The Kingdom – Part 2

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again,
he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”

John 3:3

How easily satisfied we are with seeing the things of God; to “SEE” the things of the Kingdom is wonderful but many are content to stay in this place. Within the HEART of the Son, however, there is a CRY for the people of God to ENTER the Kingdom.  Men by nature are content with “seeing” while the Spirit of God has come to bring us to “being”.

“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”

John 3:5

The Kingdom of God first and foremost must start within the heart of every believer.  The very word “Kingdom” denotes authority and rule.  It is a place or citizenship into which we must be born; a Kingdom where Faith is the essential imprint of each citizen (not an intellectual understanding).  There is an impartation of the wonder and glory of faith given graciously to all who in truth and sincerity call upon the name of the Lord.  Faith is a substance (Hebrews 11:1); not some religious concept or feeling.  By it we are enabled to manifest HIS character, glory and power in this dark and dying world.  Faith is never static or barren.  We read in Hebrews eleven the expressions of men and women who “BY FAITH…” revealed their God in their day!

The entrance into this Kingdom is quite different from the mere seeing of it.  It requires obedience and submission for that is what a Kingdom is.  The issues of our own life must become the Throne Room of God.   Lust is conquered by LOVE, bitterness displaced by grace and forgiveness, selfishness destroyed by selflessness and “our life” becomes hid with Christ in God!  It requires discipleship, not by force but by a freewill love offering unto our Redeemer, Shepherd and King.  The word “EXCEPT” signifies that certain conditions must be met.

“Except a man be born
of water and the Spirit,

he cannot enter into the kingdom of God…”

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”

The entrance into the Kingdom is also characterized by obedience

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”

The way into the Kingdom runs between two great evils both of which are the result of self will and stubbornness.  On the one hand we have a “faith” that produces no expression, no works and no real impact on the world around us.  It is a “faith without works”.  It is barren and impotent because is a faith that is in word only since it lacks obedience and submission to HIS Will.  The other great error is the expression of works that are borne out of self will and rebellion.  Men may prophesy, cast out demons, preach wonderfully in His Name and do “good works” but at the heart of it all there is a working of iniquity (lawlessness and self-will).  The end is to build up their ministry, their church or organization.

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”

Matt. 7:22 – 23

The Kingdom of God is relationship.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me

John 10:27

Concerning the religious leaders of that Day Jesus said….

“Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape”

John 5:37

The WAY into the Kingdom is one of being a “hearer and a doer”; to hear without doing brings us into deception and misery (James 1:22).  To do without hearing brings us into the snare of pride and self righteousness.  We have been called to ENTER into HIS REST where we cease from our own works and come into the LIFE of DOING HIS in our everyday life.

“Seeing therefore it remaineth that SOME MUST ENTER therein,
and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of  *unbelief …”

Hebrews 4:6

* (Greek: obstinacy & disobedience)

The Kingdom – Part 1

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth,
and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”

Matthew 13:44

As we see from the many parables in the Gospels concerning the Kingdom of God, it is not a place that we go to when we die, nor is it a “deep” teaching to be known on an intellectual plane, it is a treasure beyond compare.  When a person actually discovers it’s true worth it produces a LIFE that sells itself out for the acquisition of it.  Men who have a teaching are content to talk about it, learn more about it and simply wait for it, but “when” a man finds its true meaning, there is a rising up and a “selling” of all that we have in order to purchase it. Consider….

  • “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I was apprehended…”
  • “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire…”
  • “Know ye not that they which RUN in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So Run   that YE MAY OBTAIN”

The truth of the Kingdom is powerful.  It grips the hearts of those who see its worth and produces a quest for reality and truth that cannot leave the beholder with a passive interest in its acquisition and a faithless waiting for it to come.   It must be pursued, purchased and acquired at any cost.  Obedience is the means by which “we sell our all”. True discipleship is characterized by “if” for it is the freewill offering of the New Covenant.


“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it…
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;
and then he shall reward every man according to his works

Matthew 16:24 – 27

Ω

The costs associated with the “buying” of this great treasure are very real because the faith that produces it is very real.  This is the day to arise and see the value of this great treasure!  Let us no longer be satisfied with the teachings of the Kingdom, waiting for the Kingdom, but let us, by the wonder of Faith and Trust, enter the Kingdom through the LIFE and POWER of the Son at work in our lives.

“Everyone wants the kingdom of God, but few want it first. Everyone wants high achievement, but few want to pay the price. Everyone wants God, but few want to put him first.”

Charles L. Venable

Faith Works

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works.”

Titus 2:14

Somewhere in the in the murky waters of religion, “works” became one of those words that became a stigma to the teaching of faith.  Works and faith were set in opposition to one another to such an extent that faith itself lost its power in the life of the individual believer.  Faith became a noun where it is said of some they are of a particular “faith”.  In the divorce of Faith from works, faith became an esoteric concept, a teaching, a statement of belief that could be hung from a wall, printed on a church bulletin, or written in a book and sold as a commodity.  It has come to such a low point that faith really has very little to do with the life of the common believer.  Its impact is relegated to “discussions” and doctrinal statements without so much as a thought as to what it should actually PRODUCE in the life of the believer.

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that
FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD?”

James 2

As the church descended the slippery slopes where faith occupied less and less of the minds and hearts of God’s people, false teachings came in corrupting and beguiling the people of God and bringing the GREAT DIVORCE of Faith from Works.  Faith was no longer the heart and soul of the people of God; teachings and philosophy replaced the power and illumination of the lamp of God.  No longer did the fellowship of believers “provoke one another unto Love and Good Works”, but we replaced it with programs and teachings that promoted faithless inactivity.  Jesus was having a discussion with the Pharisees of HIS day in which they had said to HIM, “Abraham is our father”.  Jesus replied….

“If ye were Abraham’s children,
ye would do the works of Abraham”

John 8:39

 

So should it be said in this day, if we are the children of God, we should be doing the works of God.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus stated…

“Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven”

Matthew 5:16

We are not saved by works; we are saved UNTO good works by the union of Love and Faith.  Far too often have the scriptures been taken out of context and used to support the horror of divorcing Faith from Works…

“For by grace are ye saved through faith: and not that of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath ordained that we
SHOULD WALK IN THEM.”

Ephesians 2:8 – 10

Where is the separation?  It is only in the abominable teaching of this hour.  Where are the works of the believer that are inspired by the living Faith of Christ within us?  How dare we separate these two; for in the separation we have compromised with a faith that is not only dead but has deceived the people of God into thinking that a faith without works is not only acceptable but pleasing to its Author.

Zealous of Good Works

A people redeemed from all iniquity, purified unto a peculiar (treasured and precious) people, are a people zealous of Good Works.  Whatever our place of development in God, whatever our standing, rest assured that our faith is being revealed by what it produces everyday in our lives.  In the Book of Revelation we see the ONE with the eyes of fire peering into the Church of Laodicea and HE SPEAKS this Word…

“I know thy WORKS,
that thou are art neither cold nor hot…”

Revelation 3:15

 

Our works reveal our faith.  The redemptive power of salvation is revealed in and through lives that are filled with the fire of a continually growing, dynamic faith that is made alive by the LOVE of God.

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
availeth any thing, but
Faith which worketh by Love.”

Galatians 5:5

Ω

“Faith is the root of works. A root that produces nothing is dead.”

Thomas Wilson (1663–1735)

Brian Troxel

Why am I thus?

Why am I thus?
Genesis 25:22

“And the children struggled together within her; and she said,
If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb,
and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels;
and the one people shall be stronger than the other people;
and the elder shall serve the younger.”

Genesis 25:22 – 25

Within the life of every true believer is the struggle between two natures; two ways of living, two sets of desires and two eternal consequences.  The conflict is between the first Adam and the Last Adam, the first Adam man being that nature which is earthly and sensual and the second Adam being the heavenly man, the Eternal Son of Man. We see the very portrayal of this within the womb of Rebekah as she by faith brought forth the one who would become Israel in the purposes and dealings of our great God.

Esau was the firstborn, a man of passions, wild and undisciplined.  He was of the earth, earthly and devoid of any real love of spiritual things.  He was born first, bearing the likeness of the first Adam, which in the Hebrew means “red earth”.  At his birth the scriptures take great care to describe his appearance.

“And the first came out red*(see note below), all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau”

Genesis 25:25

Jacob, though a schemer and a conniver, had one thing that set him apart.  He had respect for the things of God.  The birthright, which was rightfully Esau’s by virtue of being the first born, meant little to Esau and he surrendered it for  a mere mess of pottage in a moment of extreme hunger.  Jacob, on the other hand, coveted this blessing.  Jacob was the son of promise, a man called to become the Israel of God, not by strength, nor by might but by the mercy and strength of our God.

These two distinct “manner of people” struggled within the womb of Rebekah, yet the promise was THE ELDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER.  Jacob’s journey of faith to become Israel was one of many dealings and breakings in the hands of a determined and merciful God.  The promise of God tarries until the man Jacob is broken.  It is in our submission to His dealings that we become the people upon whom the promise falls.

“The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel”

Isaiah 9:8

The promise to Jacob was a sure thing but the severity of the dealings of God and the determination of God is what made the promise sure.  The man Jacob must become the worm that he might indeed become strong.

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff”

Isaiah 41:14 – 15

We must see that the inabilities in our life to do God’s will are the result of our strengths not our weaknesses. When we speak of weakness we are speaking of all that has not been brought into submission to the Son; in whatever measure we have known the fellowship of His sufferings there is a corresponding experience of His resurrection life.

“That I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means
I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead”

Philippians 3:10 – 11

Let us realize that the struggle within is a struggle that is to be unto life and glory; HIS LIFE and HIS GLORY.  The struggle of Rebekah is prophetic of all that we must know within ourselves.  Jacob will remain Jacob until he is broken.  We too will remain barren unless we discover the wonder and the power of HIS faith in our lives.  A faith like gold submitted to the fire is purified and fit for the master’s use.  Teachings will not produce this life; only a broken and surrendered will in the hands of the God of Jacob!  This is not a day to tarry but it is a day for us to “press toward the mark, for the PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.

Let our confidence be not in ourselves, our knowledge or our associations.  Rather let our confidence be in the God of Jacob who was able to bring forth a PRINCE* (see note below) from the worm and who is able to complete that which He began in us.  The beauty of Jacob’s heart was clearly revealed at Peniel as we see Jacob clinging to the ONE who wounded him for in that place we see and hear God’s declaration…

“Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed”

Genesis 32:28

* אַדְמֹנִי ʼaḏmōniy, אַדְמוֹנִי ʼaḏmôniy: An adjective meaning red, ruddy. from the Hebrew Word ADAM
*Israel – Prince with God

Brian Troxel