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Viewpoint by Randy Cole

Viewpoint

By: Randy Cole

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What is the Kingdom? – Part 3

Jesus knew that his followers would need to unlearn their first-century understanding of many concepts. Over the past 2 months, we have discovered some unlearning that might be required about the Kingdom. This month concludes that discussion.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:20. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
  • As we can see, the Word tells us that the Kingdom is all about POWER. Let’s try to discover what the Word is teaching us about the Kingdom, and what we might need to unlearn.

    First, let’s talk about one of the key differences between the dominion of darkness and the Kingdom of the Son (Colossians 1:13). Look at 2 Timothy 3:1-8. This is a pretty good description of the dominion of darkness.

    “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without selfcontrol, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weakwilled women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.”

    In contrast, look at Ephesians 3:16-21. This is a pretty good description of the Kingdom of the Son. It is God’s will for all believers to have this kind of Power.

    “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

    The disciples and followers of Christ knew what a kingdom looked like. After all, they saw that King Herod had the power to behead John the Baptist. They saw that the Roman Empire had the power of life and death for residents of Judea. Therefore, Jesus needed to get them to unlearn what they knew about POWER. Their understanding of power was man-made, man-generated, and temporary. Jesus reminds us that all power – especially power given earthly rulers and kings – is given by God. See John 19:10-11

    Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

    They needed to re-learn that there was much, much more potential power within every believer in the Messiah. Each believer has unlimited power potential. The question then becomes - - - will we access and use this power?

    Summarizing these passages, we can present this contrasting picture:

    The dominion of darkness

    The focus is on words, talk, the outward appearance

    Learning is the ultimate objective

    Focus on philosophy and learning (Acts 17:16-34)

    Only a form of godliness, but denies the power (2 Timothy 3:5)

    Always learning, but never able to acknowledge the truth (2 Timothy 3:7)

    Oppose the truth (2 Timothy 3:8)

    The quest for knowledge

    The Kingdom of God

    The focus is on Faith, which gives us access to unlimited Power (Hebrews 11:6)

    Obedience is the objective (James 1:22)

    Focus on the power of the resurrection (Acts 17:16-34)

    Has the power to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6)

    The power of the Holy Spirit resides in all believers (1 Corinthians 2:12)

    The “mind of Christ”, who is the Truth (1 Cor 2:16)

    The quest to know the love that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:19)

    But again, I must un-learn. Look at these two passages that teach us the truth about power:

    2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Unlimited power is available to all believers, but that availability is counter-intuitive. I can access that unlimited power ONLY IF I become weak. I need to carry this unlimited power in a weak vessel – a clay pot – so that everyone knows the SOURCE of that unlimited power.

    There is some serious un-learning that needs to happen. We are taught by the world to

  • Be strong
  • You have the power
  • You can do anything you put your mind to
  • Almost all self-help books have the following mantras:

  • o Remind yourself daily: I am amazing.
  • o Remind yourself daily: I can do anything.
  • o Remind yourself daily: I celebrate my individuality.
  • o Remind yourself daily: I am prepared to succeed
  • But the Word teaches us to yield to His authority; submit to His power; and surrender to His will. Then and only then will we be able to tap into His power – the power “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” - - Ephesians 3:20

    What do you need to unlearn about the Kingdom? Pray that the Spirit would bring to mind those things that you need to unlearn about the Kingdom so that you can learn and apply the Word in your daily walk.

    Next Month: The Church

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