Wednesday, January 27, 2016

God's Kingdom and You in 2016

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God’s Kingdom has been compared to a hidden treasure in the field and a pearl of great price; thus, God’s people must place enormous value on being part of the Kingdom of God, and the true riches that people received when they become members of God’s Kingdom. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it (Matthew 13:44-46, ESV).

What is the Kingdom of God? Dr. David Naugle defined the Kingdom of God this way,
The Hebrew word for kingdom is malkut and its Greek counterpart is basileia. Both terms primarily mean “rule” or “reign.” Only secondarily do they denote a realm, sphere, or territory over which a rule or reign is exercised. Both terms have a dynamic or active meaning, and refer to the exercise of God’s power, dominion, or sovereignty.”

Why did Jesus choose a pearl to compare God’s Kingdom in this parable? Ron Graham explained,
Jesus chose a pearl rather than a gold nugget or a diamond because it may be that a pearl is a ready-made treasure that cannot be improved upon by man. A pearl need not be melted down and purified, nor does it need facets cut upon it so that its glory may be seen. The kingdom of God comes to us already perfect. We cannot improve it in any way, or make it more valuable than it is.”

In understanding the reality of God’s Kingdom and its value, what is the significant value of God’s Kingdom today? Jesus spoke that God’s Kingdom should hold prominence and first place in our lives, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, ESV). Next, looking from God’s perspective, it highlights the spiritual and universal nature of God's kingdom and illustrates that the Kingdom of God is a heavenly kingdom for people of all nations. Lastly, the parable demonstrated that the glory and power of God’s kingdom couldn’t be understood and explained using the combined wisdom of the ages. Why? Because when God is fully involved, everything else becomes insignificant to what He can do to those that are part of His Kingdom.

Now, what would you do when you find a great treasure such as God’s Kingdom? There are three specific things we can do: (a) Let others see the value of God’s Kingdom in our lives by living it out; (b) Let others know about the existence of God’s Kingdom by speaking about its value in our lives, and (c) Let others enter by leading them in the God’s Kingdom by boldly sharing its effect on our lives. And most importantly, lead others towards God’s Kingdom to ignite people’s hearts on fire. It is easy to determine when something is aflame. It ignites other material. Any fire that does not spread will eventually go out. (Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 162).

Remember that the parables Jesus told reflected the high value of belonging to the kingdom of God and nothing is worth having unless you and I become part of His Kingdom. Jesus said it explicitly, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.” When we believe His Word, then His Kingdom would become a reality in our lives. What’s the attraction of this kingdom? “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17, ESV).

Martin Luther said, “And if thou be not in the kingdom of Christ, it is certain that thou belonged to the kingdom of Satan, which is this evil world.” What are you still waiting? This year, make firm decision to enter God’s Kingdom through His Son, Jesus Christ, and He provided the way to do it, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Let’s talk again!