The Kingdom

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,
‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ ”  Mark 1:14-15 (KJB)

John the Baptist preached the message too;  preparing the way for the Messiah. I have thought for years on the topic of “the kingdom”, “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” and wondered, “What is the difference?” or even, “Is there any difference.

I have finally come to a conclusion of the matter of the kingdom. The terms are synonymous referring to the same thought. If you disagree that is fine. We can still be brothers in Christ and disagree.

We must realize that the people of God – Israel – had for years turned their back upon God. They were “Looking for the kingdom of God” but completely missing it; especially the religious leaders; and then, along comes the prophet John, and he is preaching, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matthew 3:2. It is not that the kingdom had suddenly appeared, but that it had always been present and at hand.

With the coming of Jesus and His message He says the same thing as John. Now that Jesus is here the kingdom has took on Personhood, and He is the Son of God, God the Son; the God-Man and praise God He Himself is here.

Just some things for musing; The gospels of Mark, Luke and John call it the “Kingdom of God”. Matthew is the only gospel which calls it “The kingdom of heaven”.

What is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God?

The kingdom or kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God is referring to all that is under the sovereign, superintending hand of Almighty God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. So, we must conclude that even evil, evil deeds, and evil people are also superintended by His mighty hands and Omniscient mind. He does not do evil; neither does He approve it; He does set its limits and says to it when it reaches its limit “This far and no farther”. Think of where God cut off the evil acts of the Pharaoh during the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. According to John Baptist and Jesus the kingdom is at hand.

There is however, the Kingdom coming with Jesus Christ ruling and reigning over the world sitting on His throne in the City of Jerusalem; and His kingdom and rule will be forever.

You can be with Him in that kingdom by submitting to Him, His cross confessing your sins, that He died for you, was buried, and He rose again.  Repent – turn your back to sin. Call on His name. He will hear and He will save you to be with Him through all eternity.

 

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091920

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
Nicodemus saith unto Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ Jesus answered,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’
Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, ‘How can these things be?’  Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’
”  John 3:1-15  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 090820

“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him. And He said unto them,
‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
The Law and the Prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the Law to fail.’
”  Luke 16:14-17  (KJB)

The Kingdom of God

“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo there!’ for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’ ” Luke 17:20-21 (KJB)

Please note who is asking this of Jesus. The Pharisees, a sect of religious leaders who did not even see the signs of the coming of the Messiah. The one’s who should have not missed the obvious.

They were more concerned with rituals, and religious observances, etc. than they were with the presence of God, or the kingdom of God.

To their question Jesus answers. His answer is probably not what the Pharisees wanted to hear. He is basically telling them, “It is here, near you, and you are missing it”. They missed all the Scriptural signs of Jesus’s birth. They are missing the signs they have actually heard and seen Him do.

The kingdom of God is not announced like a business advertisement. It is not brought in by demonstration and fanfare. God is present all around; within His people, and within creation. It is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

If you refuse and reject Jesus Christ for who He is you miss the kingdom of God. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and He rose from that grave and forever lives within the hearts and lives of those who love Him, and is seated at the right hand of  the Father.

The Authority of the Kingdom of God

“But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.” Luke 10:10-12 (KJB)

“And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast out? Therefore shall they be your judges.  But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” Luke 11:19-20

Leaving with you today the words of Matthew Henry from the commentary named for his work…

““Say to them, not with rage, or scorn, or resentment, but with compassion to their poor perishing souls, and a holy dread of the ruin which they are bringing upon themselves, Even the dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you, Luk_10:11. From them do not receive any kindnesses at all, be not beholden to them. It cost that prophet of the Lord dear who accepted a meal’s meat with a prophet in Bethel, 1Ki_13:21, 1Ki_13:22. Tell them that you will not carry with you the dust of their city; let them take it to themselves, for dust they are.” It shall be a witness for Christ’s messengers that they had been there according to their Master’s order; tender and refusal were a discharge of their trust. But it shall be a witness against the recusants that they would not give Christ’s messengers any entertainment, no, not so much as water to wash their feet with, but they were forced to wipe off the dust. “But tell them plainly, and bid them be sure of it, The kingdom of God is come nigh to you. Here is a fair offer made you; if you have not the benefit of it, it is your own fault. The gospel is brought to your doors; if you shut your doors against it, your blood is upon your own head. Now that the kingdom of God is come nigh to you, if you will not come up to it, and come into it, your sin will be inexcusable, and your condemnation intolerable.”” MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY on Luke 10:11

“That, in opposing the conviction of this miracle, they were enemies to themselves, stood in their own light, and put a bar in their own door, for they thrust from them the kingdom of God (Luk_11:20): “If I with the finger of God cast out devils, as you may assure yourselves I do, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you, the kingdom of the Messiah offers itself and all its advantages to you, and, if you receive it not, it is at your peril.” In Matthew it is by the Spirit of God, here by the finger of God; the Spirit is the arm of the Lord, Isa_53:1. His greatest and most mighty works were wrought by his Spirit; but, if the Spirit in this work is said to be the finger of the Lord, it perhaps may intimate how easily Christ did and could conquer Satan, even with the finger of God, the exerting of the divine power in a less and lower degree than in many other instances. He needed not make bare his everlasting arm; that roaring lion, when he pleases, is crushed, like a moth, with a touch of a finger. Perhaps here is an allusion to the acknowledgment of Pharaoh’s magicians, when they were run aground (Exo_8:19): This is the finger of God. “Now if the kingdom of God be herein come to you, and you be found by those cavils and blasphemies fighting against it, it will come upon you as a victorious force which you cannot stand before.”” MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY on Luke 11:20

The Name of the Lord Jesus Christ Be Glorified in You

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is right, because that your faith grows exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other abounds; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure: a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer: seeing a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 4:16; Revelation 6:10; 14:13; Psalm 68:35; 79:6; Deuteronomy 33:2; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 1:7

When He Shall Have Delivered Up the Kingdom to God

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man death, by Man also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.  Then the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy shall be destroyed, death.  For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-28  (TKJB)

References: Acts 26:23; 1 Peter 1:3; John 11:25; Daniel 7:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; Psalm 8:6; 110:1; Hebrews 2:8; 1 Corinthians 3:23;

Without Observation

“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’”  Luke 17:20-21  (KJB)

The coming kingdom of God is more than an event that is celebrated with pomp and circumstance.  For many years the religious leaders of Israel had been pronouncing the coming of Messiah as an event where He would show up in power and glory and give the land of Israel back to the people of Israel.

The Person of the kingdom of God was standing in front of them.  He had done many mighty deeds; giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk, healing lepers, raising the dead, calming storms, walking on water; and yet they could not see.

Jesus tells the disciples in the following verses how it will be.  Even that He will be killed.

The coming of the kingdom of God was without much notice at all.  If they would not believe Moses and the Prophets they would not believe even though One would rise from the dead.

The kingdom of God shows up in the soul that is redeemed.  Do we notice? He is present within us.

I realize that this is so much deeper than I can know.  The whole thought is that Jesus can be missed if those who desire Him are looking for signs rather than Jesus Himself.

The Plough Man

I grew up on a farm.  A small farm by some’s reckoning; and large to others thinking.  It was mostly a Dairy farm, and we had beef cattle too for some of the time.  It still required plowing ground once in a while to sow Alfalfa hay, and certain others types of grass hay.

To plough [plow] in a straight line requires looking ahead.  If you look back, for whatever reason, you will end up with a crooked row.  Having said that let us look at our Bible text for today:

“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.’ And He said unto another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.’ And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:57-62  (KJB)

For  the two men in the text, they wanted to follow Jesus, but they had other things to do.  The first would have had to wait for his father to die, then bury him. The second evidently had guests in his home, and saying their farewells would have taken much time away.

The lesson of the story, of these two men, and their desire to follow Jesus is this;  If you are going to follow Jesus, then follow Jesus, preach the kingdom of God – and that is Jesus – and do not look back.

Let me leave you with the commentary of John Gill on the “is not fit for the kingdom of God” closing of verse 62…

is not fit for the kingdom of God: that is, to preach the kingdom of God, as in Luk_9:60. He cannot serve God and mammon, his own interest, and the interest of Christ; he cannot rightly perform the work of the ministry, whilst his thoughts and time are taken up in the affairs of the world.” John Gill’s EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE

The Kingdom of God

“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him. And He said unto them, ‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.’” Luke 16:14-17  (KJB)

Be blessed today reading God’s Holy Bible, His Word to us today; which shows the way to Himself, and to life eternal.

The Gate

“And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto Him, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved?’ And He said unto them, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and the west, and from the north, and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.’” Luke 13:22-30  (KJB)

The gate is narrow.  Jesus speaks of the narrow gate in another place as well (Matthew 7:13-14) which seems to imply with difficulty, due to blockages, hindrances, or obstacles in the way.

The needle’s eye passage of Scripture could apply here as well,

Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

Though this passage is speaking directly of the rich who are encumbered with the dangers of wealth toward the spirit; it can also apply to the religious but lost crowd.  Letting, like the Pharisees, the knowledge of Scripture, theology, and pride keep them from knowing the Person of the great salvation that is available to all who will receive Him as a little child.

The end result of rejecting God’s plan of grace and salvation is not good.  Read again the words of Jesus.  Jesus is God’s plan of grace and salvation.

The Rejected Cornerstone

‘Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, ‘They will reverence my son.’ But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.’ And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

They say unto Him, ‘He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.’
Jesus saith unto them, ‘Did ye never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?’ Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitude, because they took Him for a prophet.” Matthew 21:33-46  (KJB)

Jesus is that Cornerstone rejected by His own people.  It has been said that in the building with large stones that the cornerstone’s shape and size determines the shape and size of the building.

The religious establishment of Jesus’s day was Judaism but they rejected the Cornerstone, therefore it passed to the Gentiles, the Church; which is the Body of Christ; and He is still building that building.

Yes! Jesus Christ is that Cornerstone on which if you fall you will be broken; but if He falls on you will be ground to powder.

Believe Him.

Cast Out of Heaven

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Revelation 12:7-12 (KJV)

When we read the book of Job in the Old Testament it appears that Satan has access to appear before God (Job1:6).

It seems that in the middle of the 7 years that Satan is cast out of Heaven, no longer having access to God. Because of this, he is allowed to wreak havoc on the earth – “cast out into the earth”. The last 3.5 years are catastrophic. In Colossians, we read…

“And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist…” Colossians 1:17

It is an encouraging thing for the Christian to know that God, through His Son Jesus, holds all things, all the elements under His control during the opening of the seals, the sounding of the trumpets, and the pouring out of the vials of wrath; Satan (the serpent) is deceiving minds and destroying mankind as never before.

“There was war in heaven”, John says. Michael [the fourth personality in this parenthetical scene], is representative of the great angelic host. These angels, ever faithful to God, stand firm to get the devil from before the throne of God.

In Scripture there are four references to the curtailing of Satan’s activities:

  1. Somewhere around the dawn of creation satan was cast out of his exalted position as an angel of God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15);
  2. Mid-way through the Great Tribulation Satan will be cast out from any access to God as accuser of believers (Revelation 12:10);
  3. At the beginning of the millennium he will be shut up in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3);
  4. At the end of the millennium, he will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

We will see, that since Satan will be cast out from even appearing before God that he will indulge in an all-out attack on the seed of the woman – anti-semitic attacks against all of Israel. He has always hated God’s people, whether it be Israel or the Church. Being no more able to accuse he attacks in all his limited wrath. God protects Israel.  We can see a great attack against Israel today.  Our President of the United States of America has declared Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel.  His declaration was that the U. S. of A. will have our Embassy there going along with God’s declaration that Jerusalem is the City of David.

The “Loud voice” is one of rejoicing. It is not said whose voice it is.

It could be God’s. It could be the twenty-four elders. It could be the angels. It might be all the voices of heaven blended together as one.

It will be a glorious day in heaven when Satan will be cast out from being “The accuser of the brethren”.

HOW IS THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE WON?

  1. By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross;
  2. By the testimony of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God;
  3. By loving Jesus with our lives [“loved not their lives unto the death”] (Mark 8:34-35; 10:31).

At this time there will be rejoicing in heaven, but great “woe” to those “Inhabiters of the earth”. Those refusing God’s grace through Jesus Christ will suffer both the wrath of Satan and the wrath of God. Satan will go all out. He will even try to destroy those who are his to lead them into eternal torment with himself. He knows his time is short. Satan is already defeated.  His head has been crushed.  All he can do is steal, kill, and destroy and wreak havoc in the world.

O will you turn your soul, heart, mind, and strength over to the Lamb of God who died to deliver you from Satan and from sin’s bondage?  Call on Him. He will hear you and save you.

Who Will Inherit the Kingdom of God?

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)

We all can admit there is a whole lot of the above mentioned sins going on in our world.  Maybe, if you cannot admit it, it is because of your guilt in those matters of sin.  Paul the apostle says none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.  That really includes the whole human race.  So I am guilty.  You are guilty.

We all need to know that no unrighteous person can enter the presence of holy God.  None of us on our own merit can enter.

I love the apostle’s words, “… And such were some of you…”  Don’t you just love that word “were“?  It is in the past tense and means that they are no more.

O people, we humans can be so vile, and sometimes show such contradiction of goodness at the same time out of the same life, and heart.  God is consistent in His mercy, love, and grace.  He will not tolerate sin.  He loves us so much that He gave His only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins, that we all might come into His presence, have eternal fellowship with Him and have inheritance in the kingdom.

There is nothing you or I can do to inherit the kingdom of God or eternal life.  It has been done by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  Receiving His gift is all we do, believing He is the One who is powerful to save all who will believe.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7

And from the gospels…

“And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:11-13

Let none think that they can enter the kingdom of God and eternal life by their own efforts, works, and righteousness.  None will.  It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).

After His Passion

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but Wait for the promise of the Father, which, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Acts 1:1-5 (KJV)

A great many people are familiar people are familiar with the movie called “The Passion” made for the movie screen several years ago; but not everyone is very familiar with the Person of the Passion; and that is Jesus Christ.

The Acts are the continuing accounts of the Physician named Luke who also penned down the Gospel account of Luke.  Luke was not only a physician, but a historian as well.  The verses above show us that continuing account of the crucified, buried and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

I just want to leave you with some thoughts on phrases and words through this first chapter;

  1. “Taken up”  and “As He went up”  verses 2, 9, 10, 11;
  2.   “After His passion”  v. 3;
  3.   The continuing of the Gospel of Christ… “But ye shall receive power…” verses 7-8;
  4.   “These all continued with one accord in prayer…”  v. 14;

In verse 11 it should be noted that the admonition is to be telling people about Jesus, His passion, and that He is alive, and one day, soon, returning; and not to be gazing at the skies, and enamored with the signs.

Of course there is much more for chapter one. This will not be a …

Christmas Day Eighty and One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want for things, possessions, and personal desires to always take a back seat; or to be completely unloaded; so that God, His Son Jesus, and others in my life, and those I have not met yet as well; might be my treasure.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, ‘That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24 (KJV)

“With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

How This Conservative Evangelical Died…

Here is some food for thought.

This is the first of two posts that I have to preemptively tell you that my heart in this is motivated only in love and service to helping Christians (including me) more closely align in following the way of Jesus. I simply ask that if you are a Christian and one who struggles with anger when a person challenges your faith perspective, then maybe park this post until you can read it in a non-defensive, non-oppositional, and peaceful posture. These words are meant to begin a civil conversation and dialogue and then to guide us into deeper reflection and dependence on the Spirit of God in our lives.

Too many times, Christians read what I write (with the most recent example being about Christians and politics) and quickly retort, “Well, I disagree with your position,” or, “Well, that is just your opinion.” Others immediately dismiss what I have written and…

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Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and Seven

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:33-34 (KJV)

I find myself too much of the time wanting material things.  I will not go into any of the details; they are probably some of the same things that you want.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the kingdom of God, and His righteousness in my heart and life, because there is nothing in this world or this life that is eternal except God, His righteousness, and His kingdom.

Lord Jesus rule in my heart and life for Your Righteousness, and Your Kingdom.

 

Blessing on the Poor, the Hungry, the Sorrowful, and the Persecuted for Jesus’s Name Sake

“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”  ~Jesus (Luke 6:20-26)

The Good News of the Kingdom of God

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’  Now as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.’  And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him.  And when He had gone a little further thence, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.  And straightway He called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him.  And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught.  And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”  Mark 1:14-22

Heaven’s News – Provision in the Kingdom

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or, ‘What shall we drink?’ or, ‘Wherewithal shall we be clothed?’ (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” ~Jesus (Matthew 6:25-34)

Through the Bible in a Year – 012013 Evening

The King Building His Kingdom

Matthew 13 – 19

1.  What the Kingdom is like (chapter 13);

2.  The King Provides for the Subjects of His Kingdom (chapter 14);

3.  The Challengers of the Kingdom (chapter 15);

4.  The Doubters within the Kingdom (chapter 16);

5.  The Power and the Glory of the Kingdom (chapter 17);

6.  The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (chapter 18);

7.  Those Who will Enter the Kingdom of Heaven (chapter 19).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christian Walk

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.  Wherefore He saith, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:5-16 (KJV)

The Christian Walk is similar to Christian Life and Living, and it is also the walk of Enoch of old, Elijah, and others.  That walk is in agreement with GOD, and His Word (Amos 3:3), and there is only one way to walk with GOD, and that is to agree with Him.

The Christian is a changed individual.  She/He will trust the Lord even when darkness seems set on derailing our walk.  We must cherish our walk with God.  Continue in it even when the way is rough, rocky, dark, and lonely.  Walk diligently, circumspectly in the Lord.

-T.A.

B F & M – Cooperation

We as Baptists are many times a quarrelling people.  We have even been known to have fights over certain matters, and that is a truth we do not try to hide.  Is it right?  Sometimes, but most of the time we fight over trivial things.  Things that will not matter in eternity.

For the most part we as Baptists are also a forgiving people.  When we have our fights the heart of Christ in the truly regenerate will forgive the wrongs done to us, and/or to one another.  Most of all we believe in the forgivness of Christ.

The truth of Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection is what binds us together as Baptists, and what gives us the desire to cooperate with all Christians no matter what denomination they are of; as long as their actions and beliefs do not cause us to compromise our Bible doctrine, and beliefs in Christ.

Our Statement of Faith states:

“XIV. Cooperation

Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.”

Though sometimes we have difficulty getting along with one another we also know the Biblical mandate to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We know the strength of being united with others who are strong in the Lord, and the support we can give and receive by being united in Christ.

There are times we may be slow at joining in with another group of Christians, but that is not without merit.  Those who are doctrinally sound will be diligent to discern the situation, to pray and seek God’s guidance.  We should not desire to end up with a similar situation as Joshua when he was deceived by the Gibeonites (Joshua 9).

We pray for our brethren of other churches.  We will join with them when we see the need, and it does not compromise our faith.  We know that our Lord has other flocks, than Baptists alone.  We just happen to believe that Baptists are closer to Biblical doctrine than the others.  That is partly why we are Baptists.

-T.A.