Chapter 5: Hearing and Seeing
Integrating the Kingdom into your life: Part1
Knowing Christ is a non-negotiable for living an effective Christian life. How is it that Christians, who are supposed to be “Kingdom Citizens,” are living for themselves instead? Jesus was emphatic that the Kingdom of God, although not of this world, was certainly active in it. His expectation of all Christians was that they would voluntarily become productive kingdom citizens, and do those things that He commanded.
Why is it that so few of today’s Christians in the church are actually doing this? Why do they constantly feed themselves instead of the flock? If we close our eyes and plug our ears, we can remain self-focused baby Christians. We cannot see or hear what Jesus taught about the Kingdom and the expectations on its citizenship. True discipleship does not allow for such people. Just as we are called, the twelve were “called” to know the Truths of the Kingdom, and to exercise our lives for the growth of that kingdom. Let’s look at what Jesus taught.
Jesus said that by knowing the truths of the kingdom, we would be blessed. (Luke 10:234) As New Testament believers, we have many more advantages over the Old Testament saints. We have the testimony of the twelve, who were eyewitnesses of what Jesus said and did. David, as you recall, did not have that in the Psalms period. The ability to “see and hear” the testimony of those who walked with the Lord should be a model for how we as believers today disciple others.
In Matthew 5, Mark 4:10, Jesus describes the Doctrine of the Kingdom. He also demonstrated the works of the kingdom; he compared and contrasted good citizens and bad. In the Sermon on the Mount, He talks about the qualifications to be citizens of the kingdom, and the differences between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the World. In contrast to popular thinking, the Kingdom of God is made up of serving people who sacrifice and suffer for others instead of themselves as dictated by the world.
Additionally, the moral and religious aspects of the kingdom require humility, over and against pride. It requires graciousness toward others and a central focus on God, not on showing off personal religiosity. It is a religion that is tolerant of the “sin” of others knowing that only God is righteous. It portrays the mercy and grace that Christ showed on Earth. This is shocking for most people today. The principles of the kingdom are simple yet deep. Depth is eschewed today because it is considered “too heavy”;
however, Christ never dealt in superficialities, he condemned them. The parables that Jesus spoke in were primarily for the “common man.” The disciples were chosen to know a deeper truth. However, their growth was slow and deliberate. Their discipleship relationship would eventually grow them to be the leaders of the flock. Unfortunately, due to a general lack of discipleship in our church today, we have a lot of sheep and no shepherds. No one wants to deal with the commitment, hard work, and depth that is required for the Christian life.
Today, we want “stories,” or nice parables that we can turn over in our minds, and then forget. We want a soft gospel and no entanglements—we’re too busy for depth. Ironically, today’s society wants “genuine” or “authentic” relationships that can only be developed with intimacy. Unfortunately, that takes time and small groups that meet, six to eight times for Bible study do not produce that kind of intimacy. Only one-on-one or very small long term, discipleship oriented group, works. It was the experience of Paul the Apostle, as well as the twelve. Have you had this invaluable experience? Who discipled you? If you are interested in that kind of thing Email Me – I’d like to help.
See ya next time.