Needed: The Kingdom of God

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But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)

May 8, 2006                                                   Needed: The Kingdom of God

Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

A Pharisee is a religious person, a separatist. He would not come close enough to Gentiles for them to even accidentally brush against the sleeve of his robe. If this happened, he would be defiled, according to his thinking. They had a puffed up, false and proud self-image of themselves and their own importance. Imagine standing before the Holy One of Heaven, the One so pure and so perfectly righteous, with unimaginable power. My feeble mind can't comprehend it. Imagine standing before Pure Perfection clothed with filthy rags of self-righteousness and not even realizing your condition.

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

The Pharisees were all about the law. They quoted the scriptures. They would condemn others with them. But they did not obey the law, themselves. Jesus warned his disciples to do as they said, not as they did.

Mat 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Mat 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

That is the perfect description of a hypocrite, wouldn't you say? And, also attention seeking, posturing, proud, and lazy. Without compassion.

Then there is this other man who came to the temple to pray. His name is not given. He stands here, and hears this Pharisee praying loudly, telling God what all he has done, about all his good works, how he's better than "other men" including this "publican" over here who thinks he has a right to talk to you, Lord. Can you see his audacity? The sheer foolishness of his prayer? He sounds like a strutting bandy rooster in front of the hen house, calling them to admire him. I can almost see in my mind's eye the great displeasure of the Lord on his throne as he sees the dark depths of this man's heart and refuses and his prayer so full of self-pride and self-admiration. And then God's eyes shift to the publican. A publican was someone of the Jews assigned by the Romans who oppressed the people to collect the tax imposed on the Jews by Rome. It was not a popular position with the people. Publicans were disdained by Jews, and not trusted. They were looked on as traitors. This publican knew he was a sinner. By coming into the temple, he acknowledged a need and desire for God. I say this, because he was unable to raise his eyes to heaven, he bowed his head, looked down in the presence of the Lord, recognizing his lack, his condition, and need of mercy. Surely there was a hunger in his heart for mercy, for the Lord. He was humble before the Holy One. He stepped lightly, acknowledging God, reverencing him. And what did Jesus tell us about this? He said the publican went to his house justified, rather than the Pharisee. Justified means "to render or regard as just or innocent. Free, declared righteous".

Now if you go back to the beginning of this chapter, He starts out by trying to teach his disciples on persevering in prayer. He goes on to instruct them about humility in prayer, not pride. And they didn't get it. It went right over their heads. Because here comes people bringing children to him, that he would touch them. Little ones. How do the disciples react? They rebuke the people. Get them away! What a lack of patience and understanding. Ouch, I don't know about you, but I am seeing me here. I've been guilty of impatience, and not understanding. But Jesus calls the children to himself, and teaches further on humility and childlike faith. He said "whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter in." We have to set our hearts to seek God, and seek his kingdom, and desire with all our hearts to live and walk in his kingdom and not give up, persevere in prayer, knowing he will answer, and give us the desire of our heart if it is righteous. If we desire his kingdom to go forward in us, to live and walk as he told us we could, he will do it. We have to prepare ourselves. We have to be ready to receive it. We have to be sanctified, prayed up, read up, and willing. Believing. Wait with patience.

When you give a child something, they reach out and take it, and if anyone tries to take what you gave them, they will fight for it. They won't surrender it easily. They received it, they KNOW it is theirs. They don't question why it was given to them, they don't analyze it to death, they just receive what is given, and take possession of it. And they will fight for it, if another tries to take it. What is the kingdom of God?

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

What hinders most of us from entering in? Unbelief? Too much listening to the adversary about how unworthy we are of God, and his promises? How it won't work for us because we have too many problems?

Luk 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

If it's God's good pleasure to give us the kingdom, that means what? He really wants to see us enjoy it and possess it? He knows we need it in this wicked world we live in. So, I want to look at this a little closer. First, righteousness. In our own flesh, we have none. There is nothing good in me, in my flesh, according to the Word of God. Paul says in Rom_7:18 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not;

He wants to do good, but has now power to do it in his flesh. Neither do we. He's talking about delighting in the word and will of God here, keeping his commandments, being obedient to his will. In our own selves we can't do it. We may have the desire to but not the power to do so. I can relate to this. I've been stuck in Romans 7 far too long. We've already read our own righteousness, any good thing we can do on our own without God is filthy rags. That's terribly bad, folks, trust me. I looked it up and in the Hebrew, that means "menstruous cloth". Uck. The blood of corruption. But-we have hope!

Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Whew! Glory to God! We don't have any so he by faith extends to us his own! Through faith in the shed blood of his Beloved Son! We can't get it any other way! It's a free gift, according to Romans 5.

Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Peace was the second aspect of the kingdom of God. Where do we get peace in such a troubled world? How can we walk in peace with an adversary trying to fire darts of unbelief and fear into our minds regularly? With trouble and war inside and out. Everywhere we look there is trouble. The world has lost its ever-loving mind. The schools are teaching fiction not fact, the school books are full of errors. The teachers are molesting the children. The society is putting away the holy and perfect word of God and adopting humanism and greed as better. Hollywood is "hollyweird", government is corrupt and more like bickering children who won't even try to get along or work together to solve problems because there's too many big I's and no one is willing to work for the good of the whole, because it's all about self, don't you know. Self's next election win is all that counts. Who cares about the hurt and harm done to the country and its people? God does. And he will hold each one accountable. That includes me, and that includes you. So among all the strife, and the contention, how in the world are we to have peace? It too, is a free gift. Before you read this, you need to remember this WORD is what is upholding all things. (Heb_1:3) This WORD is what is holding this planet in place on nothing. Job_26:7 2Pe_3:7 Remember he commanded and it was done.

Psa 33:9 For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Joh 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

He left us peace. That word "leave" in the Greek, means "to send forth, let have, with many other applications that do not apply here. He left it here for us. It's available and only unbelief keeps us separated from it. When some one leaves you something, you have to lay hold of it, receive it, and take possession of it. You can't stand on the other side of the fence staring longingly at it and wish it were yours. You have to in faith in his promise, say, mountain, be removed. Problem, get out of my way. He left peace here, it's mine, and I'm laying hold of it. Peace comes from knowing who God is for yourself and understanding he has everything in his control and nothing gets to you without his ok and you are in his hand, and no man can pluck you out. 2Pe_1:2-5 But then Jesus said "MY peace I give you, not as the world giveth". The word "give" think about what it means: in the Greek, it means " to bestow, bring forth, commit, deliver up, grant, minister, offer, have power, put, receive, show. Now, read that phrase again "My peace I bring forth and bestow, on you. I commit my peace to you, I deliver up my peace to you, I grant my peace to you, I minister my peace to your troubled heart, I offer my peace to you-see? This is the Son of God talking here. He means what he says. All it takes is faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. Mat_17:20 Luk_17:6

When the world gives you something, you pay for it some way or another, and it's not permanent. But his word is forever settled in heaven. It can't be changed. And he can't lie. He doesn't change nor does his word. Heb_13:8, Psa_119:89

Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Phi 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

To have this, you have believe him, and know him. To know him, you have to read his word, hear his word, and understand it. You have to spend time with him. Then you will learn him and understand and trust him. You can't trust someone you don't personally know and God wants us to know him personally.

Thirdly, there is joy. Well, we've already discussed all the problems and tragedies in the world, in homes, in lives, so in the midst of all this trouble how can we have joy? One of my favorite scriptures is found in Psalms 16:11.

Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

How do you get joy? Joy is knowing who God is, and understanding even with his incredible, omnipotent power, with his pure holiness, and even though he knows every secret flaw in my heart, he still loves me. Joy comes from knowing this Almighty PERFECT GOD who spoke this world into being, who sees all, knows all, knows my name. It's believing he loves me, and has secured me, and has a plan for my life to form the image of his Beloved Son in me, and he wants to spend time with me, fellowship with ME and who am I that the King of Kings would want to spend time with me? Who am I that the King of Kings would spread a banquet table full of promises and power from the Word of God and daily invite me to come and dine so I can be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might? Who am I? HIS BELOVED DAUGHTER. He shed his blood for me. His promises are for me. For my children. His life, his word, is hidden in my heart. In HIM I move and have my being. (Act_17:28). So how close is he to me? He is in me. And GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN ME THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD! (1Jo_4:4) He went to such great lengths to secure us. He left glory and put on flesh, in all its weakness and corruption and came down here, defeated the devil, made a show of him openly and triumphed awesomely over all powers of darkness (while he was in the flesh) and if we let him have control of us, as he walks-again the word made flesh-in us, he can do it again. He can make us to triumph over what he already defeated. He can show us he's already given us the victory. He's already made us more than conquerors. He fought the battle but we won! Because he lives we live! Because he overcome, we can overcome, if we only believe. He said in Rev_12:11

And they overcame him (speaking of the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death. Jesus said if we lose our life we will save it. He means if we give up our rights to our life, and let him have it, to use however he sees fit, in his service, then he will give us eternal life with him forever. We get greater than we give.


Lastly, all these-the righteousness of the Lord, the peace of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, in the Holy Ghost. He ministers these things to our heart-the understanding and knowledge of these things to us. He ministers the peace and joy of the Lord. He helps us understand what has been freely given to us by God. (Rom_8:32) He is the Comforter Jesus promised in John 14. And this is a great gift from the Lord-promised to us, to empower us, strengthen us, and keep us from the trouble and weakness of this world. Yes, things are chaotic. No, it will not get better. Not in this world, not in this life. Not for the world and it's people. But we look for a new heaven and a new earth where in dwells righteousness. This is condemned ground we are on now. The Owner has marked it and posted the signs-it's condemned. Marked for destruction. Don't build your hopes and dreams here. They'll go up in smoke, and so will you. Trust God. Seek God, and love him. He's worthy of all our praise. He's worthy of our life. He's worthy of our all. Don't hold anything back-anything he has no part in is corrupt. Don't hold back. Give him everything. And stand back in wonder and awe (and reverence) and watch what he does. I love what he said to Moses in Exodus 6. He had went to Pharaoh just like God told him to, and laid out his demands, which were rejected, flat out, with no fear. God says, now, you will see what I do. And God tells him what will happen. If we give everything, commit everything to him, and rest our hopes, our futures, our lives, our family's lives, in his mighty hands, then seek his kingdom first, and step back and just watch what he does. He's mighty. He can do anything for a people who will trust, and obey him. We must stop living beneath the privileges and promises of God. Get out from under the lies of the devil which weight us down, and get up, into the glorious promises and life of Christ. Look up, get ready to leave here, time is too short to be letting the devil hinder you or stop you from seeking the face of God for the lost around you. Jesus Christ IS Coming! He will soon be here. Let us be about his business, waiting in his presence, seeking with hungry hearts, the will of God, for direction, don't run unless you are sent. Don't speak, unless he gives you the word. Don't fear, he's in control.

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