioned seven times!
We all know that if we want to see the revival that we are waiting for, we need to put aside our differences and get back to the basics of the word of God.
1 Cor.3:10-15 , teaches us that how we build upon the foundation matters a great deal. Are we building with wood, hay or straw or are we building with gold, silver and precious stones?
It was interesting to hear the news yesterday - January 16, 2000 - how that, world wide, religious leaders had come together to find ways to tolerate each other and to find a "commonality" among world religions so that we could live in harmony. In other words, "leave me alone to build my little kingdom and I will leave you alone".
Sounds good, but it is not unity under the banner of Jesus Christ.
So what is the point in all this?
Letís get back to a simple, straight forward interpretation of the Bible.
While "futurists" believe and preach that most end time prophecies are yet future and yet to be fulfilled, somehow we sense that as we study the word of God that all Bible prophecy regarding the "end times" has been fulfilled in Christ and the ongoing building up of His Church.
His kingdom has been established and we are ALL a part of that kingdom. Jesus Christ has conquered all His enemies and has given us the Kingdom. We have "eternal life" now in Christ. We no longer have to wait in Hades/ Grave, for a long time until the resurrection and judgment, " O, death, where is thy sting, O, GRAVE where is thy victory?"- 1 Cor.15:55. As the grave could not hold our Lord Jesus, so it will not be able to hold us either. In Christ we have passed out of judgment into the life of the eternal kingdom. We are now able to partake of the "powers of the age to come", Heb.6:5.
These things are present and abiding benefits of the Kingdom of God. The book of Revelation has been fulfilled and deals with the Kingdom that we are now a part of. The wait is over, victory is ours in Christ, NOW!- Romans 5:17 and Romans 8:37.
There are many today, who claim that the "age of miracles" is over. But the question is, is the day of miracles over?
When Paul wrote his letter to the Hebrews, he was writing to a people who were living during the last of the last days, of the Jewish, Mosaic age, before the end of AD 70.
Compare Jesusí statement in Matt.12:32 , the then age [ age before AD70, the age of the Law] and the coming age [ new age, the church age, the millennial age], this present age.
The old KJV uses the word "world" which should be properly translated "age".
The "new age" was about to burst on the scene, even though they had already tasted, partaken of the powers of that coming age, as there was an overlapping, an intertwining of the two ages.
What are the Powers of the age to come?
The word Powers- here is Strongís # 1411- dunamis- or mighty [ wonderful] works. What are these mighty and wonderful works ?
We read about such things as the Raising of the dead, not only spiritually - John 5:28 but bodily -Lazarus, John 11:38-44 ; The Widowís son, Luke 7:11-17 ; The Young man who fell asleep during church, Acts 20:9-12 ; Dorcas, Acts 9:36-42. Please note, these all died again later until the resurrection. See my article " When is the Resurrection ?" elsewhere on this site.
Deliverance- Acts 8:4-8 ,Acts 19:11-17, Miracles glorify Christ - Acts 19:20. We are to be a people who glorify Christ.
Healing- Matthew 8:16-17 ; 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53;3-5 ; Acts 28:3-4 & 8.
We find that all these things are still a mandate of the church as we read the Word - Luke 4:18-19 .
Also according to 1Cor.12:28 these things were appointed in the church. Old KJV says that "some were set " in the church. An other meaning of the word set is "ordain", see Strongís # 5087.
The Church did not end in AD70, Jesus Christ is still building His Church- Matthew 16:18. Also when we read 1 Cor.13:8 it does not say anything about miracles ending.
If miracles were a sign of the coming Kingdom that Jesus preached and proclaimed in Luke 17:21 and Luke 11:20, then should we not still see miracles- dunamis- mighty works, wonderful works, as part of the kingdom operation in our daily lives? But we see few if any miracles these days.
What is the reason? Is it because of unbelief, doubt, wrong teaching, Hebrews 5:12-15, or because of our building up of individual kingdoms instead of the one Kingdom? One wonders what would happen when we begin to focus on the Kingdom of God- 1 Cor.1:10-13.
Or is the reason we do not see much of the miraculous, because we have relegated everything to a " future new age" when the new age that Paul spoke of, has already come?
If they needed the miraculous then to "authenticate" the Kingdom of God, how about now?
We hear much these days about a coming Millennium, some day, when everything is going to be allright. We hear that once we get over to the other side, then we will fully partake, in the sweet by and by, but what if Jesus and Paul were not talking about some day off in the far off future, but they were speaking of that age that has come?
The Kingdom of God is a reality now, the blessings of that Kingdom are for us now.
Instead of putting everything off into the future, maybe we need to begin to embrace the present reality of the Kingdom.
1 Cor.13:9- declares "When that which is perfect is come" -
The Weymouth translation says - the "perfect state of things"- that state when all that is imperfect is finally done away with. There will be imperfection until such time when every man, woman and child is redeemed, and God is all in all. Unfortunately, we still live in an imperfect age, but until such a time, that time of the "perfect state of things", miracles, the powers of the age to come, [ NOW the powers of the age that has come], that is the church age, the millennial age, are still necessary.
Miracles did not cease in AD70.
If the New Testament is to be a guide for Christian worship, then we need to accept the fact that the miraculous should still to be a part of our daily lives.
He.6:1-6 was written to the people in Paulís day, upon them had come the "end of the ages", 1 Cor.10:11, but even though we live in the "new age", this passage also applies to us, the church, today.
We too have been enlightened.
We too have tasted of the heavenly gift - John 5:28-29 We have been and are being "changed from glory to glory", 2 Cor.3:18 and we have "been translated out of the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of His love" - Colossians 1:12-13.
We too have received and partaken of the Holy Spirit- Acts 2:38-39
We too have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, now the present age.
Beloved, all these things are the present benefits of being a part of the Kingdom of God. May we with fresh anticipation and wonder again begin to experience those things that our Heavenly Father has for us and may we again see a greater manifestation of His love and power in the days ahead.
Greater Emmanuel International
Hamilton RPO #36588 Eastgate PO