A Book About A King

The Kingdom Context

Kings and kingdoms have populated the earth from the beginning. Authority paradigms appear to have existed before the earth was even created. There are the gods and rulers and angels who have stood before the throne of the living God, and these rulers and angels hold various roles in the administration of good, as well as the temptation to evil among mankind. There have emerged both brutal earthly rulers as well as kind and benevolent kings and queens who have sought what is best for their subjects. This is a clear part of the human story, and kingdoms certainly have been a fascination of modern story-telling as well (movies, gaming et al).

The ancient Hebrew scriptures and the Gospels and the letters tell us of a King of Kings who emerges in the midst of all of this human stuff, Him being the epitome of both strength and kindness. He alone is the Master of the universe, and whenever men and women emerge who’re willing to cling to this King of Kings, good things inevitably sprout and grow. The interaction and conflict between what the God Story calls “the Kingdom of darkness” and the “Kingdom of Light” is epic. It is part of the fabric under all things in our human history – past – present, and future.

While we like to believe that the center of all cosmic and earthly focus revolves around us as humans, it does not. We are however, made for God’s purposes and certainly blessed to carry His image, each having freedom of will either to embrace this King by faith – or not, whatever the human “king” who may currently rule. Human history is filled with opportunistic despots who crave power and influence. This remains true today and will until the end, for sure. As humans we are all about comfort, recognition, and personal honor, but for our Creator it is all about shared glory (more on this later). 

The Bible supernaturally contains God’s words about His heart, mind, and ultimate purposes. In it He extends an invitation to experience honor and find personal reward. This occurs as we reject our human proclivities and choose, rather, to bend our wills before this ultimate King, this supreme authority. In fact, this is where most of us get stuck. Humanity is proud to our core, and the King addresses this reality in every phase of His book. Because He wishes for us to be free.

Here are a few radical perspectives which have been sadly missed (or conveniently by-passed) in many of the teachings of history. Jesus is no longer dead, and even now is operating at full God capacity, so we turn to Him as the continued centric figure in the Story, and the One who is still speaking clarity of truth to the souls of Adam and the daughters of Eve. 

√   First King, then Kingdom, then Church (Finding Hope Podcast episode) The church is mentioned only 3 times in the Gospels while the Kingdom is spoken of over 100 times. Why do you think this is? When this order is mixed up or omissions are made, certain vulnerabilities occur. Can you think of any challenges you have observed about this in your experience?

√   The Kingdom Circle (Finding Hope Podcast episode)
Serious-minded Christ followers want to know God, and this is awesome. Yet from the life and teachings of Jesus a pattern emerges as to how true spiritual connection with God happens. A pure heart appears to be the key to opening the Kingdom Door (John 10). This is humility pure and simple. Unless we realize we are spiritual beggars we will always rely upon our own wits rather than reliance upon God (Matthew 5 in the beatitudes). Such recognition gives us freedom to Know God personally – to find both His heart and mind on any topic or circumstance. We are then free to Do Kindness God’s way, by His power. This is much different than being a do-gooder. We begin to plant and cultivate Kingdom seeds which grow to provide shelter for the “birds of the air.” And so we engage to Grow Life in and around our own journeys. This is what we call the recurring Kingdom Circle of spiritual life.

√   What the King has to say about Himself
The Spirit inspired, eye-witness accounts of Jesus’ life, teachings, and miracles are a breath-taking gift to humanity. God came near and we saw Him, and He assembled His story for all who have interest to enter through the Kingdom Door. The Gospels are packed with things we can use to understand our King and His Kingdom – if this is what we want. He also requires much, just as He gives much.

√   What the King has to say about His Kingdom
Jesus carefully paints God’s mosaic of His Father’s Kingdom heart. In each of the four unique Gospels, He brings His truth to the searching soul. In Matthew He explains His Kingship. In Mark He displays His authority. In Luke He reveals what it looked like for Him to seek and save that which was lost. In the Gospel of John He shows His connectivity to His Father, as well as how we can share in this startling, comprehensive, and powerful gift. 

√   Where do you and I fit in?
Jesus invited His disciples to a Kingdom life. He extends the same opportunity to us.

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:16-20

Note several things:
1)  they needed to travel and climb a mountain
2)  some people were doubtful (it is in our DNA)
3)  Jesus asserts His connective authority with the Father
4)  He directs the disciples toward the same work He has modeled for them
5)  He makes certain they know He will be with them until the end of their journeys

It is important we realize that Jesus is doing His own Kingdom work through us. Without Him, we have nothing. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”            – John 15:5

√   How do we plant, cultivate, and water toward the Kingdom harvest?
Each of us has a God-appointed sphere of relationships. It begins with family, neighbors, co-workers and those in-common life phases and interests (school, sports, leisure, work, etc). We are given the favor of the Holy Spirit to do Kingdom work in and around us. We build our own Kingdom “tribe” by faithfully caring for and encouraging those near us. It is cool to see how God constructs and expands these opportunities, and leaves us needing to rely upon the Spirit’s direction and favor as we plant, water, and cultivate. This is not short-term work with instant gratification. It involves intentional choices to follow the example of our King.

“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”  –  1 Corinthians 3:7-8 

We do our Kingdom work, but in the final analysis, it is God who causes the growth. We can’t make it rain, but we can pray for rain, right?!

√   What is yet to occur?
When Jesus came the first time it was to deliver us from sin and to conquer death. He made it quite clear that He would return to judge the earth (a second coming). He is strikingly clear about this. “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”                   –  John 12:47

When He comes a second time He will come as King and judge. Jesus is the ultimate authority on the end of the age. You can check out His words in Matthew 24 and 25. Seriously – get it first hand. He gives us a very clear picture of how all this comes together. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.”        –  Revelation 19:11-16 

This second coming is the subject of the books of Daniel and Revelation as well as many other prophets and apostles. Revelation is the story of a final tribulation on the earth (the 70th week of Daniel) after which comprehensive judgment will occur, once a number of events such as the taking up of the church to heaven (rapture), the unfolding seals, trumpets, and bowls, and the events surrounding the Millennial kingdom.  

Perhaps the most exciting part of this story is the new heavens and earth, where the massive New Jerusalem will grace our remade earth and cosmos, and Jesus the King will Himself reign over everything and everyone. Imagine: we will spend eternity living in the Light of the greatest loving heart, the greatest creating intellect, and right beside our amazing Master and Lord!

“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”  – Revelation 21:5

Kingfully yours and excited to be,
Dave and Burnadette

Kingdom Podcasts (Finding Hope podcasts/season 4/12 of these on the Kingdom)
Kingdom Conversations
Kingdom Book
Kingdom Spirituality Course

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