“The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Have you ever wondered what these words from Luke 17:21 really mean?
Earlier this year, I asked the Lord to explain this…it seemed important. Bit by bit He’s been increasing my understanding. It’s a “mind blower!”
It begins with the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. He was the perfect Lamb of God who took away our sin.
“Took away our sin.”
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
This is known as atonement.
Atonement = “At-One-Ment”
We are at peace with God…
…and He calls us “friend!”
Further, we discover in 1 Corinthians 3:16 that the Spirit of God now dwells within us.
…and we are His temple.
John 15 speaks of our abiding in Christ…and His abiding in us as well.
This is where the Kingdom of God comes in.
Jesus said that He did nothing of His own initiative, but only did what He saw the Father doing. He spoke what the Spirit told Him to say.
He was the prototokis…
We find this term used in Romans 8:29, and again in Colossians 1:15, 18. The English renders the word “Firstborn.” It’s not a very good substitute, for we completely miss the point!
The object of a prototype is to demonstrate what the produced line will be like. It is the example of what is to follow.
We don’t begin to grasp what we have been given!
Catch this from John 14:12:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
Jesus was NOT speaking of what we would do once we die. This is a here and now thing.
After all, we are HIS body. His hands, feet, mouth, ears, eyes, and all the rest. The Prototype is on the Father’s throne. We, His assembly line, are created to do that which He demonstrated for us.
His desire is that we would abide in Him, work where we see the Father work, speak what He tells us to say, and do nothing of our own initiative…just like the Prototype. If we, His body, were to do this, what a difference we would make.
(Our aim, of course, must be that of bringing glory to the Father – and not making a name for ourselves. Thought I should throw in this disclaimer, lest some misunderstand!)
We’ve got to lose the image of the austere Jesus, meek and mild. If we read the gospels and note the words which describe Jesus, we discover that He was not calm, cool, and collected, but rather quite emotive and demonstrative. His was a life of simplicity – not sophistication.
Interesting. Didn’t He say, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”?
Our insistence on being “all that and more” spiritually, maintain our sophistication, and to seek success as the world defines it, will cause us to miss out on the greatest blessing of all – to experience the kingdom of God right here, right now.
Jesus defined His physical ministry in Luke 4:18, 19:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
The NIV renders the last statement this way: “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
This is 2014 A. D. …the year of our Lord. Do you see it? Every year is “the year of our Lord” … the year of our Lord’s favor for all who would receive it.
It’s the year that our Lord wants to use us – His body – to continue the work He began at that time.
The gospel still needs to be preached. There are brokenhearted who need to be healed. There are captives and oppressed to be set free.
This is why we aren’t whisked away to His presence the moment we believe in Him!!!
He’s returned to heaven, but left us – His body – here to continue His ministry. As you can see, this involves much more than showing up in church on Sunday for a “holy huddle.” There’s work for us to do…work that will leave us amazed at what God has done through us.
The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead resides in us, and longs for us to partner with Him without limiting what He is permitted to do because of our preconceived notions of what’s “acceptable” or “correct” for Christians.
We might be called “winebibbers” or “a friend to sinners.”
We could be more alive than we ever thought possible.
We could experience the kingdom of God that is within us – now!
I hope this made sense. God recently challenged what I thought I knew about Christianity in a huge way. Much of what I used to believe has been set aside, and I’m trying to wrap my mind around what He’s been showing me. Hopefully I’ve communicated well enough that you catch a glimpse of the vista before us. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in my own life!
The Lord bless and keep you all!