Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

The Kingdom and the Church

A typical day in the life and ministry of Jesus included teaching and healing as He journeyed to His ultimate appointment with the cross where He would give His life as a sacrifice for our sins and then be raised from the dead three days later for our justification. Romans 4:25

What was Jesus teaching throughout His ministry?  Repeatedly you will see that Jesus was teaching truths concerning the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.  Compare Luke 13:18-22 with Matthew 13: 31-33 and you will see there is no difference.  The Kingdom of Heaven is the Kingdom of
God 

Perhaps you are wondering why Jesus almost never mentions the Church. Was not the Church precious to Him?  Yes, He loved the Church from before the foundation of the world, but the church was a mystery that had not yet been revealed.  To Paul was given the great privilege  of revealing the mystery of the Church which was born at Pentecost after Jesus had ascended back to Heaven. Read the Book of Acts to learn of the founding and early history of the Church.  

To go back to God’s eternal plan for the Church, read Ephesians 3:1-11.  To learn of the love relationship that Christ has for His Church read Ephesians 5:21-33 and see how Christ compares the love relationship of a husband and wife with the love relationship He has with His Church as His Bride.

Jesus had referred to the coming Church at least once in Matthew 18:17;  but the most important truth He taught concerning the Church was the announcement He made to Peter that He would build His Church on Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ,  (the Messiah), the Son of the living God. That story is found in Matthew 16:13-30 

That the Church is linked to the Kingdom of Christ is made clear in Colossians 1:13-19. In a kingdom there is a king and there are subjects.  Christ is our King.  We are His subjects.  But the story gets better.  Though He rules us, He does not rule as a tyrant, but as a loving husband.  Read again  the Ephesians 5 passage concerning the love relationship of a husband and wife.  Desiring to obey God’s Word as His Bride is a far cry from “legalism”, a label of scorn that is often pinned on Christians who love the Lord enough to turn from their sins and seek to obey Him. 

So if the Church is likened to the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God, then everything we read in the four Gospels is truth for the edification of the Church. In fact it is foundational truth for the Church as Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:20.  Those preachers who withhold the truths of the Kingdom from their congregations are robbing them of their very foundation.   We miss out on so much that God has for us when we relegate the four Gospels for Israel only, as hyper-Dispensationalists would teach. 

Have you ever stopped to think how blessed you and I are as Christians in this Church Age?   We have the completed inspired, infallible Word of God.  We have the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach us and apply to us the truths of Scripture.   I believe we have it even better than the Old Testament prophets!  We have it better than the Apostles and the other people who had the privilege of seeing and hearing Jesus!  We have it better than the angels!   Why do I say that?   We are the most privileged because we have the full Word of God and we have the constant presence of Christ through His Holy Spirit living within us.   I believe Peter agrees with me as he teaches basically the same thing in his  first Epistle.  Read I Peter 1  with special attention to verses 9-12. 

Let me encourage you with Peter in that same first chapter, verse 13-16  to gird up the loins of your mind.  That is,  prepare yourself to think when you come to church.  Get the rest you need the night before.  Be mentally sharp when you come to church.  Pay attention. What’s church all about?  It’s certainly not to seek for an exciting emotional experience.  It’s not to get a good feeling about yourself.  We come to church to listen carefully to the Word of God taught by a preacher who has devoted much prayer and study to the preparation of his sermon.  We come to church to hear what God would say to us about our lives.  We come to turn from our former lusts and ignorance to learn how to live a holy life that brings glory to God.  Anything less than that is just “playing church.”  As far as I’m concerned, to go to church to play church is one of the most stupid games a Christian can play.  I can think of a lot more interesting ways to spend a Sunday.  

 For  more on the Kingdom of Christ go to the PROPHECY series.

February 10, 2007 - Posted by | Kingdom

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