June 16, 2019 Marks of the Kingdom

Marks of the Kingdom

Jesus ended His earthly ministry talking with the disciples about the topic which He discussed at the beginning of His ministry—the Kingdom of God (Acts 1.1-3). In Matthew 6.9-10 NKJV, Jesus presents the proper mindset, thinking, and behaviors of believers. He emphasized this importance later in His Sermon on the Mount; Matthew 6.33: seek the Kingdom so you won’t find yourself in a mess!

Question: why is a mess the natural result from not seeking the Kingdom of God first?
Consider: Jesus discusses this in John 10.10. Note His natural progression of satan: steal leads to kill leads to destroy. Our ‘mess’ results from satan stealing our attention from God by the means of Matthew 13.18-22. Once our attention is off of God, satan slowly kills our allegiance to God (seeJeremiah 13.10also). Changing allegiance from God to satan leads to destruction (see Hebrews 6.4-6).

Illustration: satan seduced Solomon’s attention, first, with the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3.1; why an alliance when David had conquered all of the surrounding nations? 1 Kings 5.4. satan got his attention with fear.). Solomon’s lust led to wives and affairs that killed his allegiance to God over time (1 John 2.15-17; 1 Kings 11.1-9). What was Solomon’s destruction?

The proper mindset for Christians hallows the Name of God (Matthew 6.9), which we know is “Jesus” (John 17.6,11,12,14,26; Philippians 2.9-11; Hebrews 13.8; NASB). To hallow is to make holy, to venerate, to sanctify (Jesus asked God to sanctify the disciples by His “Word” {John 1.1,14}; John 17.17; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, g0037). So, we are to set apart as holy the Name “Jesus” because it sanctifies or sets us apart (distinguishes us; Jesus said disciples would be hated because of His Name {Matthew 10.22; John 17.14}). Our mindset is to be different from that of the world. Anticipate opposition, as Apostle Paul instructs in Ephesians 6.10-17.

The proper thinking for Christians should establish the Kingdom of God through our influence on earth (Matthew 6.10a). Jesus emphasizes this in Matthew 10.7: “‘And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’” We will study in Acts that the work of the Kingdom of God is directed by the Holy Spirit and produced by us, disciples, in the contexts of His leading. We can safely say that the Holy Spirit led Jesus in His work; Isaiah 11.2; John 5.19-20; John 12.49; Matthew 12.28. Jesus told Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit leads the followers of Jesus; John 3.1-8. He is the developing Spirit of Christianity; not the debilitating spirit of mysticism. Distinguish using 1 John 4.1-4as a test.

The proper behaviors of Christians should demonstrate the Kingdom just as the will of God is done in Heaven (Matthew 6.10b). Paul discusses this in Ephesians 2.10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Jesus summarizes these in Matthew 10.8: “‘Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.’” This is what first characterized followers of Jesus, as is seen in Acts 11.26. We might generalize by identifying the Christian behaviors as those performed by the Holy Spirit through Christians, as we will see in the Acts of the Holy Spirit Through the Apostles, a better name for the Bible book. He may not lead you to heal the sick, but He will lead you to use His gifts (1 Corinthians 12.1-11) in the contexts where He leads you (John 3.8; Romans 8.14); always to bear witness to Jesus (Matthew 10.19-20).

Question: what is the proper mindset of Christians? the proper thinking? the proper behaviors? Why is this so important?

Write this in a statement, like: I will hallow the name Jesus in the Kingdom of God everyday by doing the work of the Holy Spirit wherever He leads me.

So, to repeat, Jesus ends His earthly ministry discussing the Kingdom of God with His disciples before His ascension. Acts 1.1-3 is Dr. Luke’s introduction of his second letter to Theophilus, (who might have been a Roman official at Paul’s trial. Luke’s two books would have, thus, been an explanation of Paul’s defense which he had earlier offered to Roman Governor Festus and Israel’s King Agrippa {Acts 26.1-32}). Note that Jesus gave instructions—“pertaining to the kingdom of God”—through the Holy Spirit to the disciples and others during the 40 days after Jesus’ Resurrection. Paul gives details confirming Jesus’ Resurrection activities in 1 Corinthians 15.1-8.

That the Kingdom of God is important to Jesus is, as I expressed, found in a later verse of Matthew 6, verse 33: “‘But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also’” (Amplified Bible, 2015). This is because the Kingdom enables everything else!

Remember John 1.9 that “Jesus” is the Source of all human knowledge (Nash, 1982, The Word of God and The Mind of Man, p. 67). God emphasizes this in Jeremiah 9.23-24: brag about knowing God! So, Jesus, later, says: “‘all these things [wealth, wisdom, strength] will be given to you also.’”! Solomon is our example, in 1 Kings 3.5-15. How do you know God better through your work?

Question: why is the Kingdom of God to be considered before acting on thinking (the will influenced by the mind or emotions; 1 Thessalonians 5.23; Matthew 6.31-32)?

Question about Culture: why is the Kingdom of God the best of the Implied Assumptions that lead to our Conscious Contracts and Norms which form a foundation for and are expressed in our Artifacts and Behaviors? (Think of an iceberg, with only the Behaviors and Artifacts seen above the surface of the water.)

Question about Influence: why should the Kingdom of God be the foundation in each of Cunningham’s “Seven Mountains of Influence” in our lives — “1. The home; 2. The church; 3. Schools; 4. Government and politics; 5. The media; 6. Arts, entertainment, and sports; 7. Commerce, science, and technology. ‘These seven spheres of influence will help us shape societies for Christ’” (Seven Mountains of Influence, Loren Cunningham, 1988, google.com).

Question about Work and Career: how much better would be your contribution to any ‘value chain’ if the Kingdom of God was your first thought of the day and remembrance during your workday? ‘Value chains’ link producers to processors to shippers to wholesalers to retailers to consumers (and those who clean up after them). Each adds value to benefit the next in line.

For my Kenyan friends, abundant crops and sufficient revenues come from seeking God’s Kingdom before, while, and after you plant. FIRST and MOST IMPORTANTLY! He is a jealous God and will not share any credit with ancestors (Isaiah 34.14, 42.8, 55.6-11).

Mindset>Thinking>Behavior! Matthew 6.33 is true for all Christians.

Jesus commanded us to pray for the Kingdom of God to come (Matthew 6.10a) in and through us. The Holy Spirit leads us in the work of the Kingdom, as Jesus informed Nicodemus (John 3.1-8). In Romans 8.14, Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit will do through us the will of God on earth, as it is done in Heaven (Matthew 6.10b).

Think “Kingdom of God”!

Marks of the Kingdom 190609/16 (* = update)

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.

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