Seek First the Kingdom Of God

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Pauls Perspective on Discipleship and the Kingdom

Paul taught that the Kingdom of God was not in food or drink, as seen with outward signs like that of Solomon or David, when they celebrated their inaugurations with great feast and festivities. Rather, Paul said that the signs of God’s spiritual Kingdom are manifested by

“…righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 14:17)

Simply put, when Jesus told the religious leaders of Israel that the Kingdom was in their midst, he was elucidating that wherever the King is there is the Kingdom.

All authority had already been give to Christ, and consequently, has been transferred by the Spirit to his disciples. Why do we then postpone the kingdom to His future coming? Peter, Paul, and John (Revelation) did not put the Kingdom off, why should we? Remember, Peter called us “a chosen race, a?royal priesthood, a holy nation.” John said “we are now a Kingdom of priests” that “we are to reign upon the earth.” Paul taught that Christ received His Kingdom at His resurrection and that by “The abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness we are to reign in (this) life through the One, Jesus Christ…” (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:9-10; Rom. 5:17).

Thus, we must realize Christ’s words in Matt. 6:33 are just as real and meaningful for us today as they were when He spoke them. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the Kingdom.” In other words, your Father wants to give you something. He wants to give you the Holy Spirit; with righteousness, peace and joy. What are these three things, why are they important, and how do they relate to discipleship is our question for this article.

Righteousness

Righteousness is defined as right moral thinking as related to God, man and the world. Essentially, having a clear understanding of what God wants (our series next month) and implementing that is key to being right. In the bible, righteousness is related to:

  • Our redemption provides us with our right standing with God. As we all know from the passion and resurrection of Christ, provision was made for all mankind to come into right relationship with God, something that could never be done before Christ. The best of all men have righteousness as filthy rags (Isa 64:6), yet the blood of Christ can cleanse a person from all sin. Of course, righteousness from our salvation is accounted to us, and is…
  • Reckoned by Faith in Christ death on the cross. The covenant of Abraham, the covenant of faith in God and his word is what counts, and we have all been invited to receive his covenant, his kingdom, which must be appropriated by faith and faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone. Of course, righteousness must be…
  • Received, and again, is done so by faith (believe that Christ died, and rose from the dead)…which is the essential first step in our journey of faith. This first step of righteousness provides a…
  • Rescue from self, judgment, punish and separation from God for eternity. Thus, God…
  • Wraps us in his robe of righteousness, providing for security in him, and all the benefits of life lost by the fall are…
  • Restored to us for our benefit and God’s glory. Thus,

Discipleship, beginning with salvation, will move a person into the favor of God, clean before him, and thus on the right path to become all God intends. Along with righteousness, the Lord also provides his peace.

Peace

Peace comes to us because we are in right relationship with the…

  • Prince of Peace, who places us in…
  • Position (seated with Christ) to receive all his blessings, protection, etc., and a result of the fact that all sin has been…
  • Pardoned by his mercy. Of course, sometimes, as we walk with God, especially in the stressful world we live in, be must…
  • Posses our peace, by choosing healthy relationships, developing the spiritual disciplines of prayer, praise and the study of God’s word, and his peace is ultimately experienced as we live in the knowledge of his…
  • Presence, and as the scripture speaks, in his presence is the fullness of Joy! Of course, all of these benefits are provided by the work of the Holy Spirit, who lives in the life of every believer, assisting us to live right, according to the mighty power of God which works in us.

Living life in the Kingdom of God is what discipleship, or at least its goal is all about. In our final article we will explore some the how of discipleship…how do we become all God intends us to be?

Dr Stan

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