Greg gives us a timely reminder that the Kingdom of God is not the same as the kingdom of this world. Truly Christian public expressions of this Kingdom will resemble Jesus’ life: washing others feet, trusting God to meet our needs, sacrificing of ourselves for others, loving our enemies, turning the other cheek. This is what holiness does, and it is radically different from everything else in the world! And we must always be on guard, as there is a constant pull to desecrate the holiness of God by confusing God and the world.
Today Greg gave us a timely reminder that the Kingdom of God is not the same as the kingdom of this world. There was much by way of review from Greg’s recent series entitled “The Cross and the Sword,” so if you would like to hear more elaboration on some of the points, that may be a good place to look for further resources.
This sermon is entitled: “Kingdom Holiness.” Some synonyms for “holy” are: set apart, distinct, separate, not common. “Holy” is the opposite of “worldly” or “common”. The Kingdom, if it is God’s Kingdom must be holy just as God is holy as it says in 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:5. This thought is not left vague but develops into a clear challenge to be a people who “resist the desires of the flesh” (1 Pet. 2:10-11) and follow Jesus’ example. Ephesians 5:1-2 commands that we be imitators of God. “Live in love as Christ loved us and gave his life for us.”
The Kingdom of God always looks like Jesus Christ. In this Kingdom, decisions are not made on the basis of personal or national interest but on what is good for the Kingdom of God and what obedience to God looks like here and now. The Bible shows profound concern for the poor, the oppressed, the widows, the orphans, and yet we seem to make major decisions based primarily on what’s good for me. God is concerned that justice be the rule across the world and yet we make decisions based on what serves our own national interests rather than the good of the whole of humanity. We need to manifest the Kingdom, the quality of our lives and choices should reflect what was expressed on the cross. Self-sacrifice involves caring for others, even our enemies. Truly Christian public expressions will resemble Jesus’ life: washing others feet, trusting God to meet our needs, sacrificing of ourselves for others, loving our enemies, turning the other cheek. This is what holiness does and it is radically different from everything else in the world!
We need to learn to live in this. We forget that we are exiles in a strange land, that we are aliens here, we fuse self-interest and national interest with the Kingdom of God! We think, act, and feel like normal pagan Americans. The only difference is we do it in “Jesus name.” We must keep the Kingdom holy in our minds so that we don’t lose sight of it in our thoughts and actions. There is a constant pull to desecrate the holiness of God by confusing God and the world. The enemy tempts us to play ball by the rules of the world, but he rules the world! We’d be playing in his game!
Let us not limit ourselves to the questions and agendas of the world. Jesus never did this, he skillfully asked questions that had Kingdom importance in response to questions that where aimed at getting him to align himself with some version of the kingdom of this world. The reason this is so critical is that no other kingdom will last forever! Only the Kingdom of God is eternal. All other kingdoms and nations will pass away. Jesus recruited both Simon and Matthew. These two represented the furthest extreme both to the right and to the left. More extreme than the difference between the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the communists. Our pledge is to the Kingdom of God, our loyalty lies there and there alone. This is why we closed with a pledge of allegiance to the Cross and to the way of life that takes up the Cross.
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