The Kingdom of Heaven Is Near

 

Genesis 6:5-8

Matthew 4:17

Intro

Many of the issues we are seeing played out today in the national news, local news and in our communities are all reflective of human’s search for the ideal.  We all want to believe that somewhere in the future someone is going to come and solve all of our problems. The ideal world will be free from poverty, hatred, pain, fear and anything else that ails us.  This ideal world will be full of peace, joy, love and harmony.  Movies are created and books have been written about this ideal but we have not been successful at developing what our hearts long for because this search is futile without Jesus Christ. This search and desire is not an American issue but a global one in which all of humanity is engaged.  The need at the very core of our search is one of power to control our circumstances. 

At one point in our existence we possessed this power but we surrendered it for a lie and we have been working to recover from the Fall ever sense. What Adam and Eve surrendered in the Garden wasn’t just their physical habitat but the Kingdom of God; their identity in God as sons and daughter of the Most High God.  They had heaven on earth and gave it up because they were convinced by the serpent that they were lacking what they really already possessed.  It is a tactic our Enemy continues to employ because ignorance and doubt are effective weapons.  And although they don’t prosper, they do keep us afraid, doubtful and selfish as we seek to satisfy this eternal longing.  What we seek is the Kingdom.

Covenant

The story of Noah is one of the many biblical stories that give us a snap shot of the human condition and the early responses of a heartbroken God who has to honor His principals and wait for the divine timing of the process of Salvation that was set in place to recover the Kingdom of God.  To help us God established covenants with people to keep us hoping and believing that He has not given up on us. The story of Noah is an example of such a covenant:

·         Genesis 5 outlines the bloodline of Noah

·         Prior to Noah becoming the father of his sons (at age 500) people lived a really long time. His father lived 777 years, his grandfather 782 years and they were having children in their 60s, 70s and in some cases in their 100s. Heck, Noah was 500! After his sons were born God limited human life to about 120 years.

·         Evil was the norm and God was not pleased so He recruited a farmer to build a ship.

·         Noah’s assignment was to offer relief from the pain of toiling the land based on his name. 

o   Your name pointed to your purpose

o   Noah was 500 when he received the assignment and 600 when they entered the ark.

·         Our purpose will always take priority over our plans (Prov 19:21)

o   I’m sure Noah did not have plans to build a ship in the dessert or run a floating zoo for nearly a year.  Note: sometimes God will call you to the absurd in order to accomplish the remarkable.

·         The family and animals survived the flood and God used the rainbow as a symbol of His covenant with mankind that he would never again send floods to address our issue of sin.

The flood is one of the amazing things God did in the Old Testament and one of several things done throughout scriptures noted as miracles, signs and wonders.  And their purpose is to demonstrate the reality and power of the Kingdom of God on earth.

This power, however, can only be contained in a holy vessel because the God is holy.  God designed humanity to be the vessel to carry the Kingdom but the Fall made the vessel unholy until Jesus came on the scene.  The Old Testament experiences of the presence of God were temporary and periodic or episodic.  However, because of Jesus we get to experience the perpetual presence of God abiding in our lives.  We are privileged to execute the administration of God’s Kingdom on an everyday basis.  Jesus recovered us as citizens of the Kingdom.

Citizenship—John 1:12-13

John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets (Luke 16:16).  He was an Old Testament prophet with a New Testament revelation.  Like John the Baptist, some of you have a new revelation for future generations in which you will declare but you will not live into because it’s for the future.  John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus who then picked up where John left off after John was arrested and eventually beheaded.  What they declared and what we now participate in is that the Kingdom of God is preached in Word and demonstrated in power.  We enter the Kingdom through faith in Jesus, yet we are kept in the Kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

We are citizens of the Kingdom.

We are the only created entity that has legal authority to act on behalf of God. 

Citizenship = privilege reserved for those born into a nation or kingdom; birthright is the guaranteed form of sonship.  It’s about relationship not religion.  God’s plan was not save servants but to reconnect with His sons and daughters.  He created us to be sons and daughters.

·         Sons not servants/subjects

·         Citizens not Christians (Acts 26:28-29)

·         Relationships not religion

Because many of us have never learned to think like royalty, we still act like the prodigal son seeking the servants share or portion when we were created to be sons; joint heirs with Jesus.  Our servant’s mindset has us struggling with:

·         Not feeling worthy

·         Feeling guilty when placed in the position of honor

·         Jealous of others who are lifted up because we think lower of ourselves.

·         Constantly competing with others

We are citizens because of what Jesus did on the Cross.

Condition

The Kingdom is not the same as democracies.  There’s only one opinion that matters in the Kingdom…the king!  When we interject our democratic thinking into Kingdom life, we create confusion about who God really is.  In the Kingdom there is a difference between a king and the president.  A king is not voted in and cannot be voted out. 

God’s intent is to rule the visible world from the invisible realm.

Our new position is that we no longer have to exist with just the visitation of the power of God but we are the recipients of the transfer of power through relationship via the Holy Spirit.

Where we were unholy, Jesus has made us holy by the blood shed at Calvary and now we are able to live into our design to be vessels of the Holy One.

We have become the visible expressions of an invisible realm! We are capable of willing something other than the will of God and so we must find ways to abide with the Holy Spirit by choice.

Conclusion and prayer

Matthew 11:12 says “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” “ In other words, an invasion has been under way and we’re a part of it.  A military takeover is in progress which no one knows about except those who have been captured.   Have you been taken over? I have been taken over—by the Kingdom of heaven.  It has taken over my heart, mind, soul, body, and my entire future.  It has taken over my attitude and made me a dangerous man to the kingdom of darkness.”—Myles Monroe

We are victorious citizens who do not roll over and play dead for anyone. Gone are the days of wringing your hands in worry over your problems, tribulations and hardships.  Despite the affliction and opposition of the world around us, we have learned to overpower the enemy by the Power of the greater One who lives in us.  The Kingdom of which we are a part of is so powerful that we need not fear any potential opposition.  Our Kingdom does not run and it does not retreat; it stands firm, advances and overcomes. 

We are ambassadors of Christ and representatives of His Kingdom and we will:

·         Speak the words of the King;

·         Be concerned with only the interests of the King

·         Speak only on behalf of His government and not our opinions or feelings

·         Maintain connection and communication with the King through prayer and study and

·         Carry out the policies established by the King.

In diplomacy the ambassador never shares his opinion while acting in the official capacity as the representative and voice of his government.  As long as we concentrate on our King’s interests and in representing Him faithfully, He will take care of our interests.  He has a covenant that He will not fail at keeping. (Matthew 6:31-34)

This is a relationship of trust and faith and obedience that enables us to exercise power and authority in His name. Jesus’ assignment was to reintroduce the Kingdom of God on earth.  He completed that mission by His death on the cross, offering His blood as a cleansing power to remove the influence and effects of sin in our lives. And this cleansing prepared us to receive the Holy Spirit and connects us to the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom is near because we are the Kingdom of God.

 

– Dante Poole

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