Receiving a Kingdom

WorldIndulge me for a minute as we go on a journey. First of all I want to lay out a map that gives us a sense of where we are going, and then I would like to go to that location and experience the wonder of arrival.

 

Come with me!

 

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

 

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

 

 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

MosesIn the above passage, Paul contrasts Moses’ experience on the Mountain, receiving the law in a context of fire, earthquakes, terror and the awe of a Holy God, and the New Covenant, in which we receive the Kingdom. His caution is that we do so with reverence and awe, for God is yet, as on the Mountain, a consuming fire.

 

When God speaks, it is not just a good idea to pay as close attention as we can, given the other things of life that draw our attention. It is imperative that we stop and listen. His word brought original creation into being and changed the course of waters as Israel crossed over the sea. At His word, matter is transformed into energy and energy is focused in purpose. Creation is the automatic result of the word of the Eternal!  

 

  • In the 22nd verse, “But you have come to Mount Zion”
  • In the 23rd verse, “You have come to God”
  • In the 28th verse, “since we are receiving a kingdom”

 

In each of these phrases, there is a possessive phrase, using the Greek word, proselelythate, which is in the perfect tense. To ‘have come’ indicates something that has already happened. It is a fact of reality. We stand on the firm ground of having already received something. We have already arrived at a solid position at the foot of the Mountain of God. We have already arrived, yet we are yet receiving – or ascending to the summit of the Mount. But Grace has already provided that the Mountain is ours, we are already there, and the ascent is also provided for by His grace.

Earth in HandsNow, let’s move away from this picture for a moment and look at our world system and our sojourn here. We come into the world with nothing. We are all equal at that initial point. Then, in the quest for survival in a world of wonder, fear and trepidation, we negotiate the land of civil laws, rules and societal structures. We gain some form of understanding of this world, by experience and education and set about to survive and to accumulate things, wealth, possessions, only to find that in the end, we exit this world and leave it all behind. In a sense, a very real sense, it was never ours in the first place. We were just using it for the time we were here. They who have it all, so to speak, are similarly just using it while they are here, and they will also, leave it all behind. Nothing of this temporal world is a possession for eternity. Earthly possessions are only loaned to us.

 

Is the pursuit of security and wealth therefore evil? Not at all. It is the pursuit of life on earth and we are expected to survive along with those who hold no spiritual focus or perspective. But for the sake of understanding a greater reality, let’s be clear about this temporary life, we shall leave this world as absent of ownership of possessions as we came into it.

money 2During the limited time we are here and have possessions, they always remain possessions. They are never us. The fallacy of social status is the illusion that one is better or worse, higher or lower because of their possessions. But the possessions never become the possessor, nor does the possessor become the possessions. It is only in the receiving of grace that we become what we receive. It is only in the receiving of light that we become light. It is only in the gifting of His grace that we become what we have. It is the spiritual man and our eternal life that is capable of transferring that which we receive into what we are.

 

It is in this sense that Paul is describing the eternal purposes of God in us and for the earth. It is in our present life, that the eternal becomes us as we understand our position in Christ and allow that position to become our possession. In a very real sense, it is in receiving grace, that on this earth we own heaven and the eternal that grace implies. We have been transported into heavenly places in Christ Jesus our Lord and have become not just a sojourner here, but an instrument of His purpose is reclaiming the earth unto His purpose. The spiritual is superior to the natural. The spiritual, that which God has provided in Him to us, is not altered by the term of our physical existence here. What we have been given is not termed out at death; it is eternal and as certain as creation itself.

God's WorldThe future is already the present and tomorrow we possess today. On earth we own the heavenly purpose and it is ours to become. In this sense the possession and the possessor become one. It is given to us, more, it has already been given to us.

 

If you want to define some of the eternal attributes of life that have been given to us, set down for a few minutes and read the entire book of Ephesians. Read Romans, particularly the 8th chapter. We, who name the name of Christ, live in two worlds – the heavenly and the earthly at the same time. It is in this duality of presence that our heritage is revealed. Those two worlds were not created separately. The separation took place when Adam and Eve declared allegiance to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The kingdom of man was born as a temporal government over man, because of our disobedience. The issue is the reclamation of the planet and the redemption of humankind into and back under the authority of the Tree of Life. It is the tree planted on Calvary’s hill that brings to us the synthesis of the natural and the spiritual. It is in redemption that we find ourselves and discover our true possession in His grace.

 

It is only in the realization of ‘Christ in us’ and ‘we in Him’ that we can recognize who we are and what we have. It is only in transcending the natural and spiritual divide that we come into possession of that fabric of eternity that becomes us. We have come into – proselelythate, the Mount of God and He has placed all things in Christ and given Him to be in us, not as a foreign substance, but as the fabric of our being.

 

This realization then releases us to see a different objective for our physical world. It is not to compete with the systems of the world in the arena of power, but to understand that we represent the power of eternity in redeeming the planet. Ultimately, ownership of the planet is only loaned to the power structures of this world. Eternally, if belongs to He who created it and He shall take it back.

 

You have come to:

 

  • Mount Zion,
  • The city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
  • An innumerable company of angels, the general assembly,
  • The church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,
  • God, the judge of all,
  • The spirits of just men made perfect,
  • Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant,
  • The blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel (Heb. 12:22-24).

 

It is our privilege to be instruments of His grace in living above the governance of the temporal and in entering into the provision of the eternal purposes of God. While it is expected that we should live in subjection to the powers of human structures, we are not at war with the rulers of this world, but with the spiritual forces that claim possession of the earth and over humankind, without spiritual authority to do so. It is the church of the living God who stands in possession of His command and His authority. It is time that we understand that and live in it!

 

Pastor Dave

 

Attaining Perfection

AppleThe fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, once eaten, does not lose its grip on our soul. From the initial bite until we die, the demands of that continuum is perfection. The law defines it, the attending social structures support it and we are from that point on, predisposed to either become perfect or to accept that we are miserable failures.

From the Gnostics, who pursue escape from the materialistic world and who attempt to make effective contact with their transcendental origins while in embodiment, to the futility of existentialism, in which our own nature forms the reality that we are stuck with – all, from A to Z, place the path to perfection as necessary for salvation or as impossible because to our inability to ever achieve it. The vast contrasts and contradictions of the world of religions and forms of human thought are enough to leave us at least confused if not absolutely insane.

Today, the ancient philosophies of perfection continue in new clothing, but with the same old presumptions: Attain perfection, define good and evil and pursue goodness and move with maximum effort away from evil until you at last have attained perfection.

Good & Evil 2Yet, try as we might, most people give up on perfection by the time they have finished the 6th grade and the rest of life is spent in the hopeless and nagging guilt of our failure. It is to this sense of bleak hopelessness that the message of God’s grace through Jesus or Lord, comes exploding into light. Perfection is not attained, it is received. It is not a path to excellence in performance but of surrender to the sacrifice of Calvary.

PerfectionBy looking around we can easily see the remnants of the ancient quest for humanly achieved perfection. The ancient roots of human effort are seen in the liberal demands of veganism, and a host of pantheistic arrogances. It is the path of self-made perfection, righteousness by contrast, good performance that identified bad behavior, and the tense, grueling demands of someone’s law, a religions ordinances or some elitism that presumes that they have the answer to perfection.

Seldom does the machinery of religion and the demands of the law, slow down enough to ask if it is at all possible that we are operating on the wrong continuum; if per chance we are asking the wrong questions.

Book Trees knowledge lifeHuman perfection is not the quest. It is not the objective. Jesus took care of that issue. He is the consummate answer to the questions, the pivotal point of creation, the fulfillment of the law and the objective of history. In Him are all things. There stands in the original garden an alternative to the path humankind took. It is the Tree of Life. In that tree is the fruit of peace, the effect of love and the power of purpose. In that tree is the answer to all philosophy, all religion and all politics. In its fruit is a release from the demands of the law and the arrogance that defines what the law should be.

The simple objective of that tree is life and the resulting freedom that obscures the demands for covering ourselves with perfection and the sense of our need to attain anything other than the freedom it provides.

Law BooksHuman law seeks to control. God seeks to free us. Religion seeks to define right from wrong. God seeks to give us His nature by which the definition is useless. Political structures seek to protect us from ourselves, yet usually end up substituting absolute control for protection. The problem is that political solutions to the human problem emanate from the wrong tree. They are, at their best, only our human attempts at perfection; at least the perfection demanded by those who presume that they know what that means. This subtle twist of political fate, the substitution of control for safety and the confusion of the objective of freedom, seems to be the destiny of all our efforts to bring peace on earth.

Peace, love and freedom cannot be achieved, they must be received. They are the gift of God, who created us for something higher and better than an existence in the contrasts of good and evil.

Romans 8:11 – And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.  Romans 8:10-12

Pastor Dave