What is God’s kingdom, and what role do we have to play in it? This week I want to begin discussing these topics, about which I briefly mentioned last week, a little bit more.
Heb 6: THEREFORE leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation…….
We are called to be a “light to the world”. This means that we must emanate God’s will in such a way that it will attract other people to Him.
Act 13: 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
Mat 5: 14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
1Pet 2: 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
What are those “good works” that are talked about in the previous verses?(Mat 5: 16 & 1Pet 2: 12)
Mat 7: 12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
We, as God’s representatives on earth, should all work as hard as we can to ensure that the needs of all people are met. In so doing we glorify God rather than ourselves. Those who are able should be determined to work as much as they can for the kingdom.
James 2: 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
2Cor 8: 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality,
Acts 20: 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Phil 2: 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Rom 15: 1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Gal 6: 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ
Those who are able to work are not to remain idle and expect everything to be given to them – quite the contrary. If we don’t obey God’s laws, then we cannot be a part of his kingdom.
2Cor 9: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
2Thes 3: 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
We can see that God’s government is different from the hierarchical societies of the past. And while most societies today are still swayed more or less towards a “win or lose” mentality, the foundation of God’s kingdom is built upon the “equality of all” regardless of their position in society – even Jesus Christ our Lord came as a servant.
Mark 10: 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
In obeying God’s laws, and doing good towards one another we glorify God(Mat 5: 16). Alternatively, in loving the things of this world some people prefer to glorify themselves. It is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven because he would have to give up his high place in society, all of his power, and everything else that his worldly riches give him.
1John 4: 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Luke 18: 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.(Mat 19: 21-22)
In most societies the needs of the poor are neglected, but in God’s kingdom everybody’s needs are met. So we are to help those who – through no fault of their own – are less fortunate than ourselves. Simply put, the foundation of God’s kingdom adheres to the principle that the strongest, the most powerful, and the wealthiest of us have an inherent responsibility to protect the weakest, the most vulnerable, and the poorest of us. When we understand and possess the will of God in our heart, then our desire will be to help others in need. In this way our light will shine throughout the world!