FOR THE LOVE OF KINGDOMS
"Simon Peter...lovest thou Me more than these? Yea, Lord. Simon...lovest thou Me? Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. Simon, lovest thou Me? Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee. I will lay down my life for Thee." (Jn. 21:15-17, 13:37).
LOVE is no doubt the word most commonly used in all languages, yet it seems to be the least understood. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, and he had thought that he did, even unto giving his life; but if we recall, it was only a few days before that he denied Him three times in order to save himself. Although his answers were always a firm yes, he was yet to fully understand this strange force that would not only transform his own life but all humanity of all ages as well. Once that fiery flame of Jesus Christ was planted deep into his heart he would never the same. That transforming power of love that descended from the very throne of God in the form of the Holy Spirit not only transformed that hard and crusty fisherman, but it enabled him to walk to the dark gallows of death with eagerness.
There are many types of love, and they will all sacrifice to a degree, but not many are that higher love which will give unto death. All others are only fragments of God's unrestrained love. Peter no doubt loved Jesus, but it was not until he was born of that selfsame love as His Lord's that he was able to manifest it as Jesus did -- even unto death. Until then he loved himself more than he did Jesus. The love he had could burn with passion at times, even to drawing a sword and cutting off ears, but there is a point where it will fail, which Peter's (and the other's) did.
The bottom line is this: Peter's words of, "Yea, Lord, I love Thee," had little worth until they were put into action; and the action could not come until after he was filled with the fire of God from off the altar. It was then, and only then, that he demonstrated how he truly loved Jesus. From that day, his entire life was swallowed up of Christ. Before that time the passion of his love was quick to draw the sword in defense of His Lord. But now, his newfound love made him ready to lay down not only his sword but his life as well -- the same life he had previously denied the Lord to save. Once that burning tongue of fire rested upon him, He knew what love was, and the remainder of his life was a testimony of that fact -- a testimony of Life that not many seem to look forward to in their own lives.
This is what it appears to be on the surface, anyway; that the Kingdom of God is lacking in large quantities of people whose lives are totally swallowed up and consumed in Jesus Christ. We know there are some who have truly signed allegiance to Christ and His Kingdom, for we personally acquainted with many of them; however, this is an exception to the rule when we consider the size of the Church.
It is not a feigned Love these few have for their Lord. They do not "love" Him just because they are commanded to do so, but rather, they have come to know Him while waiting in obscurity. Not unlike David's men who learned to love that anointed one while hidden away together in the caves of Adullam. They have come to know His person, not an idea. It is Him that they love, not an imagination of the mind. The days of merely telling God of their love, such as during Sunday morning religious services, is over. It is not in them to simply sing pretty love songs to their future reigning King in an attempt to prove their love. None of the genuflecting rituals satisfy their desires to worship the Living God. It is not the repetitious words of "Lord, I love You" that seals the sincerity of their allegiance to Him. Not one of those dead acts is sufficient to fill the need to express their love. Not at all, for their love is fulfilled in demonstration to this great One that they know. This demonstration is simply by giving of themselves -- 100%! That is what Love is -- a bringing forth from the depths, from the very root and foundation of life, and pouring its substance out upon the one who is loved. It is the loss of one's identity and the total abandonment of self for the sake of another. Where there is genuine love, there will always be seen genuine fruit of that love.
Try as we may, however, there can be no fruit of love, unless there is a root from which it may come. Jesus spoke of this principle when he said, "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments" (Jn. 14:15 RSV). In other words, If you have the root of Love for Me, you will bring forth the good fruit of love in your life with actions. Many words of love may proceed from our well-meaning lips, but it is not what we say that proves our love, or how sincere we might be -- it is the action of our daily walk. In other words, it is the walk of our talk.
There is a common denominator to any type of love; namely, the desire to love. Before one can love, he must first desire to love. Those who truly have a love for the King of kings had to first have a desire to love Him, and before their love could develop and be put into effect, they had to actually know Him. This is the only way to love anyone. The one loved has to be known; otherwise, the individual is only infatuated with an idea in his mind about the person. Having a desire to love opens one's heart to receive the seed. From there it grows and develops into the fruit of giving itself to the one which is loved.
There are numerous ways that love constrains us to give when we possess it: we can give our time, our thoughts, our money, our attention, material gifts; or simply put, we give ourselves -- period. This type of giving is not the product of a sense of duty, but is generated from a genuine desire to bless others. There is more joy in seeing others blessed than there is in possessing what we have. Giving out of duty is of the law -- which is better than being lawless -- while giving out of love is fulfilling the law.
How we praise God that we are seeing a people today who are not of much rhetoric and countless idle words of flattery, but are a people who bear from their hearts an abundance of this precious, sweet fruit of love to God and His Kingdom. Lip service to their Lord is not a part of their being. They are not full of air but of substance. They have truly presented themselves a living sacrifice. They are laying down their lives for the King who died and rose for them. They are giving their all to Him and His Kingdom, even though they and their King may still be hidden in those remote caves of Adullam. Much is in store for these. Their allegiance will be reward beyond their fondest expectations once the reign of the Sauls have come to an end.
There are at least seven things that motivate the average person to give of themselves: 1) Their CONSCIENCE (good or evil) compels them to give by making them pity those less fortunate. 2) Giving in order to IMPRESS and win favor of others. 3) They see it as a DUTY to a law. 4) They give as a result of CRAFTY MEASURES being used to manipulate the unsuspecting. 5) COERCIVE PRESSURES being applied by aggressive leaders. 6) FEAR of reprisal -- they fear what people might say or do if they don't give; or worse yet, they fear that God's unmerciful wrath might befall them. And 7) LOVE! And it is this one -- the greatest of all which constrains those who have a love for the King and His Kingdom to be cheerful givers.
In all the giving of time, money and efforts, few people lay it to thought that it is not vague things that they are giving to -- but tangible kingdoms -- but some do realize it, and they are becoming cautious of their giving. They are like David's men, now that they have signed allegiance to him, they have stopped supporting Saul in any fashion.
The casual observer generally sees kingdoms as being the nations of the world, and this is correct, but the ones whose eyes have been opened to spiritual perception know there is a much wider range than this alone. Briefly, a KING-DOM is any realm where there is a ruler with subjects to rule over. When the word is broken down we have KING (RULER) and DOM (DOMINION), i.e. KING'S DOMINION or RULER OF A DOMAIN. The Hebrew and Greek words are basically the same. (Malkuw: dominion, rule; and Basque: royalty, rule, a realm. [Strong's]). In the simplest terms, wherever there is a ruling factor of any kind there is a kingdom.
With this we can see that our giving is almost always to a kingdom of some sort, and as already mentioned, the greatest motive for giving is that of love. We should not be deceived into thinking, however, that just because we are giving out of love that it is necessarily a good thing -- for our love may be grossly misguided.
It matters not what we love, if we love it, right or wrong, we will give ourselves to the spirit, to the ruling factor, to the king, which rules over that kingdom. If it is good things we love, then to good kingdoms we will be giving; and if it is the bad things we love, it will be to lesser kingdoms that our lives will be given. If we have a burning love for sensual pleasure, then it is the sensual kingdoms which will get our attention. If it happens to be sports, we will find ourselves giving every spare minute to that kingdom. When one is consumed by such a kingdom it is nothing for them to travel seven or eight hundred miles to see twenty-two grown men butting heads in the middle of a cow pasture for a couple of hours; and all this while sitting in a sub-freezing snow storm. Or they will do the same in sweltering heat to see which team of nine men can hit a little round ball the farthest. What people won't do for the love of kingdoms! It is really amazing, isn't it?
Sports may not be our particular attraction, and we wouldn't give a minute of our time, nor a dime of our money to that kingdom, but we can be assured of one thing: wherever our love is seated, our lives will be given to that kingdom to one extent or another.
The average person's kingdoms are generally comprised of themselves, their family, and their home, and usually in that order. Others may be given to many more and much larger kingdoms, such as being the head of a nation or a corporate manager of a multi-billion dollar firm. Regardless of the type of kingdoms that may influence or even imprison a person, or how large or small they may be, there will always be one thing in common, as mentioned earlier -- they will be prone to give to those kingdoms they love. Each of us, sparing none, will give our time, our attention, and/or our money to our cherished kingdoms. It is our nature to take care of, provide for, and protect them above all else, for in them is where we find our life to one degree or another.
We will not attempt to list the numberless kingdoms there are which influence us on a daily basis, but we will make note of a few that we can readily relate to. Men's kingdoms can be extremely immense, extensive and awesomely powerful, but most are very minuscule and go unnoticed by the world. The majority's will be nothing more than their immediate family and what is contained behind the four walls of their homes. Or the kingdom may only be that of a lonely, time-worn, weather-beaten man with his old mangy, flea bitten dog and his meager, earthly possessions that he rules over. Nevertheless, that small world is his kingdom, and he is the ruler over that realm.
Whether one is a beggar or a nation's leader, they will both attend to the affairs of their domain in order for it to prosper and that their kingdom will in turn provide them some sort of pleasure. Many times a corporate boss will forsake home and family, devoting his entire life to building a monument unto himself that he can find pleasure in. And likewise with the pauper. Every free moment he has and every meager dime he makes will go to his paltry kingdom -- the kingdom behind the four walls of his flimsy shelter. It may not be much, but he will give the substance of his life to that kingdom. If possible, he will even incur debts that can never be settled in order to possess TV sets, stereos, comfortable chairs and other paraphernalia. He will even sacrifice for flea powder and tasty dog food for his old lop-eared mutt. Regardless of what our kingdoms are, they are generally very well cared for. What this is all saying, is this, Wherever our citizenship is, there will our hearts be also (Lk. 12:34). In other words, we dwell in and give ourselves to the kingdoms we love!
Our home here in Alamogordo is ninety miles north of the Mexican border, and in an attempt to control the flow of drugs and illegal aliens into the U.S., the immigration department has set up a border patrol checkpoint about half way between here and there. As we pass through their checkpoint, the agents will peer into each car, looking for something that appears suspicious, and will always ask the occupants to declare their citizenship. This is in order to detect a foreign accent. They may demand the traveler to produce identification to prove they are either a citizen of the U.S. or to verify that they are here legally.
Like most everyone else who goes through that checkpoint, we declare our citizenship as being that of the U.S. However, in the truest sense of the matter, we are not citizens of this nation, nor any other that is ruled by men, and neither are most of you who read this newsletter. We are visiting envoys passing through a foreign land with a visa -- we have visiting rights. Truly, our old, adamic man has died, and we have been born into a new Kingdom -- the one from above, that of the heavens if you please. We are naturalized citizens of the Kingdom of God! Even those before us who had not received the promise of such a grand citizenship saw it afar off and "...confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11:13-16).
Let us now pose the same command as the I.N.S. agents, DECLARE YOUR CITIZENSHIP, and see what is heard from our own lips. Hopefully, it is something akin to this: "I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I am not of this world, but come from that heavenly Kingdom from whence I was born. I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ, the King of kings. I have been sent by Him to aid in bringing to naught all the kingdoms of men upon the face of the whole earth and to establish that supreme Kingdom of God!" That, dear saints, is what we hear sounding from the heavens! Praise God! Isn't it good to see a people who know their origin? -- wise people who are not attempting to prop up the very kingdoms they were sent to bring down!
While REVELATION 11:15 is pregnant with the promise that "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ..." the vast majority of Christians are unwittingly doing everything they can to hinder the reality of it. On one hand they are saying, "Come, Lord Jesus, come, and set up your great kingdom of peace," but on the other hand, they are doing ignorantly fighting against it. As men's kingdoms (ecclesiastical, governmental and economical) begin to fall, they do whatever they can to prop them up. For one, they have all sorts of money raising schemes to keep their church doors open, and people give blindly to save their cherished buildings. They run campaigns to get Christian legislators elected to high offices in hopes of salvaging their country. These same elected Christian officials turn around and break the people's backs with more taxes in order to keep the crumbling kingdoms standing a little while longer.
People's prayers are continually resounding the words, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" (Mt. 6:10,13), but when it looks like their prayers may be answered -- they panic! They pump money into their kingdoms by the billions. It matters not whether it is taxes for their doomed nation, tithes for their dying "church," or second and third mortgages for homes of the grandest proportions. They will rally to the environmental cause to save an endangered slug, water snail, or darter fish. They will send their last dollar to money begging, tear jerking, charlatans in order to keep their godless TV kingdoms on the air -- blasphemous kingdoms full of devils and every hateful bird -- kingdoms that contribute to air pollution of the worst kind. The airwaves really need to be cleaned up. Many who are "praying" for Christ's Kingdom to come, are doing their part to the contrary.
Although there are very few who truly desire to see the Kingdom of God established, there are still those who do. They are sitting patiently in obscurity, waiting for the proper season to arrive, and then shall they pour from those distant caves as a plague of evil to Saul's kingdom, yet bringing life to the world in unprecedented measures!
These unseen ones are the victorious warriors of Revelation 12:11, those who overcame "...by the blood of the Lamb, by the Word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death." Although most of the testimonies in what the world calls the Church have been just the opposite, there are still those who are true. Within them is the redeeming life of the meek and humble Lamb of God. No more to be seen is the proud and exalted life of the dragon. Rather than the wind of man and his fine speech, the Word, the Logos, the Substance of the Living Christ is coming from the heavens and being rooted deep within. They are not of the many words of the carnal mind that are issuing forth from earthen hearts like a muddy flood. But rather, they are filled with the Living waters of God, being made ready to spring forth as the wells of salvation, even as the River of Life proceeding from the throne of God!
They have not been swept away by the flood nor buried in the world by its debris. These faithful ones are not found supporting every kingdom imaginable. There allegiance is only to the Everlasting Kingdom, the Kingdom of kingdoms. We won't find those who have laid their lives down for their King living as if they are citizens of the world. It is not seen in their makeup to spend countless thousands of dollars on frivolous novelties for their personal kingdoms, for they have no kingdom other than that of their Lord's. Their lives are not consumed by, stereos, music tapes & CDS, VCRs, video games, nor by countless toys of useless amusement. Their hearts and pocketbooks are not given to flashy jewelry and other shiny things that catch the eye and draws attention to self. Their interests are no longer in buying the latest thingamajigs, or fancy gadgets; nor do they pack closets full with clothes, shoes, and other things to be lost somewhere in those mountains to never be worn or used again. Condominiums, summer and winter retreat cabins and homes, second, third and fourth cars are not what they fill the Kingdom with. While less than one percent of most people's time or income goes to the Kingdom of God, it is not so with these, for their whole life is devoted to Christ and Kingdom of God.
These men and women of God do not spend countless hours that evolve into days, even years, on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf and innumerable other time absorbing sports and recreations. Movies, dinners, parties and lunches, long weekends and frivolous vacations to "Dizzyland" costing thousands of dollars are not what they live for -- for they are too busy being about their Father's business. Time is too precious to wile away on anything that would rob them of their goal of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Neither can they sit with the average churchgoer for 20 years and accumulate only 43 days of worship time and of hearing a constant flow of lifeless rhetoric. On the average, these same Sunday morning worshipers amass 1217 days watching TV, which computes to 29,200 hours, or 3 years and 4 months. Another study shows that by the time the average person reaches the age of eighteen, they have watched 6 years of TV but have only attended 4 months of church services. Again, to those who discern the season -- their time with the Lord is much too precious for them to spend in any other way than with and for the One that they love and have given their life to. While a handful are faithful to their King, the majority are about their own business of building what is precious in their own sight.
Shall we continue on, or do we get the picture? Do we see where the hearts of the elect of God are? -- that they are in Christ their Lord, and it is there that their priceless Treasure is found. On the other hand, if we see people heaping unto themselves every imaginable thing of the world, this is a witness to where their hearts abide; chiefly, in the kingdoms of the world. And of course, by nature they will stockpile those kingdoms they love with all sorts of trash, treasures and trinkets. One would think there is an end to what satisfies the soul of a kingdom ruler, whether he is a ruler of a nation or of one's immediate surroundings, but not so. Even as our appetite is not abated with food and drink (for very long), nor is the lust of the flesh quenched by indulging therein -- neither will there ever be a limit to what carnal minded people will spend on themselves. Their kingdoms are much too valuable to let them fail in any way.
It is different with the sons of the Kingdom, the soldiers of His choosing. The awesome trials of fire and the precessings of time have purged from them such novelties. They have also been delivered from the notion that they became wise and enlisted into His great army. They now know that this army has no volunteers but consists only of hand picked conscripts. They understand that they are not in His army because they couldn't find work or had nothing better to do, nor that they didn't want to go to the Last Days Barbecue, commonly known as hell. No, not at all, for they know that His military isn't run that way. Everyone who comes into His service is drafted by the One who owns them. Do we not remember? "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you..." "...Ye are not your own, for you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's....be ye not servants of men." "...He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world..." "...Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (Jn. 15:16, I Cor. 6:19-20, 7:23, Eph. 1:4 & II Tim. 2:3-4).
Anyone who has been in the military service, especially 20 or more years ago, will readily relate to these verses, for this is a perfect picture of a soldier in a real army. Their freedom to come and go as they please vanishes once the notice of induction is served and allegiance is sworn. They can then only do as it pleases their commander. Plainly speaking, the soldiers of Christ can not live for themselves, but only for Him, the One who died for them.
This is not what is generally heard today. From almost every pulpit in the world, it is said, or at least strongly suggested, that "we choose Christ"; that of our own "free will" we decided to join His ranks. More than a few of today's religious teachers even induced subliminal thoughts that the Captain of our salvation becomes our errand boy who serves our every wish and whim, rather than we laying down our lives and serving Him. Many of these teachers do not encourage people to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Seldom are the people made aware that they are real warriors who are not to entangle themselves with the affairs of this life. While skirting essential issues, they often build beautiful, imaginative facades of how laid back and easy it is in the Lord's army. Therefore, the vast majority of today's Christians are persuaded that their military basic training consists of nothing more than learning the doctrines of their church, performing a few rituals, and faithfully tithing to their denominational kingdom so more souls can get "saved," like themselves.
The lukewarm church has done everything in her power to make it as obliging as humanly possible for people to make a "decision for Christ." In doing so, she has diminished the gospel until it requires little or nothing at all from the people. As a result, she has destroyed the initiative of the saints to learn and mature. These pseudo-gospels serve for nothing but to feed the self-centered, carnal kingdoms of men, which in turn cause death in the same manner as it did in the beginning. The First Church of Babylon has done no one a favor by reducing the cost of discipleship, but instead a grave injustice. As Jesus said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" (Mt. 23:15).
Countless numbers have left the buildings and denominations of Babylon. They have scaled her confining walls of slow death and made a dash for life. However, they did not flee to the caves with their King; therefore, so many are no better off than before. They may indeed have left her in appearance, but her spirit can still be resident within their hearts. When they broke those shackles and walked out, the majority carried not only their favorite doctrines with them, but many of her goodly Babylonian garments as well. And still worse, there are those in rebellion who have chosen to live in the wilderness (Ps. 68:6) and roam about as wild asses (Jer. 2:24) allowing no man (Jesus Christ in any form) to rule over them (Lk. 19:14).
One of those niceties is "the easy way out" and come from the spirit which says, "If it hurts, get rid of it or curse it to hell. Think big, become rich and heap abundance unto yourselves. God loves you, so He will bless you with everything that makes you feel good. He doesn't want you to suffer, and He understands if you spend a lot of time and money doing what makes you happy and cheerful, as long as it is not `sin.' If you can't be happy by giving much time to spiritual things, surely God would not require such painful things of you. Just leave those things to the preachers, teachers and super saints. Let them hear from God, like Moses, and they can tell you what He requires of you. And if they tell you something hard, don't listen to them, for it must be of the devil." This deceptive spirit continues on and reasons, "It is next to impossible to be cheerful in shelling out your hard earned money in tithes and offerings, even if it is for God's great Kingdom. A God of love would never burden us with such a heavy load." Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
There is, of course, another faction of people who believes we should not be tithing at all -- that it is O.K. to give of our time or efforts, but not our money. "It is part of the law," they say, "and according to the scriptures the law has been terminated." From the surface of a couple of scriptures it might appear that way: "Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances..." (Eph. 2:15). And also, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (Col. 2:14).
We thank God that there are those who have grown past that point of ignorance or selfish logic. They do not conveniently misuse these verses to divert their support from the Kingdom of God to their own or any other. Their pleasure is in helping to build and strengthen that glorious realm of our risen Lord. How wonderful it is to see that they are not unfaithful stewards, stewards who dole multitude billions to their own temporal kingdoms. Too many fail to realize that the Lord has assigned everyone certain amounts of His earthly riches to care for; but most often, the majority directs practically everything to their own carnal desires.
Again, we praise God for those who remain faithful! -- They who have the burning love for God's Kingdom -- they who are not chained to their bellies and to the riches of the world, to wanton eyes, nor to the pride of life. Sure, they enjoy a good meal and prefer comfort over discomfort, they appreciate the beauty of God's creation, and they are honored to be chosen of Him in this late hour -- but those things are not their life. Jesus alone is their sufficiency. Although they may have little, they lack nothing. Their diet does not consist of the finest of cuisines and wines, but they hunger not. And their spirits are not dampened that the personal kingdoms of men are heaped with overflowing riches, while the only kingdom which really matters operates on a shoe-string -- for they know the time of their Anointed King draws near.
"Woe to the man who is legalistic and will tithe a mite to Christ and His kingdom," are the thoughts of the spirit of the world, "but envy the one, and set him in a place of honor, who can heap to himself great riches, monuments and tabernacles to accommodate such a privileged and blessed person." It continues by saying, "Let him be a castaway if he finds pleasure in the Holy law (Rom. 7:22,16,12), and should he fulfill this law, curse his every deed. Congratulate him, instead, if he sows to the fleshly kingdoms of corruption and reaps a dead soul." Isn't it ironic that a man is to be condemned if he lives a holy life and fulfills the law of God, but is rewarded if he lives sumptuously and far better than the King he is supposed to be serving? They think nothing of throwing millions away on potatoes chips and soda-pop, that which satisfies but for moment, but they can't justify the same for the everlasting Bread of Life. Amazing indeed!
We won't look deeply into the following, but will glance at a couple of things to satisfy our curiosity as to whether the laws of God have been terminated or not. The words of Jesus alone should be enough to lay the argument to rest. He said, "Think not that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to FULFIL them" (Mt. 5:17 RSV). The word "FULFIL" gives us a clear enough meaning here, but for a little enhancement we will notice the Greek word, pleroo, it is translated from: "TO MAKE REPLETE (FILL TO CAPACITY), TO CRAM, LEVEL UP, TO FURNISH, SATISFY, EXECUTE, VERIFY" (Strong's). With this it is somewhat easier to see what the Spirit of the word is: Namely, in no way did Jesus come to destroy anything that was Holy, especially the Holy law (Rom. 7:12). It had been depleted of something so He came to REPLETE it. HE CAME TO PUT INTO THE LAW THAT WHICH WAS LACKING. He came and filled it up. He crammed it full with the Spirit of Himself. He came and equipped and replenished it with all the gracious furnishings of Life itself. The chambers of the law were empty and had no power to lift men from the throes of death, only to the contrary. The law was gaunt with starvation and was in pain, being void of sustenance, and all who tried to eat of it died. Therefore, Jesus came and satisfied its great lack. He came and accomplished His mission by executing what He was sent to do. He verified that the law was good, and just, and righteous, and holy. That was His testimony when He filled it full with His Spirit. No, dear ones, Jesus did not destroy the law -- He gave it His Life so there could be substance to it.
With His very nature of Love, Jesus filled the entirety of God's law, not one thing was left unfilled. For example, it was not because of the law that He had no other gods before Him, but because of the Love He had for God, His Father, that He held Him always before His face. It was not the law that kept Him from killing those who sought to take His life, for His desire was to give His Life that others might live. The law was not what hindered Him from committing adultery with another man's wife; for again, rather than defiling the flower of any man's life, the Love of God was poured into the law, and Jesus would do anything in His power to strengthen and bless the couple's marital relationship. The law did not restrain Him from stealing from people; but rather, with Love fulfilling the law, He gave where there was a lack. To make it simple, Jesus was born of God, He who is Love. He gave Himself unreservedly to His Father -- always giving from the bottomless well of Love. By this He was able to not only fill up the law, but was able to sum all the laws into one law, which James called the Royal Law: "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself [Lev. 19:18]..." (Jms. 2:8). This is also akin to what Paul was saying in Romans 7:6, that we are to "serve in the newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." He never said to refrain from serving, but told us how to serve , i.e. in the same manner as Jesus our example, in the Spirit we are born of.
It is not difficult to see which kingdom Jesus dwelt in, for not only did He say that His Kingdom was not of this world, but His life always manifested His citizenship. We do not see Him storing up the riches of men's kingdoms or filling a house with the world's time-absorbing amusements and hoards of useless trappings. Rome's latest contraptions, fashions or politics were of no interest to Him, for His heart was set on a higher kingdom, that of His home; and the entirety of His life was devoted solely to it -- and nothing else.
If He had been persuaded by the devil to turn the stone to bread, to bow before him and rule the kingdoms of the world, or in pride to cast Himself down from the pinnacle, He would then have been like so many today. He would have been filling his personal kingdom and attending to all sorts of things that momentarily satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. But to our eternal benefit, His priorities where those of His Father's, and He gave Himself to the greater that we might possess it as well.
Now that we have been born of His Spirit, and into the same Kingdom, it would behoove us to likewise be giving ourselves to that Kingdom, lest we be found wanting in the great and terrible day of the returning of our Lord in glory. Let it be far from us to build personal kingdoms with the treasures in which God has so graciously enriched us. If we do, we will suffer great loss, for whatever is not established by Christ in the heavens will be shaken apart and removed (Heb. 12:24-29). Every plant that our Heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up (Mt. 15:13). And if we bury His gift unto ourselves, there will by a day when it will be taken away and given to others (Mt. 25:28).
Therefore, with soberness, let us with open eyes see which kingdoms we have signed allegiance to. We must set aright our priorities and make sure our way is that of the ever straightening and narrowing way of Jesus Christ. Let us be quick to take what He has placed into our hands and use or administer it with honor and responsibility. Let Him be seen as the King of all the kingdoms He has given us charge over. And let us always remember, that all we possess has been only entrusted to us. It has been placed in our care while He is away. It has been laid into our hands of stewardship (Mt. 24:45-51). We own nothing, not even ourselves; nothing nor anyone belongs to themselves, for Jesus died for the whole world. With His blood He bought and paid for everyone (I Cor. 6:19-20, II Pet. 2:1). We all belong to Him, saint and sinner alike. We are not our own (Gal. 2:20). For of a truth, there is absolutely nothing we have received that did not come from Him, and which will all eventually return back to Him (Rom. 11:35-36). Let us be wise and not claim anything as our own, but be responsible and return it freely when His Kingdom is in need. In doing this, it will not be taken from us wherein we would suffer great loss. Truly, brethren, let us be quick to remember, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein" (Ps. 24:1).
Elwin R. Roach
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