Monday, October 15, 2007

Kingdom Living V: Have You Accepted Your Death?

Colossians 3:1-4
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. That’s a contradiction, isn’t it? We don’t understand life. The kingdom of God is a living reality.

Who you are is identified by your place in God’s kingdom. My life and your life are meant to be hid with Jesus Christ.

Why isn’t the kingdom of God obvious?

Matthew 6:6
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Isaiah 45:15
Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel.

The kingdom of God is a hidden realm.

Luke 17:20-21
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

Or 'among you’ or ‘within your grasp’.

Matthew 16:24-25
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Take up your cross- the common human way is to say with attitude, “I’m going to save my life!”


You & I have two lives. One life that looks like us where we have control. You’re hungry so you eat. You’re tired so you sleep. It’s the life we see presented to each other. Our job is to die to that life and take up the life of Christ. We usually grit our teeth as we acquiesce and say, “I’m dieing to self.”

We see, hear & experience that in a negative. But that needn't be the case. We should be happy to die!

Romans 6:4
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

This new life is the real life.

There are three factors to life: it is self-initiating; self-sustaining & self-directed. Our old life is therefore no longer self-directed or anything else.

We accept His death as the end of our life, too.

Romans 6:6-7
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

There is the actual possibility to step free from sin in this new life with Christ.

Romans 6:12-14
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Grace is a living principle- a real presence in our life. Acknowledge it!

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

You can have a vision that doesn’t change your overall vision. We can have a real experience with Jesus but still maintain a distorted picture of reality.

Matthew 16:13-20
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Peter says, “You are the Christ”. Jesus tells him that the Father has shown him this.

Look what happens right after in verses 21-25:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Peter had a vision of Jesus, but it was yet to capture his own reality. What I assume in my actions will show the reality I live in. what you go around doing mindlessly is the reality you live in, because you just assume it.

For most of us the physical world is our reality.

Hebrews 11:24-27
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

He saw him who was invisible. It wasn’t a vision he had; it was a vision that had him!

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Faith is the knowledge and vision of what is unseen (invisible).

The physical world is not our reality as Christ followers.

E = mc²

Hebrews 12:28-29
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire." (Deuteronomy 4:24)

Where did they get that image? They got that image from their experience (Exodus 19).

We humans have the matter and want the energy, always focusing on the right side of the equation. Look at it from a different perspective, a higher perspective if you will, the left side: out of God’s infinite energy He created matter!

We have an active God. We don’t have a little God; we have a god of immense power. That is the energy of the kingdom of God.

Death to self is therefore not negative but rather abandonment to this great life with God. This is a good place to be. We aren’t in need of control- we can trust the Father. We don’t need to feel abandoned and orphaned, for He is with us and able to do what needs to be done.

We don’t even need to be happy, to work to achieve our identity and status. We can surrender our desire, our need, our preoccupation, and our anxiety over being happy to God.

The task is to be worthy of happiness. Happiness is more a by-product than a search for itself.

Deuteronomy 8:1-5
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

What does it mean to be humble? To get you and I where we wouldn’t go naturally!

There is a fashion line now that’s referred to as ‘disposable trendy’, especially for teenagers that literally last only a season or so, because the style will wear out. Contrast that with the fact that to, ‘Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.’

How did that happen? Powerful amazing God. E = mc²!

A scientist once said that if Jesus had turned the water into wine that there was no pot able to withstand the corresponding heat release from the process. You have to figure, E = mc² that God could figure that one out if He could change it in the first place!

What is manna? It means, ‘what is this?’

What if it was the word of God in tangible form? The absolute trust in God that took a physical form.

It’s contrary to thinking that God is not going to provide for me- so I must take care of it.

In Acts 5 there is the story of Ananias & Sapphira, who sold some land and held part of the money back. Well, they died from that. What if God were that tangible here? Bit of a scary thought!

People can die from the power of God. We can also be healed by that amazing power, too. But first we must abandon what we are and what we do to God.

Acts 5 teaches us that we shouldn’t pretend to be what we’re not. In the kingdom we get to be exactly who we are. Craig Ferguson gave us a glimpse of that last week, speaking openly about his alcoholism.

We’re into image management, because we only see the surface. The kingdom takes us beyond that. In Matthew 3:16
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.

Ezekiel 1
The heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings, and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.

The heavens opened up, as in revelation. In kingdom living we get an invitation to live before the open heavens, before a reality that is always there, we just haven’t been able or willing to see it.

We get a glimpse of what is there all the time. You and I can choose to look, or choose to ignore it. It's there all the time.

Spirit is the only reality that can be seen when it wants to be seen. Babies and infants haven’t learned how to hide in their bodies yet, and it also helps us glimpse kingdom reality.

Mark 10:14-16
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

When Marcus, or Varity dances, or Mr Eisenkrein does the Chris chicken, they are responding with joy to an unseen reality. David danced undignified.

Life in the kingdom- living a life where we’ve died to ourselves teaches us to trust when we don’t get our way. We all have self-will: not just will, but the will to have it the way I WANT IT! And if I don’t get it there’s going to be a problem.

When you have accepted the fact that you don’t have to have your own way, we can also learn not to be upset when we don’t our way. Our impulsive will is aimed at instant gratification, lower levels of happiness and has a low frustration tolerance. Our reflective will is what we are meant to grow into. It is the will that chooses what is good. It will wait and see God in action in my life and my circumstances. It will enable you to stay in the fire, to endure, but know peace at the same time. We will live Romans 5:1-5.

It will see the greater story going on all around us. It will enable us to resist sin not because we have a strong self-will but because sin is slop compared to the life with God!

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Surrender today. Surrender tomorrow morning. Keep dieing to self and really find life!
Lose the burden of running the world.

Let His Amazing Grace take you today.


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