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Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Kingdom Agenda

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There is a disturbing document making its way around the internet. Fox News has covered it. Bloggers are writing about it. Conservative Radio is talking about it... And, I'm posting a link to it HERE.
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Please read this important document. It may have more to say about you than you would like to admit. While others may be totally willing to jump out there and boldly proclaim truth in spite of it. At the very least, we need to know what our government is publishing about its own citizens.
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So... I guess the question now becomes:
What does that have to do with a Kingdom Agenda?

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May I just say, I am so glad you asked.
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I want to examine some things I learned in a class taught by my friend and Pastor last night at Gateway Church. You can hear a version of that message HERE. (Select "Kingdom of God" audio link.)
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The subtitle is: "The Gospel Jesus Taught." I love that subtitle.
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Jesus came to bring the revelation of God's Kingdom to earth. If we are seeking and teaching anything in our lives with Him other than a revelation of the Kingdom are we missing a vital aspect of His message?
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23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him--from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
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Matthew 4:23-25 (NKJV)
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In the class, we looked at what Jesus did immediately following his water baptism and spirit baptism (the Holy Spirit descending upon Him and remaining). (Matthew 3-4, John 1)
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Jesus submitted to the "Baptism of Repentence" that John preached, He received the blessing of His Father as He came out of the water when the Holy Spirit came to rest upon Him as a dove. And, His Father in heaven identify Him as "...My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
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Then Jesus was taken to the desert where He was tempted in every way which was common to man. He had a showdown with the devil and overcame him. When Jesus returned, He began his public ministry which involved teaching in the synagogues or establishing Himself as the Jewish Messiah, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:43, John 3:3) bringing a revelation of the Kingdom of God to earth, and bringing healing and restoration to the people who heard His message.
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12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
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Matthew 4:12-17 (NKJV)
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When we hear the word "repent," what do we normally think of? "Stop doing bad and start doing good?" Is that the context of what Jesus was saying here?
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Why would he tell them to repent?
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The Jews of Jesus' time were looking not just for any Messiah, but a very particular Messiah. They were looking for a Messiah who would bring:
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1. Power - Overthrow the oppressive regime they lived under and give them power to govern and take care of themselves.
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2. Wealth - Material wealth. Everything that comes with the spoils of victory. They were looking to prosper and grow in material wealth.
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3. Fame - Renown. To be made known and to be recognized as a force of God.
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Jesus understood that the Jews were looking for this Warrior King. He also understood that their entire lives were wrapped up in the Law and the works of "righteousness." These people were not morally perverse people. If they sinned, they were sacrificing an animal. If they didn't sin they were sacrificing an animal. Their entire lives were tied to and wrapped up in observance and obedience to the Law. So what did they have to repent of?
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For these religious Jews to receive a revelation of the Kingdom of God and His Savior, they were going to have to receive a radical adjustment in their thinking.
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Is it possible that the message of the gospel that I share is not the same as the gospel Jesus shared?
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REPENT... In the Greek, the word "metanoeo" is translated "to think differently, afterwards..." KJV - Repent. The word Repent is actually made up of two Greek words, "meta" which means change and "noeo" which means "to exercise the mind (observe), i.e. (figuratively) to comprehend, heed:" (Ref. 3340 and 3539, 3536. Biblesoft's Exhaustive naryStrong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
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Biblically, the term repent carries stronger exhortation than simply "Make a different decision." It carries this idea, "Repent: Consider, perceive, think, understand, change your mind, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."
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The first time I heard this teaching, the pastor instructed us to extend our arms and hands in front of us. She had us carefully observe how far away our hand was from us. Then she said, "How far away is the Kingdom of God?"
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"It is at hand."
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How far away is your hand?
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It's right here. The Kingdom of God is right here. It is not some far off, distant type of Fairy Tale place. It is right here. It is represented in The Lord's Prayer:
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Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
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Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)
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Jesus taught the Kingdom: Truth, Life, Restoration, Deliverance (Healing). Was Jesus saying, "Straighten up and Do right because the Kingdom of God is at Hand?"
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Jesus Preached the Kingdom of God. All of His parables are a revelation of the Kingdom of God. So, is entry into the Kingdom about a transition from this existence into an eternal one? OR, is entry into the Kingdom about a change in my perception?
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Is my perception of the Kingdom based on my knowledge of good and evil? OR, is my perception of the Kingdom based on the works of the Kingdom that Jesus did while He was on earth? Am I only concerned with getting people saved, cleaned up and in church? Correcting their behavior and making better decisions? Am I inteterested in seeing people learning the Biblical Truth of God, repenting and being born again into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ, and seeing their lives restored and healed from the wounds, traumas and spiritual attacks in their lives?
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Which lines up with the gospel Jesus preached?
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Matthew 13:44 is the parable of the Treasure in the Field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (NKJV)
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What is the revelation of the Kingdom in this verse? Who is the man? Who is the field? What is the treasure hidden within it? What did the man give to gain the field and its treasure?
I'll leave my response in the comments. I hope you will as well.
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My final question is this: Are we living by a Kingdom Agenda? When I define myself as a conservative, Republican, Evangelical, Pro-Life, Pro-Marraige... American - am I representing a Kingdom Agenda or a "good, moral" political perspective?
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When we get down to it... Did God giving us free will make Him pro-choice? Did He ever intend for us to forcefully advocate our beliefs and values on others (by Law)? Could he have intended to make a people for His Name who would lead them to Him because the lives we live are set apart and not of this world?
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Is our verbose rhetoric in the name of God Gospel/Kingdom focused or "good vs. evil" and action (righteous works) focused? Is my concern more for following the rules, or is my concern for the condition of the people I encounter everyday in this life and helping them discover the truth that sets them free?
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These are just questions. Questions I have had to ask myself. Am I willing to take a moral stand without ever taking a Kingdom one? These are good questions.
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I desire to live by a Kingdom Agenda...
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Most of the material contained in this post is taken from the notes I took during "The Kingdom of God"~ Freedom Ministry Class. Gateway Church. 4/13/09.



2 comments:

Michelle Bentham said...

**Please Post Your Own Response to the Parable - if you have one before responding to mine.**

What I've grown to realize from this parable is this:

If the Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field, then the Kingdom of God is the treasure.

If the field, as in the story of the wheat and the tares (the parable just before this one) is the people (the world) that God sent Jesus to save or redeem... then the field is us.

If the man hid the treasure in the field, and then went (overjoyed) and spent all he had to gain the field represents the redeemer then the man is Jesus.

So we are the field and the Kingdom of God is deposited or hidden within us and Jesus came and purchased the field so that He could redeem the treasure and reveal it for His own benefit.

What say you?

Kelly's Ideas said...

I love the way you break it down for everyone to understand.